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Kurt Busch sued by former management company for $1.4 million

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kurt Busch has been sued for $1.4 million by Sports Management Network, which contests the NASCAR driver hasn’t paid its fees since terminating his deal with the company.

The lawsuit, which initially was reported by MLive.com, was filed Feb. 8 in U.S. District Court’s Eastern District of Michigan. It names Busch and Kurt Busch Inc. as defendants. SMN alleges that Busch has been delinquent in his payments since the second quarter of 2016 and owes at least $930,450.

The company also is asking Busch to cover interest, costs and attorney’s fees, bringing the requested judgment from the court to $1,470,450.

According to SMN, the last payment by the Stewart-Haas Racing driver was $117,167 for the first quarter of 2016.

A representative for Busch referred requests for comment to Alan Miller, a lawyer from Birmingham, Mich., who counts several auto racing drivers among his client list (including seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson).

Miller told NBC Sports that the SMN lawsuit was without merit and would be defended “vigorously” by Busch.

John P. Caponigro of SMN stated in an affidavit that Busch hadn’t paid “despite SMN’s repeated demands for payment on the account.”

According to the lawsuit, Busch terminated his contract with SMN in March 2016. The driver and company had entered into a representation contract in 2005 that was extended Aug. 11, 2010.

The contract was reworked in May 2012 to reduce Busch’s annual financial burden to SMN from $250,000 to $125,000 after he moved from Team Penske to Phoenix Racing because “it became apparent that the money that Defendants would receive in 2012 from KB’s professional driving activities would be a fraction of what they previously received.”

In July 2012, Busch and SMN agreed that starting in January 2013, Busch would owe the retainer plus 10 percent of all revenue from personal services agreements.

The lawsuit states “Subsequently, SMN negotiated and finalized multiple agreements for Defendants, including, but not limited to, driver appearances, sponsor agreements, personal services agreements, pursuant to the terms of which Defendants will be paid compensation through 2018.”

According to the suit, Busch has been invoiced for $930,450.07 pursuant to the 2017 season that has gone unpaid.

SMN claims being entitled to another $540,000 (which hasn’t been invoiced) based on Busch’s earnings for the 2018 season.

Click here to view a copy of the lawsuit.

 

My Home Tracks: New Mexico’s the Land of Enchantment and home of Cardinal Speedway

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The state of New Mexico is known more for IndyCar racing, with the Unser family being the state’s favorite sons.

Al Unser won four Indianapolis 500s, brother Bobby three and Al’s son Al Jr. a two-time winner (this weekend’s 500 marks the 25th anniversary of Little Al’s second 500 triumph).

But there’s a strong grassroots racing scene in the Land of Enchantment, particularly in the far southeast corner of the state at Cardinal Speedway, a half-mile dirt track in the little town of Eunice.

NASCAR America continues its My Home Track series of 50 states in 50 shows.

Wednesday, we visit New York state.

2018 NASCAR schedule changes: EVP Steve O’Donnell breaks it down (video)

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On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell joined us to discuss the NASCAR Cup schedule changes in 2018, including running a road race at Charlotte and having Indianapolis be the final race before the playoffs.

“I’m real excited about these changes,” said O’Donnell, who cited unprecedented cooperation between NASCAR, its teams, drivers and sponsors to reach agreement on the schedule changes.

Among the key changes: Las Vegas will kick off the 10-race playoffs in 2018 (Chicagoland Speedway, which will have hosted the last seven playoff openers, will return to its more traditional race date in early July/late June and serve as a run-up to the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona.

Several other changes include:

  • The fall playoff race at Charlotte will move up a couple weeks in the schedule and also incorporate competition on both the infield road course and part of the speedway itself.
  • After 14 years as the deciding race to qualify for the NASCAR Cup playoffs, Richmond International Raceway will now become the second race of the playoffs.
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway will see it’s Brickyard 400 go from late July to become the final qualifying race for the playoffs in early September.

Catch up on all the changes in the above video.

Tony Stewart pulled over by state trooper, but it’s not for speeding

Photo courtesy Damein Cunningham Twitter account
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Retired NASCAR Cup driver and team co-owner Tony Stewart was stopped by an Illinois State Trooper over the weekend near DeKalb, Ill., about 90 minutes west of Chicago.

But before you think Stewart was stopped for speeding by Trooper Damein Cunningham, he wasn’t.

Rather, Cunningham pulled Stewart over for improper lane usage, although exactly what the infraction was is unclear.

After getting a verbal warning, Stewart gladly posed with Cunningham for a selfie, which the trooper promptly tweeted out.

“Just pulled over NASCAR LEGEND Tony Stewart on I-88 in DeKalb, IL, what you think I got him for? #NASCAR #ISP”

But according to the Chicago Tribune, Cunningham’s bosses apparently didn’t have a sense of humor about the incident or realize the good PR it meant for the Illinois State Police.

That, or they’re not Stewart or NASCAR fans. They ordered Cunningham to delete the tweet, which he did.

It’s unclear what Stewart, who was stopped on his 46th birthday, was doing in the Land of Lincoln.

But his luck went from bad to worse a few hours later. According to USA Today, Stewart and others were stuck in an elevator in a Madison, Wisconsin hotel for about 20 minutes before being rescued by firefighters.

We can just imagine what the elevator riders talked about while trapped.

How much do you want to bet Stewart said, “Man, do I have a story about a cop that I have to tell you.”

Cunningham then posted another tweet on Sunday after attending church services.

 

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All-Star Race will remain at Charlotte in 2018

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
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NASCAR confirmed that the All-Star Race will be held again at Charlotte Motor Speedway despite more of a push from competitors and others to move the event.

Criticism was raised after last weekend’s 70-lap event featured only three lead changes. Kyle Busch took the lead on the restart to begin the final 10-lap stage and went on to win. It marked the fourth time in the last five years the All-Star winner led every lap in the final stage. In 12 All-Star Races at Charlotte since the track was repaved, there have been two lead changes in the final five laps.

Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations, was clear in a call with reporters Tuesday that the All-Star Race is set for Charlotte.

“We’ve finished our discussions for ’18,” he said. ” We’ll begin looking at ’19 and beyond in the near future.”

The All-Star Race debuted at Charlotte in 1985, moved to Atlanta in 1986 and returned to Charlotte the following year. It has been held at Charlotte ever since.

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