Eddie Gossage: NASCAR spokesman made “PR mistake”

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Texas Motor Speedway president/general Eddie Gossage took to the Dallas/Fort Worth airwaves yesterday to talk up tonight’s NRA 500 at his 1.5-mile oval, but he also responded to a statement made by NASCAR spokesman David Higdon on the series looking at analyzing future sponsorship pacts.

“I would tell you about Mr. Higdon, I take it that he’s new to the sport and doesn’t quite understand how it all works,” Gossage said to Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Randy Galloway on the latter’s KESN-FM radio show.

“He could have just as easily put out a quote that said, ‘C.Y.A.’ [cover your ass]. That’s what that is, and it’s a PR mistake to have made that statement, and I think they should have had a little more — they should have conferred with other folks before they issued that. I think they probably wish they hadn’t [issued the statement].”

Yesterday, Higdon said that while the track’s race sponsorship deal with the National Rifle Association “fit within existing parameters,” he also said that the series would take a closer look in the future at potential backers. NASCAR reserves the right to approve or nix any sponsorship agreements between the tracks and the organizations.

Gossage has continually maintained that complaints lodged toward his track over the NRA’s sponsorship have been minimal. However, the series and its teams and drivers appear keen on minimizing potential fallout.

On that note, sources have told ESPN that two drivers have been advised by their public relations directors to not do interviews inside the TMS media center in order to avoid being seen with the NRA’s logo behind them.

Rebellion confirms LMP1 return, all-star line-up for WEC super season

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Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will return to the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2018/19 ‘super season’ with an all-star line-up featuring Le Mans winners Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Rebellion raced in LMP1 as a privateer between 2009 and 2016 before stepping down to LMP2 for the most recent season, capturing the class titles at the first attempt.

Following a push from the WEC and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) to make LMP1 more appealing to privateer teams, Rebellion announced on Wednesday it would return to the premier class for the 2018/19 season with a two-car effort.

WEC LMP2 champion Bruno Senna will return with Rebellion next year, as will Mathias Beche, with the pair set to be joined by four new faces.

The most notable arrivals are Porsche factory drivers Lotterer and Jani, both of whom were left without an LMP1 drive following the closure of the German manufacturer’s program at the end of the season.

American racer Gustavo Menezes will also join Rebellion, stepping up after two years in LMP2, while outstanding 2017 rookie Thomas Laurent completes the Swiss team’s line-up.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started nine years ago,” said Jani.

“Rebellion Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear for me that I wanted to race again for Rebellion.

“With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

“I am very happy to join the champion Rebellion team,” added three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer.

“The LMP1 project is very exciting and to be able to go on with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA WEC challenge is something I did not want to miss.

“I am motivated and looking forward to have a great time with great people there.”