NASCAR declares international ambitions

Brian France, the chairman and chief executive of NASCAR, has served notice that the successful US stock car series has global ambitions - something which an dismissive Formula 1 fraternity has thus far refused to take too seriously. NASCAR was once dismissed by the other big sports in America but has since emerged as the second most popular sport in America after the NFL. Sponsorship revenues in the Nextel Cup series are now up to an estimated $5.1bn and merchandising income is over $2bn a year. The 36 Cup races attract an average of 190,000 fans. France says that the series will continue to expand within the United States with plans for races in the Pacific Northwest and New York. More importantly, however, for the first time NASCAR is admitting that it has international ambitions with "a couple of people looking" at opportunities in Europe and China. France says that the plan is to look for local partners with whom to go into partnership.

"Taking our current partners with us to expansion abroad is good for them, and good for us," France told The Financial Times.

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