NASCAR News Bits during the holiday season

From important reminders regarding New Year's Eve safety, new spoiler rules for the Daytona 500 and, sadly, the impending departure of a long time series sponsor, the wheeling and dealing continues during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series off season.


From soon to be full time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson and the Texas Department of Transportation comes a very important safety message for everyone across the nation planning on celebrating New Years Eve: make sure your end of the year celebration plans includes a SAFE ride home.

As the holiday season rings in festivities and family gatherings, the Texas Department of Transportation teamed with 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Larson in an effort to remind party goers to share the gift of a sober ride as part of their seasonal goodwill. "I may drive faster speeds than most, but it doesn't take a professional to know that you must stay sober to drive safely," Larson said. "Getting thrown in jail or landing in the hospital will not only wreck your holidays, but also will wreck your life. From one driver to another, I ask everyone to find a sober ride and don't drink and drive."


It was sad to note that United Parcel Service, (UPS) will not be returning to the sport of NASCAR at the end of the 2014 season. The famed delivery company has been an outstanding partner in the sport for approximately 15 years.

According to "Sports Business Daily", UPS has been quietly shifting their marketing direction to college sports and the potentially lucrative local, regional and national coverage those programs receive. In August of 2011, it was revealed that UPS had signed a four year marketing deal, valued at approximately $100 million, with 68 different colleges across the nation.

Then, during the 2012 racing season, UPS informed long time NASCAR partner Roush Fenway Racing that they would not be returning as the primary sponsor of their #6 Ford. At the time the car was being driven by David Ragan. UPS did maintain a small sponsorship program with Roush Fenway Racing and the #99 Ford driven by Carl Edwards. The company is scheduled to sponsor Edwards for one race in 2014.

NASCAR Chief Sales Officer Jim O'Connell in a statement said, "UPS has been a fantastic partner to NASCAR over the last decade-and-a-half. As we celebrate its long and successful tenure, we also welcome seven new companies to the family of Official NASCAR Partners."

UPS PR Dir Susan Rosenberg added in a statement, "UPS has enjoyed tremendous success through its partnership with NASCAR, including sponsorships at the league, team and track level. The business-to-business opportunities provided within NASCAR have proven valuable to UPS and have helped achieve desired results and accomplished the goals we set forth. The UPS decision to exit NASCAR is strictly a business decision to align with new business priorities."

One of the unique aspects to this long time partnership are the mobile UPS centers the company set up in the garage area at NASCAR Sprint Cup races. If teams at the track developed a sudden and urgent need for parts they could have the race shop overnight express the item to the track where UPS would hand deliver to the team in the garage. Here's hoping UPS will at least continue that policy at the tracks. It really is a very good, and much used, program.


NASCAR officials, back on December 23d, sent the following message, via "Twitter", regarding spoiler heights for the season opener at Daytona in February:

"NASCAR notified Sprint Cup teams today that the spoiler size for the January DIS test and the 2014 Daytona 500 event week, including the Sprint Unlimited, will be 4.5 inches tall. This is .5 inches taller than previously. NASCAR says the taller spoiler size should allow for a little more rear down force which should make the cars a little more stable."


FAS Lane Racing owner, Frank Stoddard, and Go Green Racing owner, Archie St. Hilaire, announce that they have entered into a joint venture for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and beyond.

"Frank has a great program here at FAS Lane Racing and we believe that by combining our resources, we can take the program to the next level," said St. Hilaire. "It's been my goal to race in the Sprint Cup Series on a weekly basis and this joint venture makes the most sense for both parties." Stoddard and St.Hilaire both recognize the increasing challenges to being competitive at the Sprint Cup level. By combining resources from both their teams, they believe the joint venture will strengthen the overall program of the #32 Ford.

Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Terry Labonte will return to the teams #32 entry to compete in the season opening Daytona 500. The driver list for the remaining races will be announced in the coming weeks.

The team also announces that they have hired veteran crew chief Dan Stillman, giving Stoddard more time to focus on the business side and assist in securing marketing and sponsorship opportunities for the team. The team will continue to operate out of the FAS Lane Racing shop in Mooresville, North Carolina where they will continue to field Fords and utilize Roush/Yates engines.

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