NASCAR eyes its future and, whoa! There’s Ron Dennis!

It looks like Ron Dennis is not content to have conquered Formula 1 and placed into every single one of its cars McLaren devices that ensure Lewis Hamilton’s going to win more championships than Michael Schumacher.

I’m kidding, people, I’m kidding. About the latter part. Dennis really appears not to be content with F1.

Yes, we all know that Ron’s got his eye on becoming the British Enzo Ferrari. And he’s doing a pretty good job of getting that started, although I have to admit I still see a lot of Ferraris growling their way around the streets of Beverly Hills and not too many McLaren supercars.

But check back with me in a year or two. Maybe that will be different.

And also check with NASCAR in a year or two. You may see Ron’s fingerprints all over the series.

Dennis was in America last week, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for NASCAR’s Brickyard 400. Why? He was peddling technology, according to ESPN:

NASCAR’s upcoming implementation of fuel injection — by next year or the next — has given Ron Dennis, executive chairman of McLaren, a foot in the door.


For all of NASCAR’s existence, electronic systems have been banned because officials feared they couldn’t police the high-tech cheating.

Now that the pressure for fuel injection — both from manufacturers and the green movement that is sweeping all industries — has become overwhelming, the E-word at last comes into play.

For openers, “one of the things that we can absolutely guarantee is tamper-free systems and the ability to very carefully monitor anything that even remotely looks like it’s been interfered with,” Dennis said this past weekend on a fact-finding and sales trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400.

Beyond fuel injection, Dennis can easily supply the Cup teams with “anything you want,” he said. That might include, but wouldn’t be limited to, onboard tire monitoring and management … instantaneous electronic adjustment of suspension, brakes, fuel-air mixtures in races that come down to fuel mileage … and telemetry for all those systems …

“It can be anything NASCAR wants it to be,” Dennis said of the add-ons to the basic injection system that his McLaren Electronics division is pushing.


“I met with him,” NASCAR chairman Brian France said when I asked him about Dennis. “We’re on a steady march to more technology in the cars, which is historically unlike us in some respects. [But all of this is] provided that it doesn’t burden the teams with additional costs that don’t translate to our fan base, and obviously that we can enforce whatever new technologies. The final thing is that it makes the racing better.”

The story goes on to get Chip Ganassi on record saying he wouldn’t mind having a couple of electronic devices on the car, although he clearly doesn’t want to go down the road to where Formula 1 is.

Others also are skeptical.

But with electronics able to provide fuel efficiencies and other “improvements” that might make the big environmental target on NASCAR’s race suits a bit smaller, it sounds — from this story — like there’s the inevitable change coming.

Whether that change will have a big McLaren stamp on it is still unclear. But F1B readers can consider themselves warned!

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