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When Can a New Manufacturer Join NASCAR? “18-24 Months” Says NASCAR Exec

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

NASCAR Chief Racing Development Officer, John Probst, joined Sirius XM NASCAR Radio to talk about the future of NASCAR including engine regulations and manufacturers. Within that interview, he gave a specific timeline for when a new OEM could join the sport, 18-24 months (which would be as soon as 2026). What does that mean for the future of the sport?

From our perspective, a timeline for a new OEM coming into our sport is somewhere in the 18-24 month period. When we work with our existing partners, obviously it’s important for us to make sure that any new partner coming in would be a complement to what we have here today, so, there would be an outside chance we could do it quicker. Certainly when our existing OEM partners are on board, which they are, we may be able to expedite that, but, under normal circumstances, 18-24 months.

John Probst on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio
  • NASCAR has been teeming with rumors about a new manufacturer joining for a few months now. Honda has reportedly shown interest in NASCAR, and NASCAR has reportedly shown interest back.
  • However, neither NASCAR nor Honda have officially confirmed the rumors. However, NASCAR has publicly stated that they are in discussions with a potential 4th OEM.
  • Fans are excited to see a potential new OEM join the sport. This gives them a specific timeline, which many have been speculating about.

What Does This Mean?

First off, this is by no means a confirmation that Honda and NASCAR will team up. Neither side has confirmed as such, but, neither side has denied it either. If this was not a possibility, we would have known by now.

Multiple reports have indicated that Honda is interested in NASCAR, so, there’s the 4th manufacturer’s interest. Brian Murphy, who has worked in NASCAR for many years, also mentioned that new manufacturers have to submit and have NASCAR approve body panels about a year and a half in advance before being introduced into the competition. Probst confirmed in the interview that for a new OEM to join in 2026, they would need to submit what they need sometime during the summer. That fits within the 18-24 month window.

We discuss these topics in more detail in the article below.

We also have a report from Jordan Bianchi on “The Teardown” podcast from last weekend. He said that the process for Honda to be introduced into NASCAR has yet to get off the ground. This doesn’t mean that the interest is not there, but, it’s not very far along.

Again, we discuss this in deeper detail below.

For a new manufacturer, be that Honda or someone else, joining in 2026 seems very possible, but, Probst was very clear that it is not a guarantee. As long as the Honda to NASCAR reports keep flowing, this remains a possibility.

What Would a Prospective New OEM Have to do?

Probst gave two major things that new OEMs have to submit to NASCAR to join the Cup Series. The process appears to be a bit simpler for manufacturers than in past years.

The timing has probably never been better for an OEM to consider coming into our sport. In years past, you were effectively trying to build the car from the ground up before coming into our sport. With the Next-Gen Car, the way it is today, we preserved the DNA of the OEMs in the bodywork and in the engines that go in the car. As a new OEM looking to come into NASCAR, you’d be looking at developing a body, and getting an engine approved for use in our sport.

John Probst

A body and an engine is the skeleton a manufacturer needs to create before joining NASCAR. Sounds pretty simple, but the target appears to be moving, as Probst talks about the use of electronics in NASCAR.

Probst says that NASCAR has awarded a contract to McLaren to supply new electronics to the Cup Series car. He did say that this could lead to new technology in the engine, but, NASCAR’s options are still open.

They will open up doors to allow us to explore what may potentially lie ahead with respect to power trains in the Cup Series. In general, it’s just meant to keep our cars current to the relevant technology that exists today and to keep our options as wide open as they can be into the future.

John Probst

A new manufacturer could be on its way soon. However, what template that manufacturer will have to work with remains a mystery.

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Joshua Lipowski

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