NASCAR: Farmers Insurance extends Hendrick deal through 2017

1 Comment

A bit of important business news has emerged from the NASCAR garage with Farmers Insurance announcing a three-year extension of its current pact with juggernaut Hendrick Motorsports.

Farmers primarily backs the team’s No. 5 program for Kasey Kahne and as part of this new agreement, it will serve as that car’s primary sponsor for 12 Sprint Cup races (including the Daytona 500) during the 2015, 2016, and 2017 seasons. In all other races, it will be an associate sponsor.

The insurance company has been involved with sponsoring the No. 5 team since 2011.

“Our partnership with the team at Farmers has been unbelievable,” HMS owner Rick Hendrick said in a statement. “Everything that’s been accomplished in just three years is extremely impressive, and they continue to seek ways to engage our fans and use the sponsorship to improve the lives of others.

“It’s gratifying to see the impact of our two organizations working together, and we look forward to more successes in the coming years.”

For those curious, nothing is mentioned in the Hendrick/Farmers release about Kahne’s own driving contract with HMS beyond the 2015 season.

Kahne has earned back-to-back Chase berths, but he and the No. 5 team is currently lagging on performance compared to teammates Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Jimmie Johnson.

Last week at Pocono, Kahne was pegged as a dark horse to claim his first win of the year and make the Chase. But on Lap 143 of 160, he hit the wall in Turn 2 and was saddled with a 42nd-place finish; in the aftermath, Kahne put the blame on Kyle Busch for starting the accident.

Currently on the outside looking in with regard to the post-season and with his teammates doing well on the track, today’s Farmers announcement could give Kahne an even greater urgency to get better results.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
Leave a comment

MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.