Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More shuffling of NASCAR crew chiefs

A couple of things:

The shuffle of Sprint Cup crew chiefs continues as NASCAR heads into its offseason.

None of the moves announced so far have been huge surprises. We knew throughout the final weeks of the season that Larry Carter would be leaving Roush Fenway Racing and Jamie McMurray's No. 26 Fords. Carter is going to Yates Racing to work with Paul Menard there.

On Tuesday, Roush Fenway confirmed that Donnie Wingo will move from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates to rejoin McMurray. Wingo was McMurray's crew chief for three seasons at the Ganassi team.

McMurray finished third in the final three races of the 2008 season and has said he is looking forward to being reunited with Wingo, who started 2008 as Juan Pablo Montoya's crew chief and finished it working with Reed Sorenson on the No. 41 team.

Red Bull Racing announced Monday that Ryan Pemberton will move to that team to work with Brian Vickers on the No. 83 Toyotas. Pemberton comes from Michael Waltrip Racing, so his departure left an opening on the No. 00 Toyotas that David Reutimann will drive in 2009.

According to scenedaily.com, that spot will be filled by Rodney Childers. Childers was Elliott Sadler's crew chief at Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2008.

* * *

One high-profile part of championship week activities in New York City from recent years won't be happening this year. The "Victory Lap" parade of the top-10 finishers' cars around several blocks of busy midtown Manhattan streets is a thing of the past.

As you might imagine, closing several streets not far from Times Square in the middle of the morning was not something that endeared NASCAR to some grizzled New Yorkers. The fact that happened the morning after a bunch of streets near Rockefeller Center were closed for the annual Christmas tree lighting wasn't good timing, either.

Last year several drivers ignored instructions not to do burnouts during the parade. Also last year, coverage of the lap on ABC's "Good Morning America" basically was shoved aside to only a few seconds at the end of the show because the network was going ga-ga over the finale of last year's "Dancing with the Stars" competition that had aired the night before.

Add it all up and it was a stunt whose time had just passed.


Monkeesfan said...

The victory lap was a stunt whose time was never - why they did it is puzzling.

How McMurray, a driver notorious for not knowing what he wants in the setup even though he insists on his own calls from the cockpit, finished as well as he did late last year is a mystery. I don't expect Wingo to make any more difference here than he did with McMurray when they were with Ganassi/SABCO.

Anonymous said...

Wow did you stay up all night thinking of this article???? Let me sum it up ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Anonymous said...

What is past it's time is having the whole thing in NY. Take it somewhere that would get excited over a burnout, shut down it's main street to have a NASCAR festival, draw fans, peers, and family eager to see the champions, and get extended coverage on TV.

Anyone know of a city or venue like that?

Anonymous said...

Las Vegas comes to mind...

Anonymous said...

Anyone know of a city or venue like that?
Oh, a couple come to mind. Daytona, Charlotte, Winston-Salem.

Anonymous said...

How about downtown Concord (NC)?

Anonymous said...

The parade may have been dumb, but it was the only way the average New Yawker was going to get a glimpse of the stars during banquet week. I'm going to take a wild guess that NASCAR didn't replace it with something else to bring the drivers/cars to the masses.

Anonymous said...

A sign of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Anonymous said...

What are your favorite banquet memories?

Mine are when Kyle thanked his girlfriend but called her by the name of Kurt's wife.

Also Kelly Clarkson's inapproprate performance for the setting and the uncomfortable silence when she finished.