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General Motors bankruptcy considered? GM execs at Atlanta vigorously deny those headlines

   By Mike Mulhern

   Those scary newspaper headlines Friday -- "GM More Open to Bankruptcy," says the Wall Street Journal on A1 lead -- are flat wrong, GM executives at Atlanta Motor Speedway are saying.
   What might be going on behind the scenes at General Motors, as it deals with sluggish car sales, isn't clear, of course.
   But GM men here are emphatically denying any plans for bankruptcy as a reorganization tool.
  Most Chevrolet drivers, crew chiefs and car owners attended a special Friday morning 'pep talk' from GM executives, and they came out of the meeting upbeat.
   One crewman even predicted a major jump in GM stock prices over the next few weeks. Yesterday GM shares opened at $1.77 and slumped to a new low of $1.27, far off the 52-week high of $24.24.
   Kevin Harvick says it's not just GM that is struggling: "I don't know that you can just pin it on General Motors. If you go through the garage, you can pin situations on just about any sponsor, and you can look at how bad it is for everybody.
   "General Motors is a very strong brand. Obviously they are going through tough times…but they are in a wonderful restructuring process right now, putting the company back on its feet.
    "When the economy turns, they're going to be as good as they have ever been.
    "We're all here to support them. It's a huge company…a very strong company. And I think they'll be as strong as they ever were when all this turns in the right direction…as with thousands of other companies that have restructured and made themselves more efficient.
    "You turn on the news -- and I hate to say this in front of you -- but I don't watch the news because everything is negative. It's always the worst is reported.
    "From everything that everybody has talked about, I think they'll be stronger going forward than they ever have been."
    "I'm a Chevy dealer, and Chevy has some of the best cars out now they've ever had," Jeff Gordon said. "So we're going to keep supporting them."
    Bruton Smith, who owns this track, says he is concerned about GM.
    "I am hoping they don't have to drop out of the sport, I hope they don't have to drop out of anything," Smith said.
    "This country owes tremendous indebtedness to General Motors. Washington should do whatever is necessary.
   "General Motors, Ford and Chrysler saved this country during World War II, and we should not forget that. They shut down their operations and started building tanks and everything for the war, for the Army, Navy, Air Force.
   "What would happen if we got in another major, major war and had to get stuff built? Who would build it? So we need these companies."


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