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Thursday, December 07, 2006

NASCAR News

Richert becomes a Matador.
After getting snubbed at Roush Racing, Greg Biffle's crew chief Doug Richert joined Team Red Bull. He will now call the shots for Brian Vickers for the virgin team. This is quite the coup for Red Bull. Richert helped Biffle win 10 races over the past three years, and came close to winning the Cup in 2005. One thing that the Toyota teams are expected to do is share information among all teams. This is what Richert is used to at Roush, so this may be an asset for Vickers and his team. Not to mention that Richert has been at Nascar's highest level for three decades.


Earn-hardt Jr
A Street & Smith's business study found that Dale Earnhardt Jr. generated $183 million worth of exposure for Budweiser. Even if Budweiser spends $30-40 million (a liberal estimate) to sponsor the 8 car, that's a huge return on their investment. Without the popularity of Earnhardt, virtually no one would have heard of the small St Louis-based brewery. It's not surprising that Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon also made the top five. What is somewhat surprising is Jeff Burton and Cingular were third. It looks like the Cingular poll questions are effective. There was one other interesting tidbit in the top ten. Greg Biffle generated $63 million for one of his sponsors. Ironically, it was for Subway, not his primary sponsor Army National Guard. No wonder they left the 16 car for Hendrick Motorsports.

ISC has some real estate for sale.
ISC and NASCAR really want a track in New York City. The problem is not enough people in NYC return that love. If a meeting about the proposed track turns into a near riot, that can't be a great sign. The announcement that ISC is scrapping plans for a Staten Island track indirectly spares races and New Hampshire and Martinsville. The other byproduct is a more concentrated effort towards the track project iin the Pacific Northwest. Two sites have already failed near Seattle. It will still be easier to have a track accepted in Oregon or Washington where land is available, than in the densest city in the US.

Hot or Pass?
DirecTV announces new NASCAR HotPass pay per view package. For $99 a season fans can watch inside driver's car for an entire race. The concept is great. Follow Tony Stewart or Dale Earnhardt Jr all day. There are a few problems with the plan. One is that the choice of drivers is limited to five per race and will be a rotating lineup. Obviously Stewart, Jr, Gordon, Johnson and Kahne will see the majority of the coverage, but what happens if a fan's favorite driver is someone else? Secondly, say you spend to the money to see Tony Stewart in the Michigan race. What happens after he crashes early on? Do you get to switch to another driver or limited to the Home Depot crew loading the car on the hauler. I guess you could watch Stewart pound out the dents personally.
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