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NASCAR News for Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tryson Wins Crew Chief Award for Kobalt Tools 500

Pat Tryson, crew chief of the No. 2 Miller Light Dodge driven by Kurt Busch, was awarded the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the race following Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500. The race was dominated all afternoon by the blue deuce who led 234 of the 330 laps in the contest. The win was his second at Atlanta Motor Speedway and elevated his career win total to 19.

Though the No. 2 Dodge Charger was clearly the strongest car on the track Sunday, Tryson had to earn his paycheck when the caution flag flew on lap 328 bringing the field down pit row for one final adjustment.

With the green-white-checkered restart looming, Tryson confidently opted to put four fresh tires on the No. 2 Penske Dodge, while Bob Osbourne, crew chief for the No. 99 of Carl Edwards, gambled and chose to go with only two. The decision resulted in Edwards rolling off of pit row in first place with a hungry Kurt Busch on his heels in second. Had a caution come out upon restart, Osbourne’s strategy would have paid off as the field would have been frozen and Edwards would have taken the checkers and back flipped his way to victory lane.

Tryson’s decision proved to be the better of the two however, and upon restart Busch flew by Edwards on four fresh stickers and held off a charging Jeff Gordon for his first trip to victory lane since last June at New Hampshire.

Busch recognized and appreciated the shrewdness of Tryson’s call following the race. “The call was perfect, we needed the four tires to win this race. I had a great team and crew chief that gave me great pit stops and kept me up front all day.”

The WYPALL Crew Chief Challenge is voted on weekly by crew chiefs Bob Osbourne (Carl Edwards), Todd Berrier (Kevin Harvick), Fox/Speed television analyst Jeff Hammond and representatives from the WYPALL wipers corporation. The winning crew chief receives a $1,000 dollar check and signage placed upon the pit box at the following series event.

Mattes to Head up Motorsports Authentics

Former NASCAR.com Superstore vice president, Joe Mattes, has been appointed interim president of Motorsports Authentics following the departure of president Mark Dryer last February.

Mattes brings and impressive resume to the table including presidential runs at Chase Racewear, a company he co-founded, as well as Sports Image, the licensing company owned by the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr. In addition to his new position, he will continue to serve as vice president for JR Motorsports, the team of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

John Saunders, vice president and CEO of International Speedway Corp. cited Mattes’ prior experience as a reason for an optimistic future. “Joe has the experience and know-how to lead this company through the economic conditions that the entire sport is facing, while remaining sensitive to the concerns of our various licensers, and we have full confidence that he’ll guide the company appropriately.”

The merchandising hulk of Motorsports Authentics is a joint venture between the International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports Inc., and was founded in 2005 from the assets of Action Performance Companies Inc. and Team Caliber. Motorsports Authentics markets and distributes products through various sources including trackside racing events, the Racing Collectables Club of America, QVC, and numerous retail stores and chains.

New Operations Manager for NASCAR Hall of Fame

Steve Burrell has been named operations manager for the NASCAR Hall of Fame and will be responsible for daily operations and policy development to ensure customer satisfaction. Burrell has 14 years of experience with Carowinds, a thrill-ride theme park serving both North and South Carolina. In that time he has served as a campground and palladium manager and facilitated the loss prevention program.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame, which held its groundbreaking ceremonies in January of 2007, will encompass approximately 50,000 square feet of exhibit space highlighting the history and tradition of NASCAR. State of the art attractions will attempt to connect NASCAR’s past to the sport’s present. Among the numerous attractions will be a racing simulator, a hall of honor, a 250 seat theatre, historic cars and restaurant/merchandise outlets. The inaugural induction ceremony is scheduled for May 2010.

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