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Sunday, June 14, 2015

CHEVROLET's WINNING WEEKEND MAKES RACING BOSS KENT 'MOST INFLUENTIAL'

POWER PLAYERS for the week of June 14: 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. Mark Kent -- Chevrolet's racing director leads a near-unprecedented winning weekend: Outright victories in NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck series plus IndyCar and class triumphs at Le Mans and in NHRA's Funny Car and Pro Stock categories. 

  2. Bill Ford -- Ford Motor Company's executive chairman makes it official. A two-car Ford GT team in the 2016 24  Hours of Le Mans and FIA World Endurance Championship plus another pair in the Tudor United SportsCar series fielded by Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates. Ford bets big on U.S. and international sports car racing, not IndyCar.

  3. Steve O'Connell -- NASCAR's chief racing development officer considering major mid-season aerodynamic rules changes, and perhaps a track-specific aero formula, as TV ratings disappoint and fans complain about excitement of Sprint Cup races.

  4The Busch Brothers -- Kurt makes the big pass on a late restart, in a backup car, to win Cup race at Michigan International Speedway while Kyle gets his first victory in the Xfinity series since returning from leg injuries.

  6. Tony Gibson -- Kurt Busch's crew chief figures out how to sequence pit stops better than anyone else to get rain-shortened race victory at Michigan.

  7. Bryan Sperber -- Phoenix International Raceway president takes Jeff Gordon tributes "to the next level" (Gordon's words) by officially renaming PIR "Jeff Gordon Raceway" for Nov. 15 Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500k.  

  8. Josef Newgarden -- Will second victory of the season by the Tennessee (not a NASCAR) driver and 1-2 finish by smaller-budget Ed Carpenter/Sarah Fisher/Wink Hartman team help push the attention needle for IndyCar? Both are classic "feel good" media stories.

  9. Lee Spencer -- Veteran NASCAR beat writer breaks news of possible mid-season Cup rules changes on motorsports.com . 

10. Carlton Reimers -- The World of Outlaws series director reveals new two-flight qualifying format for events with 32 or more cars. The idea is to make track conditions more equal for competitors and increase the entertianment value for fans.

more next week . . . ]