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ECONOMAKI: New Products To Look For

IN THE SEAT: Scott Hatton, who clinched the Badger Midget Series championship Friday, prepares for battle during Saturday's event at Angell Park Speedway in Wisconsin. (Jeff Arns Photo)

IN THE SEAT: Scott Hatton, who clinched the Badger Midget Series championship Friday, prepares for battle during Saturday’s event at Angell Park Speedway in Wisconsin. (Jeff Arns Photo)

MIDLAND PARK, N.J.
The International Speedway Corp., owner of Florida’s Daytona Int’l Speedway and a dozen other major U.S. raceways, has created Daytona Elite, a new automotive brand which it plans to license to makers of automotive aftermarket products. Hospitality and promotional rights are foreseen for this new Daytona brand.

Canadian car owner Jim Bray, a constant reader, phones with an enthusiastic report on the on-track activity and spectator turnout for the recent weekend of road racing at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Bray said that not only was the crowd huge, it was also solidly enthusiastic, applauding vigorously and frequently throughout the day. Bray estimated the attendance at 75,000.

Just when you thought the nonsense couldn’t get worse. Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip has threatened to sue a New Brunswick, Canada, businessman, forcing him to change the name of his memorabilia store. Randy Nicholson has been selling NASCAR merchandise in his store, but was accused of infringing on Waltrip’s trademark of the phrase: “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity.” Nicholson’s store was known first as Boogity Boogity Racing and later as Boogity Sportswear. Nicholson has been ordered to remove all references of Boogity from his store and the business will now be known as R&B Embroidery. “I really don’t understand this,” Nicholson told the Canadian Press. “It is not like I was making money off of Darrell Waltrip’s name. It’s a word for goodness sakes — boogity — and I am not even sure it is a real word. It’s a redneck word.” Amen.

We’re behind in our reading and as a result, we missed the retirement from writing of longtime Stock Car Magazine and Speedway Illustrated Editor Dick Berggren. Berggren dropped the bombshell in his “final column” in the August issue of Speedway Illustrated. Berggren says he will no longer be writing about the sport, but he will continue to appear on Fox’s coverage of NASCAR racing. His recent travels read like a Johnny Cash song: He’s been race chasing to Thompson (Conn.) Int’l Speedway, Eldora Speedway in Ohio, Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway, Utica-Rome (N.Y.) Speedway, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway and Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway, and enjoying every minute. Good luck, Dick.

Closer together. Volkswagen, Europe’s largest automaker, appears to have won out in a bloody battle with Porsche, one result of which were ousters of Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking and finance chief Holger Haerter. Principal effect of the spat saw VW pay Porsche the equivalent of $4.7 billion for a 41 percent stake in its SE automotive unit as part of a gradual merger of the companies. Plans are to integrate the 911 model in 2011, providing all merger requirements are satisfied. VW, currently the world’s third largest automaker by global sales, has made known its desire to unseat No. 1 Toyota as the world’s largest seller of cars by 2018.

Electric car fever is reaching epidemic proportions in Germany. The Berlin government recently initiated a car-battery research program with a 500 million euro ($705 million) budget to spur the electric car movement to put one million electric cars on German roads by 2020. At last count, Germany had 41 million cars on its roads, but only 1,452 were classified as electric.

Though auto racing sanctioning bodies try to keep followers of their facet of the sport fully informed, there is one aspect of their work that is never touched on, the medical costs of treating a driver following a serious accident. The recent report that IRL driver Will Power, injured Aug. 22 at Sonoma, Calif., will have to wear a back brace for four months or more made us wonder what the total cost of his medical treatment might be. Never have we seen any dollar figures involved in correcting racing-related injuries.

Gary Eaker, CEO of AeroDyn Wind Tunnel LLC, responds to our recent wind-tunnel mentions to report his Mooresville, N.C., tunnel has long tested the majority of Cup, Nationwide and Truck series vehicles and plans to continue to do so, with bookings already made for 2010. Eaker reports AeroDyn is the busiest full-scale wind tunnel in this country and likely the world.

What’s Humpy Wheeler’s latest project? Wheeler, along with James Cuttino, director of the motorsports program at UNC Charlotte, and Ronnie Bryant, president of the Charlotte Regional Partnership, are spearheading a project to bring a tire-testing research facility to the Charlotte, N.C., area. The facility would be built based on the needs of the companies that would participate in the program. The group is aggressively targeting auto-related manufacturers and has several potential sites in mind.

A documentary profiling Hendrick Motorsports has been completed and will air Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m. on ABC. “Together: The Hendrick Motorsports Story,” was produced by the NASCAR Media Group and a DVD of the program is scheduled for release Oct. 31. Proceeds of the DVD sales will benefit the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C. Tom Cruise serves as narrator.

Are you a recycler? The folks at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway are. Thompson Metals and Anheuser-Busch Recycling Corp. helped collect 6,200 pounds — three tons — of aluminum during the Sharpie 500 at the .533-mile concrete track. It is estimated that it took 210,000 12-ounce cans to reach that amount and the result was a $3,300 donation to Speedway Children’s Charities.

The International Motorsports Industry Show scheduled in Indianapolis Dec. 2-3 has registered 208 companies and sold 385 booths for the first-time show at the Indianapolis Convention Center. Organizers of the show have also announced the dates for the second annual gathering in 2010 — Dec. 1-3.

After winning Monday’s NHRA U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park, Funny Car racer Ashley Force Hood was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at Tuesday’s (Sept. 8) Chicago White Sox game against the Oakland A’s at U.S. Cellular Field on the south side of Chicago.

Smyle Media has introduced Smylemedia.com, a dedicated motorsports image database, which includes more than 6,500 NASCAR images, as well as vintage open wheel, Formula One and NHRA photos. All images are available for immediate licensing. The database includes the Don Hunter Collection and the Tom Kirkland Collection. For more information, contact Don Smyle at (704) 589-5079.

An interesting exhibit, entitled Wings & Wheels Expo, is coming to New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19-20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On display will be the WWII Yankee Lady B-17 bomber (rides available), vintage aircraft, motorcycles and military vehicles, exotic, antique and custom cars. Admission is $10 for seniors and children under 12 are admitted for $5. Ticket includes free admission to the museum. Use the Industrial Avenue entrance on Route 46. For more details call (201) 288-6344.

Former racer and noted safety advocate John Fitch celebrated his 92nd birthday in early August thanks to a surprise birthday party thrown by the Madison Avenue Sports Car Driving and Chowder Society. Reports are Fitch was thrilled. Happy belated birthday, John.

Services for Racing Promotion Monthly founder Stew Reamer, who died in late August, are scheduled Saturday, Oct. 10 (1 p.m.) at the Minnesota Cremation Society in South Edina, Minn.

Posted by on Sep 8 2009 Filed under Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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