Where Do Race Cars Of Yesteryear Belong?
November 16, 2007
Where do yesteryear’s race cars belong? Obviously, they no longer belong on the race track. Race drivers and experts narrate what they want to do with their soon-to-be obsolete cars…
Chip Ganassi jokes of affixing one of his Nextel Cup team's Dodge Chargers as an anchor on the yacht of partner Felix Sabates. Ray Evernham says he has enough soon-to-be obsolete cars (about 50) to start a media-only circuit. Richard Childress hopes his outdated fleet can fulfill a fan's dream, reported USA Today.
"If you want a car to sit in your living room, now's the time," said Childress. "It's certainly a buyer's market."
NASCAR's shift to the Car of Tomorrow full time in 2008 has paved the way for the stock car fire sale of the century as teams rush to unload inventories of cars that are too pricey to manufacture.
After Sunday's Ford 400, Homestead-Miami Speedway could pass for a salvage yard because none of the Camrys, Fusions, Chargers and Monte Carlos can be raced again in NASCAR's premier series after a 25-year run with the 110-inch wheelbase vehicles. The cars cannot be converted to meet the specifications of the bigger and boxier next-generation model, which made its debut in 16 races this season, and NASCAR would not allow teams to shorten the cars to fit the 105-inch wheelbases used in the Busch Series, the report continued.
Geoff Smith, the Roush Fenway Racing president, estimates that that leaves approximately 600 cars ticketed for extinction. He said Roush has 100 cars and will have to write off about 70 at a loss stretching well into seven figures.
"I call it a Car of Tomorrow tax," Smith stressed. "We hope to recover it over a period of time because we should need fewer cars. We should be able to apply (a) more standard manufacturing process thereby making it easier to build. That's the theory. It hasn't yet worked out. We're confident it can work out."
He added Roush will save the cars that cannot be sold or converted into Car of Tomorrow show cars (at a cost of about $25,000) "in the hope that we can find a racing use for them in the future."
Evernham, on the other hand, intends to use his cars as driver development tools in minor-league ARCA. "We were getting $30,000-35,000 for them, and I think you'd be lucky to get $10,000-15,000 now, there'll be so many of them," he said. "You don't ever worry about recouping money in this business because that doesn't happen. I know there's going to be some darn good ARCA fields next year."
Richard Childress Racing has sold about six of its cars to ARCA teams, a dozen to a driving school and all of its road-course vehicles to a hobbyist who dabbles in "country club racing" at tracks such as Virginia International Raceway, the report added. He also is saving a few for his grandson, Austin, who moves into Busch East next year.
"We'll end up with maybe 20 or 25 we don't know what we're going to do with yet," said Childress, who also is trying to unload about 100 outdated engines. "We'll put them in auctions or donate to charity."
Other historical cars are headed for the museum next to RCR cars shop in Welcome, N.C. Hendrick Motorsports is planning on hanging on to some of its history, too, by keeping every race winner. Rick Hendrick is mulling building a new museum on Speedway Boulevard near Lowe's Motor Speedway to showcase legendary storied relics.
But most of the 80 in surplus are not such keepers. "We have a lot of fans calling up and e-mailing," Hendrick said. "We might let them have a lot of them, too. That might be the best way to get rid of them."
Now fans could enjoy more than just Dodge ball joints – there are more to grab.
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