TV Times – Is Jimmie Johnson already the one to beat for 2010?
Racing prognosticators predict that Jimmie Johnson and his crew chief, Chad Knaus, are definitely the ones to beat this year. The consensus is that JJ and company have the best all-around team, and that they will be among the top 12 when it comes down to the Chase To The Sprint Cup, the last 10 races, starting in September.
All that is much to the chagrin of Kurt Busch and his hardcore group of fans, AKA Anybody But Jimmie Johnson. In the meantime, Kurt let it be known, on no uncertain terms, that he resents being beaten by JJ time and time again.
It’s interesting to view this little ongoing drama from a business angle. It would, of course, be fantastic for JJ and Knaus to win another championship. However, NASCAR has to sell tickets and to get the ratings back close to where they were before the recession and JJ’s domination of the Cup series thus far. NASCAR’s TV deal won’t expire until 2015. If it were to happen only a year or two from now, NASCAR wouldn’t be able to deal from a position of strength, and negotiations currently would be underway. Consider also that there have been major layoffs throughout NASCAR and associated companies with purses and sanctioning fees cut. Again, if the TV deal was close to expiring, chances are that Fox and ESPN would be playing hardball. In the meantime, the Speed Channel’s deal for the Truck Series is still strong with ratings growing.
It wasn’t a total surprise that TV ratings for the Martinsville Cup race were down over 50 percent from last year, no doubt due to the rainout that Sunday. The race was held on the following Monday. Overall, 2010 ratings are 5.6/12 and 9.28 for this year’s five races, whereas last year at this time they were higher.
American motorcycle racer, Nick Hayden, told, Wind Tunnel host, Dave Despain, that a posssible move from racing bikes to auto racing may well be on his radar screen. He’d like to give F1 a shot and has had discussions with some teams. I’d say if they are not with Ferrari, Mercedes or the rest of the handful of top teams, forget it. Otherwise Nick wouldn’t have a chance. An American driver with a following like Hayden has would be an asset for F1 to get back into the USA at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in addition to bringing a major sponsor for that event.
The 16th Anniversary Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America is challenging community members along the 2010 Ride route to take part in a grassroots awareness and fundraising effort. The funds raised through the Charity Ride Dream Team Challenge will support Victory Junction, a year-round camp for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses and other children’s charities. Teams are encouraged to register at www.kylepettycharityride.com/dream_team.
Led by NASCAR driver and racing analyst Kyle Petty, the Ride will depart Indian Wells, Calif., on May 1, and travel east, making overnight stops in North Las Vegas, Nev.; Richfield, Utah; Durango, Colo.; Amarillo, Texas; Texarkana, Texas; Choctaw, Miss.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Asheville, N.C.; before reaching Victory Junction on May 9. Prior to the Ride’s arrival in these cities, community members are invited to form “Dream Teams” to raise funds for and awareness of the Ride and its beneficiaries. Dream Teams will be invited to present donations to Kyle Petty and Ride participants at special events along the Ride route.
“Communities are encouraged to spread the word about the Ride prior to our arrival and assist us in getting these Dream Teams excited about helping kids,” said Petty. “The funds collected will go towards providing life-changing opportunities for deserving children and their families. Every little bit helps. It’s all about making a difference in a kids’ life.”
In 2009, donations from The Dream Team Challenge totaled more than $10,000.
Teams of all ages and sizes are welcome to participate in the Charity Ride Dream Team Challenge and may register on the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Web site. Registration is free. Registered teams will receive “Dream Team Packs” containing background information on the Charity Ride and Victory Junction, as well as ongoing updates and fundraising tips.
Fundraising efforts should begin after a team has selected a captain and team members have reviewed the information in the Dream Team Pack. Then, the sky is the limit! From bake sales and lemonade stands to black-tie galas and silent auctions, teams should choose fundraising activities that align with individual members’ interests and strengths.
Teams from around the country are encouraged to participate, and those along the Ride route may join riders at pre-determined stops. Collected donations should be mailed to Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Inc., 125 Floyd Smith Drive, Suite 45, Charlotte, NC 28262. Checks should be made payable to “Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Inc.”
Since Victory Junction’s inception, the Charity Ride has sent more than 7,000 children to the life-changing camp at no cost to their families. Petty and his wife, Pattie, founded Victory Junction in Randleman, N.C., in 2004. The year-round camp serves children, ages six to 16, with a variety of health issues that would typically prevent them from attending camp. The camp operates solely on the donations of corporations, organizations and individuals.
Organizers of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Melbourne say the boost to the television audience because of their later start has made up for them being placed second in the calendar to Bahrain. For years Melbourne had been the first event in the F1 season.
The race’s backers have also hit back at a mooted bid by Sydney to take the Australian Formula One hosting rights by staging a night race.
Autosport.com reports that the race’s promoter Ron Walker said: “[second place in the calendar] suits us fine because of the daylight saving change in Europe. Now we have got this time frame, we go into these big markets in a reasonable time and you can only do that because of daylight saving change.”
The race now starts at 7 a.m. in Britain and 8 a.m in much of the rest of Europe. The start time is also better for the race in China and Russia. The premier of the State of Victoria, John Brumby, dismissed suggestions that a plan by Sydney to snatch the Australian race from Melbourne were a threat to his region’s race.
“They won’t be successful,” he said. “It highlights the value of this event. For the people who say that this is not a great event for the state, or that it costs too much money or any of the other criticisms that are sometimes made, the test is in the global demand of F1.
“Sydney has come out today and said that it will do anything to pinch the event, and there are so many other countries around the world that would also kill to do so. They really want this event – and they would write a big check to get it.
“Those critics [of this event] need to look around and see how many other people around the world want this event. Sydney wants this event but won’t get it. We are signed until 2014/2015, it is a great event here, the drivers love it, the crews love it, the people who come to our city love it and people like John Travolta love it because Melbourne is one of the great cities in the world. We have got the event secured.”
Grammy award-winning dance music icon, Sharam, has announced he’ll be taking part in this year’s Gumball 3000 Rally. By day, he’ll be taking the wheel of a 1970′s Dodge Coronet Super Bee, powered with a Hemi engine; by night he’ll be hosting a Gumball 3000 Rally club event at each of the North American stages of the rally, spinning a DJ set for the drivers and those clubbers looking for the biggest party of the year.
Sharam kicks off proceedings in Boston, with a show at Venu (5/4); he’ll then hit the road and drive to Quebec City with an event at Dagobert (5/5) joined by Jade Jagger’s Jezebel and their resident DJ, D.R.W. Sharam’s next stage is a 500-mile trip to Toronto, throwing a party at the city’s Ultra club that night (5/6) (also joined by Jezebel). The final leg will then take him to New York City, with an almighty closing party at Quo (5/7).
Sharam has kicked off 2010 in inimitable fashion. Having won the coveted BBC Radio “1 Essential Mix Of The Year” title at the end of last year he claimed the first Buzz Chart No.1 of this year with his haunting single “Don’t Say A Word.” His forthcoming release, the MACH 1 EP, is out April 7, 2010 on Beatport, featuring two new tracks: “Love Love Love” and “Hemi.”
Since 1999 Gumball 3000 has successfully combined art, automobiles, music and film to create a unique aspirational lifestyle brand. Gumball 3000 has grown organically from its origins as a notorious car rally, into a successful global lifestyle and entertainment group. The rally is in its simplest description is a 3000-mile drive, with 120 cars participating over eight days with additional events and parties throughout the period. The rally participants are everyone from extreme sports professionals, musicians, royalties to Hollywood stars and businessmen. In previous years they’ve included: Snoop Dog and Xzibit, supermodels Rachel Hunter, Caprice and Jodie Kidd, Playboy girls and Hugh Hefner, skateboard legend Tony Hawk and Rob Dyrdek, Bam Margera, Johnny Knoxville and the Jackass guys, Adrien Brody, Jensen Button- F1 Driver, Darryl Hannah, David Hasselhoff and many more. The 2010 rally will leave from London on the 1st May before taking in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Boston, Quebec City and Toronto before rounding off in New York seven long days and nights later.
Upcoming Gumball 3000 Rally Club Shows:
May 4, 2010 Boston, MA Venu
May 5, 2010 Quebec City, QC Dagobert
May 6, 2010 Toronto, ON Ultra
May 7, 2010 New York, NY Quo
Yes-He Really Said That-Cory McClenathan, on winning in Top Fuel at the Four-Wide Nationals. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years in a fuel car, you’re not going to make everybody happy. The Smith family brought something to the table that nobody else has been able to do, and, yes, we were able to win it, so I might be a little biased on that.” From the Valvoline Track Talk Newsletter.
Here’s what’s happening in the world of motorsports. There’s lots of motorhead programming on this week right into the weekend on Speed and ESPN2. On Friday the action ramps up with the NASCAR weekend at Phoenix. On Saturday the Grand -Am and IRL events from Birmingham air on Speed and VS. The Cup race goes in prime time from Phoenix as does the NHRA National from Houston on ESPN2. For all of the details check RaceFanTV.com on the internet. (END)
NOTE: INFORMATION FOR THIS COLUMN CAME FROM VARIOUS REFERENCED SOURCES, PRESS RELEASES, NOTES AND OTHER SOURCES.
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