People, Places & Racing News

RACING NEWS: JIMMIE JOHNSON BECOMES ONLY SECOND DRIVER TO WIN THREE STRAIGHT TITLES

MERGER: Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing announced a merger of the two NASCAR Sprint Cup teams to field four cars next season under the Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing with the Felix Sabates banner.

BANNED: NASCAR has banned testing the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series and Camping World East and West Series in an effort to cut costs for its competing teams. Testing will not be allowed at NASCAR-affiliated race tracks.

THE CHAMP: Jimmie Johnson secured his third-consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, joining Cale Yarborough as the only drivers to have won the title three years in a row. Clint Bowyer won the NASCAR Nationwide Series crown and Johnny Benson earned the Truck series title.

ON THE MOVE: Bobby Hutchens has left Dale Earnhardt Inc. and will become director of competition for Stewart Haas Racing. As well, DEI crew chief Tony Gibson will join Stewart Haas as Crew Chief for new driver Ryan Newman.

SAME DISTANCE: The NHRA will start the 2009 season with its Top Fuel and Funny Car teams still racing at 1,000 feet. However, the sanctioning body will continue to evaluate information regarding a possible return to the traditional quarter-mile distance.

ON THE ROAD: Penske Racing is making the switch from the American Le Mans Series to the Grand American Road Racing Championship and expects to field two cars in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January and a single entry throughout the season.

TWO YEARS: Lucas Oil of Canada has signed a two-year sponsorship agreement to be the title sponsor of the Empire Super Sprint Series.

POWER RANKINGS: NHRA Top Fuel point leader Tony Schumacher remains at the top of the National Speed Sport News Power Rankings despite being eliminated in the second round at the season finale for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. The National Speed Sport News Power Rankings are published weekly in the 74-year-old motorsports publication.

SPONSOR: Speedway Motorsports Inc. is sponsoring the sixth annual Economaki Champion of Champions Award presented annually by National Speed Sport News.

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