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NASCAR's Pit Stop

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Auto industry sales are down - and so are sponsorships.

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Economic woes for major automobile companies are hitting the brakes on NASCAR sponsorships. With fewer big-name logos to plaster on the cars, a number of NASCAR teams are facing an uncertain future.

Only 24 cars have received full funding for the 2009 season, according to the New York Times. While automakers normally spend about $500 million annually on NASCAR sponsorships, their businesses are simply too weak to invest precious monies in the sport.

A look at the disappointing sales figures for June shows why.

General Motors (GM) reported an 18.2 percent drop in sales; Ford (F), a drop of 27.9 percent. And the downturn is hardly confined to American automakers: Toyota (TM) posted a sales decline of 21.4 percent.

NASCAR viewership is down, too. Television ratings dropped 18% from 2005 to 2008, according to Fox (NWS). What was once hailed as the fastest growing sport in America has, for the moment, paused for a pit stop.

For more on the business of NASCAR, check out Hoofy and Boo's always astute report.

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