SPORTING NEWS' Bob Pockrass reported Dale Earnhardt Jr. "will carry the Amp sponsorship" at this Sunday's Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 400, but "instead of the familiar green and white paint scheme, his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports car will be orange and black." The new paint scheme will "feature Amp's Active Orange flavor." Earnhardt's "one-off" paint scheme will "likely generate merchandise sales, and Lionel NASCAR Collectibles already is selling diecast models" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 3/6).
SMOKING GUN: In Orlando, George Diaz writes under the header, "NASCAR Fires Self-Inflicted Wound With NRA Sponsorship." Diaz writes the NRA's title sponsorship of Texas Motor Speedway's April 13 Sprint Cup Series race is "bad for NASCAR's public image." Partnering with the NRA "only dilutes earnest efforts by NASCAR to break down stereotypes and shape its image differently." Diaz: "This isn't about pandering to the politically correct crowd. It's about building and expanding your brand as a major sports organization" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 3/7).
QUEENS LOGIC: ESPN.com's Paul Lukas reported caps and jerseys for this year's MLB Home Run Derby at Citi Field will "have a Mets-themed design." The caps and jerseys "won't be officially unveiled for at least another month and a half," but screen shots from Sony's "MLB 13 The Show" offer a "sneak peek at the designs." Lukas wrote of the designs, "Everything is in Mets colors -- blue and orange. No black, thankfully." The typeface on the jerseys is "based on the Mets' road jersey insignia." On the caps, an "A" and "N," to represent the AL and NL respectively, are "superimposed on the Mets' skyline logo" and they "look pretty sharp" (ESPN.com, 3/6).
SPICE IT UP: In Baltimore, Jill Rosen reported Old Bay Seasoning parent company McCormick is "releasing a limited edition commemorative can to celebrate the Ravens Super Bowl victory." The commemorative Old Bay Seasoning cans are "purple, with the Ravens logo and the date of the Super Bowl win." The company "plans to make 30,000 of the 16-ounce collector's tins and sell them in Maryland, southern Pennsylvania and Delaware" (Baltimore SUN, 3/5).