NASCAR & Auto Racing

We know this much: It’s a car

The International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala., put a new car on display this week, unveiling it as the 1982 Ford Thunderbird that the late Dale Earnhardt drove in his first victory at Talladega in 1983.

The Birmingham News covered the unveiling, but noticed that pictures of the car didn’t match photos its staff took at that race. So the newspaper called the hall of fame.

Alex Beam, who runs the Memory Lane Museum in Mooresville, owns the car that’s now at the museum. He told the paper the hall contacted him looking for a 1982 Ford that Earnhardt drove. But Beam said the hall never asked if it was THE car Earnhardt won in at Talladega.

Kristi King from the hall of fame and Talladega Superspeedway was incredulous with that explanation. “Why would we not be looking for the car that he won with here?” she asked.

Beam said he has documentation that Earnhardt won at Darlington in 1982 in the car he owns and loaned to the hall. King said the car will remain on display. – DAVID POOLE


--Nationwide will back the NASCAR Foundation’s 3rd Annual Blood & Marrow Drive on Sept. 11. The drive will be held at 23 NASCAR sanctioned tracks, including Lowe’s Motor Speedway, on that date and on different dates at other tracks. Nationwide also will hold drives at corporate offices in Columbus, Ohio, and Des Moines, Iowa. The Nationwide Foundation also gave a $100,000 grant to the Marrow Foundation to support marrow typing, which costs about $52 per person. Two-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson is the official spokesperson for the project. – D.P.

--Tony Stewart will headline the annual “M&M’s Night of Stars” July 23 at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., which is co-owned by NASCAR veteran Ken Schrader. In addition to Stewart and Schrader, also scheduled to compete on the 1/3-mile track are three-time Truck series champion Ron Hornaday, Camping World series driver Ricky Carmichael and Truck series drivers Brendan Gaughan, Rick Crawford and Dennis Setzer. The NASCAR drivers will compete in UMP Modifieds and all proceeds will benefit the Special Olympics. For ticket information, call (636) 479-3219 or visit – JIM UTTER

--TV ratings from last weekend’s Cup race at Daytona on TNT were down 2 percent from a year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research. The race received a 4.5 rating, down from a 4.6 a year ago. The Nationwide Series race on ESPN2 last weekend at Daytona received a 1.7 rating. In 2007 the race was postponed from Friday to Saturday morning and received a 1.1 rating on ESPN2. In 2006, the race received a 1.7 rating on FX. – J.U.