LeBron James’ agent involved in Darrell Wallace Jr.’s hunt for sponsorship

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Darrell Wallace Jr.’s path to a new ride in NASCAR has led to an indirect intersection with NBA superstar LeBron James.

During its sponsorship hunt for Wallace, Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark said the team set up a meeting for the driver with Maverick Carter, the agent who oversees much of James’ business empire.

Carter and James are childhood friends who co-founded LRMR, a sports and brand management company based in Akron, Ohio. LRMR, which started  in 2006 and also represents Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, has a business partnership with Fenway Sports Management, which falls under the Fenway Sports Group umbrella that also includes Roush Fenway Racing.

“The interest is pretty high (in Wallace), and we’ve worked closely with Fenway Sports Group,” Newmark said. “We’ve had him connected to (Carter) because LeBron is under the Fenway umbrella. We think there’s a lot of creative opportunities to do some really crossover promotions between sports with Bubba.

“So (with) LeBron and Johnny Manziel, John Henry has kind of created a big empire up there, obviously with Liverpool, NESN and Roush. There’s also a sports marketing arm that includes a lot of dynamic personalities. That gets us excited because we’re working with them to do things with our drivers as well.”

Wallace told MotorsportsTalk that he briefly talked with Carter recently.

We’re trying to get some things rolling there,” he said. “That’s a huge company (Fenway Sports Group). He knows that organization well. It could open a lot of doors. That’s really cool to know you have connections to LeBron and other key partners there. You have to go make the best of it.”

With his Oct. 26, 2013 win in the Camping World Truck Series at Martinsville Speedway, Wallace became the first African-American to win a NASCAR national series race in nearly 50 years (Wendell Scott, who will be inducted Friday into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, was the last at Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 1, 1963).

Wallace, 21, notched four victories in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing last season and finished third in points, but a lack of sponsorship left him without a ride. He moved to Roush last November and is expected to run a Ford full time in the 2015 XFINITY Series.

March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

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