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NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 46: Steve Newmark

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When he was exploring the possibility of entering NASCAR as a car owner, Fenway Sports Group co-founder John Henry attended a race weekend as a guest of Jack Roush.

In the Camping World Truck, Xfinity and Sprint Cup races, Roush’s teams swept the weekend.

“I think John said, ‘I don’t know why I want to start my own team. I just want part of your team,’” Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark said on the latest episode of the NASCAR on NBC podcast.

Before joining the team as an executive six years ago, Newmark, who worked as a lawyer on business in auto racing and sports, helped broker the deal that led to the formation of Roush Fenway Racing in 2007. Roush sold a stake of his championship team to Henry’s FSG, which has owned the Red Sox since 2002 and now has worldwide sports interests ranging from the Liverpool football club of English Premier League to LeBron James’ marketing firm.

Unprecedented in its complexity and scope, the merger with Roush required a major learning curve for FSG.

“I think the biggest impediment was NASCAR was so foreign to all the business folks on the Red Sox side,” Newmark said. “Most of them had exposure to the NFL and the NBA. They all have their nuances, but the models are somewhat similar. It was very difficult to educate them because they had very entrenched views about how leagues are run. We were so fundamentally different from that.”

In its 10th season of working together, Newmark said the race team works weekly with the FSG sales team in building business and sponsorships.

“They have a much greater understanding of how to sell NASCAR,” said Newmark, who recently provided a business update to Henry in a suite at Fenway Park during a Red Sox-Yankees game. “We do interface with the Red Sox quite a bit.

“Overall, the relationship continues to be probably a model partnership.”

Other topics discussed by Newmark on the podcast:

–The origins of the Race Team Alliance, from the early meetings among NASCAR power brokers to the list of names considered for the group;

–Behind the scenes of the negotiations that led to landmark charter deal for teams this season;

–The evolving role of Jack Roush from iron-fisted manager to a more genteel mentor.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone. It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

Here are time codes for easy referencing while listening to the podcast:



Mental fatigue, endurance are biggest challenges for drivers in Coca 600 (video)

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While you’d think they’re the same thing, mental fatigue and endurance are two entirely different animals when it comes to racing in NASCAR’s longest race of the season, Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

On Friday’s Motorsports Special on NBCSN, NASCAR on NBC analyst and former NASCAR Cup crew chief Steve Letarte explained how drivers deal with both the mental and physical strain of the grueling race. Also giving their viewpoint were Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman.

Driving around isn’t grueling you say, eh? Tell that to Brad Keselowski, who lost an incredible 16 pounds racing in a 600 a few years back.

Drivers will make sure to stay hydrated with liquids — and even snacks like candy bars to keep their energy boosted — during the course of the race.

Check out Letarte’s analysis in the videos above and below.


Legendary announcer Ken Squier gets you ready for Sunday’s big day of racing (video)

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Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula One’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.

Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400 lap, 600 mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).

Roller coasters, bicycling & softball: How drivers spent their day off

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With no track activity, NASCAR Cup drivers had a free day on Friday and some were able to get out and about.

Jimmie Johnson helped organize a 69-mile bike ride Friday morning for 2006 MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden, who died May 22 at age 35 from injures suffered when he was hit by a car while cycling in Italy. The 69 miles ridden were for the number Hayden raced with in his career. Among drivers who joined him were Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Chase Elliott and Daniel Suarez.


Others did other activities on their day off.

Ryan Blaney went to Carowinds amusement park just south of Charlotte, North Carolina, and took to periscope as he rode in the front row on the Fury 325 roller coaster, which reaches a peak height of 325 feet and then goes into an 81-degree drop.

The ride reaches speeds up to 95 mph. The coaster is North America’s longest steel coaster at 1.25 miles. The average ride time is 3 minutes, 25 seconds, and the ride crosses both the North Carolina and South Carolina border.

Brad Keselowski spent part of his team playing in the Team Penske softball game and provided proof of his hitting ability.

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Stewart-Haas Racing, Nature’s Bakery reach settlement that includes sponsorship

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Stewart-Haas Racing announced Friday that it has reached an agreement with Nature’s Bakery that will include the company serving as a sponsor for four Cup races split between Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick.

Those four races will be announced at a later date.

As part of the agreement, all lawsuits between Stewart-Haas Racing and Nature’s Bakery have been dropped.

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit against Nature’s Bakery on Feb. 3. Nature’s Bakery had two years remaining on a three-year contract to sponsor Danica Patrick’s team when the company sent the team a notice of termination on Jan. 19 . Nature’s Bakery was to have paid $15,212,000 each season to sponsor the team.

Nature’s Bakery filed a counterclaim Feb. 25 stating it did not see the return it was led to believe in sponsoring Patrick’s team.

“It’s gratifying to see a difficult situation get resolved in a professional manner that suits all parties,” said Brett Frood, president, Stewart-Haas Racing. “Together, we worked diligently to find an equitable solution to our collective challenges.”

“I am a longtime motorsports fan and, particularly, a fan of NASCAR,” said Dave Marson, founder of Nature’s Bakery. “Our partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing began with direct, open conversations and that foundation allowed us to reach this agreement.”

Other parts of the agreement were not revealed.

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