KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race


Friday is upon us and it is time for another addition of the weekly heat race.

1. The other day someone said to us that Penske Racing’s Indy car team was hogging up all the sponsors. The team has signed a lot of sponsors of late (Pennzoil, IZOD, Meijer), but none of these are the kind of primary sponsor the team has enjoyed in the past. Penske Racing is piecing together a solid sponsorship program for its three-car team, not getting it all in one place.

2. Where will Scott Speed land? Out of the Red Bull loop for the first time in his racing career, the former Formula One driver not only needs a ride, but a sponsor. And without a paying-sponsor finding a ride may be difficult for Speed. While the Truck Series seems like a good place for Speed his road-racing skills may lead to a Grand Am or ALMS drive, though, there is precious little money to be made in either road racing series.

3. The racing program at Yakima (Wash.) Speedway includes the Bump To Pass division. Oddly, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski were all absent from the standings in this class, which seems tailor-made for each.

4. USAC is looking to get into the track-promoting business. The sanctioning body has submitted a bid and been recommended to the Dodge City (Kan.) city council to be accepted to operate Dodge City Raceway Park, a three-eighths-mile dirt track. It seems like an odd pairing with Dodge City being more than 1,000 miles from USAC’s racer base and the fact that most of the area cars run under IMCA rules. Ed Beckley has been the promoter in recent years, but did not submit a bid this year. Read more about this in the Dodge City Globe.

5. 28. That is the number of extra laps it took to complete the recent 300-lap Snowball Derby late-model race in Pensacola, Fla. Crashing was the name of the game during the final portion of the race as track rules call for the event to end with five laps of green-flag racing. Johanna Long emerged from the carnage to become the second woman (Tammy Jo Kirk) to win the prestigious race. Long, a former Blizzard LM series champion, plans to race for rookie-of-the-year honors in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series next season.

6. Mazda may not have signed up to supply engines for the IndyCar Series, but its move to become the title sponsor of the Road To Indy program is significant nonetheless. Mazda has now joined Chevrolet, Lotus and Honda as showing a commitment to the future of open-wheel racing in this country.

7. If you like motorsports videos that can’t be seen in other places, check out the video section listed under media in the navigation line of this website. NSSN is steadily adding video interviews from various segments of the industry.

8. Announcers at the Rolex 24 At Daytona likely took a double take when they heard that veteran English drivers Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell will share a car during the twice-around-the-clock event Jan. 29-30.

9. California will be the place to be for winged sprint-car racing during the early part of the season. The ASCS Lucas Sprint Car Series will opens its campaign with three races in California Feb. 9, 11 and 12 and several weeks later the World of Outlaws will hit California for a handful of events.

10. Don’t forget the winner of the eighth annual Economaki Champion of Champions Award will be announced Tuesday on

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