If you are one of the 1,200 second-shift production workers who, as members of UAW Local 276, are dealing with another week of layoffs at the General Motors assembly plant in Arlington, Texas, you have real-world priorities.
That said, you probably are not overly concerned that NASCAR superstars and Chevrolet drivers Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. remain winless through 10 Sprint Cup Series starts apiece this season.
That puzzling dilemma, and related racing issues, fall into the laptop of Brent Dewar, GM North America's vice president of field sales, service and parts. Dewar will shed that long-winded title for another effective June 1, when he assumes duties as GM Europe vice president, sales, marketing and after sales.
As such, Dewar's fingerprints are all over GM Racing, which, like the new car market, has gone global.
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"Racing's part of our DNA here, so I'm going to have a great team to continue the efforts at Chevrolet," Dewar said in a recent interview. "We race Corvettes at Le Mans. That'll be my home ground ... which is a pretty good gig."
GM's reason for racing the Chevrolet Impala SS in NASCAR is obvious - the brand/marketing exposure afforded by the most popular form of motorsports in North America is undeniable. Similarly, GM's factory-backed American Le Mans Series program, highlighted by the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, is about validating the 'Vette as a world-class sports car.
Decisions on what series GM should compete in, Dewar said, are made by the company's racing council.
Consider, for example, the idea that GM needs to compete against Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Honda and Toyota in Formula One.
"We evaluate all sports on three things," Dewar said. "If you're going to race, you've got to race to win. That's the fun part. We think we have the technology to win in any of the race (series) around the world.
"The second thing, you only go racing if it matters to somebody - that there's a fan base that matters.
"And the third thing is ROI (return on investment). All three have to be balanced. Some series have a good fan base, but the ROI doesn't make sense. This is a business. It has to meet those criteria to race."
With those guidelines, here are some motorsports topics The General is dealing with in these not-so-kind domestic economic times:
The return of Tony Stewart to the GM family: This rumor took on legs last month after Stewart began looking for a way out of Joe Gibbs Racing and its Toyota Camry lineup before his contract expires at the end of the 2009 season.
"We love Tony," Dewar said. "Tony is our partner on (World of Outlaws) Sprint Cars and Tony Stewart Racing. In the (USAC National) Midget class and Sprints, we’re with him as a team owner. We stay in touch with Tony ... you never know what the future brings."
GM's plans for the reunited IndyCar Series: Chevrolet last supplied engines/tech support to the Indy Racing League in 2005. "That was a tough decision to leave it," Dewar said. "At this point we don't have any current plans, but we will be in Indianapolis for the Indy 500, and I'm sure there'll be opportunities to continue talks with them."
Alternative fuels in big-time racing: Dewar said most forms of major motorsports could make the switch from unleaded to alternative fuels in "less than two or three years."
"We're pushing hard," Dewar said. "We believe in green racing. Our C6.Rs (Corvette in the ALMS) is racing on cellulosic ethanol made from biodegradable waste products. We're going to have Emerson Fittipaldi pace the Indy 500 in a Concept Corvette E85 vehicle. The next few years, we're going to build 50 percent of GM vehicles to be Flex Fuel - to run on either biofuel or unleaded gas.
"We have to reduce our dependency on petroleum products. Economically, we have to do it. And we're willing to do it."