Mark Martin said yesterday what most drivers almost certainly think in private; that a full day of single-car testing at Daytona International Speedway serves no useful purpose.
NASCAR forbids drafting in packs on the first day of the annual Daytona test, limiting teams to single car runs. Drafting is expected to be on the menu this afternoon. Martin said NASCAR's insistence on one-at-a-time testing is misplaced, saying, "I feel that we're wasting our time with single-car runs. We should be drafting already, but it is what it is. Once we start drafting, we're really working on racing. The rest of this stuff is idiotic.”
Martin also revealed that Dale Earnhardt, Inc., is negotiating to sign motocross star Ricky Carmichael to run for the Camping World East Series championship this season. Martin has worked with Carmichael in his short-track efforts with the former Ginn Racing.
Jason Keller is testing the Gillett-Evernham Motorsports' #98 Dodge at Daytona this week, under the watchful eye of test team director Pete Rondeau. Gillett-Evernham General Manager Keith Barnwell said the car will run a limited schedule of events again in 2008, with no driver locked in yet. It will not be a part of upcoming tests at Las Vegas and California.
Despite widespread reports that there are a pair of sponsors in the pipeline at Yates Racing, Travis Kvapil tested two cars at Daytona yesterday clad only in orange numbers, the Yates Racing logo and the website sponsoryates.com. The website included a letter from team owner Doug Yates saying the team still has primary sponsorship opportunities available on both cars.
In a related story, Kvapil announced yesterday that he will not compete in the Nationwide Series for Roush Fenway Racing, after all. The team had planned to run Kvapil in the full Nationwide Series schedule, but the effort has now been scrapped due to lack of sponsorship.
McGill Motorsports will not compete in the 2008 Nationwide Series, due to lack of sponsorship. Crewchief Ricky Pearson confirmed that the independent team will take the year off, after team owner John McGill declined to continue funding the team out of his own pocket. Pearson said McGill Motorsports has sold off some of its equipment, but is still searching for a sponsor to return to the track in 2009.
AAA will end its NASCAR sponsorships at the end of this season, withdrawing as primary sponsor of David Ragan’s #6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, and the official auto insurance of International Speedway Corporation. Their departure could clear the way for Nationwide Insurance -- the new sponsor of the series formerly known as the NASCAR Busch Series – to become the official auto insurance for ISC’s 19 speedways around the country. Nationwide already serves in that capacity at the Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks.
The moves reportedly came after complaints from AAA Auto Clubs located away from Sprint Cup events. Those regional clubs said they do not receive sufficient return on their investment, prompting AAA to let the individual clubs make their own sponsorship choices from now on. That decision could bode well for February’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, AAA’s “Official Motor Club” status at Dover International Speedway, and its sponsorship of the May Craftsman Truck Series race there.