2007 Development Drivers News Page
- Camping World to sponsor developmental series: Camping World, the country's largest RV and outdoor retailer, will become the title sponsor for NASCAR's top developmental series -- the long-standing Grand National Division, East and West Series. As the new title sponsor, Camping World looks to continue the tradition of developing talented young drivers that aspire to go on and excel in the highest levels of NASCAR racing. Recent enhancements to the series included a schedule with an expanded geographic reach, new competition and cost-containment initiatives such as the new "spec engine" and composite body, and a lowered age-limit to 16 for drivers. Through the years the series has helped launch the careers of Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and David Gilliland, along with two-time championship crew chief Greg Zipadelli.(NASCAR.com)(12-17-2007)
- Joey Logano earns Second Team All-American honors: Seventeen year old Middletown native Joey Logano has been named to the 2007 All-American Auto Racing Team by the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association. Logano was named to the second team in the touring series category. Logano, a developmental driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, captured the Busch East Series title this season, becoming the first rookie to accomplish the feat. In the process Logano became the youngest driver ever to win events in both the Busch East and Camping World West divisions, winning in his series debuts in both divisions. Logano won 5 Busch East series events and finished in the top-10 in 10 of 13 races. Logano is expected to make his Nationwide Series (formerly the Busch Series) debut next May at Dover International Speedway.(Hartford Courant)(12-12-2007)
- ESR announces Ken Butler III as fulltime driver in 2008: With veteran Formula One driver Scott Speed already secured as the driver of Eddie Sharp Racing's #2 Toyota Camry for 2008 with title sponsorship from Red Bull, Sharp announced that Ken Butler III would be the driver of his #22 ESR Toyota for the full 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series season. Butler made 11 starts in the #22 ESR car in 2007 posting one win at Toledo Speedway back in May.(arcaracing.com)(12-10-2007)
- Bourque to drive for ESR in Daytona ARCA event: Speed51.com has learned that Canadian Pierre Bourque [former Fitz Motorsports development driver] will drive a car fielded by Eddie Sharp Racing in February's ARCA RE/MAX Series event at Daytona International Speedway.(Speed51.com)(12-3-2007)
- UTI/Star Motorsports launch Scholorship Program at NTI: In an effort to promote diversity and multi-cultural inclusion throughout the motor sports industry, Universal Technical Institute (UTI) Foundation and STAR Motorsports LLC are launching Star Track Scholarship Program to provide scholarships throughout 2008 for students attending UTI´s NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech) in Mooresville, NC. Star Motorsports LLC is a worldwide comprehensive motor sports, entertainment and lifestyle company. Through its Educational and Developmental Division, Star Track, Star Motorsports is offering five scholarships to qualifying students starting in January 2008 at NASCAR Tech and five more throughout the year. NASCAR Tech, a division of Universal Technical Institute, Inc., has an exclusive educational alliance with NASCAR. NASCAR Tech is the only school of its kind that combines UTI´s automotive training and a NASCAR-approved technologies curriculum into one program. After completing the core curriculum, students can go on to learn the basics of engine construction, chassis fabrication, NASCAR racing theory principles, rules and regulations and Pit Crew. Applications will be available online at the UTI Foundation web site, www.utifoundation.net. Selections will be made by the UTI Scholarship committee.(PR)(11-9-2007)
- Annett to make USAC debut at Phoenix: Michael Annett, the twenty-one year-old rising star who recently etched his name in the history books as the first driver to ever put a Toyota in ARCA RE/MAX Series' Victory Lane, is scheduled to make his debut performance at the 1-mi. oval of Phoenix International Raceway for the USAC Silver Crown™ "Copper World Classic". Annett has only left his stockcar racing roots for open-wheel competition one other time but is looking forward to racing with the historic series that has developed several prominent names in NASCAR. The "Copper World Classic" is the Silver Crown™ series' 2007 capstone and also Annett's final race of the season. Annett will make his PIR debut in the #21 C&R Chassis carrying the familiar banner of TMC Transportation.(Michael Annett PR)(11-7-2007)
- Driver Advancement Marketing Summit being held in Charlotte: Race car drivers looking to advance their careers but need backing in order to do so will have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of professional motorsports from industry leaders at the inaugural "Driver Advancement Marketing Summit" on January 26 - 27, 2008, at Victory Lane Karting Center in Charlotte. Performance PR Plus the motorsports marketing and public relations agency best known for representing DuPont Motorsports and four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon over the last 15 years, is hosting the event in an effort to educate aspiring drivers on what it takes and what it means to be a professional race car driver in a sponsor-driven environment. Topics include the importance of the media and public relations; web site and proposal content; sponsor marketing and promotions, and what sponsors look to gain from their motorsports investment; driver development programs; and the importance of networking. For a complete list of speakers and to register, visit the Performance PR Plus website.(11-2-2007)
- Bill Davis Racing signs Michael Annett to Developmental Program: Bill Davis Racing has announced that Michael Annett will join the team in 2008 to drive a BDR entry in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Annett will compete in 10 ARCA races during the 2008 campaign and will also participate in a very intensive testing program, which competition director Tommy Baldwin will oversee. Annett made his first start for BDR at NASCAR's largest track, Talladega Superspeedway. Annett dominated the 250-mile race and became the first driver in the 55-year history of the ARCA RE/MAX Series to take the Toyota nameplate to victory lane. Annett qualified in the second position and led all but 19 laps en route to not only his first, but BDR's first ARCA win as well.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(11-1-2007)
- Norris to make debut at Texas: J.R. Norris, developmental driver for Billy Ballew Motorsports, will make his career first start at the Texas Motor Speedway Friday, November 2, for the running of the Chevy Silverado 350K Craftsman Truck Series event. Norris will pilot the #15 Craftsman Truck in the 146 laps, 219 miles on the 1.5-mile race track in Fort Worth Texas. Primary sponsor for Norris will be Texas based McKinney Pipe & Steel.(Billy Ballew Motorsports PR)(10-31-2007)
- Following 18th birthday Logano full-time in '08: Busch East Champion Joey Logano will turn 18 next May 24th, reaching NASCAR's "legal" age to compete on their top three series. So, beginning the next week at Dover, Joe Gibbs Racing plans on running him in all the remaining 2008 Nationwide Series races.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(10-26-2007)
- Logano wins All-Star Showdown: Joey Logano, the 17-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing development driver, picked up his biggest victory Saturday night winning the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway. He held off fellow Busch East driver Peyton Sellers, who turned 24 Saturday, following a green-white-checkered finish to the 250-lap event that has been dubbed the 'Daytona 500 of short-track racing'. Logano won six times during the Grand National regular season including his first career start in the West Series at Phoenix International Raceway in April. He became the first rookie to win a NASCAR Busch East title and set the record as the series' youngest champion.(10-21-2007)
- Wise, McDowell preparing for Cup shot in '08: One is a two-time U.S. Auto Club champion following in the career footsteps of Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne. The other is an ARCA series runner-up who has competed in everything from stock cars to sports cars to Champ Cars. Together, Josh Wise and Michael McDowell represent the future of Michael Waltrip Racing -- a future that may become reality as soon as the sixth race of next year. Dale Jarrett' impending retirement from full-time Nextel Cup competition opened the door for teammate David Reutimann to succeed the 1999 series champion in the organization's No. 44 car. That leaves a vacancy in the #00 Camry for 2008 that the team hopes to fill with either Wise or McDowell, both Michael Waltrip Racing development drivers who have enjoyed success on smaller circuits, but have little seat time in the cars and trucks employed in NASCAR's national divisions. The two drivers spent this season as teammates, racing for ARCA car owner Eddie Sharp. McDowell, a career road racer competing in stock cars and on ovals for the first time, won nine poles and four races and finished second overall behind champion Frank Kimmel. Wise, sharing a ride with Ken Butler III, posted six top-10s in 12 starts in addition to an average finish of 17th in eight Truck Series races.(nascar.com)(10-18-2007)
- Drive For Diversity Combine Day 2: The fifth annual Drive For Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine finished Tuesday with its second straight day of intense competition at South Boston Speedway Monday. The second half of the 24-driver pool from different forms of racing took the track for evaluation, while those who drove Monday participated in the media portion of the event. Michael Cherry was among the drivers who attended the combine last year but did not make the final cut. The 18-year-old from Valrico, Fla. returned with another year of seat time and ready to take the test. Jessica Helberg was part of the program last season in the Whelen All-American Series at All-American Speedway in California. The 20-year-old Rohnert Park, California driver knew that just getting back to South Boston was an achievement in itself. Other drivers who took part in the driving Tuesday included Chris Bristol (Columbus, Ohio), Tiffany Daniels (Smithfield, Va.), Mike Gallegos (Wheat Ridge, Colo.), Lindsey King (Cherry Valley, Calif.), Danny Martin (Sarasota, Fla.), Lloyd Mack (Los Angeles), Marisa Niederauer (Plainedge, N.Y.), Jose Luis Ramirez (Mexico City), Jonathan Smith (Beacon Falls, Conn.), and Michelle Theriault (Bristol, Conn.) It's the third straight year the combine has been held at the 4/10-mile NASCAR-sanctioned track.(NASCAR PR)(10-16-2007)
- NASCAR Drivers to help teach development drivers: Team Full Throttle´s NASCAR Driver Development Program would like to announce the first annual TFT Coaching and Evaluation Day on Tuesday, October 16th at the Hickory Motor Speedway. On this day, nearly 20 of Team Full Throttle´s racers from across the nation will be given exclusive on-track education by Chip Ganassi Racing NASCAR Nextel Cup racer David Stremme and Michael Waltrip Racing development driver Josh Wise as they gain valuable experience in a variety of cars including a Busch East Series car provided by Fitz Motorsports, a Limited Late Model provided by Tri-Star Motorsports, and a Team Full Throttle INEX Legends car. Team Full Throttle President and Driver Coach Mike Calinoff [Stremme's spotter] says this event will provide an energy filled start to the four day "TFT Week" where racers from the group will gain hands-on knowledge of driving and media skills along with enjoying the Driver Development Clinic and a special awards dinner just for TFT members. The dinner will wrap up this unprecedented week for the group and will give Calinoff and partner Tom Baker a platform from which to make some major announcements about the group´s 2008 plans. Team Full Throttle is the nation´s most comprehensive NASCAR Driver Development Program, and is represented by Driver Development Services, LLC of Charlotte, NC. For more information about Team Full Throttle, call 704-281-7699 or see them online at www.goteamfullthrottle.com.(10-16-2007)
- Drive for Diversity Combine Day 1: The strongest field of drivers in the history of the Drive For Diversity program took the track for the fifth annual Testing & Evaluation Combine at South Boston Speedway Monday. Half of the 24 drivers participated in the on-track evaluation. The remaining 12 drivers took part in a media portion of the event. More than 200 applicants were narrowed down to the 24 that are taking part in the combine, which concludes Tuesday. From there, eight drivers will be selected to compete in NASCAR's Grand National Division and Whelen All-American Series. The Grand National Division is NASCAR's top developmental series, and is the last step before drivers move up to the Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series or Craftsman Truck Series. Drive For Diversity is run by Access Marketing & Communications.
*Among the returnees is Jesus Hernandez of Fresno, Calif. Hernandez was part of the program on the weekly level and again last year when he ran in theCamping World Grand National Division, Busch East Series. He's hoping another impressive showing at the combine will help him progress up the ladder. Three identically prepared cars were used in the on-track process. Nineteen-year-old Alli Owens grew up in Daytona Beach, Fla. before moving to North Carolina to further her racing career and has applied to be part of the program each year it's operated. This was the first time she was selected to attend the combine. The selective nature of the program helped Owens' appreciation of just what it takes to make the cut. Maine native Katie Hagar, 21, is attending her second combine. She did not make the final class last year. Other drivers that took part in the driving Monday included Joe Henderson (Nashville, Tenn.), Molly Rhoads (Hastings, Minn.), Trista Stevenson (Pocahontas, Ill.), Paulie Harraka (Fair Lawn, N.J.), Peter Hernandez (Blue Island, Ill.), Jill George (Newton, Iowa), Alison Quick (Redding, Iowa), Kristin Bumbera (Sealy, Texas), and Ruben Pardo (Mexico City).(NASCAR PR)(10-15-2007)
- Roush Fenway Racing signs Stenhouse: Roush Fenway Racing has announced that they have signed Olive Branch, Miss. native Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. to a multi-year contract. Stenhouse will race full-time in the ARCA RE/MAX Series for Roush Fenway beginning in 2008. Stenhouse is currently racing in USAC's National Sprint Car and National Midget Car Series. Stenhouse has looked brilliant in both a Sprint and Midget car in 2007 racing for Tony Stewart Racing. In 22 Sprint car starts, Stenhouse has chalked up two wins, seven top-five and 14 top-10 finishes and currently sits fifth in the overall point standings. In the USAC National Midget Series, Stenhouse has looked just as strong claiming five wins in 23 starts along with 10 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes while occupying third in the overall point standings.(Roush Fenway PR)(10-11-2007)
- Kevin Hamlin expects to continue testing role in 2008: There was speculation that Hamlin would drive a full Nationwide Series schedule for Ganassi next year, but he said that probably isn't the case. "I don't think so," the Washington native said. "I have a role of testing and limited races here and there. Obviously, as a driver I want to go full-time, but I'm pretty lucky to be able to do this for a living. I have a lot of fun coming here with these test guys. Next year, we're going to be doing a lot of testing and hopefully, I'll get a handful of races and we'll see what happens."(Gateway Raceway PR)(10-9-2007)
- Drive for Diversity Program to host 24 candidates at the 2007 Testing & Evaluation Combine:
Twenty-four drivers from different forms of racing all over the country will showcase their skills in front of NASCAR team owners at the fifth annual Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine October 15-16 at South Boston Speedway in South Boston, Va. This year's candidates were selected from more than 200 applicants from across the United States. The 24 drivers participating in the Combine, including the seven members of the 2007 Drive for Diversity class, will participate in on- and off-track evaluation. The on-track session will be conducted inCamping World Grand National Division cars and will include testing, qualifying laps and intermediate runs. Drive for Diversity affiliated team owners will select eight drivers to compete for their teams in 2008 in either theCamping World Grand National Division or the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Four drivers will compete in each series.
The following drivers will participate in the 2007 Drive for Diversity Testing & Evaluation Combine:
*Chris Bristol (Jamestown, NC)was part of the Drive for Diversity program in 2006. In 2007, he competed in a limited number ofCamping World Grand National Division, Busch East Series races.
*Kristin Bumbera (Sealy, TX)is currently fourth in the ASA Pro Late Model division at Houston Motorsports Park, with two top-fives and seven top-10s.
*Michael Cherry (Valrico, FL)is the points leader at Hendry County Speedway in the Sportsman division with eleven wins, 17 top-fives, and 19 top-10s.
*Tiffany Daniels (Smithfield, VA.)earned five top-fives and eight top-10s in the Limited Late Model division at South Boston Speedway this season.
*Michael Gallegos (Wheat Ridge, CO)competed in theCamping World Grand National Division, West Series this season as part of the Drive for Diversity program.
*Jill George (Cedar Falls, IA)enjoyed one win and eight top-10s in 16 Late Model starts in 2007.
*Katie Hagar (Nobleboro, ME)is the only female competitor in the Pro All Star Series in New England this season.
*Paul Harraka (Fair Lawn, NJ)is a member of the 2007 Drive for Diversity class. He earned 11 top-fives and 14 top-10s in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series this season.
*Jessica Helberg (Rohnert Park, CA)is a member of the 2007 Drive for Diversity class, competed in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and earned six top-five finishes.
*Joe Henderson (Nashville, TN)participated in the Drive for Diversity program in 2004 and 2005.
*Jesus Hernandez (Fresno, CA)finished 12th overall in theCamping World Grand National Division, Busch East Series in 2007 as a member of the Drive for Diversity program.
*Peter Hernandez (Blue Island, IL)earned one win for the Drive for Diversity program this season at Caraway (NC) Speedway.
*Lindsey King (Cherry Valley, CA)has one top-five and four top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series this season.
*Lloyd Mack (Los Angeles, CA), a participant in the 2007 Drive for Diversity program, competed in theCamping World Grand National Division, West Series.
*Danny Martin (Sarasota, FL)collected three USCS wins and 10 top-five finishes this season.
*Marisa Niederauer (Plainedge, NY)competed in the True Value Modified Racing Series in 2007.
*Alli Owens (South Daytona, FL)earned six top-five finishes in Late Model competition this season.
*Ruben Pardo (Mexico City, Mexico)competed in theCamping World Grand National Division, Busch East Series this season and scored three top-fives.
*Alison Quick (Redding, IA)has earned two top-fives and eleven top-10s this season in her Dirt Modified at Southern Iowa Speedway.
*Jose Luis Ramirez (Mexico City, Mexico)ran a partial schedule in theCamping World Grand National Division, West Series in 2007.
*Molly Rhoads (Hastings, MN)competed in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series during the 2007 season.
*Jonathan Smith (Beacon Falls, CT), a member of the 2007 Drive for Diversity class, competed in theCamping World Grand National Division, Busch East Series.
*Trista Stevenson (Pocahontas, IL)earned two top-fives and eight top-10 finishes in her Late Model this season.
*Michelle Theriault (Bristol, CT)set the record in 2007 as the highest finishing female inCamping World Grand National Division, Busch East history.
(Access Marketing/South Boston Speedway)(10-6-2007)
- Several development drivers entered in ARCA race at Talladega: Several development drivers are entered in the ARCA Re/Max 250 race scheduled for Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. Among the development drivers in the field are Bobby Santos (Bill Davis Racing), Josh Wise (Michael Waltrip Racing),Tim McCreadie (Richard Childress Racing), Bryan Clauson (Chip Ganassi Racing), Chase Austin (Rusty Wallace Inc.), Landon Cassill (Hendrick Motorsports). Erin Crocker (Gillett Evernham Motorsports), Colin Braun (Roush Fenway Racing) and Phillip McGilton (Brewco Motorsports).(SceneDaily.com)(10-2-2007)
- Dassow to run Martinsville in the #8: Haas CNC Racing announced today that 2007 ASA Late Model Champion Travis Dassow will pilot the #8 MRD Motorsports Chevy in the Oct. 20 Craftsman Truck Series event at Martinsville Speedway. Dassow, who wrapped up his championship by finishing third in the ASA Challenge Series race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL Saturday, will drive the #8 Chevy at Martinsville as part of the Haas CNC Racing driver development program.(Haas CNC PR)(10-2-2007)
- McGilton to make Busch debut at Memphis: ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Phillip McGilton will attempt to make his Busch Series debut at Memphis Motorsports Park next month behind the wheel of an entry owned by fellow ARCA car owner Doug Stringer. It's thought that McGilton will drive the #10 Toyota a joint effort with former ARCA team Braun Racing but that has not yet been confirmed.(Catchfence.com)(9-24-2007)
- Joey Logano wins Busch East Series Championship: Joey Logano (#20 Joe Gibbs Driven Chevy) finished second in the Sunoco 150 at Dover International Speedway Friday afternoon but became the NASCAR Busch East Series' first rookie champion. Sean Caisse (# 44 Casella Waste Systems Chevy) took the race lead from Logano with just eight laps to go, and then withstood a final charge by Logano to win by a car length. Pole winner Jeffrey Earnhardt (#1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevy) gained new northern fans and turned heads with a contending run to finish third. It was the 18-year-old Earnhardt's best finish of the season and his fourth top-five finish over the last six races of the season. Jesus Hernandez (#4 Allstate Chevy) placed fourth, followed by Tim McCreadie (#31 Camping World/RVbank.com Chevy.)(NASCAR PR)(9-22-2007)
- Kevin Hamlin resigns with Ganassi Racing: Rick Allen reported during the Las Vegas Truck Series broadcast on SPEED/TV that Kevin Hamlin has resigned as a development driver for Ganassi Racing in 2008.(9-22-2007)
- JR Motorsports development driver McGrath leaves team: JR Motorsports development driver Jeremy McGrath has left the team and has joined a Late Model team on the West Coast, closer to his home. JR Motorsports Vice President of Competition, Steve Crisp confirmed Friday the departure of the motorcycle supercross star. "He's got a little girl, and he's got another on the way," Crisp said. "Looking at what he's done, he's had a full career, a very successful career - and a career that's every bit as taxing as a Nextel Cup driver. He traveled all the time, had to go all over the world. "He wanted to drive a stock car, but he didn't want to get into the traveling. "And he didn't want to relocate his family. Looking at those two components, that mean he probably needed to do it on the West Coast." McGrath, who lives in the San Diego area, has Monster Energy Drink as one of his sponsors, and that would have been an apparent conflict with JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr's deal with Mountain Dew Amp Energy beverage.(SceneDaily.com)(9-21-2007)
- Driver Development: Landon Cassill: A new face in the NASCAR Busch Series, Landon Cassill, a developmental driver for Hendrick Motorsports, is slated to compete in four NASCAR Busch Series races this year; his first was at Richmond. ESPN's Shannon Spake will report on Cassill's career and his development as a driver, with input from team owner Rick Hendrick.(ESPN PR)(9-20-2007)
- Logano wins Busch East race at NHIS; "unofficially" clinches title: On April 19 at Phoenix International Raceway, in his NASCAR debut, Logano became the youngest driver to win in the Camping World West Series. He again made history in his Busch East Series debut on April 28, becoming the youngest driver to win in that division in his series debut at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C. But his most significant editing of the record book, at least so far, will take place next Friday, when the Busch East Series ends its season at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Dover is where the 17-year-old Middletown native will officially be crowned the youngest touring division champion in the 59-year history of NASCAR. Logano needs only to start the race at Dover to win the title. Logano, a developmental driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, unofficially clinched the title in style Friday, winning the Aubuchon Hardware 125 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Logano, who now lives in Huntersville, N.C., is expected to make the jump next season to NASCAR's Busch Series, one step down from the Nextel Cup series. He will be eligible to compete in the Busch Series and the Nextel Cup Series when he turns 18 on May 24 .(Hartford Courant)(9-15-2007)
- Clauson Making Busch Debut at RIR: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) development driver #41-Bryan Clauson will make his Busch Series debut this Friday at Richmond. Clauson, who just graduated from Noblesville (Ind.) High School and turned 18 this past June, has been racing since he was five-years old. During his relatively short career to date, Clauson has tallied multiple championships, wins, rookie of the year honors, podium finishes and has been the youngest driver to achieve and receive some of the most prestigious awards in USAC Midget and Sprint Car racing history, including the 2002 HARF First Year Driver Award; 2004 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Wildcard Award; and the 2006 USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year. His NBS schedule will start at RIR and then he will compete in the remaining six NBS races after Dover.(CGRFS PR)(9-5-2007)
- Ganassi development driver wins ARCA race: Chip Ganassi Racing development driver Brian Clauson won the ARCA Re/Max Series race Friday night at Gateway International Raceway. Michael Waltrip Racing's Josh Wise sat on the pole and finished second. Roush Fenway Racing's Colin Braun, making his ARCA debut, was ninth. Other development drivers in the race included Brewco Motorsports' Phillip McGilton (11th), Evernham Motorsports' Erin Crocker (17th), and Roush Fenway's Pete Shepherd (21st).(SceneDaily.com)(9-1-2007)
- Wise returns to the #00 for at least three more races: Prior to the race start, it was noted that Josh Wise is scheduled to return to the #00 for Waltrip Racing in at least three more events; Atlanta, Vegas, and Talladega. Wise had a second place finish in the ARCA Series race at Gateway on Friday.(Speed/TV)(9-1-2007)
- BDR development driver, Norris to drive #15 truck at Gateway: Billy Ballew Motorsports has announced that 2006 AutoZone Southeast Series Tour Champion and the team's developmental driver, JR Norris will make his Craftsman Truck Series debut at Gateway. Norris has experience on and off the track of race cars and trucks. Part of Norris's developmental program has been working at Billy Ballew Motorsports as the truck chief on the #15 Chevy. This will be his first Craftsman Truck Series start but has been a NASCAR Busch Series team test driver in Richmond and in Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(Billy Ballew Motorsports PR)(8-29-2007)
- Braun making first ARCA start at Gateway: The newest driver to the Roush Fenway Racing stable, Colin Braun, is looking forward to his first ARCA start this Friday at Gateway International Raceway. Braun will race a total of three ARCA races in 2007 - Gateway, Chicago and Talladega. Braun will also complete his obligations to Krohn Racing in the Rolex Grand Am Series in 2007, and has one race left in the 2007 Grand Am season at Miller Motorsports Park in Toole, Utah on September 12-15.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(8-28-2007)
- Bjorklund moving to Busch: Haas CNC Racing has announced that developmental driver Blake Bjorklund will race in selected Busch Series events during the remainder of the 2007 season. Through an existing partnership between Haas CNC Racing and Jay Robinson Racing, Bjorklund will drive the #28 Chevy. The targeted races are at California, Charlotte and Homestead-Miami, with the possibility of additional races. Bjorklund, who had been driving the #8 Chevy for MRD Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series, now will focus solely on preparation for his Busch Series schedule.(HaasCNC Racing PR)(8-24-2007)
- Trevor Bayne to make Busch debut at Daytona: Most teenagers cannot wait until they reach the age when they are able to hopefully get their drivers license but for 16-year-old Hooters ProCup driver Trevor Bayne from Knoxville, his 18th birthday is the date he has his sights set on. That is the date the Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) development driver is scheduled to launch his career in the Busch Series during Speedweeks at Daytona. "Next year,[2008 we go in house. That will be a good deal with the Busch East program and then we'll go to the Busch Series the following year (when he turns 18). It's a long term contract. For now, Bayne is working in the shop at DEI while continuing to race in the Hooters' ProCup Series.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-22-2007)
- Chase Austin to make Busch debut at Memphis: Officials of RWI Racing, LLC announced that the team’s 17 year-old developmental driver, Chase Austin, will attempt to make his Busch Series debut for RWIR in the October 28th Sam’s Town 250 at Memphis. The Memphis round occurs just 25 days after his 18th birthday. Austin currently pilots the team’s #66 HomeLife Communities Dodge in theCamping World Grand National Division, Busch East Series. Austin will wheel RWIR’s #64 Dodge, with primary sponsorship from HomeLife Communities(RWI PR)(8-21-2007)
- Logano to run some Busch races in 2008? Middletown native Joey Logano, 17, will make his final in-state [CT] Busch East Series appearance of the season Saturday in the Mohegan Sun 200 at Lime Rock Park in Salisbury. And it might be the last chance fans get to see the Joe Gibbs Racing developmental driver compete in his home state. Logano turns 18 on May 24 and becomes eligible to compete in NASCAR's three national touring divisions: the Nextel Cup Series, the Busch Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, said Wednesday there's a chance Logano will spend much of next season competing in the Busch Series. Gibbs wouldn't rule out the possibility Logano could be running for Nextel Cup rookie of the year honors in 2009 as a teammate to Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch in the Gibbs Nextel Cup stable. "I think the reality is he's going to have every opportunity in the world to be successful with us," Gibbs said. "If it's the right time to do it and we think he's ready, we might do it in 2009."(Hartford Courant)(8-17-2007)
- Lagasse won't be back at Chip Ganassi Racing: Ganassi Racing won't renew the contract of Scott Lagasse Jr. for next season, team director of operations John Fernandez confirmed Sunday. The 26-year-old Lagasse had made only two Busch starts this year and five last year with a best finish of 18th last season at Dover. He also has 11 career truck starts. Lagasse is under contract for the remainder of this season. Ganassi has several development drivers under contract, including Kevin Hamlin, Bryan Clauson, and Brady Bacon.(Scene Daily.com)(8-12-2007)
- Bourque parts ways with Fitz Motorsports, announcing new plans shortly: Canadian driver Pierre Bourque has parted ways with the Fitz Motorsports team. Bourque drove one Busch East Series event for the team this season at Iowa Speedway with plans of teaming up for more events in Busch East and the Busch Series this year. Although his Busch East Series season has been abbreviated so far, Bourque has been keeping busy in other forms of racing. He made his Craftsman Truck Series debut for Andy Hillenburg's Fast Track Racing team at Indianapolis' O'Reilly Raceway Park last month and has been a semi-regular in the Canadian Tire Series, driving for Whitlock Motorsports. (Pierre Bourque PR)(8-7-2007)
- Carmichael apparently staying with DEI: When Mark Martin, offered to mentor Carmichael in stock-car racing, that became Carmichael's next career move. Martin has been driving for Ginn Racing, owned by zillionaire resort magnate Bobby Ginn, and Carmichael signed with Ginn as a development driver, with an eye toward running local races this year, some regional NASCAR races in 2008, and probably a Busch Series schedule in 2009. But last month, a monkey wrench was tossed into those plans: Ginn merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc., which is also facing an uncertain future with the departure of Dale Earnhardt Jr. As part of the restructuring, Ginn fired Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek, and Martin moved under the DEI umbrella. And apparently, Carmichael is moving with him. "I had some good talks this past week with Mark," Carmichael said. "I haven't heard anything from Ginn, but I'm excited about the DEI connection."(Orlando Sentinel)(8-5-2007)
- Evernham admits relationship hurt driver's [Crocker] career: Team owner Ray Evernham says the best thing for developmental driver Erin Crocker is to find a new race team. "I don't think it's any secret that because of the personal relationship between Erin and I it hurt her career," Evernham said on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "The proper thing to do and something her and I would like to do is move her to another race team. I think the girl has a lot of talent. But if I sit here and say to somebody, 'Look, she's got a lot of talent, you should sponsor her,' my credibility is not good because of the personal relationship," he said. Evernham, who turns 50 in August, began dating the 26-year-old Crocker last season.(ESPN.com)(7-27-2007)
- Development drivers fare well at Busch East race: Gibbs Racing development drivers, Joey Logano and Marc Davis finished second & third respectively in last Saturday's Music City 150 at the Music City Motorplex Busch East Series event in Nashville, TN. DEI driver, Jeffrey Earnhardt finished fourth. Logano lost by a car length to Rogelio Lopez, a 27-year-old native of Mexico, who won his first victory on U.S. soil and first in the NASCAR Busch East Series.(Tennessean.com)(7-23-2007)
- RWI Expanding to 2 Teams in 2008; Chase Austin to Split Time with Veteran: Rusty Wallace confirmed that his Busch Series operation will expand to two cars next year. Rusty Wallace Inc. currently fields the #66 Dodge for Steve Wallace. "We're going to go to two teams next year," Rusty Wallace said at Gateway International Raceway. "I'm going to put Chase Austin, my young kid, in the non-companion races, and I'm going to put a veteran in for at least 20 [races]." Homelife Communities, co-sponsor of RWI's #66, will be involved with both teams next year, Wallace said. The team is negotiating with other sponsors to complete the programs on both cars for 2008.(SceneDaily.com)(7-20-2007)
- Cale finishes second in ARCA race: Development driver Cale Gale piloted the #33 Jolt Energy Gum, Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevy to a second-place finish in Friday night's ARCA RE/MAX Series WLWT Channel 5 - 150 at Kentucky Speedway. After starting 12th, Cale spent much of the race in the top-five and was leading on the final restart with just over 20 laps remaining. Michael McDowell earned his first career victory in his 18th start. In two ARCA starts this season for KHI, Cale finished second both times after earning his first career pole at Nashville Speedway earlier this year.(CaleGale.com)(7-16-2007)
- Several Development teams entered in ARCA event at Kentucky: Driver Development teams entered: Hendrick Motorsports (driver Landon Cassill/#87-Chevy), Ganassi Racing (driver Bryan Clauson/#40-Dodge), Richard Childress Racing (driver Alex Yontz/#31-Chevy), Roush Fenway Racing (driver Pete Shepherd/#99-Ford), Bill Davis Racing (driver Bobby Santos III/#02-Toyota, Evernham Motorsports (driver Erin Crocker/#98-Dodge), Kevin Harvick, Inc. (driver Cale Gale/#33-Chevy), Michael Waltrip Racing/Eddie Sharp Racing (driver Josh Wise/#22-Toyota), Brewco Motorsports (driver Phillip McGilton/#47-Ford), Dodge Development team (drivers Rob Bunker/#4-Dodge and Tim Andrews/#56-Dodge). In the last three events at Kentucky, all winners have been from driver development teams. They include Steve Wallace/May of 2006 (Rusty Wallace, Inc.), Brad Coleman/July of 2006 (Brewco Motorsports) and Erik Darnell/May of 2007 (Roush Fenway Racing).(Kentucky Speedway PR)(7-12-2007)
- Cassill to drive Hendrick Busch car at Gateway: Hendrick Motorsports officials confirmed that development driver Landon Cassill would compete in the Busch Series race at Gateway International Raceway on July 21. Cassill, who recently turned 18 to become eligible to race in NASCAR's top three divisions, would drive the #24 Chevy at Gateway. Chad Walter serves as the crew chief for the team, which usually has Casey Mears as its driver.(Scene Daily)(7-10-2007)
- Cassil to Make Busch Debut at Gateway: Landon Cassil will turn 18 on July 7th and with it, he gets to move up to Busch Series competition. Cassil, a development driver for Hendrick Motorsports, is expected to run the ARCA RE/MAX Series event next weekend in Kentucky and will then follow that up with a ride behind the #24 National Guard Chevy in Gateway, crew chief Chad Walter confirmed on Friday. Cassil will also run the race in Indianapolis at the O'Reilly Raceway Park.(BGNRacing.com)(7-6-2007)
- Colin Braun tests Roush stock car: 18-year-old sports car driver Colin Braun tested a Roush Fenway Racing stock car last week at the Caraway Speedway, NC for just the second time in his motorsport career. Braun last month became the youngest driver to ever stand on the famed Le Mans 24 Hour podium in France following a second place finish in the GT2 class driving Krohn Racing’s Ferrari 430GT alongside team-owner Tracy Krohn and Nic Jönsson. Braun’s on-track accomplishments have not gone unnoticed and earlier in June he was signed to a driver development deal by no-less a racing organisation than Roush Fenway Racing. “I’m naturally very excited to have the opportunity to drive a stock car for someone like Jack Roush and Roush Fenway Racing. The opportunity really came about due to my successes in sports cars and the short time that I’ve been there. I definitely attribute a lot of that success to the foundation that Speed Secrets gave me. I think I’m going to enjoy stock car racing and I’ve got no doubt that I’m going to learn a lot, starting with my participation in the ARCA series. We’re definitely taking things one step at a time but I know I’m doing a full season of ARCA in 2008 with the plan being to follow that up with a full season in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2009.”(Speed Secrets PR)(7-5-2007)
- Logano wins New England 125 at NHIS: Joey Logano, the 17-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing development driver, beat nine-time NHIS winner Brad Leighton on a green-white-checkered finish for his fourth Grand National Division victory in eight starts. On the final restart, NASCAR officials ruled Leighton jumped the start and black-flagged him. Rather than risk the disqualification, Leighton relinquished the spot to Logano and settled for second. His third Busch East win of the season gives him a 100-point lead over defending series champion and second-place Mike Olsen. Landon Cassill, a Hendrick Motorsports development driver making his second Busch East start, was fourth.(nascarlocalracing.com)(6-30-2007)
- Keven Wood to make debut in the #21 truck in Memphis: Kevin Wood will make his debut in Saturday night's O'Reilly 200 Craftsman Truck Series race at the Memphis Motorsports Park. He will drive the #21 Bush's Baked Beans Ford F-150 for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing. Wood is the son of car owner Len Wood and part of the legendary Wood Brothers Racing lineage.(Wood Bros/JTG Racing PR)(6-27-2007)
- Cassill to pilot #42 for Hendrick Motorsports in Busch East race: Landon Cassill, Hendrick Motorsports' youngest driver, will also be piloting a National Guard-sponsored car this weekend at NHIS. Cassill, 17, will compete in Friday evening's NASCAR Busch Series East race, driving a #42 National Guard Chevy. This will be Cassill's second Busch East race and only his second start for Hendrick Motorsports. Cassill finished 14th at South Boston Speedway earlier this month.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-26-2007)
- Santos entered in Busch race at NHIS: Development driver, Bobby Santos is entered as the driver of the #91 Riley D'Hondt Motorsports Toyota for the Camping World 200 presented by RVs.com at New Hampshire Int'l Speedway.(6-26-2007)
- Foster likely to run Busch races in '07: Things have been going well as of late for Ryan Foster. The 26-year-old from Anderson is in the midst of his first full season on theCamping World National West Series tour, driving the #21 car of the Golden Gate Meat Company, which is part of the driver development program for Richard Childress Racing. Now, it is possible that Foster can get behind the wheel of a NASCAR Busch Series ride sometime later this year. Foster recently has been sanctioned by NASCAR to race on 1-mile tracks in Busch. "It isn't set in stone yet, but it looks likely that I'll get in a couple of Busch races later this year," Foster said on Thursday. Foster, who is at Infineon Raceway this weekend for the next series race the Blue Lizard Suncream 200, is still concentrating on his rookie season at Grand National West. But, he does have an eye toward potentially racing in the Busch Series for a couple of races. Since, he can only run Busch races on 1-mile tracks or less, bigger courses such as Daytona International Speedway and Michigan International Speedway are still out of the picture, but races at Dover International Speedway or Phoenix are possibilities.(redding.com)(6-22-2007)
- Lagasse making 2007 Busch debut at Milwaukee: After helping David Stremme and the #41 Wrigley's Winterfresh team prepare to go racing throughout the last two weeks at Nashville and Kentucky, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates development driver Scott Lagasse Jr. will not only shake down the #41 Wrigley's Juicy Fruit Dodge this weekend at The Milwaukee Mile but he will also pilot the CGRFS Dodge in Saturday night's race. It will mark Lagasse's first NASCAR Busch Series start of the year.(CGRFS PR)(6-19-2007)
- McCreadie to make Busch Series debut at Milwaukee: UPDATE: More info: RCR development driver, Tim McCreadie is scheduled to be behind the wheel of the #21 Richard Childress Racing Chevy this weekend making his Busch series debut in the AT&T 250 at The Milwaukee Mile.(TimMcCreadie.com)(6-19-2007)
UPDATE: McCreadie, 33, of Watertown, N.Y. has only three career asphalt starts to his credit and finished fourth in his ARCA Series debut last weekend Michigan. Prior to last Friday, McCreadie finished 11th in his Camping World West Series debut in April at Phoenix and followed that up with a 10th-place run on May 20 at Iowa Speedway. McCreadie is the 2006 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals winner and the defending World of Outlaws Late Model Series Champion.(RCR PR)(6-19-2007)
- CJM Racing signs development driver, Marc Mitchell: CJM Racing is proud to announce the signing of developmental driver Marc Mitchell for the upcoming AT&T 250 at the Milwaukee Mile. Mitchell, an up-and-coming driver in the racing ranks, will fill-in for veteran driver Jason Keller [who will drive the #27 for Brewco at Milwaukee] and assist the team in building on the solid foundation developed around Keller.(CJM Racing PR)(6-18-2007)
- Clauson, Santos win US Auto Club features: UPDATE: More info: Ganassi Racing development driver, Bryan Clauson and Bill Davis Racing driver, Bobby Santos III won features in U.S. Auto Club racing Saturday at O'Reilly Raceway Park. Clauson led the final 19 laps to win the feature for midgets in the second Toyota Challenge and was third in the sprint main. Santos led all but four laps in winning the sprint feature.(Tribune Star)(6-18-2007)
UPDATE: Clauson is scheduled to make his Busch debut in the #41 Dodge later this year and run the last 7 races of the year for Ganassi.(6-19-2007)
- Shepherd to pilot Roulo Bros. entry in ARCA race at MIS: Roulo Bros. Racing has announced that Roush Fenway Racing development driver Peter Shepherd will once again be behind the wheel of the #39 Ford Fusion for select ARCA RE/MAX Series events. Shepherd will assume driving duties beginning at the ARCA 200 at Michigan International Speedway this Friday, June 15th. The #39 will carry BeavEx Courier Services as the primary sponsor and Zardo Scrap Metal, Logels Auto Parts and Reliance Tool as associates. In 2006 Shepherd scored three top ten finishes in four starts for the Roulo Bros. in ARCA RE/MAX Series competition. (Roush Fenway Racing PR)(6-13-2007)
- Allstate to sponsor Hernandez: Allstate, the official insurance sponsor of NASCAR, has announced that it will sponsor Drive For Diversity driver Jesus Hernandez for the 2007 season. Hernandez will compete in a total of seven Grand National Division events in an Allstate branded car. The sponsorship will help further Allstate's efforts to promote diversity within NASCAR while providing valuable resources for Hernandez to compete at the highest level on the NGND series. In addition to primary placement on the #4 Ginn Racing Chevy, Allstate gains the rights to use Hernandez's name and likeness for promotional purposes, and for Hernandez to make appearances at Allstate events. Hernandez, 26, from Fresno, Calif., is in his third year in NASCAR's Drive For Diversity program, which seeks to develop minority and female drivers and crew members. Hernandez's first event with the Allstate sponsorship occurred June 8 during the NGND East Series at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Conn. (businesswire.com)(6-13-2007)
- Development drivers entered in ARCA 200 at MIS: Several development drivers are entered in the the ARCA 200 at Michigan Int'l Speedway on Friday, June 15, 2007. Tim Andrews, #4-Dodge Motorsports Dodge; Ken Butler III, #22-ESR Development Team Toyota; Tim McCreadie, #31-RCR Chevy; Phillip McGilton, #47-Brewco Motorsports Midwest Equipment Ford; Bobby Santos III, #02-Bill Davis Trucking Toyota.(arcaracing.com)(6-12-2007)
- NASCAR Diversity Internship program enters eighth year: Seventeen students from across the country were selected to participate in the 2007 NASCAR Diversity Internship Program. The program, which began last Monday, gives minority college students the opportunity to complete a 10-week, paid summer internship within the NASCAR industry. The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program features internships offered by NASCAR offices, sponsors, licensees, teams, tracks and broadcast partners. In addition to NASCAR corporate offices, the following companies are participating in 2007: Allstate, Gateway International Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports, Images USA, International Speedway Corporation (ISC), Just Marketing, NASCAR Speedpark (St. Louis), Octagon, Richard Childress Racing, Richmond International Raceway, Roush Fenway Racing, Sears Craftsman and SPEED (FOX Entertainment Group).
The current intern class began their NASCAR experience with an orientation session during the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge weekend. The group visited the NASCAR Speedpark in Concord Mills, toured Hendrick Motorsports facilities and attended the NASCAR Nextel Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In addition, the group met NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Bill Lester and NASCAR President Mike Helton.
Over 150 students have participated in the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program since its inception in 2000. These interns have gained experience working in marketing, engineering, public relations, licensing and various other areas. Each year, the internships are available to college juniors, seniors and graduate students across the country. To be eligible, students must be in good standing with their school and community and must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average.
In addition to the internship program, NASCAR awards diversity scholarships in tribute to NASCAR legend Wendell Scott, has an at-track diversity mentorship program and a college tour that visits Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions. Attached is a list of the students and their colleges. More information on the internship program is available at www.diversityinternships.com.
2007 NASCAR Diversity Internship Class:
Nathalie Bejarano, Georgia State, Images USA
Ja'Nate Boulware, Winston-Salem State University, Roush Fenway Racing
Daniel Colon, Community College of Philadelphia, NASCAR
Erika Day, Howard University, JustMarketing
Kristine Delgado, Syracuse University, NASCAR
Charise Entzminger, Claflin University, SPEED
Eduardo Escalante,University of Michigan, NASCAR
Randall Grunden, Goldey-Beacom College, ISC
Earl Hart, Purdue University, NASCAR
- 2nd Annual Driver Development Clinic Set for October 18th: On October 18, 2007, from 10am - 10pm/et in Mooresville, N.C., Mike Calinoff will present the 2nd Annual Driver Development Clinic for drivers who are looking to pursue a career in NASCAR and those in the grassroots divisions who seek advice about moving to the next level. Calinoff, who worked with Matt Kenseth for six years and now serves David Stremme as his Business Manager and Spotter, has been presenting motorsports seminars and clinics for the past eight years, including the popular "Get Into Racing" seminar, which is held each year in May and October.
This ground-breaking opportunity will feature an all-star panel of experts including NASCAR drivers David Stremme, Kyle Busch, David Gilliland, Reed Sorenson and JJ Yeley, plus, Development Specialists, Scouts, Management Experts from NASCAR teams and parents of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers to help guide your pursuit of making it to the top by teaching the crucial elements of the process known as "Driver Development." This clinic will be the most pivotal point of a young driver's career.
This year, the clinic has been expanded to include two additional sessions "Grassroots Sponsorship Tactics" and "Mastering the Media" as well as a sit-down catered lunch. NASCAR notables Ray Dunlap (SPEED), Claire B. Lang (XM Radio) and Mark Garrow (PRN/DirecTV Hot Pass) will be on hand to discuss critical media skills. This "all-day" event is comprised of some general discussion and individual break-out sessions with the panelists and drivers. For more information, please visit www.driverdevelopmentclinic.com or call (877) 722-3562.(6-8-2007)
- RCR development driver, Austin Dillon looks toward Busch East in 2008: Austin Dillon is a 16-year-old development driver for Richard Childress Racing, and Dillon's father, Mike Dillon, vice president of competition at RCR, said plans are in the works for his son to run full-time in Busch East in 2008. "Right now, we've got to get Austin some asphalt experience, locally, and he might even make a start or two this year in Busch East," said Mike Dillon, who drove seven seasons in the Busch Series, his last two for RCR from 1999-2000, making 154 starts. "If he does well, we're going the run the full (Busch East) schedule." The third-generation driver won for the first time out on The Dirt Track at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC on May 25th by outsmarting dirt-track veteran Jack Pennington in driving his grandfather's [Richard Childress] #3 entry, decked out with a paint scheme similar to that made famous by Dale Earnhardt. Ty Dillon, Austin's 15-year-old brother, is also an RCR development driver, and is racing Legend cars at LMS, where he has 11 victories this season.(Boston Herald)(6-7-2007)
- Roush Fenway Racing signs Colin Braun to driver development deal: Roush Fenway Racing has announced that they have signed 18-year old Colin Braun (pronounced brown) to their driver development program. Braun will be entered in select ARCA races in 2007, and will compete for Rookie-of-the-Year honors as well as the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship in 2008. Braun began racing at age six in Quarter Midgets in his home state of Texas. By age 14, Braun was racing in the National Auto Sport Association's Fran-Am1600 Pro Series, where he won Rookie-of-the-Year honors, eight of 11 races and a championship. The following year Braun won eight races in a row and a second championship in the 2000 Formula TR Series. In 2005, Braun advanced to the Grand-Am Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve, where he currently drives for Krohn Racing. At just 16 years of age, he became the youngest ever Rolex Prototype driver. The following year he took home his first Grand Am win at the Daytona 250 and collected win number two of the season at Barber Motorsports Park. Braun is currently racing in the Grand Am Series where he sits third in points with three top-10 finishes in four starts. Braun is tentatively scheduled to drive the #99 Ford at Gateway International Raceway on August 31, and Chicagoland Speedway on September 8. Darnell, Braun and others will continue to drive the #99 ARCA entry in selected races throughout the 2007 season.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(6-6-2007)
- DEI signs driver to Driver Development deal: Trevor Bayne, already an 11-year racing veteran at 16, is the newest addition to the Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) Driver Development Program. He joins 17-year-old Jeffrey Earnhardt who became the program's first driver in January. "Especially for his age, Trevor has both broad experience and a remarkable record of success," said Max Siegel, president of global operations for DEI. "He's proven that he has great potential. With our people and resources behind him, we know he can fulfill it." Bayne is moving from Knoxville, Tenn., to the Mooresville area to be close to both DEI and his family's shop where his race cars are
currently prepared. Bayne will run the complete USAR Hooters Pro Cup Southern Division this season in addition to threeCamping World National Busch East Series events. Bayne began racing go karts at five. Over the next eight years, he won more than 300 events and earned 22 titles including World Karting Association (WKA) World Champion three times. Last season, Bayne stepped up to the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series Southern Division and won rookie of the year. At 15, he again was the youngest in series' history to earn top rookie honors. In 2008, DEI's driver development plan includes having Bayne and Earnhardt competing as teammates in Chevrolets on the NASCAR Busch East Series.(DEI PR)(5-24-2007)
- Caisse and Earnhardt Team Up with Santerre for 2007: In 2006 Andy Santerre Motorsports left an impression on the newly renamed Busch East Series. With young Sean Caisse behind the wheel, the team headed up by four-time series champ Andy Santerre, the new team mounted a significant challenge for the first-ever BES championship. Now in the second year of the series the ASM team is back to do it all again. This time, there will be a new face, as Jeffrey Earnhardt will be joining up with ASM as a teammate to Caisse. Caisse will be back behind the wheel of the Casella Waste Systems #44 Chevy in the first race of the BES season at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC) on April 28th. Earnhardt will be there with his #1 Chevy as well. They’ll both be in Greenville with the Andy Santerre Motorsports team ready to clinch a fifth title for their car owner, Andy Santerre, as well as team’s first Busch East title all at the same time. Greenville-Pickens Speedway will be the debut for the two-car team, but already having a new driver added to the mix in Earnhardt has already had an impact on the team. he 2007 Busch East Series season will get underway on Saturday, April 28th, at the historic Greenville-Pickens Speedway).(Andy Santerre Motorsports PR)(4-24-2007)
- JR Motorsports signs Motorcycler Jeremy McGrath: JR Motorsports introduced seven-time Supercross champion Jeremy McGrath as its newest late model driver on Tuesday, pairing one of the most popular Supercross stars of all time with NASCAR’s four-time most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr. The announcement was made at the grand opening of the team’s new 66,000-square foot shop. McGrath will compete in a limited 10-race schedule in a Chevrolet late model stock car sponsored by Monster Energy Drink, with R&B Auto Body Transport Refinishing as an associate sponsor. His first race is slated for April 21 at Southern National Raceway Park in Kenly, N.C. “This is something I’ve always wanted to try, and I’m really grateful that Dale Jr. is giving me this opportunity to drive one of his race cars,” McGrath said. “We are going to test this week, weather permitting. I’ve got a lot to learn when it comes to racing something with four wheels, but I’m confident I can pick it up pretty quick.” The addition of McGrath and the Monster Energy car gives JRM its third late model entry. Scott Young and Curtis Truex Jr. currently compete in full-season touring schedules in late model cars sponsored by R&B. JR Motorsports also fields a full-time NASCAR Busch Series team with driver Shane Huffman and full-time USAR Hooters Pro Cup team with driver Richard Boswell. All of these teams operate out of the new JR Motorsports facility located in Mooresville, N.C. “I’m proud to have Jeremy here, and it’s cool to see how excited he is about getting into one of these late models,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I like his approach, his mentality, and the energy he brings to this shop. I know this isn’t just some fleeting interest on his part. He is as serious about this as anyone I’ve ever been around.” McGrath is easily one of the most recognizable motorcycle racers of all time, as he dominated Supercross from 1993-2004, compiling 74 main event victories and seven titles. He also won the gold medal in the 2004 X-Games Step-Up competition, and earned silver in the 2005 X-Games Supermoto. “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of success in Supercross, but this is a new type of racing for me,” McGrath said. “I want to succeed at this. It’s not like I’m coming in here and saying that I’m going to be a Nextel Cup driver or anything like that. I want to focus on this chance.”(JR Motorsports PR)(4-11-2007)
- Rusty Wallace Inc hires development driver: Rusty Wallace, Incorporated (RWI) announced that 17-year old short track phenom, Chase Austin, has joined RWI Racing's driver development program. This program will see Austin behind the wheel of an RWI #66 Dodge Charger for the entire 14-race NASCAR Busch East Series, with primary backing from RWI's Busch Series sponsor, Atlanta,
GA-based home builder, HomeLife Communities. Austin will join Steve Wallace, the youngest son of NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace, as one of the two drivers currently competing under the RWI banner. Wallace and Austin will pilot identically painted #66 HomeLife Communities Dodge Chargers prepared at the state-of-the-art RWI complex, located just north of Charlotte, NC. Though he is only 17 years old, Austin has won more than 100 feature races in go-karts, stock cars and sprint cars. Much like Rusty Wallace, Austin competed and won, in the Midwest-based American Speed Association before deciding to make the jump to NASCAR. With that in mind, Wallace, one of NASCAR's top-ten all-time winningest drivers and ABC / ESPN's Lead Auto Racing Analyst, is eager to help Austin become a pioneering and successful African American driver in one of NASCAR's touring series and beyond. The NASCAR Busch East Series features 13 races, plus the NASCAR All-Star Showdown event, at 12 tracks, using cars similar to those in the NASCAR Busch Series. "While Chase is not a part of the Drive for Diversity program, we all definitely support it and fully believe in the cause," Wallace said, "Right now though, Chase just wants to focus on driving for Rusty Wallace, Inc. and learning what it takes to win races at a higher level. We're going to give Chase everything he needs to do just that. I really believe that he's going to have a great year; if it goes as well as we hope, we could potentially be looking at Steve (Wallace) having a Busch Series teammate in 2008."(RWI)(3-17-2007)
- Brewco Signs Development Driver: Brewco Motorsports announced that it is teaming up with ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Phillip McGilton for his inaugural full season of competition. “We are excited to be competing in all 23 scheduled races this year in the ARCA RE/MAX Series with Phillip McGilton,” said Clarence Brewer Jr., owner and founder of Brewco Motorsports. “We recognize Phillip as an extremely talented young driver with the ability to be very successful. He is an up-and-coming star in our sport and our whole team is looking forward to seeing him in Victory Lane this year. We know he is a strong contender for the Rookie of the Year honors as well.”(Brewco PR)(2-27-2007)
- Ginn Racing Contracts with Martin to Mentor Development Drivers: Ginn Racing has contracted with Mark Martin Performance to oversee the company's driver development program, which includes Ricky Carmichael, Matt Martin and Matt Bowers. All three are Florida residents -- Carmichael (27, Tallahassee), Martin (15, Daytona Beach) and Bowers (15, Mount Dora). Martin will work with the development drivers while they compete in the late model and super model divisions at Florida race tracks. Once the drivers
graduate from Martin's tutelage, they will join Ginn Racing's North Carolina-based development program that will include the ARCA RE/MAX Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. "I don't believe you can ask for anyone better than Mark to oversee the development program and mentor the young drivers," said Jay Frye, Ginn Racing's CEO and general manager. "Having Mark in this capacity will only enhance our development program and the future of Ginn Racing." Martin, who drives the #01 U.S. Army Chevy for Ginn Racing, said, "I love to compete and I love to teach. And I have the best of both worlds with Ginn Racing. I look forward to this role and know that it's going to be a lot of fun instructing a group of young drivers who share a passion for racing."(Ginn Racing PR)(2-10-2007)
- RCR Announces 2007 Driver Development Program: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will run its 2007 Driver Development Program through the Golden Gate Racing Team (GGRT) with drivers Tim McCreadie and Ryan Foster competing in theCamping World Grand National Division, West Series. GGRT, headed by Jim Offenbach, competed in theCamping World Grand National Division West Series from 1997 to 1999 with a lineup of drivers that included Mike Skinner, Mike Dillon, Steve Portenga and Jay Sauter. Portenga, who finished fifth in the final standings in 1999 while driving the GGRT entry in the series, will serve as the team's crew chief this year. Foster will run the #21 Golden Gate Meat Company Chevry in theCamping World Grand National Division, West Series. The Anderson, Calif., native is a
seven-time go-kart track champion who won two of the four North State Challenge Series Super Late Model events he competed in last year for GGRT.
McCreadie, of Watertown, N.Y., will drive the #29 Golden Gate Meat Company Chevy in theCamping World Grand National Division, West Series an selected NASCAR Busch Series events for RCR. The 2006 World of Outlaws Late Model champion, 2006 Chili Bowl Midget Nationals champion and 2006 Eastern Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year will also continue to run his own dirt late model program.(RCR PR)(2-1-2007)
- Drive for Diversity Program Introduces 2007 Driver Lineup: The 2007 Drive for Diversity class was unveiled Monday, a seven-driver group that will compete in both theCamping World Grand National Division and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. This marks the first year the Drive for Diversity program will advance multiple drivers to the Grand National level. The Drive for Diversity program is entering its fourth season as NASCAR’s leading on-track initiative. The program is designed to give minority and female drivers an opportunity to compete with established teams in NASCAR’s grassroots series. In each of the first three years of the program, the drivers selected raced in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, formerly the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. In 2007 four drivers will compete in theCamping World Grand National Division – two in the Busch East Series and two in the West Series – and three drivers will compete in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Over 300 drivers submitted resumes to participate in the program this year. Eighteen of those drivers were selected to take part in the Testing & Evaluation Combine held last October at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. At the combine, the drivers were evaluated based on their on-track performance and interview sessions with team owners.
The following seven drivers were selected by their respective team owners to compete in the program in 2007: Chris Bristol, Michael Gallegos, Paul Harraka, Jessica Helberg, Jesus Hernandez, Peter Hernandez and Lloyd Mack.
Chris Bristol of Columbus, Ohio, returns to the Drive for Diversity program for the second season and will race in theCamping World Grand National Division, Busch East Series for Fitz Motorsports. Bristol made history in 2005 when he became the first African-American driver to win at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
Michael Gallegos of Wheatridge, Colo., returns to the Drive for Diversity program for the third season and will race in theCamping World Grand National Division, West Series for Performance Motorsports. Gallegos earned the D4D program’s first pole position at Carraway (N.C.) Speedway in 2005. Last season he finished seventh in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series.
Paul Harraka of Fairlawn, N.J., will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for Bill McAnally Racing. Harraka has over 150 go-kart wins in his career and has won six World Karting Association championships and 13 total national championships.
Jessica Helberg of Rohnert Park, Calif., returns to the Drive for Diversity program for the second season and will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for Richard Childress Racing/Bill McAnally Racing. Helberg holds two Outlaw Dirt Kart track records.
Jesus Hernandez of Fresno, Calif., returns to the Drive for Diversity program for the third season and will race in theCamping World Grand National Division, Busch East Series for Ginn Racing. Hernandez won two races and three poles last season at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
Peter Hernandez of Blue Island, Ill., returns to the Drive for Diversity program for the second season and will race in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for Spraker Racing Enterprises. Last season Hernandez won three races at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, Calif. in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and was named NASCAR Diversity Driver of the Year.
Lloyd Mack of Los Angeles, Calif., will race in theCamping World Grand National Division, West Series for STAR Motorsports. Mack has won two national karting championships, a World Karting Association championship and five California state championships. In the past two years he has four feature wins at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(1-29-2007)
- New Driver for Hendrick Motorsports? Landon Cassill UPDATE: The Gazette [of Cedar Rapids Iowa] is reporting: Landon Cassill, a 17-year-old senior at Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School, has signed a contract to drive for NASCAR's Hendrick Motorsports, he told The Gazette today [1/2/2007]. Cassill joins a powerhouse race team that includes Nextel Cup champions #48-Jimmie Johnson and #24-Jeff Gordon, as well as #5-Kyle Busch [and #25-Casey Mears]. "I feel really, really honored to be part of this organization," Cassill said. "I'm honored to be in such an elite group." it says to "See more of this story in Wednesday's Gazette."(The Gazette)
AND Landon will move to North Carolina in March to begin working full time for Hendrick Motorsports.(kcrg.com), of note: Cassill can't drive in the NASCAR Cup, Busch or Truck series until he is 18 [July 7th] and since Hendrick Motorsports has four team in Nextel Cup [the limit], it won't be a full-time Nextel Cup ride, look for this to be a development program of some sort [ARCA, Trucks, Busch], also Cassill was part of the GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation program and made it to the final stages.(1-3-2007)
MORE: Landon Cassill — most recently an ASA racer who surged from 30th to fourth in the October race at Iowa Speedway — will graduate high school in February and journey to Hendrick headquarters March 1, his father said. Roger Cassill said Landon has already tested cars for Hendrick, and his future role with the team will include more of that while he’s groomed as a developmental driver. Cassill said his son may test Gordon’s “Car of Tomorrow” next week. “Hendrick was really good about coming in and saying they think he’s got the talent and they are more interested in developing him rather than making a bunch of promises,” Cassill said. “If he’s not ready he’s not going to race. As soon as he’s ready, he’s going to race.”(Des Moines Register)(1-3-2007)
UPDATE: Cassill will take part in two tests - one this month - while continuing to build a base of knowledge and experience.
Hendrick Motorsports spokesman Jesse Essex said Cassill is the only driver with the organization other than defending Cup champion Johnson, four-time series champ Gordon, Busch and Mears. Cassill's progress toward a possible behind-the-wheel NASCAR career will be measured in baby steps. "Right now we're solely focused on seat time," Essex said.(Des Moines Register)(1-5-2007)