BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Dodge president and CEO Mike Accavitti reaffirmed the manufacturer's commitment to NASCAR on Sunday. He also made it clear that the brand's involvement in the sport will remain on a smaller scale than some of its competitors.
Dodge backs two multi-car teams, Penske Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports. But there is speculation that the Petty team will switch to a different manufacturer next season, and no guarantee Dodge would replace them with a new team.
"We're not a big organization," Accavitti said. "We haven't really been. We need to start acting like the organization that we are. We're nimble and we're smaller than the other guys. And we feel like if we focus our resources on fewer teams, that we can produce better results."
Accavitti said Dodge tried backing more teams in the past, but it spread their resources too thin. At its current level of support, Dodge has two drivers -- Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne -- in solid contention to make NASCAR's championship chase.
"You really only need (about) three good drivers -- good cars, I should say, good teams -- and that would be sufficient for us," Accavitte said. "We'll strike the appropriate balance where we can have a good Sunday afternoon for our Dodge fans."
After receiving U.S. government aid, Dodge's financially troubled parent company, Chrysler, has emerged from bankruptcy protection with new management controlled by Italian automaker Fiat Group SpA.
And while Dodge's ongoing support of NASCAR won't be on the same scale as Ford, GM or Toyota, Accavitti sought to quell a new round of rumors that Dodge was leaving the sport.
"We want to continue to talk to the fans in NASCAR, and we want to continue to provide them with good performance and exciting days at the races, which is what the Dodge drivers have been doing for us this year," Accavitti said. "And again, we intend to remain involved with the NASCAR sport for the foreseeable future."
Accavitti also confirmed reports payments Dodge owed to the Petty team were delayed. But he attributed the issue to procedural issues related to Chrysler's bankruptcy and said it has been resolved.
Kahne confirmed that he recently did a photo shoot for sponsor Budweiser with a Toyota in the background, adding to speculation that the Petty team would not be back with Dodge next year.
"I didn't see that photo," Accavitti said, joking. "Maybe my filter blocks that out on my computer."
PRICE DROP: On the same day that he announced plans to lower 2010 ticket prices for every seat at Michigan International Speedway, track president Roger Curtis said he is not in favor of imposing a 6 percent tax on tickets to sporting and entertainment events in Michigan.
Curtis made his comments Sunday in response to media reports that Gov. Jennifer Granholm is considering an entertainment tax as one of several options to eliminate part of the $2.8 billion shortfall in the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
"That would be frustrating no doubt, particularly for us," Curtis said. "I know they say we have to tax services in this state.
"Well, we're certainly not a product. I don't even think we're a service. We sell memories. I know I sound like a Hallmark card here, but seriously, when people walk away from this place there's no service here. They walk away with a memory.
"Man, if big brother is going to start taxing your brain, we're all in trouble."
Granholm's office has not publicly revealed many of its latest proposals to raise revenue the next fiscal year.
During his news conference, Curtis said the track is extending its fan appreciation program by reducing the price of seats between 5 and 63 percent for its two NASCAR weekends in 2010.
Lenny Santiago, a spokesman for International Speedway Corp., which owns MIS, said ISC is reviewing its 2010 ticket pricing at its other tracks across the United States.
"We're looking at all of our tiers of ticket prices to see how we can adjust that at all of our facilities," Santiago said.
KENSETH'S SPONSOR: Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith doesn't expect tough economic times to prevent the team from completing its search for companies to sponsor Matt Kenseth beginning next season.
"The premier assets in the sport, and Matt Kenseth is one of them -- Jimmie Johnson is another one of them up for renewal, for example -- really haven't had to discount on account of the economy," Smith said. "That's because the sponsors are expecting the best performance at the top level, and nobody wants to have the effort diluted."
With longtime sponsor DeWalt leaving Kenseth's car at the end of the season, Crown Royal will take over a half-season's worth of sponsoring Kenseth's car. Smith said the team has two other deals lined up but still has space to sell.