ASE cancels NASCAR support
LEESBURG, Va.The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) has canceled its sponsorship support of NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series, ending a relationship that dates back to 1994.
In a prepared statement, ASE President Tim Zilke said ASE's board ``has decided that it's time to redirect those resources.'' The ASE did not disclose the value of its Team ASE racing programwhich through the years has supported three teams with primary sponsorshipnor what it intends to do instead.
``Under the Team ASE banner,'' Mr. Zilke said, ``the (truck) racing program provided the organization with numerous outreach opportunities for both our certified professionals and the consumers they serve.''
Team ASE initially sponsored Ultra Motorsports, which campaigned the No. 2 truck with a variety of drivers. After Ultra Motorsports closed its doors in 2005, Team ASE was the primary sponsor for Ted Musgrave, who drove the No. 9 truck with Germain Racing for the 2006-2007 seasons and then moved to HT Motorsports for the 2008 season.
The ASE is a non-profit organization designed to help improve the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians and parts specialists. There are about 400,000 ASE-certified professionals in the market.
Federated extends NASCAR stint
STAUNTON, Va.Federated Auto Parts Inc. will sponsor the Federated Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Nashville (Tenn.) SuperSpeedway for the next three years, continuing a 13-year relationship with the track and NASCAR.
Staunton-based Federated, a nationwide distributor of automotive parts and an automotive service adviser, did not disclose financial details of the deal.
``The new agreement will extend what has been such a positive working relationship over the years,'' said Cliff Hawks, vice president and general manager of Nashville SuperSpeedway. J.R. Bishop, director of member services and event marketing for Federated Auto Parts, called the Nashville race the ``cornerstone of our motorsports program.''
Besides sponsoring the Nashville race, Federated sponsored NASCAR driver Ken Schrader in 2008 at selected NASCAR Nationwide, Craftsman Truck and Grand National West series races, Automobile Racing Club of America events and a number of dirt tracks as well.
Audi A.G. drops out of ALMS
AKRONGerman car maker Audi A.G. will not compete in the 2009 American LeMans Series (ALMS), but Japanese maker Mazda Motorsports plans to continue with a new partner, Dyson Racing.
Audi, which won ALMS' top prototype class championship nine straight times through its Audi Sport North America factory team, intends to focus its international racing efforts on the 24 Hours of LeMans, the German Touring Car series and the international GT3 class.
Although it is pulling out of ALMS, Audi said it will compete in one ALMS race this year, the Sebring 12-hour event on March 21, where it will debut its Audi R15 TDI sports prototype. It continues to partner with Michelin Motorsports for tires.
Audi's decision leaves ALMS again without a top-notch competitive battle in the LMP1 class. Honda Motor Co. Ltd.'s Acura Division plans to run two LMP1 prototypes next year, but the rest of the LMP1 field will be privateer entries, including a hybrid-powered car from Corsa Motorsports.
Mazdaspeed is teaming with Dyson Racing after its development partner of the past several years, B-K Motorsports, closed shop in conjunction with the retirement of owner Bob Bach.
Dyson Racing, which campaigned Porsche Spyders in the LMP2 category last year, is taking over the Mazda-Lola P2 prototype program with support from fuel supplier BP P.L.C. and Michelin. B-K raced Mazda-powered prototypes the past several seasons on various tire combinations, including Yokohama, Kumho and Dunlop.
'09 Detroit Grand Prix cancelled
DETROITThe organizers of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix have cancelled the 2009 eventfeaturing both IndyCar and American LeMans Series (ALMS) racesciting the global economy in general and the Detroit region's struggles specifically.
The Grand Prix weekend, scheduled for Sept. 4-6, returned to the city in 2007 to strong reviews after a six-year absence. Officials hope to resurrect the race as soon as possible.
Longtime CART and IndyCar Series team owner Roger Penske, who spearheads the event in his role as chairman of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, informed Indy Racing League (IRL) and ALMS officials that the race will not be held.
Mr. Penske told AutoWeek, a sister publication of Tire Business, that Audi A.G.'s recent decision to quit ALMS in 2009, combined with Porsche A.G. pulling the plug on its factory RS Spyder prototype programa program the Penske team ranhurt the race, as did Detroit's poor economy overall.