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ELVIS AND THE INTIMIDATOR

I can’t imagine the late Dale Earnhardt wearing sequins or a cape. That thought comes to mind because a likeness of Elvis Presley will adorn the hood of a No. 3 Chevrolet when it arrives in Las Vegas next month.

An “Earnhardt & Elvis” car — which will not compete in the March 1 Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway — will be unveiled on Feb. 27 in the Neon Garage at the speedway during the first day of NASCAR weekend.

It will be the third car in the Enduring Legends Series from Motorsports Authentics and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Last year, the late racer was paired with fellow deceased stars Johnny Cash and John Wayne to sell scale-model, collectable cars.

The speedway will give a commemorative 1/64th scale die-cast replica of the “Earnhardt and Elvis” car to each of the first 10,000 fans that purchase weekend passes to the Neon Garage.

For info: LVMS.com.

PENSKE’S INDYCAR PLANS

Penske Racing will announce its plans for the IndyCar series Tuesday in a press conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The team will announce its drivers for 2009, and the status of Helio Castroneves will draw the most attention.

The two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 was indicted last October on federal tax-evasion charges and faces a trial scheduled to begin March 2. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Team owner Roger Penske told the Los Angeles Times in November that he might have to find a replacement for Castroneves if his trial could not be delayed until after the IndyCar season.

Some have speculated that Sam Hornish Jr. might be switched back to IndyCar from Penske’s NASCAR Cup series team to replace Castroneves as Ryan Briscoe’s teammate. …

KV Racing Technology announced Monday that Brazilian Mario Moraes, 20, will drive its entry in this year’s Indy Car Series season.

Moraes drove for Dale Coyne Racing.

For info: KVRacingTechnology.com.

GM NOT LOOKING AT MORE BIG CUTS

General Motors Corp.’s top U.S. marketing executive said Monday he does not foresee further big cuts in the automaker’s sports sponsorships as it balances a cash shortage with the need to market its products.

Mark LaNeve, vice president for North American marketing, told The Associated Press that GM is still looking at every penny of its advertising budget as it tries to cut expenses and prove it is viable in order to keep $13.4 billion in government loans.

"I don’t have any big announcements," LaNeve said in an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

GM, which bought airtime during the Super Bowl for about a decade, is pulling out as part of a restructuring plan that was in place even before the automaker requested the federal money.

Last month, GM’s Buick brand said it was concluding its marketing contract with Tiger Woods one year early. That contract was valued at $7 million per year.

The company also cut some NASCAR spending and decided against airing ads during last fall’s Emmy Awards and the upcoming Academy Awards. It also has canceled local sponsorships of teams, including the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates, but its broader contract with Major League Baseball runs through 2010.

LaNeve said he is still comfortable with GM’s ad spending, although he’d like to have a bigger budget.

"When your existence is threatened away like ours has been, your survival, you get real focused real fast on spending every penny to drive revenue and create awareness and consideration for the brands," he said.

NO MORE NASCAR MODELS

The following is a letter from model-car maker Revell that was forwarded to me from model-car enthusiast John Bisci:

“Over the years we have been pleased to provide you with the finest NASCAR plastic model kits featuring the most popular drivers.

“Regrettably, however, over the last several years we have faced increasing licensing costs that are greater than our increase in sales.

“Despite our best efforts to secure reasonable licensing terms for NASCAR model kits in general, and the Car of Tomorrow in particular, we have been unable to develop a program that allows us to market the product at a viable price point. Consequently, we will not be issuing a kit on the Car of Tomorrow and, in fact, will be exiting the NASCAR business altogether. We will discontinue all sales of NASCAR plastic kits by February 28, 2009.”

It would seem NASCAR would want to do whatever it could to promote the sale of model cars. Isn’t that how many of us became interested in racing?

DRIFTING GO-KARTS

The Fast Lap indoor go-kart facility (4288 S. Polaris Ave.) near Interstate 15 and Tropicana Avenue has added “drifting” to its full card of events beginning Tuesday.

For info: fastlaplv.com or (702) 736-8113.

CHILI BOWL

The 23rd annual Chili Bowl USAC Midget event opens Wednesday in Tulsa, Okla.

The event will attract about 300 teams and some big-name drivers for the four-day event. Expected to join the country’s best open-wheel, dirt racers are Kasey Kahne and J.J. Yeley.

You can keep up with the Chili Bowl at ChiliBowl.com, MotorsportsLive.com or RacinBoys.com.

NASCAR WIVES (AND SISTER)

The Learning Channel (Cox Cable 33) will debut “NASCAR Wives” on Jan. 24, following the Miss America Pageant.

The first of between eight and 16 shows will feature Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, sister of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his main business adviser; DeLana Harvick, wife of driver Kevin Harvick; and Shana Mayfield, wife of former driver Jeremy Mayfield.

SUPERCROSS

James Stewart won Saturday night’s AMA Supercross race at Chase Field in Phoenix. The series returns to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday night, where Stewart crashed with rival Chad Reed and had to leave the race on opening night.

Last weekend’s win moved Stewart to seventh in points, 18 behind Anaheim winner Josh Grant.

Saturday’s race will be the first of seven Supercross races broadcast on CBS (Channel 8). It will air tape-delayed at 9 a.m. Sunday.

You can follow Supercross action at AMASupercross.com and SupercrossOnLine.com.

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