News Flash! – There Is No ‘Off Season’ In Auto Racing

CHARLOTTE, NC (January 21, 2013) – It’s the ‘off season’ for auto racing, so you would naturally assume that not much is happening right now – a downtime for racers and fans alike to recharge and get ready for the upcoming season, right?

Not so fast, bub.

The reality is that auto racing is a 12-month, 365-day, 24-hour a day machine that never stops. If it’s got wheels, somebody is racing it somewhere right now.

That said, even though NASCAR is hibernating, lots of great stuff like the Chili Bowl, the 24 Hours Of Daytona and countless ‘Ice Breaker’ racing events are held throughout the winter months.

The off-track news never stops either. That said, here are a couple of news items that caught our eye this morning.

Simpson To The Rescue

Bill Simpson, one of the most important and influential people in the history of auto racing thanks to his many innovative safety products, could have the same effect on football.

According to a story in Autoweek by Curt Calvin, Simpson has been working on a new design football helmet for two years after attending an Indianapolis Colts National Football League game. Upon seeing a member of the Colts go down with a common head injury – a concussion – Simpson immediately began conducting tests on football helmets at his nearby Brownsburg, IN business.

Since then and with the help of more than 40 NFL players and members of the neurosurgical medical community, Simpson has developed a new generation football helmet that has drawn interest – not only from football – but also from fellow racer Chip Ganassi who has become a partner in what is now called Simpson Ganassi Helmets.

Simpson is currently battling the NFL powers that be that control game product use and placement. As Simpson calmly states, “I can’t make people wear them.”

We’ve stated all along that the NFL’s push to reduce head injuries is a sham until they mandate use of the best equipment. Considering Simpson appears to have created a newer, safer helmet, you’d think the NFL and football in general would be eager to embrace the product.

After all, who wouldn’t want to work with a guy who is so dedicated to his craft that he once set himself on fire to prove his new racing suits worked?

Charlotte Test

The NASCAR Sprint Cup crowd nearly got washed out at Charlotte battling rain last Thursday and Friday before finally getting on track for what turned out to be some wickedly fast laps.

By all accounts, the new ‘Gen 6’ NASCAR Sprint Cup car is good – very good. At Charlotte, the Blue Oval crew seemed to be dialed in the most as Aric Almirola, Carl Edwards, Casey Mears and Marcos Ambrose wheeled Fords to the top-four test speeds.

Jimmie Johnson was fifth, the only Chevrolet in the top-10, followed by three Toyotas and two more Fords.

To a man, the drivers all raved about how good the new car drives, how stable it is, and how much rear grip it has compared to the previous generation car. Considering the top 14 cars at the Charlotte test averaged in excess of 192 miles an hour, they are also very, very fast.

Stay tuned – wide open excitement on the way at Daytona in the 500 on Sunday, February 24.

NASCAR Trending High In Harris Poll

Another poll, another positive result for auto racing.

According to a Harris Poll conducted last December, 2,176 adults surveyed indicated auto racing is the fourth most popular sport behind pro football, baseball and college football.

As usual, professional football is by far and away the most popular sport as 34 percent of those quizzed in Harris Poll named it their number-one sport. Baseball weighed in second with 13 percent polled naming it number-one while college football was third in the Harris Poll when it came to favorite sport status with 11 percent giving it top billing.

Auto racing – fourth in the study – had eight percent of those polled indicate it was their favorite sport.

It should be noted here that the current December 2012 Harris Poll continues a trend that started in 2004 when auto racing moved into the fourth most popular sport status.

Since that year, auto racing has ranked above men’s pro basketball, men’s college basketball, hockey, men’s tennis, boxing, horse racing, swimming, men’s golf, track and field, men’s soccer, bowling, women’s tennis, women’s pro basketball, women’s college basketball, women’s soccer and women’s golf.

Interesting food for thought – and great ammo for the next time someone tells you that they, or nobody else, likes or watches auto racing.

Tweet, Tweet

Did you know the Facebook and Twitter pages for Miss Sprint have over one million combined followers?

We sure didn’t.

This year, Kim Coon and Jaclyn Roney will reprise their roles as Miss Sprint Cup while Brooke Werner will join the group for the first time this season.

The trio of Miss Sprint Cup candidates will handle various duties for the giant telephone brand and NASCAR’s primary benefactor in 2013 including representing Sprint at the track and in Victory Lane. According to the information we received, Miss Sprint Cup also acts as a ‘ “friend on the inside” for the fans at the racetrack.

Geez, I didn’t know any of that.

I just always thought all Miss Sprint Cup had to do was show up, look totally hot in a fire suit, and be able to smile and maintain proper posture when be soaked with beer or champagne in Victory Lane.

Who knew it was a ‘real’ job?

Joe Carver

It seems like every week someone who assisted my early career passes on.

This week, it’s Joe Carver.

Carver – who passed away Saturday in Concord, NC at the age of 76 – made his mark in auto racing as a promoter at Langley (VA) Speedway and at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. A close friend to Darrell Waltrip, Carver also wore several hats for ‘DW’ over the years working as a public relations person and business manager.

Carver was a good guy who always had a smile and suggestion for me when I was a young pup trying to find my way into the NASCAR garage area in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. He was ‘old school’ through and through and knew the ‘NASCAR way’ to do things. He helped me immeasurably.

Our condolences go out to Carver’s family – and to DW and Van Colley – two of Carver’s closest and most trusted friends who today are mourning the loss of a fine man and racer.

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