Jerry Gappens officially assumed his role of general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the track's new name.
Yeah, I reported that back in November, like everybody else. I also reported that Gappens was the GM a couple of weeks later. Jokingly, a friend of mine told another friend of mine that I must be behind the times -- because I didn't have anything last week on the blog about the "official" announcement.
OK, now that I've mentioned it all -- again -- do I get a ribbon?
The new Dale Earnhardt Jr. was on display at Daytona International Speedway this week, and he's apparently fitting in quite nicely at Hendrick Motorsports.
Not only was his No. 88 Chevrolet Impala fast in single-car runs during testing at DIS, but he's also taken on the Hendrick personality of refraining from saying anything incendiary.
It's no secret that the rest of the Cup garage has been chasing Hendrick for the last couple of seasons -- and with the COT's debut last season, it became ever more apparent. Now that Junior's in a Hendrick COT, he still wouldn't call out DEI for inferior performance.
"I mean, I really was proud of where I came from and proud of the team that I had last year, and it's hard for me to really put into words without...," Junior said of the difference in the two organizations before stopping himself. "I'd rather -- I choose really not to discuss it that often because I don't want anyone that I've worked with in the past to get the impression that I am in a much better place and much more happier and I've got better people, because it really just comes down to the tools and how you use them."
It's exactly the kind of answer you'd expect from Earhardt, though it's hard to buy that he's not happier now than he was working for his stepmother, whom he had a rocky relationship with.
Doug White, owner of Wiscasset Raceway, may be one of the few people in the area excited about SMI's purchase of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In fact, he went so far as to say he's hoping Bruton Smith does sell off the track's 2 annual Cup dates -- the sooner the better.
As a short track promoter in the area, White knows that if a Cup facility goes belly-up, it leaves racing fans on the lookout for action somewhere. He knows that staying home and watching Cup races on TV only takes you so far, and eventually people want to get out to the track.
Like other promoters in Maine and New Hampshire, he certainly will keep a keen eye on what goes on in Loudon. The loss of NASCAR racing in New England would hurt the overall picture, but short track racing would get a boost.
Either way, we're putting cart way before the horse with any discussion of NHMS Cup dates -- or a lack thereof...