No. 51 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team penalized for infraction

NASCAR 4C(PRT)

The No. 51 team that competes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (and winner of the American Ethanol  ”200″ Presented By Enogen at Iowa) has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered in post-race inspection July 11 at Iowa Speedway.

The infraction is a P2 level penalty and violates Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 20B-12.8.1 (truck failed to meet post-race height requirements) of the 2014 NASCAR rule book.

As a result of this infraction, crew chief Eric Phillips has been fined $6,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. In addition, driver Erik Jones has lost 10 championship driver points and owner Kyle Busch has lost 10 championship owner points.

New elements coming to race car paint schemes making 16-driver NASCAR Chase Grid

Screen shot 2014-07-15 at 10.27.54 AM

Info graphic via NASCARMedia

NASCAR has released several new elements to the paint schemes of race cars making the 16-driver Chase Grid.

Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup-eligible cars will have the roof number, the front splitter / front fascia and the windshield header colored yellow, as well as have a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup logo affixed to the front-quarter panel of their race car.
As part of NASCAR’s emphasis on winning races all season long, this celebratory paint scheme will be placed on a driver’s car to begin the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 14. Once a driver is eliminated after one of the Chase’s first three rounds, the paint scheme will be removed from the car.
These changes serve as a visible symbol of the new Chase format. In addition, the paint scheme elements will ensure that fans are able to easily identify each championship contender as NASCAR’s playoffs progress.
Announced by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France in January, the new championship format expands the Chase field to 16 drivers, up from 12 in previous years, and implements a new round-by-round advancement format that ultimately will reward a battle-tested, worthy champion.
A victory in the first 26 races all but guarantees a berth in the 10-race Chase, which will air exclusively on the ESPN family of networks. The number of championship drivers in contention for the championship decreases after every three Chase races with four drivers racing for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, scheduled for November 16.
NASCAR PR

Passing of Robert (Bobby) Ballantine, Sr: His other true passion was racing

Bobby Ballantine (#04) spins out Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (#08) at Martinsville Speedway. Photo via Larry Barford.

Bobby Ballantine (#04) gets involved in a wreck with Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (#08) at Martinsville Speedway. Photo via Larry Barford.

Robert (Bobby) Ballantine, Sr.

Robert (Bobby) Ballantine, Sr.

Robert A. Ballantine Sr., a retired mason who owned several farms, passed away on Sunday of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at St. Catherine’s Nursing Center in Emmitsburg. He was 77.

Not only was Ballantine a retired mason, he was also a race car driver in his own right and loved the sport of racing.

Mr. Ballantine started racing stock cars at the young age of 14 years old. He continued racing on dirt and asphalt, even at a professional level of (then) Grand National Series driver in the early 80′s. Ballantine raced for over 50 years, at times against the Petty’s, Allison’s, Jarrett’s and Earnhardt’s. Ballantine frequented the old Dorsey Speedway (Dorsey Speedway was located a few miles south of Elkridge, MD in Howard County near the corner of Route 1 (Washington Blvd) and Dorsey Rd.).

Ballantine’s nephew, Larry Barford, Jr., remembers growing up and hanging around his two Uncles, Bobby and Jim Ballantine, in the garage as well as at the tracks, including Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Barford is a driver at NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Owner/Driver at Kunkle Motorsports Inc. (which was formed by Barford having the inability to pronounce “Uncle” and ended up calling his Uncle “Kunkle.”)

Friends may call for viewing at the Bethany United Methodist Church, 2875 Bethany Lane, Ellicott City, on Thursday from 2 – 8 p.m.

Funeral Services will be held on Friday at 11 am at the Bethany United Methodist Church.

Memorial contributions may be made to Bethany United Methodist Church, 2875 Bethany Lane, Ellicott City, MD 21042.

For further information, or to leave online condolences, please go to: www.prittsfuneralhome.com/obituaries/Robert-Ballantine/#!/Obituary

Whelen Modified All-Star Shootout at NHMS

whelen_allstar_shootout_250x150The Whelen Modified All-Star Shootout will race for the first time in history at NHMS.  It will be a 40-lap shootout between some of the best drivers from both the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Southern Modified Tour.

The modified race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway has the reputation of being one of the best race spectacles in America.  This race will be an opportunity to pit the best drivers in the two series against one another in a battle for supremacy.

The race will be the first event on Oxford Casino Pole Day and run at 2:10 p.m.  It will be followed by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying sessions for the Camping World RV Sales at 4:40 p.m. and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East’s Granite State 100 at 6 p.m.

One ticket for the day is valid for attending all events.

Adult General Admission $10
Youth General Admission (ages 16-and-under) FREE*

Source: NHMS PR

Fans can drive on track at ‘Dega for “Fan Track Drive”

BE217895A1F14D4F8F17FD3443CF6E46.ashxSo what does it feel like to drive       on the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway going into its 33-degrees of banking?

Fans will have that special opportunity to find out – in their own personal car –  exactly how it does feels during “Fan Track Drive,” a fundraising event for the American Red Cross on Saturday, July 26.

The “Fan Track Drive” event will run from 9 am until 2 pm and will allow guests to drive their very own vehicle two laps around the Talladega Superspeedway for a $50 contribution. Each vehicle will closely follow one of Talladega Superspeedway’s Emergency Services vehicles, which will lead the field at highway speed.

In addition to the “drive,” guests can take a high-speed ride around NASCAR’s Most Competitive Track in one of the speedway’s official pace cars – the Ford Mustang or the Chevrolet Camaro – at a cost of $100. All money for rides will be directly donated to the American Red Cross Talladega – St Clair Chapter. Photo opportunities will be offered in Gatorade Victory Lane to capture guests’ memorable time.

Upon arrival at the main entrance to the property off Speedway Boulevard, fans will be greeted by track staff which will take payments, have participants sign a waiver to drive, and give directions to go inside the track.

The “Fan Track Drive” will be limited to passenger vehicles only. No motorcycles, recreational vehicles, tractor trailers, etc. will be allowed on the track. Passing on the track is not allowed. Driver of each vehicle must be at least 18 years of age and provide a valid driver’s license. All participants must abide by TSS rules or be removed from track property. Some restrictions include: dropping back or lagging behind and exceeding the paced highway speed, and driving in the top groove/lane of the track.

Talladega Superspeedway is also NASCAR’s “Party Capital” thanks to the track’s infamous infield and world renowned Talladega Blvd. The historic venue has always worked hard to enhance the fan experience in every way and now features the most comfortable seats in motorsports, large video viewing boards (a new initiative planned for future implementation at all ISC tracks) lining the frontstretch and endless activities for fans throughout its event weekends. Log on to www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 877-Go2-DEGA for more information.

Victory Junction, NASCAR teams celebrate 10th Anniversary at Loudon

victory-junction-10years

In celebration of Victory Junction’s 10th year anniversary and more than 20,000 campers through their gates, NASCAR teams will display Victory Junction 10 year decals on Sprint Cup Series cars at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire this weekend.

The North Carolina camp provides life-changing experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering in a safe and medically sound environment. The camp was the dream of Adam Petty, grandson of Richard Petty and son of Kyle Petty, who passed away in a racing accident at the Loudon track in 2000.

Victory Junction PR

Rain shortened Coke Zero 400 brings Almirola’s dream of winning at Daytona come true

Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Aric Almirola just won the rain shortened Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday. This is his 1st career win and places him 21st in points and in position for a Chase spot this season. (wow…that sounded weird!)

The trophies from the 2014 Coke Zero 400 and the 1984 Firecracker 400 sit in front of the famous Richard Petty Motorsports #43 car.  Credit: Brian A. Westerholt / Getty Images

The trophies from the 2014 Coke Zero 400 and the 1984 Firecracker 400 sit in front of the famous Richard Petty Motorsports #43 car.
Credit: Brian A. Westerholt / Getty Images

Prior to this Coke Zero 400 win, the last time the No. 43 car visited Victory Lane at Daytona was July 4, 1984 with The King, Richard Petty behind the wheel. Almirola is the 43rd driver to drive the famed No. 43 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Unfortunately, the race was called after 112 laps after persistent showers prevented NASCAR from drying the track. Should NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway communicated with the fans, “Come back at such, such time,” instead of leaving everyone hanging? I truly believe if fans had an actual time to go by, more might have stayed to wait it out. One thing that is majorly wrong here is there is really no (dry) places for a fan to go if they are day trippers. If they had a return time, at least they could go to the restraints near the track to eat and stay dry. Drivers go back to their motorhomes, teams have the haulers and media has the media center where food & drinks are being served.

Again, maybe NASCAR or the track(s) should be a little bit more accommodating to the fans?

Many fans, teams and drivers were upset by the call to end the race under Red Flag conditions at 3PM on Sunday. Based upon the scrutiny of calling it off, NASCAR discussed why they did what they did. “We’ve seen this weather pattern and felt it was in the best interest of fans getting done and getting home,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition stated. Patience wear thin after a 12 hr-long postponement and more red flags for rain once the race actually got started the following day. Right?

“We put on 2 1/2 hours of solid racing. We saw 21 lead changes among 14 drivers. There were 6 cautions for 29 yellow flag laps.

When you looked at what was in front of us weather-wise, we felt it was best for all concerned that the race was completed.” Pemberton said. There apparently was an issue with so much rain in Turn 3, that water was trapped behind the SAFER barrier and was coming down on the track. “With the rain and all, we didn’t think there was an opportunity to get a good race in,” Pemberton said.

Weather in Florida is a lot different than, say that of North Carolina. Our humidity levels soar with the hot sun and then, with Florida being a Peninsula, the sea breezes kick in. The west (Gulf) sea breeze move inward and the East (Atlantic) sea breeze moves inward until they collide. Depending on which one is the strongest, that’s when and where the sky opens and we get our never-ending (at times) severe storms. It’s nothing like a frontal boundary skimming on by like up north, where a storm comes and it’s out of here within an hour. Doesn’t work like that here in Florida.
These storms are mainly stationary because of all the “clashing” going on. In Florida at this time of year, we get these sea breeze storms almost daily.

Yes, I hated to see the Coke Zero 400 end under a Red Flag for the fans, and to have those teams involved in the latest wreck get served DNF’s, but it had also wasted away my Saturday evening and most of my Sunday as well. Rain delays are never fun, but this is a sport that Mother Nature wins. It can neither be a good call nor a bad call on NASCAR’s part, it’s just how it happens.

NASCAR teams form Race Team Alliance (RTA)

A group of nine multi-car teams participating in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) announced today they have formed a collaborative business association called the Race Team Alliance (RTA). The purpose of the organization is to create an open forum for the teams to explore areas of common interest and to work collaboratively on initiatives to help preserve, promote, and grow the sport of stock car racing.  The organization intends to open up its membership to all full time NSCS teams in the very near future.

In providing a vehicle for the teams to work together, the organization creates for the first time a single entity to engage with stakeholders on creative ways to market and experience the power of the sport’s teams and drivers. As part of its focus, the RTA also plans to explore innovative ways to harness the combined purchasing power and scale of the teams’ operations to drive efficiencies in costs.

Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, has been elected the first chair of the RTA.

“With the encouragement of NASCAR and the manufacturers, the teams have met in various forms and forums over the years to explore areas of common interest. This simply formalizes what was an informal group.” said Kauffman.  “The key word is ‘Collaboration’. We all have vested interests in the success and popularity of stock car racing.  By working together and speaking with a single voice, it should be a simpler and smoother process to work with current and potential groups involved with the sport. Whether it be looking for industry-wide travel partners or collaborating on technical issues – the idea is to work together to increase revenue, spend more efficiently, and deliver more value to our partners.”

The following teams are the executive members of the RTA: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.

Source: RTA PR

Statement from Brett Jewkes, NASCAR Vice President and Chief Communications Officer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 7, 2014) – “We are aware of the alliance concept the team owners have announced, but have very few specifics on its structure or purpose. It is apparently still in development and we’re still learning about the details so it would be inappropriate to comment right now. NASCAR’s mission, as it has always been, is to create a fair playing field where anyone can come and compete. Our job is to support and strengthen all of the teams, large and small, across all of our series and we’ll continue to do that. NASCAR is a unique community with hundreds of stakeholders. They all have a voice and always will.”

Is NASCAR forgetting the most important tool of the trade – the Fan?

Aerial shot of Kentucky Speedway for the inaugural night race, Saturday, June 28, 2014. Photo via Twitter

Aerial shot of Kentucky Speedway shows empty stands for the inaugural night race, Saturday, June 28, 2014. Photo via Twitter

What exactly is wrong with NASCAR racing today?

Are fans just getting plain tired of the constant changes? Tired of being treated unfairly and rudely at the track?

Or does it feel as though fans are just being taken advantage of?

A majority of the time, racing is exciting, but it does depend on the track. I’ll give it that.  Green-white-checkered finishes has the fan (as well as myself) sitting on the edge of their seat, getting ready to crush that beer can (or bottle of water for the under 21 fans).

Yet, we do get in some long lulls of, yes, hate to say it, but boring racing. Sometimes it can be classified as the old cliché of just watching a “bunch of cars going around in circles.” Watching the race from Michigan International Speedway (June 15th), I thought to myself, “What am I watching exactly?”

There was nothing about racing happening on that Sunday.

At one point, there were 18 cars on the lead lap with green flag runs like it was going out of style. Driver’s complaining about the wind, pushing cars, making it unbearable to race…

So I ask this:
Why are some teams (Chevy – Hendrick Motorsports: Jimmie Johnson/3 wins, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2 wins) doing great, while other top competing teams are not?

Well according to Brad Keselowski, (Ford – Penske Racing/2 wins) one factor is that, we, the United States that is, is not producing top racing engineers for race teams.

OK – so our training programs are too low of a standard for Penske Racing?

According to AutoWeek, Team Penske has turned towards our Northern neighbor, Canada, to look for top racing engineers. “It’s just very hard to get engineers with the educational background and commitment that we need to be successful at this level from the United States,” stated Keselowski.

Team Changes/Merchandise

Race fans at Homestead-Miami Speedway show their support for their drivers. Photo by Sandi Goodall/Racingal.com

Race fans at Homestead-Miami Speedway show their support for their drivers. Photo by Sandi Goodall/Racingal.com

Fans are complaining there are way too many changes within NASCAR teams every year and it’s hard to stay focused. Race fans want to keep it simple. Pull out that same ‘ole t-shirt that was worn the previous season for the Daytona 500. At times, it’s hard keeping up with who is with what team, keeping up with the forever changing sponsors as well as driver merchandise. It gets awfully expensive. With that in mind, fans are just choosing not to buy their driver’s merchandise as much as they use to. Have you noticed the average looking race fan is in regular everyday clothes in the stands (sans driver t-shirts)? Sometimes it’s only the headsets that give it away, or the type of drink (beer, soda, energy drink – product placement – more to come on this topic) they have in hand to know who their driver is or that they are even at a race.

With that said, NASCAR is in the process of looking into plans of reducing souvenir rigs at races  (aka as “Souvenir Row” at most tracks) and possibly eliminating them altogether. But do not fear, NASCAR is actually looking at possibly setting up stores at the entrances, such as what the PGA Tour currently do at their events. The evaluation of the merchandising rigs comes as declining merchandise sales continue in NASCAR. Sales reportedly fell from more than $2 billion in 2008 to $1 billion in 2010 alone.

Car Changes
NASCAR continuously changes the set-up/aero dynamics of what was once known as the Gen 6 car. They heard the uproar from fans (as well as the manufacturers) about how much the cars looked alike. They now have “stickers” and different front ends to help identify the manufacturer better. But was that enough?

Now they have a bad case of the “Aero Push” from down force they need to fix.

Then there’s Goodyear Tires. Oh, gosh – when they started producing different tires for different tracks using different compounds….  That’s a whole other article in itself.

NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brian France recently met with Media and discussed that the competition group at NASCAR is basing decisions on science and technology. The new engine package that has been discussed this year are those efforts in part of NASCAR’s plan to lower the barrier of entry into the sport for owners and manufacturers.

Then came even more changes – the “No Hide-Height Rule” brought out by NASCAR. Also, don’t forget the new NASCAR Deterrence System (Technical Infractions) implemented this season where you have to try to remember at what level a team/driver has been penalized and look at the chart for the penalty incurred.

What?

Viewership Declining

Carl Edwards does a guess appearance as announcer on ESPN. Photo courtesy of ESPN.

Carl Edwards does a guess appearance as announcer on ESPN. Photo courtesy of ESPN.

The Chase format changed as to where races have not become “a good points race” to a driver. We don’t hear that anymore. The question is, has NASCAR hurt themselves by doing this? My point is since Dale Earnhardt, Jr.  (who already holds two wins and Jimmie Johnson with his three), this season, giving both the “berth” for the Chase already, are their fans really inclined to watch more races leading up to the Chase, skip some races or just wait to tune in for when the Chase actually starts mid-September?

With ratings on the decline, NASCAR pretty much chose the escape clause, or easy way out if you will, by signing multi-billion dollar contracts to premium cable networks, such as TNT and Fox Sports 1. ESPN chose not to be a part of this. At some point, if not already, home cable bills have already seen an increase to help pay for this by their cable carriers. Fox Sports 2 is a paid channel. Some cable companies don’t even offer Fox Sports at either level. I, personally, will not subscribe ($10 to Brighthouse) to watch NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying and practices.

Viewership is down. The NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Michigan earned a 2.7 U.S. rating and 4.254 million viewers on TNT, down 4% in ratings and down 6% in viewership from last year and the lowest rated edition of the race since at least 1996. The previous low was a 2.8 rating for last year’s race. Michigan’s race also ranked as the lowest rated and least-viewed regular Sprint Cup telecast of the season.

Before that, Pocono had been ranked as the lowest rated and least-viewed regular Sprint Cup race of the season (June 8).

NASCAR on TNT tied the second-largest audience on cable – matching an hour of WWE Raw on USA Network . Dover‘s race (June 1) was at a 3.5 rating, which tied as the second-lowest ever for NASCAR Sprint Cup racing on FOX, matching the Kansas race (May 10) three weeks earlier. (Source: Sports Media Watch / Bloomberg / TV by the Numbers)

Could viewership be down because of too many commercials? I hear it all the time and see it on the social media networks. So I wouldn’t doubt it. Below is a quick breakdown of commercials from the last (mentioned) three races.

•    Michigan:
TNT – Total # of commercials: 118
Number of times TNT utilized ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during this broadcast: 0

•    Pocono:
TNT – Total # of commercials: 117
Number of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 0

•    Dover:
FOX – Total # of commercials: 127
Number of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 12

It’s time that NASCAR looks at and admits the only way to save this sport is by retrieving “new fans.”  The “old fan” is all used up – like an old rag so to speak.

Mike Helton just made an appearance on Race Hub a couple of weeks ago. When asked about whether race attendance is a concern, here was Helton’s response:

“Obviously the product is a priority, and I say ‘product’ for everybody. But the viewership and the live attendance is something that the whole industry uses to judge successes, and that’s something that we’ve all collectively been working on ever since the swing through the economy. We think we see signs of that. We’re encouraged by the uptick. We’re encouraged by the enthusiasm that seems to exist among the community now.”

Blinded, in denial – maybe. Or just refusing to see the facts and admitting the sport is in trouble.  And did you notice – he used that word…. “economy.”

Take for example Roush Fenway Racing. During the Michigan race back in June, a track in which Roush (Ford) practically dominated prior, only resulted in Top 20’s (Biffle -20th, Edwards, 23rd , Stenhouse Jr., 27th).  According to Ryan McGee, ESPN The Magazine, “RFR failed to field a (June) Michigan contender really for the first time since 2000.”  True. And everyone was in shock.

Then you have the top Chevy team of Rick Hendrick of Jimmie Johnson that has won the last five point races. As Larry McReynolds (Fox Sports) pointed out, “We have had 15 races so far this season. Team Penske has won three of those 15. Of those remaining 12 races, nine of them have been won by the alliance of Hendrick and Stewart-Haas. The scary thing is, I don’t see that trend slowing down anytime soon.”

According to Humpy Wheeler in an interview with AutoWeek, “NASCAR needs villains, but, instead, we have too many pretty boys. There just aren’t any personalities.”

Would you agree that it’s the personalities killing this sport?

Changes to Qualifying
NASCAR changed to group qualifying from single-car runs at the beginning of the 2014 season (Jan. 22) to help with Friday afternoon ticket sales, and to add more “excitement” to qualifying, which was a great move.  Additional updates came in February after the new qualifying was implemented.

But teams are smart. As we just saw during the Coke Zero 400 qualifying – weirdness played out as no one was eager to lead the way to be the first cars out, so cars sat on pit road as the session clock ticked away.  The problem is, teams have figured out a way to post their fastest lap – then slow to a crawl thereafter– to be sure they do not help another driver get a fast lap time advantage.

There is a flaw and NASCAR knows it. They are already looking for another way to tweak qualifying at the larger 2+ mile plate tracks (Daytona & Talladega). This will prevent teams from trying to scheme ways to post the fastest laps during the three qualifying sessions. Look for more changes by October.

Banners Over Stands

Sample of advertising banners over unsold area of stands.  Dover Field 5/30/2014 | Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Sample of advertising banners over unsold area of stands. Dover Field 5/30/2014 | Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Attendance is way down. Back in 2013, NASCAR stated they would no longer provide attendance estimates at each race. ISC (International Speedway Corp) began significantly decreasing the number of seats starting in 2010.

You will notice banners at tracks draped or hung over unsold seats. At least this way, tracks had figured out a way to bring in funds they are missing out from the non-sales of tickets.

Daytona Rising is costing more than $400M. Blows my mind. Larger sized seats, but less seats are being placed in the newer higher sections. Hotels, casinos, restaurants are coming! How many race fans will be able to afford to stay there? How about two meals at one of their restaurants? Ticket costs will be, and already are, outrageous.  For tickets, (Oldfield/chairs) Row 5 on the front stretch cost is $90/ea. Depalma Box is $144/ea.

Here’s the cost of the new seating on the front stretch (Daytona Rising) for the 2015 Daytona 500:
400 Level Grandstand Sections (466 to 482)
Starting From $600/per ticket

The thing is, yes, there are fans out there that WILL pay the $600 per ticket cost to be the first ones to say “I was there in the new section!” And guess what? Only 22 tickets are still available! Unbelievable. These are the fans NASCAR LOVES.

We, as race fans, as well as NASCAR, cannot blame the economy for rating drops any more. That’s old news. If it were the economy that was the problem, wouldn’t it encourage folks to watch races from home as a cheaper alternative than to attend a race in person? TV rates show otherwise. So what is it?

What this sport overall needs to do is this: GET THE ORIGINAL, OLD FAN BACK.

And I’m not talking just NASCAR.

Teams. Drivers. Sponsors.

Be more appreciative.
Involve the fan more. Get the drivers more involved at the track with the fans. Don’t make the fans have to chase you down for an autograph. Don’t go hiding in your multi-million dollar motor home. Be out and about.

Have more social media interaction with fans – show up for a Tweet Up and I’m not saying to have the driver’s PR person do their tweeting or updates for them.

Always remember, it’s the fans who put the driver where they are and who grows this sport. It costs over $20 million a year (Google) in order to own a top NASCAR racing team. Where does the money come from? Teams have sponsorships BECAUSE of the fans.

Read on.

•    Sponsorships: Goes after consumer audiences. Sponsors are targeting the viewers, the fans!

•    Sport Marketing: Designed to meet the needs and wants of the consumer (the fan!) through exchange processes.

•    TV advertising: Celebrities (drivers) appear using the products of the company (Coke).  Through important personalities of each sport, it has the possibility to get to its target audience. (the fan!).

NASCAR knows fans are the most loyal of fans out there. They need to show us more appreciation. Don’t just go building things just to make us pay for it. A lot of people see this as greed. The Mid-Way areas are fine, but it’s like walking through the Mall past all the Kiosks.

I’m talking like putting fan/grandstand shots on TV and not just during the National Anthem; Hand out or barrel-shoot free t-shirts in the stands – hey – it’s free advertising for the track – if it has to do with racing, the fan will wear it; Post tweets on the Sprint Vision TV screens at the track; Share more updates from fans on Facebook/Twitter (seems like you have to be top media or a driver’s wife to even get a response from someone); Pick a fan to wave the green flag the day of the race; have random drawings for certain things… free hot dog at Martinsville…ANYTHIING!

There’s a lot that can be done to involve the fan more and treating the fan with a little more respect and less ignorance. If we, the fans disappear (POOF!) so does the sport of racing, NASCAR teams and NASCAR itself.

Legendary NASCAR owner Junie Donlavey passes at age 90

Nascar Owner W. C. ''Junie'' Donlavey poses during a portrait session at the Richmond International Raceway on May 2, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images

April 8, 1924 – June 9, 2014
Nascar Owner W. C. ”Junie” Donlavey poses during a portrait session at the Richmond International Raceway on May 2, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia.
Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images

NASCAR Cup car owner Junie Donlavey in conversation with his driver, Ken Schrader. Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images

NASCAR Cup car owner Junie Donlavey in conversation with his driver, Ken Schrader. Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images

Legendary NASCAR owner Junie Donlavey has passed away at the age of 90. Donlavey suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Donlavey’s famous #90 car carried Rookie of the Year drivers three times (1970, 1980, 1985). Donlavey fielded cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series until 2002 – with 863 starts as an owner, one race victory, 60 top-five and 218 top-10 finishes.

Drivers who drove for Donlavey include NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson, Fred Lorenzen and Joe Weatherly, along with Tiny Lund, Bobby Isaac, Benny Parsons, Ken Schrader and Harry Gant.

Donlavey’s family spoke how Junie thought it would only be appropriate if he passed away at age 90 – the number featured on his stock cars.

To leave thoughts and condolences, go to:  http://nbc12.tributes.com