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NASCAR loses another popular figure, Ed Shull

   A sea of faces in the Martinsville grandstands for Sunday's Martinsville 500....but TV ratings down again (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern



   It's been a rough year for NASCAR faithful and the NASCAR family:
   -- Ed Shull, the well-liked veteran PR man, lately in charge of the Gatorade project sponsorship, passed away Tuesday.
   Talladega's Grant Lynch, who knew Shull as well as anyone, called his death "a tremendous loss to the sport of NASCAR. 

   "Ed made great partnerships with our facilities and teams during his time at Gatorade, and his impact is still present today.  In addition to being a great partner, he was also a dear friend to many, myself included."
    -- And ESPN reports the continued decline of NASCAR's TV ratings.
    Sunday's Martinsville 500 earned a final national household coverage rating of 2.4. averaging 3,954,058 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. Last year's race aired on ABC and earned a final U.S. rating of 2.9.
     Out in St. Louis, ESPN2's Nationwide coverage earned a final national household rating of 1.1, averaging 1,386,547 viewers. That event replaced a race held on the same weekend last year at now-closed Memphis, which earned a 0.9 final rating. That 1.1 is about the season's average for the Nationwide tour.
     Fox' Speed channel, however, reported an increase in TV viewers for its Saturday Martinsville race. The Truck race pulled a .69 rating, Speed says, translating to 536,000 households; last year's race pulled a .49 (365,000 households).
    For the season Fox' Speed reports increased ratings for six of the last nine races -- up at Pocono, Darlington, Bristol, Kentucky and Las Vegas.
    The Trucks will be in action again at Talladega Superspeedway this Saturday.

     Item One: In a neat twist, Speed will, on Thanksgiving, broadcast a two-hour package of 'Hollywood's Hottest car chases,' with footage from Bullitt, The French Connection, and The Bourne Identity. Some 40 film chases will be included. It is unclear if any of Hal Needham's movies will be included.

     Item Two: Not quite sure if this is a spoof or not, but someone has created a website, BlackFlagBZF.com, to debate some of the issues surrounding NASCAR racing.

     Item Three: a proposed new NASCAR-based TV series appears in the works, called 'The Crew,' about a family of brothers in racing. NBC and NASCAR are reportedly talking about the project. Not sure if it's supposed to be reality, drama, or comedy....or all three. Is this really about the Bodine brothers?  Will it ever see the LCD screen? We're still waiting for that Britney Spears-NASCAR movie....
    NASCAR and Hollywood have a long history of course, from 'Thunder in Carolina,' 'Speedway,' 'The Petty Story,' 'The Last American Hero,' 'Greased Lightning,' 'Stroker Ace,' and 'Days of Thunder.'
   But NASCAR's TV ventures have been more problematic.

The Stock Car Reporters, Part Deux?

Checking out the BlackFlagBZF site to see if it's legit, I'm finding it reads somewhat like a harsher version of Jack Flowers' NASCAR book The Dirt Under The Asphalt (notably with its comments about alleged "double dipping" by Brian France) but is far more unhinged - it appears to take Jeremy Mayfield's bizarre allegations seriously (even to accepting as true the perennially-overheated rhetoric of The Huffington Post) and overblows Brian France's comment that the sport would benefit if Dale Earnhardt Jr. began winning again. The Mayfield situation in particular is treated as a grand scandal even though Mayfield lacks credibility. The site also gets wrong the Mayfield roof infraction at Fontana in 2000 (the roof was too low before Mayfield jumped on it and these cars aren't that brittle). So far Mayfield is the only "issue" the site is "debating."

It's reminscent of The Stock Car Reporters, a cite that debuted late in 2000 and claimed to be written by several drivers and at least one crew chief to provide inside information on the sport. The cite's credibility began coming into question when it ranked the tracks before the 2001 season and ripped all of them except Bristol. But what garnered the site the most attention - and ultimately sank it - was that it voraciously fed the rumor after Dale Earnhardt's death that drivers would park out at Talladega if NASCAR kept the roof blade aero package; when the alleged park out didn't happen (though its threat indirectly led to NASCAR's cowardly yellow line rule) and writer Mike Snow publically ripped the site for several technical claims it had made that proved unfounded, the site inexplicably disappeared and a veteran NASCAR writer (I forget who it was; do you remember, Mike?) admitted he'd created the site.

let me know what you find

let me know what you find out....i figure it's tongue-in-cheek stuff.....not sure what it's all about....and certainly not taking it very seriously....but maybe good for a laugh or two?

my uncle

i am the great nephew of ed shull my name brody rogers and my uncle's death has affected me very much i knew him very well and we loved to talk nascar .

Ed Shull

We have known Ed for the past forty three years, and became the closest of friends, more like family. Ed was one of the most wonderful person that anyone will ever want to know, and no one can replace him in the lives of so many people that knew him. Good by Ed, we loved you, and will always miss you. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Linda and the children, grandchildren, and family. You have a healthy body with God. and we will see you one day.
Tom, Beverly, Chuck and Susan Britton

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