Motor Racing Welcomes Electric Cars

John Jellinek The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) announced in 2012 that it was considering developing a racing series for single seat, electrically powered cars. When the idea was first introduced, environmentalists were concerned that one of the gains they had made within the automotive industry had been exploited for recreational purposes. On the other hand however, racing enthusiasts were hesitant when they hear the news, understandably skeptical about a motorsport series without any of the sounds commonly associated with motor racing. Even the CEO of Formula E Holdings, Alejandro Agag, termed the new car “the silent revolution in motor racing” when the car was introduced during the 2014 Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

However, when former Formula 1 racer Jarno Trulli was entrusted with testing the Spark-Renault SRT_01E racing car, he was impressed with the sound of the motor behind the cockpit. Although the car was not on par with the sound of a the turbo V6 engines used in traditional Formula 1 racing, it was decidedly louder than an average passenger car.

FIA, hopes that the Formula E Championship, the electronically powered racing series Formula 1 equivalent, will create the peak of electric car development and competition, incorporating 10 two-driver teams that will compete in 10 races over the fall and winter racing seasons. Races are currently planned for in Beijing, Putrajaya (Malaysia), Rio de Janeiro, Punta del Este (Uruguay), Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Miami, Monte Carlo, Berlin and London.

Each race will have a duration of 60 minutes on various city circuits ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 kilometers in length. In order to keep the cost of cars down, builders are required to make the cars available to at least two other teams with a capped cost of 480,000 U.S. dollars. Each team must enter four cars in a race and be prepared to engage in pit stops that will require each team’s two drivers to switch from a car with a depleted energy level to a fully charged one.

For more information about the new electric car racing please visit http://digitaljournal.com/sports/the-buzz-around-new-electric-car-racing-series/article/378684.

Danica Patrick is Looking for Luck in Las Vegas

Nascar, Motorsports, RacingAfter experiencing two tough weeks on the track, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick is hoping that the upcoming race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will turn her 2014 season around. Her first two weeks of racing ended with damaged racecars. The first wreck in Daytona was not so surprising, because collisions are not uncommon for NASCAR drivers, but when she was involved in a wreck that stunted her performance for a second consecutive week while racing in Phoenix, Patrick became understandably frustrated.

In her first race of the season, Patrick finished 40th. At her second race, she placed 38th. Still, Patrick is optimistic going into her third race of the season in Las Vegas. In 2011, Patrick attained a fourth-place finish in the Nationwide Series race in the same location. That fourth-place finish was the highest finish for a female in any NASCAR national series race.

Patrick is hoping Las Vegas will be a good luck charm for her, and with good reason. Patrick is 41st in owner standings and, starting next week at Bristol, 2014 owner points will determine which drivers make provisional. The top 36 cars in the first qualifying session each get the chance to race, followed by seven other spots which will be filled by drivers in the 2014 owner standings. To put things into perspective for Patrick, the first driver to go home last year was ranked 42nd in the 2013 owner standings.

Last year in 2013, Patrick started in the top 20 twice and in the top 30 sixteen times. At Phoenix, she started at 33rd. Patrick and her crew chief, Tony Gibson, are looking ahead and excited about the car that will be racing in Las Vegas. Between Patrick’s enthusiasm and the power and speed packed into her new car, the two are confident that Patrick can turn things around in Las Vegas.

For more information about Danica Patrick’s 2014 season and the upcoming race in Las Vegas please visit http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar/story/2014-03-06/danica-patrick-las-vegas-race-phoenix-crash-daytona-sprint-cup-standings.

Sponsors Invest in Nascar Stars

NascarIn recent years, Nascar drivers have experienced decreasing salaries because of sponsors committing less financially.  However, for stars in the sport, salaries are bigger than ever.  The ten highest-paid drivers had a cumulative income of $170 million last year, including salaries, endorsements, winnings and licensing.  Teams are searching for high profile drivers that consistently end up in the winner’s circle, hoping to attract sponsors.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been the highest-paid driver for the last six years, earning $25.6 million in 2013.  His licensing income is down, as he made $30 million five years ago, but he still holds the sport’s biggest licensing and endorsement income.  The Army National Guard spent $30 million in 2013 to sponsor Earnhardt’s No. 88 car in 20 races, meaning that his car carries the most expensive real estate in the sport-

As for the theory of advertisers being drawn to someone in “the winner’s circle,” Earnhardt has made the Chase three years in a row, finishing fifth in the year-end standing last year.  In October, Earnhardt became the 34th driver to make the 500 career Sprint Cup Starts.  He was also voted Nascar’s most popular driver by fans for the 11th year in a row.

Jimmie Johnson, Earnhardt’s teammate, was the second highest-paid driver last year, earning $24.8 million.  Johnson was America’s most influential athlete in 2011 and 2012 based on data from Nielsen and E-poll.  The total amount of prize money Johnson received last, $14.7 million, was twice as much as what Earnhardt received, but his endorsement and licensing income are still considerably lower than Earnhardt’s.

Even the ninth highest-paid driver, Danica Patrick, earned $13.5 million last year.  While she may not be the sport’s top driver, she is still one of Nascar’s biggest draws, holding more than ten personal endorsement partners, including Coca-Cola.  She has also appeared in a record 13 Super Bowl commercials and her merchandise is Nascar’s sixth bestseller for officially licensed sports merchandise.

For more information about Nascar’s highest paid drivers please visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2014/02/20/nascars-highest-paid-drivers-2014/.

Swan Racing Gains 50 Cent as an Associate Sponsor

Since his music career launched in 2003, Curtis Jackson, better known as rapper 50 cent, has expanded his interests well outside of the music industry.  In the years since his debut, Jackson has invested in multiple ventures, including clothing lines, film production, audio equipment companies, and other consumer products like Vitamin Water—an investment in a small company at the time that ended up making him millions when the product got off the ground.

Jackson is currently continuing to expand his business ventures to NASCAR.  Later this year SMS Audio, a line of headphones and accessories founded by Jackson in 2011, will appear as an associate sponsor for the season on the cars of Parker Kligerman and Cole Whitt, two Swan Racing drivers who are entered to compete in the NASCAR Spring Cup Series.  The owner of Swan Racing, Brandon Davis, says the deal is for multiple years, implying that SMS Audio could become a primary sponsor of Swan Racing.

Swan Racing was founded in late 2012 and competed last season as a one-car team with primary driver David Stemme.  In the season, the team achieved five top-twenty finishes.  Swan Racing expanded to two full-time entries for 2014 and looks forward to continuing to grow.

While Davis and Jackson seem to come from completely different ends of the spectrum when it comes to interests and lifestyle, both men agree that from an entrepreneurial and marketing standpoint, the match could not be more perfect.  When talking about the recent partnership, Davis pointed out that NASCAR itself had a lot to do with the pair coming together.  He said, “NASCAR’s structure, it really allows for and opens the door for entrepreneurs to come in and use this platform for different kinds of marketing opportunities, and this is one of them.”

Nascar unleashes new video game

John JellinekAccording to an article, Nascar will be unleashing its newest video game on February 18th for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Steam.

By fan choice, Tony Stewart will be the face of the cover. Compared to Nascar 2013, Nascar 2014 will feature a variety of different game modes, including Nascar Highlights and Career Mode. Nascar Highlights is very unique in that the game recreates past races, including cars, tracks and even weather conditions. Career mode is exactly how it sounds. Over the course of a season, users get to build a custom car, obtain sponsors, and complete R&D.

It seems like video games are getting even more realistic. Sports games are including more of a story mode to the game where players pass through the whole lineage of a sports career. More games are also feature online play. Players have the ability to connect with friends over the internet to compete with one another.

As new video games come out during the year, it’ll be interesting to see how they differentiate themselves. With so many options to choose from, how do you choose one sports game over another? I guess it comes down to ratings and user reviews. If you see that others are enjoying the game then you are most likely going to pick that game over others.

Like most sports, Nascar has a game that coincides with its league. 2014 sounds like it is going to be a big year for the organization. With a new Chief Operating Officer and a big video game just released, the league will surely see more favorability by fans.

 

NASCAR appoints Brent Dewar as Chief Operating Officer

According to an article at USA Today, NASCAR has named Brent Dewar as the new COO.

Before NASCAR, Dewar worked at General Motors for more than 30 years. He retired from GM in 2010 when he was Vice President of Chevrolet. Over the last year, he has been working with Nascar as a consultant on “transforming its competition with new approaches on rules, penalties, officiating and inspection.”

According to Nascar chairman Brian France, “In Brent Dewar, we will add a seasoned leader with deep experience in the automotive sector, plus intimate knowledge of and passion for NASCAR as well as various other forms of motorsports. Brent brings creativity, drive, intelligence, operational acumen and a clear understanding of our assets and challenges to NASCAR. He’s a leader who’s naturally collaborative, an essential trait as we work more closely with the (manufacturers), teams, tracks, broadcast partners and others to grow the sport over the next decade.”

While at GM, one of Brent’s responsibilities was to oversee the companies motor sports program. He also was instrumental in launching the volt electric car as well as adapting initiatives in digital and social media. These areas will be key for NASCAR as they will look to Brent Dewar’s guidance in an effort to rebuild its fan base.

Since 2006, NASCAR has functioned without a COO. The last person to fill the role was George Pyne.

Brent Dewar will begin his new role on January 6th in Florida. His goal in the first few months is to solicit as much information from the industry as possible.

Nascar Driver Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis

John JellinekAccording to an article on ABC News, the youngest driver to ever win the Daytona 500, Trevor Bayne, was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Bayne won the  Daytona 500 back in 2011 when he was only 20 years old and has been racing since he was 5 years old. He said this recent development won’t derail him from living his dream as a professional race car driver. Trevor said, “Back in 2011 I started going to Mayo Clinic after I’d been out with double vision, it’s kind of relieving to finally have a diagnosis.”

MS can be a “potentially disabling disease.” No ones knows for sure just how people are going to react as the disease is very difficult. There currently is no cure, but treatment can help relieve certain symptoms and stop the progression of the disease.

According to ABC News’ chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, “MS can have a very variable course. So one person may have years where they’re not affected much at all, whereas someone else the same age presenting at the same time may have a course that’s very rocky.”

Trevor Bayne is currently scheduled to participate in the Nationwide and the Sprint Cup Series. His doctors and NASCAR have given him approval now, but there is no telling what might happen in the future. Trevor is living in the moment and he clearly isn’t letting that deter him from doing what he loves. He also wants to remain in NASCAR so he can raise more awareness for the disease. Trevor is at a unique position where many people can take notice of him. He’d like to take advantage of his opportunity.

 

 

IndyCar Crash Involves Racer and Spectators

John JellinekDario Franchitti, a three time Indianapolis 500 winner, was involved in a last lap crash that also impacted 13 spectators at the Grand Prix of Houston according to the New York Times. Franchitti suffered a broken back among other injuries while the other spectators were injured by flying debris from the wreck.

According to the article, “Franchitti’s car collided with Takuma Sato’s car and launched into a steel catch fence. Parts of his car, and the shredded catch fence, flew into a spectator area. Debris scattered on the track also hit E. J. Viso’s car, which careened into Sato’s. Several cars driving through the mess were also damaged.”

Franchitti’s was taken to a hospital in Houston where it has been stated that his injuries are not life threatening. He is being treated for a concussion, two spinal fractures and a right ankle fracture. The spectators who were hit by flying debris from the crash were not reported.

It is amazing that there aren’t more nascar crashes. Sometimes I am so surprised that some races don’t have any at all. These race car drivers push themselves and their vehicles to the limit. The speeds that they reach and the amount of maneuverability they have is remarkable. I’m glad to see Dario Franchitti will be ok after such a hard crash. I’m also glad no one spectating was seriously injured as well. Nascar is a dangerous sport and I give these guys a lot of credit for competing at such a high level.

 

Nascar Investigating Race

John JellinekAn article from the New York Times talks about the recent ongoing investigation of a Nascar race that was perhaps “tainted” by a couple of drivers. Nascar is looking into a particular team in the field that may have intentionally affected the race.

It is being reported that two drivers from one team may have knocked of cars purposely to help one of their teammates. The decision of Nascar should be heard early this week before the playoff event at Chicagoland Speedway. Coming from a former Nascar executive, “It would be bad for the sport if there was clear evidence that a race was somehow manipulated.” Nascar has and continues to be very serious on infractions of this nature; they won’t take anything lightly. Harsh penalties have been handed out in the past to make it clear that these matters will not be tolerated and to deter others from participating.

On the final laps of the race, it is believed that Clint Bowyer purposeful spun out to keep Ryan Newman from finishing first, which would have automatically kept his teammate Martin Truex Jr. from qualifying for the playoffs.

A lot of people are looking into this development and many are expecting there to be repercussions. As a sport, Nascar has a responsibility to get to the bottom of the incident and find the truth. From the looks of it, it seems preconceived and well planned.

 

Nascar App

John JellinekI came across an article on Nascar’s website that talked about their recent Microsoft Windows Phone 8 App. The application was released at a great time as there are only five more races before the winner of the Nascar Sprint Cup series is announced. It is also offered to both Android and IOs devices so no one will be left out of the mix. “On the Windows Phone 8 platform, the app includes exclusive features such as the option to add the app to the home screen as a Live Tile or as live wallpaper, pinning favorite drivers to the Start screen, and the ability to initiate voice commands.”

The application will offer news, race information, analysis, videos, photos and much more. “The app gives avid and casual fans alike the ideal platform to further immerse themselves in the NASCAR experience, particularly through premium features such as the advanced live leaderboard, in-car audio and alternate camera angles.” Sprint customers have the ability to download the application for free and will receive exclusive content. People with other cell phone carriers can download the application as well for $2.99.

Nascar is one of the most popular sports in America so it makes sense to have a great application for people to follow everything about the sport. It is amazing to see how far the sport has grown over the years. It seems that it will only become increasingly more popular as younger drivers come into the circuit and make a run at a cup.