Category:Auto Racing
Posted on: June 16, 2010 10:55 am
Edited on: June 17, 2010 4:32 pm
 

Sorenson to replace Vickers at Red Bull


Casey Mears has lost his job as the fill-in for Brian Vickers in the No. 83 car.

Road course specialist Mattias Ekstrom is making his Cup debut in the car for this weekend's race at Infineon, while Reed Sorenson has been tabbed to drive the car in the June 27 race at New Hampshire.

Since Vickers was forced out of the car due to blood clots, Mears has been serving as his replacement. In four races, he has a best finish of 22nd. More than the sub-par finishes though, what likely got Mears booted was running into Red Bull teammate Scott Speed during last week's race at Michigan. Speed was able to continue and finished 28th, while Mears exacerbated his situation by wrecking on pit road, which sent him to the garage for further repairs.

“Our unique situation has afforded us the opportunity to try some different things, and we’re continuing to do that with Reed,” said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing's vice president and general manager. “We appreciate Casey’s work and everything he’s done the past five weeks.”

Sorenson, 24, made his Sprint Cup debut in October 2005 at Atlanta. He’s made 148 Cup starts -- three this season -- with five top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. His best season came in 2007 when he earned three top fives and six top 10s, including his first pole at Indianapolis.

Mears, meanwhile, has hooked back up with Tommy Baldwin racing where he was driving before he his Red Bull stint. He's slated to drive the No. 36 car at New Hampshire. Brian Simo is in the car this weekend at Infineon, while Steve Park -- how's that for a blast from the past? -- is scheduled to drive the car at Daytona on July 3.

-- Brian De Los Santos


Posted on: June 15, 2010 5:00 pm
 

Kahne's 2011 home remains a mystery


Last week SI.com reported that it looked like Phoenix Racing would serve as Kasey Kahne temporary home before his contract at Hendrick Motorsports kicked in in 2012.

That set every other reporter in motion looking to confirm the story for themselves. Problem is, the parties involved aren't exactly being cooperative. Kahne and car owner Rick Hendrick said they still have no clue yet where Kahne will end up in 2011, while FoxSports is reporting that Phoenix Racing car owner James Finch says he hasn't even spoken with Hendrick regarding Kahne.

So while it might make sense for Kahne to end up at Phoenix Racing for a season, his 2011 home remains up in the air.

-- Brian De Los Santos
Posted on: June 12, 2010 10:18 am
 

Kahne could end up at Phoenix Racing in 2011


As we ponder just where Kasey Kahne will hole up until his Hendrick Motorsports deal to drive the No. 5 car in 2012 kicks in, our friends at SI.com appear to have found the answer -- Phoenix Racing.

READ THE FULL STORY


It seemed everybody was so sold that Kahne would either end up at Stewart-Haas or somehow he'd find his was to Hendrick in 2011 that Phoenix Racing was overlooked. Just like Tony Stewart, Phoenix Racing car owner James Finch has an engine and technical alliance with Hendrick Motorsports.

Last season if you recall, Brad Keselowski pulled off perhaps the surprise of the year, winning at Talladega for Finch's first Cup victory as a car owner. This season has been rough on Finch as he has been forced to start and park most of the year after he lost Miccosukee Indian Resorts as sponsor just days before the Daytona 500. He even put the team up for sale.

But perhaps, the addition of a driver like Kahne -- if only for a season -- can help ressurect the tiny team. According to the report, Mark Martin, who Kahne will replace in 2012, could be interested in purchasing the team.

-- Brian De Los Santos

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Kasey Kahne
 
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
Tags: NASCAR
 
Posted on: June 2, 2010 4:06 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2010 5:46 pm
 

Could Earnhardt Jr. be on the move?

There's an interesting Silly Season read from Lee Spencer that got me thinking.

While the big dominoes have been taken off the market (Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne), there's still the question of just where Kahne will be driving next season as his contract to drive the 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports doesn't go into effect until 2012.

When the news of the Kahne was first announced, most people assumed he drive a third car at Stewart Haas, which receives engines and technical support from Hendrick. But with performance declining this season, Stewart Haas may not be ready take on a third entry.

There doesn't "appear" to be an opening at Hendrick in 2011, but there seems to be a growing feeling that something could shake down with either Mark Martin or Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Martin insists he's not going anywhere, but maybe if Rick Hendrick asks nice enough, he'll step aside.

Let's not mince words though, anywhere else it would be the driver of the 88 car that would be on the hot seat. While Earnhardt Jr. may still be NASCAR's most popular driver, I think even his most ardent supporters will admit the marriage with Hendrick has been a huge disappointment.

Perhaps a union with Richard Childress, where his father enjoyed much success, will cure what ails him. Watching Earnhardt Jr. week-to-week is like watching an episode of Lost -- it leaves me confused. I can't understand his steep decline in performance over the past few years. It has to be mental. I believe he has championship talent, but somewhere along the way he lost his mojo.

-- Brian De Los Santos


Posted on: June 1, 2010 3:52 pm
 

Red Bull swaps crew chiefs, personnel


With Brian Vickers shelved for the rest of the season, Red Bull officials have decided to do a little experimenting among its two teams. Effective immediately, Jimmy Elledge will leave the 82 car to work with Vickers' replacement Casey Mears in the No. 83 car. Ryan Pemberton moves to the 82 car where he'll work with Scott Speed.

Supporting personnel will also switch teams.

Mears and Elledge previously worked together at Chip Ganassi Racing (2003-2005), earning two poles, four top-fives and 18 top-10 finishes. Since taking over as Vickers' replacement, Mears has finishes of 22nd (Dover) and 29th (Charlotte). He finished 16th in the All-Star race.

Speed is currently 26th in points. In 53 career Cup starts he has just two top 10s.

-- Brian De Los Santos
Posted on: June 1, 2010 12:50 pm
 

Malsam leaves, Busch shuts down truck team


With Tayler Malsam accepting an offer to driver the No. 10 car for Braun Racing in the Nationwide Series, it offered Kyle Busch a perfect opportunity to shut down one of his two Truck Series teams.

Malsam had been driving the No. 56 truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports. In seven starts, his best finish was 13th.

Because of sponsorship issues, Busch had basically been keeping the team afloat out of his own pocket.

READ THE FULL STORY
Posted on: May 30, 2010 5:41 pm
 

Geoff Bodine, 61, will try to qualify at Pocono


Tommy Baldwin is grasping at every straw possible, turning to Geoff Bodine, 61, to fill the seat of his No. 36 car at Pocono.

Bodine hasn't qualified for a Cup race since 2004. He finished 26th in a Truck Series race last March. Harry Gant holds the record for oldest Cup winner (52). Even if Bodine qualifies for the race at Pocono, it's unlikely he'll top the record as Baldwin's team has been mostly a start-and-park operation.

READ THE FULL STORY

 
 
 
 
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