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Sunday, February 22, 2015

PENSKE WINS DAYTONA; TOPS 'POWER PLAYERS' LIST

POWER PLAYERS for the week of February 22: This week's 10 most influential people in the Business and Politics of Motorsports, as selected by long-time journalist/publicist and industry insider Michael Knight.

  1. Roger Penske -- Second Daytona 500 win gives him shot at "Double" with Indy 500 and adds to his corporate image of success.

  2. Joey Logano -- He'll be the Face of NASCAR this week on the national media tour. NASCAR and its industry partners hope he'll draw-in fresh fans from a younger demo.

  3. Gene Haas -- What will he do with his self-owned and self-sponsored No. 41 Cup car for the rest of the season? Haas said he stood behind Kurt Busch as his driver, but NASCAR ruled otherwise. And Chevrolet said no. The team has other sponsors on its other cars and they all are, at least indirectly, impacted by this. 

  4. Joie Chitwood -- Daytona International Speedway president says track made a mistake not having SAFER barrier where Kyle Busch crashed. International Speedway Corp. cannot justify spending $400 million on elevators and escalators and other fan goodies but not having SAFER barriers all the way around the outside and inside walls. What happened needs to be the example learned from by all other tracks.

  5. Mike Helton -- As Brian France steps back with the Daytona spotlight turned off, NASCAR's now vice chairman stays on the circuit as the senior on-site racing official. First order of business: Getting all the national series on a calmer course after 10 days of crashing at Daytona. 

  6. Richie Zyontz, Artie Kempner, Barry Landis -- The three senior at-track production people face the task of keeping the Fox and Fox Sports1 presentations interesting and fresh for viewers who continue on with NASCAR post-Daytona 500. There are new and continuing stories to be told and these three will make the final decisions on what's important and what is unplayed or even ignored. Now in the Xfinity series, too.

   9. Mark Miles -- IndyCar's CEO tells media day gathering he wants to expand to 20 races, starting one week after the Super Bowl, and ending by Labor Day. 

10. Don Schumacher -- Mega NHRA team owner -- he's to drag racing what Roger Penske is to IndyCar and Rick Hendrick to NASCAR -- doubles in Phoenix with Tony Schumacher in Top Fuel and Matt Hagan in Funny Car. "The Don" continues to recover from cancer surgery.

(See Twitter @SpinDoctor500 for links to my Arizona Republic stories from last weekend's NHRA Carquest Auto Parts Nationals.)

new list and more next week . . . ]