Report: Bowyer, MWR working on contract extension

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Clint Bowyer is the lone full season holdover at Michael Waltrip Racing for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season; Martin Truex Jr. has left for Furniture Row Racing and the No. 55 Aaron’s Toyota, which was shared by several drivers the last couple years, will have a single driver in Brian Vickers.

With that established, MWR is determined to keep Bowyer for 2015 and beyond, per team owner Rob Kauffman in a FOX Sports report.

“We working on it now, trying to get it renewed,” Kauffman told FOX’s Lee Spencer. “It’s time to perform and make sure we maintain that level of success so we can re-up these sponsors and get a contract signed. We should have something soon.”

The renewal process for Bowyer requires several steps. Getting the Emporia, Kan. driver under contract is step one; from there, the team can work on the commercial aspects of the deal.

Sponsor 5-Hour Energy renewed its support for 2014, but only after reviewing its involvement following the Chase-fixing controversy that rocked the sport last fall.

There was a bunch of movement this offseason that saw drivers shift to other teams, and created more potential Chase challengers. For MWR to stay in title-winning contention, it needs to wrap up Bowyer to ensure it stays in the top tier of the NASCAR grid.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024
IndyCar
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An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”