People, Places & Racing News

DIRECTV SET TO SPONSOR IRL AND OTHER RACING NEWS

SPONSOR AT HAND: DirecTV is set to join the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series as a presenting sponsor in an entitlement role. The IRL has also landed Coca-Cola as a supporting sponsor for the series.

DATES SET: The IndyCar Series has officially set the dates for events at Edmonton and Surfers Paradise, Australia that have been picked up from the Champ Car World Series. The Edmonton race will be held July 26, with the Surfers Paradise event on October 26.

NEW OLD NAME: Firestone has picked up title sponsorship of the Indy Pro Series, and as a result, the series name has been changed to the Firestone Indy Lights. The same name was used for a similar support series from 1991–2001.

A BACK SEAT: After failing to qualify at Martinsville (Virginia) Speedway last week and ranking well out of the top 35 in NASCAR Sprint Cup owner’s points, Kyle Petty will step out of the No. 45 Dodge this week in favor of up-and-coming racer Chad McCumbee.

ANOTHER DAY: A fourth night will be utilized during the 2009 Chili Bowl Nationals for the third-straight year, however, this time the Tuesday night program for the January 13–17 event will be a full qualifying night, as opposed to a program for event rookies as it has been in recent years.

WINNING RETURN: Shane Hmiel, suspended from NASCAR for drug use two years ago, returned to racing in California’s BCRA Midget Series and promptly triumphed in his first start Saturday at Shasta Raceway Park in Anderson, California.

POWER RANKINGS: Veteran late-model racer Billy Moyer used his eighth victory (in a World of Outlaws Late Model Series event at Pike County Speedway in Mississippi) of the season to leap to the top of the National Speed Sport News Power Rankings, which are published weekly in the 74-year-old motorsports publication.

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