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Racing News: Harvick Opens Season With Second-Straight Shootout Win

TOP PROMOTERS: Jeff and Cindy Nuckles were named Auto Racing Promoters of the Year at the annual Racing Promotion Monthly ceremony February 8. The Nuckles family are the long-time operators of Ohio’s Columbus Motor Speedway. Washington’s Skagit Speedway and promoter Steve Beitler were recognized with the National Speed Sport News outstanding annual short-track event for the Jim Raper Dirt Cup.

The stock car racing season got off to a big start at Daytona International Speedway with Kevin Harvick winning his second-straight Budweiser Shootout, while 51-year-old Mark Martin became the oldest driver to win the pole for the Daytona 500. Bobby Gerhart earned his sixth ARCA 200 victory at Daytona, while IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick finished sixth in her stock car racing debut.

In part because of Danica Patrick’s participation, Saturday’s ARCA 200 at Daytona earned a record 2.30 rating on Speed. It was the highest-rated ARCA race in history, drawing 2.34 million viewers. Patrick hits the track again this Saturday, competing in the season-opener for the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

IZOD IndyCar Series officials are in talks with Dallara, Lola, Swift and DeltaWing about designing, manufacturing and supplying the series with a new chassis starting in 2012.

The inaugural USAC National Driving Champion will be determined by calculating points earned from each driver’s top-25 finishes (regardless of division) throughout the year, with the award winner earning $40,000. USAC also elected Jeff Stoops its Chairman of the Board.

NEW HIRE: Former Indy car racer Adrian Fernandez will drive for Aston Martin Racing this season, competing in at least three races in a Gulf-liveried LMP1 Le Mans entry in the American Le Mans Series and the European Le Mans Series.

LANDED: Former USAC champion Josh Wise has landed a full-time ride with Specialty Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Monroe Motor Speedway in Monroe, Louisiana, a state-of-the-art asphalt track, which opened in 2008, is scheduled to be sold at auction March 17.

UNLEASHED: Patterned after Speed’s popular “Pinks” television series, the National Hot Rod Association has introduced a new racing program known as "Unleashed," which it hopes will cater to a new breed of drag-racing enthusiasts.

The 50th annual Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts Winternationals will be held this weekend at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (California).

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