Honda to NASCAR – It Is All but a Done Deal for 2026, Claims Motorsports Insider Marshal Pruett

Published 02/28/2024, 9:38 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

A couple of months ago, the whole racing community was shocked to its core when Honda announced its plans to leave IndyCar with rising costs. With the Japanese manufacturer leaving the American open-wheel racing promotion, it is certain to create a void that will possibly leave NASCAR in an advantageous position. Curious how? Well, Chuck Schifsky, Department Head, National Manager, Honda & Acura Motorsports at American Honda Motor Company, Inc., has something that might excite you.

In an exclusive to RACER.com, Schifsky said, “We’re looking for a wholesale change to the engine,” so that they can eliminate millions of dollars of annual technical costs as part of its cost-cutting measures. The higher-up then hinted at a possible NASCAR entry, saying that another option “could be NASCAR.”

Why did Chuck Schifsky say, ‘Leave and go to NASCAR’?


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We have great concerns over the costs,” said Schifsky, genuinely bothered by the rising costs of maintaining a potent racing team in IndyCar, prompting Honda to consider an exit from the promotion after its engine supply contract expires in 2026. While this is indeed a piece of bad news for Indy lovers, this might be the next thing for NASCAR fans, as this exit will probably have the doors open for Honda’s NASCAR entry.

But beyond speculations, is there something material in this? Well, Marshall Pruett has the answer to this. Speaking on his podcast, the veteran enthusiast answering a fan query said, “Definitely got some insights. No, you probably read or picked up on what we wrote a couple of months ago with Honda’s Chuck Schifsky providing those quotes, him mentioning that, you know, they had options certainly after 2026 and they could have a variety of options, leave and go to NASCAR. He would not have mentioned that series specifically if there was not a reason, right?” 

With NASCAR on the lookout for a fourth manufacturer in a decade, Honda’s interest in the promotion might be the next big thing the stock car racing giant is waiting for to spread its wings and go worldwide.

He could have said NHRA, or which is the thing? It’s really the thing to pick up on. Usually in those scenarios, when you have a senior person from a manufacturer or whoever else, they’re talking about items that they know or big and potentially controversial to some. It’s pretty common, Chris, for a lack of specifics offered,” he added further.

He was also quoted saying, “If you’re a Honda fan and you like NASCAR, you’re probably going to be really happy here in the future,” hinting at positive news that the Japanese manufacturer will take the NASCAR route instead of extending its operations in IndyCar as part of its new hybrid powertrain plans. 

The reality of its possible IndyCar exit


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Honda has been involved in IndyCar since 1994 and is one of the two OEMs currently in the series alongside Chevrolet, but the lack of engine innovation has seen the series stagnate. Plans to introduce a new hybrid engine at the start of the 2024 season have been delayed as the promotions later confirmed it. As we mentioned above, Honda is concerned about its operation and is seriously considering other options.

If we were to choose not to renew, that would be the reason why. And it’s easy to see. We don’t have a third manufacturer, and there’s a reason for that. It has to do with the cost. If the return on investment matched up with the investment, we’d have a number of other manufacturers involved,” said Schifsky, being blunt about the hardships of operating in the promotion.


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He further added, “Yes, it would change our outlook quite a bit. If you imagine we’re now supplying 15 or 16 or 17 cars, if that drops down to say nine or ten, that will definitely reduce our costs and improve the return.” While there is no close deadline to rush things, the manufacturer is weighing its options.

The plot thickened even more when Schifsky said, “We still have about a year to make a decision on what to do. And it should not be considered by anybody that Honda will automatically stay in just because we’ve been in it for 30 years. Of course, it shouldn’t necessarily be assumed that we’re going to get out. We love this series.” 


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Stay tuned for more updates on Honda and its decision to join NASCAR.

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Written by:

Kishore R


One take at a time

Kishore is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. He actively covers live events and does detailed race analyses, helping fans understand the very nitty gritties of the sport. Using the right mix of storytelling and game expertise, Kishore can take his readers on a journey to see how a particular race was for some of their most loved drivers, like Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta