Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Musings from the Marbles

NASCAR's constant ritual known as Silly Season is in full swing, with new news almost every day!

Texaco will be leaving the sport at the end of the year. It will be sad for a large group of Robert Yates fans, who associate Texaco-Havoline with Davey Allison. I can certainly understand, that in these economic times, Texaco may not have received great value for their money in recent years. However, the exit of this iconic brand may have great impact on the future of Ganassi racing. The OTHER sponsor of the 42, Wrigley, is facing an acquisition by Mars, who happens to be the primary sponsor for the Joe Gibbs #18 car. While Mars, last year, helped out Yates Racing by sponsoring two cars, I think it is far too much to expect them to continue the Wrigley sponsorship after this year, and certainly not with another organization.

Carl Edwards seems to be one of the hottest properties in the garage. It appears that not only will he have the primary deal with Aflac, he may well have partial sponsorship from Subway and the US Army. It appears that part of the reported $26 million a year from Aflac will be sold off to other sponsors.

Yates Racing is listed on ESPN as making a play for Paul Menard. I am sure that the Menard's sponsorship is very attractive. I am hoping this is part of a three team plan, as I feel very strongly that David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil both deserve to continue with Yates Racing.

Much of the racing world was stunned to hear about Magnet-Gate at Joe Gibbs Racing. Many times, we hear the perpetrators of scandals in this sport deny and swear they will follow through with in-house punishment. I don't believe most of them, however, I do believe Joe and JD Gibbs when they say they will take care of the issue in-house, above and beyond whatever penalties NASCAR will hand out on Wednesday.

A three-way schedule change for the Sprint series gives a Chase date to the Auto Club Speedway, also known as California Speedway. However, this has to be the 'make or break' deal for the Fontana race. They have been suffering from incremental declines in ticket sales for the last few years. Gillian Zucker has declared the hot weather over a California Labor Day weekend to be keeping fans away. Indeed, it has kept me away for a few years. But now, it will be 'Step Up or Step Away' time for the track, its fans, and for NASCAR to make a decision on retaining two races at that venue. While Atlanta, another track in this swap, also suffers from lagging attendance, its figures are still very high when compared to Fontana.

This week is Bristol week! Look for some switching around in the points as teams try to take advantage of the side by side racing provided by the new track surface!

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