NASCAR banquet might be coming … but NHRA is here now

Las Vegas was the talk of the media center today at Texas Motor Speedway where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is racing.

Reporters were greeted by the news we broke this morning that it’s very likely NASCAR will move its Cup awards banquet and weeklong celebration from New York City to Las Vegas on the first week of December.

It must be a done-deal considering I haven’t read anything to the contrary and NASCAR hasn’t called me to demand a retraction.

But I’m putting banquet talk on hold because it’s nitro time at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

A little rain around noon today delayed the start of pro qualifying sessions for the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at the speedway.

Now it looks like the Funny Car and Top Fuel divisions will run at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., which is about three hours behind schedule.

And that’s great!

That means you still have time to get to the track, and we will have a night session. There’s nothing better in motor sports than nitro flames at night. Nothing.

We’ll be blogging through the next three days from right behind the starting line.

Dropping out already: NHRA

Two-time NHRA Pro Stock series champion Jim Yates announced last week on his blog at NHRA.com that this weekend’s NHRA pro tour event near Houston will be his last.

Gentleman Jim wrote:

“I have to admit that a part of me is having a hard time letting go of racing, but at the same time I am excited about what the next chapter of my life will bring. It is sort of ironic that my first race in my Pontiac Trans Am began in 1990 at Houston Raceway Park, and, 19 years later, my final and 405th consecutive race (408th overall) will end at Houston Raceway Park. It sure is funny how things happen, isn’t it?”

Yates made it to the semifinals at Houston last week but stuck to his guns and is not at Las Vegas.

Dropping out already: NASCAR

Yates Racing — also known as Roush Fenway Racing II — is parking the No. 28 Ford driven by Travis Kvapil until a sponsor is found.

Geoff Smith, president of Roush Fenway Racing which partners with Yates, said, “It’s difficult to be in a situation when you have to deal with the consequences of the economy,” Smith said.

“We’re in a situation where there’s no extra cash to support running an unsponsored car for any period of time. If the economy picks up later in the season maybe we’ll be able to pick up something for that team.”

Best name for a racing series

I stand by my assessment that the best name for a race was the Shelby 427 Sprint Cup race on March 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

I now vote for the best series name: The RC Cola/Moon Pie ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour.

Ahhh, Moon Pies.

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