Joliet: News of Note

NEWS OF NOTE * Haas Carter Motorsports"Discovered"... Discover Card, one of the nation's leading credit card companies, has discovered the value of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and has opted to extend its primary sponsorship of the No. 26...


* Haas Carter Motorsports"Discovered"... Discover Card, one of the nation's leading credit card companies, has discovered the value of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and has opted to extend its primary sponsorship of the No. 26 Haas Carter Motorsports Ford driven by Todd Bodine through the remainder of the season. Discover also announced that it will become a title sponsor for NBC's pre-race show, beginning this weekend at Chicagoland. This weekend marks the start of NBC and TNT broadcasts following a successful first half with FOX and FX."NASCAR's national growth and popularity remains undeniable," said Richard Lalley, vice president of Advertising at Discover Financial Services, Inc."For six races, we have participated in a race program that has allowed us to build our brand awareness and we are excited to remain on board with Haas Carter Motorsports. With our new association with NBC and our continued sponsorship of the No. 26 race team, we are building strong relationships with our merchant partners as well as passing along the benefits of this sponsorship to our card members." Discover initially had planned a limited six-race sponsorship deal, which began June 2 at Dover, but extended it after enjoying the company's first-ever venture into motorsports sponsorship. "I strongly believe our two organizations can work together to achieve goals needed to have a successful racing program as well as a marketing campaign to put Discover Card in the hands of every NASCAR fan in America," team co-owner Travis Carter said."NASCAR fans are incredibly loyal and (co-owner) Carl (Haas) and myself, as well as the entire No. 26 team, are looking forward to a successful season."

* Now pitching for the Chicago Cubs... Kurt Busch (No. 97 Rubbermaid Ford), a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, will achieve a childhood dream when he tosses out the first pitch Monday for the Cubs game against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field. "I'm a fan of a lot of sports other than just racing," Busch said. "And to be able to fulfill one of my childhood dreams is just an incredible opportunity. Even though our schedules are a bit hectic, it's still important to be able to do things like this. It's fun and will be a memory that I will have for the rest of my life. And who knows maybe I can give these ballplayers a few tips on the best way to use a Sharpie [one of Busch's car sponsors]."

* Etc.... Pepsi 400 winner Michael Waltrip (No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet) became the 12th different winner in 17 NASCAR Winston Cup races this season. ... There also have been 11 different Bud Pole winners.... Mike Wallace will replace Johnny Benson, who sustained a multiple-rib injury from an accident during last week's Pepsi 400, in the No. 10 Valvoline Pontiac for this weekend. No timetable has been determined at this stage for Benson's return.... Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra/Pfizer Ford) and Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Pontiac) lead the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in top-five finishes with seven each.... The Winston Leader Bonus will be worth $130,000 to the driver who wins Sunday's Tropicana 400 and also emerges as the NASCAR Winston Cup points leader. The bonus begins at $10,000 and rolls over that amount each week until a driver wins the award. The last driver to do so was current points leader Sterling Marlin (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge) at Darlington on March 17.... Former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. will step in for Shawna Robinson this weekend in the No. 49 BAM Racing Dodge.


* Todd Bodine (No. 26 Discover Ford) earned his first NASCAR Winston Cup oval pole position in last year's inaugural event at Chicagoland Speedway. Bodine, whose first career pole came at the Watkins Glen road course in 1997, also went on to claim poles at Pocono and Martinsville later in the season.


* "I'm excited about moving into the second half of the season with this team. We've had some really good runs during the first half of the season and I can't wait to see what this team can do the rest of the way. I still don't think this team has reached its full potential. " - Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra/Pfizer Ford), who is currently second in the championship race.

* "I feel great about the first half of the season. We've run better than we ever have. We've got three wins and we've been competitive at every track we've been to. The DeWalt team has worked extremely hard to get to this level and we intend to continue battling for the championship." - Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DeWalt Power Tools Ford), who leads the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in wins and sits eighth in the championship.


* Chicagoland Speedway made its NASCAR Winston Cup debut last year and the 1.5-mile tri-oval showed outstanding promise for providing a competitive atmosphere. Last season, there were 14 lead changes among 10 drivers and Kevin Harvick edged Robert Pressley by .649 of a second for the win.


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Todd Bodine , Kevin Harvick , Shawna Robinson , Sterling Marlin , Mike Wallace , Kurt Busch , Robert Pressley , Johnny Benson , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Mark Martin