Motorsports This Week on ESPN NASCAR Nationwide Series at Bristol on ESPN2 The NASCAR Nationwide Series moves to the high-banked Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway this weekend for a 300-lap race and ESPN2 will have a live telecast on Saturday, March 16. NASCAR Countdown begins at 1:30 p.m. ET with the green flag at 2:13 p.m. All NASCAR programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available on computers, smartphones, tablets and Xbox via WatchESPN, accessible to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
Announcers: Booth: Lap-by-Lap announcer Allen Bestwick; analysts Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree. Pit reporters: Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch. NASCAR Countdown: Nicole Briscoe (host); Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty (analysts).
BMW regains world luxury car lead from Audi as Mercedes falls back (Bloomberg) -- BMW regained the top spot in global luxury auto sales from Audi last month on demand for the 3 series and X1 SUV, while the Mercedes-Benz brand fell further behind its German rivals.
Deliveries at the BMW brand, the world's biggest luxury carmaker since 2005, rose 7 percent in February, beating the 3.2 percent gain posted by Volkswagen's Audi. BMW's bigger increase helped propel it back into the sales lead for the year, with the automaker delivering 407 more cars than Audi in the first two months.
Danica again proves she can't drive a loose race car
Danica Patrick, NASCAR's biggest star, gets spooked when she has to drive the car with the tail out
Getty Images for NASCAR
Danica Patrick knew there would be tough days in her first full Sprint Cup season.
But she wasn’t expecting days when she would be two laps down less than a quarter of the way through the race. Or days when she would finish six laps down in 33rd. But that’s what happened to Patrick in the Kobalt Tools 400 on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where she struggled the entire race.
“It was a real tough day, no doubt,” Patrick said. “We know we’re going to have tough days, but this is not the kind of tough day we thought about. … We all are definitely a little somber and a lot disappointed.
“But nobody is throwing around words or yelling or screaming. That’s the attitude we need to have.”
Sam's Town to continue as sponsor for Vegas race Boyd Gaming has "extended" its title-sponsorship of the Las Vegas NASCAR Sam's Town Nationwide Series race through '17. The company is "one of the longest-running title sponsors" in the series.
Scott Speed's Paint Scheme Openly Asks For Sponsors Scott Speed's No. 95 Ford for today's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400 will feature a "giant pirate emblem on the hood," with script reading, "Surrender the Sponsor." Speed and team owner Bob Leavine made the move because they "didn't have any sponsorship" after the Daytona 500, and "ran the paint scheme last week at Phoenix." The design has "already paid off in terms of publicity," as Leavine has "closed a couple deals for future races." USATODAY.com
In 1967 Andretti gave the NASCAR boys a driving lessonUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, This report is missing one interesting aspect. I was at the 1967 Sebring Race that Mario and Bruce won. The next day we were headed back to Canada on I-75 and got into a traffic jam in Georgia just south of Atlanta at Hampton. We turned on the radio to get a traffic report and got the Atlanta Motor Speedway Nascar Race. Damned if Mario wasn't leading in his Ford. Unfortunately his engine went or he would have won another race. Don Leslie
Dear Don, Mario, AJ Foyt, Juan Montoya and Tony Stewart have proven that IndyCar drivers can win NASCAR races. A NASCAR driver will never win an IndyCar race. It requires reflexes they just don't have. That's why they drive stock cars. Mark C.
Andretti on pit road at Daytona
03/06/13 In an era in which the entire sport of NASCAR seems to roll out the red carpet, so to speak, for cross-over open-wheel drivers like Danica Patrick and Juan Pablo Montoya, it’s hard to imagine that it wasn’t always that way.
Among the career accomplishments of the great Mario Andretti is a win in the 1967 Daytona 500, a win that makes him the only driver to win the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500, which he won in 1969, and a Formula One championship, in 1978.
Wind Tunnel Sunday 8PM ET Dave Despain is off this week. Robin Miller and IndyCar Series driver, James Hinchcliffe, will host the show.
SPEED NASCAR Analyst, Sam Hornish Jr., will join us to break down Sunday’s CUP race in Las Vegas as well as talk about his huge win in Saturday’s Nationwide event. Hornish now leads the series standings by 19 over Elliott Sadler.
Guest Host Robin Miller (Veteran Motorsports Journalist) Guest Host James Hinchcliffe (IndyCar Series Driver, Andretti Autosport) Expert Analyst Sam Hornish Jr. (SPEED NASCAR Analyst & Nationwide Series Points Leader)
It’s no secret that in NASCAR today, you need to have talent and a sponsor who has your back. Without either of those two things, it’s very difficult to succeed in today’s NASCAR world. A good sponsor is hard to come by these days and finding a sponsor who will back you up no matter what is even more difficult to find. This season will be Ryan Newman’s last under contract with Stewart-Hass Racing and unless Newman can secure a primary sponsor for next season, he may be forced out of his ride.
Newman and team-owner Tony Stewart scrapped together a deal with various sponsors for this season but, just about all-of-the sponsor deals are one year deals. Quicken Loans stepped up their sponsorship for Newman this season after U.S Army left Newman after last season, leaving Newman without a primary sponsor. Quicken Loans had sponsored Newman last season but, only in a few races and they increased their sponsorship for Newman this year, becoming Newman’s primary sponsor. Quicken Loans only scheduled their sponsorship of the No.39 Chevy SS for this season and the possibility of them doing the same next season is very slim.
NASCAR sponsors swap partnerships The clock was ticking on his speed date, but Justin Fantozzi looked cool and relaxed Friday at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. Fantozzi wasn't looking for love. The Goodyear marketing manager was looking for a fruitful business relationship.
Fantozzi and representatives from 55 other companies that sponsor NASCAR sat at tables and chatted about potential partnerships at the business-to-business meet-up put on by the race league's sanctioning body.
As part of its sponsorship deals with companies, NASCAR stages these quarterly "Fuel for Business Council" sessions in hopes their sponsors will spawn business deals among themselves that they otherwise would not if they were not fellow NASCAR sponsors. NASCAR also holds business-to-business or B2B gatherings as part of race events in the San Francisco, Chicago and Miami markets.
Antonio Felix da Costa ended this weekend’s collective testing at Paul Ricard on a high, dominating the final day of the two-day get-together by posting the fastest times in both the wet and the dry. Focusing mainly on his race set-up, Da Costa’s main rival Stoffel Vandoorne (Fortec Motorsports) finished the day second on the timesheets, while Kevin Magnussen (Dams), Marco Sorensen (Lotus) and Arthur Pic (AV Formula) all picked up their pace behind the pre-season’s leading duo.
On this the second day of collective testing at the Circuit Paul Ricard, the 13 teams on the Formula Renault 3.5 Series grid followed the same program as they did on Friday, concentrating on two main areas: race performance and fine-tuning the handling of their cars. And that was not the only similarity with yesterday, as damp conditions prevailed in the morning before the skies cleared in the afternoon.
Jenson Button says it is almost impossible to predict who will be the pace-setters during next weekend's Australian Grand Prix, with the McLaren driver describing 'an extremely hard-to-read' trio of tests at Jerez and Barcelona.
The Briton, who has admitted to inconsistent handling with his new car, believes that higher than usual tire degradation mixed with the unknown testing fuel loads has made predicting the pecking order even more of a challenge this year.
Gibbs still supportive of Hamlin's appeal Joe Gibbs is standing by Denny Hamlin in the driver's appeal of his $25,000 NASCAR fine. But the owner of Joe Gibbs Racing doesn't have much more to say about the dispute over Hamlin's penalty for criticizing the Gen-6 race car. After watching fellow JGR driver Kyle Busch finish second in Saturday's Nationwide Series race, Gibbs said he has talked to Hamlin about the brouhaha. "We've been talking all along," Gibbs told reporters.
"We're keeping our communication open with NASCAR, too. We'll just go through a process here and work our way through it." Gibbs clammed up after that, referring everybody to his organization's statement that it would support Hamlin. Hamlin is allowed to drive while appealing the fine, which he says he won't pay. NASCAR could take the fine out of his winnings. Associated Press
Brian Keselowski will attempt Talladega race Brian Keselowski posted a message on Facebook, that he would next attempt to make the Aaron's 499 at Talladega. "Ok we officially have a plan for our next race now. Talladega May 5th. We will run the Toyota again. We are seeking sponsors to get a TRD or a Triad engine. Also hope to test the car at Dega in April. Seeking sponsors to put us back on track."
Another opportunity lost Check out the TV. Bad college hoops games on ESPN, MLS Soccer on NBC Sports. Why not a nice warm weather IndyCar venue in front of a TV starved audience? Brian Carroccio
Dear Brian, But that would make too much sense. IndyCar prefers to let NASCAR garner the big TV ratings. As said here on AR1.com for years, the IndyCar season needs to start in late January and end by Labor Day on the Indy Motor Speedway road course under the lights. The biggest race of the year will always be the Indy 500, and the 2nd biggest IndyCar race should and would be the season finale also at the Speedway. Instead they prefer to run their season finale on the Fontana oval in front empty grandstands. What a negative 'loser' image that projects. And anyone who thinks a properly promoted race on the Indy road course under the lights as the season finale would not draw at least 100,000 hasn't a clue. And yes the road course can easily be made less Mickey Mouse and use more of the oval. Mark C.
Penske hires Allmendinger for two IndyCar racesUPDATE There could be more races for Allmendinger. Cindric wants to do Long Beach, too, but that will depend on when the rookie program is held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After Indy? That depends on how well Allmendinger does and whether he finds a full-time NASCAR ride again. If he does he's almost certain to turn his back on IndyCar once again, causing IndyCar to get another PR black eye. But hey, they've had so many drivers come and go, what's another? Fans follow drivers.....right out the door. And you wonder why IndyCar TV ratings are lower than infomercials?
IZOD's Mike Kelly, Allmendinger and Tim Cindric
03/08/13 Team Penske announced today that AJ Allmendinger will join its IZOD IndyCar Series program in 2013. Allmendinger, who rose up through the ranks of open-wheel racing before transitioning to NASCAR, will compete in at least two IndyCar events for Team Penske this season, including the Indianapolis 500.
IZOD will once again be a primary sponsor of the No. 2 Team Penske car for multiple races this season. Allmendinger will drive the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet at this year’s Indianapolis 500, scheduled for May 26 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 31-year-old Allmendinger will also compete in the April 7 IZOD IndyCar Series race at the Barber Motorsports Park road course in Birmingham, Ala., in the IZOD machine for Team Penske.
FIA says protracted talks over new Concorde Agreement 'proceeding positively' The FIA says negotiations over the Concorde Agreement are "proceeding positively" as Formula 1 continues to work towards the final sign-off of a new document.
The tripartite agreement that binds the teams, the sport's rights holder and the governing body together expired at the end of last year and despite several assurances that a new agreement was imminent, it remains unsigned.
All but Marussia among the grid's teams were believed to have signed up to the commercial element of the new deal during the course of last year, but the remaining delays have focused on regulatory aspects.
ISC's Lesa France Kennedy Earned $1.1M Int'l Speedway Corp. rewarded Vice Chair & CEO Lesa France Kennedy for performing "at a high level" in '12 by paying her a total compensation of $1.1M. The pay package, which excludes stock she was awarded last May for her '11 bonus, was a 34% increase from the $819,191 she was paid for '11. She received a base salary of $621,185 and earned 86% of her potential bonus package last year, up from 54% in '11, according to a recent SEC filing. Total revenues for the fiscal year that ended Nov. 30, 2012, decreased by 2.7% to $612.4M. Profits declined by 21% to $54.6M. ISC Chair Jim France earned a total compensation package of $562,448 and President John Saunders received $898,583. At press time, ISC shares were trading at $31.58, up 0.61% from Thursday's close of $31.39.
U.S. Senator Asks NASCAR To Drop NRA Race Sponsorship DealUPDATE
The winner at Texas always shoots two guns
TIME.com’s Bill Saporito wrote businesses are “always being squeezed by the twin pressures of creating new customers while not alienating the ones they have.” That is “certainly been true of NASCAR, which has been trying to diversify its fan base beyond the aging white males who now constitute its largest audience segment.” In signing the NRA deal, NASCAR is “feeding its base.” The NRA and NASCAR are “a natural socio-political fit given the sport’s demographics.” NRA Exec VP Wayne LaPierre is “a NASCAR groupie” and NRA members are a “hardly an untapped audience.” But the "more basic issue" facing SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith, whose company owns TMS, is that NASCAR “isn’t politics but finance.” While Smith “is a Republican, he may be as much practical businessman as doctrinaire believer.” Since last year’s race sponsor, Samsung Mobile, “didn’t re-up, when the NRA stepped up Smith took the money.” TIME.com
By fining Denny Hamlin, NASCAR created a real public perception problem The perception that its new Sprint Cup car is not yet as good as advertised, and that so far it hasn't quite lived up to the tremendous hype that preceded its debut. Now NASCAR has an even bigger problem.
A matter of trust. By stifling Hamlin and fining him for providing an honest assessment of the new car, NASCAR sent a message to fans that it doesn't want honest opinions or constructive criticism and that it will not allow its drivers to speak their minds, especially when it comes to evaluating the sacred cow that is the new Gen-6 car.
14-year old on stretcher was finally released from hospital
Heather Tucker / USA Today
Two more fans injured in the Feb. 23 Nationwide Series crash at Daytona have retained an Orlando, Fla.-based attorney to seek personal injury claims. Attorney Matt Morgan now represents six of the people who were injured when Kyle Larson's car went airborne into the catch fence, sending debris flying into the front-stretch stands on the last lap of the race. At least 28 fans were injured in the wreck.
NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation have retained a Miami-based law firm to handle the claims. Morgan said he is working "diligently'' with NASCAR and ISC legal representation -- Cole, Scott & Kissane, Pa. -- to settle the issue without going to trial.
Meanwhile, one of the two who had remained at Daytona Beach's Halifax Health in stable condition has been released. According to a hospital spokesman and Twitter, the 14-year-old brother of Becket McGinn was released and had headed home. ESPN
Rahal Letterman Lanigan team gears up for 2-car season
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing will begin their 22nd consecutive season of competition in 2013. This season marks the first time the team has prepared more than one fulltime entry for the full IZOD IndyCar Series season since 2007 when Scott Sharp and Jeff Simmons drove for the team. Simmons was replaced by Ryan Hunter-Reay for the final six of 17 races. The team entered cars in the Indy 500 each year since then and will prepare the No. 15 Midas / Big O Tires entry for Graham Rahal and the No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts entry for James Jakes for the full 2013 season and will enter the No. 17 blueCigs entry for Mike Conway in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Conway will pilot the No. 16 car on Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park (BMP) and Jakes will take over on Wednesday.
Video: 2013 Red Bull season preview Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber try out their 2013 Formula One World Championship challengers for size ahead of the season start in Melbourne next week. With added donuts.
ECOtality, ChargePoint streamline EV charging systems with Collaboratev
One bill, charge anywhere
Two of the largest US makers of plug-in vehicle charging systems are embarking on a cooperative effort that certainly fits the stereotypical "peace and love" vibe sometimes associated with the green-car movement.
ECOtality, maker of Blink charging systems, and ChargePoint (formerly Coulomb Technologies) are forming a joint-venture called Collaboratev LLC that will make it easier for plug-in vehicle drivers to charge up and pay for their electricity at either type of station. Collaboratev will provide single billing for customers and integrate the two companies' charging location data. In short, ECOtality and Blink are creating what it calls a "vendor agnostic" system for usage and payments.
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