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NASCAR Gen-7 should learn from IndyCar’s cost controls

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Penske, who runs multi-car teams in both the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NTT IndyCar Series, says the lessons learned by IndyCar in reducing its costs-per-car should be taken on board as NASCAR plans the extent of its new platform. Both he and fellow IndyCar team chief Chip Ganassi are believed to have lobbied for similar cost reductions in NASCAR during recent meetings over the scope of the Gen-7 car.

“You can run a team [in IndyCar] for $3-4million, depending what you’re paying your driver,” said Penske. “The compact schedule, the fact we’re not spending the money and developing the cars like we are in NASCAR, where – with the changing rule packages – we’re building new cars every week. [In IndyCar] we can do a lot of little things to it, then it comes down to the driver and the strategy. 

“I’d say that the costs [in IndyCar] are in line now. If you get three sponsors in for a million or so, you’re there. I think that’s absolutely the way NASCAR is going now with the Gen-7. I think if they do that, they’ll make a huge step.”

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar Scott R LePage / LAT Images

Scott R LePage / LAT Images

Team Penske’s president Tim Cindric clarified the cost difference between America’s leading stock car and open-wheel series at present.

“In NASCAR [Cup, for a season] it’s $20-30m to compete, and [in IndyCar] to compete it’s £3-4million plus driver salary, but to compete at the top level, it’s closer to $7, 8 or 9million. But even if it was $10million, that’s still a third of that [in NASCAR].”

Cindric is not alone in American racing circles as citing the closure of the 2017 Cup-winning Furniture Row Racing team last year as a salutary reminder of the perils facing NASCAR teams at present.

“What you saw with the #78 [Martin Truex’s championship-winning entry] is that you’re so much more fragile,” he added. “I don’t care who you are, if you have to get in your own pocket for $10million, that’s a lot.

“[In IndyCar] if you lose a sponsor, bridging your gap to the next sponsor is a lot less of a financial risk. And that risk is pretty extreme in NASCAR right now.”

#78 Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, NASCAR Toyota Camry

#78 Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, NASCAR Toyota Camry Lesley Ann Miller / LAT Images

Lesley Ann Miller / LAT Images

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