Sunday, July 20, 2003

Auto Racing Insider

Edwards, sponsor hurt by sanctions

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

It looks like Carl Edwards' last-place-to-victory-lane performance last weekend at Kentucky Speedway wasn't so impressive after all.

Tuesday, NASCAR slapped Edwards, his crew chief and Roush Racing with a stiff penalty for using an illegal engine part during last Saturday's Craftsman Truck Series race.

Crew chief Doug Richert claims the illegal cylinder heads were used because Edwards was forced to use a backup engine, which had not been properly inspected by the team. Richert was assessed a $25,000 fine and Edwards lost 100 driver points, and Jack Roush 100 owner points.

Edwards essentially was driving to save his season Saturday night, and allegations of cheating can't possibly look good to his new sponsor "Bob Graham for President," which had been a partial sponsor for Roush teammate Jon Wood.

Wonder if "Bob Graham for President" would have been as eager to step up to the sponsorship plate if the deal hadn't been worked out before the race?

CALLING ALL SPORTSWRITERS (SORT OF): used a fan to cover today's New England 300. While you can watch the race for free, a lucky auto racing fan bid $200 on eBay to watch the race from home and write a 300-word column for the website.

It's important to note that the website fired its staff of writers a few weeks ago and seems to have found a once-thought impossible solution of receiving payment from writers rather than actually paying its own writers.

What the poor soul, who actually paid to work, doesn't know is that several websites offer the same service, called a web blog, where fans write columns about events they watch. He could have saved himself some dough and the time spent on the Internet auction.

PAYING FOR AIRTIME: In the spirit of paying to get noticed, Championship Auto Racing Teams, (known as CART by anyone who still recalls that this was, once, a viable series) has entered into a 10-race deal with CBS for next season.

The catch? CART must produce the show and pay for the airtime.

CART, at the very least, has one big name supporting its cause. Mario Andretti, upon learning that the race at Road America would be cancelled, gathered up enough support to keep the Aug. 3 race alive. It now bears his name, The Mario Andretti Grand Prix.

MORE SPONSOR PROBLEMS: It's been a forgettable week for Roush Racing, which incurred more sponsorship problems. This time it happened in Winston Cup. Jeff Burton's No. 99 team will lose its sponsor, Citgo, next season.

WILLIAMS CLOSING ON FERRARI: Williams drivers have won three of the last four Formula One races and are favored to win again today in the British Grand Prix. The team, with drivers Juan Montoya and Ralf Schumacher, trails Ferrari by just three points. Williams recently signed a sponsorship deal with Anheuser-Busch and will run its cars with Budweiser logos.


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