NASCAR president says Chevrolet may have pulled out without Gen-6 cars image

Chevrolet may have exited NASCAR if the sanctioning body didn’t agree to redesign race cars and make them more relevant to consumers.

NASCAR president Mike Helton and Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said Saturday that they had talks with the U.S. automaker that made it clear things needed to change for it to remain involved in the sport.

However, GM North America president Mark Reuss said Chevrolet never threatened to leave NASCAR. “We’re not going to walk in and threaten we’re going to leave anything. We’re going to have great conversations about what we’re going to do, so that’s the way we’ll approach it,” Reuss was quoted as saying by NBCNews.com.

Helton and Hendrick do believe Chevrolet may have pulled out had NASCAR not developed the new Gen-6 car that resembles those sold in showrooms. „Chevrolet backed us in a corner and said, `Here’s what you guys need to think about doing’ and causing us maybe to react a little bit ahead of our own schedules. But it worked, and it worked well,” Helton said at the unveiling of the 2014 Chevrolet SS.

Rick Hendrick confirmed Helton’s comments. “I think Mark Reuss said that if we can’t be relevant, we don’t race. So we had a lot riding on that. I think that’s when everybody started talking, and Ford and Toyota. But Mark pushed the button with NASCAR, and I’m glad he did. It’s sure paid off,” Hendrick said.