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NASCAR announces merger agreement with International Speedway Corp.

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International Speedway Corp. announced Wednesday morning that it has entered into an agreement and plan of merger with NASCAR. The deal is valued at approximately $2 billion.

Shareholders will receive $45 for each share.

This deal is expected to close this calendar year.

International Speedway Corp. owns 12 tracks that host NASCAR races, including Daytona International Speedway, Darlington Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

NASCAR issued a statement Wednesday: “We are pleased with the progress that the negotiation and execution of the merger agreement between NASCAR and ISC represents.  While important regulatory and shareholder approval processes remain, we look forward to the successful final resolution of this matter and continuing our work to grow this sport and deliver great racing experiences for our fans everywhere. With a strong vision for the future, the France family’s commitment to NASCAR and the larger motorsports industry has never been greater.”

NASCAR Chairman Jim France told competitors in the drivers meeting before the Daytona 500 that “this sport was built by families and we’re just a part of it. It’s so important that we remember that this is still a family business. Our family is committed to it.”

The agreement announced Wednesday allows NASCAR to control those tracks, along with Iowa Speedway, which it already owns. That could make it easier for NASCAR to move dates to take a date from one track to another. NASCAR President Steve Phelps has stated that the schedule is among the areas the sanctioning body is looking at making changes. NASCAR’s five-year sanctioning agreement with tracks ends after next season.

With NASCAR private, it won’t have to publicly report attendance revenue and other financials as ISC had to do as a publicly traded company.

ISC also announced that a class-action lawsuit that had been filed against it after NASCAR and ISC announced last November plans to merge will be dropped.

Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns eight tracks that host NASCAR races, including Charlotte Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway, announced April 24 that it had received a non-binding proposal from Sonic Financial Corp. to acquire all outstanding shares of common stock other than those already held by Sonic. Bruton Smith and his family own and control Sonic Financial Corp. Smith is the founder and majority stakeholder in Speedway Motorsports Inc.

The only tracks not owned by ISC or SMI that host Cup races are Pocono Raceway, Dover International Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Martin Truex Jr. throwing back to 2004 Xfinity title for Southern 500

Joe Gibbs Racing
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While Martin Truex Jr. won the Cup Series title for the first time in 2017, he’s been a NASCAR champion for far longer.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver got his big break in 2004 when he competed for Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s Chance 2 Motorsports in the Xfinity Series (then the Busch Series).

Truex proceeded to drive the team’s No. 8 Chevrolet to 12 wins and consecutive Xfinity titles (2004 and 2005).

Truex surprised Earnhardt on this week’s episode of the Dale Jr. Download by revealing that he’ll drive his 2004 Bass Pro Shops Xfinity scheme in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway (Sept. 1 on NBCSN).

Martin Truex Jr. competes in the Xfinity Series race at Homestead Miami Speedway on Nov. 20, 2004. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

The use of the paint scheme at Darlington is made even more appropriate by the fact that’s where Truex clinched his 2004 title in the next to last race of the year.

“So many things had to happen for me to get where I am right now,” Truex said on the podcast. “This car was the first real sponsored car I had.”

Bass Pro Shops has been a supporter of Truex in some form every year since 2004.

“Without (CEO) Johnny Morris, another person I owe so much to, he’s just an amazing guy,” Truex said. “Loves racing, obviously. Loves, loves, loves NASCAR. Supports a lot of people. (Richard Childress Racing) he still does stuff with them. Just lucky to meet people like that along the way. And I never would have met him if it wasn’t for Chance 2 and Dale. You had that relationship with him. It’s crazy, man.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. to drive father’s first Cup scheme in Darlington Xfinity race

JR Motorsports
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. will pay tribute to his father’s first Cup start with a paint scheme for the Aug. 31 Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway.

Earnhardt Jr., who will drive the No. 8 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, will have a scheme based on the No. 8 driven by Dale Earnhardt in his Cup debut on May 25, 1975 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 2019 car, sponsored by Hellmann’s, mirrors the blue and yellow scheme and has a similar font and re-creates the vintage style of the No. 8 on the door panels and roof.

“This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while,” Earnhardt Jr. said in a release. “We had the perfect opportunity with the Darlington throwback race, and I couldn’t pass up the chance. Hellmann’s has been completely supportive from the beginning, and the whole concept aligns well with their core values.”

With sponsorship from 10,000 RPM Speed Equipment, Earnhardt’s No. 8 was owned by Ed Negre, both a driver and car owner who made 338 Grand National starts between 1955-79.

Negre’s son Norman worked as an engine builder for his father and the Negre Racing Team and was a close friend of Earnhardt. After some persuasion, the pair convinced the elder Negre to let them enter a second car at Charlotte, where Earnhardt finished 22nd in his first of 676 starts.

The Aug. 31 race at Darlington is Earnhardt Jr.’s only scheduled start for the year. His most recent start was a fourth Sept. 21 at Richmond Raceway.

Richard Childress Racing announces throwback schemes for Southern 500

Richard Childress Racing
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And we’re off!

Richard Childress Racing is first team to reveal its throwback paint schemes for the Sept. 1 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

While the theme of NASCAR’s fifth throwback weekend this year is focused around 1990-94, RCR will be going farther back than that.

Austin Dillon‘s No. 3 Chevrolet will be based on a No. 3 car that Childress raced himself in the late 1970s.

 

Daniel Hemric‘s No. 8 Chevrolet goes back about 70 years for its inspiration.

Instead of a tribute to an old race car, RCR will recognize the history of sponsor Caterpillar with its scheme. Hemric’s car, with battleship gray and orange colors, is inspired by the design of CAT equipment and the logo used on them from its launch in 1925 until 1931.

Hemric will make his first Cup start at Darlington after making two starts there in the Xfinity Series. His best result was 11th last year.

2020 Cup schedule features new finale, doubleheader weekend and more

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The 2020 Cup season will end at a different site for the first time in nearly two decades, one of many changes that includes a doubleheader weekend, date swapping among iconic tracks and the season concluding earlier.

The championship race moves to ISM Raceway near Phoenix. It replaces Homestead-Miami Speedway, which has been the season finale since 2002.

Next year’s finale at ISM Raceway will be Nov. 8, marking the earliest finish to the Cup schedule since 1998, which also ended Nov. 8.

Here are among the changes to the schedule:

# Homestead-Miami Speedway moves from its season-ending spot to March 22 and will be the sixth race of the season.

# Daytona’s second race will move from its traditional July date to Aug. 29 (a Saturday) and be the regular-season finale.

# Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s date moves from September to July 5 and takes Daytona’s spot.

# Bristol’s August dates moves to Sept. 19 (a Saturday) and will be in the playoffs. It will be the cutoff race for the first round.

# Martinsville’s fall race becomes the cutoff race for the third round of the playoffs on Nov. 1.

# Martinsville’s spring race moves from March to May 9 (Mother’s Day weekend) and will be held on Saturday. Clay Campbell, president of Martinsville Speedway, said in a statement: “This is a very exciting day for Martinsville Speedway. It’s a question we’ve gotten from fans literally every day since we installed the lights and we are now able to say, ‘May 9, 2020.’ So, this is a very exciting day for everyone involved.”

# Pocono will host a doubleheader weekend with Cup races on June 27 and June 28. Race lengths have yet to be announced for those events. Nick Igdalsky, president and CEO of Pocono Raceway, said in a statement: “Pocono Raceway will be a marquee, bucket-list event next year. We will be the first track to host two, points-paying Cup races in consecutive dates in NASCAR’s modern era (1972-present).”

# The West Coast swing — Las Vegas, ISM Raceway and Auto Club Speedway — will follow the Daytona 500.

# Atlanta Motor Speedway moves off its February date as the second race of the season to March 15 and will be the fifth race of the year.

# The Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway will begin the playoffs on Sept. 6.

Here is the 2020 Cup schedule:

DATE

RACE/TRACK

Sunday, Feb. 9

The Clash

Thursday, Feb. 13

Duel at Daytona

Sunday, Feb. 16

Daytona 500

Sunday, Feb. 23

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sunday, March 1

Auto Club Speedway

Sunday, March 8

ISM Raceway

Sunday, March 15

Atlanta Motor Speedway

Sunday, March 22

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Sunday, March 29

Texas Motor Speedway

Sunday, April 5

Bristol Motor Speedway

Sunday, April 19

Richmond Raceway

Sunday, April 26

Talladega Superspeedway

Sunday, May 3

Dover International Speedway

Saturday, May 9

Martinsville Speedway

Saturday, May 16

All-Star Race, Charlotte

Sunday, May 24

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sunday, May 31

Kansas Speedway

Sunday, June 7

Michigan International Speedway

Sunday, June 14

Sonoma Raceway

Sunday, June 21

Chicagoland Speedway

Saturday, June 27

Pocono Raceway

Sunday June 28

Pocono Raceway

Sunday July 5

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Saturday July 11

Kentucky Speedway

Sunday, July 19

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Sunday, Aug. 9

Michigan International Speedway

Sunday, Aug. 16

Watkins Glen International

Sunday, Aug. 23

Dover International Speedway

Saturday, Aug. 29

Daytona International Speedway

PLAYOFFS BEGIN

Sunday, Sept. 6

Darlington Raceway

Saturday, Sept. 12

Richmond Raceway

Saturday, Sept. 19

Bristol Motor Speedway

Sunday, Sept. 27

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 4

Talladega Superspeedway

Sunday, Oct. 11

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 18

Kansas Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 25

Texas Motor Speedway

Sunday, Nov. 1

Martinsville Speedway

Sunday, Nov. 8

ISM Raceway