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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.

 

Cole Pearn to honor late friend with fundraiser for family next month in Toronto

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A testimonial to Cole Pearn’s best friend, who unexpectedly passed away in early August, as well as a fundraiser for his family will be held Friday, Jan. 5, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Pearn’s lifelong friend, Jacob Damen, died unexpectedly after contracting a fast-moving bacterial infection on August 3.

Pearn, crew chief for the 2017 NASCAR Cup championship for Furniture Row Racing, will oversee the gala event, which will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. ET.

The evening will also include an appearance by 2017 NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., silent and live auctions, the opportunity to meet both Pearn and Truex and other events.

All net proceeds from the evening will be given to the Damen Family Fund.

“We miss our buddy Jacob dearly,” Pearn said in a media release. “We all have family and friends that fill a space in our hearts that is irreplaceable.

“Jacob filled the hearts of his wife Carolyn, his sons Lucas and Nolan, his parents Jerry and Kim Damen, twin brother Tyler, sister Julia and countless friends.

“We are going to celebrate his life at the perfect spot, the Hockey Hall of Fame, to support his beautiful wife Carolyn and the two boys, Lucas and Nolan. I can’t wait to get home to celebrate with everyone.”

Click here for more details and to purchase tickets to the ‘Jacob Damen Friend and Fan Remembered’ event.

NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day scheduled for Jan. 20

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The annual NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day will return to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, next month.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20, the day after the 2018 Hall of Fame class is inducted.

Fans will be able to take part in an autograph session with current national series drivers, Hall of Famers and members of the NASCAR Next class, as well photo opportunities and question-and-answer sessions with a number of NASCAR legends.

Admission to Hall of Fame will be free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis

Admission to driver autograph sessions is free but will require a ticket for participation. Fans can register for the driver autograph sessions at nascarhall.com beginning Saturday, Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. ET. A full driver autograph session schedule will be announced at a later date.

 and on Facebook

Ryan Blaney to guest star on NBC’s ‘Taken’ next year

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Ryan Blaney has a particular set of skills; skills that he’s developed through years of professional auto racing.

The Team Penske driver will get to display those skills next year on NBC’s “Taken” TV Series.

The show serves as a prequel to the 2008 Liam Neeson film of the same name.

Blaney, 23, will guest start on the second season of the series, which premieres Jan. 12. He will appear in an episode titled “Imperium” as a special agent who knows his way around a car.

Here’s the plot synopsis for the episode.

“When a dangerous weapons dealer smuggles his wares into New York City, Bryan Mills (Clive Standen) teams up with the FBI in a race to stop him before he reaches the safety of international waters.”

This won’t be Blaney’s first time in front of a camera playing someone else. He had two movie cameos this year in Logan Lucky and Cars 3.

Blaney was filming his role in “Taken” on Tuesday in Ontario. See his tweets from the set below.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram update: Leaves ICU, moves to acute care facility

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NASCAR Hall of Famer Jack Ingram’s condition continues to improve following a serious car crash in his native Asheville, North Carolina on Dec. 3.

According to an online post by his daughter, Ingram was taken out of Intensive Care on Tuesday and moved into an Acute Care facility, which is not as serious as ICU is.

Ingram did suffer a small setback in his recovery, developing a slight infection that is being treated with antibiotics.

Added the note from Ingrid Jones, Jack’s daughter, “The acute care facility will work to start decreasing his pain meds, over time, and put him on less narcotics and more simple analgesics (like really strong Tylenol, but without narcotics).

“Also they will continue his therapies, physical and occupational, as he’s able. It is still hard to know what his long-term health future will be, but we think his color looks really good, and we have no doubts that he has the will and determination to see this through.

“So if it is humanly possible for him to overcome, he will.”

We’ll continue to have periodic updates on Ingram’s condition as they become available.