People, Places & Racing News

MARK MARTIN RETURNS TO NASCAR SPRINT CUP FULL-TIME AND OTHER RACING NEWS

IT’S OFFICIAL: Mark Martin will return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on a full-time basis, as the fourth driver for Hendrick Motorsports next season. Martin will steer the No. 5 Chevrolet as a teammate to Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

MAJOR MOVE: In an unprecedented move, the NHRA has mandated that races in the nitro-burning Top Fuel and Funny Car divisions will be run at 1,000 feet instead of the traditional 1,320 (quarter-mile) beginning this weekend at Bandimere Speedway near Denver. The temporary move has been taken to give NHRA more time to find other ways to slow down cars in the wake of Scott Kalitta’s death at Englishtown, New Jersey, last month.

NO CLASSIC: The PRI Sprint & Midget Classic, a three-year staple during the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, will not be held this season. The race is expected to return in December of 2009.

COMEBACK TRAIL: Racer Shane Hmiel is slowly making a comeback from drug dependency. He discusses his problems and his struggle to return to racing in this week’s (July 9) National Speed Sport News.

THE FIRST: Ryan Hunter-Reay picked up his first IndyCar Series victory at Watkins Glen International. Ray, however, was a two-time winner in the Champ Car World Series.

NEW SPONSOR: IZOD has signed on as the official apparel sponsor of the Indy Racing League.

ALL TIED UP: After nine races, the Formula One World Championship standings is a three-way tie among Lewis Hamilton, who won his home nation British Grand Prix Sunday, Felipe Massa and defending champion Kimi Raikkonen. Robert Kubica is only two points behind that trio.

POWER RANKINGS: Kyle Busch and Donny Schatz swapped the top spot in the National Speed Sport News Power Rankings again. Busch’s dramatic victory at Daytona International Speedway pushed him ahead of Schatz, who won his 10th race of the season. The National Speed Sport News Power Rankings are published weekly in the 74-year-old motorsports publication

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