It's that time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series offseason when there's very little news to report.

"Silly Season" -- that time when driver and sponsor changes are announced -- has long been gone. In the racing world these days, Silly Season is not only not a season, but such changes happen in the sport continually throughout the year.

So during this respite in what some people would call real news, here are some tidbits in the personal lives of people in the sport.

---It looks like little Ella Sofia Gordon, daughter of Jeff Gordon and Ingrid Vandebosch, is going to have some competition for television camera time.

That's because reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife,
Chandra, are expecting a baby in July. Carl Edwards and his wife, Kate, also expecting, have a February due date.

---Unfortunately, other news from the world of NASCAR is not so happy.

The H1N1 virus claimed the life of a crew man from the Richard Childress Racing team of Kevin Harvick. Donald "D.J." Richardson, age 37, died on Christmas Day from complications of the virus. Richardson, who joined RCR in July, finished the NASCAR Sprint Cup series season as a tire changer for Harvick and he had also worked for Andy Petree Racing, Penske Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Braun Racing.

---And there was another death this week in NASCAR, but this time, it was a publication. NASCAR Scene, the weekly newspaper covering all things NASCAR since 1977, will no longer be publishing and will only be available online.


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In this Internet age, the news is not that surprising. But it is still devastating not only to millions of fans, but to the many outstanding reporters and photographers who worked for the paper, recognized as an authority in the business.

Besides being award-winning journalists, the friends I have made over the years from Scene are dedicated to the sport in a way that only the most fanatic fans can understand. One of them, Tom Jenson, editor-in-chief for SpeedTV.com, was executive editor for Scene for four years.

"I stood in the darkroom with photo editor Phil Cavali sobbing soundlessly, tears rolling down our cheeks, as we picked out the photos we would run to honor Adam Petty after his death in 2000," Jensen wrote in his blog. "They had to be perfect, and of course Phil made sure they were.

"When Earnhardt died at Daytona less than a year later, we put together a Herculean tribute edition to NASCAR's greatest hero, me working from Daytona and Jeff Owens doing a masterful job of organizing things back at the office.

"People got to witness history through our eyes, and we did our level best to make sure those eyes were alert and focused while we were on the job," Jensen said

It's sad to see the publication go. Thanks for the memories.

Ellen Siska writes about NASCAR for The York Dis patch. She can be reached at esiska@yorkdis patch.com.