IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard on Friday said that it "will take being a legend for a former IndyCar driver to be eligible" for the $5M challenge in October at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Bernard said that the "key to making the bonus available ... is showcasing the Izod IndyCar Series to drivers in other motor sports genres, and vice versa." He added that he has "limited the opportunities to five because that's how many IndyCar teams he thinks could provide an extra car capable of winning the season-ending Oct. 16 race" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 2/26). NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya, an Indy 500 winner, said, "It's just impossible logistics-wise." He added, "If you were really going to try and win the $5 million, you would have to get all the practices down and do it right. ... I think a lot of people are going to going ohhh, but being realistic it’s impossible. Are you going to show up on Sunday and race without practice and hope for the best? Who the heck is going to win that?” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/26).
READY OR NOT ... In Phoenix, Paola Boivin notes NASCAR has been "quick to market" Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne. Four hours before yesterday's Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 500, Bayne "took Golden Globe nominee Emmy Rossum, who sang the national anthem, for a couple of fast laps around the track." Boivin writes, "It's impressive what Bayne is willing to do before competition. Most pitchers in Major League Baseball won't do interviews on days they start. NFL players are unavailable before games" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/28).
REMEMBER THE TITAN: In Nashville, Jim Wyatt reports Jeff Fisher has "accepted the NFL's invitation to assist the competition committee as a consultant." Fisher, who stepped down as Titans coach this offseason, previously served as co-Chair of the committee alongside Falcons President Rich McKay. Fisher said that he "would rejoin the committee as a non-voting member at next month's meeting in Florida." NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello said Fisher might serve as consultant for "some period of time" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 2/28).
BREAK POINT? In a Q&A with the N.Y. TIMES' Joe Brescia, U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier spoke about tennis' popularity in the U.S. and said, "Tennis chose international popularity over U.S. popularity many years ago when the circuit moved more U.S.-based pro events offshore. When the best players participate on U.S. soil four times a year, it’s unlikely to see growth in TV ratings, which is the metric most use to judge the game’s relative popularity. Imagine how the PGA Tour would fare, relatively speaking, if there were only four U.S.-based events each year which attracted the game’s best." But he added, "From a participation standpoint, tennis is at its highest levels in 25 years in the U.S., which is very encouraging" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/27).