News from February 27, 2005
Biffle wins at California: #16-Greg Biffle backed up his words, saying he would lead the race by lap 5 [he did by lap 4] and would win the race [he did], winning the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, leading 46 laps and holding off #48-Jimmie Johnson [with help from his teammate #97-Kurt Busch], Johnson finished 2nd, followed by Busch, #42-Jamie McMurray and #99-Carl Edwards. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was never a factor after starting 40th, cutting down two left front tires and needed fender repairs, finishing 32nd, 13 laps down. Pole sitter, #5-Kyle Busch led 2 of the first 3 laps, but was never a factor after that and finished 23rd, but was the Rookie of the race. #24-Jeff Gordon, who came into the race leading the points and running up front all day, lost an engine with 4 laps to go. #01-Joe Nemechek led the most laps, but lost an engine. #15-Waltrip lost an engine for the 2nd race in row. #97-Busch now leads the points by 5 over #48-Johnson. Four Roush drivers are in the top-5 in points.
Race Results at:
Jayski's California Race Rundown/Info page with winnings, cautions, lap leaders, DNF's and much more
Jayski's California Race Results/Awards page
Mowing for Victory Junction: Beginning Monday, Feb. 28, 2005, Hustler Turf Equipment will begin a three-month journey across America in a Super Z lawnmower – painted to resemble Richard Petty’s #43 Dodge. The trek will start in San Bernardino, Calif., traverse Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Lousiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina and conclude at the Pettys’ Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., just outside of Greensboro. Petty and the mower driver, Kansas State freshman Josh Schmidt, spoke about the “Mow for Victory Tour” in a Saturday morning press conference. For more information, check out www.mowforvictorytour.com.(California Speedway site)(2-27-2005)
Texaco to continue Autism support UPDATE: ChevronTexaco, in conjunction with #42-Jamie McMurray and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will hold a press conference this Friday, Feb 25th at California Speedway to announce ongoing financial and promotional support for the Autism Society of America (ASA) via its "Driving Autism Awareness" campaign during the 2005 NASCAR racing season and unveiling a special paint scheme. A new primary and associate sponsor on the #42 NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge driven by Jamie McMurray and the #41 NASCAR Busch Series Dodge piloted by Raybestos Rookie Candidate Reed Sorenson will also be announced and unveiled.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(2-23-2005)
UPDATE - New Sponsor for McMurray: ChevronTexaco Products Company, a division of Chevron USA Inc., announced today it has signed Home123 Corporation, a subsidiary of New Century Financial Corporation, as an associate sponsor of the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in the 2005. In choosing an associate corporate sponsor, ChevronTexaco weighed its options against three critical criteria: a similar value system, a symbiotic customer base from which each company could expand sales, and a mutual agreement on a list of priority races for the 2005 season. Through the new marketing agreement, Home123 will have primary sponsorship rights for six NASCAR Nextel Cup races iincluding Phoenix (April 23rd), Michigan (June 19th), Daytona (July 2nd), Chicago (July 10th), Watkins Glen (August 14th) and Fontana (September 9th). During those races, the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge, piloted by Jamie McMurray, will be painted with a blue and white Home123 color scheme. In addition, Home123 will support Jamie McMurray’s charitable cause, “Driving Autism Awareness,” by matching the $42 donations each being made by McMurray, ChevronTexaco and Chip Ganassi Racing for every lap McMurray leads in the 2005 season. With Home123’s additional financial commitment, each lap that McMurray leads during the 2005 season will generate $168 in donations to assist with autism research and public education. All proceeds from “Driving Autism Awareness” will be given to the Autism Society of America.(Jamie McMurray site)(2-27-2005)
Confiscated Parts: Eric McClure's #73, ARC Dehooker/RFA, Chevrolet had a Tioi Transmission confiscated. The tag said 'Transmission Ratio".
Kevin Lepage's #37, R&J Racing Dodge had their interior fire extinguisher confiscated. The tag was marked, "Interior fire bottle may not contain Halon 1211". [Halon 1211 is a fire suppressant agent for critical applications, which has been classified by regulatory authorities as an Ozone Depleting Substance.
Ken Schrader's #49, Schwan's Home Service Dodge had a rear gear pulled. The tag stated, "Incorrect Ratio".(Insider Racing News)(2-27-2005)
Kulwicki Movie to open on April 1st: the upcoming movie Dare To Dream - The Alan Kulwicki Story plans to officially opening April 1, 2005 [12 years to the day Kulwicki died] through out the state of Wisconsin and in select theaters in Tennessee. Plans are to open in North Carolina in May during the All Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600, and then to Alabama, Texas and Arizona. Info on the movie on my Racing Movie's News page and at daretodreammovie.com.(2-27-2005)
Remember the Roof Hatches: Dale Jarrett's, UPS #88 Ford and Elliott Sadler's, M&M's #38 Ford do not have roof escape hatches at the California Race, only because they are using old cars. All of their new cars have Roof Escape Hatches. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with his new team will also have Roof Escape Hatches in his new cars. #15-Michael Waltrip in the past has used an escape hatch in his cars, but with the change of crew chiefs that will not happen in 2005, according to Tony Eury Sr.(Insider Racing News)(2-27-2005)
California Race Notes: Greg Biffle won the 10th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at California Speedway, scoring his fourth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory in his 80th career start.
Biffle became the eighth different winner at California Speedway.
Biffle climbed from 25th to fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL point standings. This is his career-best point standing. His previous best was 13th following the 2004 Daytona 500.
Biffle posted his first top-10 finish in five races at California Speedway.
Biffle has won at least one race each season 2003-2005, three consecutive years.
Team owner Jack Roush has won at least won race each season 1997 - 2005, nine consecutive years.
Biffle;s win marked the 75th victory for Roush Racing.
All five Roush cars led at California Speedway, leading a combined total of 151 of the 250 laps raced.
Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his third top-10 finish in five races at California Speedway. He is one of just two drivers to begin
the 2005 season with two top-five finishes, joining Kurt Busch. Johnson has scored top-10 finishes in his last eight races, since
Charlotte last October.
Kurt Busch (third) scored his third top-10 finish in six races at California Speedway. Busch also begins the 2005 season with two top-five finishes. Busch has scored top-10 finishes in 11 of the last 12 races, since New Hampshire last September. Busch took the lead in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings by five points over second-place Jimmie Johnson.
Jamie McMurray (fourth) scored his third top-five finish in four races at California Speedway.
Carl Edwards (fifth) scored his second straight top-10 finish in two races at California Speedway. Edwards begins the 2005 season with two top-15 finishes.
Mark Martin (seventh) has been running at the finish in 24 consecutive races, the longest current streak. Martin scored his fifth top-10 finish in 10 races at California Speedway. Martin has scored two top-10 finishes in 2005.
Rusty Wallace (10th) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 10 races at California Speedway. Wallace begins the 2005 season with two
10th-place finishes. He has scored top-10 finishes in four of his last five races, since Phoenix last November.
Jeff Gordon finished 30th due to engine failure. His last DNF was also for engine failure and also occurred at California Speedway last September.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(2-27-2005)
Impounding: What teams can do to the cars after they are impounded following qualifying:
Plug in oil heater; open hood; prime oil system; back car out of garage to start; turn master switch on; open oil cooler bypass valve; start engine; close hood; set tire pressure; torque wheels; install radio and water bottle; remove or repair tape on car front.
Can't Do: Enter the garage without a NASCAR official present; jack up any part of the car; add water or pressurize the cooling system; climb inside the car; adjust wedge bolts, shocks or sway bars; add fuel, oil or brake fluid; remove air box; adjust fenders, spoiler or any body components.(Roanoke Times)(2-27-2005)
News from February 26, 2005
Drivers on Larry King CANCELLED: Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip and Richard and Kyle Petty, will appear on CNN's "Larry King Live" at 9:00pm/et Monday, Feb 28th.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-26-2005)
UPDATE been told this appearance has been cancelled/postponed as Monday's show will cover / discuss BTK serial killer capture.(2-26-2005)
No More Spoiler Changes in 2005: NASCAR's John Darby told XM Radio's Claire B. Lang that NASCAR has no plans to change the size of the rear spoiler in 2005.(XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio Reports)(2-26-2005)
Special Schemes for Gibbs #18 and #20: DreamWorks Animation, Joe Gibbs Racing, Interstate Batteries, The Home Depot and Action Performance Companies Inc. announced details about their latest NASCAR racing special centered around the upcoming animated feature film, Madagascar. The film follows the story of four "wild" animals who are treated to a pampered existence in the zoo until they accidentally are shipped to the island of Madagascar. The four principle characters - Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippopotamus - provide the basis for paint schemes that will decorate the #18 Interstate Batteries and #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet race cars owned by Joe Gibbs Racing. DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar opens
nationwide in theaters on May 27, 2005. Tony Stewart will drive the #20 The Home Depot/Madagascar Chevrolet during the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge on May 21. Bobby Labonte, Stewart's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, will pilot the #18 Interstate Batteries/Madagascar Chevrolet during NASCAR's longest race, the Coca-Cola 600, on May 29, 2005. Both races will take place
at the NASCAR track near Charlotte, N.C.
The cross-promotion marks the second time that DreamWorks Animation has teamed with Joe Gibbs Racing in as many race seasons. Last year, the organizations teamed to showcase a pair of Shrek 2-themed stock cars that also saw action during the all-star and Memorial Day weekend races. Action Performance Companies, the leader in licensed motorsports merchandise, designed the Madagascar machines, including a limited edition program car. Action also will create die-cast replica versions of both the #18 and #20 Madagascar-edition race cars. In addition to the specialty paint scheme, each collectible comes in its own unique Madagascar-themed packaging. The collectibles will be available through Action's standard distribution channels.
DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar is a computer-animated comedy starring four civilized animals - a lion, a zebra, a giraffe and a
hippo - who have lived their entire lives in blissful captivity, growing up as best friends at the Central Park Zoo...until the day they are put on a boat to Africa and suddenly find themselves washed ashore onto the exotic island of Madagascar. Now, these native New
Yorkers must learn to survive in this strange land and discover the true meaning of the phrase, "it's a jungle out there."(Action Performance PR), see images on my #18 Team Schemes page and #20 Team Schemes page.(2-26-2006)
Warning Light for Sadler: After being busted by NASCAR's new electronic timing system on pit road last week, Elliott Sadler's #38 Pedigree Ford will be equipped with a yellow light this week that will flash when he is maintaining the proper speed. "We just have to be more patient and more cautious on pit road," Sadler said. "It's a lot more fair than it used to be. There is no way NASCAR could check all the people that were getting on and off pit road - not with so many people in the booth and so many stopwatches. NASCAR was having to watch way too much stuff. We were putting way too much pressure on them. You can't catch 40 guys at one time on pit road."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-26-2005)
Kyle Busch wins pole at California, breaks two records: #5-Kyle Busch won the pole for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, with a track record lap of 188.245mph, one of four drivers who were faster then the old track record, set by Ryan Newman in April 2002 of 187.432mph. #25-Brian Vickers, who is 21 years old, is on the outside poll, followed by #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #01-Joe Nemechek and #16-Greg Biffle. ALSO #5-Kyle Busch is the youngest pole sitter in Nextel Cup history at 19 years, 9 months, 24 days old. The all-time record was held by Donald Thomas - 20 years, 4 months, 6 days old at Lakewood Speedway in GA on 11-16-1952 [Thomas went on to win that race and remains the youngest race winner in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series history.] The modern-era [1972-present] record was held by Brian Vickers, 20 years, 6 months, 20 days at Richmond on 5-14-2004.(that stats from the NASCAR Statistical Services Updates Book)
Some troubles: #07-Blaney backed into the wall in turn two and will have to go to a backup and had no speed, but since the team is in the top-35 in owners points, Blaney will make the race, but will fall to the rear of the field before the start of the race. #20-Stewart, who qualified 29th, will have to start at the rear of the field as the team had to change transmissions, and this year there is a one transmission rule, just like the eone-engine rule. #38-Elliott Sadler had a spark plug break and was running on 7 cylinders on his qualifying attempt. #27-Shelmerdine lost an engine on his lap and recorded no speed. #73-Eric McClure, going for the last spot in the field. spunout on his first lap and missed the race, which let #37-Kevin Lepage get the last spot.
#38-Sadler and #07-Blaney got in based on their owners points position [Top 35 in 2004 Owners Points, not speed as #92-Barrett, #66-Sadler and #79-Boyd were all faster the The #38 and #07.
For starting lineup/qualifying results, see:
Jayski's California Qualifying/Lineup Page
Some Rookie Notes: A Raybestos Rookie has now won three consecutive pole positions at California Speedway: Kasey Kahne (2004 Auto Club 500), Brian Vickers (2004 Pop Secret 500) and now Kyle Busch. At least one Raybestos Rookie has won a Bud Pole in each of the last 10 years. (1996-2005). There has been a first-time Bud Pole winner in each of the last 19 years (1987-2004).(Camp and Assoc/ Raybestos PR)(2-26-2005)
Some California Qualifying Notes: This is Kyle Busch's first career Bud Pole in eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. Six drivers have posted their series-first Bud Pole in fewer races: Mark Martin (three), Ryan Newman (three), Kasey Kahne (three), Johnny Benson (four), Jimmie Johnson (four) and Loy Allen (six). Tony Stewart and Boris Said also posted their series-first Bud Pole in their eighth race.
Busch became the 31st first-time Bud Pole winner on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series since 1990; the 16th since the 2000 Daytona 500. There were no first-time Bud Pole winners in 2004.
This is Busch's second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at California. He started 18th and finished 24th here in September 2004.
Brian Vickers posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 38.351 seconds, 187.740 mph and will join Busch on the front row for the Auto Club 500. Vickers has started from a top-10 starting position in all three of his races at California. He won the Bud Pole here last September and started sixth in his first race here in May 2004. Jeremy Mayfield (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in 10 races at California. Joe Nemechek (fourth) scored his sixth top-10 start in 10 races at California. It is his fourth consecutive top-10 start here. Greg Biffle (fifth) posted his second top-10 start in five races at California, both in the past two races. The first three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at California were won from a top-five starting position but five of the past six have been won from a starting position outside the top-10, all 16th or worse. The deepest in the field that a race winner has started in nine races at California Speedway was 24th by Jeremy Mayfield in 2000.(NASCAR PR)(2-26-2005)
Jr's Sunglasses: Orange 21 Inc., a newly public company out of Carlsbad, Calif., unveiled Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s signature sunglasses. The signature style, deemed “E Eyewear,” is actually the brainchild of Earnhardt himself. The driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet worked throughout the entire design process to dream up even the most minor details of the glasses. “I’ve worked with companies in the past a little bit on design,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I wanted kind of like a Steve McQueen style, retro. The glass itself is inset a little bit, kind of like the headlight of a ‘70s-era hot rod. There’s some sharp corners and angles. They wrap a little bit too because I like sunglasses that wrap tight to your face. My head’s not quite as big as Boris (Said)’s. I didn’t know exactly how much input I was going to have, but it was more than I expected. I was able to basically build the sunglasses from the ground up. It was a lot of fun to do, and to see it come to a head and here it is in my hands, it’s pretty amazing. It’s a really good feeling.”
On the process of designing his signature sunglasses: “We made revisions. They would get a mold to me, and me and Boris would kind of talk about it, and then would take back the things we’d like to see different. That took about two or three times. It’s always kind of a work in progress up until the final version. What I wanted was something that you could wear with a suit to the banquet if you wanted to, or here at the racetrack in jeans and a t-shirt. It’s kind of versatile. It kind of transcended from if you’re on the lake in shorts and a t-shirt or if you’ve got a formal engagement. We’re going to come out with a pair each year, keep designing different pairs, different styles. Not necessarily just a revision of this, we’re going to build from the ground up each year.”(California Speedway site)(2-26-2005)
Television Exposure for the Daytona 500: Jeff Gordon's victory in the Daytona 500 last Sunday afternoon enabled his primary corporate sponsor, DuPont, to garner nearly $9.4 million of television exposure value during the live race broadcast on Fox. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius and Associates, the DuPont logo appeared clear and in-focus for 15 minutes, seven seconds (15:07) during the 4.5-hour broadcast (excluding pre-race coverage). Additionally, DuPont was mentioned on three occasions by Gordon and Fox announcers. Exposure value is calculated by comparing the on-screen time and mentions to the estimated cost of a commercial spot during the telecast.
Cumulative exposure statistics were up during this year's race broadcast compared to NBC's live 2004 Daytona 500 telecast. The number of brands monitored during the telecast (292 / 221), total on-screen time (7:26:13 / 5:46:40), verbal mentions (230 / 162) and comparable exposure value ($291 million / $224 million) all increased in 2005. Last year's Daytona exposure tally accounted for 5.4% of all in-broadcast television exposure garnered by sponsors appearing within the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
Top Hood Logos of the 2005 Daytona 500, On-Screen Time, Exp. Value
1) DuPont (Gordon), 6:49, $4,090,000
2) Lowe's (Johnson), 6:37, 3,970,000
3) NAPA At. Pts. (Waltrip), 6:04, 3,640,000
4) Valvoline (Riggs), 4:54, 2,940,000
5) Caterpillar (Wimmer), 4:32, 2,720,000
Note: Exposure figures reflect the Fox live telecast of the 2005 Daytona 500 only and do not include exposure resulting from cable replays.(Joyce Julius and Associates PR), hmm...no Home Depot?(2-26-2005)
Busch the highest Young Gun at Daytona: By picking #97-Kurt Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20th, Rick D. of Inglis, FL was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Rick picked Busch as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Busch. This is the first time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Busch.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(2-26-2005)
Chevy SSR Returns to Pace the Field in NASCAR: A Chevrolet SSR will perform pace duties for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 27, and continue those duties for a total of 20 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races this season. This
weekend will be the first time the Chevy SSR, a unique blend of an open-air roadster with pick-up truck functionality, will pace the
field during the 2005 race season. The 2005 Chevy SSR pace vehicle has a four-color paint scheme with a "Sling Shot Yellow" nose blending into hot orange and "Torch Red" racing flames throughout the body and ultimately transitioning to a "Kinetic Blue" truck bed. The event logo for each race will be featured on both door panels with a red Chevy bowtie displayed on the hood. The Chevy SSR pacing the field is nearly identical to the vehicles available in dealer showrooms. As the Official Pace Vehicle of NASCAR, Chevrolet will perform pace duties for 60 NASCAR events in 2005, including 28 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, 17 Busch Series and 15 Craftsman Truck Series races, featuring vehicles such as Corvette, Monte Carlo and Silverado.(GM PR)(2-26-2005)
Fellows to Run Cup road courses: Ron Fellows will drive in two Nextel Cup races — at Infineon Raceway in California and Watkins Glen, N.Y. — for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.(Toronto Star)(2-26-2005)
News from February 25, 2005
Miller named Business Person of the Year: Don Miller, president and co-owner of Penske Racing South [#2, #12, #77], was named Business Person of the Year Tuesday by the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce during its annual banquet at the Mooresville Citizens Center. Miller, a resident of Mooresville since 1990, was honored for his contributions to the town, which have included establishing the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame and Museum, Stocks for Tots to raise funds and toys for abused and neglected children, and assisting other race teams in locating in Iredell County. “This award means a lot to me because I believe in this town,” Miller said. “I know all of the people who work here feel the same way because Mooresville is a town with a heart.” Miller and wife Pat moved to the southern Iredell County town from St. Louis 15 years ago when the Chicago native joined Rusty Wallace and Roger Penske in forming Penske Racing South. “When Rusty and I came to Mooresville we met with the mayor and the Chamber of Commerce,” Miller, 65, recalled. “They had some reservations about the effect motorsports might have on the city. However, they gave their word they would support us if we came here and we would support them. This award is a by-product of those efforts.” Since moving to the North Carolina city that was named “America’s Best Small Town” in 2004, Miller has been honored with the Chamber’s Free Spirit Award and Citizen of the Year. In addition to his business ventures in Mooresville, Miller also was instrumental in the development of the roof flaps in 1993 after Wallace’s horrendous flip at Talladega in the spring of that year. He received the NASCAR Achievement Award for his design and testing efforts in that project. Miller also led the design team for the then new Ford Taurus used in NASCAR competition in 1997. Miller and his wife, Pat, have three daughters and two grandchildren. Their youngest daughter, Patricia, is currently involved in the restoration of the Saturn V rocket.(Penske Racing PR)(2-25-2005)
No Fatback at California UPDATE: Speed Channel's NASCAR Nation reports that #21 Motorcraft Ford / Wood Brothers Racing crew chief Michael 'Fatback' McSwain will not be at California Speedway as he had some out patient back surgery this week. Eddie Wood will serve as the crew chief for Ricky Rudd in the Auto Club 500. The team is working on a way that McSwain will be able to call the shots from his home.(2-24-2005)
UPDATE: Crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain will not be physically present for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, but the Wood Brothers Racing team will have his live input through the electronic technology of Nextel, Racing Radios engineering and NEXTEL Track Pass on NASCAR.com.
According to team co-owner Eddie Wood, "As soon as we found out Fatback would have to have his surgery this week we started exploring possible options for communication. In the process we discovered between Nextel and Racing Radios we would be able to hook up a line of direct contact between Fatback, Ricky, team engineer Hoyt Overbagh and me. Fatback will be able to monitor the race as it progresses in real time on NASCAR.com." McSwain underwent back surgery in North Carolina Friday morning while his Motorcraft Genuine Parts Team prepared its #21 Ford Taurus for practice in California. The team plans to communicate with the crew chief during practice sessions at the track Friday afternoon, before qualifying on Saturday and during the race on Sunday.
"The positive part of this is that we had a real good test in California," said McSwain. "We were happy when we came home. That
makes it a little easier. If we hadn't tested out there with this new aero package and we were going out there green, it would be
different." McSwain is scheduled to have a micro-endoscopic procedure on the L-5 disc in his back Friday morning to correct a problem that was discovered when he returned from Daytona. The crew chief had surgery late last year for a back ailment that developed during the 2004 season. Doctors advised immediate surgery to resolve the current situation. Friday's operation is an outpatient procedure that will allow McSwain to return to his Charlotte area residence that afternoon.(Motorcraft Racing PR)(2-25-2005)
Robby sponsor announcement at Calif? Harrah's? UPDATE: from the Robby Gordon site: “First off, I’m excited about a sponsorship package that we are going to announce Friday at the track. We ran really well last year at Fontana in the RCR car and we are hoping to pick up right where we left off for our new sponsor and our new team. Menards (melglobal.com) has been working extremely hard on the motor package and we should have power comparable to the best cars. They have made great improvements in the horsepower they are producing just since we tested in California last month. I’m very proud of our relationship with Menards and despite our challenges in Daytona I’m confident in our cars, our engines and our people." A new primary sponsor for California and other races will be unveiled at the media center on Friday at 12:30pm [3:30pm/et]. NOTE: NASCAR.com's entry list has Gordon's car sponsor listed as Harrah's.(2-23-2005)
UPDATE - Robby Gordon signs Harrah's as a primary: NASCAR owner/driver Robby Gordon will hit the track this year sporting a lucky #7 and a casino logo on his car. Harrah’s Operating Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc., announced today that it has reached agreement in principle to sponsor Robby Gordon Motorsports throughout the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Subject to a definitive agreement, the arrangement calls for Harrah’s to be the primary sponsor for 14 Cup races and an associate sponsor for 13 races. The sponsorship includes a multi-faceted marking program and exposes several Harrah’s-owned brands to the more than 75 million NASCAR fans in the United States. In addition to the Harrah’s logo, Gordon’s car hood will feature the World Series of Poker logo for select races. Harrah’s primary sponsorship begins with the February 27th Nextel Cup race at California Speedway and will include several races held at tracks in proximity to Harrah’s casinos across the country, including Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Harrah’s Las Vegas and the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino), Atlanta Motor Speedway (Harrah’s Cherokee Casino), Phoenix International Raceway (Harrah’s Phoenix Ak-Chin Casino), Dover International Speedway (Harrah’s Atlantic City and Showboat Atlantic City) and Kansas Speedway (Harrah’s North Kansas City).
Components of the Harrah’s sponsorship include at-track customer promotions, VIP entertainment and pre-race pit tours, Fan Fest event at casinos, personal appearances and Harrah’s-branded Robby Gordon Motorsports merchandise. Gordon made personal appearances and hosted Fan Fest events for Harrah’s last year. He also helped raise awareness for Harrah’s participation in the Meals on Wheels Association of America “March For Meals” campaign. Additional information about Harrah's Entertainment is available at www.harrahs.com.(Robby Gordon Motorsports PR/Site), image on my #7 Team Schemes page(2-25-2005)
VA Legislature Supports Hall of Fame efforts:. A House resolution filed by Delegate Sam Nixon, R-Chesterfield, asks NASCAR to locate the NASCAR Hall of Fame Museum in Virginia. The resolution was requested by Virginians Racing for The Hall of Fame, a consortium of public and private-sector organizations who have joined forces to bring the H.O.F. to Virginia. The groups notes that 50% of the United States population lives within 500 miles of Richmond, VA - the desired site for the facility. Virginia's racing facilities include NASCAR's two oldest tracks: Richmond International Raceway and Martinsville Speedway and host four NASCAR Nextel Cup races per year, the most of any state in the nation. Virginia also hosts NASCAR sanctioned races at Langley Speedway, Lonesome Pine Raceway, Motor Mile Speedway, Old Dominion Speedway, and South Boston Speedway.(HR 51 page at state.va.us)(2-25-2005)
Theater Broadcasts Draw 300: NASCAR's live high-definition simulcast of last Sunday's Daytona 500 in movie theaters in New York and Irvine, Calif., drew about 150 attendees at each, today's Sports Business Daily reports. Jeffrey Pollack, NASCAR digital entertainment managing director of broadcasting and new media, said that the goals of the experiment were met. "We didn't expect to sell out," he said. Pollock also said he "wouldn't be surprised" if NASCAR tried the experiment again later this season.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-25-2005)
Give Kids the World Schemes returns...at California: Tide Racing returns to the track at California Speedway Feb. 25-27 with a special paint scheme honoring longtime charitable partner Give Kids The World, a nonprofit resort for children with life-threatening illnesses. The #32 Tide/Give Kids The World Chevrolet will feature star decals that have been signed by children who visited Give Kids The World Village during “An Evening with the Stars” - a special event Feb. 14 at which children signed their names on the decals and posed for photographs with a replica star-covered Tide race car and Tide driver Bobby Hamilton, Jr. FOX Sports analyst Jeff Hammond also participated as the event’s emcee. Along with this special car at Fontana, Tide will be represented by a local family who recently visited Give Kids The World Village. The Marks family of Los Angeles visited Give Kids The World in April 2003 at the wish of Zachary, now age seven. Called “Zachie” by his family and friends, Zachary was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis, Type 1 (also referred to as NF1). Many children's manifestations of NF1 are skin tumors, café-au-lait spots and internal tumors. Zachary has two tumors, one in his optic pathway which impairs his vision and another in his brain. He receives treatment every Friday, but is doing extremely well. Zachary has a twin sister, Cassandra (Cassie) and an older brother, Nicholas (Nick), age 14. His parents, Joyce and Ron, own an audio/video company in Los Angeles. The entire family will attend Sunday’s race as honorary members of the Tide Racing/Give Kids The World team. As the star-filled paint scheme shows, the stars at Give Kids The World are the children - and the stars that adorn the #32 Tide/Give Kids The World Chevrolet in Fontana help symbolize the more than 67,000 children the Village has served to date from all 50 states and more than 50 countries worldwide. For more information about Give Kids The World, please visit www.gktw.org.(PPI Motorsports Site) and see an image on my #32 Team Schemes page.
Ford Taurus in 2005, Fusion in 2006 UPDATE: Ford is expected to continue racing the Taurus in NASCAR for 2005, though that car will be relegated largely to fleets, as the 2005 Ford Five Hundred sedan becomes the company's focus for the passenger-car market. Ford will not race the Five Hundred, but is expected to race the 2006 Ford Fusion, a Taurus-sized sedan based on the Mazda6 platform. That car was originally called the Ford Futura, but Pep Boys, the parts supplier, used the Futura name for its line of tires, and Ford and Pep Boys could not come to an agreement, even though the Futura name was used by Ford for a Falcon model. Ford already uses the name "Fusion" in Europe.(Orlando Sentinel). The change to Fusion will go hand-in-hand with the 'car of tomorrow' being designed and tested by NASCAR.(10-9-2004)
UPDATE: If NASCAR Nextel Cup brand identification is sublime now, it's about to get ridiculous. Ford, having botched the relatively simple job of maintaining the Taurus as a top-selling consumer sedan, is phasing out the model. This is the same problem Dodge had last year: Its NASCAR teams raced "Intrepids," a year after the Intrepid was dropped. So the Dodge race cars were simply "Dodges" last year, but this year, they get to be called Chargers.
Next year, Ford NASCAR teams will race the Fusion. The Fusion is smaller than the new Ford Five Hundred, and smaller even than the Taurus. The Five Hundred is 200.7 inches long; the Taurus is 197.6 inches long, and the 2006 Fusion will be 190.2 inches long. The Fusion's standard engine is a 2.3-liter four-cylinder, same as the Ford Focus uses. The premium engine is a 3.0-liter V-6. This sounds like the current Mazda6, and for good reason: The Fusion is based on a slightly lengthened Mazda6 platform, and uses the same engines as the Mazda. Many NASCAR fans are flustered about a Japanese car, the Toyota Camry, joining all-American NASCAR Nextel Cup racing in 2007. Wonder whether they know yet the Ford they'll be cheering is a Mazda under the skin? Wonder whether they care?(Orlando Sentinel)(2-25-2005)
No Honda in NASCAR? As for talk of Honda and Nissan entering NASCAR: Won't happen, at least for a very long time. Several motor-sports journalists continue to insist that the new Honda Ridgeline pickup truck signals Honda's interest in the NASCAR Craftsman truck series: Not true. And Nissan -- as long as CEO Carlos Ghosn, king of the depression mentality is in charge -- has no interest in anything that doesn't immediately translate into profit.(Orlando Sentinel)(2-25-2005)
MRN Radio to Broadcast Live Spanish-language Coverage of Three NASCAR Races: MRN and Radiovisa, a 24-hour Spanish-language radio network will partner to air three NASCAR races in 2005 beginning with this weekend's "Stater Bros. 300"
NASCAR Busch Series race and the "Auto Club 500" NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race Feb. 26-27 from California Speedway in Fontana. Radiovisa will also travel to Mexico City for NASCAR's first ever Mexico-based race, the Telcel Motorola Mexico 200, from Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on March 6th, 2005.(2-25-2005)
News from February 24, 2005
Sad News: Bill Davis’ father, Jake Davis, passed away with Bill and the rest his immediate family at his side in Little Rock, Ark last night. Jake was 79 years old. Bill is the owner of Bill Davis Racing which fields the #22 and #23 Dodge Nextel Cup teams and the #5, #22, #23 Truck Series teams. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church (4823 Wood Lawn Rd., Little Rock, AR 72205), or to the charity of donor's choice. More info on Mr. Davis and services at ruebelfuneralhome.com(2-24-2005)
NC Bill Introduced: A joint resolution filed by Rep. Karen Ray, R-Iredell, honors North Carolina's "great NASCAR legends," including Dale Earnhardt, Ralph Earnhardt, Lee Petty, Fireball Roberts and Wendell Scott. The resolution notes that the majority of current NASCAR teams are headquartered in North Carolina.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-24-2005)
Polaris Program to Benefit Victory Junction: Polaris Industries Inc. today announced plans to sponsor a child for a
week at the Victory Junction Gang Camp for each Nextel Cup finish in the top eight that Dale Earnhardt Jr. collects in Dale Earnhardt
Inc.'s # 8 Budweiser Chevrolet in 2005.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-24-2005)
Another Herbie scheme: Scott Riggs will have the movie "Herbie: Fully Loaded" on his #10 Chevrolet at Daytona in July. As announced last month, Riggs will join #88-Dale Jarrett, who will race a Herbie paint scheme at Richmond [in May], as the second driver to promote the movie, which has scenes filmed at California Speedway.(RacingOne)(2-24-2005)
Fedex Scheme this week: for Jason Leffler and the #11 FedEx Chevy will sport the Express paint scheme, which is one of four it will display in 2005 representing the various operating companies; Express, Ground, Freight and FedEx Kinko’s.(JGR PR)(2-24-2005)
Beneficial to Sponsor Two RCR Teams: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) has teamed up with Beneficial in a multi-year associate sponsorship agreement for two of its NASCAR Cup Series teams. Beneficial will sponsor and have decal space on the "B" posts of the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet of driver Kevin Harvick and the lower rear quarter panels of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet of driver Jeff Burton. It will also be the primary sponsor of the #31 Chevrolet for the June event at Michigan International Speedway. Finally, Beneficial will have status with the racing organization as the "Official Consumer Lending Company of RCR." More info on Beneficial at beneficial.com.(RCR PR)(2-24-2005)
Mikey on TV Show: Michael Waltrip took a moment to hang out with boys from Blue Collar TV. Waltrip was invited to make a guest appearance on the show. The showtime of the the episode featuring Michael is TBA.(MIchael Waltrip site)(2-24-2005)
Long/McGlynn plans pushed back: The McGlynn Racing team has elected to put their season debut on hold until the Las Vegas or Atlanta races in March. The decision was made to allow the team to better evaluate the competition in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Champion Builders Sponsors McGlynn Racing Champion Builders Inc., one of the premier general contractors in the Eastern region of Pennsylvania, has signed on as a sponsor of the McGlynn Racing NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team for the 2005 Season. Champion Builders will be an associate sponsor on the car for the entire year, along with being the primary sponsor of the #00 Chevrolet at the Pocono race in June. For more information on Champion Builders Inc., please visit www.ChampionBuildersInc.com.(Carl Long site/McGlynn Racing site)(2-24-2005)
Support Our Troops Month: Jackson Hewitt Tax Service has dubbed the month of March "Support Our Troops" month and will kick off the event with a national book drive. Jackson Hewitt locations across the U.S. will be accepting book and magazine donations. These donations will then be collected by National Guard representatives and shipped overseas to our servicemen and women that are currently deployed. To help kick off the event, Jackson Hewitt's three sponsored NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers - #6-Greg Biffle, #15-Michael Waltrip and #9-Kasey Kahne - will each be making the first book donation. In addition, the drivers will help Jackson Hewitt support and promote the program. Jackson Hewitt has other events planned for the month of March in support of U.S. troops, including a "Military Family Night" at bowling centers across the country. The bowling event is a chance for military families to enjoy a night out with each other and to reconnect with family members that have returned from having been deployed for an extended period of time. To find the nearest Jackson Hewitt book drop-off location, call 1-800-234-1040 or visit www.jacksonhewitt.com.(Roush Racing site)(2-24-2005)
NASCAR Performace from the Track on Speed: NASCAR fans will once again get an all access pass to the latest strategy and technology inside the NASCAR garage when NASCAR Performance returns to SPEED Channel Feb. 26. This weekly program, which will broadcast trackside Saturdays, 6:30 - 7:00pm/et, provides a sophisticated crew chiefs' perspective on the hottest NASCAR topics live from the SPEED stage each week. NASCAR crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Robert “Bootie” Barker will join the weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup pole-winning crew chief to discuss the technical side and the team side of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing. In addition to originating trackside from the SPEED stage venue, also new to the show this year is veteran NASCAR analyst Dick Berggren. Berggren, who will serve as host for the show, brings over thirty years of motorsports experience as a driver, journalist and broadcaster.(NASCAR PR)(2-24-2005)
News from February 23, 2005
NASCAR announces fines for Daytona infractions: NASCAR announced Wednesday that 15 penalties - including 11 fines totaling $102,000 - have been issued to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, resulting from rule violations during the Budweiser Shootout and Daytona 500 race weeks at Daytona International Speedway.
Two of those penalties were issued to Robby Gordon Motorsports, including the most severe fine – $50,000 for crew chief Bob Temple – because of an unapproved intake manifold on the #7 Chevrolet discovered during the initial Daytona 500 inspection process on Feb. 11. Robby Gordon’s car owner Jim Smith was penalized 25 car owner championship points. The #7 was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components, and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules). Gordon currently has no driver championship points, because the #7 failed to make the Daytona 500 field. Smith, however, earned 31 owner points at Daytona. Per the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book, a car owner receives points based on qualifying results, if their car fails to actually qualify for a starting field.
Four penalties were issued to Wood Brothers Racing, because of an unapproved spoiler adjustment on the #21 Ford that took place after pre-race inspection for the Gatorade Duel at Daytona (Daytona 500 qualifying races) on Feb. 17. Ricky Rudd was penalized 25 driver points; Glen Wood was penalized 25 owner points; and crew chief Michael McSwain was fined $25,000. Also, crew member Marc Smith was suspended from NASCAR competition until March 31. The #21 also was in violation of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q.
Pete Rondeau, crew chief on the #8 Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., was fined $10,000 for an unapproved third gear transmission ratio. The violation was discovered during the initial inspection for the Budweiser Shootout on Feb. 10. The #8 was in violation of Section 12-4-A and 12-4-CC (unapproved rear end gear or transmission gear ratio).
David Charpentier, crew chief for the #14 Ford driven by John Andretti, was fined $10,000 because of improperly attached weight, a violation of 12-4-A and 12-4-W (improperly attached weight) determined during pre-race inspection for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20.
Also, the following NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crew chiefs were issued $1,000 fines:
* Harold Holly (#32 Chevrolet driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr.), because of an unapproved fuel cell well (violating Section 12-4-U) found during the initial Daytona 500 inspection on Feb. 11. There were false panels inside the well.
* Jimmy Elledge (#41 Dodge driven by Casey Mears), because of an unapproved window net (12-4-Q) found during initial Budweiser Shootout inspection on Feb. 10.
* Jim Penland (#23 Dodge driven by Mike Skinner), because of an unapproved window net (12-4-Q) found during initial Daytona 500 inspection on Feb. 11.
* Robert Leslie (#33 Chevrolet driven by Kerry Earnhardt), because of an unapproved window net (12-4-Q) found during initial inspection for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 11.
* Beau Tiffany (#52 Ford driven by Larry Gunselman), because of an unapproved fire suppression agent (12-4-Q) found during initial Daytona 500 inspection on Feb. 11.
* Stanton Hover Jr. (#80 Ford driven by Andy Belmont), because of an unapproved side window (12-4-Q) found during initial Daytona 500 inspection on Feb. 11.
* Hover, because of an unapproved fire bottle (12-4-Q) found during the 500’s initial inspection process on Feb. 11.(NASCAR PR)
The penalties drop Rudd from 24th to 33rd in Drivers Points and the team to 33rd in 2005 Owners Points.
Drops Gordon's team from 44th to 52nd in 2005 Owners Points
Owners points don't come into play until race #6 for starting spots.(2-23-2005)
Newman and Borland to the skies: On Thursday, #12-Ryan Newman and crew chief Matt Borland, will hit the skies in a jet refueling mission from March Air Force Base near the California Speedway. Neither ALLTEL team member has been involved in such a mission before. Both Newman and Borland, however, flew F-16 fighter jets last year at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix International Raceway.(Penske Racing)(2-23-2005)
Possible spots for NASCAR HOF in Atlanta: A lot owned by Ted Turner, the Philips Arena Jumbotron parking deck and Underground Atlanta are among the possible pit stops for what could be NASCAR's Cooperstown in Atlanta. Executives from some of Atlanta's corporate engines — Coke, Home Depot, BellSouth and UPS — are among local organizers negotiating with a handful of city deed holders about where to park a NASCAR hall of fame and museum. NASCAR last month asked for proposals from Atlanta, Daytona Beach, Fla., Charlotte and Kansas City to develop a national attraction celebrating stock car racing. Richmond and the state of Michigan also put themselves in the running. Bids are due May 31. NASCAR wants to pick a winning bidder in December, with an opening of the hall of fame by 2007 or 2008. All of the bid committee's possible locations, except Underground, curve around Centennial Olympic Park like a victory lap. Among the sites being considered are two parking decks across Centennial Olympic Park Drive from Phillips Arena (one featuring the arena's giant electronic display), Turner's Luckie Street corner next to the Tabernacle, a lot behind the Children's Museum of Atlanta and a site across Marietta Street from the Georgia Aquarium. One site not being considered is the surplus land Coca-Cola has next to its new World of Coca-Cola museum, Robinson said. The company has said it is not pursuing uses for that site.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-23-2005)
Wimmer testing at Atlanta: The No. 22 Caterpillar team and Scott Wimmer will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway to do a two-day test session March 7 and 8.(BDR)(2-23-2005)
News from February 22, 2005
Sirius Satellite Radio takes over NASCAR Broadcasts in 2007: Sirius Satellite Radio on Tuesday announced a five-year agreement to give Sirius North American satellite radio rights to broadcast NASCAR racing and events that will bring unprecedented programming and marketing opportunities to NASCAR fans. Beginning in 2007, Sirius will broadcast all Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series races live on a specially created, 24/7 NASCAR channel, and Sirius will be the only place on satellite radio to listen to NASCAR. As part of the agreement, Sirius will become the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, with exclusive trademark and marketing rights, and the right to sell all advertising time on its NASCAR channel and during the race broadcasts. Sirius will pay NASCAR rights fees totaling $107.5 million over the term of the agreement, with the highest payments in the final years of the term. Sirius and NASCAR will work together to develop an extensive consumer marketing and outreach campaign for NASCAR fans. This effort could include advertising, cross-channel promotion throughout Sirius programming, officially licensed products, extensive at-track activation and ways for current NASCAR fans to switch to Sirius.(NASCAR PR), would assume XM Satellite Radio is out after the 2006 season as NASCAR Radio. This has NO effect on regular radio broadcasts.(2-22-2005)
Construction Begins on Martin Museum: The construction equipment is out in Batesville, Arkansas this morning as crews begin building Nextel racing star Mark Martin's museum. The Batesville native opened a Ford dealership in his hometown last year with plans to build a museum next door to hold all of his racing memorabilia. Crowds lined the street in the town the day the dealership opened. Martin is also building a home nearby. The 46-year-old racer is retiring from full-time Nextel Cup competition after this season. He finished sixth this past weekend in the Daytona 500. Officials at the dealership said the museum will house many of Martin's trophies and several of his cherished race cars, uniforms and other mementos. But the trophies will only be from the second half of his career. Martin said that his early awards went into the trash on one of his many moves with his wife.(kait8.com/AP)(2-22-2005)
Rondeau Wins WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: Pete Rondeau had the weight of the racing world on his shoulders this weekend. After an unbelievably dominant feat by the #8 Budweiser team in last year's Daytona 500, everyone was
expecting Rondeau's debut as crew chief to bring Dale Earnhardt Jr. a repeat performance. Although it looked bleak for Rondeau in the
beginning stages of the race, he took a car that was barely running in the top-20 and transformed it into a top-five finisher. For his
efforts, Rodeau was voted the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. The panel voting for the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race consisted of Buddy Shacklette of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Robbie Resier and a WYPALL Wipers Representative. All three members of the panel agreed Rondeau was the top pick. With his win, Pete Rondeau is in first place in the WYPALL Wipers
Crew Chief Challenge. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will be named WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and receive $20,000.00. For more information, visit www.wypall.com.(Wypall Wipers PR)(2-22-2005)
Safety-Kleen signs up with NASCAR: Safety-Kleen Systems Inc., a Plano supplier of parts cleaning and oil refining services, has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with NASCAR. The exact amount that Safety-Kleen will pay NASCAR was not disclosed, but NASCAR officials say it's "a seven-figure deal." Under the deal, Safety-Kleen will use the NASCAR name and sponsorship logo on uniforms worn by about 1,300 of its customer service representatives, who clean auto parts and dispose of industrial and hazardous waste. NASCAR branding also will appear on the sides of some 200 new trucks that Safety-Kleen will use on its routes. The company also has tentative plans to retrofit its existing fleet of 1,800 route trucks with the NASCAR mark. Meanwhile, NASCAR will play a prominent role in Safety-Kleen's print ads and other marketing, especially to repair shops and service departments of auto dealerships. The company has more than 200,000 customers, all of whom do repairs on cars and trucks. In addition, the company will put a NASCAR "performance mark" on its mechanical parts cleaning equipment. Safety-Kleen also is the exclusive provider of environmental services to about 40 racing teams on various circuits, including 20 in NASCAR.(Dallas Business Journal)(2-22-2005)
Stewart wins....Contingency Awards: Tony Stewart led a race-high total of 107 laps during Sunday's Daytona 500 on his way to a seventh-place finish in Joe Gibbs Racing's #20 Chevy and collected three of the eight contingency awards announced after the event. Stewart's prizes were the Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award, MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award and WIX Lap-Leader Award. The Bud Pole Award went to Dale Jarrett, and the Commit to Win Award went to Jimmie Johnson. Mobil Oil Command Performance Driver of the Race went to Dale Earnhardt Jr., while Travis Kvapil was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race. Elliott Sadler earned the USG Improving The Finish Awards after starting 39th and finishing 11th.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-22-2005)
Early TV Ratings MORE: hearing the Daytona 500 on Fox TV Coverage drew a 10.9/23 national rating/share. Up 3% from last year and tied for the highest rated Daytona 500 ever.(2-21-2005)
UPDATE: FOX Sports' coverage of yesterday's thrilling Daytona 500 — a race that featured four lead changes in the final nine laps — produced a 10.9/23 preliminary national rating/share (18.7 million viewers), according to Nielsen Media Research. FOX's 10.9 ties the highest rating ever recorded for a NASCAR race, matching the rating set for the 2002 Daytona 500 on NBC, and is up +3% vs. last year's race on NBC (10.6/24). Yesterday's 18.7 million viewers makes it the second most-watched NASCAR race ever (18.8 for the 2002 Daytona 500), the most-watched ever on FOX, and +5% better than a year ago (17.8 million). Nielsen estimates that 35.3 million Americans watched all or part of yesterday's race, another best for FOX. Eight of the top-10 metered markets posted double-digit percentage increases compared to last year's race, and all of the nation's top five markets delivered their best rating ever for a Daytona 500 on FOX. NEW YORK posted a 5.5/12, LOS ANGELES earned a 5.3/14, and CHICAGO came in at 9.0/19. PHILADELPHIA drew the highest figure of the top 5 with a 10.4/18 and BOSTON tallied an impressive 8.6/19. Initial tune-in for the Daytona 500 was the highest in history. The first full half-hour of yesterday's race posted a 9.9/23 (2:30-3:00), beating last year's 9.7/23, which was helped by an appearance by President Bush as Grand Marshal. Ratings growth during the race was steady through the first half — then explosive from 5:00 through the dramatic conclusion. FOX notched an 11.6/24 at 5:00, a 13.0/25 at 5:30, and a 13.5/26 from 6:00-6:20 as Jeff Gordon captured the race in the first-ever "green-white-checkered" finish in Daytona 500 history. The 13.5/26 from 6:00-6:30 is the highest rating for any portion of a NASCAR race ever on FOX.(FoxSports)(2-22-2005)
Pit-Crew Award to be sponsored by Checkers: Checkers/Rally's says it will award a $10,000 prize to the Nextel Cup
team with the best pit stop each week among those participating in its Double Drive-Thru Challenge and award $100,000 to the team with the most wins throughout the season. Checkers/Rally's this year took over as the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR in place of McDonald's, which had awarded $20,000 to the winning team each week last year and $200,000 at the end of the year to teams that took part in a similar contest last year. The restaurant chain said winning teams must finish on the lead lap and spend the least amount of time in pit lane.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-22-2005)
Roush Racing testing at Kentucky UPDATE: Kentucky Speedway's weekly calendar shows that Roush Racing has scheduled a Nextel Cup test for Tuesday. The track says the team is scheduled to test a research-and-development car with a driver to be named. Spectators are permitted to watch from the track's Fan Center, but the track cautions that schedules are subject to change.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-22-2005)
UPDATE: Roush Racing NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing scheduled for February 22 and 23 has been cancelled. No further testing is scheduled this week.(Kentucky Speedway PR) Joe Gibbs Racing is scheduled to test at the track next week.(2-22-2005)
ARCA Driver out of hospital: Billy Venturini, who fractured his neck during the [ARCA] race last Saturday at Daytona, was released from Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. He will wear a head and neck Halo and will begin his rehabilitation at home in Concord, N.C.(Tampa Tribune)(2-22-2005)
News from February 21, 2005
NASCAR miffed at 'redneck' dig: Whatever happens, don't mention the word "redneck" around NASCAR officials.
Before yesterday's race, honorary starter actor Ashton Kutcher joked that he was told not to wear jeans for the job. "One of the greatest redneck sports and they tell me I can't wear blue jeans," Kutcher said at a press briefing. "I've never watched a race in khaki pants before." His comment was met with a chorus of moans from NASCAR insiders in the room, causing Kutcher to add he was also a redneck and said he meant the comment in a positive way.(New York Daily News)(2-21-2005)
Jeff Gordon's Winning #24 Inducted Into DAYTONA USA: For the third time in his career, Jeff Gordon's #24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet will spend a year inside DAYTONA USA, the official attraction of NASCAR. Following his third Daytona 500 victory on Sunday at historic Daytona International Speedway, Gordon's winning #24 Chevrolet was inducted into the attraction on Monday morning in the Eckrich Champion's Breakfast. The car will rest inside Gatorade Victory Lane at DAYTONA USA for the next 364 days and will be returned to the team before the start of the 48th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 19, 2006. Gordon and his crew chief Robbie Loomis participated in a fan forum as enthusiastic race fans huddled together in the motorsports attraction. Gordon and Loomis also received their winning Daytona 500 leather jackets from Speedway President Robin Braig and Gatorade presented the 2005 Daytona 500 champ with a framed photo from the Victory Lane celebration. Another Daytona 500 tradition continued with the signing of the car by Gordon and his crew. But the Hendrick Motorsports crew added a new twist. Last week, Hendrick Motorsports mechanics who worked on the #24 car back at the shop in North Carolina signed a white paneled sticker just in case the car won the Daytona 500. That sticker now rests on bumper of the car. Following his induction ceremonies, Gordon will handle media obligations that come with a Daytona 500 victory in both New York City and in California. Included in the many appearances he's expected to make are Live with Regis and Kelly and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.(DIS PR)(2-21-2005)
Kahne Scheme: #9-Kasey Kahne will make a return in his popular "Pit Cap" paint scheme at Indianapolis in August. This season the car will feature a reverse paint scheme that will take after the car he debuted at Darlington in 2004.(RacingOne)(2-21-2005)
Matt's streak ends: #17-Matt Kenseth's streak of 71 races inside the points standings' top 10, which dated to the March 2003 race at Atlanta, ended with an engine failure and 42nd-place finish at Daytona.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-21-2005)
New "X-measurement": Nextel Cup teams were given a new "X-measurement" across the roof of the cars that lines up with the original X-measurement that stretches across the rear windows. Before the change, teams could lengthen the right side of the car, which would give the driver an aerodynamic advantage, especially in the corners.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-21-2005)
More on Honda and Toyota's 2006 plans? Next season Toyota is expected to jump into NASCAR's Busch series and Honda is expected to jump into NASCAR's Truck series.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-21-2005)
Nine cars to the Dyno: NASCAR took nine cars to the engine dyno following the Daytona 500: the top five finishers — #24-Jeff Gordon, #97-Kurt Busch, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #10-Scott Riggs and #48-Jimmie Johnson, #07-Dave Blaney, #37-Kevin Lepage, #2-Rusty Wallace and #6-Mark Martin. The engine dyno, which NASCAR uses to measure rpms to find out who is generating the most horsepower, is used a few times a year at bigger tracks such as Daytona, Talladega and Michigan.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-21-2005)
Meeting at the White Trailer: After the post-race garage altercation between #20-Tony Stewart and #48 Crew Chief Chad Knaus, NASCAR officials called Stewart, Johnson and their crew chiefs to the hauler. Ten minutes later, Stewart and Johnson emerged together proclaiming friendship, in a very unusual, almost bizarre peace scene. "It's fine," Stewart said. "Like Jimmie says, we're racing on the last lap of the Daytona 500. I was mad he pinched me into the fence. We bumped into each other; we both did the same thing to each other. So it's fine. We both had good weeks here; we both finished in the top-10. We're both leaving here in a good situation in the points. NASCAR, more than anything, wanted to make sure it wasn't something that would linger overnight. Like I told Jimmie, we're both really, really good friends, and this isn't even something that's going to linger tonight. It's over with."(Winston Salem Journal)
AND #48-Jimmie Johnson and #20-Tony Stewart were called to the NASCAR trailer for rough driving in the closing laps. Stewart claimed Johnson "pinched" him into the No. 10 car of Scott Riggs while Johnson said Stewart ran him into the wall. When asked what was discussed with the sanctioning body, Stewart answered, "We were trading cooking secrets." Stewart, who finished seventh, had the dominant car, leading 107 laps. It was the second consecutive year he has led the most laps at the 500 and come away without a win. Johnson finished fifth.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-21-2005)
Wood Brothers Start Driver Development Program: Wood Brothers Racing, the oldest continuously operating team in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, is beginning its own driver development team in the NASCAR Late Model Dodge Weekly Series with sponsor Duke’s Mayonnaise and Keven Wood. “We’ve been thinking about this for a while,” said team co-owner and Keven’s father Len Wood. “We looked at what other Cup teams—Roush [Racing], [Chip] Ganassi [Racing], Evernham [Motorsports], [Richard] Childress [Racing] and [Joe] Gibbs [Racing]—were doing, and decided it would be a good idea to start our own development program. “We discussed it with several people, and family friend Mark Sauer, who is a member of the C. F. Sauer family that owns Duke Mayonnaise, expressed an interest in helping out. He knew that Keven had raced in the Legend Series and done some late model racing as part of a college program. Mark said he would like to work with us on the program. We are very pleased to be working with the Woods on their driver development program as they look to the future of their team, we are both in family-owned businesses from Virginia, and this will be a good fit for our company’s marketing program.”
“I planned to race the NASCAR late model series during the 2005 season, but now with the Duke’s Mayonnaise sponsorship we’ll be able to have better equipment and it will give me an even better chance to see what I’ve got as a driver,” said Keven. “We’re registered at 12 different tracks across the Carolinas and Virginia so it’s going to be a busy year. I’m really honored that they chose to work with us.” Keven will be following in the footsteps of his cousin Eddie Wood’s son, Jon, who is driving the #47 Clorox Ford owned by ST Motorsports in the NASCAR Busch Series this year. “We need to explore our options for the future of Wood Brothers Racing,” said Eddie Wood. “Jon has raced Karts, late models, NASCAR Craftsmen trucks and now he is in Busch. We hope that he’ll end up with our team. Wouldn’t it be something if both these kids followed in their grandfather’s footsteps?”(Ford Racing)(2-21-2005)