BREAKING NEWS: Swan Racing’s future in NASCAR in question

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Just eight races into the Sprint Cup season, the future of the two-car Swan Racing team is looking rather murky, with the potential of everything from reorganization to scaling back involvement, if not outright shutting down.

The team issued a media release early Thursday afternoon — as well as on its Facebook page — announcing that a failure to secure adequate sponsorship has it looking at its options going forward.

“Swan Racing is in the process of reviewing its current situation and the ability to continue to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The team has been unable to secure the kind of sponsorship required to effectively operate the team. As a result, the team management is exploring every available option. We hope to be in position to provide a detailed update in the near future.”

Brandon Davis is the primary team owner, along with minority owners Anthony Marlowe, former NFL star Bill Romanowski and rapper 50 Cent.

Davis bought the team in 2012 and had a one-car Sprint Cup operation last season that featured several drivers including David Stremme (25 starts), Parker Kligerman (two starts), Cole Whitt (seven starts) and Kevin Swindell and Michael Waltrip (one start each) before expanding to two cars this season, driven by Whitt (No. 26 Toyota) and Kligerman (No. 30 Toyota).

The current troubles could be a situation of trying to grow too fast, too soon, going from last year’s one-car operation to this season’s two cars.

Whitt and Kligerman have both qualified for each of the first eight races, but that’s where the good news ends.

Whitt has finished 28th, 27th, 36th, 40th, 18th (season best finish at Fontana), 29th, 31st and 38th. He’s currently 33rd in the Sprint Cup standings.

Kligerman has had a particularly rough go of it. He’s failed to finish five races, with finishes of 29th, 42nd, 40th, 34th, 42nd, 41st, 40th and 30th. He’s currently 38th in the Cup standings.

Maybe 50 Cent can come up with a new rap called “How the Swan turned into an ugly duckling in eight races.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”