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Five Points To Ponder

Ten Points To Ponder … After Michigan

Ten Points To Ponder … After Michigan

*1. Give Backs* - After five years on the sideline, the Southern 500 is back! Well, sort of. Track officials have announced that next year's Mother’s Day weekend race will be renamed the Southern 500 -- replacing the Dodge Avenger 500. The track lost the traditional Southern 500 date to the Fontana, CA racetrack in 2004. However, since the loss of one of NASCAR’s most prestigious races, the track has improved its infrastructure and fans have rallied, selling out its lone race on the Sprint Cup schedule the last four years. OK, Darlington’s got the crowds back, the Southern 500 back...now, all they need is the Labor Day weekend back! Southern 500 at “The Lady in Black” on Labor Day weekend under the lights would be sweet! Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … After Watkins Glen

Ten Points To Ponder … After Watkins Glen

*Nostalgic* - Tasmanian Marcos Ambrose had quite a weekend. He won his first ever Nationwide Series race on a fuel strategy call at the Watkins Glen road course event on Saturday, driving the No. 59 Ford for the non-Sprint Cup affiliated team owned by Tad Geschickter with new partner Brad Daugherty -- the ESPN race announcer. Ambrose then took the famed Wood Bros. Racing No. 21 Ford to a Top 5 finish in the Centurion Boats at the Glen Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen, NY, finishing third while battling two-time Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart for the second place position. How cool was it to see that Wood Bros. No. 21 racing hard amongst the leaders on the last lap of a Cup race again? But was it as cool as seeing the red / white / blue STP paint scheme in Victory Lane one more time – even on a Ford? Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … After Pocono

Ten Points To Ponder … After Pocono

*We’ve Got The Scoop!* - Sources have reported this past week that NASCAR’s two most eligible non-committed drivers, Ryan Newman and Martin Truex, Jr., have made their decisions as to who they will be driving for in 2009. Ryan Newman has agreed verbally to join fellow Indiana native Tony Stewart at the newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing and Truex, Jr. has decided to stay at Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. However, both drivers vehemently deny the reports and insist that in neither instance are their plans finalized. Ten Points to Ponder has learned from inside sources close to both camps that Newman and Truex, Jr. will be announcing their future plans very shortly after knowing what they are! Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … After The Off Week

Ten Points To Ponder … After The Off Week

*Tell Us Already!* - Reigning Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman -- who has announced that he is leaving his No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge for parts still unknown -- had a section of Lincoln Way West (named in honor of President Abraham Lincoln) in his hometown of South Bend, Indiana rededicated in his name this past week. Newman -- who insisted at the ceremony that he has not signed with any team owner and does know where he will land next season -- said shortly afterward that he respects Tony Stewart both on and off the track, and that he believes Stewart would be a “good boss.” When asked his thoughts on being reunited with his former crew chief from Penske Racing, Matt Borland -- now competition director at Haas CNC -- Newman responded, “Matt’s always been a good friend. Obviously, we had a parting of the ways from a competitive level a couple years ago. He’s a great friend. Does it impact it [my decision?] Yeah. There’s a friend over there, that’s something to consider.” So…when is the announcement, Ryan? Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … After Chicagoland

Ten Points To Ponder … After Chicagoland

*Hey Joe!* - Kyle Busch’s victory Friday night in the Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway was the 13th win of the year for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series. The win tied the record 13 victories set just last season by Richard Childress Racing; however, their wins have been accomplished in just the first 20 events of the 35-race Nationwide Series schedule. Include the eight Sprint Cup Series wins, and JGR race cars have visited Victory Lane 20 times in the 2008 NASCAR season. So, Joe…How’s that transition to Toyota going so far this year? Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder… After The Coke Zero 400

Ten Points To Ponder… After The Coke Zero 400

*1. The Other Big Three* - American automakers GM, Ford, and Chrysler have just about reached the panic stage, as their financial well-being becomes a critical concern. GM stock has lost approximately 75% of its value over the last year, Ford Motor Company has seen a 50% decline of stock value in the last three months, and Chrysler is expected to either file bankruptcy or sell off what profitable segments of the company they can. NASCAR's Chairman and CEO Brian France, speaking on whether there'll be continued support from the "Big Three" in the sport considering their financial crunch, summed up the situation by saying, “…we’ll just have to see.” On the other hand, in 2007 Toyota earned about $16 billion on sales of 9.37 million vehicles, surpassing GM as the No. 1 maker of automobiles. But although they're expecting a decrease in profits for 2008 due to the economic downturn, the company's expected to still be very much in the black and continue to expand their world markets. Brian… time to give Honda and Nissan a call and see what they are up to! Read More »

Ten Points To Ponder … After New Hampshire

Ten Points To Ponder … After New Hampshire

*1. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?* - Hendrick Motorsports made it official last Friday that Casey Mears -- who joined HMS in 2007 to replace Brian Vickers -- would be released from his No. 5 Chevy ride at season’s end. Said team owner Rick Hendrick at the time of Mears’ signing, “Casey is a talented driver and a high-character person who is going to be a great fit with our organization." Hendrick went on to say, "He has the ability to win races and ultimately contend for championships, so we're thrilled to welcome him to Hendrick Motorsports." After just 52 points races... Next! *2. Do The Math* - Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 from the 1.058-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway was altered by the race sponsor in a promotion that had the race length extended an extra lap this year. The toolmaker said the extra mile was added in honor of Lenox customers – users and suppliers of industrial tools – who perform physically demanding jobs yet receive little recognition. Read More »

Ten Points to Ponder … After Infineon

Ten Points to Ponder … After Infineon

*1. Still Able To Get ‘Er Done* - 1995 Busch (Nationwide) Series Champion and 1996 Winston (Sprint) Cup Rookie of the Year Johnny Benson won for the third consecutive time at the Milwaukee Mile in the Camping World RV 200 Craftsman Truck Series race Friday evening. With the win, Benson maintains his CTS points lead in the drivers standings by 50-points over Todd Bodine. Benson has 10 wins in since moving to the CTS in 2005 after not being able to any longer secure a competitive Cup ride. Is the Craftsman Truck Series where Cup veterans are sent to die...or do they sometimes get another chance? *2. Long Time Ago!* - Bill Davis racing will lose the Caterpillar sponsorship on its No. 22 Toyota at the end of the 2007 season. “Cat” will move its sponsorship to the No. 31 Chevrolet of Jeff Burton’s at Richard Childress Racing. “Caterpillar and Bill Davis Racing have enjoyed a long and successful partnership throughout the last 10 seasons, and we are proud of everything we've accomplished together, including wins in both the Daytona 500 and Southern 500," said team owner Bill Davis. Read More »

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 »