NASCAR Notes: "Victory Lap" Gone, Pemberton Finds a New Home

Thayne HallyburtonCorrespondent IDecember 1, 2008

—Ten NASCAR Sprint Cup cars, eight thousand horsepower, one million dollars. Trying to stop with slicks on icy roads? Priceless.

The "victory lap" has been going on during the annual New York week of celebration for the past four years. The top 10 in the points standing would all hop in their race cars and drive them around times square, drawing thousands of fans out of their offices to watch.

It was commonplace for NASCAR to receive complaints from people for having them close down the centre of Manhattan and the backlash received, plus the one million dollar price tag to put it on was enough for NASCAR to cancel this year's "victory lap."

This was a neat addition to Champions Week, but is not what made it special. There are still many events planned throughout this week, culminating in the champions banquet Friday night where the top ten will all have a chance to choke during their speeches as bad as Kyle Bush did, just two years ago.

—Ryan Pemberton has been named the new crew chief for Brian Vickers and the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry.

Pemberton, 39, last worked at Michael Waltrip Racing as the crew chief on the No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry. Pemberton’s first victory came in 2004, at Kansas Speedway, as a crew chief for Joe Nemechek.

With Pemberton, Jay Frye and the entire Red Bull team are expecting wins and a run at the 2009 Sprint Cup.

—Jeff Gordon went to Brazil over the weekend to race in a charity go kart race that was organized by Felipe Massa. Gordon failed to finish either of the two races, due to mechanical  reasons, after starting in 25th place.

Rubens Barrichello who beat both Massa and Michael Schumacher won the event. This was the fourth edition of the “International Challenge of the Stars.”

“It was all too new for me,” Gordon told the local media. “It was fantastic to see the guys fighting each other for position throughout the races.”

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