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A NASCAR X-Games? Ford makes the pitch, Chevrolet says it's 'open' to the marketing idea. What's this all about?

  New NASCAR Car Wars looming: Remember the Baby Grands? Ford pitching an updated X-Games version for NASCAR, with compacts. And Chevrolet may be game too. Here a Ford Focus paces the June Michigan race. (Photo: Autostock)


   By Mike Mulhern


   BROOKLYN, Mich.
   A NASCAR version of the X-Games?
   Something like that is what Ford Motor Company is proposing to NASCAR executives, as a way to use NASCAR to promote new small street cars, to the $14,000 MSRP youthful demographic.

   How much interest other car companies might have in any such NASCAR/X-Games venture is not clear.
   Chevrolet racing boss Jim Campbell, who is using Sunday's Michigan 400 to promote GM's new small-car Sonic, as pace car, says he is "open" to using motorsports to push Chevrolet's new small car line. While Toyota and Honda made their names as purveyors of small cars, Ford and Chevrolet on the other hand have been more to the muscle-power side of the game, with powerful trucks like the F-150 and sporty cars like the Mustang, Corvette and Camaro.
   NASCAR once had a four-cylinder national touring series, the Baby Grands, back in the 1970s, which proved highly popular, and then fairly inexpensive.
   Precisely what Ford is proposing to NASCAR isn't clear.
   But it could be something based on the World Rally Championship (WRC)
   Or it could be related to a new Ford promotion, the Octane Academy, which is designed to appeal to the innate X-Gamer in all of us.
   Maybe trick-and-fancy car tricks, with double front flips, double backflips, corkscrews.
   Whatever is on the table, it's about hitting the younger demographic.
   Ford's new 'Octane Academy' promotion is rather strange:
   -- This is Ford's pitch:  http://bit.ly/qrqkO8
   -- And this is one of the 'audition submissions'  http://bit.ly/pORWQq
   The safety questions involved here would seem to be obvious.
   The X-Games themselves – Travis Pastrana's claim to fame – are owned and run by Disney's ESPN, which is one of the two major TV powers broadcasting NASCAR's Sprint Cup races.
   One thing is clear – small, economic cars may be the wave of the future….again.
   And it's also clear that one of NASCAR's target demographics is the X-Gamer fan.


Not seeing where X-gamers are

Not seeing where X-gamers are that big a demographic, plus the money proposed for Baby Grand Nationals Redux is better spent beefing up what NASCAR already has, notably the Modifieds and the former Busch East and Winston West tours.

That pace care looked

That pace care looked rediculous. There is already a division for small cars like that - the Legends Series. I don't see how a division based upon small cars like that would be "racy" on any track longer than Bristol's.

I ran in four of the Baby

I ran in four of the Baby Grand races and had hoped that they would replace Grand American, which was essentially NASCAR's version of Trans-Am. The availability of cheap gas probably killed off the Babys.

They had the Goody's Dash as well. Also a good idea that they let die on the vine. they even had a Miata series long before the very popular Spec Miata series. I think that went one race.

In short, their insistence on big V*s hiding under nearly identical chassis has rendered them all but irrelevant. Just try to explain to an outsider what purpose the truck and Nationwide series provide. The last street car with a carburetor was 1986 but NASCAR has only just discovered fuel injection. Ethanol as a nod to the future of transportation? Yeah, right!

NASCAR needs a 4 cylinder component badly. They should drop them in Modifieds and replace the Nationwide series.

Could it also be an attempt

Could it also be an attempt to coerce Nascar into finally changing the cars into what the manufacturers have to sell? Everybody knows the coming 54mpg mandate is now a fact, and Impalas and Fusions wont make it. SO they only have a few years to get us to change to smaller cars.

But there's the SCCA World

But there's the SCCA World Challenge and Grand-AM Conti Challenge already! They run compact cars (Kia Koup, Honda Civic, Mitsubishi Lancer) on road and street courses. Also there's the Global Rallycross Challenge, where they compete Ford Fiestas, Subaru Imprezas and Hyundai Velosters on mixed surfaced short circuits in ovals, streets and purpose-built courses. There's no need for year another American championship for small cars.

The Baby Grands are STILL

The Baby Grands are STILL ALIVE! They are now known as the ISCARS DASH Touring Series. Check them out at www.iscarsonline.com and like them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ISCARS. They are the premier street tuner series!

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