John Cohen

Photo: NY Racing

Cup team’s debut stirs debate on value of smaller part-time teams

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The entry of NY Racing for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 has stirred talk about the value of smaller teams unable to compete a full season in Cup after a comment from the chairman of the Race Team Alliance.

NY Racing is entered in its first Cup race of the year. JJ Yeley is the driver. The team announced Tuesday a multi-year deal with Steakhouse Elite as sponsor. The team is owned by John Cohen, whose previous Cup teams ran 16 races between 2012-15. His team’s best finish was 32nd in the 2015 Daytona 500 with Reed Sorenson. His teams also failed to qualify for seven races and withdrew five times.

The entry of NY Racing means one car will fail to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600. The five teams going for the four spots available for non-charter teams are those of BJ McLeod (No. 52, Rick Ware Racing), Jeffrey Earnhardt (No. 55 Premium Motorsports), Timmy Hill (No. 66, Motorsports Business Management), Parker Kligerman (No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing) and Yeley.

NY Racing’s entry drew the ire of Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing and chairman of the Race Team Alliance. Kauffman tweeted about NY Racing’s entry and then responded to a few who questioned him.

Kauffman’s tweet drew a response from Xfinity driver Tommy Joe Martins, who has been vocal about the importance of smaller teams in NASCAR’s national series and the need to raise the profiles of such teams. Martins responded to Kauffman’s comments with a series of tweets.

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Preliminary entry lists for Cup, Xfinity at Charlotte Motor Speedway

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Forty-one cars are on the preliminary entry list for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NBC Sports analyst Parker Kligerman will make his first Cup start since 2014 this weekend. He’s driving the No. 96 for Gaunt Brothers Racing.

BJ McLeod will be in the No. 52, a second entry for Rick Ware Racing.

The entry list was updated Monday to add a 41st car — the No. 7 that will be driven by JJ Yeley for NY Racing Team. The team is owned by John Cohen, who was owner of Team Xtreme when it had its Atlanta car stolen from the parking lot of a Georgia hotel in Feb. 2015.

Rob Kauffman, chairman of the Race Team Alliance, tweeted his displeasure with the team entering the event:

Austin Dillon is the defending Coca-Cola 600 winner.

Click here for updated Coca-Cola 600 entry list

In the Xfinity Series, 43 cars are entered for the Alsco 300.

Cup drivers entered are: Ty Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray. Elliott is driving the No. 23 for GMS Racing in place of suspended driver Spencer Gallagher.

Kaz Grala, who lost his ride at JGL Racing when the organization shut down the No. 24 because of lack of sponsorship, is entered with the No. 61 car for Fury Race Cars.

Ryan Blaney won last May’s race.

Click here for Xfinity entry list

Lawyer for ex-NASCAR car owner seeks to withdraw for lack of payment

AP Photo/John Amis
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Drew A. Richards, attorney for former Sprint Cup car owner John Cohen, filed a motion to withdraw on Monday because Cohen and XXXtreme Motorsports have “failed to fully compensate” for services rendered and failed to provide a retainer to cover fees and expenses in preparing the case.

NBC Sports sought a comment from Cohen but has not received a response.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David C. Keesler denied Richards’ motion Tuesday.

Cohen is being sued in federal court by former Swan Racing car owner Brandon Davis for failure to pay $200,000 for the points of Swan Racing’s No. 30 car based on an April 2014 agreement cited in the complaint.

The complaint notes that Cohen’s XXXtreme Motorsports fielded the No. 30 car for one race and transferred the points to the No. 44 car after that.

The No. 44 car made the 2015 Daytona 500 with Reed Sorenson as the driver. Sorenson finished 32nd with the team collecting $314,228 in winnings. The car was to have run the following week at Atlanta but it was stolen in a hotel parking lot. The team withdrew from that race. The car was later recovered and the team tried to make three more races but failed to do so.

NASCAR Sprint Cup car owner says he’s tried to settle civil case for three years

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AVONDALE, Ariz. – Team Xtreme car owner John Cohen, who has had a bench warrant issued in New Jersey in relation to a civil lawsuit, said he’s tried to settle the matter for three years, and that he has a new lawyer handling the case.

“For three years I offered $50,000, which is the only money I received,’’ Cohen told NASCAR Talk in the Sprint Cup garage Friday at Phoenix International Raceway.

The warrant states that Cohen failed to abide by a Aug. 2014 court order, according to nj.com. That order came from a civil lawsuit settlement that he repay two business partners $55,000 from a failed Manhattan night club venture.

An attorney representing the investors told USA Today that he has begun the process of placing a lien on Cohen’s assets for repayment and said “if (Cohen) doesn’t pay the judgment, then I’ll start the process of seizing assists, including the car.’’

Cohen’s response: “No way.

“If you look at the initial complaint, it had nothing to do with the race team,’’ he said. “A year later, they tried to say they gave me money for tires to gain leverage on the team. I wasn’t racing in 2010.’’

ESPN.com reported that a complaint stated one of the investors gave Cohen $3,000 to help buy tires for a race in 2010.

Cohen said he’s made NASCAR aware of the matter.

“I contacted them, but it’s not a criminal case,’’ he said. “No crime has been committed.’’

Cohen also is in a lawsuit against Brandon Davis and Swan Racing. The complaint from Swan Racing alleges that in agreement to taking the car owner points from the No. 30 team in 2014, Cohen’s team would pay $200,000. Cohen’s team was to pay Swan Racing monthly in payments equal to 10 percent of the prize money earned by the car in Cup races.

The complain alleges that after running the No. 30 car in one race after the agreement – April 2014 at Richmond International Raceway – the team changed the car number to No. 44 and failed to pay what it owed.

Cohen’s response states that the team, with the assistance of Swan Racing and Brandon Davis, transferred the points to the No. 44 team “per the agreement to do so.’’ Swan Racing filed a response and denied that.

As for the Swan Racing lawsuit, Cohen said: “Swan, when I first got into the deal with him, I didn’t know that he owed to a lot of money to a lot of people and I was getting lawsuits from different people, so I backed out of one of the deals we had.’’

UPDATED: Lawyer threatens seizure of race car from NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner reportedly wanted on arrest warrant

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UPDATED (5:50 pm ET): 

In addition to a reported bench warrant that has been issued for his arrest, NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner John Cohen may soon have a lien placed against his assets, according to a report by USA Today Sports.

Attorney Elliott Malone told the news outlet Thursday afternoon that he is pursuing a lien against Cohen (in photo) that could include the Cohen-owned Team Xtreme and its race cars.

It was reported earlier Thursday by NJ.com that a judge in Essex County, N.J., had issued a warrant for Cohen’s arrest after he failed to pay back an $85,000 court-ordered judgment dating back to last August.

When contacted by NASCAR Talk later Thursday morning, Cohen said Malone was trying to extort him and said there was confusion over the name on the warrant.

USA TODAY Sports reported that court documents indicated Cohen was aware of a pending arrest warrant against him as early as January.

With the No. 44 race car being stolen two weeks ago in suburban Atlanta, Malone said the race car’s value of $250,000 cited by Cohen at the time of the theft prompted him to begin placing a lien on any insurance claims Cohen made on the car.

“That actually works out better because if he doesn’t pay the judgment then I’ll start the process of seizing assets, including the car,” Malone said in an email to USA Today Sports.​

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

An arrest warrant reportedly has been issued for NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner John Cohen, whose team made national news when its race car was stolen in suburban Atlanta two weeks ago.

According to a report Thursday by NJ Advance Media (also known as NJ.com), a bench warrant seeking Cohen’s arrest has been issued in Essex County, N.J.

The warrant states Cohen, of Union, N.J., has failed to abide by a August 2014 court order from a civil lawsuit settlement that he repay two former business partners $55,000 from a failed Manhattan night club venture.

Cohen told NJ.com Thursday morning, “It’s a story that’s not true. I didn’t make the settlement.”

As for the warrant, Cohen told NJ.com, “That’s not me. That’s my father. That has nothing to do with me.”

Later Thursday morning, Cohen spoke with NASCAR Talk, denying the allegations made by Elliott Malone, the lawyer for the plaintiffs in the civil case.

“The lawyer is trying to extort me,” Cohen said. “He knew everything that happened last week. He’s using this to make himself look good.”

As for the lawsuit settlement, Cohen said, “My lawyer handled that. I don’t know what the situation is.”

Cohen also told NASCAR Talk that the bench warrant is for a “John Cohen,” but that his full legal name is really “Jonathan Cohen,” and that “John Cohen” lives “at an address I don’t live at.”

When told Cohen denies the charges that resulted in the bench warrant, Malone told NJ.com, “My response is one word: Typical.”

Cohen’s two former partners in the failed night club, Anthony Santucci and Jeff Rezink, reportedly invested a combined $85,000 with Cohen. They allege the money was never used for the club and that Cohen never returned the funds to them.

“He obviously just pocketed the money,” Santucci told NJ.com. “We believe he used the money to fund his NASCAR team.”

Santucci added that the loss of his investment “completely crushed me. It was my first $50,000 I’ve saved. I still haven’t really recovered. It completely wiped me out.”

Cohen owns the Team Xtreme Sprint Cup team, based in Mooresville, N.C.

The organization made national news when its race car was stolen from a hotel parking lot in Morrow, Ga., only to be found abandoned and undamaged on the side of a road less than 24 hours later and about 40 miles from where it was stolen.

A pickup truck used to pull the trailer that transported the race car from Team Xtreme’s headquarters to Atlanta for a race that weekend was found nearly two days later.

The trailer itself, as well as a race engine and assorted parts reportedly worth over $100,000, remain missing.

Despite the bench warrant, the team will be in Phoenix for this weekend’s Sprint Cup race, the CampingWorld.com 500, Cohen told NASCAR Talk.

According to NJ.com, Cohen also is being sued for using “unfair and deceptive trade practices” in the purchase of a race car last year from the now defunct Swan Racing.

The suit is seeking $200,000 in damages from Cohen, according to court documents cited by NJ.com.

Contributing: @DustinLong

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