NASCAR has shown outstanding parity through first eight races of 2014

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NASCAR chairman Brian France’s unwavering stance to bring parity to the sport during his 10-year tenure is finally paying dividends.

While most of the sport is off this week for the Easter holiday and spring break, NASCAR’s PR staff sent out a media release Thursday that shows just how close the racing has gotten thus far in 2014.

Through this season’s first eight races:

* Although the Sprint Cup Series saw its first repeat winner at Darlington with Kevin Harvick’s win after different winners in the first seven races, the streak of eight different Coors Light Pole winners remains intact. That streak is tied for the series’ longest season-opening streak of different pole winners.

* All three manufacturers have won races thus far: Chevrolet leads with four wins, Ford has three and Toyota has one.

* There have been an average of 12 different leaders per race, compared to 8.6 at this point last year.

* There have been an average of 25.6 lead changes per race, compared to 17.4 in 2013.

* There have been 29,541 green flag passes, compared to 23,178 in 2013.

* There have been 346 green flag passes for the lead, compared to 181 in 2013.

* The average margin of victory in the first eight races has been just 0.588 seconds, the smallest since 2008.

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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.”