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Insider Racing News * July 7, 2007

Sprint Cup Series Born
Sprint Nextel and NASCAR today announced NASCAR’s premier series will be known as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning Jan. 1, 2008. The logo was unveiled in a press conference at Daytona International Speedway.

Sprint and NASCAR took extensive measures to talk with race fans throughout the logo and name review process, which included numerous focus groups and surveys. After receiving fan feedback, the decision was clear to focus on the Sprint brand and use a similar logo and name.

“NASCAR has an incredibly loyal fan base, and we listened closely to fan feedback to help make this decision,” said Tim Kelly, chief marketing officer of Sprint. “It was a long and thorough process to determine how to integrate our NASCAR sponsorship into our overall brand strategy, while still keeping the NASCAR fan at the heart of the decision.

“The process extended well beyond the NASCAR sponsorship. This is an evolutionary time for Sprint Nextel’s brand. Our new brand campaign focuses on the importance of speed in people’s daily lives and illustrates their ability to get information where they want it, when they want it. NASCAR was built on a tradition of speed, so it was a natural tie for us.”

Sprint replaced R.J. Reynolds’ Winston brand as title sponsor of NASCAR’s flagship property in 2004. From the onset, Sprint Nextel has engaged the company’s resources to raise the sport’s profile and foster a more intimate connection between NASCAR racing and its more than 75 million loyal fans.

“Sprint is a premier brand that Americans have known for decades,” said Brian France, chief executive officer of NASCAR. “The company’s new brand direction is focused on speed and that has always been our business. It makes perfect sense for the Sprint name to be attached to our premier series. Sprint Nextel has shown an incredible commitment to the sport and our fans in the first few years, and we are excited about the technology enhancements they are planning for the future.”

Refocusing the NASCAR sponsorship on the Sprint line of products and services coincides with the July 1 launch of “Sprint Ahead,” a national campaign reflecting the value its products and services add to people’s lives. Building on that concept, Sprint will focus on a key attribute it delivers for its customers: speed or “SprintSpeedTM.”

Nextel remains a vital part of the Sprint products and services mix. As a result, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series name and logo and Nextel-branded assets will remain for 2007. However, the “Sprint Ahead” brand identity will be evident in the NASCAR community as early as July 15 when Sprint will launch The SprintSpeed™ Million presented by Motorola Sweepstakes, a promotion in which one race fan is guaranteed to win $1 million.

“The best of NASCAR and the best of Sprint is inherently speed. We feel like we are bringing that key attribute together in many forms to enhance the lives of race fans, either at the track or at home,” said Tom Murphy, vice president of experiential marketing for Sprint. “From The SprintSpeed™ Million, which will literally bring 12 lucky finalists as close as you can get to the sport, to our wireless products and services that have enhanced the experience of race fans and industry partners, Sprint remains steadfast in its commitment to improve the sport through technology and by bringing the fans closer to NASCAR.”

Products such as FanView and interactive displays such as Sprint’s 10,000-square-foot at-track mobile-marketing display have exponentially enhanced fans’ at-track experiences. Further, significant investments in the series points fund and All-Star race have raised the level of competition among the drivers and teams. Sprint also has been an advocate of many NASCAR-related charities including support of the NASCAR Foundation and a significant commitment to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

“It is our mission to ensure a name change will not alter the way fans view the sport or the way we support it,” said Murphy. “This is a thrilling sport with deep historical roots, and we will continue to honor that past and help the sport be even better in the future.”

Watkins Glen Picks Up Title Sponsor
Centurion Boats announced during a press conference held at Daytona International Speedway this afternoon, that they will sponsor the NASCAR Nextel Cup Race at Watkins Glen International through 2009. The newly titled “Centurion Boats at The Glen” is scheduled to take the green flag at 2:00 pm on Sunday, August 12, during its traditional race weekend, and will be broadcast live on ESPN.

"We are proud of our new partnership with Centurion Boats and believe it is a great fit for both companies,” stated Craig Rust, President of Watkins Glen International. “Our NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race is not only a great platform to showcase the Centurion Boats brand to the national audience but also an ideal way to reach all the watersports enthusiasts for which the Finger Lakes Region is known.”

“All of us at Centurion are very excited about our growing relationship with NASCAR through Daytona International Speedway and Watkins Glen International,” said Rick Lee, president of Centurion. “What started as an outside-the-box marketing experiment has exploded into a national branding effort that allows Centurion to showcase not only our World Championship Towboats, but the sport of wakeboarding, wakesurfing and waterski.”

Centurion Boats, based in Merced, California, is a part of Fineline Industries and considered a leader in world performing towboats specializing in ski and wakeboard boats. In 2000, they opened a state-of-the-art 40-acre operation in Woodland, NC where they have an onsite boat test lake, and house the most modern boat construction process in the watersports industry.

Centurion is also involved with the KONI Challenge Series No. 17 Racing Team competing this weekend at Watkins Glen International in the Supercuts 200. Les Clark, Vice President of Manufacturing at Centurion is onsite this weekend as a crew member.

During the press conference this afternoon Centurion also announced that they have strengthened their partnership with Daytona International Speedway. They will sponsor the “Centurion Boats Pier” located on the boardwalk at Lake Loyd, inside of the speedway. Centurion’s towboats will be onsite during the Pepsi 400 this weekend hosting wakeboarding and waterskiing demonstrations. This partnership also extends through 2009 and involves Direct TV Speedweeks at the speedway.

One of New York State’s largest weekend spectator sporting event returns August 9-12 with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series taking center stage on Sunday in the much-anticipated Centurion Boats at The Glen. The NASCAR Busch Series is back for a third straight year to compete in the Zippo 200 on Saturday and the stars of the Rolex Sports Car Series take to the track on Friday night. Weekend tickets start at only $55 and are still available. A complete weekend schedule can be found on (

Three Cup Drivers In Canadian Race
Three Nextel Cup drivers confirmed their participation in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 Busch Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve next month. Defending Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton will drive for Richard Childress Racing, with Harvick in the No. 21 and Burton in the No. 29. Also, Robby Gordon will drive his own No. 55 Robby Gordon Motorsports Ford in the event.

Burton said he and Harvick will not be able to qualify for the race since they will be practicing their Nextel Cup cars in Pocono Raceway, but Gordon said he will qualify in Montreal. Both RCR cars are full-time and are inside the top 30 in owner points, which guarantees them a spot in the field.

The final practice at Pocono on Aug. 4 is from 10:50-11:50 a.m., while the drivers meeting that day in Montreal is set for 11:30 a.m. with qualifying following at 12:10 p.m. and the race at 3:30 p.m.

"I don't think we're going to get

to qualify," Burton said Friday from Daytona International Speedway. "I'm not going to sacrifice Cup time at Pocono, which puts me in a position of not being at the drivers meeting and not qualifying. "So we're going to be committed to starting in the back. We're going to bite the bullet and do that."(

No. 5 Busch Car Fails Inspection
The springs for the race-winning Winn-Dixie 250 car of Kyle Busch have been taken to the NASCAR Research and Development Center after they did not meet specifications in inspection Saturday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway. Any penalties will be announced next week.

NASCAR has taken the front springs from the car, NASCAR spokeswoman Tracy Judd said. NASCAR rules require the front springs have a total spring rate of 3,000 pounds, and Busch's car did not meet that total.

The listed crew chief for the team is Mike Bumgarner, while Alan Gustafson, Busch's crew chief on the Nextel Cup side, serves as the race-weekend crew chief, calling the race and helping with practice.

If there is a crew chief penalty, it would be issued against Bumgarner and not Gustfason, who already is on probation for being too low following the Nextel Cup race last weekend at New Hampshire.

The No. 41 car of Reed Sorenson was too low but it was determined that the car was damaged during the race and he will not be penalized, Judd said. (

Kyle Busch Wins Morning Race
The Winn-Dixie 250 Busch Series race wasn't planned to be a morning race but heavy rain in the Daytona Beach area forced postponement of the race from Friday night to Saturday morning, starting at 9 a.m. (6 a.m. on the West coast). Kevin Harvick looked to have the car to beat early in the 102 lap race but handling problems and several pit mistakes, put him near the rear of the field several times. Each time Harvick was able to drive back to the front.

Kyle Busch was the winner, holding off Kevin Harvick in a green-white-checkers finish. Busch has been close to winning several times this year in the series but something or someone kept him out of Victory Lane. This is his first win of the 2007 season and the first since March 2006 at Bristol, Tennessee. Busch led 65 laps to collect his 8th career Busch Series victory. Busch avoided disaster on the first round of pit stops. After his stop, Busch was driving down pit road toward the track when Clint Bowyer and Kyle Krisiloff had trouble getting started and Busch had to swing around the two cars, going out on the grass to do so. He passed the two cars but NASCAR ruled immediately that he wasn't speeding. NASCAR had his crew chief issue the warning -- not to do that again. “There was a cluster on pit road that one time and there were guys in the outside lane who were going about 30 mph and I had to go,” Busch said.

Dave Blaney stayed near the front all race and finished third with Tony Stewart coming in fourth. Clint Bowyer snared the fifth spot followed by Kasey Kahne, Reed Sorenson, Casey Mears, Jason Leffler and David Gilliland to round out the top ten. Kyle Krisiloff, who has been tapped to drive the JR Motorsports Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the next three races, finished 20th and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the first time this season.

Carl Edwards still holds onto his massive lead in the Busch Series point standings, leading Kevin Harvick by 798 and 781 over David Reutimann. The race was slowed by six cautions for a total of twenty laps. There were ten lead changes among five different drivers. The Busch Series moves to Chicagoland Speedway next Saturday July 14th -- the USG Durock 300 is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on ABC.

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