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In the Richard Petty Dodge-Toyota debate, why isn't Dodge CEO Mike Accavitti weighing in with answers?

  It's time for answers from Mike Accavitti (R), here with Kasey Kahne (C) and former racing director Michael Delahanty (now with Ford). (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   The latest on the Richard Petty Dodge-Toyota debate?
   Well, it seems to be changing day by day.
   "Remember, just because it's 'true' today doesn't mean it's 'true' tomorrow," one party to the ever-changing situation says with a grin.
   Petty himself has been all over the map on the debate.
   Business partner George Gillett hasn't been seen in weeks.
   And Dodge racing boss Mike Accavitti hasn't been seen in months.
   Just what is going on at Chrysler itself isn't clear, NASCAR and otherwise.
   For the moment – at least as the NASCAR garage at New Hampshire Motor Speedway opens for business Friday morning – the Petty camp is insisting it will remain with Dodge, all four teams, the rest of the season, and not change to Toyotas.
  However there are reports that Petty had a Toyota engine in his hauler at Indianapolis earlier this month during the tire testing for next month's Brickyard 400....though the Petty team apparently didn't put that motor in the car.
   And behind the scenes there are reportedly negotiations for a split with Dodge, sometime between now and the end of the season. And a major sticking point appears to be, surprise, money.
   Dodge, remember, sued team owner Bill Davis back when he was looking to move from Dodge to Toyota.
   Not that any such theatrics are in the works here, of course, but Chrysler's bankruptcy has made everything complicated.
   Petty himself is trying to leave everything up in the air, with a lot of "I don't knows."
   Perhaps because he and Dodge and all the parties involved really don't know what may happen next, or when.
   Petty and Gillett are apparently trying to negotiate a release from Dodge, in order to pursue the next steps. When that might happen is unclear.
   But at the moment the Petty-Gillett operation will likely be running Toyotas in 2010.
   What happens in the final half of 2009 is anybody's guess.
   And Toyota itself is being wary of getting too out-front in any of this, naturally.
   Plus, just how much money Toyota might want to spend in NASCAR is up for debate.
   And then there's the Team Red Bull situation: that camp is debating a possible switch from Toyota to Chevrolet. Or at least that's the semi-official line.
   According to one source familiar with the situation, Toyota, and perhaps NASCAR too, is not happy with Red Bull's NASCAR marketing/TV program. How many Red Bull ads are there on NASCAR's Cup events anyway?  Apparently not enough.
   Hence there is one scenario that Toyota might not be that interested in renewing its contract with Team Red Bull.
   Hence Team Red Bull officials are looking at other options too. Rick Hendrick's Chevy camp is the most logical starting point.
   However with Hendrick already running four full-time teams of his own, and with Hendrick supporting the Tony Stewart-Ryan Newman operation with engines and engineering support, would NASCAR executives be all that enthusiastic about Hendrick adding Team Red Bull to his engineering-and-engine roster?
   Then again, in this current economic climate, NASCAR officials are not likely to rock the boat.
   And what might all this mean for other NASCAR team owners?
   Stay tuned.




Maybe you need to address the

Maybe you need to address the questions to Turin,not Detroit.

Gillett is busy trying to figure out the sale of the soccer team,or refinancing the $350 million loan, before the RPM deal is settled. Wouldn't surprise me if he was shopping it too right now.

Hey, good idea. What's that

Hey, good idea. What's that area code, 011 39 i think.

"Chi è in esecuzione il programma di corse NASCAR Dodge?"

or maybe mikemulhern.net should just fly over to maranello and see if anybody at ferrari is interested in richard's deal.

Gillett just doubled his money in selling the canadiens for about $550 M US (let's see, that's over eight years, about 12 percent a year; not bad), to come up with the money for Liverpool. that's kept him preoccupied, certainly.
but what gillett might do next with this nascar thing, i agree, is unclear. i'm still not quite sure who owns how much. but then i also wonder how much it's worth (statesville place, cars, equipment, sponsorship, driver contracts) in this environment...or who might be interested in buying it. these are all questions accavitti probably should be addressing...but then maybe having roger penske is all he figures dodge needs.

Have you sent Accavitti an

Have you sent Accavitti an e-mail with a list of questions?

Not much point visiting Maranello since Montezemolo hangs out in Rome, although there are a few places around Bologna and Modena I can recommend to eat!



BTW, the business of Red Bull being pressured to buy more tv spots is a shake-down. The whole point of their marketing strategy is to be a participant in sports,not a conventional advertiser.

I've got a call into Mike

I've got a call into Mike Accavitti right now....but then I've had a call into him for several months now. At the moment my people say he's over in Italy, doing business. Give me a couple of those restaurants, and I'll pass them along -- I know Mike would like a good meal.
Any places in Rome to recommend? My fav, the last time I was there: Colline Emiliane, near Piazza Barberini. Alas, unless NASCAR schedules a Cup race at Imola, I probably won't have any time to make it.

I know Colline Emiliane. I

I know Colline Emiliane. I can tell you a place in NYC to get great fresh pasta, including pumpkin ravioli (Colline Emiliane's speciality), that's every bit as good and you could enjoy in W-S for less $$$. I would think,since we're talking NASCAR, it would be more appropriate to think of restaurants around Piazza Navona, since it was the original short track, Ben-Hur style.(ristorante Da Fortunato comes to mind)

Now Imola, that's different. San Domenico is a must.

There's no point in recommending a restaurant to Accavitti. He'd go the the Piazza di Spagna and eat at the McDonalds.

DUDE, you're too much!

DUDE, you're too much! LOL
Hey, I was thinking about doing a NASCAR tour weekly restaurant guide in my still-to-come newsletter (when i get time to figure out how to do a newsletter), but I think i'm out of my league in that too. You wouldn't happen to know any good place to chow in shanghai, for when nascar adds that road course?

When you speak of

When you speak of Shanghai,you have to distinguish between the Bund and Pudong. No point worrying about the area near the circuit...it's an industrial park.

The best racing newsletter I've seen to date is from Joe Saward of grandprix.com.....http://www.grandprixplus.com/

It's about time to get rid of

It's about time to get rid of this facade of many different car owners. They just need to have Hendrick become GM's official team with 13 entries, have Gibb's become Toyota's with 13,and Roush become Ford's with 13 teams. The remaining 4 spots can be table scraps for Robby Gordon and start-and-parkers. Isn't that what this whole mess is careening towards anyhow? NASCAR has become so screwed up it's hardly worth the effort tracking the silly season rumors, and perhaps the racertainment itself anymore. God,I long for the older days before all this crap made headlines. I do believe we are edging closer to NASROC more than ever. What's next? - Crates engines coming soon to a track near you?

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