Wednesday, Feb 08
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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It was already announced in October that Quicken Loans will be the primary sponsor on Ryan Newman's No. 39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in 18 races in 2013. That is up from nine races that Quicken Loans sponsored in 2012. On Wednesday it was announced that four other companies will also return to sponsor Newman's effort as well.

WIX Filters will sponsor Newman in three races, March 24 at Auto Club Speedway, July 14 at New Hampshire, and October 20 at Talladega. Outback Steakhouse will also sponsor Newman in three races, April 27 at Richmond, July 6 at Daytona, and November 3 at Texas.

Aspen Dental will be on the No. 39 car for the All-Star Race on May 18 at Charlotte and Watkins Glen on August 11. Finally, Code 3 Associates will sponsor Newman at both Kansas races on April 21 and October 6.

All of those sponsorship announcements only add up to 28 races. Since one of them is the All-Star event that still leaves nine points paying races that the No. 39 car will need to find sponsorship for. it just goes to show how tough it is to find full sponsorship right now in NASCAR.

Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

Earlier this month (November 4th)) Kyle Larson, a driver for Rev Racing, won the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Championship. At face value one wouldn’t know the significance of that accomplishment. However, the implications are deep. Kyle Larson, a Japanese American driver, is a graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program (D4D), and Rev Racing, the team for which Larson drives, is owned by Max Siegel, a brilliant sports mind who leads and manages D4D and who happens to be African-American. BSO interviewed Siegel to learn about his background, D4D, and Rev Racing.

Who is Max Siegel?
I have been a sports and entertainment executive for the last 23 years. I started off as a sports lawyer, working for a firm which represented the Seattle Mariners, national governing bodies for Olympic sports, and broadcast companies. I developed a law practice that represented the late Reggie White, Tony Gwynn and Terry Cummings. I was also a record executive with Tommy Boy records and a member of the global management team of Sony BMG. While at Sony, I was in the middle of purchasing a NASCAR team with Reggie White, Ronnie Lott, and Eddie DeBartolo. But two weeks before we were to announce the purchase, Reggie passed away. I stayed at Sony for another 1 ½ years, but left when I was invited by Teresa Earnhardt to become the first African-American President of a NASCAR franchise with Earnhardt Racing. After my tenure there I launched my own race team and started managing NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity (D4D). This will be my 5th year managing this program.

Tell me about your early interest in sports.
I’m a former athlete. I was recruited to play sports in college and was an academic adviser to athletes. A lot of my friends went on to play sports professionally, but I’ve always been interested in the transition from the playing side to the business side.

How did you first get involved with NASCAR?
Growing up as a kid, I used to go to the Indianapolis 500. Reggie White and I were best friends and he was very passionate about racing. After he retired, Reggie White told me that there was a lot of opportunity in NASCAR for people of color.

Was your interest in NASCAR fueled by opportunities for diversification?
What I found out quickly is that NASCAR is a multi-billion dollar industry and that there are many career opportunities there, whether you’re an engineer, a mechanic, a lawyer, a doctor or an electrician.

What is the D4D program?
D4D focuses on recruiting and developing talent and providing the necessary skills for drivers and crew members to succeed. It is also designed to broaden NASCAR’s appeal. Rev Racing is the competition arm of the Drive for Diversity Program (D4D). I currently have 6 teams. Of a couple hundred people who apply for the program, we’ll select six persons. Training is rigorous. Once selected there’s a full-time commitment. Team members are required to workout 3 to 4 days a week, put in 20 hours in the shop, and do simulated driving. We do performance evaluations – everything from nutrition to psychological testing. So what we’re developing here at Rev Racing is probably one of the premier training models. So far, we’ve placed over 20 minority and women candidates on the pit crew side throughout NASCAR.

Where is the D4D located?
The Drive of Diversity Program is run out of my race shop in Concord, N.C.

How many aspiring drivers have gone through the D4D program?
About 20-30 drivers and 40-50 pit crew members.

How successful has NASCAR been in attracting minority hopefuls and helping them advance up the ranks?
I think the program has gotten better every year. It’s been a really important initiative for NASCAR. In my opinion there is more awareness, and now we have a good pipeline of young drivers who can make a big name for themselves on the national level. I think frankly that once someone makes it on the national level you may see the same phenomenon as the Williams sisters or Tiger Woods when it comes to creating interest in the sport. We just won our first championship with Kyle Larson. That was exciting. Just to have someone successful who has been through this training model we’ve created…. As an African-American owner, it is an honor to achieve something like that.

What made you want to own your own race team?
My mother was a strong believer and the one thing we were never allowed to do was complain about how bad things were. You either leave or do something about it. As an owner, although it’s challenging, I do have some control over my destiny. I am able to make a contribution and if I can take the risk and be successful, perhaps I can inspire others.

Where so you see Rev Racing in 5 years?
We want to continue to build on our current success, keep perfecting the model and become the go-to organization to develop talent.

What do you do in your spare time?
I go to a lot of my sons’ little league games and my daughter’s gymnastics. I enjoy spending time with my family. To me that’s why I get up in the morning and do what I do.

Check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline.

When you think about the year that Carl Edwards had it is almost unthinkable to think that Edwards was the runner-up in the point standings in 2011. Edwards went from having 26 top ten finishes to half of that with 13 in 2012. In 2012 Edwards only had three top five finishes way down from the 19 he had in the 2011 season. One has to wonder why?

 
Edwards’ 2012 season was one of the worst seasons a runner-up has ever had the next season. He went from leading 903 laps in 2011 to just 254 laps in the 2012 season. Edwards had a horrible season, plain and simple.
 
In 2009 Edwards had a bad year a year after finishing runner-up. That year, however, was a bad year for Roush-Fenway Racing in general. Ford hadn’t produced their FR9 engines yet and there was an obvious lack of horse power with the team and it affected everyone.
 
In 2012 that wasn’t the case. Both Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth had good, competitive years in 2012 winning several races and making the Chase with ease. Edwards’ was terrible. Even a crew chief change couldn’t fix the funk the #99 Ford was in. Edwards actually got worse towards the end of the season when the team hired Chad Norris to replace an ill Bob Osborne.
 
Whether it was the new contract or it was the high expectations of winning a championship or just an off year in general, Carl Edwards had a bad 2012 season. All in all Edwards lost 13 spots in the points standings which is the most anyone lost in 2012 who ran the full schedule. If that isn’t disappointing I don’t know what is.
 
AJ Allmendinger – By: Mark Eddinger
 
Yes, Carl Edwards was one of a few preseason championship favorites and had a horrible 2012 season that was by all means disappointing. But it is racing and sometimes things really just don’t go your way. He still has a hefty contract with Roush-Fenway Racing and will have the tools to rebound in 2013.
 
AJ Allmendinger on the other hand was a driver that was just getting his first real shot with a top notch team in Penske Racing. For the first time in his career it looked like he was going to be in a situation where he could compete up front for wins on a weekly basis. Then the season didn’t get off to the best of starts.
 
In the first 17 races, from Daytona until Kentucky, Allmendinger only posted three top ten finishes and was sitting 23rd in the points. He had six finishes of 30th or worse in those races as well. Two of the three top 10’s came in the final two races of that stretch with ninth place finishes at Sonoma and Kentucky. Things looked like they might be turning around for the No. 22 team with time to still make a run at the Chase.
 
That is when Allmendinger was suspended for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy and we all know the story from there. He lost his golden opportunity ride with Penske Racing, the team that won the 2012 Championship with his former teammate Brad Keselowski.
 
Allmendinger did get the opportunity to drive four races for Phoenix Racing toward the end of the 2012 season after being reinstated by NASCAR but only could post a 24th place finish as his best.
 
Now Allmendinger is still in search of a ride for the 2013 season as no announcements have been made on that front yet. Time will tell if Allmendinger will ever get another great opportunity in the Sprint Cup Series but one thing is for sure and that is the gigantic disappointment Allmendinger suffered through in 2012.

Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

For 2012, NASCAR had the smallest audience in five years. There was also a 25 percent drop in the very important 18-34 year old male demographic.

From The Sporting News comes a very serious revelation. NASCAR had an up and down year on the TV ratings over the past few years. This year it was mostly down. For 2012, NASCAR had the smallest audience in five years. There was also a 25 percent drop in the very important 18-34 year old male demographic. Those NASCAR races which aired on Fox, TNT and ESPN averaged a 3.6 Nielsen rating and 5.8 million viewers through 35 of 36 races. The season-ending races at Homestead was down 5 percent and 10 percent respectively from last year. All that gave up all of the gains the sport made last year which was its first annual ratings increase since 2005.

Three races weren’t counted because of rain delays that forced the races to be held on weekday mornings. Ratings among advertisers’ favorite demographic, 18- to 34-year-olds, fell further. NASCAR races earned a 0.9 rating in that demo, down 25 percent from last year’s 1.2.

NASCAR executives attributed the declines to uncontrollable forces, starting with the Daytona 500?s first postponement in 54 years, from Sunday afternoon to Monday evening. NASCAR executives also cited competition from the London Olympics and NCAA basketball conference championship games as reasons for the downturn.

Fox and ESPN executives insist that they are not concerned by this year’s ratings and tout the sport’s overall audience, which still is one of the biggest on TV. Mulvihill said Fox has reconfigured its sales pitches on NASCAR for next season to highlight that audience. However, we take exception to NASCAR’s and their TV partners and feel that they are both in denial.

The network is trying to dispel the notion among ad buyers that NASCAR can’t deliver an audience with buying power. It’s doing so by comparing the average income of NASCAR viewers to the average income in their home market rather than the national average. For example, in the Tampa Bay market, NASCAR viewers have an average income of $52,000, significantly more than the designated market area (DMA) average of $42,000 a year.

Here’s our version of the situation: Fox and NASCAR think that they can keep going with the same old format. With all due respect, we see a trend that’s not good. We feel that all of this should result in NASCAR, Brian France in particular along with his TV partners, should consider giving Sprint Cup races a major makeover, like shortening most all of the races and changing the format. Also they could consider stopping the race at the half-way point and then reversing the order of the positions.

That big change would require all of the top running drivers and cars to come from the back again and racing back to the front. It’s a radical idea but consider what happened to the TV audience in 2012 that took a major drop. The biggest complaint we hear from NASCAR fans is that the races lack competition except for the last 20 laps because every driver is stroking in order to be around at the end of the race. And that’s when many fans tune in to see what’s happening.

That big drop off in this year’s TV audience should sound an alarm to the suits in the NASCAR front office and their TV partners. What happens if the ratings go even lower in 2013? Not to mention the empty seats at all of the NASCAR Cup races this year. NASCAR and their TV partners have major problems. From the Sporting News story, it’s very obvious that they (the principals) don’t recognize it.

The Formula 1 series came to a merciful end in Brazil. When it was all over, Jenson Button won the rain-soaked affair, followed by Sebastian Vettel and Filipe Massa. Vettel ended up winning the F1 Championship just +3 points ahead of Fernando Alonso. The race finished under caution due to heavy downpours. Vettel took his third championship in spite of radio and tire problems compounded by the very wet weather. “It was a tough race. It was good that we did our homework,” he said in the post race interview.

SPEED’s coverage of the inaugural Formula One race from Austin drew more than 500,000 viewers, scoring a Nielsen Household Rating of .42. The ratings mark is up 40% with HHs (0.42 vs. 0.30), 70% among M35-54 (0.46 vs. 0.27) and 75% among M18-49 (0.28 vs. 0.16) versus last year’s equivalent race (Brazil). It was the highest rated Formula One race on SPEED with HHs and M18-49 in well over a year.

German automotive group Daimler has secured full control of Mercedes-Benz’s Formula One operation after Aabar Investments on Monday announced it had agreed to sell its stake in the team. This came from SportsBusinessInternational.

This also came from the same source: Coca-Cola will “break the conventions of traditional Formula One sponsorship” after unveiling a new partnership with the Lotus team that will provide exposure for the Burn energy drink brand, according to the beverage company’s marketing chief Emmanuel Seuge.

The world’s largest drinks company has been linked with an F1 sponsorship over recent weeks and confirmed the deal ahead of the 2012 season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo. Further details will be revealed in 2013 when the partnership officially launches, but Coca-Cola is promising to offer an alternative approach to Formula One sponsorship. The deal will position Burn against rival energy drinks brand Red Bull, which has been the title sponsor of F1’s leading team since 2010. (END)

For more great articles, be sure to visit MotorSportsNews.net.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director Wayne Auton confirmed on Sirius NASCAR Radio that the NASCAR Camping World Series will not have many changes for the 2013 season. Auton did, however, confirm the series will have some major changes coming in the 2014 season.

"In 2014, I think you’re gonna see a new product on the racetrack, with new trucks a new truck look," Auton stated. "What we say in Nationwide defiantly with the identification and what you’re gonna see in Cup in 2013 with the new car and then in '14 we're gonna work on the trucks. Manufacturers came to us and said "here's what we want to do" so we've listened to 'em' and that process has already started."

Auton also confirmed the manufacturers came to him and asked to make some changes to the trucks, just like they did in the Cup series in 2011.

This news is good for the Truck Series, many truck teams do not get manufactures support so the manufacturers showing interest in the series again is a step in the right direction.

Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

2012 has been a year to forget for Todd Bodine. He struggled badly in his first season at Red Horse Racing. The only bright spot for Bodine was his lone victory of the season coming at Dover Downs International Raceway in June. He finished 14th in the points standings, which is the only time Bodine has finished outside the top ten in points in his eight full seasons in the Truck Series.

Today, Bodine's 2012 just got a lot worse. Rumors have Bodine being the odd man out at Red Horse Racing as the team has scaled back to a two truck operation for the 2013 season. Timothy Peters appears to be back with the organization and last week the team signed John Wes Townley to a contract, bringing sponsorship money from Zaxby's, a company which is owned by Townley's father.

It appears the two time Truck Series champion is out of a ride for 2013, and Bodine's options may be slim. Bodine and Red Horse Racing could not be reached for comment today.

Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

Camry drivers totaled 10 wins, 44-top five results and 81 top-10 finishes in 33 NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) races in 2012.  In 22 NNS starts, Logano totaled nine wins (California, Talladega, Darlington, Dover -- both races, Michigan, Bristol, Charlotte and Phoenix) -- the most in the series this season.  Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) driver Kurt Busch earned one win (Richmond) for the first-year NNS team.  Camry driver Mike Bliss was the top

Toyota driver in the final NNS point standings, finishing in eighth-place.

After 33 NNS races in 2012, Mike Bliss (eighth) was the top Toyota driver in the NNS point standings … Brian Scott (ninth) also finished in the top-10 in points … Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 18 Camry team earned their fourth NNS owner's championship earning a total of nine wins. In case that you want to bet just Click here… JGR will field full-time NNS entries in 2013 for drivers Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers … The next Toyota NNS win will be the 75th since joining the series in 2007.

JOEY LOGANO, No. 18 GameStop Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How would you describe the 2012 NNS season?

"It was an amazing season for sure.  To win nine races is unreal to me -- the most I ever won was five in a season.  To go to the race track and you know you have a shot to win at every single race track you go to is really awesome.  And obviously driving for Joe (Gibbs, team owner) and J.D. (Gibbs, team president) since I was 15, I've been going to that Nationwide shop and seeing those guys there, and it's where I got my first shot to drive one of these cars.  To go out there and lead the charge of trying to get out there and win the owner's championship, I wanted it bad.  I was like, 'Man, want to get this owner's championship for them before I have to go.'  It's definitely a huge accomplishment for everybody in that shop, both on the 18 and the 20 team, to go out there and do it."

BRIAN SCOTT, No. 11 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How do you feel about your time at Joe Gibbs Racing?

"I can't rave enough about Joe Gibbs Racing.  They provided me with a great opportunity for two years and put really competitive cars under us.  For a number of reasons, I regret leaving there.  I regret that I wasn't able to get them in victory lane.  I learned a lot.  This was just a stepping stone in my career and I'm going to grow over the next couple years.  Joe Gibbs Racing was a great place that nurtured my talents and progress them forward."

 

On Thursday November 8th at 1:30 pm (3:30 pm EST), Tony Stewart, Go Daddy girl and NASCAR star Danica Patrick will join Bob Parsons founder of Go Daddy to make a special announcement on the 2013 season.

Patrick coming off her first full-time season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series has competed throughout selected Sprint Cup this season is set to return to Daytona in February for 2013 Speedweeks with plans to run the full season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Patrick has announced last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway she is working on plans to compete in about a dozen or so races in the 2013 Nationwide Series.

“I would love to do a dozen or so races next year in the Nationwide Series,” Patrick said Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway. “I would like to do some that are really challenging tracks that are good for just getting laps on to help in the Cup car.”

In addition to adding Nationwide series races, Patrick is working on running the 2013 Indianapolis 500 then returning to Charlotte later in the day to run NASCAR longest race the Coca-Cola 600.

“I love that event,” she said of the Indy 500. “I would love to try to do it again. We’ve been working hard for months now but we’re no further along to say anything right now.”

For those interested in turning in to the announcement can check out the live feed at http://x.co/GDNews.

 

Carl Edwards' 2012 season has been one to forget. The defending runner-up of the points standings has had a miserable season and everyone pointed the finger at crew chief Bob Osborne, who was replaced by Chad Norris as crew chief before Indianapolis in August.

In the 15 races since Norris has been Edwards' crew chief Edwards has just four top ten finishes. That is just not good enough, especially when you look at both Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle who have shown some muscle at the mile and a half tracks, Roush Fenway Racing's bread and butter. At Texas this weekend Edwards finished an embarrassing 16th, which is a track that Edwards usually runs well at. If you look at the last 15 races with Norris, it makes you wonder if there isn't another change that needs to be made.

Sure you could change the crew chief again. If you look at Norris' track record, it isn't very good and with Kenseth leaving for Joe Gibbs Racing next season, it would make perfect sense for Jimmy Fennig, a veteran crew chief with a great track record, to come and replace Norris for 2013. That is unlikely to happen.

The change Carl Edwards needs to make is the same change Dale Earnhardt Jr needed to make a few years ago. It's not a change that is an easy one to make. It's simply a change of lifestyle, a change of focus for Carl Edwards.

I am not saying one bit that Carl Edwards isn't a talented racecar driver because he truly is. You don't win 19 races in the sport and finish runner-up in the point standings by being a bad racecar driver, that's for sure.

You do however become distracted. Carl Edwards seems distracted. He seems like there are more important things in life right now than racing. That's not what it takes to be a Champion. He appears to enjoy the spotlight of being a superstar more than being a successful racecar driver. Maybe him being in this magazine or that magazine and hosting another episode with Kelly Ripa on ABC is just a big distraction for Carl Edwards.

All I am saying is maybe the popularity has gotten to his head a little bit and he doesn't live and die with how he does on Sunday. If this is the case Edwards needs to fix it because the 2013 season is going to be his most important as a driver. Matt Kenseth, Roush's longest tenured driver, is leaving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards got a big contract from Roush Fenway to stay at the organization last year. Roush Fenway Racing's future lays on the shoulders of Carl Edwards and he needs to fix it fast.

 

It is always great to see young talent make it's way into the top tier of NASCAR. It is also always neat to see NASCAR family bloodlines stretch over generations. Ross Kenseth, the 19-year old son of Sprint Cup Series veteran Matt Kenseth, might be the next driver to make that step.

Kyle Busch Motorsports owner Kyle Busch is interested in trying to put Kenseth in a 2013 Camping World Truck Series ride. As it is with every driver and in every series, sponsorship will be the big deciding factor.

"I'd like to do something with Ross," Busch said. "It's just a problem trying to get funding. There's no backing for some of the drivers that are here right now. The price is obviously cheaper in the truck series. You can start small and grow big. But it's hard to get interest there."

Kenseth is currently studying engineering at Clemson University but has been turning heads on short tracks this season. In July, Kenseth won the Redbud 300 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway. Then in the past month he was able to win twice more and both times in a race that Kyle Busch was entered in. Those were at the All American 400 (Fairgrounds Speedway, Nashville) and in the Winchester (Ind.) 400.

Whether a deal between the two parties can be put together will remain to be seen, but having a Kenseth drive for a Busch would be a site to see.

So far in 2012 Kyle Busch Motorsports has had eight different drivers get behind the No. 18 and No. 51 trucks in 22 starts. Denny Hamlin scored the lone win at Martinsville two weeks ago. Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Jason Leffler, Brian Scott, Drew Herring, David Mayhew, and German Quiroga have combined for 17 top 10's in the 22 starts.

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