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Nature’s Bakery, Stewart-Haas Racing to go before mediator


Nature’s Bakery and Stewart-Haas Racing will have a mediator hear their issues Wednesday, court documents show.

If that session is unsuccessful, both sides agree to a second mediation session that will occur 30 days after all summary judgment motions and briefs are filed.

The requests were part of a joint case management report filed Friday.

Also in the filing, Nature’s Bakery has requested that a North Carolina Superior Court judge set the trial date for after the 2018 season, stating in court documents Friday that some evidence will not be available until then.

Stewart-Haas Racing has requested that a trial take place as early as later this summer.

Stewart-Haas Racing filed a $31 million breach of contract lawsuit Feb. 3 against Nature’s Bakery. The amount comes from $15.2 million Nature’s Bakery was to have paid to sponsor Danica Patrick’s team in 2017 and ’18, along with other costs. Nature’s Bakery sponsored Patrick in 2016.

Nature’s Bakery filed a counterclaim that it did not see the return it was led to believe as Patrick’s sponsor. Nature’s Bakery terminated its three-year agreement with the team in January.

In its summary of the issues, Stewart-Haas Racing stated: “Defendants repeatedly renegotiated the timing of payments because, despite promises to the contrary, they apparently could not afford to make the payments. After being bought (in part) by a private equity group, Defendants seemingly lost interest in the sponsorship. Immediately following the end of the 2016 race season, Defendants concocted a long list of fictitious reasons to try to justify terminating the contract, and then terminated the contract with two years and over $30 million remaining owed to SHR.”

In its summary, Nature’s Bakery stated: “Nature’s Bakery would be one of the smallest, if not the smallest, lead sponsor in NASCAR history. In exchange, SHR and Ms. Patrick were to exclusively endorse Nature’s Bakery products and provide other services, including broad social media outreach to help promote the brand. Barely six months into the relationship, SHR and Patrick could not or would not fulfill their obligations under the Agreement. Ms. Patrick was endorsing confusingly similar brands and products, and SHR was unable to obtain her cooperation. … At trial, Nature’s Bakery will seek, inter alia, to void the Agreement based on SHR’s misrepresentations and for declaratory relief that it owes no further money to SHR based on SHR’s own breaches and failures to mitigate.’’

Stewart-Haas previously stated that Patrick endorsed Six Star Pro Nutrition’s protein powder and that it was not a competing product.

Also in the court filing, Nature’s Bakery is contemplating filing a motion to amend its counterclaims to “assert additional allegations  or counterclaims, and/or to add additional parties. Because the contemplated amendments depend on discovery not yet obtained from SHR and third parties, including Ms. Patrick, Nature’s Bakery respectfully requests that it be permitted the opportunity to amend at any time within three months of the entry of the Case Management Order.’’

Stewart-Haas Racing stated it would like Nature’s Bakery to file any motions within 30 days of the Case Management Order.

Read Joint Case Management Report

NASCAR America’s Jarrett, Letarte, Petty recap 2017, make 2018 predictions

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The 2017 NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series seasons have only been over for a few days.

And while it’s understandable that on Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America, analysts Steve Letarte, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty reflected back on the recently completed race seasons, they also took a very bold move:

The new season is still three months away, but our analyst team is ALREADY making predictions for 2018.

We don’t want to spoil the surprise or show their hands. If you want to hear how they’re already viewing 2018, click on the video above.

Justin Hartley from NBC’s ‘This Is Us’ on Dale Jr.’s special bond with fans

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Even though Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now officially retired as a NASCAR Cup driver, the special bond between the former driver of the 88 will likely never go away.

Sure, Alex Bowman is replacing Junior in the 88, which will likely pick up some of Junior Nation to cheer for him. Others will gravitate to cheer for other drivers, perhaps youngsters William Byron, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and others.

But one thing is for certain: once a Dale Jr. fan and a member of Junior Nation, ALWAYS a Dale Jr. fan and a member of Junior Nation.

Justin Hartley, who plays Kevin on NBC’s top-rated “This Is Us,” is proud to call himself a card carrying member of Junior Nation. In the video above, Hartley shows what it’s like to be a Dale Jr. fan, what the third-generation driver meant to so many people for so many years, and how his legacy will continue on for decades to come.

Check out the video above to see what Junior Nation is all about, as well as thoughts from our NBC analysts, Kyle Petty, Steve Letarte and Dale Jarrett.

NASCAR America: Nate Ryan on how 78 rode roller coaster to Cup crown

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If the 2017 NASCAR Cup season was an amusement park ride, it definitely would be a roller coaster for Martin Truex Jr., crew chief Cole Pearn and the rest of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team.

Up and down the season went, from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows.

There was adversity on the track and tragedy off the track, with Pearn losing his best friend to a freakish infection, and team member Jim Watson passing away in Kansas one day before the Cup race that Truex would go on to win and dedicate to his fallen teammate.

And through it all, Truex and longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex dealt with the recurrence of ovarian cancer with strength, inspiration and fortitude.

The 78 team’s dedication, sticking to the plan and rallying together as a family was the difference.

NBC Sports’ and NASCAR Talk’s Nate Ryan presented a touching pre-race tribute to Truex and his team before Sunday’s race. On Tuesday’s NASCAR America, Ryan gave an updated version of that tribute, capping it off with the best way possible: recalling how Truex and the 78 team won it all.

Check out the video above to see Nate’s touching piece.


Scan All: Miami — the best from the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400

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This week’s Scan All: Miami combined not only regular scanner traffic from team radios during Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400, but also studio cut-ins of Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn talking about their road to the Cup championship.

Here’s some of the best exchanges:

Martin Truex Jr. on coming into the race: “I felt good all weekend, I really did. I was relaxed and knew that no matter what happened, we had a great season and a lot to be proud of and a lot to build upon for the future.”

Truex on his team radio just before the green flag: “We’ve been working a long time to get here. I can’t say enough about how proud I am of you guys and what you’ve done. Thank you for an unbelieveable season. Let’s cap it off tonight.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. just before the green flag: “I just want to thank everybody that’s had an impact on my career. I’ve made friendships and relationships that’ll last a lifetime, and I’m just so thankful for that.”

Aric Almirola on his last start for Richard Petty Motorsports: “King, if you’re on the air, thanks for that phone call six years ago. It’s been a lot of fun driving this 43 car.”

Crew chief Darian Grubb to Kasey Kahne on his final start with Hendrick Motorsports: “I know it’s an emotional day for everybody. I’m proud to be able to call you teammate and even more proud to be able to continue to call you friend after this, bud.”

Kahne’s reply (while holding back tears): “Thank you guys for everything, man.”

Kahne’s spotter, Kevin Hamlin, to Grubb: “Man, you’ve got to make him cry before we go green?”

Cole Pearn on Kyle Larson getting a run: “The 42 is running the wall. He’s hauling ass.”

Clayton Hughes, spotter for Truex: “How about this, Martin Truex Jr., you are the champion, baby!”

Truex in studio cut-in on winning championship: “It was our time. There’s no doubt in my mind that it was our time. Sometimes, things are meant to be.”

Check out the whole Scan All segment in the video above.