ESPN's Backseat Drivers Return at Atlanta Nationwide Series Race: ESPN2's live coverage of the Sept. 5 Degree v12 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will see the return of ESPN's "Backseat Drivers," a television concept that debuted several weeks ago at Michigan International Speedway. The telecast will prominently feature ESPN's five NASCAR champion analysts and will be done without a traditional "play by play" announcer. Tim Brewer, Ray Evernham, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree and Rusty Wallace will give viewers the experience of sitting at home and watching the race with NASCAR experts. With Brewer contributing reports and analysis from the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage, Evernham, Jarrett, Petree and Wallace will call the race from the booth. In addition to the five champions, coverage will include pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch, while Allen Bestwick will host. The telecast begins with Bestwick, Wallace and Evernham in the ESPN Pit Studio for NASCAR Countdown at 6:30 p.m. ET. The race's green flag flies at 7:15 p.m.(ESPN PR)(8-31-2009)
Fritos on the #10 at Atlanta: Kasey Kahne makes his third of four 2009 Nationwide Series appearances on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Braun Racing will field the #10 Fritos car for Richard Petty Motorsports in the race.(Richard Petty Motorsports PR), see an image of the car on the #10 Paint Schemes page.(8-31-2009)
New name for California race: As the result of an agreement between Auto Club Speedway, Camping World and Copart, the NNS race at Auto Club Speedway on Oct. 10 has been re-branded the Copart 300. The race was previously the Camping World RV Service 300 presented by Coleman.(Auto Club Speedway PR)(8-31-2009)
Benny Gordon unveils 9/11 tribute car: NASCAR driver #72-Benny Gordon and the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum have unveiled a custom-designed race car commemorating 9/11. The car is inscribed with the message, "Always Remember." Gordon will race it Sept. 11 at the Richmond International Speedway in Virginia. The black, blue and white car, with patriotic stars and stripes, was unveiled Monday near the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan. The hood was removed so trade center responders could sign its underside. Gordon says driving it will be an honor - and hearing firefighters' and police officers' stories has been "incredible."(Associated Press)(8-31-2009)
Keselowski says announcement will come soon: Brad Keselowski remained noncommittal this weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on his future in NASCAR, though he did say an announcement on his plans will come "shortly." Keselowski, a full-time Nationwide Series driver for JR Motorsports and a part-time Sprint Cup driver for Hendrick Motorsports and Phoenix Racing, is rumored to be joining Penske Racing in 2010 - perhaps running both series full time for the team. Keselowski has said he wanted to drive full time in both series, and those plans remain in place. "I'm confident that I will run full time in both series next season," he said. If he joins Penske, he could be a teammate to Justin Allgaier in the Nationwide Series. Allgaier said Saturday he told Penske officials he didn't want to know about the team's plans until they were official.(SceneDaily)(8-31-2009) Comment here
Keller a free agent for next year: Jason Keller has declared himself a free agent after his Baker Curb Racing team learned recently that its sponsor would not return to the #27 Ford for 2010. Kimberly-Clark said it was moving to the JTG Daugherty Racing Sprint Cup Series team next year, leaving a sponsorship void for Baker Curb. "Their scheme of things changed a little bit, from the K-C side," Keller said. "They've been a great sponsor of mine, on and off, the last several years. A lot of the personnel changed, and their whole sponsorship package [changed], what they thought they needed." That leaves Baker Curb looking for a sponsor – and Keller looking for a ride. He said Saturday he's already talked to other prospective team owners, in case Baker Curb can't keep him. (SceneDaily)(8-30-2009)
Images from Montreal: Added nearly 20 images from Montreal to the 2009 Nationwide Paint Schemes pages, including #05 GDSI Ford, #10 Future Electronics Toyota, #15 HYPE Toyota, #16 3M Ford, #20 BigSpot.com Toyota, #27 Scott Ford, #28 Kenny Wallace Fans Chevy, #33 Schick Chevy, #47 Armor All Toyota, #81 Quebec Dodge Dealers Dodge, #86 Telmex Dogde, and more.(8-30-2009)
Gaughan finishes second in Grand Am race: While many believed that a NASCAR driver could end up on the Grand-Am podium earlier today in Montréal, it may not have been the one that they expected. In just his first Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series start, Rusty Wallace Racing's Brendan Gaughan teamed with TRG and veteran road racer, Andy Lally, to capture a GT class runner-up finish in today's Montréal 200 at the legendary Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. After qualifying the #66 South Point Casino Porsche GT3 in the tenth position, Gaughan completed the first half of the event, before handing the wheel off to his teammate.(RWI PR)(8-30-2009)
Nationwide COT to be run 4 times in 2010: NASCAR Nationwide Series teams will run the new car in four events in 2010, beginning with the July race at Daytona International Speedway and then race it about once a month in a slow debut for the model. Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash says that series officials handed teams the rule book for building the new car following a recent series of meetings with owners and fabricators. Balash said those meetings helped the sanctioning body finalize some steps of the process, while others are still in the works. The series will use tapered spacers at all events, abandoning the usage of restrictor plates to harness horsepower at superspeedways. A tapered spacer serves the same purpose as a restrictor plate, but it is a thicker device. "We still have to finalize a couple of things on the overall schedule before we can announce what tracks we'll be on, but our goal is to have the teams race the new car once a month for four months and then we'll stay away from that last month with the last three races leading into the championship for the Nationwide Series," he said. Balash added that the four events will all be on ovals, but that it will be a diverse group to help the teams.(SceneDaily)(8-28-2009)
Rain tires at Montreal: Goodyear has brought 600 wet weather tires, should NASCAR deem that conditions warrant . . . this tire is new for 2009, but was brought for use by Nationwide Series teams at Watkins Glen earlier this month . . . this tire was tested by Juan Pablo Montoya at the Goodyear proving grounds in San Angelo, Texas this past November . . . this is a new tire code (D-4215), and introduces the use of carbon fiber technology into NASCAR . . . the carbon fiber helps reinforce the tire's sidewalls for enhanced handling and contact with the course . . . this tire also features a different tread pattern from last year's wet weather tire that was run at Montreal . . . a road car version of the tread pattern is featured on the Goodyear Eagle F1 All-Season high performance car tire.(Goodyear PR), see complete tire details for Montreal on my Montreal race page.(8-29-2009)
Keselowski says he won't return to JR Motorsports: Brad Keselowski declined to comment on reports he'll drive in the Sprint Cup Series for Penske Racing next year, but he did indicate Thursday to Sporting News he won't be back in JR Motorsports' Nationwide car next season. Asked whether he expected to return to JRM, Keselowski said, "At this time, no," during a boat tour of the Old Port in Montreal. Kelly Bires reportedly is the leading candidate to replace Keselowski in the #88 JRM Chevy. "I heard that, too," Keselowski said when asked about the possibility of Bires driving for JRM. "It's hard to tell. I know they've talked to a number of drivers, and I wish them the best on whoever gets in there, and I expect big things from them, as I'm sure the team does. "I look forward to seeing somebody get the opportunity that I got." Keselowski's departure from JRM lends credence to reports, which surfaced last week at Bristol, that he'll join Penske Racing [with the #12 team]. Team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. has said if Keselowski were to drive a car make other than Chevy in the Cup Series, that would preclude him for driving for JRM's Nationwide program.(Sporting News/NASCAR.com)(8-27-2009) Comment here
Gonzalez driving for Day Enterprises: UPDATE: When the Nationwide Series rolls into Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this weekend for the NAPA Auto Parts 200, Victor Gonzalez Jr. will make history by becoming the first driver from Puerto Rico to compete in the series. The Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico native will drive the #05 Ford Racing Fusion at the historic 2.710-mile, 14-turn Montreal course for his initial start in the Nationwide Series.(Day Enterprises PR)(8-26-2009)
UPDATE: Internationally recognized restoration specialty contractor DryGDSI.com will sponsor Victor Gonzales in the upcoming NASCAR Nationwide race in Montreal Canada this weekend at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Victor, a native of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico is known for his road course skills with more than 30 wins to his credit. He is the only Puerto Rican instructor at the Skip Barber Racing School. DryGDSI.com is a disaster specialty contractor serving more than 27 countries around the globe responding to Hurricanes, fires, floods, or any major incident requiring indoor environmental stabilization services.(DryGDSI.com PR)(8-27-2009)
Kennington in the #61 at Montreal: Ontario, Canada native DJ Kennington will drive the #61 Ford for Specialty Racing in this weekends NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Kennington, who is currently second in points in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, will race in both series this weekend. Specialty Racings driver Matt Carter will resume his regular duties next week, as the Nationwide Series heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway.(Specialty Racing PR)(8-27-2009)
#09 crew member suspended: UPDATE: Mark Norman, a licensed crew member for the #09 team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy. On August 21, Norman was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 7-5 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book.(NASCAR PR)(8-25-2009)
UPDATE: Statement from RAB Racing's Robert Benton: "RAB Racing stringently adheres to a zero tolerance policy concerning drug abuse. The licensee in question has been released and replaced moving forward for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy and our company stands behind the actions taken by NASCAR in regards to this matter. Obviously, it is a very unfortunate situation for all parties involved, but we strongly support NASCAR's continued efforts to promote a safe work environment."(RAB PR)(8-26-2009)
Coleman starting last scheduled race: Brad Coleman has known all along that Sunday's NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is his final scheduled NASCAR Nationwide Series race of the season for Joe Gibbs Racing, but that still gives him plenty of incentive to get the best finish possible in hopes of landing an additional race this year or a full-time ride next season. Coleman, who has shared the car with JGR Sprint Cup drivers Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin, has driven in seven Nationwide races in the #20 Toyota, with a best finish of fifth at Gateway International Raceway.(SceneDaily.com)(8-26-2009)
Montreal Rookie Notes:
• Michael Annett was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Annett scored an eighth-place finish, his third top-10 this season and claimed top rookie honors for the second time in 2009.
• Michael McDowell posted a 10th-place finish at Bristol, his fifth top-10 and second in the last four races.
• Two Raybestos Rookies led the Food City 250 at Bristol: Justin Allgaier (once for two laps) and Brendan Gaughan (once for 10 laps).
• At least one Raybestos Rookie has scored a top-10 finish in 21 of 24 NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season.
• Allgaier leads Brendan Gaughan by 15 points (206-191) entering the August 30 NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec.
• Three Raybestos Rookies are in the top-10 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship standings. Allgaier is fifth followed by Brendan Gaughan (ninth) and Michael McDowell (tenth).
• Two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions during the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series season: Gaughan and Erik Darnell.
• Landon Cassill was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2008 NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, scoring a 14th-place finish.
• The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie at Montreal is sixth-place by Kyle Krisiloff in 2007.
• Three Raybestos Rookies finished inside the top-10 in the 2007 race at Montreal: Kyle Krisiloff (sixth), Marcos Ambrose (seventh) and Brad Coleman (eighth).
• Marcos Ambrose is the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in two previous Nationwide Series races at Montreal. Ambrose led the 2007 race twice for 37 of the event's 75 laps.
• The best qualifying effort by a Raybestos Rookie at Montreal is a fifth-place effort by Marcos Ambrose in 2007.
(Raybestos / Camp & Assoc PR)(8-26-2009)
Tarkett on the #98 at Montreal: Paul Menard will be making his first career start at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve this weekend. Tarkett will debut on the hood of the #98 Tarkett / Menards Ford in Montreal.(Yates Racing PR)(8-26-2009)
NASCAR takes #32 rear end: UPDATE: Following post race inspection at Bristol, NASCAR took the #32-David Reutimann/Braun Racing rear housing to examine the rear end further.(8-21-2009)
UPDATE:Trent Owens, crew chief for the #32 car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has been fined $5,000 for rule violations committed last week at Bristol Motor Speedway. Owens violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-I (any determination by NASCAR Officials that the race equipment does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20A-12A (mounting points on the axle housing must be evenly spaced and welded to prevent movement: mounting points were not evenly spaced) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book.The infraction occurred during opening day inspection on Aug. 20. (NASCAR PR)(8-25-2009)
Bristol TV Ratings: Live coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Bristol on ESPN2 earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.5, up from a 1.4 for last year's race that aired on ESPN. The telecast averaged 1,956,225 viewers. Last week's Michigan race also saw an increase.(ESPN PR)(8-25-2009)
Ranger testing #11: Andrew Ranger tested Tuesday at Carolina Motorsports Park in the CJM Racing # 11 Nationwide Toyota Camry.(8-25-2009)
NASCAR Goes North of the Border for Montreal Event: The only international event on NASCAR's calendar happens this weekend as ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a live, flag-to-flag telecast of the road course race at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. NASCAR Countdown begins ESPN2's coverage on Sunday, Aug. 30, at 2 p.m. ET, and the race's green flag is at 2:48 p.m. ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. Marty Reid will be lap-by-lap announcer with analysis by Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree. Reporting from the pits will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Shannon Spake. ESPN2 airs same-day coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying from Montreal on Saturday, Aug. 29, at 9 p.m.(ESPN PR)(8-24-2009)
Gaughan running Grand Am race at Montreal: NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Brendan Gaughan will drive the #66 South Point Casino/TRG Porsche GT3 at this weekend's Grand-Am Rolex Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. Gaughan, from Las Vegas, will make his first Grand-Am Series start with co-driver and Rolex 24 at Daytona winner Andy Lally.(TRG Motorsports PR)(8-24-2009)
Fitzpatrick in the #33: This weekend the NASCAR Nationwide Series moves north of the border to run the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. Cambridge, Ontario native J. R. Fitzpatrick will climb into the driver’s seat of the #33 Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) Schick Chevy for the first time this season and his second Nationwide Series start of the season for KHI (previously ran the #4 KHI Chevy at Watkins Glen, finishing 18th).(KHI PR)(8-24-2009)
Mike Wallace in the #01 for the rest of the year: J-D Motorsports announced that Mike Wallace will drive the #01 Chevy for the remainder of the year. Mike will be in the #01 beginning this weekend at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuv in Canada.(J-D Motorsports PR)(8-21/2009
Bristol News and Notes:
* David Ragan won the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He became the 39th different race winner in 55 series races at Bristol. Ragan scored his second career Nationwide victory in 92 career races. It marked his second victory in 2009 -- he also won at Talladega.
* Ragan became the ninth different race winner in the past nine races at Bristol.
* Ragan led once for the final 56 laps. Kevin Harvick led a race-high 91 laps.
* This was the 105th series victory for Roush Fenway Racing.
* Kyle Busch (28th) ended an 11-race streak of finishing first, second or third that dated to Nashville in June. With his lead on Lap 52, Busch has led in 21 consecutive races, the most by a driver in series history. Busch has led in 23 of the 24 races in 2009.
* Busch has a 228-point lead over second-place Carl Edwards in the Nationwide standings. Busch lost 91 points off his cushion with his 28th-place finish.
* Brad Keselowski (third) scored his sixth straight top-10 finish.
* Kevin Harvick (fourth) has scored top-10 finishes in 12 of his past 13 races at Bristol.
* Keselowski has been running at the finish in his past 57 series races, the longest current streak. His last DNF came for an accident at Las Vegas in March 2008, when he finished 23rd.
* Jason Leffler (sixth) has finished in the top 15 in 22 of the 24 races this season.
* Michael McDowell (10th) was the highest-finishing Rookie of the Year contender.
* Derrike Cope finished 26th in his 150th series race.
* This was the fourth green-white-checkered finish at Bristol and sixth in 2009.
Braun in the #16 at Montreal: Colin Braun will make his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start of the season this weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Braun will be behind the wheel of the #16 3M Ford, the same car he drove in five NNS events last year. This will be Braun’s first race at the 2.71-mile road course. The 20-year-old Camping World Truck Series regular practiced the 3M Ford Fusion for Greg Biffle in this race last year.(Roush Fenway PR)(8-24-2009)
Special hood on the #60 at Montreal: As a special thank you for their dedication to servicing more than 300 communities all over Canada, the hood of the #60 CitiFinancial Ford will display the names of the 385 employees that make up the CitiFinancial Canadian Branch Management team in this weekend’s Nationwide Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.(Drivers Choice PR),see an image of the hood on the #16 Paint Schemes page.(8-24-2009).
Fastenal sponsoring Edwards in 2010: Roush Fenway Racing announced that they have signed Fastenal to a multi-year contract to sponsor Carl Edwards in the Nationwide Series beginning in 2010. Fastenal, North America’s largest fastener distributor and one of the world’s fastest-growing full-line industrial suppliers, will appear on the #60 Ford for 15 races in 2010.(Roush Fenway PR)(8-24-2009)
Bires to the #88? JR Motorsports President Kelley Earnhardt confirmed that Kelly Bires is on the list of possible replacements for Brad Keselowski should the company and the driver part ways. Many in the garage have called Bires, who turns 25 Tuesday, the front-runner for the #88 Nationwide Series ride.(FoxSports)(8-24-2009)
Danny O'Quinn leaves #0 team: J-D Motorsports' owner Johnny Davis was informed by Danny O'Quinn, Jr. after the race at Bristol Saturday night that he was quitting the team. "This came a quite a shock to me, said Johnny Davis. Danny was consistently moving up in the driver points and we had based our business plan around Danny for the rest of this year." The J-D Motorsports team has fielded three cars at many races this year. Johnny and Lori Davis are rethinking just what they will do to replace the driver. The #01 Chevy remains solidly in the top 30 in owner points. The team had invested considerably in the #01 and will continue to do so. "Our program has flourished in a very lean year for independent teams. We have stepped-up every aspect of our operation. We have approached sponsor acquisition with a zest that is beginning to produce results. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but we will move on and grow this business. We will consider all of our options," said team owner Davis.(J-D Motorsports PR)(8-22-2009)
Kleenex moving to Cup with JTG? UPDATE: Tad Geschickter, primary owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, will announce that Kleenex will be one of several new sponsors on the #47 Toyota driven by Marcus Ambrose for 2010 (in the Sprint Cup Series). Geschickter added that an agreement to continue his relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing could be completed as soon as this weekend. (Fox Sports), Kleenex is the longest-standing, continuous primary sponsor in the series. They have been with Baker-Curb (#27-Jason Keller) for 15 years.(8-21-2009)
UPDATE: Kimberly-Clark [Kleenex] announced a partnership with JTG Daugherty Racing for the 2010 season, making it a sponsor of the #47 Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car driven by Marcos Ambrose. The partnership will commence with the Daytona 500 in February and mark the 16th season Kimberly-Clark has been active in NASCAR. As sponsor, Kimberly-Clark brands will be present on the #47 for the entire 2010 season, serving as the primary sponsor on paint schemes for five races, including Daytona. The move to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series brings to end one of the longest-standing team/sponsor relationships in the Nationwide Series. "Kimberly-Clark has partnered with Baker Curb Racing and that organization for a long time," Kimberly-Clark's Don Quigley said. "We certainly wish that team the best of luck and expect it to continue finding success. We also hope nothing but the best for Jason Keller in his endeavors both on and off the track. As we graduate up, we will certainly remain fans of the Nationwide Series."(Kimberly-Clark)(8-22-2009)
NASCAR takes #32 rear end: Following post race inspection at Bristol, NASCAR took the #32-David Reutimann/Braun Racing rear housing to examine the rear end further.(8-21-2009)
Rusty Wallace Racing make announcement about some 2010 plans: UPDATE: Rusty Wallace Racing says they will make a significant 2010 announcement of Friday afternnon at Bristol Motor Speedway concerning its 2010 NASCAR racing programs.(RWR), supposedly it will be something with current sponsor 5 Hour Energy Drink, but no word if it is for Nationwide or if Wallace will run any Sprint Cup races in 2010.(8-21-2009)
UPDATE: Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing and Living Essentials --the makers of 5-Hour Energy--announced that beginning in 2010, 5-Hour Energy will serve as primary sponsor of third-generation driver, Steve Wallace and RWR's #66 car, in the full 35-race NASCAR Nationwide Series..(8-21-2009)
Jay Robinson to serve as Wallace's crew chief: Jay Robinson Racing team owner Jay Robinson said Friday he will serve as the crew chief for Nationwide Series driver #28-Kenny Wallace for several upcoming events. Robinson has served as a crew chief for his own cars in the past and has had a hand in building most of the team's cars. Crew chief Chris Rice accepted a new position this week with ML Motorsports. Because that team is not going to Montreal next week, Rice will be the crew chief for Wallace for the Montreal event. Robinson will then reassume that role the following week at Atlanta.(SceneDaily)(8-21-2009)
Kittleson in the #31 at Bristol: Travis Kittleson will be back behind the wheel this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kittleson will pilot the #31 Chevy in the Nationwide Series sponsored by long time supporter Bob Steele Chevrolet. This will mark his second start at "The World's Fastest Half Mile".(RWR PR)(8-20-2009)
Ranger in the #11 at Montreal: Andrew Ranger, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series points leader, will drive the #11 CJM Racing Toyota for the Nationwide race in Montreal.(8-20-2009)
Congrats to Eric & Miranda McClure: Eric McClure recently found out he and his wife, Miranda, will be adding a new member to their Chilhowie, Va., race team in April. He's already got two tire changers - Mabreigh who is 2½ years old, and Maryleigh, who celebrates her first birthday next week. If it's a boy this time, he'll have his gas-man.(Kingsport Times News)(8-20-2009)
Tagliani driving for MacDonald at Montreal: Stock-Car Montréal, the organizing body of the NAPA Auto Parts 200 Presented by Dodge, announced that Quebec driver Alex Tagliani will run in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race scheduled August 29-30 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Parc Jean-Drapeau. The veteran racer from Lachenaie, Quebec is entered in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 Presented by Dodge to drive the #81 Dodge owned by Canadian Randy MacDonald. The Quebec Dodge Dealer Association is sponsoring Tagliani for the Montreal race.(Stock Car Montreal PR)(8-18-2009)
SnagAJob.com on the #20 at Bristol: The number one source for hourly employment, SnagAJob.com, and market research recruitment website, BigSpot.com will partner as sponsors on Brad Coleman's #20 NASCAR Nationwide Series car for the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend.(Brad Coleman PR)(8-18-2009)
Rice takes over as crew chief for Howard: In what is a mutual agreement by both parties, Brian Ross will step down as crew chief for #70-ML Motorsports. Ross, who drove for the Indiana-based team in the in ARCA RE/MAX Series team in 1999 and 2000, stepped in as crew chief in March of 2008. Chris Rice, who had previously been the crew chief for #28-Kenny Wallace's NASCAR Nationwide Series team, will join the ML Motorsports team and work with 24-year-old driver Shelby Howard. Howard and Rice are certainly not strangers to each other when it comes to racing. The two met in 2004, as Howard was driving for Bill Davis Racing and Rice was the crew chief for Howard's teammate.(ML Motorsports PR)(8-18-2009)
Bristol Rookie Notes:
...Justin Allgaier was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the CARFAX 250 at Michigan International Speedway. Allgaier scored a seventh-place finish, his 10th top-10 of the 2009 season and claimed top rookie honors for the seventh time this season. He became the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-10 finish at Michigan since 2005.
...Allgaier led the Michigan race twice for eight laps and was the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the event.
...At least one Raybestos Rookie has scored a top-10 finish in 20 of 23 NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season.
...Allgaier leads Brendan Gaughan by 17 points (205-188) entering the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
...Allgaier is fifth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie, 83 points ahead of sixth-place Steve Wallace.
...Three Raybestos Rookies rank inside the top-10 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship standings: Allgaier, Brendan Gaughan (ninth) and Michael McDowell (10th).
...Two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions during the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series season: Gaughan and Erik Darnell.
...Cale Gale was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the 2008 Food City 250, grabbing a fourth-place finish.
...Cale Gale won the pole position or the 2008 Food City 250, his first career pole in the race. He joined Kevin Harvick (2000) as the only Raybestos Rookie pole winners in the August race at Bristol since the program was created in 1989 (20 races).
(Raybestos / Camp & Assoc PR)(8-18-2009)
Michigan TV ratings up: The CARFAX 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race saw a ratings increase for the second consecutive year, earning a 1.4 final national household coverage rating for the telecast that aired on ESPN2 on Saturday, Aug. 15. The telecast averaged 1,642,343 viewers. The Nationwide Series race telecast from Michigan earned a 1.3 rating on ESPN2 in 2008 and a 1.2 in 2007, the first year of ESPN's current contract with NASCAR to televise the full Nationwide Series.(ESPN PR)(8-18-2009)
Scott in the #11 at Bristol: Bristol marks the first confirmed race for Brian Scott behind the wheel of the #11 CJM Racing entry this season. RIDEMARKERZ will return as the primary sponsor of the #11.(CJM Racing PR)(8-18-2009)
McDowell Returns to #26: Michael McDowell will drive the # 26 at Bristol with Brian Keselowski as crew chief. At Montreal, McDowell will drive the # 96 Dodge with Bob Keselowski as crew chief and Brian Keselowski will make his road course debut in the # 26 Dodge with a TBD crew chief. The future driver lineup will be determined following Montreal.(K-Automotive PR)(8-18-2009)
More testing at Carolina Motorsports Park: Alex Tagliani and Jacques Villenueve are both testing Nationawide cars today at Carolina Motorsports Park. Jacques Villenueve is again in the #32-Braun Racing Doller General Toyota and Alex Tagliani is in the #81 MacDonald Motorsports Dodge.(8-18-2009)
JD Motorsports sponsors for Bristol: Danny O'Quinn, Jr. will again represent Sun Drop Soda in the #01 J-D Motorsports Chevy at Bristol.
AND: Nutone Heating and Cooling Products Return as Sponsor for JD Motorsports and Kertus Davis at Bristol Motor Speedway in the familiar #0.(J-D Motorsports PR)(8-18-2009)
Westerman returns to the #40: The #40 will be sporting the green and white Westerman Companies paint scheme this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. This is Westerman's fourth appearance on the Key Motorsports Chevy this season, and the second race with Scott Wimmer behind the wheel. Westerman Companies will be featuring their specialized nuclear products and services on the hood for Friday night's event.(Key Motorsports PR)(8-18-2009)
Cup drivers in the #1: UPDATE: [James] Finch's team manager, Marc Reno, said Friday that a succession of Sprint Cup drivers would steer the #1 Nationwide Chevy. It began with Ryan Newman last weekend at Watkins Glen, to Reed Sorenson at Michigan and Bristol, Max Papis at Montreal, Newman at Atlanta and then Martin Truex Jr. at Richmond and Dover, all that's currently set.(NASCAR.com)(8-15-2009)
UPDATE: Max Papis has enjoyed an exciting year and now the GEICO Sprint Cup Series driver is going to add yet another racing event to his already busy calendar. Phoenix Racing has tabbed the 2004 Grand-Am Series champion to pilot their #1 Miccosukee Resort & Gaming Chevrolet in the Montreal NASCAR Nationwide Series race on August 30th.(Player Management International PR)(8-18-2009)
Bristol National Anthem singer named: MCA Nashville recording artist David Nail is celebrating the release of his debut album "I'm About To Come Alive" with a weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Nail will sing the national anthem Friday night before the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The anthem will be televised live on ESPN 2 just prior to the green flag. Also, Nail will entertain the crowd with an acoustic concert prior to the start of the Sharpie 500 Saturday night.(BMS PR)(8-17-2009)
Villenueve testing: told that Jacques Villenueve is testing Monday at Carolina Motorsports Park for Braun Racing in the #32 Dollar General Toyota.(8-17-2009)
Racing Resources / ESPN says:
* Michigan native Brad Keselowski won the Carfax 250 at Michigan International Speedway. Keselowski hails from Rochester Hills, Mich.
* Keselowski became the 14th different race winner in 18 races at Michigan.
* This was the fourth straight race in which Kyle Busch was passed by the eventual winner in the final lead change of the race.
* Keselowski scored his fifth Nationwide Series victory in 92 career races. It marked his third win of 2009 and his second in the last three races. He led twice for three laps, including the final lap.
* This was crew chief Tony Eury Sr.'s fourth win at Michigan with three different drivers: Steve Park, Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
* Keselowski became the eighth different winner in the last eight races at Michigan.
* This was the first last-lap pass at Michigan. This marked the second last-lap pass of the season. The other came at Talladega.
* JR Motorsports scored its seventh series victory and third in 2009.
* Kyle Busch (third) ended a streak of 10 straight first- or second-place finishes.
* With his lead on Lap 14, Busch has led in 20 consecutive races, the most consecutive races led by a driver in series history.
* Busch has a 339-point lead over second-place Carl Edwards, the biggest lead of the season. Edwards (40th) posted his first DNF in 45 races since May 2008 at Darlington.
* David Ragan (fourth) posted his first top-10 finish in three races at Michigan.
* Kevin Harvick (fifth) posted his sixth top-10 finish in eight races at Michigan.
* Justin Allgaier (seventh) was the highest-finishing Rookie of the Year contender.
* Jason Leffler (11th) has finished in the top 15 in 21 of the last 23 races.
Border Patrol not returning? UPDATE: During Nationwide Series practce on SPEED, Larry MacReynolds said that the U.S. Border Patrol is not planning to return as primary sponsor of the #28-Kenny Wallace / Jay Robinson Racing team in 2010.(8-14-2009)
UPDATE: Interviewed during Happy Hour coverage on SPEED, Kenny Wallace said the Border Patrol could be back next year. They have not yet notified the team of their plans. The sponsorship deal is year-to-year and because the Border Patrol is a government agency, they typically make the decision later in the year.(8-14-2009)
StopRepairBills.com extends their sponsorship of Key Motorsports: StopRepairBills.com and Key Motorsports announced an addition to their sponsorship in the NASCAR Nationwide Series has been extended five more races in 2009. The company who has already launched a multi-race deal with Key Motorsports in the #40 Chevy driven by Scott Wimmer and owned by Curtis Key. StopRepairBills.com and Key Motorsports have added Michigan, Atlanta, Dover, Kansas and Texas into their extended partnership for the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series.(StopRepairBills.com PR)(8-14-2009)
Carfax sponsoring CJM at Michigan: CJM Racing and Carfax announced that the #11 CJM Racing entry will once again carry the Carfax logo during the NASCAR Nationwide CARFAX 250 race. Driver Denny Hamlin will pilot the #11 Carfax Toyota Camry at Michigan International Speedway this Saturday. This is the third straight year the #11 CJM Racing Nationwide Series will have the Carfax logo prominently displayed on the hood. Carfax and CJM Racing teamed up in 2007 and 2008 for the #11, driven by Jason Keller.(CJM Racing PR)(8-14-2009)
Congrats to Ryan Hackett: Congratulations to Camping World Truck Series Driver Ryan Hackett, who was married this past weekend, Saturday, August 8, 2009, to his longtime girlfriend, Pam. Hackett's next race attempt will be next Friday's Food City 250 Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hackett and his team then hope to concentrate on the Truck Series for the remainder of the season.(Ryan Hackett PR)(8-14-2009)
Bank of Ann Arbor sponsoring O'Quinn: Carl Ent, Vice President and Mortgage Loan Officer, Bank of Ann Arbor, has agreed to sponsor Danny O'Quinn, Jr., driving the J-D Motorsports #01 Chevy at Michigan International Speedway.(J-D Motorsports PR)(8-13-2009)
Watkins Glen TV Ratings: The NASCAR Nationwide Series race run at Watkins Glen on Saturday earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.5 on ESPN2, higher than the 1.4 earned for the race when it aired on ESPN2 in 2007. The race aired on ABC last year and had a 1.5 rating. The Nationwide Series telecast averaged 1,755,640 viewers.(ESPN PR)(8-12-2009)
Michigan Rookie Notes:
• Justin Allgaier was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. Allgaier scored a 17th-place and claimed top rookie honors for the sixth time this season.
• Allgaier leads Brendan Gaughan by 11 points (197-186) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the CARFAX 250 at Michigan International Speedway.
• Allgaier is fifth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. He is 50 points ahead of sixth-place Steve Wallace.
• Gaughan gained one position in the series championship standings, moving into ninth-place. Allgaier and Gaughan are the only Raybestos Rookies ranked inside the top-10 in the series standings.
• At least one Raybestos Rookie has scored a top-10 finish in 19 of 22 NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season.
• Two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions during the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series season: Gaughan and Erik Darnell.
• Dario Franchitti was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2008 CARFAX 250 at Michigan, scoring a 13th-place finish.
• Kyle Busch (2004) and Steve Park (1997) are the only Raybestos Rookies to win in 17 previous races at Michigan.
• Threee Raybestos Rookies have scored top-five finishes in 17 races at Michigan.
(Raybestos / Camp & Assoc. PR)(8-12-2009)
Lofton making series debut at Michigan: 23-year-old Justin Lofton is accustomed to the routine of racing on the weekends but this week is different. A second year racer in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, Lofton will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut for CJM Racing in the No. 14 Lofton Cattle Toyota this Saturday, August 15th at Michigan International Speedway. "I am so excited for the race this weekend. The guys have all been working hard and I really like Michigan a lot. It's a fun racetrack with multiple grooves, high speeds and the ability to pass," Lofton said.(Activ8 Communications PR)(8-12-2009)
Yeley driving for MacDonald at Michigan: It's been two years since J.J. Yeley (#81 MacDonald Motorsports Dodge) competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, but he'll be back this weekend at MIS. In three previous starts there, he has a top five and two top 10s. Yeley's first three seasons in the series were spent in the #18 car for Joe Gibbs Racing. He ran two full years for JGR (2005-06) and had his best season in 2007 when he finished seventh in the standings, had three poles, nine top fives and 22 top 10s. He ran 30 races for James Finch in 2007; his last NASCAR Nationwide event was the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(8-11-2009)
Lagasse wins road course event at Daytona: Scott Lagasse Jr. drove the America's Incredible Pizza Chevy to victory lane in the SCCA/V8 Stock Car Road Racing Series event at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) on Sunday. After being replaced by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Denny Hamlin in the CJM Racing #11 starting with Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Watkins Glen, Lagasse decided to gain road-racing experience by entering the event at DIS. In only his second career road race, Lagasse started on the pole, set a new race- lap record and won Sunday's event in a car that he owns. "It was a last- minute decision to enter the race," said Lagasse, Jr. "We worked day and night to get a car ready in the days leading up to the race and I was really just looking to get a little more road racing experience. "We never expected to do as well as we did and I want to thank America's Incredible Pizza for sticking with me and making it all possible. It felt good to get back to victory lane and it was great to give Incredible Pizza their first win. "Our goal is to get back into NASCAR Nationwide Series competition as soon as possible and we feel confident that we'll put together a deal that will benefit the right team, me and the sponsors." (Performance PR Plus)(8-11-200)
2XL sponsoring K-Automotive: 2XL steps up as title sponsor this weekend at MIS. 2XL, who has been supporting Brian Keselowski all year, has stepped up for MIS. Michael McDowell will be behind the wheel of the #26 car with Brian as crew chief again and 2XL fully supports the K-Automotive team, Brian and Michael McDowell as they go for another top 10 run this weekend in front of their home crowd.(K-Automotive PR)(8-11-2009)
Racing Resources/ESPN says:
Marcos Ambrose won the Zippo 200 at The Glen. Ambrose scored his second Nationwide Series victory in 71 career races, both at Watkins Glen. Ambrose became the third repeat series race winner to win in 16 series races at The Glen, joining Terry Labonte (four in row) and Ron Fellows (three). Ambrose became the 12th different race winner in 22 races this season. JTG-Daugherty Racing scored its second series victory and first in 2009.
Kyle Busch (finished second) has finished in the top two in the past 10 series races. It is the longest streak of finishing in the top two in series history. Busch was tied with Jack Ingram at nine entering the race. Busch has been the driver passed for the final lead change nine times in 2009. With his lead on Lap 49, Busch has led in 19 consecutive series races, tying Sam Ard's record for the most consecutive races led by a driver in series history. Busch now has a 212-point lead over second-place Carl Edwards, tying the biggest points lead of the season set earlier at Gateway.
Edwards (third) has finished in the top 10 in 13 of the past 14 races.
Kevin Harvick (fourth) has two road course victories (Watkins Glen and Montreal in 2007), eight top-5s and nine top-10 finishes in his nine career road course races. He has finished seventh or better in all six of his series races at Watkins Glen. Harvick's nine road course top-10s are the most by any series driver.
Ron Fellows (fifth) has finished in the top 10 in six of his nine races at Watkins Glen.
Scott Speed (10th) posted his fourth top-10 finish in seven races in 2009.
Jason Leffler (15th) has finished in the top 15 in 20 of the past 22 races this season.
Justin Allgaier (17th) was the highest-finishing rookie of the year contender.
ESPN's Champions Take Over Booth at Michigan Nationwide Series Race: ESPN2's live coverage of the Aug. 15 Carfax 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway will have a new and different approach as the telecast will prominently feature five former NASCAR champions and will be done without a traditional "play by play" announcer. ESPN's "Backseat Drivers" telecast will engage NASCAR fans with the authenticity and experience of analysts Tim Brewer, Ray Evernham, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree and Rusty Wallace. With Brewer contributing reports and analysis from the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage, Evernham, Jarrett, Petree and Wallace will call the race from the booth. "Our goal is to give viewers a different presentation, one filled with discussion, observations, and stories from some of the most respected champions NASCAR has crowned, and their unique unfiltered perspective on an event," said Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president, motorsports. "This is an opportunity for our viewers to have the experience of sitting around watching a race with these champions from their couch at home, and without the traditional approach to sportscasting." In addition to the five champions, the telecast will include pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch, while Allen Bestwick will host. The race airs Saturday, Aug. 15, at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2.(ESPN PR)(8-10-2009)
Kroger sponsoring Memphis Race: Kroger is returning for three more years as the title sponsor of the fall NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park on Oct. 24. The race will officially be entitled the "Kroger On Track for the Cure 250" and will again benefit breast cancer awareness organizations.(Memphis Motorsports Park PR)(8-10-2009)
2010 Team Chart: Some 2010 team and driver plans are starting to take shape. Check out the 2010 Nationwide Series Team chart for all the details.
Robby Gordon Responds to Logano Incident in NNS race: Robby Gordon [#55] and Joey Logano [#20] both raced in the Watkins Glen Nationwide Race, Gordon responded Sunday to the incident: "After reviewing the comments by Logano and the replay of the day's events, I felt that it was necessary to explain what happened during yesterday's race from my prospective. This whole turn of events started with Joey running into the back of my #55 in Turn 10. He then knocked me sideways in Turn 11. To show him my displeasure, I ran him down towards the inside wall on the front straight. I tried to do a crossover move in Turn 1 to get back by him; however, I missed judged a little resulting in both of us getting flat tires. During the final incident that ended Joey's day, we were racing for the lucky dog position. We both had good cars and were just trying to improve our finishing position for the day. After the bus stop chicane, Joey wrecked the#34 of Tony Raines. This contact allowed me to get underneath him in Turn 9. He saw that I was going to pass him for the Lucky Dog position, so he tried to block me. This maneuver resulted in his right rear tire connecting with my left front. From there, I felt he would be okay because he was in the section where the outer loop was. Rather than going down the inner loop, he decided to cut across the grass, hitting the tire barrier. At the end of the day I'm just glad Joey is okay. This is a highly competitive sport, and we are all very passionate when we are on the track. Tempers have a tendency to flare, but hopefully in the future we will both race each other cleaner. Under my own doing, I did stop by the NASCAR hauler this morning to converse with them about yesterday. There will be no repercussions from yesterday's events," commented Robby Gordon.(RGM)
AND Joey Logano, who was wrecked pretty blatantly by Robby Gordon and sent spinning into a tire barrier. Logano's fuel lines came loose and the car caught fire, forcing him out of the race. "Apparently, we got in a little grudge match after I cut down his tire," Logano said. "It's a pretty raw deal. You can't fix stupid, it's forever. You put that in your memory bank."(Alabama Live)(8-9-2009) Comment here
Special scheme for Wallace at Michigan: 5-Hour Energy is one of the hottest consumer brands on the market today and Steve Wallace is one of the Nationwide Series' hottest drivers as of late. In recognition of this, Wallace's #66 5-Hour Energy Chevy will carry a special "Fire and Flames" paint scheme in his sponsor's hometown race, the August 15 Nationwide Series event at Michigan International Speedway.(RWI PR), see an image of the car on the #66 paint schemes page.(8-9-2009)
Images from Watkins Glen: add nearly 20 images from Watkins Glen to the 2009 Nationwide Series Paint Schemes pages.(8-8-2009)
"American Dream Movie" on the #05 at Watkins Glen: UPDATE:
The NASCAR Nationwide Ford #05, driven by Baker Curb Racing's Brad Baker, will take the track to introduce this exciting new movie that's coming to a theatre near you in the spring of 2010. The movie is based on the national bestseller book, Ford and the American Dream - Founded on Right Decisions written by Clifton Lambreth, Mary Calia, Melissa Webb and Patrick Doyle.
(Baker Curb PR)(8-6-2009)
UPDATE: Ford and the American Dream the Movie that was scheduled to be the primary sponsor on Brad Baker's #05 will now be on the #27 with Jason Keller for the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen.(Baker Curb PR)(8-8-2009)
Bliis trying to stay in top 10: Mike Bliss walked around the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage Saturday sitting sixth in the standings and possibly jumping in a car for a few laps today to get at least a few more points. Bliss, released from his Phoenix Racing ride Monday, said he possibly will drive the #91 MSRP Motorsports car [he's going to be in the #90] in today's Zippo 200 if Dave Blaney and Peyton Sellers cleanly qualify this morning at Watkins Glen International. The 44-year-old Bliss said #87-Joe Nemechek has offered his car for Bliss to race in the upcoming events at Michigan and Bristol but those plans have not been finalized. Bliss, who won one race for Phoenix this year, wasn’t totally surprised by his release by team owner James Finch. “I knew going in that that race team has a history of going through some drivers. I was fortunate to make it as long as I did. We had this conversation about a month ago with James when they released me for 24 hours and then James said [we’d] get to the end of the year. But that didn’t last.” Phoenix Racing general manager Marc Reno said Bliss didn’t win enough.(SceneDaily)(8-8-2009)
Syracuse Football Coach is Grand Marshal of Zippo 200: Saturday Doug Marrone will take over Grand Marshal duties as he directs the field to fire their engines. Marrone was hired as the head football coach for Syracuse University on December 11, 2008 and is currently preparing for his first season at the helm of The Orange. The former football captain and three-year letterman at Syracuse University returned to coach at his alma matter after helping coach in the NFL and at various colleges and universities. Megan Linville will also take parting the pre-race ceremony for the Zippo 200. The up-and-coming country star will sing both the Canadian and American National anthems just moments before the race begins. Linville began performing at the age of 7, and has since built up quite an impressive resume. With countless concerts and performances at Indy 500 Qualifying and Atlanta Braves games, Linville is sure to stun the crowd with a great performance.(Watkins Glen PR)(8-8-2009)
Jeffrey Earnhardt would like to run full time in 2010: Earnhardt says that he plans to make at least one more start this season for #40-Key Motorsports. That will come in the Nationwide race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course in Montreal on Aug. 30. The fourth-generation driver already has some road-racing experience, having competed and finished second in the NASCAR Camping World East Series race at Watkins Glen in 2008. Earnhardt says he would like to run as many Nationwide races as he can over the remainder of the season while preserving his rookie status for 2010, when he hopes to run a full Nationwide schedule. “It’s tough when you’re not running every weekend,” Earnhardt said. “That’s something we’re working towards, trying to get me out there running different stuff at least every weekend no matter what it is, just staying in the car, staying fresh and all that.”(SceneDaily)(8-7-2009)
Ambrose returns to Nationwide Series: Certain places stand out on a driver's résumé' and Watkins Glen International is definitely one that sticks out for Australian driver Marcos Ambrose. Last year, he became a first-time NASCAR race winner taking the checkered flag in the Nationwide Series Zippo 200 driving for JTG-Daugherty Racing owned by Tad and Jodi Geschickter and Brad Daugherty. The victory was exoneration for the Tasmania-born two-time V8 Supercar champion. Now, Ambrose is pulling double duty again at the 2.45-mile road course. On Saturday, he climbs behind the wheel of the #47 STP Octane Booster Toyota Camry fielded by JTG-Daugherty Racing and looks to repeat with support from his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) crew chief Frank Kerr and his #47 Little Debbie Toyota Racing pit crew.(JTG-Daugherty Racing PR)(8-6-2009)
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on the #55: Robby Gordon will make his first NASCAR Nationwide Series start of the 2009 season this weekend in the #55 Camry, which will display a flashy new look. As Gordon attempts to sweep both races this weekend, the team welcomes the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas as the primary sponsor of Gordon's Nationwide effort to promote their new and improved concert arena, The Rogue Joint.(Robby Gordon PR). See an image of the car on the #55 team paint schemes page.(8-6-2009)
Busch not running full time in 2010: Kyle Busch joined members of the media on Tuesday night, Aug. 4, 2009 for dinner in Dover. During an interivew he was asked about Nationwide plans for next season. "The plan was last year when we were winning all the Nationwide races and running really well. The plan was initially to go full season and then I felt like our Cup stuff sort of stalled. We cut it back. I didn't go to Milwaukee. I didn't go to Nashville, and I didn't go to a couple others...We thought about it and how our cars are really good and Joe and J.D. (Gibbs) said man wouldn't it be cool to have a Nationwide championship solely JGR owner and driver points, and so I said I want to do it. I want to win a Nationwide championship. Anybody would so our cars have been strong enough and that's why we have done it. We won six races this year. It's been good and maybe it's taken a little bit away from the Cup effort. I don't think it has but were already talking about next year and cutting it back and getting our Cup efforts back up to where they need to be. Hopefully we can get it down to about 22 or 24 Nationwide Series races, just companion stuff not flying all over the place."(Dover Speedway PR)(8-5-2009)
Imperial Bedding sponsorsing Herd Racing: Imperial Bedding Company will serve as primary sponsor of Herd Racing's #75 entry in NASCAR's Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International this weekend. Imperial, located in West Virginia, is family owned and operated and has been dedicated to manufacturing the highest quality sleep sets for over 39 years. Imperial currently manufactures more than 65 models. Associate sponsors on Brett Rowe's #75 entry at The Glen include ECO-FIRST, an environmental services company; Doghouse Motorsports, a powersports retailer; and Short Chiropractic. (Herd Racing PR), see an image of the car on the #76 team paint schemes page.(8-5-2009)
Kenny Wayne Shepherd grand marshall at Michigan: American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter Kenny Wayne Shepherd will perform a Miller Lite Rock N' Racing post-race concert following the CARFAX 250 on Saturday, Aug. 15 at Michigan International Speedway. Shepherd will also serve as the grand marshal for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race earlier that day. (Michigan Speedway PR)(8-5-2009)
Kenseth competing in Memphis race: Add one more Cup superstar to the list of NASCAR Nationwide Series racers on their way to Memphis Motorsports Park this fall. Matt Kenseth, this year's Daytona 500 winner and the 2003 Sprint Cup Series champion, will be behind the wheel of the #16 for Roush Fenway Racing on Oct. 24. Hometown hero Ricky Stenhouse Jr., from Olive Branch, Miss., will be here to practice and qualify the #16 car for Kenseth, who will be flying in to Memphis on race day from Martinsville and the coinciding Cup race. (Memphis Motorsports Park PR)(8-5-2009)
O'Quinn's crew chief fined: UPDATE: Rescinded NASCAR announced that Randy Hood, crew chief for the #01 Chevy driven by Danny O'Quinn Jr. in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has been fined due to rule violations discovered during this past weekend's event at Daytona International Speedway. Hood has been fined $2,500 for violating Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-I (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules), 20A-10.4A (transmissions must be standard production design; gear width is not manufactured) and 20A-10.4D (the complete transmission assembly, as raced, must weigh a minimum of 80 pounds; transmission did not meet the minimum weight) of the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series rule book. The infractions were discovered on July 3 during post-qualifying inspection.(NASCAR PR)(7-9-2009)
UPDATE:On August 4, 2009, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of a penalty issued by NASCAR to Randy Hood, crew chief for the #01 NASCAR Nationwide Series car of JD Motorsports. The Appellant argued that the transmission and gear were a standard production design from an approved manufacturer, and that the method used to determine the minimum weight of the transmission assembly differed from the Rule Book. Upon reviewing the testimony presented during the hearing, the Commission concurred. Therefore, it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to rescind the penalty.(NASCAR PR)(8-5-2009)
Iowa TV Ratings: ESPN's live coverage of the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 2, earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.3. The telecast averaged 1,640,942 viewers.(ESPN PR)(8-5-2099)
GM plans to run Impala as Nationwide COT, not Camaro: Dodge and Ford will race the Challenger and Mustang, respectively, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series next year, as the series transitions to the "Car of Tomorrow" platform. And as [Auto Week] also reported, Chevy will not race the Camaro, opting to continue with the Impala. [Auto Week] asked Mark Kent, head of General Motors racing programs, why. "We've looked at racing the Camaro, and one thing we do not want to do is to force the car where it shouldn't be," Kent said. "We looked at NASCAR, for example--took a very hard look at running the Camaro in the Nationwide series. That was a request made of us by NASCAR, and we have had a tremendous partnership with NASCAR, so we took a very hard look at it.At the end of the day, because of the quest for very close competition and the need to have templated bodies in that series, we felt that by forcing the Camaro into the Nationwide templates that we were compromising the body lines of an iconic car. So at the end of the day we just could not get the Camaro in the Nationwide series to satisfy our requirements.(Auto Week)(8-5-2009)
Jeffrey Earnhardt in the #40 at Watkins Glen: UPDATE 2: Jeffrey Earnhardt, the 20 year old son of Kerry Earnhardt and grandson of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, is scheduled to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut August 8 at Watkins Glen International in the Zippo 200. He is confirmed as the driver of the Key Motorsports #40 Chevy that has been driven by Scott Wimmer and Aric Almirola this season.(Hard Core Race Fans)(8-1-2009)
UPDATE: Key Motorsports welcomes driver Jeffrey Earnhardt to the team. The twenty-year-old will be making his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut this weekend at Watkins Glen International behind the wheel of the #40. Jeffrey is scheduled to make two starts for Key Motorsports this season, the second of which will be at the series' other road course circuit in Montreal.(Key Motorsports PR)(8-3-2009)
UPDATE: Key Motorsports announced the signing of FabGrills.com as primary sponsor of the #40 Chevy that will be driven by young talent Jeffrey Earnhardt. This is FabGrills.com first primary sponsorship deal in the NASCAR Nationwide series and the first with Key Motorsports.(8-5-2009)
Lagasse out at CJM after Iowa: UPDATE 4: CJM Racing has announced that Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, will pilot the #11 CJM Racing Toyota at the upcoming races at Watkins Glen and Michigan. Scott Lagasse, Jr., will continue to drive the #11 entry at O'Reilly Raceway Park and Iowa. An announcement regarding the future driver lineup will be made at a later time.(CJM Racing PR)(7-24-2009)
UPDATE: Scott Lagasse Jr. will no longer compete in the CJM Racing #11 Toyota and will be looking for a way to complete his Rookie season. Lagasse, Jr., currently 12th in series driver points and a Raybestos Rookie-of-the- Year contender, will compete in this weekend's event at O'Reilly Raceway Park near Indianapolis and in the following weekend's race in Iowa.(PR Plus)(7-24-2009)
UPDATE 2: hearing that Kelly Bires could run some races in the #11 later this year.(7-25-2009)
UPDATE 3: The team's sponsor, America's Incredible Pizza Company, will remain on the #11 through the Iowa race, a news release said. Company president Rick Barsness said it will continue "our branding with Scott through new store openings and other promotions." That could mean Lagasse could end up with another Nationwide team, with sponsorship from the Pizza Company. "The Pizza Company, from what I know, is [going] continue their branding and they're very happy with me," Lagasse said. "What that means, I don't know. I have not had those discussions."(SceneDaily)(7-25-2009)
UPDATE 4: Tuesday, Kelly Bires posted on his Facebook page, "dropped some seats off at CJM Racing".(8-4-2009)
RIDEMARKERZ on the #11 at the Glen: RIDEMARKERZ is the first ever car customizing experience for kids 6-106. Pick one of 70 different car body types and paint schemes. These are scale plastic-mold replicas of real-world cars that RIDEMAKERZ licenses from GM, Ford, BMW, and other car companies. Then trick out the ride by picking the wheels, hubcaps, a chassis, sounds, and other options such as radio control. Build YOUR Ride at RIDEMAKERZ.com. Denny Hamlin will be behind the wheel of the No. 11 RIDEMAKERZ Toyota with CJM Racing for the first time at Watkins Glen.(CJM Racing PR)(8-4-2009)
Del Monte on the #24 at Watkins Glen: Team McClure Inc announced that Del Monte Foods will join the Rensi-Hamilton Racing family of partners during the 2009 season. The #24 Ford, driven by Eric McClure, will sport the familiar green colors of the Del Monte brand in the upcoming Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 8. McClure, who normally pilots the Hefty Odor Block Ford in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will be attempting his first race on a road course.(Rensi-Hamilton Racing PR)(8-4-2009)
Racing Resources Says...
* Brad Keselowski won the U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway. It was Keselowski's second series victory of 2009 and fourth overall win in his 90th start.
* JR Motorsports scored its sixth series victory and second of 2009.
* Keselowski was the first driver to win one of the Nationwide Dash for the Cash races and was awarded a $75,000 bonus. Kyle Busch leads the Nationwide Dash for the Cash points by five over Keselowski; the points leader gets a $50,000 bonus following Memphis.
* Busch (second) has finished in the top two in the last nine races, tying Sam Ard for the longest streak in series history. Busch has led in 18 consecutive races. If he leads at Watkins Glen he will tie Ard's record for most consecutive races with at least one lap led (19).
* Busch has a 207-point lead over second-place Carl Edwards in the Nationwide Series standings.
* Jason Leffler (third) posted his 16th top-10 finish of 2009.
* Carl Edwards (fourth) has finished in the top 10 in 12 of the last 13 races.
* Kelly Bires (fifth) scored his third top-10 finish in 11 races this season. It was his third career top-5 finish.
* Jason Keller (sixth) scored his sixth top-10 finish of 2009.
* Kenny Wallace (seventh) has finished in the top 10 in the last two races. The last time Wallace finished in the top 10 in consecutive races was in 2005.
* Michael McDowell (eighth) was the highest-finishing rookie of the year contender for the fifth time this season.
Hubert returns to the Nationwide Series with Rick Ware Racing: UPDATE: Tom Hubert from Cottonwood, California will be driving the #41 for Rick Ware Racing at Watkins Glen in the Zippo 200. Hubert is returning the Nationwide Series after a 8 year absence.(Rick Ware Racing PR)(8-4-2009)
UPDATE: M3 will debut its new name and identity at Watkins Glen in the Zippo 200 with Rick Ware Racing driver Tom Hubert. Over the past sixteen years Matthews Speciality Graphics has become the nations leader in vinyl graphics providing a solid customer base both locally and nationally. With the ever-evolving vinyl graphics industry a new identity, M3 (Matthews Mobile Media) was developed to pinpoint services in a broad graphics world. (Rick Ware Racing PR)(8-4-2009)
Bliss out at Phoenix? UPDATE 4: hearing that #1-Mike Bliss and Phoenix Racing have parted ways. Bliss is currently 7th in points and has a win at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(7-5-2009)
UPDATE: now told that James Finch has reconsidered and Bliss will stay in the car.(7-7-2009)
UPDATE 2: been told that Bliss was again released from the team on Sunday, following the race at Iowa.(8-2-2009)
UPDATE 3: A statement from Mike Bliss: "It's hard to comprehend being fired when you are 6th in points after Iowa. I never expected that considering we finished 14th with the motor blowing up. Getting the call Sunday was a real shock. Right now I am trying to find a way to get in a car and at least finish in the top 10 in driver points, with next year in the back of my mind, too." Bliss has posted the most top ten finishes for Phoenix racing of any of their past drivers including a win this year at Lowes Motor Speedway. He currently don't not have a ride for Watkins Glen, but is hopeful to find something for Michigan.(8-3-2009)
UPDATE 4: team sources say that Ryan Newman will be in the #1 this weekend at Watkins Glen.(8-3-2009)
Nationwide Series Goes Road Racing at Watkins Glen: ESPN2 continues its season-long coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend as the series races on a road course for the first time this season at historic Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. The live, flag-to-flag telecast airs Saturday, Aug. 8, at 2:30 p.m. ET. ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. Also on Saturday, live coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying airs at 10 a.m. on ESPN2, while coverage of final practice airs Friday, Aug. 7, at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN2. Marty Reid will be lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN's coverage, with analysis by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Reporting from the pits will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch, with Tim Brewer in the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage. Allen Bestwick will host the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program with analysis by Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty in the ESPN pit studio.(ESPN PR)(8-3-2009)
Watkins Glen Rookie Notes:
• Michael McDowell was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in theU.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway. McDowell scored an eighth-place finish, his fourth top-10 of the season. He claimed top rookie honors for the fifth time in 2009 and occupies 11th-place in the series championship standings.
• Scott Lagasse Jr. posted a ninth-place finish at Iowa, his fourth top-10 of the season.
• Justin Allgaier was the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap at Iowa, holding the top spot once for 35 laps. Allgaier leads Brendan Gaughan by 10 points (193-183) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International.
• Allgaier is fifth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie.
• Gaughan (10th-place) is the only other Raybestos Rookies in the top-10 in the series standings.
• A different driver has earned Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors in each of the last four consecutive races.
• At least one Raybestos Rookie has scored a top-10 finish in 19 of the 21 NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season.
• Two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions during the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series season: Gaughan and Erik Darnell.
• Dario Franchitti was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2008 Zippo 200 at The Glen, scoring a fifth-place finish.
(Raybestos / Camp & Assoc. PR)(8-3-2009)
Murphy returns to #81: A week ago Sean Murphy wasn't sure what he'd be racing. He received a last minute phone call last week to drive at Iowa Speedway and now he'll race at least two scheduled events for #81-MacDonald Motorsports. With no time to spare, Murphy is already preparing for the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International Raceway this Saturday.(8-3-2009)
Logano To Sport Madcatz Colors At Watkins Glen: When #20-Joey Logano goes for his seventh straight top-5 finish in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition this weekend at Watkins Glen, he will do so in the colors of Madcatz Accessories. Madcatz, a global leader in providing innovative peripherals for the interactive entertainment industry, will adorn the #20 Toyota along with GameStop. Logano's top-five streak began at Charlotte in May and includes two wins during that span.(MCG Sports PR), see an image of the car on the #20 Paint Schemes page.(8-3-2009)
Fitzpatrick making 2009 debut at Watkins Glen: This weekend Kevin Harvick Inc. newcomer J. R. Fitzpatrick will make his first Nationwide Series start of the 2009 season, his first at Watkins Glen International and his first in a KHI Chevy in the #4. The Cambridge, Ontario native will climb behind the wheel of the #33 KHI Chevy at the end of the month to run the Nationwide Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. (KHI PR)(8-3-2009)
Images from Iowa: added some images from Iowa Speedway, including #10 Fraternal Order of Eagles, #15 Northland Oil, #27 Cottonelle, #40 Westerman, #75 Mekwaki, and #91 MSRP. See those and more on the 2009 Nationwide paint schemes pages.(7-31-2009)
UPDATE: Added #01 Barr-Nunn, #73 Dodge and #78-Dodge.(8-2-2009)
NASCAR to run Nationwide COT at Daytona in July; Ford to run Mustang; IMAGE; UPDATES:
It appears the Nationwide Series version of the Car of Tomorrow will not make its debut until next July at Daytona. NASCAR had hoped to roll out the new car for the series next February, however after meeting Tuesday with Nationwide Series owners at NASCAR's Technical Center in Concord, North Carolina, team owner Rusty Wallace said it was a timing issue. The former Sprint Cup Series champion said, "Most of the teams were concerned about how soon the car would come out and how much would it cost. As the meeting went on it became apparent it won't come out in Daytona (February) as thought...it's just too soon." Wallace felt the majority of the owners thought the car should roll out next July at Daytona and probably no road courses will be involved in 2010. The delay
is all about money. "The economy is really killing us right now," said Wallace. "A lot of it is about cash flow too....it's all about bringing this thing out at the right time where the teams can afford it and we've got time to be prepared." Wallace suspects the new car could be raced on speedways like Phoenix or Charlotte, however NASCAR has yet to decide where testing will take place. Meanwhile, team owner Kevin Harvick came away from the meeting with a positive feeling. Harvick said, "I think they were open and listened to everyone's opinion. Obviously NASCAR is in a spot where they have to make a decision for a multitude of scenarios and situations and try to make the best decision for the sport. Obviously from a safety standpoint I think the new cars are good and listening to some of the cup owners talk about what the car has done for them, once they zeroed in on where they needed to be with chassis and things like that, it sounds like the production process is a little bit bette, a little more streamlined than it was before. It's going to take some time to put that process in place but it looks like they've thought it through and we'll see where it goes.(PRN Garage Pass)
AND: Mustang is already the most successful single nameplate brand in professional racing history, but it hasn't competed in NASCAR – until now. Brian Wolfe, director of Ford North America Motorsports, made the announcement today that Mustang will debut as part of NASCAR's "new car" limited rollout in the 2010 Nationwide Series. Ford Racing has gone through the official NASCAR submission and approval process for the new car, and, once templates are finalized, production of Mustang parts will start so teams can build the first cars for testing later this fall.(Ford PR), see an image of the car on the 2010 Ford COT page.
AND: Ford Racing Communications Manager Kevin Kennedy told Sirius Speedway Tuesday that the new NASCAR Mustang will be more stock-appearing than the Sprint Cup Ford Fusion, adding that the appearance of the car was at the top of FoMoCo's wish list. While declining to comment on the direction Chevrolet, Dodge and Toyota might make with their versions of the new Nationwide car, Kennedy confirmed that NASCAR would like to make the series a pony-car/musclecar-based platform.(Sirius-Speedway(7-28-2009)
UPDATE: Statement from Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President, Competition: "We had a very productive meeting this morning (Tuesday, July 28) with the team owners from the NASCAR Nationwide Series about the rollout schedule for that series' new race car. "In the days ahead, we will digest what was discussed today and make a final decision on the rollout for next season with full anticipation of integrating the new car for the entire 2011 schedule."(NASCAR PR)(7-28-2009)
UPDATE 2: The new Nationwide Series model could be a limited edition. Vice president of competition Robin Pemberton says NASCAR is exploring a car limit for its next-generation car, which will be phased in next season before a full-time rollout in 2011. During a meeting with Nationwide teams Tuesday in Concord, N.C., Pemberton said some teams asked NASCAR to consider capping the number of cars that each team can have certified. "It's gaining momentum to limit a team to maybe eight cars," said Pemberton, who added that NASCAR easily can monitor teams' chassis with microchip tracking devices. The move could be a cost-saving measure for Nationwide teams, which must absorb the expense of overhauling their cars during a time when sponsorship is scarce. Pemberton said NASCAR also is considering incorporating tests into race weekends to minimize travel costs.(USA Today)(7-29-2009)
Wallace secures fan sponsorship for Montreal: Over 5,000 "sponsors" have extended their support to get the driver known as "Hermanator" on track at this year's NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on August 30th. For a $20 donation fans were able to submit a name that will adorn the #28-Wallace-designed paint scheme at this year's event. Collectively, they have made this program one of the most successful fan-supported race car sponsorships in the history of NASCAR.(WSM Group PR), see an image of the car on the #28 Paint Schemes page.(8-1-2009)