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

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”