Monday, January 28, 2013

Best and Worst From NASCAR Media Tour

Not much news coming out of NASCAR’s annual pre-season media week.  Lots of sponsorship announcements, mostly extensions of existing sponsorships.  Here’s the best and worst of it:

Cessna sponsorhip is big for Ganassi, McMurry, NASCAR
Best sponsorship announcement:  Earnhardt Ganassi Racing landing the Cessna Aircraft Company as the primary sponsor for 10 races in 2013 for Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 car.  Good news for Ganassi/McMurray after losing Bass Pro Shops to Stewart-Haas Racing.  It’s also big news for NASCAR, getting a company such as Cessna into the mix when several other mainstream sponsors have left the sport or are reducing sponsorships.

Worst sponsorship announcement:  It wasn’t exactly an announcement, but Rick Hendrick confirmed he doesn’t have a primary sponsor for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and the No. 88 car for nearly a third of the season (11 races).  Hendrick says he’s not worried.  Should he be?  Perhaps the asking price is too high?

Strangest sponsorship announcement:  Maybe it’s just me, but Earnhardt signing on as a spokesman for Goody’s Headache Powders seems a little weird.  Earnhardt missed two races last year after first covering up a concussion, then getting his bell rung again. 

Best hidden announcement:  Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch announced a long-term contract extension, but the most important part of the announcement was that Busch will run 20-some Nationwide races and also some events in the Camping World Truck Series for his own team that will be run from the JGR shops.  Busch was forced to dial back his Nationwide and Camping World Truck series events last year following his suspension by NASCAR for indiscretions during a 2011 truck race and it hurt him.  Busch, who missed The Chase last year, runs better the more races he runs.  I’ve often thought the same is true of Earnhardt, Jr.  He ran better when he was running a lot Nationwide races. 

Best post media tour announcement:  As expected, NASCAR announced that it is doing away with the Top 35 rule, which guaranteed a starting position to the top 35 teams in points.  It was all about money to be begin with, originally designed to protect those committed to running the entire series from outsiders that entered only a couple of races.  But instead of one and run, it created the run one and done we’ve seen the past couple of years.  It also made it very difficult for new teams to break into the sport.  Like the COT, it is an idea that has come and, thankfully, gone.  

Worst post media tour announcement:  Danicky.  Danica Patrick confirmed to the Associated Press shortly after the tour that yes, she’s dating Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.  Or maybe that's just plain icky.




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