Sprint Cup champ Kevin Harvick was most-mentioned NASCAR driver on TV this year

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One wonders if Budweiser, Jimmy John’s, and Outback Steakhouse are set to provide Kevin Harvick with a nice Christmas bonus.

Those major companies backed Harvick as he charged to the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, and with Harvick being among the fastest drivers week in and week out, he got lots of television airtime for himself and his stable of sponsors.

Back in July, we told you Harvick was the most-mentioned driver on NASCAR TV broadcasts through the first half of the 2014 campaign. Now, Joyce Julius and Associates is reporting that he was the most-mentioned driver on TV throughout the entire season.

Harvick netted 5,740 TV mentions altogether in 2014, beating Jeff Gordon (5,094), Jimmie Johnson (4,830), Brad Keselowski (4,164), and Joey Logano (3,482).

Gordon, whose bid for a fifth Cup title ended in the Eliminator Round, led all drivers in total interview time on TV with one hour, 33 seconds’ worth of mic work. Dale Earnhardt Jr., knocked out of the Chase in the Contender Round, was second in that category (56 minutes, 32 seconds), and Harvick was third (53 minutes, 12 seconds).

Surprise Championship 4 contenders Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman are listed eighth and 14th respectively in TV mentions. Newman himself is next-to-last among the Top 20 in interview time with his 13 minutes, 31 seconds, which only beat Marcos Ambrose (10 minutes, 50 seconds).

Considering Ambrose has gone back home to Australia and V8 Supercars, we figure he doesn’t care much about this.

Here’s how the year-end data looks…

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Alex Marquez wins first MotoGP #StayAtHomeGP Virtual Race

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Alex Marquez of Spain won the inaugural MotoGP #StayAtHomeGP Virtual Race as the world’s premier bike racing series followed other motorsports into online racing.

The #StayAtHomeGP, which was streamed Sunday on several platforms including the Motorsports on NBC YouTube channel, featured a field of 10 riders competing on their console gaming systems at home.

Francesco Bagnaia was the runner-up, and Maverick Vinales rounded out the podium.

INDYCAR iRACING: Sage Karam wins Watkins Glen opener

Defending MotoGP premier series champion Marc Marquez, the older brother of the rookie race winner and his teammate at Repsol Honda Team, finished fifth.

Here’s a recap of the race from the MotoGP site.

The premier class of MotoGP has yet to hit the track this season as its opener was canceled and the next three races were postponed, including the Grand Prix of the Americas being moved from April 5 to Nov. 15.

Several other racing series have tried online racing in recent weeks.

IMSA held a “SuperSaturday at Sebring” March 21 in place of the postponed Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of SebringNASCAR started its Pro Invitational Series last Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and will continue Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. IndyCar kicked off its six-race IndyCar iRacing Challenge with a Saturday race at Watkins Glen International that was won by Sage Karam.