Multiple Stories Spice Week Of Racing Intrigue

Charlotte, NC (November 8th) – It’s hard to image a more intriguing week in motorsports than the one just completed.

Multiple open wheel racing related announcements, an unexpected seismic shift in NASCAR’s top division point’s race, an amazing run at a Texas trifecta, and personal courage in the face of extreme adversity topped the week’s headlines.

The week got rolling on Tuesday when Toyota announced it was leaving Formula One racing. The announcement came on the heels of a PR edict on Monday issued by Bridgestone would be shoeing its race tires someplace else after the 2010 season. Given Honda’s exit from the global racing series a year ago, F-1 will not have a Japanese presence for the first time since 1982 after next season.

The open wheel news kept coming fast and furious with the continued conjecture that Danica Patrick would be bringing her racing skills and marketing charms to NASCAR for a select event schedule of Nationwide Series events in 2010. Putting Danica into a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ride is a PR/marketing dream and will bring additional interest and fans to the sport. We just wish they’d sign something so everyone could stop the sidestepping.

The final piece of open wheel news came Thursday when the Indy Car Series announced the addition of entitlement sponsor Izod.

The sponsorship is the first for Indy Car since 2002 and could mark a growth spurt for the series. Indy Car racing has a lot of great elements – breathtaking wheel-to-wheel action, good markets and venues, and now, the mainstream alligator logoed apparel company to hawk series-related publicity, sales and brand building programs. Look for the fan and TV numbers to grow as this association flowers.

Point’s Race?
Jimmie Johnson’s bad luck on Lap 3 at Texas Sunday gave an all-but-determined Sprint Cup championship chase a glimmer of intrigue. Comfortably leading the Chase by 184 markers heading into Texas, Johnson’s dust up just after the green flag put him in the ‘stink hole’ (the garage) for more than an hour for repairs. The incident proved to be the tonic Martin needed, finishing fourth while Johnson limped home 38th.
The series now moves to Phoenix with Johnson ahead of Martin by just 73 points. Stay tuned as nobody’s name is on the championship trophy just yet.

Kyle The Cowboy
Kyle Busch had his big boy driver’s uniform on this weekend – the one that went best with a pair of Texas boots and cowboy hat – turning in yet another memorable performance.

While Johnson might win an unprecedented fourth-straaight Cup title, there can be no doubt that Busch is NASCAR’s Driver of The Year. Busch dominated the Truck Series race leading 54 or the 147 laps and then turned in an even more crushing performance pacing 179 or 200 circuits in capturing Saturday’s Nationwide event at Texas.

On Sunday, Busch was again on point in the Cup race leading six times in the first 300 laps. Only a gallon of gas kept him from the triple, knocking him from the lead with less than two laps to go. It was a major disappointment to be sure, but an amazing weekend performance the likes of which we haven’t seen in quite some time.

Busch’s 19 wins in 79 NASCAR top-three division series events is as epic a season we’ve seen in 40 years. Johnson might take home the top team prize, but when it comes to pushing the button and gripping the wheel, Busch is the best hands down in 2009.

Racing In The Reality Lane
Sometimes, racing is important. Some other times, not so much. Last week, it was both for Jeff Fultz.

A longtime Late Model ace, Fultz faced his biggest test Friday when his son, Jonathan, perished in a traffic accident in Mooresville, NC.On Saturday, Fultz honored Jonathan with a victory in the Super Late Model portion of the North/South 125 Shootout at Concord (NC) Motorsport Park.

Fultz took the lead with 53 laps remaining and sped to the emotional victory. At least for a few hours, he got to forget his problems at Concord Saturday night. Our thoughts and hearts go out to Jeff and his family in their time of trial.

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