NASCAR News Recap for the Week of January 26, 2009

Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing announces their fourth car for the Daytona 500

On Thursday, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing announced that John Andretti will drive their fourth car in the Daytona 500. In addition, it was announced that the team has entered into a brief partnership with Front Row Motorsports for the car. The car will carry the No. 34 and use the 2008 owners’ points from one of the three cars from the combined Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing stable that will not run this season (Nos. 01, 15, and 41), which guarantees a starting spot for the first five races of the season.

Sponsorship will be provided by Window World, a North Wilkesboro, North Carolina-based company that specializes in windows for residential dwellings. Window World had previously been announced as the sponsor for the MSRP (now referred to as “Prism Motorsports) No. 66 Toyota for Terry Labonte. The company will sponsor both cars as a result.

According to Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, there will be a collaborative effort, but only for the Daytona 500. At Daytona, EGR will provide a crew for the No. 34 team, led by Crew Chief Steve Lane. It is unclear what the relationship between EGR and Front Row Motorsports will be after Daytona.

Despite this, Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins has a positive outlook.

“We believe this is the beginning of a long-term partnership that will provide a technical platform for our team,” Jenkins said. “After being in last year’s Daytona 500 with John Andretti, I realized that with the right alliance and adequate resources, we could put ourselves in a position to have a front-running car.”

Also, reported on Friday that EGR has relinquished control of the No. 41. Jeremy Mayfield’s new Sprint Cup team, Mayfield Racing Enterprises, has registered the number for the 2009 season. However, the owners’ points from that number were not transferred to Mayfield’s team.

Another new entrant for the 2009 Sprint Cup season arises

On Wednesday, Larry Gunselman announced that he had formed a new Sprint Cup team that would attempt races this year. The team will run the No. 64 and field Toyotas.

At the time of the announcement, Gunselman confirmed that Geoff and Todd Bodine would drive races in the car. Todd was confirmed for California and Las Vegas, while the team still had not made an official announcement for a driver for the Daytona 500.

On Saturday, the team officially announced that the 59 year old Geoff will drive the No. 64 at Daytona. Gunselman seems to be pleased with his selection.

“To have someone like Geoff in our car is incredible,” Gunselman said on Saturday. “He and I have been friends for many years and I can’t even begin to thank him enough for signing on with us.”

This is not Gunselman’s first time owning a team in the Sprint Cup Series. Five years ago, under somewhat similar car count conditions, Gunselman started Mach 1 Motorsports and fielded the No. 98 (sometimes No. 96) Fords that he drove himself. Todd Bodine is the common element here because he drove Gunselman’s No. 98 in 2004 before he was signed away by John Carter to drive Carter’s (at the time) new No. 37 that was created as a result of a split between Carter and Morgan Shepherd.

The Mach 1 No. 98 switched numbers to No. 34 for 2005, and was eventually acquired by Front Row Motorsports. The team continues on today as the aforementioned No. 34 in an alliance with Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing.

New cost-cutting rules for the Camping World Truck Series

On Friday, NASCAR announced new rules for the Camping World Truck Series that are designed to help cut costs to the teams. The rules are as follows.

  • Teams will be limited to five members over the wall during pit stops instead of the typical seven.
  • Teams are limited to 12 active crew members at the track. The driver, crew chief and spotter are included in the 12. Guests, team owners, and PR and sponsor representatives are exempt from this quota.
  • No more than three consecutive races can be run without a sealed engine. The sealing of the engine will work similar to the old ASA National Tour sealing (added and removed by NASCAR officials only).

Memphis Motorsports Park sold

On Friday, Dover Motorsports announced that they have sold Memphis Motorsports Park to Gulf Coast Entertainment for the sum of $10 million dollars.

Gulf Coast Entertainment is a company that is currently developing a multiple-use entertainment complex near Mobile, Alabama that will include a race track in the plans. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was announced as being involved in the project previously.

In addition to the $10 million, Dover Motorsports will receive a two percent stake in Gulf Coast Entertainment. Dover Motorsports will also assist Gulf Coast in managing the racetrack once it is operational. Current plans have the track being ready for action in 2011.

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About Phil Allaway

Phil Allaway
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor. Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as Tony Stewart's Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.

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