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Five Points To Ponder

Ten Points To Ponder … After Michigan

Ten Points To Ponder … After Michigan

*1. Geico... Not Gecko!* - GEICO Insurance, sponsor of Mike Wallace and the No. 7 Germain Racing Toyota, is indicating that they will end their sponsorship of the car after next season. Wallace, who finished third in the Meijer 300 last Saturday at Kentucky, believes he will need another sponsor if he is to continue in the Nationwide Series after 2009. NASCAR has disallowed GEICO from further sponsorship in the series, agreeing to exclude other insurance companies from funding teams as part of the agreement that saw Nationwide Insurance replace Anheuser-Busch as the series' title sponsor. GEICO has been one of the more visible corporations supporting this series in recent years, producing a series of popular commercials featuring Wallace and a tough-talking youthful fictional second cousin (twice removed). “It’s a shame because you’re trying to take a sponsor of this particular series [GEICO] – they found a niche where they like to be – and go, ‘look, you’ve got to go away. We don’t want you around anymore,’” said Wallace. GEICO is permitted by NASCAR to participate as a sponsor in any of NASCAR’s other race divisions, however. So, will we see Loren Wallace in a GEICO sponsored Craftsman Truck in 2010? Naw… you just know the kid will hold out for a Sprint Cup ride! Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … After Dover

Ten Points To Ponder … After Dover

*1. Are They Baaack?* - Television ratings for NASCAR have seen resurgence this race season after experiencing at least two years of declines. The Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600 tallied a 4% boost over last season's telecast, and posted the first increase in viewer numbers in three years. But the 4% improvement, though noteworthy, is less than the 5% increase that FOX TV has seen in its race broadcasts for the season to date. Puzzling ... wasn’t there a mass defection of race fans that could no longer tolerate NASCAR’s disregard for its racing roots, mass commercialism, Hendrick Motorsports drivers, the CoT...and the France family’s role in political unrest in the Middle East, etc...? *2. Coming On Strong* - The IRL has got to be ecstatic over their improved television rating numbers, as well. Though trailing the Coca-Cola 600's 4.7 rating (7.6 million viewers), the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500, with a reunified field and three women competing -- including media-darling Danica Patrick -- earned a solid 4.5 final rating. Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … After The Coca-Cola 600

Ten Points To Ponder … After The Coca-Cola 600

*1. Rumba, Anyone?* - Two-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves -- better known to the general public as last year's winner of the mega hit TV show "Dancing With The Stars" -- seems to be interested in following such open-wheel standouts as Juan Pablo Montoya, Sam Hornish, Jr., Dario Franchitti, Patrick Carpentier, and A.J. Allmendinger into the NASCAR ranks. However, the Brazilian initially refuted a _Los Angeles Times_ story published last week that reported he was interested in talking to Penske Racing, whom he drives for in the IRL, about a move to their NASCAR operation. "I did not understand much," Castroneves said of the journalist writing the story. "I found my English is apparently getting worse. [They] definitely took it out of context.” Now, is the "hoofer" performing some kind of fancy sidestep, or is that a full-blown tap dancing number? Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … After The All-Star Challenge

Ten Points To Ponder … After The All-Star Challenge

*1. No Problem, Ron* – Sprint Cup Series point leader Kyle Busch ended his six weekend streak of winning a race – somewhere and in some type of car or truck. The Las Vegas native won the pole positions at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for both the Craftsman Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 and the Sprint Cup All-Star Race, but did not visit Victory Lane in either contest. In the All-Star Race, Busch appeared to be the driver to beat as he dominated the early going, but encountered engine problems before the end of segment two, relegating him to the 24th and final position in the running order. Busch also dominated the CTS event, leading 86 of the first 105 laps on the night; however, with just 29 laps remaining in the contest, reigning series champ Ron Hornaday and Busch made contact, requiring NASCAR’s hottest driver to pit twice for repairs and dash his hopes for a victory. Said Hornaday, a three-time CTS Champion; “I got loose and got into him. He got the short end of the stick.” No doubt Hornaday’s explanation is more than good enough for many Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fans! Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder…After Darlington

Ten Points To Ponder…After Darlington

*1. No Popularity Contest* - Joe Gibbs Racing “hot shoe” Kyle Busch, winner of Saturday night's Dodge Challenger 500 won honors as the First Quarter Driver of the Year for 2008. The voting panel, made up of individuals knowledgeable in the numerous disciplines of U.S. motor racing, picked the 23-year old Las Vegas, NV. native for his winning performances in not just his Sprint Cup gig, but his impressive results in NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series and Nationwide Series as well. Busch trounced his nearest rivals, totaling 142 points to runner-up and fellow NASCAR driver Carl Edwards, who garnered 72 points. IndyCar driver Danica Patrick, the first female in history to score a win in that series, placed third with 51 points. The voting period ended after the Talladega race and well before Busch was involved in a controversial late race accident while battling fan favorite Dale Earnhardt, Jr. at Richmond. Busch went on to finish second to Clint Bowyer, while Earnhardt, Jr., though also finishing in the Top 10, lost any chance he may have had to end a two-year winless streak due to what many believed to be overly aggressive driving on the part of Busch. Earnhardt Nation will not be allowed to cast votes in the Second Quarter Driver of the Year for 2008 balloting, either! Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … After Richmond

Ten Points To Ponder … After Richmond

*1. Maybe Some Trash Talkin’?* - The National Football League's record-setting but controversial wide receiver Randy Moss of the New England Patriots has announced that he is forming a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team. Moss expects his Moss Motorsports operation to enter selected races later this season, then compete in the full schedule of CTS events in 2009. There's no word yet on a driver selection for the new team, or what kind of flamboyant Victory Lane celebration the football player -- known for his creative TD in-your-face end zone moves -- would require his driver to execute. But you better believe that it would be memorable ... and if Moss himself ever gets behind the wheel, watch out. Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … After Talladega

Ten Points To Ponder … After Talladega

*1. Aye, Aye…Captain!* – The United States Navy has announced the formation of an 88-person Boot Camp as a recruiting gimmick dubbed the “Dale, Jr. Division,” in conjunction with the Navy’s sponsorship of the sport's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his JR Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide team. Dale, Jr. will drive the No. 83 JR Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide series Chevrolet at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 24th to kick off the recruiting campaign; selected recruits will then be sent to Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois in August, at which time Earnhardt, Jr. will commission the division. Following the completion of the seven-to-eight week course, Earnhardt, Jr. will again visit “his” recruits. All branches of the Armed Forces have or are sponsoring NASCAR race teams. However, no current full-time driver in the Sprint Cup Series has ever served in the active military ... including Junior himself. Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … During The Easter Break

Ten Points To Ponder … During The Easter Break

*1) Takes One To Know One!* - Megastar comedian and TV personality Jeff Foxworthy talked NASCAR in a CNN interview this week, attempting to persuade host Glenn Beck that instead of taking in a race at Daytona, he would be better served going to Talladega, Alabama for his stock car racing experience. In fact, Foxworthy claimed that five minutes in the Talladega infield on race day gives him about two hours of standup material. How would he know? The folksy Foxworthy was actually the Grand Marshal of last April's Aaron's 499 at the superspeedway. The Georgia native described the infield scene for that race as "wild," and anointed the NASCAR enthusiasts that habitat that area of the track as "Redneck Royalty." Hard to argue that label with a guy that came to fame largely due to his "You might be a Redneck if…" routine. *2) Born To Race* - Wisconsin native and stock car legend Dick Trickle is sitting out this race season, as he needs some time to recuperate from both hip replacement surgery last November and recurring heart problems. Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … After Bristol

Ten Points To Ponder … After Bristol

1) *Can't Get Much Simpler…* - Last Friday's rainout of qualifying for the Food City 500 required NASCAR to fall back to its rulebook for determining the lineup. It's one of the more complex plans ever created, so let's see if we can work through it together... OK, let's begin. The first rule's easy; the Top 35 teams in owner points for 2007 are placed on the starting grid 1-35. Then, out of the remaining eight positions, past winners of the race will be selected first, putting Kurt Busch (Sam Hornish, Jr. was given his 2007 points) in the 36th starting spot for his previous Bristol dominance. Next in the pecking order are past champions of the series; thus, Dale Jarrett, in his final points race before retiring, started 37th. Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … After Atlanta

Ten Points To Ponder … After Atlanta

*1. Where Have They Been?* - It appears that some race fans, missing from the television viewing audience the last few years, have decided to give NASCAR Sprint Cup racing another shot. Ratings are up for the four race broadcasts (Bud Shootout, Daytona Qualifying, Daytona 500, Las Vegas 400) televised this season that did not suffer a rescheduling due to weather (California). Overall, the Fox network has seen a 3% increase in its race ratings, with last week's Las Vegas broadcast increasing by a whopping 13% in comparison to last season's race. Looks like the building excitement to March Madness doesn't have anything on NASCAR this year ... at least, not yet. *2. An Oldie But Goodie…* Red Bull Racing Team GM Jay Frye announced late last week that 50-year-old former NASCAR Cup regular and past Craftsman Truck Series Champion *Mike Skinner* would be taking over the driving duties of the Red Bull No. 84 that had been driven by *A.J. Allmendinger.* Read More »