Chrysler committed to Sprint Cup

RICHMOND, Va. -- Chrysler remains committed to the Sprint Cup Series despite Thursday's announcement it will file for bankruptcy protection and form a partnership with Italian automaker Fiat SpA.

"The partnership not only will transform Chrysler into a new, stronger car company with many strategic advantages, it will enable the company to better serve our customers with a broader and more comprehensive lineup of vehicles," said Mike Accavitti, Chrysler's director of brand marketing and strategy for Dodge Motorsports.

"NASCAR is a strategic part of our marketing plan and the Dodge brand. We plan to continue our Dodge sponsorship and relationship into the foreseeable future."

The bankruptcy filing was the first step in wiping Chrysler's balance sheet clean and beginning the automaker's rebuilding process. The White House forced the move after talks between the company's creditors and the Treasury Department failed to reach an agreement.

"It's designed to deal with those last few holdouts, and it will be controlled," President Barack Obama said during an address from the White House. "It will not disrupt the lives of the people who work at Chrysler or live in communities that depend on it.

"I have every confidence that Chrysler will emerge from this process stronger and more competitive."

The Treasure Department will give Chrysler up to $3.5 billion in debtor-in-possession financing. The Canadian and Ontario governments will provide about $800 million in exchange for 2 percent of Chrysler's equity.

"[Bankruptcy] is the only path. It is the most viable path to make sure that Chrysler survives," Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli said on a conference call.

There are reports that Nardelli will step down once Chrysler comes out of bankruptcy.

Dodge is represented by seven full-time Cup teams, three with Penske Racing and four with Richard Petty Motorsports. Kurt Busch of Penske Racing leads the point standings heading into Saturday night's race at Richmond International Raceway.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.