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NASCAR: First Refuge Of Broke-Down Asbestos Bankrupts

RETRACTION Borg Warner, Inc. has not sought bankruptcy protection. Many friction product manufacturers have, but Borg Warner is not one of them. They continue to litigate asbestos personal injury and wrongful death claims. For an article on peripheral defendants in asbestos litigation, including Borg Warner, (5/13/03)

What is it about NASCAR that tends to attract bankrupt asbestos companies? Every time I turn on the set, I see a race car emblazoned with the name of a former asbestos company who ducked liability by filing for bankruptcy, leaving many victims to die uncompensated or with worthless promisory notes. Last I looked, NASCAR proudly lists the following companies as sponsors

  • Johns Manville
  • Raybestos
  • Owens Corning Fiberglass
  • Pittsburgh Plate Glass (protected by injunction from Pittsburgh Corning bankruptcy)
  • Dana
  • Federal Mogul
  • Honeywell (purchaser of Bendix/Allied Signal and Narco, both bankrupt, protected by 524(g) of Bankruptcy Code)
  • US Gypsum


What do these companies all have in common? They claim to have more debts than assets, necessitating reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. They claimed not to have enough money to pay off settlements they had reached with asbestos cancer victims. They claimed to have insufficient funds to pay off future asbestos cancer claimants at full and fair value, as determined by the tort system. Yet somehow they have found enough money to market their good name on the hoods, fenders and bumpers of NASCAR race cars.

Ironically, I'd bet a set of spark plugs that the demographic profile of the typical american NASCAR fan is similar if not identical to the profile of the typical mesothelioma patient: the hard working, self-reliant, family-oriented brake mechanic or construction worker who unknowingly was exposed to zillions of asbestos fibers without warning.

Can you fool all of the people all of the time? I hope not. Boycott these sponsors until they take responsibility for their mass poisoning of millions of Americans, clean up their mess and find a cure for mesothelioma.

Roger G. Worthington

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