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NASCAR upheaval -- more to come?

October 12, 2008 |  9:34 am

NASCAR, like so many others, is hurting from the current economic chaos. Races feature grandstands with patches of empty seats. Fans can't afford to attend. Corporate sponsors are skittish about spending more cash on stock-car racing.

NascarIt could get worse.

In the aftermath of the near meltdown in financial markets last week, General Motors reportedly has held separate merger talks with both Ford and Chrysler.

Those three, along with Toyota, are the car makes used in NASCAR's premier Sprint Cup Series, and combining any of them would raise the obvious question: Would their involvement in NASCAR stay the same or be cut back? (Jeff Burton won last night's Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in a GM Chevrolet.)

That's not all. There are rumors in the NASCAR garage that the sanctioning body is mulling whether to cut the field for Cup races to 36 cars from the current 43 sometime in the future, Bob Margolis of Yahoo Sports reports.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: Casey Mears (5) leads Patrick Carpentier (10) in front of bleachers with plenty of empty seats at the Pepsi 500 at California Speedway on Aug. 31. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/US Presswire