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Sunday, October 25, 2015

NASCAR's HELTON THIS WEEK'S 'MOST INFLUENTIAL'

POWER PLAYERS for the week of  October 25: 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. Mike Helton -- NASCAR's vice chairman remains the senior-most race official at the track. So he bears responsibility for the decisions made at Talladega's finish. 

  2. Joey Logano and Todd Gordon -- Three consecutive Cup wins and sweep of the second round of the Chase for driver and crew chief. If Logano doesn't win the championship, more than a few people will find it confusing.

  4. Lewis Hamilton -- Clinches third world championship with his third victory at Circuit of the Americas.

  5. Kevin Harvick -- Did he or didn't he?

  6. Mark Miles -- IndyCar will release its 2016 schedule Tuesday. Now the series boss has to make sure his Big Prize, the Boston street race, actually happens. 

  7. Jeff Gordon -- His last shot at the Drive for 5 is still alive. Is Martinsville his last best shot for a victory? 

  8. Erica Enders -- Now the winningest single-season female racer in NHRA history with a second straight Pro Stock title at hand..

  9. Ron Dennis -- McLaren Formula One boss apparently blocking Red Bull from a Honda engine supply.

  10. Dave Moody -- The phone lines will be lighting up for the SiriusXM NASCAR channel 90 afternoon drive-time host. 

more next week . . . ]

  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

YES, LOGANO THIS WEEK's 'MOST INFLUENTIAL'

POWER PLAYERS for the week of  October 18: 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. Joey Logano -- It doesn't matter if you approve of his bump of Matt Kenseth for the Kansas Speedway win. He's the only driver guaranteed to advance to round three of the Chase -- and the new Sprint Cup championship favorite. 

  2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth -- Both essentially need to win Talladega to move on in the Chase.

  4. Bernie Ecclestone -- Brings his Formula One world championship circus to Circuit of the Americas after reported less-than-complimentary comments about the United States on Russian TV.

  5. Jeff Gordon -- Drive for Five still going in his farewell season, but it's Talladega . . . 

 6. Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel -- Are F1 drivers enough of household names to sell tickets in America? If so, these are the two. One could essentially wrap-up the world title at COTA. The other could ignite the passions of Texans and Ferrari fans worldwide. 

  8. Antron Brown -- He lost in the semifinals last weekend but still has NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel championship all but locked-up.

  9.  Mario Andretti -- One of America's greats and 1978 world champ in the spotlight again as Circuit of the Americas ambassador.

 10. Claire B. Lang -- There will be plenty of exciting sound-bites coming out of Talladega and she'll have 'em all on SiriusXM Channel 90.

more next week . . . ]

Sunday, October 11, 2015

HAMILTON, LOGANO, DEMPSEY LEAD NEW 'MOST INFLUENTIAL' LIST

POWER PLAYERS for the week of  October 11: 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. Lewis Hamilton -- Victory in Grand Prix of Russia not only all-but locks up another world championship, it puts him one ahead of Ayrton Senna with 42 career GP wins. Hamilton is now tied with Sebastian Vettel in that category. Next up: U.S. GP at Circuit of the Americas.

  2. Joey Logano -- Charlotte victory guarantees he'll move on to the third round of the Sprint Cup championship Chase.

 3. Patrick Dempsey -- Actor -- and serious racer -- achieves his first-ever FIA World Endurance Championship win in the rain at Japan's Fuji circuit. He co-drove with Patrick Long and Marco Seefried in a GTE-Am class Porsche 911 RSR in the six-hour event.

  4. Donny Schatz -- Season-win No. 31 for the already-clinched World of Outlaws champion. That ties Steve Kinser's mark for third-most in an Outlaws' season. Schatz should be Driver of the Year. 

 5. Kody Swanson -- Wins the farewell USAC Silver Crown race at the New York State Fairgrounds as the Syracuse Mile fades into history. Swanson has four victories and a second consecutive series title.

 6. Mark Miles -- We're still waiting for the 2016 IndyCar schedule from the CEO. Phoenix? Pocono? Milwaukee? Gateway? 

 7. Lee Spencer -- Reports on Motorsport.com that NASCAR may change its green-white-checker rule for Talladega. That's what the drivers, but likely not the fans, want.

  8. Tony Schumacher and Jack Beckman -- Halfway through NHRA's Countdown they are second in the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes, respectively, and need wins this weekend in Texas to close on Antron Brown and Del Worsham.

 10. Jeff Gordon -- Still in contention to finish his Hall of Fame career with a fifth NASCAR championship, he's among the tire testers this week at Phoenix International Raceway.

more next week . . . ]

Sunday, October 04, 2015

STEWART -- NO SURPRISE -- TOPS NEW 'POWER PLAYERS' LIST

POWER PLAYERS for the week of  October 4: 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. Tony Stewart -- Decision to end Sprint Cup career after next season opens the No. 14 ride for Clint Bowyer and likely adds 5-Hour Energy as a Stewart-Haas Racing sponsor. The 2016 season-long storyline is thus set around Stewart, who says he will still race in 2017, but not Cup and not the Indianapolis 500. Plus his drivers Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch advance to Chase round 2.

  2. Kevin Harvick -- Wins a "must win" race, at Dover, to advance in the Chase and re-establish himself as the championship favorite.

  3. Jimmie Johnson -- Now eliminated from title contention after just one round -- a true shocker -- with seven Cup races to go will the six-time champion be the most significant championship "spoiler" in modern sports history? 

  4. Anton Brown -- Top Fuel's Top Gun becomes the first driver to win the first three NHRA Countdown races under the present format.

  5. Jack Beckman -- Gains over 100 points in the Funny Car championship run at Maple Grove and again resets the national ET record.

  6. Marcus Smith -- What hype and showbiz does the Charlotte Motor Speedway boss have planned for this weekend? And will it work to sell tickets?

  7. Jim Utter -- Has been hitting 'em over the fence for Motorsport.com since coming over from the Charlotte Observer. Broke the Tony Stewart retiring-from-Cup story.

 8. Gene Haas -- Signs a podium-caliber driver in Romain Grosjeanx for his Formula One team.

  9. Sarah Fisher -- Re-signs two-time IndyCar race winner Josef Newgarden for 2016 season.

 10. Scott Atherton -- United SportsCar Series president reveals details of IMSA's new "Daytona Prototype International" class for 2017.

more next week . . . ]