Even with rain delay, Duck Commander 500 sets numerous souvenir sales marks for Texas Motor Speedway

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If you see Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage walking around with a noticeable waddle and he keeps quacking, there’s no need for concern.

While some critics questioned the wisdom of naming this past weekend’s Sprint Cup race the Duck Commander 500, Gossage is laughing at those same critics all the way to the bank.

TMS issued a media release Thursday that Duck Commander-branded merchandise sold at the track this past weekend, as well as online, set several sales records for the track.

Although actual monetary and sales amounts were not released, check out some of these numbers:

* The overall weekend, even with Sunday’s race being delayed to Monday, was one of the highest grossing race weekends in the track’s 18-year history.

* Speedway World, the standalone souvenir store located just outside turn 2, reported its best race week sales total since 2000. And, parent company Speedway Motorsports Inc. Properties enjoyed its best overall event sales total since April’s Samsung Mobile 500 in April 2009.

* A Duck Commander 500 trailer, specially designed and wrapped for this event, was located at Texas Motor Speedway’s main gate entrance and accounted for 14.6 percent of the total sales.

* Online sales were more than 900 percent higher than a typical NASCAR race weekend.

* The revenue total, although not released, was up 81 percent from last year’s April NASCAR Sprint Cup Series NRA 500 doubleheader weekend.

The hottest-selling items were Duck Commander 500 camouflage caps, camo t-shirts, total print t-shirts, feather flags, legacy t-shirts, splash-down t-shirts, koozies and bandanas.

Given the record-setting numbers this past weekend, one must wonder what TMS does for an encore.

Bring back the Robertson family and Duck Commander for two more years, that’s what.

(Can we refer to the next two years as Duck Commander 2.0 and 3.0?)

The track will also continue selling Duck gear at its June 5-7 IndyCar weekend, as well as the Oct. 30-Nov. 2 Chase for the Sprint Cup weekend event.

If you missed your chance to get in on some of the merchandise, get quacking and go to www.GoSpeedwayWorld.com.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on NBCSN, NBC Sports App this week

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After five years and 98 Grands Prix broadcast since 2013, NBC Sports Group’s coverage of Formula 1 concludes with the 2017 season finale from Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit this week.

The lights come on for the day-into-night Grand Prix of the year as the sun sets on five years of broadcasts, original content and additional digital specific features such as Paddock Pass.

For Abu Dhabi this week, all of the race, qualifying and second free practice will be live on NBCSN with first and third free practice live on the NBC Sports App. The race returns is back in the usual morning a.m. time slots after three mid-day races in Austin, Mexico City and Sao Paulo, and a pair of overnight affairs in Kuala Lumpur and Suzuka. Formula 2 coverage of its season finale from Abu Dhabi also airs both on NBCSN and online.

With this the final race of the season before F1’s winter break, there’s still a handful of things to get sorted even though Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have wrapped their respective championships.

Sebastian Vettel (Brazil) and Max Verstappen (Mexico) have won the last two races, with Hamilton’s most recent win coming at Circuit of the Americas. Will it be any of these three that wrap the year on a high or could any of their teammates – Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo or Valtteri Bottas – upend the script?

Mercedes has won the last three races in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton winning in 2014 and 2016 with Nico Rosberg taking the 2015 crown.

Vettel and Hamilton have three wins apiece in Abu Dhabi, Vettel having taken all of his with Red Bull in 2009, 2010 and 2013, and Hamilton adding a 2011 McLaren triumph to his last two with Mercedes. Raikkonen (2012, Lotus) and Rosberg are the other Abu Dhabi winners, and while both Vettel and Raikkonen have won in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari never has in the first eight races here.

The last place up for grabs in the constructor’s battle is for sixth, with Toro Rosso (53 points), Renault (49) and Haas (47) separated by only six total points. Toro Rosso and Renault got into a nasty war of words in Brazil, and will part ways after the weekend.

Felipe Massa signs off his career in F1 for the second and expected final time at Williams, and with Toro Rosso having confirmed Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley last week, his seat is one of only three left to fill for 2018, and the most attractive.

McLaren and Honda also bring to an end their partnership after three troubled seasons, but on the bright side will look to score points for a third straight race together, which hasn’t happened since the Hungarian, German and Belgian Grands Prix of 2016.

As ever, and perhaps for the final time as a collective unit, Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett will be on the call with Will Buxton reporting from the pits and paddock.

Here’s the F1 schedule, with stream links and TV network if applicable:

  • Practice 1: Friday, Nov. 24, 4 a.m.-5:30 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Practice 2: Friday, Nov. 24, 8 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Practice 3: Saturday, Nov. 25, 5 a.m.-6 a.m. ET (Streaming)
  • Qualifying: Saturday, Nov. 25, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Pre-Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 7 a.m.-8 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Post-Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m.-10:55 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • Race (Replay): Sunday, Nov. 26, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • F2 Race: Sunday, Nov. 26, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. ET (NBCSN)
  • F2 Race (Replay): Sunday, Nov. 26, 9 p.m.-10 p.m. ET (NBCSN)