WALTZ: Cleaning Out The Notebook

Keith Waltz
Keith Waltz

HARRISBURG, N.C. — As the new racing season shifts into high gear, it’s time to clean out the notebook and share several tidbits that caught our attention when the weather was considerably colder.

– Perhaps foreshadowing things to come, anyone holding a NASCAR license is now prohibited from betting on NASCAR-sanctioned events.

The prohibition is part of a new policy that was produced in conjunction with Sportradar Integrity Services and is included in the 2019 NASCAR rulebook.

The policy states: “All NASCAR members have an obligation to protect the integrity of the sport. Gambling on NASCAR events by members can post a serious threat to the integrity of NASCAR, its stakeholders, and the industry as a whole. The integrity of NASCAR competition remains our greatest asset.”

Team owners, drivers, series officials and crew members are also prohibited from disclosing confidential information for the purposes of enabling or facilitating gambling as it pertains to NASCAR races.
Participation in fantasy leagues is permitted as long as NASCAR members do not accept prizes with a value in excess of $250.

– We tip our hat to Jay Frye and his team at IndyCar for signing NTT — a Japanese telecommunications company — to replace Verizon as the title sponsor of this country’s premier open-wheel racing series.

We find it interesting that while NASCAR officials are reportedly working on a new sponsorship model that will include multiple primary backers for its premier series, Frye and crew went out and got it done the old-fashioned way — locking down a single major sponsor for a multi-year run.

– It’s a shame heavy rain spoiled what was shaping up to be an outstanding conclusion to the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

In order to prevent a repeat of this year’s anticlimactic finish where the cars were sitting under covers on pit road when the checkered flag was waved, IMSA should consider stopping the clock during red-flag periods so future endurance races run to the full advertised time.

– Congratulations to longtime friend and colleague Jerry Gappens on being named promoter of the year by members of the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans organization following his rookie season at Indiana’s Gas City I-69 Speedway.

– Hard to believe it’s been 30 years since Casey Luna, Kenny Woodruff and Bobby Davis Jr. captured the World of Outlaws championship with a Ford engine under the hood of their No. 10 sprint car.

Thanks to Tony Stewart and his Twitter account we’ve seen the new Ford sprint car engine on the dyno and this could be the year the Big Blue Oval returns to World of Outlaws competition.

– ESPN, which played a major role in growing NASCAR’s popularity during the 1990s, made multiple moves early this year to further distance itself from the sport of stock car racing.

Former NASCAR driver and longtime ESPN studio analyst Ricky Craven was let go as was award-winning journalist Bob Pockrass, who generated a tremendous amount of NASCAR news for ESPN’s website. Both were picked up by FOX Sports and will continue in the same roles.

In addition, ESPN ended its relationship with Jay Adamczyk, founder of the popular jayski.com website. The online portal for NASCAR news was launched in 1996, and Adamczyk eventually joined forces with ESPN, making jayski.com the NASCAR portion of ESPN’s website.

– On the opposite end of the racing/television spectrum, NBC emphasized its commitment to motorsports by utilizing 17 of its IMSA, NASCAR and IndyCar commentators, analysts and reporters during the network’s coverage of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The talent lineup included two drivers — A.J. Allmendinger and Townsend Bell — who were also competing in the twice-around-the-clock spectacle.

– As someone who still utilizes a flip-phone, the burgeoning world of esports is a tad outside our comfort zone, but online racing is exploding in popularity and rapidly becoming an important part of the motorsports landscape.

This year, there’s even a weekly “Race Hub”-like TV show that airs on the NASCAR Heat YouTube channel. It features standings, player profiles and highlights from the NASCAR Heat Pro League.