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1 April fool joke went to far on Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:12 pm



Magazine's NASCAR prank no laughing matter
by Jenny Reisinger Cohen,

Updated: April 2, 2009, 4:05 PM EST

A good April Fool's Day story makes a reader think, "Is this true?" A bad one this year forced one magazine to yank a story from its Web site and issue an apology.

Automotive publication Car and Driver did just that after "reporting" on April Fool's Day that the White House told GM and Chrysler they would have to shut down their NASCAR programs.

"In a move sure to spark outrage, the White House announced today that GM and Chrysler must cease participation in NASCAR at the end of the 2009 season if they hope to receive any additional financial aid from the government," said the publication's fake story. "A complete withdrawal from America's premier racing series is expected to save more than $250 million between GM and Chrysler, a substantial amount considering the drastic measures being implemented elsewhere."

The site later pulled its story and replaced it with a page that read, "Car and Driver has a proud tradition of April Fool's Day jokes stretching back 30 years. We regret if this year's went too far."

NASCAR and the car companies in question had no official comment.

"I've been in this business more than 30 years and I have never seen a story so irresponsible," Denny Darnell, a public relations representative for Dodge's NASCAR program, said in a personal statement.

The hoax was posted at a particularly contentious time for the two American car manufacturers. Both have received billions of dollars in aid from the U.S. government and are currently evaluating ways to cut costs, which could alter or put an end to many of their contracts, including their NASCAR deals. And a day before the hoax, GM CEO Rick Wagoner resigned from his post due to pressure from the White House.

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