RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Readers of Nascar.com were not surprised at all when Nascar officials announced Monday that Charlotte had won a bidding war with Atlanta and Daytona Beach to be the host site for the sport’s new museum.

David Newton, writing on Nascar.com (www.nascar.com ), reported from Mexico City on Saturday that a Nascar team owner said Charlotte had won the contest.

“Nextel Cup team owner Felix Sabates said NASCAR made the right decision in selecting Charlotte to host its Hall of Fame,” Newton, who was covering the Busch Series race in Mexico’s capital, wrote.

“These guys are not going to get in an airplane to fly to Atlanta to do appearances,” Newtown quoted Sabates as saying.

Monday at 4 PM, after other media had picked up on Newton’s story, the formal announcement was made.

The story brings more attention to Nascar.com, which is one fine web site. Featuring audio, video, plenty of stories, and features, Nascar.com reflects in many ways the success enjoyed by Major League Baseball’s own site (www.mlb.com ). Baseball fans can’t really get any better comprehensive coverage of the sport than at MLB.com, and the same can be said for Nascar.

Newton recently joined Nascar.com from The State in Columbia, SC.

To see Newton’s story, go to: www.nascar.com/2006/news/headlines/cup/03/04/hall.charlotte.sabates/index.html

What Does AT&T-BellSouth Merger Mean?

The $67 billion merger of BellSouth with AT&T is not likely to generate many changes for customers right away, numerous analysts said Monday as they sorted through the potential fallout of the deal that was announced Sunday.

However, Marguerite Reardon, writing for Cnet at News.com, was quick to point out that BellSouth customers could get access to video services faster than they might have otherwise. AT&T is already experimenting with Internet Protocol TV (“Project Light Speed”), and BellSouth has in place an IP-based network that can support what many people in the industry see as a potential threat to cable.

“AT&T and BellSouth are also closely aligned when it comes to their wireline broadband strategies, which could mean speedier IPTV deployments for BellSouth customers,” she wrote. “The main reason for this is that the companies have built their networks around a similar architecture.

“Unlike Verizon Communications, which is spending billions of dollars to extend fiber optics directly to consumers’ homes, AT&T and BellSouth have extended their fiber networks only into neighborhoods. Then they use existing copper lines to offer broadband service using new ADSL technology, which allows them to increase download and upload speeds into the home.”

For details, see: news.com.com/What+does+AT38TBellSouth+mean+for+consumers/2100-1033_3-6046436.html?tag=st.txt.caro

Jim Cramer, the outspoken financial guru of theStreet.com and MSNBC, sees the AT&T-BellSouth deal as providing more competition in broadband services.

“AT&T is the DSL price cutter, and It’s going to kill the cable companies,” he said.

For more, see: www.thestreet.com/_yahoo/funds/stoptrading/10271999.html?cm_ven=YAHOO&cm_cat=FREE&cm_ite=NA

However, a report from Banc of America Securities, takes a somewhat different view.

“We think the jury is out whether there will be any practical impact on video markets and, in any case, we don’t see any major impact anytime soon,” wrote analyst Douglas Shapiro.

See: www.forbes.com/2006/03/06/cablevision-echostar-bellsouth-0306markets19.html?partner=yahootix

Will there be much opposition to the deal? The New York Times reports that the regulatory environment has changed a great deal since a proposed merger between AT&T and SBC was scuttled in 1997.

The Times quoted former Federal Communications Commission head Reed Hundt as saying “I would bless the deal” if he were still at the FCC.

In 1997, The Times noted, Hundt said the AT&T-SBC merger was “unthinkable”. SBC absored AT&T last year, took the AT&T name and now wants to get even bigger.

For details (free registration required), see: www.nytimes.com/2006/03/07/politics/07policy.html?th&emc=th

Feedback? Comments? Send to rick@localtechwire.com

Editor’s note: A reader pointed out that I failed to mention PacBell was among SBC’s acquisitions before it acquired AT&T and then took the AT&T name.