This past summer’s gas crisis couldn’t bring down NASCAR, but the perilous future of the struggling Big Three U.S. automakers might do the trick....

This past summer’s gas crisis couldn’t bring down NASCAR, but the perilous future of the struggling Big Three U.S. automakers might do the trick.

Executives from General Motors, Chrysler and Ford are scheduled to return to Congress Tuesday, December 2, to outline plans for their recovery and again ask for a financial bailout, but published reports suggest that NASCAR, which heavily relies on the Big Three for sponsorship, marketing and other largesse, could be in trouble if the bailout is denied.

During the season, NASCAR ticket sales routinely place the popular sport among the leading events in TicketNews’s exclusive event rankings, but 2008 already saw racetracks up the number of ticket promotions, and organizers openly fretted about the future.

Already, Fox Sports is looking at ways to cut costs for telecasting next season’s races, NASCAR officials said, and according to Fox News, the sport could be set back “30 years” if the Big Three went bankrupt and pulled all their cars and sponsorships. Late last month, GM ended its endorsement deal with golf superstar Tiger Woods, in part to save money.

Unlike in some of the other major sports in the U.S., fans buy tickets to NASCAR races often one, two, three or more years in advance, but not all races always sell out early, so decreased sponsorship could affect ticket prices to some events in the future, or the cost of merchandise and concessions at some of the tracks.

“We’re optimistic that Congress will help support the automakers and help them get through this very difficult time,” Andrew Giangola, Director of Business Communications for NASCAR, told Fox News. “It would affect NASCAR if the manufacturers were not with us. It would [be] very strange to watch NASCAR and not see Chevy and Ford and Dodge racing around the track.”

AddThis Story to Your Favorite Social Bookmarking Site!