Posted on: January 20, 2011 9:46 am
Edited on: January 20, 2011 10:04 am

Live streaming of testing at Daytona

For the first time, Preseason Thunder testing from Daytona is being streamed live online .


Even for the diehardest of diehards it may be overkill, but the Speed crew -- Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds, et al -- are doing their best to keep things interesting.

Posted on: January 19, 2011 3:58 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 3:58 pm

Standardized Start times May be Gone

Posted By Pete Pistone

NASCAR made a big deal about employing standard start times for the 2010 Sprint Cup Series season in hopes of assisting and elevating television ratings. All races were run on a 1 p.m. (ET), 3 p.m. (ET) or 7:30 p.m. (ET) plan.

However it appears the 2011 season will not follow suit. Sagging TV ratings are reportedly driving the decision to shift start times to later on Sunday afternoons in hopes of recapturing a lost west coast viewership as well as leaking audiences into the lucrative prime time day part. While the Daytona 500 is slated to take the green flag at 1:19 p.m. ET, other start times for early season races have not been officially released. 

The decision of when to start events may well fall back into the hands of track operators and television network officials. Should that happen the return of more 2:30 eastern time starts may well dot the 2011 schedule, particularly in the second half of the season when NASCAR goes head-to-head with NFL most Sundays.

Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: January 19, 2011 1:14 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 2:55 pm

More Saturday qualifying possible

Posted by Pete Pistone

Pocono Raceway has joined Talladega and Martinsville in hosting Saturday Sprint Cup qualifying sessions this season. The Pennsylvania track announced it would move its two traditional Friday time trial activities to Saturday for both the June and August visits to the 2.5-mile speedway. Additional practice is expected to be added to the Friday track schedule in each case.

The move is speculated to be the latest in a series of schedule-tightening initiatives that may see other tracks follow suit. NASCAR continues to see ways to save teams money and eliminating days spent on the road would significantly lower travel costs for organizations.

While the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series have both added several one day shows in recents years which include practice, qualifying and racing all completed in a single day, don't look for anything quite that drastic on the Cup side.

However with stand-alone qualifying day attendance lagging at many venues, moving time trials to Saturday provides tracks with an opportunity to offer fans a more value-added preliminary day ticket with a schedule that would include qualifying, practice and a support race.
Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: January 19, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 12:59 pm

Steve Wallace to make Cup debut in Daytona 500

From Team Press Release


Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing announced that 23 year-old Steve Wallace will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in February's 53rd annual running of NASCAR's most prestigious event, the Daytona 500. Wallace will pilot the No. 77 Toyota Camry for RWR at Daytona, with backing from longtime sponsor 5-Hour Energy and new partner Aspen Dental.

When Steve Wallace and the 5-Hour Energy Camry take the green flag on February 20th at NASCAR's most historic venue, the well-pedigreed racer will write his own chapter in NASCAR history. His Sprint Cup debut will make the Wallace family the first ever to have produced four Daytona 500 competitors, breaking a longtime tie with the Petty, Allison, Earnhardt and Bodine families. When Wallace starts the 2011 event, a member of his family will have competed in 27 of the last 30 Daytona 500s.

The third-generation driver will have familiar leadership for his first run in The Great American Race, as RWR General Manager, Larry Carter, will serve as crew chief for the No. 77 5-Hour Energy Toyota. A veteran Sprint Cup crew chief, Carter led Rusty Wallace to a top-10 in the elder Wallace's final Daytona 500 in 2005, as well as a fourth-place finish in the July 2005 event at Daytona.

Providing additional comfort to the younger Wallace in his Cup Series debut is a guaranteed place among the 43-car starting field, enabled through an agreement between RWR and Penske Racing.

Said Steve Wallace, "Starting my first Daytona 500 is definitely going to be the most exciting day of my career-make that my life-so far.  It's something that every kid wanting to be a racer-including me-dreams of doing one day. It's the some of the best drivers in the world competing in the biggest race in the world.  I really have to thank 5-Hour Energy and Aspen Dental for making this possible.

"As far as the race, my goals are simple: to stay out of trouble, earn all the respect I can from the other guys and make sure the 5-Hour Energy Toyota is there at the end of the race. The way restrictor plate racing goes, if we can do that, there's no telling what can happen."

If his Nationwide Series record is any proof, Wallace has shown his ability to survive-and thrive-on Daytona's high banks. Wallace has four lead-lap top-15 finishes in his last five Daytona starts, including a top-ten in last February's 300-miler. In the other event, Wallace ran among the contenders until being taken out by a bizarre incident for which Jason Leffler was penalized five laps.

Team owner Rusty Wallace shares his son's enthusiasm for the event. "This is a big event for all of us-for Steve, our team, our family and our sponsors," Wallace stated, "When you're a young driver coming up, you dream about racing in the Daytona 500 and now Steve's going to get the opportunity to do it. He's grown by leaps and bounds as a driver in the Nationwide Series over the last few years and we think he's ready for this opportunity.

"We've been looking at this race as an opportunity for a while, because I really believe that the new pavement at Daytona is going to be a great equalizer among the teams. The cars will have a ton of grip and it's going to make handling a much smaller part of the equation.

"Our program for Daytona has come together pretty quickly and I really want to thank 5-Hour Energy and Aspen Dental for coming aboard to support it."


Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: January 19, 2011 11:42 am
Edited on: January 19, 2011 12:55 pm
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Posted on: June 8, 2010 11:25 am

Wal-Mart looking to make a splash in NASCAR

Interesting article over at scenedaily.com about Wal-Mart looking to make a big move into the NASCAR ranks .

Several different scenarios are being bandied about. Will it sponsor one driver? A team of drivers? According to the article, they're looking to become NASCAR's "exclusive retailer in the mass merchandise space." With DuPont scaling back its sponsorship next season, Jeff Gordon's No. 24 car is seen as a possible landing spot.

I've often wonder why Wal-Mart didn't have a bigger presence in NASCAR. We've had the Target car for several years now, and K-Mart had a car back in the day. What's Wal-Mart been waiting for?

I think there are several companies that have missed the boat in what they might be able to do in NASCAR. Why hasn't an apparel giant like Nike, Reebok, Addidas pounced? They do realize NASCAR fans buy shoes and wear clothes don't they? Just imagine all the merch Nike would have sold had it had hooked up with Dale Earnhardt Jr. That swoosh would be everywhere in the stands.

Another company I thought could do well in NASCAR is Disney. There is so much they could promote -- parks, movies, tv shows -- the car could have a new paint scheme every week. At the track they could have a trailer set up where fans could start booking their Disney vacations. And the NASCAR goodies plasted with Disney would be bought not just by NASCAR, but Disney collectors as well.

We hear so much about sponsorship woes in NASCAR, but I believe there are opportunities if execs would just have some vision.

-- Brian De Los Santos
Category: Auto Racing
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