The answer? Probably not much would happen.
While NASCAR touted the safety aspects, the savings, and the closer competition as reasons for the new car design, I think that the Car of Tomorrow also freed NASCAR from the mercy of the carmakers.
Sprint Cup cars are made by teams individually. There are no NASCAR factories that crank out COTs like GM or Chrysler plants. These cars are custom built in race shops by Sprint Cup teams. I imagine that other than providing parts, the carmakers have little to do with production or maintenance.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that carmakers provide support for their cars. But, if that support goes away, the make wouldn’t necessarily.
Last year, Dodge announced it would pull its factory support from what is now the Camping world Truck Series. At the time, Mike Delahanty, senior manager of Dodge Motorsports, said:
We’ll have no factory-funded teams. When times are tough, there are certain things that are lower on the priority list than others. There’s a lot of Dodge trucks, engines and parts out there, [teams] may choose to run them. We just won’t be writing the checks to any teams.
I’m sure that any carmaker that left the sport at this point would take the same stance.
Sure, some teams might stop using their cars. But, teams like Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Petty Motorsports would continue building their race cars, and would still compete.
Large sponsorships would, most likely, keep the bigger players in the sport. And the relatively low cost of competing these days, with the testing ban, would keep most of the smaller teams in the sport.
So, even if Dodge and Chevy were to leave, the sport would find a way to survive. After all, this isn’t the first time automaker support was in jeopardy.