MWR – we have good lawyers, Martin’s driving for us

Tip of the hat to listener Analese for alerting us that Brian Vickers will be doing some subbing for Hamlin:

@TrackSchmak THE SHERIFF in the #11 for brokeback. #standwithdenny #ouch

JGR stated a few days ago that they didn’t want a rotating cast of drivers filling in during Denny Hamlin’s absence, so they picked Mark Martin to fill in. I’m assuming that Martin had to agree to this, even though he had been scheduled to run some races for MWR during the upcoming six week period.

And so, JGR released a statement naming Mark Martin as the permanent fill in for Denny, with Brian Vickers subbing for Mark Martin while Martin is subbing for Denny.

However, yesterday, JGR backpedalled, saying that they “…were a bit premature in determining Mark’s status past Martinsville” – i.e., MWR’s lawyers said “NOPE!”

So Brian Vickers, also a JGR driver in the Nationwide series, will be filling in for Denny at Texas on April 13th and beyond.

Finally – “Brokeback Hamlin”? A little mean, but pretty funny.

EDIT: Alternate title – “Sponsors: we paid for Mark Martin, we will get Mark Martin.”

Mark Martin to the 11 – screw you MWR?

Mark Martin will be subbing for Denny Hamlin in the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

He was not scheduled to be in the MWR #55 car at Martinsville, but he was supposed to be in the #55 in the following three events at Texas, Kansas, and Richmond.

Does this mean more seat time for Brian Vickers? More for Michael Waltrip? It’s like a semi-silly season already.

UPDATE: This probably explains it a bit better:

MWR, according to sources, would like to keep Vickers in the 55 for as much as possible because he is the likely replacement for Martin next season.

Penske quotes about Logano – a very slight bit of doubt shows up

From yahoo news:

“The fuel in the fire after Bristol created a lot of public noise,” Penske said. “But as I said, that’s the environment we’re in right now. He’s still the same guy we hired six months ago, and I’m 100 percent confident that he’s going to be able to execute when he needs to be at the highest level.”

Standard owner stuff. But this is where I see a hint of doubt, or perhaps leaving a door open:

“At the end of the season, we’ll see where everybody is. But I have high hopes for his success. Obviously, what we can do is provide him with a car and a team that can execute it.”

Hamlin out for six weeks

Denny Hamlin is expected to need at least 6 weeks of recovery time. He is not expected to need surgery.

Many people point to Elliot Sadler as the obvious choice as a fill in, due to his current driving duties for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide series.

Fontana Notes – Biffle, Logano, SAFER barriers, Tony Stewart

1) Biffle finished 6th, well ahead of Fontucky Master Jimmie Johnson, who came home 12th.

And it looked like he was having a decent day. I missed the boat on that one, I guess there is a reason the people paid to do pre-race analysis talked about Biffle.

Although he had to cut Matt Kenseth’s tire and pass the Hamlin/Logano wreck to get it.

2) Logano definitely drove it in too hard, and over drove the corner and caused that wreck. However, what sent Denny to the hospital was a LACK OF SAFER BARRIER ON A WALL. Haven’t we learned this lesson before? Vegas w/Jeff Gordon?

As the rule goes, if there is a chance that a car can hit any spot on the race track, it will.

We’ve seen that at Daytona this year, and at Bristol a few times with Michael Waltrip and Mike Harmon.

3) What the heck is Tony Stewart eating? Whatever it is, it’s making him angry and obese.

Also, I guess in his mind, he’s the only one who can throw a block?

EDIT: Just saw this yahoo sports article. Headline says it all:

Tony Stewart, blocking aficionado, is ticked at Joey Logano for blocking.

Auto Club 400 Notes

Just to note – the set of tires that Goodyear is bringing to Auto Club Speedway in Fontucky (Fontana, CA) this year is the same as last year’s. I seem to remember last year’s race stunk to high heaven, but it was also rained out after 129 laps.

The year before had a great finish (see here), and was using the same right sides that Goodyear is bringing again this week.

So I have hope that perhaps this race might be better than Phoenix.

Light at the end of the Mayfield tunnel

Jeremy Mayfield’s quest to race in NASCAR again has taken a positive turn as 10 felony burglary-related charges were dropped in Iredell County because the primary witness against him died in a motorcycle accident last year.

I guess that’s one way to beat the rap.

The motorcycle accident cited above actually happened during a police chase. Also of note, this witness against Mayfield was also co-defendant in the same case.

So much criminal activity…

Mayfield recently has been more open to going through NASCAR’s recovery program to be reinstated and said he wants to return to racing.

He can always do an interview on the schmak to begin his publicity campaign.

Source aol sporting news.

Top paid drivers

So Forbes has a list of the highest paid drivers in the sport.

No surprise that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is #1 in earnings, as he pulls in a lot of off-track earnings. Of his $25.9 million income, $13 of that came from off-track events.

Jimmie Johnson is #2, with $23 million, with a NASCAR-high of $8.1 million in race winnings earned.

So, there’s a general salary, race winnings, paid appearances, and merch. Great gig if you can get it.

Heck, Danica Patrick was #7 on the total income list for 2012, and she raced in only 10 races! I would guess that most of that is NOT prize money for finishes at the track.

Reports are that Patrick’s gear sales went up a stunning 350% since she won the pole at Daytona, so expect to see that she is the #1 paid driver in NASCAR by the end of 2013.

Sources: NASCAR’s Highest-Paid Drivers at Forbes.com

and

Danica Patrick Mechandise Flying Off Shelves, also at Forbes.com.