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NASCAR Daily News Headlines * January 29, 2009
Five Race Sponsor For LabonteHall of Fame Racing announced Wednesday that Academy Sports and Outdoors will sponsor the team’s No. 96 Ford driven by Bobby Labonte in five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season.
The sports and outdoor equipment company will back Labonte at the March Bristol race, at Darlington, at the July Daytona race, at the September Atlanta race and at the November Talladega race.(scenedaily.com)
Newman Questions Drug PolicyRyan Newman supports NASCAR’s new drug-testing policy for 2009 but says he was surprised that the sanctioning body so clearly defined a designated time frame for the tests.
“I might be opening up a can of worms when I say this, but why would you announce you’re going to have a drug-testing time?” Newman said during the Stewart-Haas Racing portion of the Sprint Media Tour hosted by Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “I mean the whole idea of announcing it kind of takes away from the people that know how to cheat the system.
“Obviously, I know there’s probably going to be some follow-ups with certain people ... but it just seems to me that you’re only eliminating the really, really naïve people in the first testing or in the first screening like this.”
Under its new policy, NASCAR is for the first time requiring all drivers and crewmen pass a test before the season and instituting random tests every race weekend. The policy also continues procedures for testing at any time on reasonable suspicion. NASCAR can test any driver or crew member at any time, including away from the track, without notice.(scenedaily.com)
NTSB: NASCAR Decisions Cause Of CrashThe chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that NASCAR didn’t meet its own lofty business standards in its aviation department as the board released its accident report about a NASCAR plane crash that killed three people on the ground as well as the two pilots July 10, 2007, in Sanford, Fla.
The NTSB board accepted the investigation report, which said the plane was a “hazard to flight” and there was inconclusive evidence on the source of an in-flight fire.
The board approved the probable cause of the accident as:
“The NTSB determines that the probable causes of this accident were actions and decisions by NASCAR racing corporate aviation division’s manager and maintenance personnel to allow the accident airplane to be released for flight with a known and unresolved discrepancy and the accident pilots’ decision to operate the airplane with that known discrepancy, a discrepancy that likely resulted in an in-flight fire.”
Among those killed in the crash was Dr. Bruce Kennedy, husband of NASCAR Executive Vice President Lesa France Kennedy.
"The NTSB finalized its report of the tragic accident that occurred on July 10, 2007," NASCAR said in a statement. "This process was largely about finding ways to make aviation safer, and we support that effort. We have worked closely with aviation industry experts to improve our safety management systems so as to prevent an accident like this from occurring in the future. Our thoughts continue to be with those whose lives were affected that day.”
Bruce Kennedy was the pilot in command of the Cessna 310R, whose pilot the previous day had seen the weather radar display go blank, accompanied by the smell of electrical components burning, according to the NTSB reports and its investigators’ presentation Wednesday. The burning smell went away after the radar unit was turned off by pulling the circuit breaker.
The NTSB investigation indicated that Kennedy was the pilot in charge and that his being the pilot in charge was a deviation of NASCAR’s standard operating procedure. The final NTSB report said the flight was not in compliance of federal aviation regulations because the radar display issue had not been fixed.(scenedaily.com)
Seven Races For StenhouseRoush Fenway Racing development driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will take the next step in his career as he competes in seven NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2009 in the team’s No. 16 Ford.
Stenhouse, 21, drove for Tony Stewart’s United States Auto Club team in 2007 before joining Roush Fenway as a driver in the Automobile Racing Club of America. Stenhouse won twice and was in the running for the ARCA title last year before being involved in a dustup with Scott Speed in the final race of the year.
Stenhouse will share Roush Fenway’s No. 16 entry with Sprint Cup drivers Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth, as well as Camping World Truck Series competitor Colin Braun.
“It’s going to be difficult, maybe not so much with the cars but with the caliber of other drivers and other teams in the series,” Stenhouse said of the move from ARCA to Nationwide. “That’s going to be tough, but we’ve got our No. 16 [car], and I think we’ll be really good with [crew chief] Eddie Pardue. He’s got a lot of leadership experience, and I’ve got Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle to get knowledge from, so I think we’ll be really good to start off. Our first one is Nashville, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
All seven of Stenhouse’s scheduled races are standalone events: Both Nashville races, Kentucky, Milwaukee, Gateway, Iowa and Memphis. Stenhouse won’t be able to test at any of those tracks because of NASCAR’s rules this year, and the 21-year-old admits he needs more track time.(scenedaily.com)
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