Here's a sentence we thought we'd never write: Audi may be planning on throwing their hat into the NASCAR ring. Yes, that Audi. And yes, that NASCAR. No, it doesn't make a lot of sense.
Then again, maybe it does. Rumors of the four-ringed brand going the Cole Trickle route have been kicked around before, but the speculation shifted into high gear this week when Matthew Dillner, who reports on NASCAR-related matters both online and on the boob tube, tweeted that he though Audi would hop into the sport.
This comes hot on the heels of recent remarks by NASCAR CEO (and Donald Trump booster) Brian France, who told SiriusXM Speedway's Dave Moody that a couple different automakers have been expressing interest in hopping into the stock car fray. "I think a lot of the car companies are understandably looking at the terrific job that Toyota has done by partnering with NASCAR and the success and all the things that comes along with that," France said. "And this is obviously the biggest opportunity in auto racing in North America."
It's his last point that makes the idea of Audi entering NASCAR seem a little more logical. When it comes to public interest in racing in the United States, NASCAR leads the pack by a country mile. (Formula One has to hire Taylor Swift in order to get Americans to pay attention, for God's sake.) Sure, the stereotypical beer-bellied, hard-drinking, flag-waving NASCAR fan might not seem like the type to buy a German luxury car. But NASCAR claims to have 75 million fans. Even if they're juicing those numbers there's bound to be enough well-to-do stock car fans who could be convinced to check out an Audi instead of a Bimmer based on what they see
Audi would be all but guaranteed to pick up a few new customers along the way. Hey, maybe NASCAR will even rig the Daytona 500 for them as part of the deal.