Taking Care of Business: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Edition
BY DAVE GRAYSON
SADLER TO RUN CUP FOR REMAINDER OF THE SEASON
Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Elliott Sadler will drive the #55 Aaron s Dream Machine Toyota in the 2013 season s final four NASCAR Sprint Cup races. Sadler replaces Brian Vickers who informed MWR on Oct. 14 that he would be unavailable for the remainder of the season due to anti-coagulation medications he will be taking to treat a small blood clot in his right leg. Doctors have told Vickers he will be on the medication at least two months. Sadler, who drives a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota full time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will begin racing the #55 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 27. He will finish the season for the Scott Miller led team at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.
SHE’S GOING TO BE THE GO DADDY GIRL FOR A LONG LONG TIME.
Go Daddy Dot Com for many years has employed the use of motorsports and, in particular driver Danica Patrick, has a lucrative ways and means of promoting their business. Go Daddy is currently preparing a global launch of its operation next year according to CEO Blake Irving. That’s the good news. The bad news is: a move of this magnitude required a re-evaluation of the company’s spending allocations.
One of the financial cuts deemed necessary was the company’s investment in the Indy Car Racing Series. Irving recently announced that they would not be returning to the series next season as the primary sponsor for driver James Hinchcliffe and his Andretti Autosport team. Irving even went so far as to say that his company remaining in Indy Car racing no longer made fiscal sense.
However, the re-direction of Go Daddy’s promotional budget will not have any impact on their commitment to Danica Patrick and NASCAR racing, a business arrangement that they term as extremely valuable marketing. Commenting on the relationship between Go Daddy and Patrick, in a recent interview with the “Associated Press,” Irving said: ”We frankly love Danica and think that Danica represents and personifies what GoDaddy represents: small businesses and people who have ideas,” Irving said. “Here’s a woman who had an idea and went through the challenges to become a driver in a male dominated sport. She represents the idea that the totally impossible is possible and we love that kind of person. She’s going to be with us for an awful, awful long time.”
SOME GOOD NEWS FOR SHR.
During the Talladega Speedway racing weekend Greg Zipadelli, Director Of Competition for Stewart-Haas Racing, (SHR), offered an update on his boss, driver/owner Tony Stewart. As we all know, Stewart is still recuperating from an broken right leg sustained from a sprint car racing accident back in August. He underwent a third surgery back on October 7th to clean up an infected area which Zipadelli reported went extremely well. This places Stewart on track to begin physical therapy around the first week of November. It’s going to be a slow and painful process at first, but it appears that Stewart’s treatment program is on schedule and it’s highly anticipated there will be no delays in getting him behind the wheel of his SHR #14 Chevrolet for the beginning of the 2014 season.
In still more good news for SHR, crew chief Rodney Childers sent a “Twitter” message last week that said he has obtained an official release from Michael Waltrip Racing that will finally allow him to join SHR as the new chief for their new driver Kevin Harvick next year. The move allows Childers, who has been in a state of professional limbo for nearly six weeks, to report to work at SHR approximately two and one half months early which Zipadelli described as being huge for the new team.
TALLADEGA TV TALLY.
ESPN’s live telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, Oct. 20, earned a 3.1 U.S. household rating, averaging 4,916,193 viewers, according to Nielsen Media. The rating was the second-highest in six races held so far in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Last year’s race at Talladega earned a 3.2 U.S. rating with an average of 5,113,374 viewers.
Those numbers are actually pretty good considering this race didn’t really hit its stride until the final lap.
CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD LUCK MR. MAYCROFT.
Here’s a NASCAR themed story that we’re always happy to report: NASCAR has reinstated former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew member Eric Maycroft upon his successful completion of NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy Road to Recovery Program. Maycroft had been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR on Aug. 16, 2013 for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.
A SPECIAL HONOR FOR A SPECIAL MAN.
Richard Petty Motorsports will make special tribute this weekend to the latest Petty family member to be elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The team announced that current driver Aric Almirola will race a #41 Ford Fusion this weekend at the Martinsville Speedway, replacing the traditional #43. The#41 Ford will be Petty Blue and feature the likeness of 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Maurice Petty, who raced the number during his driving career. The car was unveiled at the NASCAR Hall of Fame with Maurice Petty, his brother “The King” Richard Petty, Almirola and Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell all present. Winston Kelley, NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director, led the ceremonies in Charlotte, N.C.
Maurice used the #41 for nine starts over his five-year driving career from 1960 to 1964. During that span, Petty entered 26 race events and finished in the top-10 in 16 of those. Maurice also earned seven top-five finishes with a best result of third in Spartanburg, S.C., in 1961. Maurice used the #41, staying consistent with the family heritage of racing subsequent numbers in the 40′s. His father, Lee, raced the #42 and his brother, Richard, raced #43.
Maurice was a driver, crew chief and a car owner, but is most known for being the engine builder for the family’s operation. Maurice developed his craft in the engine room learning from his father, Lee, as he helped the family business win three championships with Lee. He then came into his own and was the horsepower behind the seven championships of Petty Enterprises and also behind 212 wins with drivers such as Richard Petty, Jim Paschal, Marvin Panch and Buddy Baker. Maurice was the crew chief for Pete Hamilton during the 1970 Daytona 500 which he won. Maurice later built engines in the Truck Series and played a role in the return of Dodge to the sport in 2001. Maurice is the third Petty to be elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame following his father and brother. He is also the first to enter under the merits as an engine builder. Richard Petty Motorsports will use the #41 this weekend only and collect owner and driver points under the #43.
NEWS FROM THE CAT IN THE HAT, (AKA JACK ROUSH).
Roush Fenway Racing’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will drive the pink #17 ‘Driven for a Cause’ Ford Fusion this weekend at Martinsville Speedway to raise awareness and support the National Breast Cancer Foundation(NBCF). “It is great to be able to team up with the National Breast Cancer Foundation and help bring awareness to a special cause” Stenhouse said. “Many families have been affected by breast cancer and it’s an honor to help support the National Breast Cancer Foundation and all of their hard work.” Throughout the month of October all of RFR’s race cars carried a special ‘pink ribbon Driven logos’ in each of the month’s events. In addition, teammate Greg Biffle’s 3M Ford Fusion also features a special pink themed scheme for the event.
In another milestone for his off track, on camera, career: Carl Edwards teamed with Platinum-selling RCA Nashville recording artist Sara Evans in her new music video for her single “Slow Me Down,” which premiered Wednesday at Yahoo! Music
. “Sara was as nice and down to earth as she seems,” said Edwards. “She amazed me with how much heart she put into this song. We had a lot of fun shooting the video and I hope everyone enjoys it.” Evans, a fellow Columbia, Mo. native, and Edwards put their acting skills to work in Nashville, Tenn. under the direction of Emmy Award winner Peter Zavaldil. This is the second music video appearance for Edwards, who starred in Justin Moore’s “Bait a Hook” video last year.
THE 11TH ANNUAL BOWTIE PARTY.
Chevy can clinch Manufacturers’ Championship: Chevy can clinch its 11th consecutive NSCS Manufacturers’ Championship, and 37th overall, this weekend at Martinsville. If Chevy’s top finishing driver finishes ahead of Toyota’s top finishing driver, Chevy will clinch the title in the first year of the Gen-6 race car.
BIG NEWS FOR THE JUNIOR NATION.
National Guard extends sponsorship of Earnhardt, Jr.: The Army National Guard will continue as the majority sponsor of the #88 Sprint Cup Series team with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. after extending its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2014 NASCAR season. The National Guard will receive primary paint schemes in 20 Sprint Cup races, including the 2014 Daytona 500, and prominent brand placement during all non-primary events.
”NASCAR is a critical marketing platform for the National Guard,” said Lt. Col. Michael Wegner, marketing branch chief, Army National Guard. “This program touches recruiters, influencers, our own Citizen Soldiers and those interested in the Guard’s many career opportunities and benefits. NASCAR fans in our target demographic are twice as likely to consider the military as a career option, and the overall fan base strongly advocates for military service. It’s the right place for the Guard and has helped us recruit more than 400,000 Citizen Soldiers since 2007.”
“It’s an incredible privilege to work with and represent the Guard,” Earnhardt said. “We have the opportunity to interact with those who serve our country and many who are considering military careers. I’m personally in awe of their sacrifices and feel a tremendous amount of pride in our relationship with them. The entire #88 team is looking forward to another season together.”