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MAY 9-15, 2005
News from May 16, 2005
News from May 15, 2005
- Some News about Jerry Nadeau: injured driver Jerry Nadeau had planned to be at Richmond International Raceway last night to watch the Chevy American Revolution 400. His plans changed because a death in his family earlier in the week took him away from his Davidson, N.C., home and he felt like he needed to get caught up on things when he returned. So he took some time on the phone to talk about the wreck at RIR two years ago this month that almost took his life and perhaps will take his career. Nadeau won the pole that day, driving for MB2 Motorsports. In a practice session after qualifying, he hit the wall hard between Turns 1 and 2 and had to be airlifted out of the racetrack.
He was in a coma for three weeks, in a hospital for three months. The recovery has been slow and is not yet complete. Nadeau knows he may never drive competitively again, but he's not ready to give up hope. He hopes that some tests to be run Wednesday will show that progress has been made and that he will be able to return one day. "I'm still young and energized and ready to go," Nadeau, 34, said. "If the tests go good next week and everything looks good, I'm going to bug Jay [Frye, MB2 owner] and try to do a test and see where I'm at and hopefully get in a car in the next couple of months and maybe go do a test. The doctors have said it takes a good two years. My left side is still numb. I can't change that. It is going to remain numb for a while. I feel like I'm thinking better, talking better, just doing better overall."
A NASCAR spokesman said yesterday that the sanctioning organization needs only clearance from a doctor to allow Nadeau to race again. Without that, he won't race. Nadeau knows that even with clearance, he's taking a chance if he does race again. "I have an insurance policy and [doctors] said I was better off taking the insurance policy and doing something else," he said. "You know what? I don't know what else to do. All I know how to do is race. I figure I might as well give it a shot." Since being injured, he said, he's stayed busy enough. He's taught some sessions in driving schools and may want to turn to that full time if he can't race. He's traveled to make appearances. "I was in Kentucky two weeks ago . . . we made a movie of my life and I show that to the fans and then I'll come out and talk about my life," Nadeau said. "I came to Charlotte with 100 dollars in my pocket and I made it to the Nextel Cup circuit. We haven't done the tests in nine months with an MRI and we're going to do one Wednesday and kind of compare. Hopefully there is some bright light and things will look good. Who knows?"(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-15-2005)
- Penske Happy with Dodge: #2-Rusty Wallace shot down talk of Penske Racing South aligning itself with Toyota. He said the team is happy with its current contract with Dodge. "People would think that [switch] would be a natural because he's running Toyota in the IRL Series, and he's the largest Toyota dealer," he said. "But he's also one of the world's largest Daimler Chrysler dealers." Wallace said he hasn't "personally talked" with Toyota about his #64 Busch Series team but said he would never say never.(Richmond Times Dispatch), remember the denials in 2000 that Penske would switch to Dodge?(5-15-2005)
- Richmond's NASCAR HOF plans: In a news conference at Richmond International Raceway before last night's Nextel Cup Series race, the proposed hall was revealed as a 129,000 square-foot building (including 68,000 square feet of exhibits) on about a 20-acre tract of land. Architectural firms with experience on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Baseball Hall of Fame and Smithsonian Museum of Natural History are designing the blueprint. An economic analysis predicted the hall would be attended by 700,000 visitors in the first year. The study said competing cities Kansas City, Kan., Daytona Beach, Fla., Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta would draw hundreds of thousands fewer fans annually. An economic impact study projected a $6 million growth in tax revenue -- $4.7 million to the state and $1.3 million to Henrico County. The details need to be finalized by the May 31 deadline for submitting bids to NASCAR. NASCAR reportedly will announce the winning city at its Dec.2 awards banquet in New York.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-15-2005)
- Gibbs on Leffler: Joe Gibbs may have given more questions than he gave answers when he was asked about struggling driver #11-Jason Leffler's future Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. "Obviously, you get concerned," he said. "You have a huge sponsor there and we're in it for the long haul. We signed Jason for the long haul and we are certainly going to go after it with Jason and try to get everything done we can there." Still, Gibbs said failure is not an option. "It always boils down to performance," Gibbs said. "It's gotta be a performance thing. We've got to be successful there."(NASCAR.com)(5-15-2005)
- NASCAR Fan to Win Chance to "Begin the Batman Begins 400 at MIS": Gotham City will meet the Motor City when the Batmobile takes to the track at Michigan International Speedway for the Batman Begins 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race on June 19. Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Comics, and Michigan International Speedway announced that one lucky fan will
win the chance of a lifetime to drop the green flag to start the race by entering the "Begin the Batman Begins 400 at MIS" promotion. The promotion will run from May 23-June 6. The announcement was made today at Richmond International Raceway by NASCAR star Mark Martin, who will pilot a Batman Begins-themed Ford in the Batman Begins 400, and MIS President Brett Shelton. The Batman Begins 400 marks the first time a major motion picture has served as the entitlement sponsor of a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event. Batman Begins, the highly anticipated film from Warner Bros., opens worldwide on June 15.
The "Begin the Batman Begins 400 at MIS" program will offer one fan, chosen at random, the opportunity to not only wave the green flag to start the Batman Begins 400, but also receive a VIP racing experience at MIS. Fans can enter the program online at www.begintherace.com.
Roush Racing legend Mark Martin will get a little extra Batman power to help him get to Victory Lane, as his Ford will feature a special
Batman Begins paint scheme for the race. Martin's fellow Roush Racing driver, Ricky Craven, will also be sporting a Batman Begins scheme during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event on June 18.
Fans can still purchase tickets to the Batman Begins 400 by calling MIS at 1-800-354-1010 or logging on to www.MISpeedway.com.(Alan Taylor Communications)(5-15-2005)
News from May 14, 2005
- Kahne FINALLY Wins: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway for his first ever Nextel Cup win in his 47th race, after finishing 2nd six times. Kahne is the 167th driver to score a Nextel Cup win. The win puts Kahne into the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway next Saturday. Kahne led the most laps with 242 and beat #20-Tony Stewart, who finished 2nd, and made a classy move on pit road, walking out to talk and congratulate Kahne. The rest of the top-five: #12-Ryan Newman, #5-Kyle Busch and #29-Kevin Harvick. Kahne's win is the first for the Dodge Charger since Nov. 20, 1977, at [now defunct] Ontario Motor Speedway, Neil Bonnett was the driver, it is the 125th win for the Dodge Charger. It is Dodge's first win of 2005. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson wrecked early and finished 40th, his large points lead is now down to 41 over #16-Greg Biffle. #24-Jeff Gordon had troubles and DNF's, finishing 39th.
For my race rundown, narrative, cautions, lucky dogs, lap leaders, see Richmond Race Info/Rundown Page
For race results/results links, see Jayski's Richmond Race Results/Awards page.(5-14-2005)
- Latest on Ward Burton: Though he hasn't completed a lap of Cup racing this season, Ward Burton is still on the minds of many NASCAR observers. Burton, 43, of South Boston, started at least nine Cup races every season from 1994-2004. He has been without a ride this season. When will he return? Only he knows for sure, but his brother, Jeff Burton, who is also a Cup driver, has his own ideas. "He's gotten caught up in the youth movement," said Jeff Burton, who was referring the glut of under-30 drivers on the circuit. "I'd like to see him drive a truck or a Busch car because he's a great driver and he's still got a lot left in him." Ward finished 32nd in the points standings last year driving the #0 Chevrolet for the Gene Haas-owned racing team. His best points finish came in 1999 when he was ninth. He is working full-time to promote hiswildlife foundation this year.(Daily Press)(5-14-2005)
- Eleven Drivers Penalized UPDATE: Eleven drivers were penalized for being late for inspection at Darlignton Raceway last week. Ten teams/drivers will be held for 15 minutes before they can practice today at Richmond: #5-Busch, #7-Gordon, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #10-Riggs, #15-Waltrip, #17-Kenseth, # 41-Mears, #42-McMurray, #48-Johnson and #99-Edwards. #24-Gordon has to sit on pit road for 30 minutes. The drivers and cars need to sit on pit road, can't go out to practice or work on the car.(Speed Channel's Happy Hour practice coverage).(5-13-2005)
UPDATE: NASCAR held at least a dozen cars on pit lane before practice yesterday, penalizing the teams for being late to the prerace inspection line at Darlington Raceway last week. Jeff Gordon served the worst punishment, missing 26 minutes of practice. Jimmie Johnson, Scott Riggs, Carl Edwards, Michael Waltrip, Casey Mears, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch, Robby Gordon and Tony Stewart also were held and missed between 10-15 minutes of the session. "With all the weather that we had at Darlington, the schedule was shortened," Jeff Gordon said. "With all the changes that we had to make in practice, we lost a lot of time and we paid the price big time for it. I understand what NASCAR's doing. They need to keep the inspection line on time, but I think when you've got 11 or 12 cars, and top teams, that are late to the inspection line, there's obviously a problem there beyond just the teams lagging behind."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-14-2005)
- Race Notes - Richmond:
• Kasey Kahne won the Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway, scoring his
career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 47th career start.
• The last driver to win from the Bud Pole was Joe Nemechek at Kansas, October 10, 2004.
• Bill Elliott was the last driver to win at Richmond from the Bud Pole: March 1992, 26 Richmond races ago.
• Ryan Newman was the last driver to score his career-first victory from the Bud Pole. Newman won his
career-first race at New Hampshire in September 2002.
• Several drivers have won their first race from the Bud Pole including Hershal McGriff, Lou Figaro,
Frank Mundy, Donald Thomas, Norm Nelson and many others.
• Kahne joined Carl Edwards as the second first-time winner this season.
• Kahne scored six runner-up finishes before posting his career-first victory. He joined Marvin Panch,
Mark Martin and Glen Wood for sixth-place on the list of drivers with runner-up finishes before their first
victory. James Hylton holds the record, scoring 12 second-place finishes before scoring his career-first
victory at Richmond in March 1970.
• This marked the first Dodge Charger victory since Neil Bonnett won at Ontario in November 1977.
• Kahne became the seventh different winner in 2005.
• Kahne climbed from 19th to 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, 301 behind point leader
• Kahne led 242 laps, the most in his career, in leading the most laps for the first time this season. He has led
the most laps in two previous races: Texas – 2004 and second Charlotte - 2004.
• This is Kahne’s first top-10 finish in three races at Richmond.
• Kahne has scored four top-10 finishes in 11 races this season.
• This was the sixth career victory for team owner Ray Evernham.
• Five of the top-10 finishers at Richmond scored their best Richmond finish: Kasey Kahne (first) Kyle Busch
(fourth), Greg Biffle (sixth), Elliott Sadler (seventh) and Michael Waltrip (ninth).
• Tony Stewart (second) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 13 races at Richmond. Stewart has scored six top-10
finishes in 11 races this season. He climbed from seventh to sixth in the point standings.
• Ryan Newman (third) posted his fifth top-10 finish in seven races at Richmond. He scored his fifth top-10 finish in
2005. He climbed from 10th to seventh in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Kyle Busch (fourth) posted his third top-10 finish of 2005 in his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Richmond race.
• Kevin Harvick (fifth) scored his third top-10 finish in nine races at Richmond. Harvick has scored four top-10
finishes in 2005. He climbed from 11th to eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Jimmie Johnson (40th) remained first in the point standings with a 41-point lead over second-place Greg Biffle.
Johnson lost 86 points in posting his second DNF of the season. He has scored eight top-10 finishes in 11 races this
season, more than any other driver. Johnson scored his worst finish and first DNF in seven races at Richmond
• The last time Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson posted DNFs in the same race was at Dover in June 2004.
• Kyle Busch (fourth) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender for the seventh time in 11
races in 2005.
• Mark Martin (15th) has been running at the finish in 33 consecutive races, the longest current streak.
• Nine of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Richmond International
Raceway.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-14-2005)
- Rumblings - Richmond:
• You certainly can't say it came as a surprise.... Kasey Kahne bagged his first-ever Nextel Cup victory tonight at Richmond International Raceway as he bested Tony Stewart by 1.67 seconds to record the win in the Chevy American Revolution 400. In a race that the top-two
dominated (they led 385 of the 400 laps), Kasey becomes the second first-timer of the season (Carl Edwards won at Atlanta) and gets his initial win after being the bridesmaid six times.
• Kasey is the 7th different winner this season, and the victory puts him in next week's Nextel All-Star Challenge. Oh yeah, it was worth $257,325 as well.
• Ryan Newman (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Phoenix last November.
• Kyle Busch (4th) had his best finish since he was 2nd at Las Vegas in March.
• Scott Wimmer (20th) had his best finish since he was 20th at Atlanta in March.
Tony Stewart has 3 Top-10's in a row.
Michael Waltrip has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
Jamie McMurray has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
• The Rookie Report: Kyle Busch (4th) is the Rookie of the Race for the 7th time this season. Travis Kvapil was 22nd and Stanton Barrett did not compete this weekend.
• This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Bobby Labonte (+31). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Johnny Sauter (-28 ). Slim pickins' this week in the "Shaft" as the Top-7 finishers all started inside the Top-10.
• Jimmie Johnson took a big hit in the points tonight. The lead that was 127 last week is now just 41 over new second place runner Greg Biffle. JJ's early exit also brings four more drivers under the "Stayin' Alive" line as we've got 19 drivers in the "Chase" with 15 races to go.
Kyle Busch (27th to 22nd) gained the most spots tonight and Mark Martin (6th to 10th) fell the most positions. No change in the exempt list as Jason Leffler is now 32 markers out of the Top-35.(Stock Car Fans)(5-14-2005)
- Vickers takes flight: It's fair to say that NASCAR driver #25-Brian Vickers has enjoyed a variety of unique and special opportunities as a result of his occupation. But on Thursday, the 21 year-old enjoyed arguably one of his most memorable personal experiences ever. He joined a very small group of civilians fortunate enough to ride in a U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat from the VF-101 "Grim Reapers" fighter squadron, currently based at Naval Air Station Oceana (Virginia Beach, VA). Visit www.brianvickers.com for the complete story and photo gallery on Vickers' ride.(5-14-2005)
News from May 13, 2005
- Chevy Rock and Roll Schemes to be unveiled UPDATE 2 - IMAGES: Chevrolet will give race fans a taste of what they will see when they return to Richmond International Raceway in September for the Crown Royal IROC, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 200, Emerson Radio 250 NASCAR Busch Series and Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. As an official partner and longtime race sponsor at Richmond International Raceway, Chevrolet plans to unveil three Rock & Roll themed stockcars on Friday afternoon.(RIR Fact Sheet)(5-10-2005)
UPDATE: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will have 3 Doors Down on his car. Others: #31-Jeff Burton / Big & Rich; #29 Kevin Harvick / e Gretchen Wilson; #10-Scott Riggs / Nickelback and #07-Dave Blaney / Drive by Truckers.(5-11-2005)
IMAGE added the #10 Nickelback and #29 Gretchen Wilson images to the #10 Team Schemes and #29 Team Schemes pages.(5-13-2005)
UPDATE 2: Chevrolet is mixing the red carpet with black asphalt announcing today that more stars and cars than ever will be part of the popular Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 10. NASCAR drivers #29-Kevin Harvick, #10-Scott Riggs and #25-Brian Vickers helped Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper unveil their musical artist-themed Chevy Monte Carlo racecars for the event. Chevrolet also will host a pre-race concert with Nickelback performing and Gretchen Wilson singing the national anthem.
Three of the specially themed cars that will compete in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 were revealed:
· Kevin Harvick's #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy Monte Carlo will feature Gretchen Wilson.
· Brian Vickers' #25 GMAC Chevy Monte Carlo will feature Green Day.
· Scott Riggs' #10 Valvoline Chevy Monte Carlo will feature Nickelback.
This is the sixth consecutive year that Chevrolet will be the title sponsor of the fall race at Richmond International Raceway. With more than 107,000 fans attending, the race will mark the 28th consecutive sell-out of a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at the track and will be broadcast live during primetime. The Chevy Rock & Roll 400 is the 26th race of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season and will determine the participants in the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship." Today's announcement is the first of many musical pairings to be announced prior to the Chevy Rock & Roll 400. Additional vehicles that will be participating in the event will be announced later.(Chevrolet-GM/Action Performance/RIR), see updated images and the #25 car on my #25 Team Schemes pages.(5-13-2005)
- So what happened to Long in practice? for the Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Carl Long crashed his primary #00 Buyer's Choice Auto Warranty Chevrolet during afternoon practice.
WHAT HAPPENED? During a qualifying run, my car's been extremely tight in the center of the corner. It was a little bit free entering Turn 1 each time and unfortunately for me with different run we had a different set of shocks on it. And those shocks wouldn't let the car recover-it kind of held it down real stiff. And when it got loose on me getting into Turn 1, where I've been recovering all practice, I reckon I gave out of talent.
IT APPEARS YOU ARE PUTTING YOUR MOTOR IN THE SPARE CHASSIS - DID YOU LIKE THAT MOTOR? Yeah, that's the only engine that we have, so..(GM PR), so it looks like Long will make an attempt to make the race.(5-13-2005)
- Air Freshner in a race car, less anger IMAGE: With short-track Richmond International Raceway being the next stop on the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit, don’t be surprised to see Scott Riggs piloting his race machine around the 0.75-mile track with an AroMetrics air freshener hanging from the roll cage. In a recently released study, drivers were found to be more alert and experienced less fatigue when the scent of pine was added to the car interior. The study also revealed that drivers demonstrated a decreased level of anger [hmm.. maybe Kurt Busch, Michael Waltrip and Jeff Green can get some air freshners] and improved overall driving performance when exposed to strawberry and pine scents. “It’s amazing that something as simple as a smell can make a difference while you’re driving,” offered Riggs, who will be behind the wheel of a specially designed AroMetrics/Valvoline Chevrolet in this weekend’s Chevy American Revolution 400. “Imagine what a nice clean race we could have if everyone had AroMetrics in the car.” The researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University (Wheeling, W.Va.) who conducted the study, used a car simulator, exposing participants to pine and strawberry scents, and monitoring driving tendencies, including lane tracking, speed, collisions, and reaction times, as well as behavioral factors such as alertness, fatigue, anger and overall performance. The study used AroMetrics’ new Auto Fragrance System air fresheners as the method of dispensing the scent in the simulated car environment.(MB2/MBV Motorsports), see an image of the scheme on my #10 Team Schemes page.(5-13-2005)
- Irvan to be inducted in West Coast HOF: The inductees for the 4th Annual West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame induction ceremony July 22, 2005 have been announced by Tim Meyer director of the West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame. Fifteen names make up the West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame 2005 induction class.
Drivers: Allen Adkins, Len Sutton, Sam Hanks, Dick Meyer, and Ernie Irvan.
Owners-Mechanics-Manufacturers-Sponsors: Bob Estes, Vel Miletich, Floyd Johnson, Tom Hamilton, Leon Ruther, Richard Elder and James Rush.
Promoters-Officials-Media Members-Event/Series Sponsors: Ron Ail, Harry Schilling, and Marion Collins.(West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame)(5-13-2005)
- Changes at Speed, NASCAR Nation down to 30 minutes? UPDATE 3 Yep: A shake-up at the top of Fox's Speed Channel is the latest TV shock for NASCAR, and Fox's decision to let Jim Liberatore go as head of the cable channel leaves considerable uncertainty about just what's going on. Liberatore has been running Speed Channel, based in Charlotte, since Fox bought it four years ago. He cites "a difference in philosophies" for his departure. According to one source, Liberatore wanted to diversify Speed Channel again, to include a good mix of all racing. It has become predominantly NASCAR-oriented. There are also reports that the Speed Channel 's NASCAR Nation show will soon be dramatically revamped, in light of generally poor ratings. The show is likely to be cut from an hour to 30 minutes, and its focus is to change from hard racing reports to more soft entertainment features.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-3-2005)
MORE If speed doesn't sell on Speed, then maybe sex will. What else is there to make of the news from the cable channel that Leeann Tweeden, a one-time spokesman/lingerie model for Frederick's of Hollywood, a layout model in Playboy, a Hooters calendar girl, and cover girl for men's magazine FHM, could be replacing Krista Voda, a veteran sports reporter, on its NASCAR shows?(Winston Salem Journal)(5-7-2005)
UPDATE: been told that NASCAR Nation will go to a 30 minute [instead of the current 60 minute] show the last week in June. Krista Voda will be leaving the show to take a job in Pittsburgh, PA, no replacement yet named and not sure when she is leaving. The show will concentrate more on the pop culture and drop the news segment [my favorite part]. The Beyond the Wheel segment will become its own shown and air on Thursday night.(5-10-2005)
UPDATE 2: from a Speed Channel interview with new VP of Studio Production Chris Long
SPEED: Any specific changes to the NASCAR Nation format you are ready to announce?
LONG: It will drop from an hour to a half hour beginning June 27 because it will no longer have a news element. The show's hosts will change. Krista Voda made the decision before I arrived to move to Pittsburgh and continue her career with Fox Sports Net in that area. Ralph Sheheen will return to Speed News. New hires are pending. I am still looking at tapes. The show's graphics and set will change. I'm looking for more of a nighttime feel. Later in the interview it was mentioned: We may add a weekday edition of SPEED News. See full article/interview at Speed Channel site: New Speed Channel VP of Studio Production Wastes No Time Getting to Work.(5-13-2005)
UPDATE 3 - from leeanntweeden.com:....."I am going to be hosting my own show again on the SPEED CHANNEL! It's called "NASCAR Nation", and our first airdate is June 27th! As many of you know, I grew up around stock car racing, and am very excited to have this opportunity come my way!!!! Most of my time this month has been occupied with making myself bi-coastal again! Yes, I have to move to the Charlotte, NC area for this show. Relocating has pretty much consumed most of my time this month...But don't worry, this doesn't mean I am leaving "The Best Damn Sports Show Period" by any means...I will still be doing my weekly "Insider" on the show, as well as some remotes when my schedule allows.(5-13-2005)
- Bass Pro Shops to sponsor #07 at Richmond; #31 at Chicago IMAGE: Bass Pro Shops will be the primary sponsor of Richard Childress Racing's (RCR) #07 Chevrolet in this weekend's Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) and its #31 Chevrolet in the July 10 Chicagoland 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Driver Dave Blaney's full-time sponsor, Jack Daniel's, will be prominently featured on the #07 car's lower quarter panels and deck lid this weekend. In turn, Cingular Wireless, Jeff Burton's primary sponsor, will receive prominent placement on the #31 car highlighting Bass Pro Shops ongoing involvement with RCR. The outdoor retail giant is also the primary sponsor of RCR's #33 Chevrolet four-race superspeedway program with driver Kerry Earnhardt. For more information go to www.basspro.com.(RCR)(5-10-2005)
IMAGES: see a few images on my #07 Team Schemes page.(5-13-2005)
- Different scheme for the #11 at RIR: For the first time this season, the #11 FedEx Chevrolet will carry the purple, green and white colors of the FedEx operating company of FedEx Ground. The FedEx Ground scheme is one of four rotating schemes involving the FedEx operating companies of FedEx Express, FedEx Freight and FedEx Kinko's that will be featured on the #11 machine throughout the season.(JGR), see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(5-13-2005)
- Rudd to decide by mid-summer whether to retire; #850 3rd best: #21-Ricky Rudd knows what he'll do, or at least not do, when he retires. It's just that he doesn't know if this will be his last NASCAR Nextel Cup season. A season besieged by accidents and mechanical woes have pinned him deep into the points standings heading into Saturday night's Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway. That's raised the question of the 48-year-old Chesapeake native's status. When asked about retirement in January, he said that if he doesn't run well this year, "then you probably won't see me the next year." So, is this Rudd's last ride? He says he'll decide sometime this summer if he'll join Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin in making this his final Cup season. Both, who announced their retirements last year, are having solid farewells. Martin is sixth in the points and Wallace 14th but only 42 points behind Martin. When Rudd decides to retire, he says he won't follow the paths other veterans have taken. He doesn't want to do a full-season farewell tour just to sell special souvenir items as many have done. Rudd also says he won't run a partial schedule as Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte are doing. While Martin has hinted at running a full season on the Craftsman Truck series next year, Rudd won't. "I see myself not traveling so much, going off and seeing family that I've neglected for years," said Rudd, who made his Cup debut at age 18 in 1975 at Rockingham. "I've got a lot of catching up to do in my personal life." Although Rudd says that he'll spend a year away from racing once he retires, he admits there's one thing that could draw him back. "Something in the back of my mind that I wanted to do was LeMans," he says of the world famous 24-hour race. "I would drive there. That race has probably lost a lot of prestige over the years in this country, but as a kid growing up and being into go-kart road racing, that was a race I used to dream about."(Roanoke Times)
AND Rudd will mak his 850th career start in the Cup series in Saturday's Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Rudd is third on the all-time starts list behind Richard Petty (1,185) and Dave Marcis (883).(5-13-2005)
- Kahne wins pole at Richmond: #9-Kasey Kahne won the pole for the Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway with a near track record lap of 129.964 [record is 129.983 set last May], for his 2nd Budweiser pole of 2005 and 6th career pole, he also won the pole for the Busch race tonight. It is also Kahne's 2nd pole in a row [he won the pole at Darlingto last week] and he is the first driver ever to win the pole for both the Busch Series race and Cup race at Richmond. #12-Ryan Newman just missed the pole with the backup car and will start 2nd, followed by #20-Tony Stewart, #97-Kurt Busch and #38-Elliott Sadler. Missing the race: #38-Lepage, #34-Fuller, #27-Shelmerdine and #00-Long who wrecked his backup car on his first lap but drove the car to the garage.
See speeds, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Jayski's Practice/Qualifying Page.(5-13-2005)
- Richmond Qualifying Notes:
• Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Chevy American Revolution 400, lapping Richmond International Raceway in 20.775 seconds at 129.964 mph. Brian Vickers holds the track-qualifying record of 20.772 seconds, 129.983 mph, set May 14, 2004.
• This is Kahne’s sixth career Bud Pole in 47 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. His most recent Bud Pole was last week at Darlington.
• This is Kahne’s first top-10 start in three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway.
• Kahne, who also won the Busch Pole for the NASCAR Busch Series race later tonight, became the first driver to sweep weekend poles at Richmond. The last driver to sweep both poles in a weekend was Mark Martin at Rockingham in October 1999.
• There has been a different Bud Pole winner in each of the past 11 races at Richmond International Raceway.
• Ryan Newman posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 20.801 seconds, 129.801 mph – and will join Kahne on the front row for the Chevy American Revolution 400. Newman has started from a top-10 starting position in each race this season, the only driver to do so. He has also started from the top-10 in six of his seven races at Richmond, including four times from the front row.
• This is the fifth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2005. Chevrolet has four Bud Poles and Ford has two.
• Tony Stewart (third) posted his sixth top-10 start in 13 races at Richmond, but his first since May 2003. It is his sixth top-10 start this season.
• Kurt Busch (fourth) scored his second top-10 start in nine races at Richmond and his fifth this season.
• Elliott Sadler (fifth) posted his first start better than 14th in 13 races at Richmond. It is his fifth top-10 start in 2005. In those five top-10 starts, Sadler has started a one race in each of the top-five starting positions.
• This was the first time this season that no drivers relied on guaranteed starting positions to make the race.
• The furthermost back in the field that a Richmond race winner has started on the 3/4-mile configuration was 25th by Matt Kenseth in the 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-13-2005)
- Stock Car Fans - Ramblings - Richmond:
• Kasey Kahne double-dipped today at Richmond International Raceway as he grabbed the pole for tonight's Busch race as well as the Bud Pole for Saturday's Chevy American Revolution 400. It's the second top-spot in a row for Kahne and the 6th of his Nextel Cup career.
• Ryan Newman will start outside the front row after being quickest in practice then crashing and going to a backup car.
• Tony Stewart (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Chicagoland in July of 2003!
• Jeff Burton (12th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Daytona in February.
• Johnny Sauter (13th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 10th at Bristol in March of 2004.
• Mark Martin (14th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 12th at Atlanta in March.
• Tony Raines (31st) makes his first Cup start of the season.
• Ryan Newman has 18 Top-10 starts in a row.
• Greg Biffle has 9 Top-10 starts in the last 10 races.
• Elliott Sadler has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
• The Trouble Train left town with four cars in tow.....Kevin Lepage (his 5th DNQ of the season), Jeff Fuller (the #34 car's 6th DNQ), Kirk
Shelmerdine (that car has failed to qualify in all seven attempts this season), and Carl Long (his 4th DNQ).
• Darlington raised the bar last week, so Richmond's got a tough act to follow. With the next two weeks at Lowe's we could be in for a stretch of good racing continuing under the lights.(Stock Car Fans)(5-13-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: By picking Ryan Newman as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 7, Diana R. of Sturgis, KY was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Diana picked Newman as the highest finishing Gillette 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 Newman. This is the second time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Newman.(Alan Taylor Communications)(5-13-2005)
- France says he will not leave NASCAR: NASCAR chairman Brian France continues to deny any plans to leave NASCAR any time soon, but the speculation is hotter than ever this week that once France finishes the new TV negotiations, sometime over the next year, he will, indeed, be moving on. France won't discuss the family business in any detail, and NASCAR is a private family venture, unlike the publicly-traded International Speedway Corp. However, insiders say that France has sold, or is selling, or plans to sell his shares in NASCAR to the rest of the family. Some of the sport's biggest and most important figures are wondering who the France family might pick to succeed Brian if he leaves. There are indications that Jim France, Brian's uncle and the brother of long-time NASCAR boss Bill Jr., and Lesa France Kennedy, Bill Jr.'s daughter and the woman running the family's ISC track operations, are heading the search for candidates.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-13-2005)
- INC to be cut back to 60 minutes? UPDATE yep: hearing that Speed Channel is considering moving the Inside Nextel Cup show, currently at 90 minutes, back to the one-hour format later this summer.(5-10-2005)
UPDATE 2: from a Speed Channel interview with new VP of Studio Production Chris Long
SPEED: Let's talk about some of the other studio shows - any changes coming for Inside NEXTEL Cup?
LONG: I want that show to be all about letting the viewer feel what it was like to have been in that week's race -- like a driver or crew chief is sitting right there with them explaining all of the decisions made during the heat of battle. INC will return to the 60-minute format, we will utilize our access to in-car communication much more and I think it is fair to say you will see some talent adjustments there as well. See full article/interview at Speed Channel site: New Speed Channel VP of Studio Production Wastes No Time Getting to Work.(5-13-2005)
News from May 12, 2005
- New management for Robby, engine update, Jim Beam news: A new crew chief and new team manager/car chief have joined the #7 team at RGM. Greg Erwin and Frank Kerr will assume these roles and make their debut this weekend in Richmond. The team is confident that Menard Engine Group has solved its early season engine issues, and is pleased with tests recently conducted at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as well as a number of dyno tests conducted in both Charlotte and Indianapolis. Sponsor Jim Beam will unveil a public service announcement on Friday, May 13, at 4:00pm/et in the pressroom at Richmond International Raceway. Robby Gordon teamed up with IRL driver Dan Wheldon of the Andretti Green Racing Team to tape a PSA about making sensible decisions relating to alcohol consumption. The PSA was produced to raise awareness of Jim Beam’s social responsibility platform, drink smart. As part of the drink smart campaign, Robby Gordon Motorsports will donate $10,000 from a $100,000 fund provided by Jim Beam bourbon, the “Official Spirit of Racing,” to officials from Virginia State University. The check presentation will take place in the pressroom at Richmond International Raceway, Friday at 4:00pm/et. The donation will fund the University’s implementation of The Century Council’s Alcohol 101 PlusTM education program and related alcohol education activities.(Robby Gordon Motorsports)(5-12-2005)
- Gibbs undergoes heart procedure...last month - back to work and fine: Joe Gibbs Racing owner [#11,#18,#20] Joe Gibbs was hospitalized for a heart procedure to open a clogged artery last month, The Washington Post reports. Gibbs, who is 64 and who coaches the Washington Redskins football team, said doctors placed a small, spring-like wire tube known as a stent in the artery at a Washington hospital in mid-April. Gibbs said he remained overnight but returned to work the next day and was back to his regular workout routine, which includes a 45-minute run, within several days. "I understand the public interest, but it has no effect on my work, or my tenure with the Redskins," he said. "I considered it a private matter."(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-12-2005)
- Michigan Drops of of NASCAR HOL Bidding: Michigan officials say they won't submit a pitch for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, narrowing the field to Daytona Beach and four competitors. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. was spearheading the effort to put the hall of fame in the Detroit area, but its vice president, Michael Shore, said Wednesday it has decided not to submit a proposal. "We really aren't pursuing it," he said. "The governor gave us the green light to explore it. But when we reviewed the financial commitment it would take to make one of these really work -- and given the state's economic situation -- we were talking a lot of money and a long-term commitment." Michigan's move leaves five cities in the race: Daytona Beach; Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Kansas City, Kan.; and Richmond, Va. Talladega, Ala. pulled out of the competition in March.(Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(5-12-2005)
- NASCAR opens licensing office in Arkansas: The popularity of NASCAR-branded merchandise with customers of Wal-Mart Stores has prompted the national racing group to open a licensing office in northwest Arkansas. The two-person office will be a satellite of NASCAR's licensing headquarters, which operates out of the organization's office at Charlotte, NC NASCAR's headquarters are at Daytona Beach, but it also has offices in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. Mark Dyer, licensing vice president for NASCAR, said the office here would allow the company to work closely with the retail giant and with Wal-Mart vendors who want to tap the popularity of auto racing. The office will license new products and work closely with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which already sells a variety of NASCAR merchandise. Larry Helton, a former national retail operations manager for the Gillette Co., will head NASCAR's Bentonville office. More than 100 Wal-Mart employees and vendors showed up at the opening on Wednesday, many of them seeking autographs from driver Kurt Busch, the reigning Nextel Cup champion. Dyer said sales of NASCAR-licensed products had declined at small retail operations, but the company has made overall gains through online sellers and big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target.(ESPN.com/AP)(5-12-2005)
- Sadler's donation makes the day for school kids: When 205 kindergarten students at Greensville Elementary took a field trip to Swift Creek Mill Playhouse in Colonial Heights last month, Elliott Sadler said he felt as if he were there. He wasn't, but if not for his financial help, the kids might not have been there, either. "It's probably special to them," Sadler said. "It's definitely special to me. A lot of kids might not have the opportunity to do that. I feel like I'm a big part of the reason they have the means to do that." Each grade at Greensville is covered by a sponsor in a program called C.A.R.E.S ("children are really extra special"). Sadler adopted kindergarten when his niece Halie enrolled at the Emporia school last fall. The sponsorship follows the class through graduation. "The commitment he's made is not a one-shot deal, it's for 13 years," said Dr. Bill Mueller, the school's principal. "For Elliott to come on, we're just tickled to death." Besides helping pay for travel to plays, museums and other events, sponsors also supply T-shirts. Sadler's class was dressed in the multicolor array of his primary sponsor in the Nextel Cup Series. "The kids look like a bunch of M&M's," Mueller said. "A lot of them were NASCAR fans anyway, and they love getting involved in it." Sadler said he "sends a bunch of M&Ms stuff all the time" and has read to the children along with his sister and sister-in-law. The school is arranging to bring Sadler and his show car for a visit before the end of the school year. "We're from a very small town, and that very small town has been supportive of me and my family a long time," Sadler said. "We're trying to give back to them."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-12-2005)
News from May 11, 2005
- NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge Trophy Tour: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series fans have the opportunity to follow the
NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge trophy as it makes its way through North Carolina on a 10-day tour that started Tuesday in Raleigh. Fans can visit lowesmotorspeedway.com to
receive daily updates. The tour culminates at the NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge at the Charlotte Coliseum on May 19. The trophy will be awarded to the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge champion at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 21.(5-11-2005)
- Darlington TV Ratings: According to figures released by the FOX network, the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway was the highest-rated prime time NASCAR event ever broadcast by the network. The race had an average viewership of 9.3 million, up 10% over FOX's one previous primetime race broadcast so far this season. The 5.6 rating and 11 share easily won the Saturday evening ratings war for the network over CBS (4.7), ABC (4.7) and NBC (4.5). The race also posted a 3.6 rating (13 share) among the critical prime time demographic of Adults 18-49, placing FOX first for the night by a wide margin. ABC was second in that demographic with a 2.4 rating, and CBS was third with a 1.9. The Diamond Hill Plywood 200 earned a 1.6 rating on FX, up from last year's number of 1.3 on the same network. The 1.6 rating for the DHP 200 is seven percent higher than the 1.5 average for all nine NASCAR Busch Series prime time cable events in 2004.(Darlington Raceway)(5-11-2005)
- Shelmerdine gets sponsor for Richmond: Kirk Shelmerdine Racing’s #27 will be carrying the Drug Abuse Resistance Education “D.A.R.E.” & “Just Say No to Drugs” logos on the hood at Richmond for the Chevy American Revolution 400. Support for this program is courtesy of Apex Electric Company of Apex, NC; Fixture Specialists of Richmond, VA; KBS Builders of Richmond, VA; and the Apex North Carolina Police Department. For more information on the D.A.R.E. program, please visit www.DARE.com.(Kirk Shelmerdine Racing)(5-11-2005)
- Rusty receives Boy Scout award: Rusty Wallace made his annual trip Tuesday to Orangeburg, SC. For the 10th consecutive year, Wallace made an appearance at the Tourville Lodge to help raise money for the Boy Scouts of America at the "Friends of Scouting" event sponsored by Jim Roquemore of Super Sod. Hank Jones of Elloree, a personal friend of Wallace's, helped in getting the event together and once again arranging for the NASCAR star to be in attendance. Last year's event raised upwards of $100,000 and this year was no different, as the grand total came to more than $108,000 for the Boy Scouts of America. Over his 10 years of coming to Orangeburg, Wallace and company have raised more than $750,000. After the questions and answers, Wallace got a surprise when Charles Williams and Jim Roquemore introduced Wallace's wife, Patti. "Ya'll brought my wife here. I can't believe it," Wallace said. "I'm glad I said all the right things." Then came a host of awards for the NASCAR star.
The first was a scholarship fund that has been set up with Wallace's name and sponsored by the Boy Scouts. It was presented by Randy Scott, Larry Brown and Orangeburg Sen. Brad Hutto, all of whom help out with the scouts locally. Lane Boone, a member of Troop 45, was presented the first-ever scholarship to help with his studies at Georgia Military Academy.
The second presentation came from Sheriff Larry Williams, who made Wallace a reserve deputy five years ago when Wallace attended the event. This year he was made an honorary deputy sheriff of Orangeburg County, receiving a plaque from Deputy Tammy Robinson, officer of the year.
Orangeburg Mayor Paul Miller followed with a presentation declaring Tuesday, May 10, Rusty Wallace Day in Orangeburg.
The final presentation was made by the Southern Regional Director of the Boy Scouts of America, Parvin Bishop. Bishop presented the Silver Antelope to Wallace for his service to scouting. The Silver Antelope Award, created in 1942, is granted for outstanding service to youth within the territory of a BSA region. A recipient must be a registered adult member of the Boy Scouts of America. The awards are presented in connection with regional meetings or at other public functions within the region. The National Court of Honor bestows Silver Antelope Awards on the basis of the number of registered volunteers in a region.(Times and Democrat)(5-11-2005)
- NASCAR Manufacturer Support in Trouble? Given the choppy financial outlook for the Big Three automakers, some NASCAR team executives are beginning to wonder whether the cascade of financial and technical support they receive from Detroit will begin to run dry. oes it really make sense for General Motors, which lost $1.1 billion in the first quarter of this year, and Ford and DaimlerChrysler, which saw profits slip 30% or more, to maintain estimated nine-figure NASCAR budgets? "It's a legitimate question that a shareholder would ask," says Jim Andrews, editorial director of the IEG Sponsorship Report. "But there's also a danger in saying, 'The company's doing badly, let's just start dumping stuff.' " Executives representing automakers' racing programs say sales slumps make NASCAR more important than ever. While manufacturers are beginning to find ways to spend money more efficiently in racing, executives rule out wholesale cutbacks that would jeopardize their teams' ability to compete. Andrews notes that GM actually is expanding its sports marketing budget, having signed a deal with Major League Baseball earlier this year. "I doubt very much that these companies are looking at NASCAR racing and saying, 'We should be getting out,' " Andrews says. Andrews believes automakers' support of NASCAR is more "defensive" than anything else; they're racing because their competitors are racing. "If they weren't there, other companies would say, 'Why aren't you there?' "
Automotive industry consultant Peter DeLorenzo, publisher of the autoextremist.com Web site, estimates each manufacturer spends at least $125 million a year on NASCAR and doesn't get its money's worth. While automakers still use racing to train young engineers, it has been decades since advances made in NASCAR — which limits technology to control the cost of racing — applied to passenger cars. Beyond that, drivers' personalities and connections to other corporate sponsors have been marketed so aggressively that DeLorenzo says the kind of car they drive is an afterthought. Most important, DeLorenzo says, being in NASCAR does nothing to help domestic automakers overcome what he calls their biggest challenge: winning over foreign car buyers. NASCAR fans already buy domestic cars and trucks. "Detroit is spending a lot of money to preach to the choir," DeLorenzo says.
Manufacturers' executives tell a different story, one of positive media exposure and fan demographics. "We absolutely believe that it's a great return on our investment, from the standpoint of getting exposure," says Bob Wildberger, senior manager of NASCAR operations for Dodge Motorsports. Mark Kent, director of GM Racing, says GM is in NASCAR for the "long haul." But Kent says they have cut back on travel expenses and are working with Chevy teams to consolidate research and development projects. "Obviously, like anything else in our business, we're looking to do more with less," Kent says.(USA Today)(5-11-2005)
- Winston Cup Museum opens in Winston-Salem, N.C. JKS Motorsports is proud to announce The Winston Cup Museum, a tribute to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company's 33-year NASCAR sponsorship. The museum is designed to preserve NASCAR history and Winston-Salem's ties to the largest spectator sport in the country. The museum opens to the public Wednesday, May 11th at 10:00am/et. A striking wall mural chronicling 33 years of Winston Cup racing covers three walls of the inside of the building, and a
timeline of the sponsorship is near the entrance to the museum. Among the permanent displays are tributes to such RJR-sponsored programs as The Winston Million, the Winston No Bull 5 and The Winston. The museum houses authentic race cars from different eras of the 33-year NASCAR Winston Cup Series. In addition to the different race cars, the museum houses trophies, driver uniforms, helmets, winner's checks, autographed pictures and original racing posters. General Motors, Ford and Dodge all furnished conceptual cars and special paint schemes. Some of the displays are permanent, but other portions of the museum will be on a rotation to
include all of the cars.
The Winston Cup Museum is located at 1355 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Winston-Salem, N.C. Normal business hours are 10
a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children under 12. Twenty percent of the proceeds
from ticket sales will go to three charities: the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., Brenner Children's Hospital and the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, both in Winston-Salem. The Winston Cup Museum is presented by JKS Motorsports and is not affiliated with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Reynolds American, Inc. of which R.J. Reynolds is a subsidiary or NASCAR. For additional information, please visit www.winstoncupmuseum.com)(5-11-2005)
- Special Schemes for the #22: Scott Wimmer is scheduled to run a Cat Dealers scheme at California Speedway in September and a Cat Rental schemes at Bristol in August. See images on my #22 Team Schemes page.(5-11-2005)
- IROC Voting Update: Voting continues to heat up among the 12 nominees in the Crown Royal IROC Legends of Victory Lane, a program representing the first "all-time team" in series history selected by the fans. A handful of votes separate Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt for the lead in the Stock Car category. Mario Andretti is the early front-runner in the Open-Wheel category, with Al Unser Jr. a close second. Scott Pruett holds a comfortable lead in the Road Racing category, with Mark Donohue and Tom Kendall battling for second. Voting will conclude in September, and the four finalists will be honored at the final Crown Royal IROC race in Atlanta in late October. Fans can vote for the 12 nominated finalists at www.crownroyalracing.com.(Alan Taylor Communications)(5-11-2005)
News from May 10, 2005
- Update on #31 Jackman Josh Yost: Josh Yost, jackman for the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet driven by Jeff Burton, who was injured on pit road after being struck by another car [#2-Wallace], will not return to competition this season following two surgeries to repair his heavily injured right ankle. After being released from a Birmingham, Ala., hospital following the May 1 NASCAR Cup event at Talladega Superspeedway, Yost was flown back to North Carolina to begin treatment at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. During the exploratory surgery performed May 3, it was discovered Yost's injuries included two ruptured tendons, damaged ligaments, a severe laceration and a crushed fibula tip. Yost then underwent reconstructive surgery May 5 to repair the ankle and was released from the hospital the following day. He has been instructed by his doctors to remain off of the ankle for six to eight weeks and can then begin the lengthy rehabilitation process.(RCR)(5-10-2005)
- Roundup to sponsor Edwards at Richmond: Roush Racing and Scotts Team Racing announced that the #99 Ford of Carl Edwards will carry the Roundup Extended Control logo and new paint scheme as the primary sponsor for the upcoming races at Richmond International Raceway on May 14 and the Coca-Cola 600 on May 28. Roundup Extended Control is an exciting new product that was recently introduced, and was specially developed to take weed and grass control to a whole new level. For more information on Roundup or any of the Scotts products visit www.roundup.com, or www.scotts.com.(Roush Racing)(5-10-2005)
- #97 Crew Wins Tyson Crew Championship: Kurt Busch's #97 team won the National Pit Crew Championship, defeating Jeremy Mayfield's #19 crew in the final round with a mistake-free stop Monday night. in Mooresville, NC. Busch's crew, which helped him win the Nextel Cup championship last season, didn't make a single mistake during the competition and picked up $100,000 for the win. Mayfield's team earned $25,000 for finishing second. Joe Nemechek's #01-crew was third -- missing out on a spot in the finals because of a two-second penalty for a loose lug nut in the semifinals. The competition was a bracket-style tournament that pitted crews against each other in four rounds. Teams had to change four tires and fill the car with fuel in a race against the stopwatch. Each tire changer had to push a button on the wall to stop the clock, and many teams had a team member pick the changer up and throw him at the wall. Penalties were issued for loose lug nuts, excessive fuel spillage, or not getting enough gas in the car. Mayfield's crew went up against Busch's team, which completed its stop in 16.342 seconds. Mayfield's team clocked in at 16.439, but was penalized four seconds for two loose lug nuts.
An additional $500,000 was up for grabs in a bonus round, open to the top three finishing teams and one wild card, which was Greg Biffle's #16-crew. The crews had to complete an error-free stop in 14.437 seconds to earn the money. Busch's crew came close -- front tire changer Scott Ward did his part in 14.121 seconds and celebrated by jumping on the hood of his car. But rear changer Kevin Gillman clocked in at 14.900, just short of the bonus.
The winning crew members were: Mark Full (front tire carrier), Scott Ward (front tire changer), Scott Radel (jackman), Doug Newell (fueler), Jim Gaudette (catch can), Kevin Gillman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier) and Wayne DeLoria (coach). The four Cup teams from Hendrick Motorsports declined to participate [no idea why].
NASCAR and Nextel will also hold a pit crew competition. That event is scheduled for May 19th at the Charlotte Coliseum, and the Hendrick teams are participating in that one. Because two competitions is one too many, both sides have agreed to try to merge it into one event next season. So all eyes were on this one to see how it would unfold. The temporary bleachers were filled to capacity -- roughly 4,000 fans -- and several drivers were on hand to support their crews.(ESPN.com/AP)(5-10-2005)
- Ganassi has no plans for Marlin, to the #07? UPDATE: #40-Sterling Marlin said last month that he didn't think he'd be back at Chip Ganassi Racing next year because the car owner had been reluctant to discuss a new contract with him. Ganassi said Marlin can change that via on-track performance. "Right now, we don't have a plan for Sterling for next year,'' Ganassi said. "But if he wins a couple of races, it's not like we can't change our plans.''
Assuming he needs a new job next season, garage speculation has him moving over to Richard Childress Racing to drive the #07 Jack Daniel's Chevy that Dave Blaney currently pilots. Jack Daniels is a Tennessee-based company that would love to be represented by a homestate driver. Busch series driver David Stremme, who is part of Ganassi's development program, is most commonly mentioned to replace Marlin in the #40 Dodge.(ESPN.com RPM), NOTE: have heard that Marlin has already met with Jack Daniels's reps and is a front runner for a Jack Daniels's sponsored ride, it could be in the #07 RCR Chevy or Jack Daniel's coud move to another team.(5-8-2005)
UPDATE Q) Marty Smith: Word is you've [Marlin] got a liquor sponsor interested. You've done the beer deal, now we're hearing the liquor folks are after you.
A) Marlin: Naw. That's a vicious rumor. We'll just have to wait and see what plays out.(see full conversation at NASCAR.com)(5-10-2005)
- Gordon to star in reality show? Scott Woolley, who owns Five Star Productions in South Florida, recently inked a deal with a new Chicago-based network, Always Free TV, that's on the slate to launch in the fall. It's a home shopping channel, but with a twist -- every purchase is accompanied by a freebie of some shape or size. It's also exploring other types of production. Earlier this year, Woolley set up a subsidiary, Five Star Pictures, in Santa Monica, Calif., to drum up independent film shoots for the new Boca studios. So far, Woolley's formula for success has been to concentrate on making and marketing half-hour magazine-type shows focusing on special interest niches, such as business, the environment and health. The programs are usually sponsored by a corporate client, who buys much of the national commercial slots. Woolley's latest concept is a reality program starring NASCAR headliner Jeff Gordon, who will seek out and shape the next star race car driver.(in part from the Miami Herald), don't know anymore about this but heearing this site may20th2005.com has something to do with it.(5-10-2005)
- No fine for Busch...this time: #97-Kurt Busch crashed on the first lap of Saturday's race at Darlington Raceway, forcing him to retreat to the garage area for repairs. He eventually re-entered the race but later ignored officials' instructions during a caution period on where he should line up for a restart. Busch was ordered to pit road to serve a penalty. Busch responded with offensive language over his in-car radio communications system, revved his engine when officials ordered him to shut his car off and threw a water bottle that hit an official standing in his pit area. Roush Racing President Geoff Smith says Busch was frustrated by the crash, which left him nursing a damaged, uncompetitive car around a narrow, difficult track for the rest of the night to gain championship points. Busch has been involved in a total of seven on-track incidents this season, tied for third-most in the series this year, according to USA TODAY database research. Smith says Busch lost his temper after officials assessed a penalty Smith called "questionable. So he fought it — and lost, of course," Smith says. Smith doesn't expect Busch to receive further penalties from NASCAR this week. "I think he is definitely aware of where he stands today," NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter said in an e-mail. "Without going into any further detail, he certainly knows NASCAR is not going to tolerate any future temper tantrums. President Mike Helton made our position very clear." Says Smith: "He's now on notice. So if there's anything else, there's going to be a penalty associated with it."(USA Today)(5-10-2005)
- VA Governor, Sadler to promote GED's: Virginia Governor Mark Warner will visit the track on Thursday, May 12 at 1:00pm/et to announce a partnership with Virginia Native Elliott Sadler, Richmond International Raceway and the "Race to GED" program. The program is designed to help Virginia residents obtain a high school diploma. The track has offered its facility as an official GED testing site and race tickets for students as an incentive to complete the program.(RIR Fact Sheet)(5-10-2005)
News from May 9, 2005
- NASCAR Promoting races using NYC radio: NASCAR is promoting the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor
Speedway and two Nextel Cup races at Pocono Raceway on three New York City radio stations, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports. WFAN will give listeners the chance to win tickets to a Yankees-Mets baseball game and an all-expense-paid trip to the May 20 all-star race. The Journal says it is the first time NASCAR has used a New York-area station to promote a race in Charlotte. WAXQ will promote a contest offering 20 listeners a bus trip and VIP treatment to the June 12 Pocono race, while WPLJ will offer fans a deal with Bergen Mall to take their dads to the track's July 24 race.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-9-2005)
- Rusty making Monday NYC TV Stops UPDATE Danza flips: #2-Rusty Wallace is scheduled to appear on two nationally broadcasted television shows on Monday (May 9) during a day's visit to New York City. The first stop on Wallace's agenda will be on FOX-TV's "Fox & Friends" which airs at 7:00am/et. This offbeat morning show features Anchors E.D. Hill, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade. As their promotional materials boast, they take a look at the day's news, sports and weather from a different perspective. It is an interactive show where you can call in to voice your opinion or have your e-mail read.
Wallace is then scheduled to be a special guest on "The Tony Danza Show." Hosted by Danza, one of America's most recognized and likeable television personalities, the show is a one-hour talk show with guests that include actors, athletes, newsmakers and real people with interesting stories to tell. Monday's guests on "The Tony Danza Show" will also include actor David Hyde Pierce, who is appearing in the smash Broadway hit "Spamalot." "The Tony Danza Show" airs locally on Charlotte's WCNC-TV at 4:00pm/et. Consult your local listings for stations and broadcast times in your area. Wallace will also visit the "ESPN Zone" where he is to be interviewed by ESPN's "The Pulse" and by ESPN News.(Tom Roberts PR)(5-7-2005)
UPDATE: Tony Danza got quite a scare when he and NASCAR star Rusty Wallace were racing go-karts during the taping of a segment for the nationally syndicated "The Tony Danza Show." Danza was leading as they entered the final lap Monday morning on West 66th Street, the show said. After Wallace gave Danza's vehicle a little "bump and run," the 54-year-old talk-show host lost control of his go-kart, which flipped over. "Although slightly worse for wear, Danza escaped with no injuries," the show said in a statement.
Wallace, who rushed to Danza's side after the crash, said, "I thought I killed ya," to which Danza responded, "Yeah ... just before you retire, 'I killed Tony Danza.'"
"I know you're tough, but that [was] ridiculous, man!" Wallace was quoted as saying. The "DayTony 500" segment aired on Monday's show.(ESPN.com/AP)(5-9-2005)
- GWC factoid: There have now been six green-white-checkered [GWC] finishes in NASCAR [Nextel Cup] history, and only twice has the leader lost the lead on those final two laps. And both times, #16-Greg Biffle has been the driver to steal the win. In addition to Saturday's win (#12-Ryan Newman led heading into the green-white-checkered), Biffle won the final race of last year when #20-Tony Stewart had fuel problems at Homestead.(Rocky Mount Telegram)(5-9-2005)
- Darlington TV Ratings: Fox's broadcast of Saturday night's Dodge Charger 500 from Darlington Raceway earned a 4.7 overnight rating and a 9 market share from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. NASCAR has not raced on Mother's Day weekend in recent years, so the figures can't be compared to the same weekend last year. The 4.7 rating for a race run during the usually weak Saturday night period is down 9.6% from the 5.2 Fox drew with last year's March 21 Darlington race, which was run on a Sunday afternoon. But the figure is up 4.4% from the 4.5 overnight figures for this year's Phoenix race, which was also run on a Saturday night.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-9-2005)
- Leffler testing at Kentucky Today and Tues: #11-Jason Leffler is scheduled to test the Joe Gibbs Racing Fed-Ex Chevy's at Kentucky Speedway Monday, May 9th and Tues, May 10th. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway)(5-9-2005)
- Richert Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award, takes the lead: When the caution flag waved with five
laps to go in the Dodge Charger 500, every crew chief was left with a few split seconds to decide what course of action to take for the
ensuing shoot out. In the end, Doug Richert, crew chief of the #16 National Guard/Travel Lodge Ford, proved to have the superior game plan. He sacrificed Greg Biffle's second-place position in the running order to take four fresh tires for the remaining green flag laps. Biffle used his fresh rubber to blitz past the three cars ahead of him on the restart, cruising all the way to Victory Lane. Richert's strategy
brought him his third Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award. Earlier this season at Bristol Motor Speedway, Richert let a probable win slip away by not pitting for tires after a late-race caution. Just the opposite happened today when the leader, #12-Ryan Newman, elected to stay on the track during the last caution period and watched Biffle and company all dive down pit lane. "Taking four tires for the last green flag seemed like a no brainer, even with only a few laps left," said Richert following the race. "I know exactly what the 12 car was feeling like when we all ducked in behind him. It's just like what happened to us at Bristol, but it was definitely the right thing for us to do. The other right thing was our crew performed how we should all night. We were the first car off pit road that took four tires and that was as critical as anything."
The panel of voters; including John Clayton of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, a Wypall Wipers representative and Tony Eury Sr.; all
thought Richert deserved top honors for executing a winning strategy. With his third Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award, Richert moves into first place of the Crew Chief Challenge standings. Robbie Loomis is in second place with two wins. Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Alan Gustafson and Pete Rondeau are tied for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fan can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(5-9-2005)
- Toyota: No Busch Series plans? Since the day that Toyota came on the NASCAR scene in the truck series, speculation has continually bubbled about when the Japanese automaker will invade the Cup and Busch ranks. The speculation picked up in recent days with stories citing NASCAR sources as saying that Toyota is working on a car to race in the Busch Series next season and that Toyota has joined Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford in discussion with NASCAR over the development of its "Car of Tomorrow" and "Engine of the Future" for the Cup Series on down.
Those stories were accompanied at Talladega last weekend by word through the garage area that Johnny Benson, who drives for Toyota in the truck series, has tested a Toyota stock car with a Solara body at his short track in Michigan. Patrick Wall, manager of Toyota Racing Development in High Point, confirmed that Toyota has participated in the discussions about the "Car of Tomorrow" and "Engine of the Future" which could bring as early as 2007 significant changes from the cars and engines used now. But, he said, Toyota's plans hinge on the timetable for implementation of the rules changes and that the only series Toyota will race in next year is the truck series.
"We currently race trucks and we are looking at racing cars," Wall said. "We are doing an investigation into the best path for Toyota to get into car racing, and we are waiting on NASCAR to give us the timetable for the 'Car of Tomorrow' and 'Engine of the Future' before we determine what the best plan for us will be."
Wall said he expects NASCAR to announced the timetable for the future car and engine by the end of this month. The "Car of Tomorrow" is expected to incorporate more safety features, including a bigger greenhouse (area from windows on up). The "Engine of the Future" is expected to provide a common engine platform for all manufacturers. "It takes such a financial commitment to develop cars and engines that we want to see what direction NASCAR is going," Wall said. He denied that Toyota is developing a car to race in the Busch Series next year. "We are not working on any Busch cars," he said. He said that it did not make sense financially to develop a car now if the rules are to change significantly in the near future. "When you look at the cost involved, it takes a couple of years to get a payback on that investment," Wall said. He also denied that Benson or any one else has tested a Toyota stock car. "I can assure you that there has not been a Toyota-bodied stock car or a stock car with a Toyota engine [maybe a Ford or Chevy engine?] on a track anywhere on the planet since we raced in the NASCAR Dash Series with Robert Huffman in 2003," Wall said.(High Point Enterprise), see all of the past news and rumors on my Toyota Past News page.(5-9-2005)
- Hornish to the #2? or Paul Tracy? Newman unhappy? With all of the speculation about who will replace Rusty Wallace in the #2 car next year, everyone has forgotten about two-time IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr., who already drives for Roger Penske. I [Yahoo's Bob Margolis] hear that he's at the top of the list to replace Rusty.(Yahoo! Sports)
AND Rumours about the racing future of Toronto's Paul Tracy in NASCAR were ratcheted up this weekend. This time the 36-year-old Champ Car World Series driver is being wooed by Penske Racing South. While there have been stories linking Tracy to a proposed American Le Mans Series team planned by Roger Penske, this is the first time that people are talking about him joining up with Penske's NASCAR program. The nucleus of the talks revolve around Penske needing a driver to replace Rusty Wallace in the #2 Dodge. More intriguing is talk in the NASCAR garage that Ryan Newman is unhappy with his progress in the #12 Penske Dodge.(Toronto Sun)
AND II Roger Penske's search for a new driver to replace retiring Rusty Wallace has become one of this sport's biggest mysteries. #42-Jamie McMurray seemed the obvious pick for a while, but car owner Chip Ganassi doesn't seem a bit interested in letting McMurray move over to arch-rival Penske. #16-Greg Biffle has also been in the heavy speculation since his contract with Jack Roush is up at the end of the season. Biffle insists he's sticking with Roush. but adds the caveat that even if he were thinking about moving on, he'd be foolish to say anything about it right now.
The latest Penske speculation focuses on Paul Tracy, a wildly aggressive Indy-car star who once drove for Penske - and who once worked with Matt Borland, one of Penske's top NASCAR crew chiefs, who works now with Ryan Newman. Borland said that Tracy might be a bit too aggressive for NASCAR's got-to-get-along world, but Borland said that if Tracy brings the right attitude, it could certainly work out. And Borland said it would be "very interesting" to watch Tracy learning to adjust to the NASCAR tour.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-9-2005)
- Biffle plans to stay at Roush: Greg Biffle says he has been too busy to solidify his plans for next season, but he was expected to meet with his agent last week and still intends to stay in the #16 car at Roush Racing. "We're not any closer because we haven't had a chance to talk," Biffle says. "They're going to take care of me because that is where I want to be. It would be crazy for me to want to go somewhere else because I might lose the next whole season getting geared up with a new team." Biffle is the only driver in the top 10 whose contract expires at the end of 2005 without an option, which is another reason--besides a stellar 2005 performance, including his victory Saturday night at Darlington--he is in high demand.(Sporting News)(5-9-2005)