Saturday, November 17, 2012

Danica Patrick sets NASCAR record

   Danica Patrick ended the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season 10th in the series standings, finishing 22 points ahead of 11th place Joe Nemechek.

   Patrick set the record for the highest-finishing female driver in NASCAR national series history.

   The previous record was held by Sara Christian, who finished 13th in the Sprint Cup series standings in 1949 – 63 years ago.

Brian France on how NASCAR faces sponsorship issues

   NASCAR unveiled some new changes to paint schemes on cars in the Sprint Cup Series beginning next season.

   The most prominent change is drivers' last names will appear on the front windshield of the cars. Sponsor logos will be allowed on the roof for the first time, as well some other smaller changes.

   Asked if the changes were part of a broader effort to provide a greater platform for sponsors in the sport, NASCAR Chairman Brian France talked about the difficulties the sport has faced with a struggling economy and changes to advertising budgets of companies.

    "Well, we have traditional things that you would think we would have at our disposal, making the space available differently and smarter on the car. That's one thing. There's being ever mindful of the cost issue being another. But we're not going to be in a position to change the economy, how just about every company is being much more judicious and careful with their advertising expense, no matter how well they work," France said. "They're not in a position as they were a few years ago to make big bets out over long periods of time at the level that they were. It's understandable.

   "And then you throw in from an economy standpoint that our fans, the best in the world, drive the furthest, they stay the longest, they often as you guys know build their race weekends around family vacations and all kinds of things. Well, the cost to do that and the unemployment, when you don't have a job and the costs are still going up, it isn't hard to understand why we will be in a little bit different position. So we're working on all those things, and we're doing everything we can.  Things will get better on that, and they have gotten better in some areas.

   "We've put a lot of new companies into the sport. We'll always have some attrition, too, so a lot of these companies are starting to get early good results, like 5‑hour Energy drink being one, and there are a number of companies that we have. But we're more reliant, there's no doubt about that, on corporate sponsorship."


RPM re-signs Almirola, Ambrose for 2013 Sprint Cup season

   Richard Petty Motorsports confirmed Saturday it had re-signed its current drivers in the Sprint Cup Series, Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola, for the 2013 season. Ambrose will enter his third season driving for the organization. He will again be behind the wheel of the No. 9 Ford. Almirola will begin his second season as the driver of the No. 43 Ford.  

   Ambrose has three top-five and eight top-10 finishes, including two victories at Watkins Glen, N.Y., during his stint with Petty.
   "It's good to come back to Richard Petty Motorsports and focus on our future together," said Ambrose. "We had success this year and recently have made plans to get better for 2013 and beyond. It was great to win at Watkins Glen, earn my first two poles and also have the opportunity to make the Chase this year."
   Almirola is completing his first full season in the Cup series. He has one top-five and three top-10 finishes and won his first career pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May.  

   "We went through some changes this season, but since being paired with Todd (Parrott) and this crew, I've had the most fun I've had in a Cup car," said Almirola. "I think we have a lot of things 'clicking' right now and have a lot of momentum heading into 2013."