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NASCAR Daily News Headlines * January 24, 2009
Robby Gordon On Score PoleNASCAR Cup team owner/driver Robby Gordon earned the pole position for the SCORE Laughlin Desert Challenge Friday as he powered his No. 77 Team Gordon Chevy CK1500 to a fast time of 6 minutes, 43.72 seconds during qualifying for SCORE Trophy-Trucks averaging 64.6 miles per hour around the abbreviated 6.25-mile loop.
The season opener of the five-race 2009 SCORE Desert Series, is being held near the banks of the Colorado River in Laughlin, Nev. -- The unique race, split into two parts, will start Saturday and finish Sunday, running from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the 17 classes divided into five race groups running multiple laps each day. The featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division will race at 1 p.m. each day followed by the unlimited Class 1 cars at 3 p.m. Both classes will run eight laps each day.
Gordon, who ran nine seconds faster than his 2008 Laughlin qualifying time, will lead a field of 113 official entries, which includes 22 vehicles in the marquee SCORE Trophy-Truck division for high-tech, 800 horsepower, unlimited production trucks.
With plans to run the entire 2009 SCORE Desert Series while continuing to run his full NASCAR season, Gordon, of Charlotte, N.C., easily outdistanced the 17 SCORE Trophy-Trucks that started in the special one-lap qualifying session.(racingwest.com)
NASCAR: No TV BlackoutsNASCAR will not consider blacking out races for local markets that do not sell out, its chairman Brian France and president Mike Helton said Thursday afternoon during a question-and-answer session with reporters.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith floated an NFL-style blackout idea on Tuesday as a possible solution to help tracks counter lagging attendance figures.
But France said the concept wouldn’t work. In the NFL, a home team must sell out its game in order to have the event broadcast in its local market. With a national sport like NASCAR, a blackout would not have the intended effect, he said.(scenedaily.com)
Four Car Cap Will StayNASCAR has no intentions of revisiting its cap of four NASCAR Sprint Cup teams per racing organization. Roush Fenway Racing must cut from five Cup teams to four after the 2009 season and team officials said today that because of the economic climate, it might be in NASCAR’s best interest to reconsider.
NASCAR announced the team cap in November 2005, and Roush Fenway was given until the end of 2009 to get down from five to four teams because it had existing contracts that ran through this season.
“We have not changed our mind on this,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said Thursday during the Sprint Media Tour. “As a matter of fact, it's probably stronger than it's ever been, and we believed it's the right thing to do when we announced it. We believe it's the right thing to do today.(scenedaily.com)
NASCAR Limits Hall InducteesNASCAR opted to induct just five people per year into its Hall of Fame instead of a big group at the beginning to keep it as a prestigious honor. The move will also keep the Hall of Fame display consistent on an annual basis concerning the current year’s induction class and past inductees. NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said it took a year to come up with the selection process as the sanctioning body examined what other halls of fames did.
NASCAR expects to announce its inaugural class in October and to have its first induction ceremony in May 2010. The inductee display will have a section for the five current year inductees (likely in the middle) with the past inductees along the wall. Inductees will be determined by a voting committee that will decide from a list created by the nominating committee.(scenedaily.com)
More Indy Tire TestNASCAR expects to have at least two more Goodyear tire tests at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the Allstate 400 there in late July. “Our tentative plan is [for] at least two more tire tests at Indianapolis,” NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said. “We’ve made some great strides. I think they’ve got the tire picked that they need. We’re going to go back, and do, if not a development test, maybe start to do confirmation tests. There will be at least two of those.”(scenedaily.com)
Phoenix Racing To Run Full SchedulePhoenix Racing officials confirmed Thursday that the team plans to attempt to run the full Sprint Cup Series schedule in 2009 with a variety of drivers. Team owner James Finch has entered cars in the Cup series part time since 1990, running seven events with veteran Sterling Marlin last year.
Team officials said Marlin will drive in an undetermined number of races this season. The team's Nationwide Series driver, Mike Bliss, could also get a few starts. Miccosukee will sponsor 10 races this year, and the team will have other sponsor and driver announcements at a later date. Miccosukee will continue its sponsorship of Bliss for the 35-race Nationwide schedule.(scenedaily.com)
Gordon To Run Third Hummer In 2010 DakarTeam Gordon Off-road, which is responsible for Robby Gordon’s Dakar efforts, announced today plans to run a third Hummer in the 2010 Dakar Rally. Eliseo Salazar, a Chilean former Formula One, IndyCar and sports car driver, is scheduled to be the driver of the team’s third Hummer entry.
Team Gordon Off-road just completed a challenging two weeks participating in the 2009 Dakar Rally throughout Argentina and Chile. It was the team’s fourth and most successful Dakar attempt since its inception in 2006. Gordon finished third overall behind Giniel De Villiers, the 31st Dakar Rally car class winner. Gordon’s teammate, Eric Vigouroux drove his identical Hummer to a 13th place finish.(theautochannel.com)
NASCAR Lifts SuspensionsNASCAR has reinstated Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide Series crew chiefs Dave Rogers and Jason Ratcliff as well as five other team crewmen who were suspended indefinitely last August. The NASCAR suspensions lasted 10 races. They were part of a penalty for attempting to limit the car’s throttle response during a horsepower test following the event at Michigan International Speedway.
“They’re done paying their price, they’ve been reinstated and they’re waiting to apply for their license,” NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Thursday during the Sprint Media Tour. “They’re good.”
JGR President J.D. Gibbs said Tuesday that all of those who were reinstated would receive a team-imposed one-race suspension as an additional penalty.(scenedaily.com)
Max Papis In For Five Truck RacesGermain Racing's Max Papis will compete in six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season with sponsorship from GEICO. Papis is also competing in at least 18 Sprint Cup races with the team and sponsor.
Papis will open his Truck season with the race at Auto Club Speedway in California. He will also drive in races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and at a track to be named later.(scenedaily.com)
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