Adios, Mexico: After four years of racing south of the border, the NASCAR Nationwide Series will not return to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in 2009. Attendance at the race in Mexico has dropped every year since the series started racing south of the border in 2005.
"This was never about a single event. The big idea was to strengthen motorsports in Mexico," said Robbie Weiss, NASCAR’s vice-president of international efforts. "We didn't create racing in Mexico and it has a long heritage, but in reality the racing market down there was very fragmented.
"The idea was could we help re-launch and strengthen the Mexican motorsports community with the big idea of launching a national championship that would be the most significant championship in the country."
And so far the idea of launching a National Championship has worked with the NASCAR Corona Mexico Series, which is holding 14 races this year. Unfortunately, holding major series races down there has not worked.
In my opinion, the lack of drivers from Mexico running in the Nationwide Series is probably what keeps the race in Mexico from being more successful.
The Nationwide Series will race at a new venue in 2009 to replace the Mexico race and the most likely candidate to take its place is the Iowa Speedway.
NASCAR Removes Mexico City From Schedule [thatsracin.com]
Petty taking another weekend off: Kyle Petty is taking another week off from driving his Cup car, but with usual fill-in driver Terry Labonte driving for Evernham Motorsports this week means that the Petty Enterprises team will have to find another driver to fill in for Petty.
Most likely Chad McCumbee, who failed to qualify with Petty’s car, may be that driver.
This move is making some people speculate that Kyle Petty’s career as a driver may be slowly coming to an end. Petty has not been behind the wheel of the 45 car since the Coca-Cola 600 back in May.
Petty out at Pocono [ESPN.com]
Newman not on Joe Gibbs Racing’s wish list: Ryan Newman is leaving Penske Racing at the end of 2008, but don’t count on Joe Gibbs Racing to be his destination in 2009. JGR President J.D.Gibbs said that Newman isn’t the person they’re looking for to replace Tony Stewart’s empty seat in 2009.
"It would be hard," Gibbs said before the Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Another time, another day, maybe. He's a great individual. You would love to have him on your team. It’s just all those ducks aren't in a row."
Gibbs also denied the possibility of JGR expanding to four teams in 2009.
Newman’s most likely replacement at Penske Racing, David Stremme, is feeling pretty upbeat about maybe driving the 12 car in 2009: “We’ve talked,” Stremme told NASCAR Scene on Saturday at O’Reilly Raceway Park. “Obviously, I’m doing testing for them. But there are a lot of opportunities open, too.
“Who wouldn’t want to be racing for Roger Penske? He’s very successful in motorsports. I like how they do their program,” Stremme continued. “I just want to run good, and I want to be around people that want to race and perform,” Stremme said. “I can get right back in there and be competitive. I’m in the cars about every week testing.
“It’d be cool to get to drive for him—or another organization. But it’d be neat really for him because his reputation in motorsports and the success he’s had.”
Newman's List Getting Shorter [ESPN.com]
Stremme has talked to Penske Racing about driving No. 12 in 2009 [Scenedaily.com]