MAR 1-7, 2004
THE PAST NEWS! YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
OTHER PAST NEWS PAGES
- JAYSKI in Vegas: Jayski will be heading to Vegas for this weekends race and festivities. Got a busy few days ahead of me. The folks are in Mooresville to house/pet sit and see the area, while I head out to Vegas. Staying at the Luxor as part of the Jayski Las Vegas deal that Premiere Sports Travel did thru the Jayski site [been told over 2000 people did the deal...wow], will attend the Hospitality Banquet at the Luxor [the package says a driver will attend too] on Friday [will handle qualifying from hotel room]. Saturday will work the site, do some sight seeing on the strip and go see the Blue Man Group [watched the DVD, it is very cool - looks like a blast, need to fond someone for the extra ticket] and of course Sunday head over to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and watch the race...I will NOT be covering the race lap-by-lap on the site, like normal, not sure if anyone follows that anyway, but it keeps me paying attention and up on the race. Fly to Atlantic City, NJ on Monday to see my new nephew for the first time and pick up my car and head back to Mooresville on Tuesday....should be a hoot! Email address works however it has been removed from the site while on travel. The site will be updated as normal, just at different times due to the 3-hour time difference and travel.
UPDATE: made it to Vegas, got my rental, drove th strip, stopped by Las Vegas Motor Speedway to get my credentials, see my bill board [turn 1] and get 50 pics of some Cup haulers already there. After a quicl run to In-and-out burger, checked into the Luxor [man this place is huge] and took a nap since I got a whole 1 1/2 hours last night. One thing, hardly any TV channels here, no Speed Channel, no Fox Sports Net, no FX and [yikes] no HBO. So I will be relying on my visits to the track, the internet and my XM Satelitte /NASCAR Radio for info while here. BUT my #1 Priority while here and always is to update the site.(3-4-2004)
3-5-2004: well slept in after being up for 24 hours, traveling and working the site, took a 2 hoour break Thurs night to see The Matrix Revolutions in the IMAX theatre here at the Luxor, very cool, can't wait to see the NASCAR 3D in Charlotte, if I can score soem tickets. Anyhow, then had lunch with my ThatsRacin.com sales dude Greg after meeting Brian and the folks from Premirere Sports Travel, who set up this Vegas trip. Will be attending their Motorsports get-together tonight hosted by David Poole of the Charlotte Observer with scheduled appearances by Jeremy Mayfield and Ricky Rudd and for what it is worth.....Jayski. Not open to the public for the folks who are with Premiere's Las Vegas package, some thru Jayski.
The hospitality banquet went well, I was surprised at the number of people there, I was too busy to even grab any of the buffet, but had a few diet cokes. David Poole interviewed me, then David and I interviewed Ricky Rudd, then I was off and Mike Calinoff, Matt Kenseth's spotter came up and was interviewed. And then Jermey Mayfield came on and David and Mike interview Jeremy, I didn't get to meet Jeremy. Thought the event went well and many folks didn't know about the site, so should pick up a few new readers. As for Saturday, not sure if I am heading over to the track, but will be seeing the Blue Man Group at 10pm/et, very excited about that. Still have a ticket, may be the 'coat seat'.(3-5-2004)
3-6-2004 worked late into the AM, then slept in, worked some more, went to dinner at NYNY, then saw Kings Tuts stuff and finally saw the Blue man Group, very cool, never saw nothing like it. Was out so long didn't know who won the Busch race until about midnight.
3-7-2004: got up nice and early to beat the traffic to the track [5:30am/pt] and made it with no prolbem. At the track as of 7ish and working on updating stuff.....sorry for the delay..but had to have some fun...geez..am in Vegas. Won't be doing semi-live updates on the race today and stats will be updated on Wed/Thurs when I get back in NC after a quick excursion to NJ to see some family.
3-8-2004: WOW, saw the IMAX movie, NASCAR: 3D, it was very cool, loved it, the effects were awesome and a great story, for hardcore or newbies. My favorite was the beginning with Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman as bootleggers and the surprise 'lawmen' who were chasing them. Well that ends my Las Vegas excursion. Thanks to Premiere Sports Travel for a great job and of course Greg, my sales dude. Hope everyone who went had a good time. While I worked alot, I was able to get out and see some of the strip and take in some shows. Off to Atlantic City to see family and head back to NC for 'home' on Tuesday. Will be updating along the way, from airports and my folks home.........
- Kenseth wins at Las Vegas...again; Kahne 2nd this week...again: #17-Matt Kenseth pretty much dominated the 2nd half of the UAW-Daimler-Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, leading 123 of the 267 laps and winning his 2nd race in a row of the season and his 2nd race in a row at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. #9-Kasey Kahne, the pole sittter for the race, finished 2nd, the 2nd race in a row he has done that [Kenseth beat him at Rockingham also]. no photo finish this time [won by over 3 seconds]. Rounding out the top 5 were: #20-Tony Stewart, #42-Jamie McMurray and #6-Mark Martin. Kenseth alsi retauns the points lead and gets the $30,000 bonus for winning the race while being the points leader. Kenseth also lead at half-way, and picks up the halway bonus award for winning the race after leading halfway. #8-Earnhardt Jr. led the points coming into the race, but never had a good car all weekend and dropped out of the race, finishing 35th. #41-Casey Mears finished 7th, his first ever career top 10 in a Nextel Cup race [39th race].(see a story on ThatsRacin.com)
See Results at ThatsRacin.com, MotorSportsOne and NASCAR.com.(3-7-2004)
- Noticed at the track: #9-Kasey Kahne has a few playing cards decaled on the side of the #9 Dodge, right in front of the rear wheel.
Tires important? sitting behind the #42 pit, could see 5-6 team members working on 40 tires, checking air pressure, marking codes, putting tape on for the tire changer mark to line up with the stud, and something I never have seen, a silver disc of some sort, placed over the wheel, been told it is to keep the black wheels from the sun and keep them cooler. Also noticed the #32 team using the silver 'discs'.
The #89 Morgan Shepherd car was a Dodge, not a Ford as I reported earlier.
Was walking along pitroad, when it seemed with no warning....the National Anthem was being played, crews towards the front of pit road scrambled to get lined up, Jayski immediatly stopped and took his cap off, putting his bald done in danger of sunburn but for a good reason.(3-7-2004)
- Been awhile, HOF Racing, announces alliance with Hendrick: Hall of Fame Racing, a NASCAR team owned by former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach that initailly announced plan to field a Cup/Busch team in 2003, today, announced an alliance with Hendrick Motorsports [HMS] to run a full-time team in 2005. HMS will provide HOF Racing equipment, resources and technology. The team headquarters will be based in Dallas, TX but the racing operation will be located in the Charlotte, NC area. HOF Racing's primary objective is to locate a primary and associate sponsors, once secured the team will then focus on hiring team persoannel and a driver.(HOF Racing/Hendrick Motorsports PR), see past news on HOF Racing on my Hall of Fame Racing Past News and Links page.(3-7-2004)
- Jeff Gordon invited to test F1 car: NASCAR Champ Jeff Gordon will get another chance to try the Williams Formula One car. The British team has invited the American driver for a four-day test later this year. Gordon tested with the Williams F1 team last year when the four-time world champion did a promotional car-swap with Montoya. Montoya tested Gordon's NASCAR while Gordon tested Montoya's Williams.The Williams team was impressed with Gordon's performance and thus wanted to invite Gordon again for a bigger Formula One test. If Jeff Gordon would enter Formula One it would be a great help promoting Formula One in the States, though according to rumours Gordon can earn more in NASCAR than in Formula One.(F1Racing.net)(3-7-2004)
- #02 and #50 sponsors, silmilar, not the same: the #02-Carl Long, Score Motorsports/Hermie Sadler owned Pontiac has a few sponsors at Vegas: RacingJunk.com also a water company, Liquid Salvation [Pure Water for an impure world] is supposedly an associate sponsor on the car, but it's logo, a devil woman, was not allowed to be put on the car, supposedly NASACR squashed that decal. The #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge and driver Derrike Cope have Redneckjunk.com [which is nothing to do with RacingJunk.com].(3-7-2004)
- Wimmer concerned: #22-Scott Wimmer is concerned about his court appearance next week in North Carolina for an administrative hearing on a drunken-driving charge [see #22 Team News and Links page for past news]. But he said that all his attention today will be on going to the front in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. "When I get back to High Point [NC], that's when that's all going to start. I'm really going to concentrate on the race here in Vegas," Wimmer said Friday. "We'll get back and deal with that and get it over with as soon as we can." Wimmer faces charges of driving while impaired and hit and run stemming from an accident at the end of January near his home. The hearing is Wednesday. He flipped a pickup truck owned by Bill Davis Racing, which fields his #22 Caterpillar Dodge on the Nextel Cup circuit. The police report said that Wimmer had a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit after Wimmer was found hiding behind a bed at his home. Wimmer, staying with the rest of his team at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, said that Las Vegas could be a challenging place for somebody facing a drunken-driving charge. "I've learned so much from it," he said. "I can control myself and I make good decisions. You can have fun in this city without getting in trouble. I'm hoping that I'm doing the necessary steps to make sure I can race." Wimmer leads the rookie standings and is fourth in points two races into the season. "It's enjoyable when you run good and you're in the paper for something good," he said. "I've got great people behind me and I've got a job to do. You just go out there and do your job."(Winston Salem Journal/AP)(3-7-2004)
- Foam Confiscated From #29 Car: Several large chunks of foam were confiscated from the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy on Saturday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A NASCAR official said that it was removed from the fuel cell because the foam was cut at angles and the rule book clearly states that it needs to be squared off.(Insider Racing News)(3-6-2004)
- Kid Goes For Joy Ride at Homestead: A teenager stole a luxury sports car, barreled through a security gate at Homestead-Miami Speedway and then sped four laps at 100 mph before he was arrested, police said. Feliphe Ramos, 18, stole the 2004 Infiniti G35 worth more than $30,000 from a hospital construction site Wednesday after the driver left the keys in the ignition, police said. The driver had been lent the G35 by a dealership while his car was being repaired. Police said Ramos then headed to the track, home of both NASCAR and Indy car races. He sped past guards, crashed through a security gate and then began doing laps. No other cars were on the track. After doing four laps, Ramos either lost control or stopped. Track workers held him for police. "He must have wanted to get on the track pretty bad," speedway president Curtis Gray said. "Nothing like that has ever happened here before."(Sarasota Herald-Tribune)(3-6-2004)
- More Suspensions? The timing of the suspension handed down to Busch Series driver Kevin Grubb seems strange. Grubb, 25, apparently tested positive for substance abuse when such a test was demanded by NASCAR officials at Rockingham two weeks ago. Oddly enough, Grubb wasn’t entered in that race and, in fact, wasn’t even planning on competing in a race until April 3. He was merely present at the track when officials demanded that he submit a urine sample. According to several garage-area sources, six drivers were tested at Rockingham, and Grubb may not have been the only one to test positive. NASCAR’s policy does not require uniform or even random testing. Drivers are tested on the basis of “reasonable suspicion.”(Gaston Gazette), see more about Grubb's suspension and his comments and plans on my Busch Series site.(3-6-2004)
- More on the Rockingham 'call': Fan reaction has been strongly against NASCAR's scoring calls at Rockingham, and a number of drivers and crews here continue to question NASCAR's decisions in the final minutes of #17-Matt Kenseth's victory over #9-Kasey Kahne and #42-Jamie McMurray But NASCAR's John Darby said yesterday the right calls were made at Rockingham and the only change might have been to penalize McMurray for not slowing immediately after the yellow came out. "Ten days later we're convinced we did the right thing," Darby said. "We've had the opportunity to go back and extract data from not only the new scoring system but also TV telemetry and different areas. What we understand now is the situation was created more by Jamie not slowing down properly when the caution was displayed than any other ingredient. So Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne were put almost a lap down when they should not have been. We righted that. The question now is if the situation were to happen again, what would we change? If the situation were to happen here Sunday we would still 'right' Matt and Kasey and very possibly penalize Jamie for not slowing down." Now comes the hard part for Darby and the rest of the NASCAR hierarchy - persuading Cup teams and fans, particularly car owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates. "We haven't had the opportunity to sit down with Felix and Chip, but we plan to this weekend," Darby said.
There are still a number of questions, which were being raised in several Cup rigs yesterday by confused and irate crewmen. Among the questions:
NASCAR's new scoring system, based on eight wires cut into the asphalt around the track to pinpoint the location of cars through transponders. That system is apparently only available to AOL subscribers willing to pay an extra fee; and it is apparently not available to teams or NASCAR officials at the track. Darby said it still has "some bugs to work out."
Second, Kenseth ran the stop sign at the end of pit road but wasn't penalized. Darby said Kenseth "was instructed to do so by us." Some who were monitoring NASCAR radio at the time disputed that, saying they heard no such command. The general issue of the use of a stop sign during a stop that began as a green-flag stop was in some dispute yesterday.
Third, there is still the issue of just when does the yellow actually come out.
Fourth, the basic issue that many in the garage have found it difficult to fathom how a driver can pit under green, be passed as the yellow comes out, and yet wind up with an advantage. At least one crew said it was the second time during the Rockingham race that NASCAR had made such a scoring error.(See full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(3-6-2004)
- Andretti to testify in DC: John Andretti is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday during a hearing regarding a proposed constitutional amendment to allow Congress to prohibit flag burning. Andretti, who is running a partial schedule for Dale Earnhardt Inc. this season, will be joined by four others when his panel meets with the committee. Joining Andretti are Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady of Citizens Flag Alliance; Richard Parker, a Harvard law professor; Gary May, associate professor of social work at the University of Southern Indiana; and Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-6-2004)
- New Cams Installed on cars: Crew chiefs, worried about new aerodynamics issues, are upset with NASCAR's surprising decision yesterday morning to order all teams to cut holes in the roof of their cars and install 360-degree TV cameras, quickly dubbed submarine cams.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-6-2004)
- Spoiler Rules Change for the 2002 cars: NASCAR handed out new rear-spoiler rules yesterday, cutting the rear spoiler on 2002 models, effectively killing those cars, beginning with next week's Atlanta race. The only driver using a 2002 model here is #72-Kirk Shelmerdine [Ford]. NASCAR officials apparently had a difficult time determining just what model car Shelmerdine brought here.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-6-2004)
- What is up with Blaney? Bill Davis canceled Dave Blaney's #23 entry at Las Vegas but still plans to run him at Atlanta. "The funding didn't come together, so rather than do a half-hearted effort, we tested Atlanta and plan to run Dave there," Mike Brown said. "That's all we have on the agenda right now."(Winston Salem Journal)(3-6-2004)
- To the Back [3 drivers]: #50-Derrike Cope's team changed engines after Friday's practice and will fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag on Sunday. Have been told that #24-Jeff Gordon's car, damaged on the end of his 2nd qualifying lap, when he smacked the wall, will not have to to go to a back-up car and the team will repair it. #41-Casey Mears also smacked the wall in turn 4 on his qualifying lap, but didn't suffer as much damage.(3-6-2004)
UPDATE...well add J Gordon: #24-Jeff Gordon, who damaged his car by hitting the wall on his qualifying lap Friday, had more trouble Saturday when he blew an engine in the first session. He'll have to start at the rear of the field Sunday, as will Kevin Lepage after his team also made an engine change (ThatsRacin.com). Gordon was to start 20th, Lepage 35th.(3-6-2004)
- Just The Stats: Las Vegas by ERaceFans: A statictical look at the drivers entered in Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400.
- Sad News: Louie Unser, who served as chief mechanic for brothers Jerry and Al during their debuts at the Indianapolis 500, is dead at 71. Unser, who had multiple sclerosis, died Tuesday in Anaheim, Calif., according to a news release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which provided no further details. Louis was the twin brother of Jerry, who in 1958 became the first of the famed racing family to qualify for the Indy 500. Louie served as chief mechanic for Jerry in that race and handled the same duties for the debut of younger brother Al, in 1965. "If it wasn't for Louie, I wouldn't have made it at the speedway," said Al, who won the Indy 500 four times. "He pushed me." Louie was born 10 minutes after Jerry on Nov. 15, 1932, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The twins formed their own racing team in 1957. Jerry won the stock car championship that year, and Louie was mechanic of the year. Jerry gave his diamond championship ring to Louie, who wore it the rest of his life. Jerry died in an accident at the speedway in 1959. Louie retired after serving as crew chief for Al in 1965 and started an engine-building business in Southern California. He is survived by his wife, Laverne; a daughter, Lynn; brothers Bobby and Al; and three grandsons. Details of a memorial service planned for later this month have yet to be announced.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-5-2004)
- Former NASCAR car builder fights for life; Leno doantes tickets: Ken Bainbridge says dying is the easy part. Oh, he promises to fight this cancer thing to the end, to his very last breath. But what really worries him is the family and friends he'll be leaving behind. "There's so many people I'm going to hurt," he said. That's typical of the man. Anyone in the auto racing community could tell you Bainbridge always put other people first. It didn't matter if you were a top driver or a novice, or if you had two nickels to rub together. To the "Old Man," everyone was a star. His garage was always open for you, along with his heart and wallet. Over the past three decades, Bainbridge has helped hundreds of auto racers in Western New York. During his heyday in the 1980s, Bainbridge's transmissions were under the hood of nearly every modified on NASCAR's Northeast circuit. Bainbridge built a dragster that's on display at an auto racing museum in Florida. He's built transmissions for Cale Yarborough, Kenny Schrader, Jimmy Spencer and Richie Evans. Last month, Bainbridge traveled to North Carolina to be with his family. Keith is a fabricator for Braun Racing. Ken Jr., a promising driver in his younger days, works as a gear and transmission specialist for Ultra Motorsports outside Charlotte. They are carrying on their dad's legacy in racing's heartland. Julicher says Ken Sr. could have been a wealthy man if he'd moved his business to the South, but Bainbridge said he was content with what he had here. When his four brothers began planning a benefit, his first reaction was "No way.' He didn't want to give the impression that he was something special, that he was better than anyone else. He didn't want any newspaper article, either, because it might come off as boastful. The benefit is Saturday night, from 5 to 9 p.m. in the North Bailey Fire Hall in Amherst. The auto racing community has donated dozens of items for auction. Comedian Jay Leno, a noted car collector who is familiar with Bainbridge's work, called personally and donated two tickets to "The Tonight Show."(Buffalo News), more info on the benefit on my Racing Charities page.(3-5-2004)
- Happy Hour practice is over at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The fastest were #38-Sadler at 169.598mph, #9-Kahne at 169.316 and #12-Newman at 169.279. Slowest were #72-Shelmerdine at 158.173 and #89-Shepherd at 162.460. #02-Long didn't practice. The practice will be televised via tape on FX at 7:00pm/et.
See full field speeds at ThatsRacin.com or at NASCAR.com.(3-6-2004)
- Saturday's first practice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over. The fastest were #2-Wallace at 170.369, #48-Johnson at 170.261 and #40-Marlin at 170.132. Slowest were #72-Shelmerdine at 158.302 and #02-Long at 159.132. Have heard of no incidents/accidents. Pole Sitter #9-Kasey Kahne was 5th fastest and ran the most laps at 45, with #21-Ricky Rudd running 44 laps. Least number of laps run was #89-Shepherd at 6.
See full field speeds at Thatsracin.com or NASCAR.com.(3-6-2004)
- Qualifying Notes: Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400, lapping Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 30.874 seconds at 174.904 mph. He broke Bobby Labonte;s track-qualifying record of 31.211 seconds, 173.016 mph, set Feb. 28, 2003. Fifteen drivers posted speeds quicker than Labonte's speed.
This is Kahne's first career Bud Pole in just three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races tying Mark Martin and Ryan Newman for the quickest that a driver has won a Bud Pole in the modern era [1972-present]
A Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year candidate has won a Bud Pole in each of the last nine years (1996-2004).
The most recent driver to win a Bud Pole in his first start was Dick Hutcherson at Greenville- Pickens Speedway in March 1964.
Kurt Busch had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 30.937 seconds at 174.548 mph and will join Kahne on the front row. It is his fourth top-10 start in his four races at Las Vegas.
This is the second Bud Pole for Dodge in 2004. Ford has the other Bud Pole this season.
Brian Vickers (third) and Brendan Gaughan (eighth) joined Kahne as three Rookie-of-the-Year candidates to post top-10 starts today.
Jamie McMurray (fourth) and Greg Biffle (ninth) are the only drivers with three top-10 starts in 2004. It is McMurray's first top-10 start in
two races at Las Vegas and the first time Biffle has qualified here.
Ryan Newman (fifth) posted his second top-10 start in 2004 and his third top-five start in his four races at Las Vegas.
Kyle Busch (18th) qualified for his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
Scott Wimmer, Derrike Cope and Carl Long used provisionals to make the field. Kirk Shelmerdine made the field based on qualifying attempts this season while Morgan Shepherd reverted to qualifying time to complete the 43-car field. Only one driver failed to qualify for
the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400: Larry Gunselman.
There have been five different Bud Pole winners in seven races at Las Vegas. Dale Jarrett (1998 and 2001) and Bobby Labonte (1999 and 2003) are the only repeat Bud Pole winners at Las Vegas.
Only one of the six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Las Vegas has been won from a top-10 starting position, the inaugural race in 1998 (Mark Martin's seventh).
The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Las Vegas was 24th by Jeff Gordon in 2001 and again by Sterling Marlin in 2002.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-6-2004)
- Stockcarfans.com Ramblings: Three races....three different pole winners. At this rate next year's Budweiser Shootout will have 38 starters! Think Ryan Newman will have something to say about that? Kasey Kahne backed up his practice time from earlier today by taking his first-ever Bud Pole with a speed of 174.904 (30.874 sec) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrylser 400. Nothing like giving the sponsor what they want.... Kahne's pole comes in only his third Nextel Cup start....certainly way above average. His previous best was a third place start last race at Rockingham.
Great day for the young guys....three rooks in the Top-8. He'll be joined on the front-row by homeboy Kurt Busch. This will be his best starting spot since he had the pole at Homestead in November of 2002! Brendan Gaughan (8th) has his career-best starting spot. He started 15th at Rockingham two weeks ago.
Scott Riggs (15th) has his career-best starting spot as well. He started 19th at Rockingham last race.
Kyle Busch (18th) will be making his Cup debut....told you it was a good day for the fuzzy-cheeks.
Welcome Back: Bill Elliott (10th) makes his first points race start of the year in his limited run. Morgan Shepherd (42nd) makes his first start since he started 43rd and finished same at Pocono last July.
STREAKIN....Jamie McMurray has 4 Top-10 starts in a row. Ryan Newman has 8 Top-10 starts in the last 9 races. Jeremy Mayfield has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races. Greg Biffle has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
A short trouble train this weekend. Only lonely Larry Gunselman misses the field as we had a car count of 44 today. We're digging deep into the rule book to qualify starters.....Like last race we've got an 11 mile an hour spread from pole to 43rd, and we may see some drivers listed as "parked" early again on Sunday.(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(3-6-2004)
- Darrell Waltrip's autobiography "DW: A Lifetime Going Around in Circles" - will move to the number 13 position on the March 14 New York Times Best Seller list for non-fiction hardcover books. It debuted on the Best Seller list at number 15 in its first week of release. Waltrip, a three-time NASCAR champion and current FOX Sports analyst, will make several appearances to autograph copies of the book (released on G.P. Putnam & Sons/Penguin USA) at the following times and locales:
Atlanta/ Buckhead area, March 11, Thursday at 6:30pm at Borders [3637 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA](fingerprint inc.PR)(3-4-2004)
AND Darrell Waltrip will give viewers another installment of his "Hot Spot" feature this week, outlining a part of Las Vegas Motor Speedway that could present drivers with some problems. The segment made a solid debut last week, as Waltrip's explanation of tough spots at Rockingham was proven repeatedly throughout the broadcast.(NASCAR.com)(3-5-2004)
- Speedway Children's Charities NASCAR Driver Auction raises $182,900: The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's
Charities held its sixth annual NASCAR Driver Auction on Thursday, March 4 in Sam's Town Live! at Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Las Vegas. The charity auction raised a record-setting $182,900 for the children of southern Nevada. For the second time in three years, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Rusty Wallace was the highest-bid driver, going for $9,000. Stacy Compton was the highest-bid NASCAR Busch Series driver at $4,600. NASCAR drivers making personal appearances at the auction included: Rusty Wallace, Sterling Marlin, Kyle Petty, Kyle Busch, Stacy Compton, David Green, Ron Hornaday, Mike Wallace, Jason Keller, Mike Bliss and Paul Wolfe. The evening also included a concert by country music stars The Randy Anderson Band and appearances by the USAF Thunderbirds and TV and
motion picture star Mickey Jones. The auction has become a popular part of Las Vegas' NASCAR weekend and last year raised $145,000 for the children of southern Nevada. Last December, the Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities distributed $250,000 to 41 local causes which directly impact the lives of children in the Las Vegas and southern Nevada region.(LVMS PR)(3-5-2004)
- #50 gets a sponsor for Vegas: Redneckjunk.com will sponsor Derrike Cope and the #50 Arnold Motorsports entry in this weekend's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The promotional activity is timed to coincide with the launch of the redneckjunk.com website, which will feature classified advertising for racing equipment, hunting and fishing gear, boats, and recreational vehicles. "We're pleased that this opportunity came together, and that we have the privilege to become affiliated with a former Daytona 500 winner," said Tom Connelly, CEO of the new site. "At redneckjunk.com we're all about racing, and what better way to connect with race fans than with a sponsorship in the biggest motorsport series in America. We're planning some really fun things on the site with the 'redneck' theme, and we want to keep it all in good humor." Located in Bolton, Massachusetts, redneckjunk.com has plans to sponsor an entry in the Busch North Series, and also in the New England region of the Dodge Weekly Series.(Fahlgren via Catchfence)(3-5-2004)
- Special D-Day Scheme for Labonte at Dover: hearing that #18-Bobby Labonte wil run a D-Day scheme as this year marks the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, Labonte and Dover race sponsor MBNA will re-paint the Joe Gibbs NEXTEL Cup #18 with a vintage war plane design. The car will carry the decals and the insignias of this war-time in America. June 6 Dover.(3-5-2004)
- Gaughan the Punisher: Marvel’s underground super hero, The Punisher, comes to the big screen in April 2004. To celebrate the nationwide theatrical release, Kodak & #77 Penske/Jasper Racing will run a special paint scheme during the NEXTEL Cup event in Bristol on March 28. This paint scheme will feature The Punisher and character and have an edgy design highlighted by black and red paint splatters.(3-5-2004)
- Remember TRAC? so do these shareholders: Four shareholders have filed a lawsuit against former executives of Team Sports Entertainment Inc., which failed to create a stock-car racing league that would compete with NASCAR. That effort, Huntersville-based Team Racing Auto Circuit [see my TRAC page for the past news about it], was abandoned in August. Its first season was supposed to begin this spring. The suit alleges breach of contract, wrongful conversion of company monies, mismanagement, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Named in the suit are William Miller, former chief executive of Team Sports, and Jon Pritchett, former president.(more at the Charlotte Business Journal)(3-5-2004)
- NASCAR Working to Make Cars Safer: Part of Gary Nelson's job is to wreck cars. As managing director of NASCAR’s research and development team, he works to make auto racing safer and more competitive. Sometimes that means crash tests. “Rather than just react to what happened, maybe we can try to prevent bad things from happening by being a little more proactive,” Nelson said Wednesday. “And it takes resources to do that.” All of the cars used at the Concord facility have been donated by race teams. Researchers study the cars -- which usually have significant damage from a previous accident -- and look for improvements.(News 14 Carolina)(3-5-2004)
- Team CLR in Vegas (In more ways than one): Five of the over the wall crew members of Team CLR Racing will be traveling to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to perform the pit stops for Arnold Motor Sports #50 car driven by Derrike Cope. They will be competing in Nextel Cups' UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400. Team members include Chris Passantino (rear tire changer) Robbie Johnson (rear tire carrier) Kieth Harrison (Jack man) Chris Greenhill (front tire changer) and Jeff Morgan (front tire carrier). Not making the trip due to logistics are Scott Barmes (gas man) and Mike Barmes (catch can man) who reside in Indianapolis, IN. Team CLR has been busy in their race shop, located in Mooresville NC, since racing to a fourth place finish with Shane Hmiel in the opening ARCA event at Daytona. They are currently repairing the Daytona car crashed at the finish and building two more 2004 Chevy Monte Carlos in preparation for upcoming ARCA and Cup races. In addition to building their own cars they have fabricated cars for Arnold Motorsports #50 driven by Derrike Cope and Morgan McClure Motorsports #4 driven by Kevin Lepage. Both cars will compete at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(Team CLR PR)(3-4-2004)
- Smith On the List: Bruton Smith, whose Speedway Motorsports purchased Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1998, is ranked 472nd on Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people. The magazine estimated Smith's net worth at $1.2 billion. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates topped the list with an estimated net worth of $46.6 billion.(Las Vegas Sun)(3-4-2004)
- Not NASCAR but... First, the Winston Cup became the Nextel Cup. Now the world of things powerful and speedy will have to deal with another major corporate name change. Say goodbye to Miss Budweiser. After 41 years, Anheuser-Busch is ending its sponsorship of unlimited hydroplane racing after the 2004 season, the beer company says. With its Miss Budweiser boats and heavy race sponsorship and promotion, St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch has been the major force in unlimited-class racing for decades. But the company announced Monday that it was cutting its ties to anything related to hydroplanes after this year.(Kansas City Star)(3-4-20040
- NASCAR Toyota Showdown returns in 2004: For the second annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, NASCAR's best regional touring drivers are headed back to California this fall. Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway, the site of last year's inaugural event, will host the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on Nov. 11-13, 2004. More than $500,000 in prize money and live national television coverage on SPEED Channel await the 70 drivers who will be invited to compete in this one-of-a-kind NASCAR event. NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, a special invitational event for NASCAR's top regional touring series competitors from two racing divisions - the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division and NASCAR Grand National Division.(NASCAR PR)(3-4-2004)
- Some Different looks at Vegas: a few cars will have different schemes at Vegas: #01-Joe Nemechek will carry the USG Sheetrock blue scheme; #43-Jeff Green has a jayski fave [and a no-no on my diet] Lucky Charms Cereal; #99-Jeff Burton will be hard to miss, he will have the bright yellow of assoc sponsor on the #99 Ford as the primary this week. Images can be seen on my Paint Schemes Gallery. Also #30-Johnny Sauter is scheduled to run an AOL/IMAX schemes, no image....yet.(3-2-2004)
and #2-Rusty Wallace will run a Great Moments in Miller Racing scheme.(3-3-2004)
- Some LVMS Notes:
· 21 drivers have competed in every NASCAR Nextel Cup race at LVMS. Three of those drivers (Skinner, Spencer and Kenny Wallace) are not entered this year.
· Michael Waltrip and Joe Nemechek have started every Nextel Cup and Busch race ever held at LVMS. They are both entered in both races this year as well.
· No driver qualifying in the top five has ever won a Nextel Cup race at LVMS. Mark Martin won from seventh in 1998.
· There will be three Las Vegas-born drivers (Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Brendan Gaughan) competing in this year's race.
· John Andretti, Ricky Craven, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace have competed in every Nextel Cup race at LVMS but have no Top-10 finishes. [Andretti and Wallace will not run the Cup race]
· Jack Roush has posted wins at LVMS with three different drivers (Martin, J. Burton and Kenseth)
· Jeff Gordon at 29 is the youngest driver to ever win at LVMS, while Bobby Labonte at 34 was the youngest pole sitter for a Nextel Cup race at LVMS.
· Tony Stewart and Jason Leffler are the only drivers to compete at LVMS in an Indy Racing League, Busch Series and Nextel Cup event. Leffler also has competed here in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
· Rookies have qualified on the front row in two of the past four races. (Scott Pruett in 2000 and Ryan Newman in 2002)
· Ford has won the four of the first six Nextel Cup races in Las Vegas.
· There have been six caution flags in each of the past three NNC races at LVMS.
· Two of the past three UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 winners have gone on to win the season championship. Jeff Gordon in 2001 and Matt Kenseth in 2003.
· Two of the last three UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 winners' starting spots have coincided with their car number. Jeff Gordon started 24th in 2001 and Matt Kenseth started 17th in 2003.(LVMS PR)(3-3-2004)
- Wednesday Testing at Atlanta: During his second day of testing Wednesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, #10-Scott Riggs found a faster line around the 1.54-mile speedway as he and two other drivers prepared for the March 12-14 Golden Corral 500 weekend. Riggs was caught on the unofficial stopwatches with a lap time of 29.64 seconds (187.044 mph). Also testing Wednesday were his MB2/MBV teammate Joe Nemechek and NASCAR Craftsman Truck driver Terry Cook, who was shaking down teammate Jason Keller’s #22 Miller High Life Busch Series car. Nemechek’s fastest lap of the day was 30.15 seconds (183.880 mph), while Cook managed a lap in 31.33 seconds (176.955). Because Cook has never raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway before, his Wednesday test had a dual purpose. Not only was he gathering information for Keller’s Busch effort, he was also learning a little about Atlanta’s high-banked speedway. “Not much of this will transfer for me into the truck, but at least I’ve got some laps here now and I’m kind of learning the line,” Cook said.
“Plus, now I know how to get to the track and where the nearest McDonald’s is, so it was a good day for me.”
Car#, Driver, speed
#10-Scott Riggs, 187.045
#01-Joe Nemechek, 183.880
#22[Busch]-Terry Cook, 176.955.(AMS PR)(3-3-2004)
- #09 to have pit crew at Vegas: Allow Phoenix Racing general manager Marc Reno to coin a new term: This weekend, he says, they'll be "legitimate-racing" their #09 car. Reno acknowledges that wasn't the case in the Nextel Cup series' most recent race at North Carolina Speedway on Feb. 22. Driver Joe Ruttman turned only one lap in the #09 car before NASCAR officials "parked" him because he didn't have a pit crew. The team took home more than $50,000 for finishing last. "It's just economics," Reno admits. "People will race if they can get the money." Reno says not having anybody in the pits was "a screw-up on our part" but acknowledged the team had no intention of trying to turn more than a few laps. They'll try to run a competitive race with their Busch Series driver, Johnny Benson, behind the wheel at Las Vegas this weekend. But they'll pull him off the track if he gets in the way of series regulars. The fact that Ruttman even qualified for the race was emblematic of a rising problem in NASCAR. Even in a slowly recovering economy, most of NASCAR's high-profile teams have been able to retain primary sponsors and attract associate sponsors. But that hasn't been the case for a few respectable mid-pack teams that have run out of money and stopped showing up at the racetrack. That has created an opportunity for so-called "field fillers," part-time teams who see no shame in showing up, staying out of the way and grabbing a small chunk of the race purse in NASCAR's big-time series. NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter called Ruttman's run "kind of a sham" and said officials would prevent it from happening in the future. "If we know somebody's doing that, we're not going to allow that," Hunter said. But while NASCAR would prefer fully funded teams to field fillers, the situation has provided a compelling underdog story in driver Carl Long. Long managed to make the race at North Carolina Speedway, only to mangle his car in a crash. In a TV interview as he left the infield hospital, Long mentioned that he might not be able to continue racing. The car was his, and he didn't have money to fix it. Fans have sent in small donations in to his Web site totaling more than $9,000. That isn't enough money to fix the car, but Long is getting at least one more chance to race. The Score Motorsports team, owned by veteran driver Hermie Sadler and former NBA player Bryan Stith, are bringing a car and a pit crew to Las Vegas for Long. The car he'll be driving is a Pontiac the team built last season. Pontiac no longer officially races in NASCAR, but its cars are still legal. "Carl taking that flip at Rockingham has turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him," Sadler said. "I told him, 'You've got to shine while you can, because a month from now, people will be talking about somebody else." Reno, meanwhile, objects to the term field filler. "We're ahead of Michael Waltrip and the 99 car (in owner points) right now. What does that make them?"(USA Today)(3-3-2004)
- Hot Wheels for Burton at Darlington UPDATE: Jeff Burton is scheduled to drive a Hot Wheels schemes on the #99 Ford at Darlington in March, see an image of the scheme on my #99 Team Paint Schemes page or 2004 Paint Scheme Page.(2-28-2004)
UPDATE: Roush Racing announced today that Hot Wheels will be carried as the primary sponsor on the #99 Ford of
Jeff Burton at the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 on March 21, 2004 at Darlington Raceway. "The entire No. 99 team is looking forward to carrying the Hot Wheels logo on the #99 Ford at Darlington," said Burton. "The Hot Wheels brand is so widely recognized that it's really cool to be able to carry their marks on our car. I can remember having Hot Wheels cars all through my childhood and to have them be a part of our program in Darlington is really something special."
Hot Wheels is the exclusive die cast partner of Roush Racing at mass retail. This additional opportunity to work with Burton, the #99
team and Roush Racing is one that Tony DaDante, Vice President Mattel Toys and General Manager Hot Wheels, is excited to add to program. "It's exciting when two proven winners team up." DaDante continued, "Hot Wheels Racing and Mattel Toys think highly of Jeff Burton from a performance standpoint as well as from a personal integrity point of view. Jeff is a great friend of Hot Wheels and we are proud to have him carry our logo in the spring Darlington race. He will surely tame the track that has been characterized as being to tough to tame."(Roush Racing PR)(3-3-2004)
- DEI Tuner leaves to start own biz? UPDATE 2: hearing that DEI Engine Tuner and #8 Gasman, Jeff Clark has left DEI to start a Motorcycle Business in the Charlotte, NC area.(1-6-2004)
UPDATE: Engine tuner John Dennison has left Kevin Harvick's #29 RCR team to replace crew member Jeff Clark on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #8 car. Clark submitted his resignation in January, but he stayed on to help the team through Speedweeks. Brian Englehart will temporarily fill in on the #29 crew until a full-time tuner is hired.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(2-9-2004)
UPDATE 2: One of the final touches to the #29 Team GM Goodwrench was made over the off-weekend in Welcome, NC. In search of a permanent engine tuner to fill the position vacated by John Dennison [who went to DEI] in January, Danny Lawrence, Trackside Engine Manager for Richard Childress Racing Enterprises, Inc. (RCR), hired John Goodwin [not Munson, RCR corrected this]. A 36-year old Houston, Texas native, Munson came from Bill Davis Racing's #22 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series racing team.(RCR #29 Preview)(3-3-2004)
- Fans help out Long UPDATE Hermie surprised and Charlotte Interview: It has been one of this week's most amazing sports stories, and a quite emotional one - dozens of NASCAR fans have nearly inundated Carl Long with checks for $25 or $50 to help him rebuild his race car from the remains of Sunday's crash [at Rockingham] as he tries to continue one of stock-car racing's most improbable quests. Long, a driver from Roxboro [NC] now living in Troutman, is trying again to put his racing life back together after the off-season sponsorship collapse of the Travis Carter operation. "It's something I never thought would happen," Long said in amazement. "The fans have been going to my web site and sending in money, close to $4,000 now. That means more to me.... I'm going to try to send 'em all something, a postcard or something, maybe with a before-and-after shot of the car. The crash appeared to doom Long's comeback bid. But then Hermie Sadler jumped into the deal and is loaning Long his car for next week's Las Vegas race and the Atlanta race the week after.(see full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(2-28-2004)
UPDATE: Hermie Sadler had no idea that there would be so much fanfare surrounding the hiring of Carl Long to pilot his team's NEXTEL Cup entry this weekend at Las Vegas. Since the announcement, the Sadler Fan Club has been deluged with offers of support and many questions. Sadler finally decided to address some of the questions. "When I talked to Carl last Friday at Rockingham, we were simply looking for someone to drive the car that I thought could do the job, and Carl can do that," stated Sadler. "Neither of us thought that anyone would even care that he was driving our car, much less write about it, but since his accident at Rockingham, it seems to have turned into one of the biggest stories heading into the event." Sadler says many questions are being asked about the car Carl will be driving as well as sponsorship. "The car we are taking is a brand new car. It is a Pontiac we built last season and never got the chance to race it. We updated the body to meet NASCAR's new template rules and it looks great. I am looking forward to watching it run as much as Carl is looking forward to driving it. As far as sponsorship, we do not have one at this time for the Cup car, but I told Carl to feel free to make any contacts that he can. We are committed to going and doing everything we can regardless of sponsorship, but if someone wants to help us out, we were certainly appreciate the help." When asked about future races, Hermie said that he and Carl had agreed on Las Vegas only for now, but felt sure they would team up again in the near future. "Right now, it is Vegas only, but we will evaluate where we are after that and go from there. Maybe we can go to LVMS and have a respectable finish, and we can put together more races." For more information on sponsorship opportunities for SCORE Motorsports and Carl Long for this event, please call SCORE Motorsports at 434-348-0267 or contact Carl Long at www.carl-long.com.(SCORE Motorsports PR)(3-2-2004)
INTERVIEW: A guy that made headlines at Rockingham but for all the wrong reasons was in studio Monday night with News 14’s Mike Solarte. Nextel Cup driver Carl Long, who drove the #46 car at the Subway 400, will drive the #02 car in the circuit’s next two races. Long came out unscathed from a spectacular crash at the North Carolina Speedway, where his car flipped over several times. Many fans admire Long’s perseverance. Despite little funding, he has managed to qualify for races and put up a good showing. Long talked to News 14 about how the season is going so far, his “field-filler” status, and how some generous fans have donated money to his cause. See the interview via video at www.news14charlotte.com.(3-3-2004)
- Long and the #02 Get a Sponsor for LVMS: Raceway Media, LLC has signed with SCORE Motorsports to be the primary sponsor for its #02 NEXTEL Cup Series entry that will be driven by Carl Long this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The company is using the race to promote its on line classified division, www.racingjunk.com. RacingJunk.com is a free online classified service where racers, racing fans, and enthusiasts can find everything race related, from racing parts to engines to complete race cars and anything in between. Approximately $80 million dollars worth of products are currently posted on the site, with up to 600 new ads posted daily. About Raceway Media, LLC: Raceway Media is a multimedia publishing
company servicing the racing industry, based in North Adams, MA. They publish a quarterly all glossy, full color racing magazine serving the Northeast and a monthly racing shopper that is distributed nationwide. RacingJunk.com is the online classified Website for the racing industry with over 30,000 registered members and over 500,000 visitors monthly. Raceway Media also owns and operates RVJunk.com and BoatingJunk.com.(PR)(3-3-2004)
- Special Scheme for Rusty too: Rusty Wallace's #2 Miller Lite Dodge will sport a special paint scheme this weekend, celebrating “Great Moments in Miller Racing.” (see image on my #2 Team Schemes page). The one-time look for Wallace's car is in support of Miller's special six commemorative 24-oz. racing-themed cans currently available in convenience stores across the country. Each can features a different milestone in either Wallace's or Miller Lite NHRA drag racing teammate Larry Dixon's illustrious careers. Dixon 's Don ‘the Snake' Prudhomme-owned Miller Lite dragster is carrying a similar color scheme during this weekend's NHRA stop in Phoenix.(TRPR)(3-3-2004)
- Gordon back in the Dirt: While the rest of the NASCAR nation was enjoying its first weekend off of the season, Robby Gordon and his RCR powered Chevrolet trophy truck headed to the Baja peninsula for the San Felipe 250. Gordon was unable to finish the competition due to mechanical problems, but Gordon is confident the truck will be ready to run up front in the Baja 1000 this upcoming November. Gordon competed earlier this year in the Laughlin Desert Challenge, which was the first 2004 SCORE International Off-Road race in Laughlin, Nev. This past weekend of off-road racing was not enough for Gordon, because he is planning to play in the dessert again to spend a "Day in the Dirt" 11a.m. to 3p.m. Thursday, March 4, near Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Las Vegas Dunes Recreation Land.(RCR Preview)(3-3-2004)
- Georgia-Pacific Brings Safe Teen Driving Program to Las Vegas: Georgia-Pacific Corp. brings its Teen Safety 500 program to two Las Vegas high schools on Thursday, March 4. Cimarron-Memorial High School and Centennial High School have been selected to participate in this innovative program that extends Georgia-Pacific’s involvement with NASCAR to spread the message of safe driving among teen-agers. NASCAR driver Kyle Petty will be on hand to present the Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety 500 program to students. The assembly will include Petty, local dignitaries and George Wurtz, executive vice president of pulp & paper at Georgia-Pacific, speaking to students about the importance of safety behind the wheel. After the assembly, students will have the opportunity to view the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge racecar outside the school and receive autographs from Petty. Activities begin at 12:00pm at Cimarron-Memorial High School. The Georgia-Pacific Teen Safety 500 program is in its fourth year. To date, students have logged more than 1 million safe miles through the program. Las Vegas is the first stop the Teen Safety 500 will make during the 2004 NASCAR season. In 2003, the program visited five cities and reached more than 10,000 students. Student drivers at the two schools will sign a safe-driving pledge to remain violation-free with no crashes during a three-week period. Once registered at Georgia-Pacific’s Web site, students will have the opportunity to win prizes for themselves and their school. Visit Georgia-Pacific’s racing Web site at www.gp.com/racing for more information about the Teen Safety 500 program.(3-3-2004)
- Tracy chosen as Driver of the Year: RACER magazine and SpeedTV.com readers selected Champ Car World Series Paul Tracy as Racer of the Year for 2003 by a landslide margin in online balloting. Tracy dethroned F-1 driver, Michael Schumacher, who had taken the top spot in the annual Racer of the Year awards the past three years(Speed Channel)(3-3-2004)
- IMAX NASCAR Movie Debut's March 3rd in LA AND: Jeff Gordon will attend the premiere showing of "NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience" on Wednesday, March 3 in Los Angeles, California. The film takes the viewer into the cockpit of a NASCAR stock car, complete with the sounds of racing. Behind the scenes access and interviews with those in the sport are also included. The film will debut in IMAX theaters on Friday, March 12 to the public.(Gordonline.com), other drivers scheduled to appear include: Rusty Wallace, more info on the movie at IMAX.com. Claire B. Lang from XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio will attend and take a fan [Bob Johnson was the winner].(3-2-2004)
AND Sunday’s Arena Football League coverage on NBC will feature an exclusive preview from "NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience." Opening nationwide on March 12, the latest IMAX movie delves into the NASCAR phenomenon and showcases the thrill and speed of the sport up-close and personal on eight story-high IMAX screens. NBC will debut a two-minute excerpt from "NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience" film during the four regional Arena Football League broadcasts which begin at 12noon/et. The AFL will also show the excerpt to their in-arena fans. … NBC’s national preview will follow up on some special premieres set for this week: Wednesday night in Los Angeles, a private showing targeting the entertainment industry at Universal City Walk; and Thursday night at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas, with showings set for both media (5:30pm/pt) and the motorsports industry (7:00 and 8:30pm/pt).(NASCAR PR)(3-3-2004)
- Testing at Atlanta: In a day full of testing for the March 12-14 Golden Corral 500 weekend, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup rookie #10-Scott Riggs led the speed chart Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Ten drivers from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tested Tuesday in preparation for the upcoming race weekend at NASCAR ’s fastest track. Driving the #10-Valvoline Chevorlet, Riggs was caught on the unofficial stopwatches at an average speed of 185.915 mph (29.82 seconds) around the 1.54-mile superspeedway. Just behind Riggs on the speed chart was fellow Raybestos Rookie Of The Year candidate #9-Kasey Kahne at 29.85 (185.728). Rounding out the top five were #99-Jeff Burton and #22-Scott Wimmer, both clocking a lap of 29.91 seconds (185.356 mph), and #30-Johnny Sauter at 30.18 seconds (183.698 mph). Most drivers said they used Tuesday’s test to get comfortable with the new tire and spoiler rules. Testing is expected to continue at AMS Wednesday. Test sessions are open to the media and closed to the public.
#10-Scott Riggs, 185.915
#9-Kasey Kahne, 185.728
#99-Jeff Burton, 185.356
#22-Scott Wimmer, 185.356
#30-Johnny Sauter, 183.698
#01-Joe Nemechek, 182.368
#23-Dave Blaney, 182.910
#77-Brendan Gaughan, 181.473
#40-Sterling Marlin, 180.351
#5-Terry Labonte, 179.012.(AMS PR)(3-3-2004)
- 2004 Donate A Phone Campaign Begins at The UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400: Nextel is putting the call out to NASCAR fans to donate their old wireless phones to support the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services, beginning at the March 7 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In 2003, Nextel raised nearly $400,000 for the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services through the American Red Cross DONATE A PHONE program, as well as other fundraising efforts. This year, Nextel hopes NASCAR fans across the country will help the company surpass that goal by simply donating their old wireless phones from any manufacturer, in any condition, at NASCAR Nextel Cup SeriesTM races, at any of Nextel's 500 retail stores, or through www.nextelbuyback.com. Net proceeds of the resale value from the recycling of the phones, which averages $1.70 for each phone collected, are directed to the Armed Forces Emergency Services program and help U.S. service men and women stay connected with their loved ones back home. The 2004 season marks the first of a 10-year title sponsorship for Nextel in one of this country's proudest traditions - NASCAR. Around the world, America's military personnel enjoy this distinctly American pastime because, in part, it is a way of staying connected to the life and people that duty has called them away from. The CTIA Wireless Foundation, the philanthropic organization for the nation's wireless industry and the creator of the DONATE A PHONE program, estimates that approximately 60 million old wireless phones lay idle in American homes and businesses. For more information about the CTIA Wireless Foundation, please visit www.wirelessfoundation.org.(3-2-2004)
- "Who's Hot / Who's Not“ Heading to Las Vegas:
Hot: Jeff Gordon has scored three straight top-10 finishes, a streak that began at Homestead last November. Dale Earnhardt has scored
two top-five finishes in 2004. Matt Kenseth has scored two top-10 finishes in 2004.
Not: Jeff Burton has finished 42nd and 37th in the first two races in 2004. Robby Gordon has finished 35th and 36th in the first two
races in 2004. Michael Waltrip has finished 38th and 33rd in the first two races of 2004.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-2-2004)
- Gordon on the tube: Jeff Gordon, four-time champion of NASCAR's top series and driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, is scheduled to appear on CBS' "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn" this Wednesday, March 3. The "Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn" is in its fifth full season and airs on CBS at 12:37am/et, immediately following the "Late Show with David Letterman." Check local listings for time and channel in your area.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-2-2004)
- Kyle Busch Debut: This weekend marks the first time Kyle Busch will race in the Busch and Nextel Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and will make his Nextel Cup debut in the #84 Carquest Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. Busch has competed in a Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at the facility, driving the #99 truck for Roush Racing, Busch qualified third and finished ninth in The Orleans 350 NCTS event on Nov. 14, 2001. Ricky Hendrick, now Busch’s team owner at Hendrick Motorsports, qualified seventh and finished sixth in the same event.(Golin Harris PR)(3-2-2004)
- Crew Chef Challenge highlights events at Pocono: RACE Motorsports Marketing and Pocono Raceway have announced the first annual Crew Chef Challenge to be held the weekend of July 30 at the speedway. The Crew Chef Challenge is a first-time ever cooking competition for Crew Chefs who, in addition to their team responsibilities, slave over a hot grill, week after week following the NEXTEL Cup circuit. The competition will pit crew chef against crew chef in a match full of grillin' and chillin' sure to drive them home to victory. A portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to Victory Junction Gang Camp. A cookbook titled Tastes of Victory will be available for purchase at the event. The cookbook will contain recipes from the Crew Chef Challenge, NASCAR drivers, racing personalities and fans. Fans are encouraged to contribute their favorite race day meal recipes for inclusion in the book. Check www.racesports.net for full details.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-2-2004)
- 'Young Guns' go for three-peat and now we know why Dale Jr. has no facial hair this year: By picking Matt Kenseth as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Subway 400, Brian F. of Cary, NC was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 challenge. Brian picked Kenseth to win the race by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. With the victory and thus being the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Kenseth. Every week, fans can register to win $5,000 in the Gillette Young Guns Weekly Challenge by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline at midnight PT the day before the race. If you correctly predict which Gillette Young Guns driver [Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick] will place highest in the next race, your correct entry will be automatically entered in a random drawing for $5,000. So far both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events have been won by Gillette Young Guns -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Daytona and Matt Kenseth at Rockingham. More info and to join at: www.gilletteyoungguns.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR), Tim Sullivan of Alan Taylor Comm was interviewed by Claire B. Lang of NASCAR Radio and was asked if the reason Dale Earnhardt Jr. was clean shaven in 2004 was due to the Young Gun deal, and was told YES. Now we know why Tony Stewart is not in the program.(3-2-2004)
- 5 Freightliners Hauling Ganassi NASCAR Teams: Five Freightliner Coronado heavy-duty trucks will serve as transporters for racing teams of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Inc. during the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Racing Season. The brightly painted and accessorized Coronado trucks will haul Sterling Marlin's #40 Coors Lite Dodge, as well as drivers Jamie McMurray's #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge and Casey Mears' #41 Target Dodge. Some of the trucks will haul racecars and equipment to the 36 Nextel Cup races, while the other two will transport cars and materials to various test tracks around the country. The Coronado is Freightliner Trucks' flagship Class 8 truck for owner-operators. "Our sponsorship of the three Ganassi teams is a great way to showcase the Freightliner Coronado," said Mark Lampert, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Freightliner Trucks. "With their spectacular appearance, Ganassi Racing's Coronado trucks are sure to turn heads on the road and at the racetrack."(TruckingInfo.com)(3-2-2004)
- NASCAR Pushing Older Drivers out or to Part-time? As long as the sponsors and team owners were satisfied with the driver's performance, he could race as long as he wanted [in the past]. But that's about to change. And the pressure to kick the aging cans of veteran drivers isn't coming so much from the owners or sponsors. It's coming from NASCAR. "NASCAR has suggested to many, many people that some drivers cut back to partial schedules," says Rusty Wallace, 47. "That might happen one of these days." And that came from NASCAR? "Yes," Wallace says. "One main NASCAR official suggested, 'Why don't you run a partial schedule? There's nothing wrong with a partial schedule.' " OK. Although there have been 100 races since he last won, at California in 2001, what right does anyone in Daytona have to tell Wallace, the 1989 champion, when it's time to hang up his helmet? But while NASCAR is ushering stars toward retirement, it's putting out desperate help-wanted calls to washed-up veterans to fill fields. Funny, but I must have missed the Joe Ruttman and Kirk Shelmerdine souvenir rigs on the way to the Rock. Perhaps that's where Ruttman's pit crew was two Sundays ago, selling T-shirts.(see full Sporting News article at Yahoo Sports)(3-2-2004)
- N.C. Zoo clears way for 'Days of Thunder': A new ride simulation attraction, "Days of Thunder," is providing N.C. Zoo visitors with extra excitement. And the action ride represents a joint venture between the zoo and another Randolph County undertaking slated to open this summer - the Victory Junction Gang Camp being built by the Petty Family in the Randleman area for terminally ill children. One dollar of the $4 admission price for "Days of Thunder" goes directly to the camp. The zoo's third simulated ride, previewed Monday for local media, began this week and will continue through Dec. 31. "Days of Thunder" is a 15-minute racing experience which includes a preshow preparing visitors for the simulator adventure and readying them for their fantasy NASCAR ride. The actual 5-minute thrill ride, filmed at Daytona International Speedway, begins with the command of "Start Your Engines" which immediately triggers the sensation of being in a thundering race car as it gets ready for the green flag. One goes through the curves and swerves of high-banked racing and experiences the rub of metal and the taking of the checkered flag. "The sounds of the cars crashing when they hit the wall and the metal grinding is incredibly realistic," NASCAR driver Kyle Petty told zoo officials. If you were a driver and sat there with your eyes closed during the pit stop sequence, you'd think you were in your car and it was actually happening. The way the seat tilts when they jack the car up and the vibrations you feel when they're putting the lug nuts on is exactly the way it really feels." Petty is right - you slant one way and then the other while the car is being jacked up and new tires put on each side.
"It's definitely a fun ride," NASCAR driver Ricky Rudd said about the ride. "You could certainly compare it to being in a race car." N.C. Zoo Director Dr. David Jones told members of the N.C. Zoological Park Council about the ride partnership. "Neighbors of ours, the Pettys, are opening a year-round camp for terminally ill children. They're great supporters of the zoo. ... This will appeal to the NASCAR crowd." Previous simulated rides at the zoo have had wilderness and ocean themes. The new ride is located where the previous one, "The Deep Sea," was situated - inside the North American entrance at the tram stop. "Days of Thunder," an Iwerks TurboRide, is located in a mobile theater in two 28-foot-by-8-foot tractor-trailers that fit together. The theater comes equipped with nine two-seat motion bases (totaling 18 seats) that move individually on a computerized three-axis system that allows infinite maneuverability. The system also includes a high-definition video projection system and a six-channel digital surround-sound system to complete the overall experience.
Cost of the simulation attraction is $4 per person which is in addition to zoo admission. The zoo will donate $1 of each admission to Victory Junction Gang Camp which was co-founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty in honor of her son, Adam. The camp is part of the national Paul Newman Hole-in-the-Wall Camps. The zoo expects proceeds to generate as much as $75,000 to $100,000 for the camp.(Courier-Tribune News)(3-2-2004)
- Elliott back racing this weekend: The #91 UAW-National Training Center/Evernham Dodge and driver Bill Elliott is running the new Evernham-designed chassis this week at Las Vegas. The team will convert most of its race cars to the Evernham chassis this season. The chassis was designed by the Evernham engineering team along with Dodge Motorsports engineering. It was tested at Las Vegas earlier this year. The UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 is the second race of the limited schedule Elliott will run for the 2004 season. In Elliott’s six visits to Las Vegas Motor Speedway he has earned one top-five and three top-10s at the track. Asked how is the sponsorship search going Elliott said, “We have a couple of things in the works, but nothing is concrete yet.”(Clear!Blue PR)(3-2-3004)
- Dale Jr in People: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet, is the subject of a feature story in the March 8 issue of People Magazine. In the story, Dale Jr. discusses maturity, the dating scene, and of course, winning the Daytona 500.(fingerprint, inc./Budweiser Racing PR)(3-2-2004)
- Bahre Recovering: The owner of the New Hampshire International Speedway is continuing to recover from an accident in late January in Maine. A track spokesman says Bob Bahre is in therapy and that the recovery is "going to take some time." Bahre broke his ankle, injured ribs and a vertebra, and suffered a concussion when he drove off the road in Brownfield. Investigators say he fell asleep and that the airbag and seat belt saved him from greater injury. Bahre, who's 76, was on is way from the speedway to his home in Maine when the crash occurred.(wmtw.com/AP)(3-1-2004)
- 43 requirement...a myth: NASCAR chief operating officer George Pyne denies that NASCAR recruited drivers to race at Rockingham, where several field fillers completed the advertised 43-car field. Pyne says it's a myth that the TV contracts require 43 drivers to be in a Cup race. "I asked the question point blank to our group, and they reported that we're not recruiting people to show up," Pyne says. "That's my understanding." Pyne says decreasing the field in the future is not out of the question.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News)(3-1-2004)
- No Testing at Darlington: Teams won't be able to test at Darlington because the track is installing SAFER barriers in time for the spring race weekend, March 19-21. Indianapolis was the first track to install the barriers. Daytona and Talladega plan to install them before their next races.(Yahoo Sports/Sporting News), gonna be a lot of Darlington 'stripes' in March.(3-1-2004)