Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Huge Wednesday Of NASCAR TV Stories For ESPN (Mayfield Wins In Court - Updated)
Update: New post is up with the official info about Weber being released from his TNT duties for this season.
Update 2: Jeremy Mayfield has won his temporary injunction against NASCAR and is free to race in Daytona. NASCAR Now on ESPN2 is at 5PM ET.
Normally, Wednesdays are a little bit of a slow news day in the NASCAR world. Trucks are on the road, suitcases are being packed and weather forecasts are being checked. Well, not this week. Wednesday is about to explode with news and ESPN will be the lone TV source for NASCAR fans.
Several big racing-related topics are going to be on the minds of many. Jeremy Mayfield will square-off with NASCAR over his drug suspension in US District Court. The latest bombshell was that NASCAR sent Mayfield's original urine sample to an independent lab and the testing results were the same. Meth and Mayfield may well be linked like Aaron Fike and heroin by Wednesday afternoon.
While not directly a NASCAR story, this item led the Tuesday edition of NASCAR Now and has huge implications on the American racing scene. The George family has removed IRL head Tony George from his position as President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This cuts his ties with the Hulman-George company's finances and forces the IRL to suddenly balance its own checkbook.
Robin Miller from SPEED broke this story several weeks ago and then appeared on NASCAR Now wearing a vintage t-shirt that said "Got SPEED?" The details of his story have now been confirmed, but the fallout for open wheel teams and drivers is only just beginning. Miller suggested that Tony George had funneled hundreds of millions of dollars from the Hulman-George company into his IRL efforts.
Update: Tony George story is in regular rotation on ESPN's SportsCenter today.
Recently, Danica Patrick's name has been all over the NASCAR media. Jimmy Spencer said on SPEED's RaceDay that Patrick could never make it in the Sprint Cup Series. Legendary promoter Humpy Wheeler said on Wind Tunnel that she might bring fans back to the track in droves with her presence in NASCAR. Either way, the Tony George news will no doubt fuel the Danica flames.
Finally, TNT will eventually have to release a statement and clear the air where Bill Weber is concerned. Everyone has problems in life. If the incident involving Weber in Manchester, NH last week ends his TNT career, his life will go on. If he returns in Daytona after an apology to those involved, his life will still go on.
NASCAR Now has been good this season at dealing with touchy subjects like this in a straightforward manner. Quoting TNT's eventual statement on the matter will work just fine. If Mike Joy or Jerry Punch had suddenly gone missing from the air, fans would wonder why. Clearing this issue up once and for all will be a welcome relief.
ESPN has done a good job of using ESPNEWS for breaking stories like the Mayfield lawsuit. It should be interesting to see if the Tony George or Bill Weber stories migrate over to that network inside the auto racing update.
NASCAR Now on Wednesday will be at 5PM ET and hosted by Nicole Manske. She often seems to be at the helm when a lot of motorsports news is breaking and this show should be jam-packed. The program repeats at midnight ET/9PM Pacific.
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