Get Well The father of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, Joseph "Papa Joe" Hendrick Jr., is at a Charlotte, N.C., hospital with an undisclosed illness. "Papa Joe" Hendrick co-owns Hendrick's #5 Busch and #25 Nextel Cup series teams along with his grandson, Ricky Hendrick. "I just like to say my thoughts and prayers are with Papa Joe," said Kyle Busch, who drives the No. 5 Chevrolet and finished third in Saturday's race at Bristol, Tenn. "He's a little bit sick right now. I don't know exactly what it is, but my prayers are with him. "We just want to make sure that Papa Joe and Rick and everybody is OK at home."
"Papa Joe" Hendrick began racing modifieds in the early 1960s. While fielding a car with driver Ray Hendrick (no relation), the team won races throughout Virginia at such tracks as South Boston, Martinsville and Richmond.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-28-2004)
Busch wins at Bristol: #97-Kurt Busch disobeyed his crew chief and then held off Rusty Wallace, a determined veteran whose mastery of Bristol Motor Speedway is legendary, to win the Food City 500 on Sunday. Wallace has won nine times at this track and tried desperately to make that 10 and snap a 103-race winless streak on Sunday, but the 25-year-old Busch is assembling a pretty good record here, too. Busch's victory was his third straight at Bristol and his fourth in the past five Nextel Cup events held here [It is Busch's 9th career win]. To get this one, Busch stayed on the track despite crew chief Jimmy Fennig's orders to come in on a caution flag with just more than 120 laps to go. Busch had pitted during a cycle of green-flag stops about 20 laps earlier and chose to stay out to gain track position. Eventually, that decision paid off. It got him the lead and he kept it despite a spate of late-race cautions, including one on Lap 493 that brought out a red flag on the last lap possible for NASCAR to use that to get a green-flag finish. The green flew again on Lap 498, leaving Wallace just two laps to try to dislodge Busch from the top spot. #29-Kevin Harvick ended up third with #40-Sterling Marlin and #17-Matt Kenseth fifth.
It was a typical day at Bristol. #17-Matt Kenseth and #42-Jamie McMurray banged fenders coming to the checkered flag, with Kenseth getting fifth and McMurray sliding to eighth after going up the track in Turn 4. On the aptly-named cool-down lap, McMurray chased down Kenseth's Ford and hit him twice, finally spinning the #17 out near the entrance to pit road.(see full report at ThatsRacin.com)
Race results at: JAYSKI's Bristol Results Page ThatsRacin.com NASCAR.com.(3-28-2004)
Andretti may run the Indy 500: John Andretti, temporarily out of a ride on the Nextel Cup circuit, said he's in negotiations with a team that would field a car for him in the Indianapolis 500, a race he's run seven times.(Tennessean)(3-28-2004)
New Tennessee Licence Tag: A new NASCAR license tag was unveiled Saturday at BMS and is now available through the Tennessee Department of Vehicles. Monies raised will go to Bristol Speedway Children’s Charities and the Tennessee State Museum.(Bristol Herald Courier)(3-28-2004)
Busch Admits he was 99% Wrong: The last time Kurt Busch raced at Bristol Motor Speedway in August, he did exactly one thing right - he won the Sharpie 500. On every other front, the weekend was a disaster. Busch came to Bristol on the heels of a post-race incident with Jimmy Spencer the previous weekend at Michigan. In another flare-up of what had long been a tempestuous relationship between Busch and Spencer, the two had bumped in the garage area following the Michigan race and Spencer wound up whapping Busch in the nose. In some ways, it was remarkable to see Busch go from victim to villain in the aftermath of that incident. In other ways, it was painful to watch. NASCAR suspended Spencer for the Bristol weekend, so he wasn't at the track to address the issue - or to stick a foot in his mouth. So Busch did it. Instead of keeping quiet and starting to allow the matter to blow over, he heaped fuel on the fire with comments that were either inappropriately brash or provably untrue. Remember, it was Busch who got punched in the nose while sitting in his car at Michigan on Sunday. But by the end of the Bristol race the following Saturday night he was the bad guy being booed - lustily - by more than 150,000 fans. "I probably reacted to all of that 99 percent wrongly," Busch admitted Saturday as he prepared for the Food City 500.(see ThatsRacin.com for the full article)(3-28-2004)
Site down HOWEVER: noticed - the site started by driver Andy Belmont www.fieldfillers.com is now show as "The page cannot be found", so ? See the past news on the #02 Team News and Links page.(3-27-2004) UPDATE - and a nice gesture...thanks: They are making some updates and changes to the web site this weekend (since Belmont is not at the track) and it is hoped the site will be back up on Monday. So check out their sponsor: AcademicComputers.com. They are offering $25 to the Jayski Victory Junction Computer Lab for each computer sold until July 1. They have also laid out some numbers for possible car sponsorship later in the year if they can sell enough computers. The first plan starts at 500 computers.(3-28-2004)
Shelmerdine on 'field-fillers': Quote-unquote [#72] Kirk Shelmerdine on the whole "field-filler" issue: "I think most of them are that. If you haven't won in three to four years, you're a field-filler anyway. You're just wasting a lot more money than we are." Shelmerdine's is one of the low-budget operations that have been rounding out the fields each week. He'll start 41st today with a qualifying speed almost 15 mph slower than Newman's pole-winning speed. He said he doesn't feel at risk in a slower car. "There's not really a direct parallel between speed and safety," he said. "The fast cars are safe. The slow cars are safe. NASCAR makes sure of that, and we who put the cars together make sure of that." Shelmerdine has competed in four of five races this season and hasn't lasted more than 46 laps in any of them. He's made $249,102.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-28-2004)
Matt Still Confused Over Darlington: A week after being penalized for passing cars under the caution at Darlington, #17-Matt Kenseth remains bewildered by NASCAR's actions. Kenseth was involved in an accident and pitted before pit road was open. He was penalized and had to go to the rear of the longest line. He did before pit road opened. So, when the pits opened, all the lead-lap cars stopped. Kenseth said that should have put him in the lead, but a few cars exited pit road ahead of him. So Kenseth passed them, incurring a penalty for passing during the caution. A NASCAR official stated Kenseth couldn't lead after taking the first penalty. "I read the rule book pretty thoroughly, I didn't read the whole entire thing, so I can't tell you for sure that there's not a rule, but they said that a car getting penalized with one to go can't lead a lap, well I never found that, maybe I missed a page somewhere," Kenseth said.(News and Record)(3-27-2004)
#4 One Race Deal: Food City is on board the #4 Morgan McClure Chevy that Kevin Lepage drives for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.(Morgan McClure Motorsports PR)(3-27-2004)
More Crew Changes on the #2: Rusty Wallace continues to make changes to the pit crew on his #2 Miller Lite Dodge team in hopes of improving performance. He tried former crew chief and tire changer Bill Wilburn, but that didn't work out. Last week, he used a temporary fill-in from teammate Brendan Gaughan's team. This week, for Sunday's Food City 500, the team is using Jay Hackney for the first time as the front-tire changer. D.J. Richardson, who worked with the team earlier in the season, returns as the rear-tire changer.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-27-2004)
No Sponsor for the #99 at Bristol: Roush Racing has done a masterful job putting together single race sponsorships for Jeff Burton’s Ford Taurus since the season started, some five events ago. Unfortunately, that run came to a stop here at Bristol Motor Speedway and Burton’s car is painted basic black this weekend. “It’s the get out of my way black Ford Taurus,” Burton said of this week’s austere motif with a #99 plastered on the roof and doors. Asked if driving a car without a sponsor affects him in any way Burton said, “From a competitive standpoint? No. The sponsorship situation is what it is and it’s no different today than it was in January. “There’s some things going on but they’re not done,” Burton added. “It may make people feel better having a name on the side of the car but the fact of the matter is the sponsorship situation is what it is. There was no company that was ready to do business so there’s no sponsor on the car.” Finding a positive in the situation Burton pointed out, “We’ll bring a lot of attention to it this week because we don’t have a sponsor on the car; that may be okay. At the end of the day when people see it’s un-sponsored maybe they’ll see it as an opportunity. Certainly people will take notice of it.”(Ford Racing), see an image of the car on the #99 Team Paint Schemes page.(3-27-2004)
#48 Shocks? NASCAR officials will lay out all the shock parts from Jimmie Johnson's winning Darlington car today, which should end all speculation about that part of the post-race inspection. Crew chief Chad Knaus said the car passed with no problems.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-27-2004)
New Practice/Qualifying Times? #18 Crew chief Michael McSwain is adding his voice to those accepting a new Friday testing policy each race week, with teams allowed to use computer-data acquisition on their cars. Then on Saturdays, drivers would get three 45-minute regular practice sessions before qualifying and no practice after qualifying, so they would effectively have to qualify on race setups. That, Mark Martin said, would give drivers much more practice on race setup than they get now.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-27-2004)
Racing Electronics offers new product: Racing Electronics has announced today, a major change in racing communications for the grassroots racer. Forming an exclusive agreement for North American distribution of the Reliant Electronics 2-Way Radio, Racing Electronics is now able to provide a quality, complete 2-Way Radio System for the driver and crew chief at a low starting price of just $799.00. “This is not an amateur system, but a professional-quality system,” said Bruce Silver, President/CEO of Racing Electronics. “It puts us at a price point with which no other radio company can compete for the high quality and features available on the new Reliant TR416 Radio.” The basic radio is available with high power (4 watts) and 16 channel priority scan. Additionally, the radio comes complete with Ni-Cad battery, desk charger, belt clip and antenna. Other models of this radio include a VHF (150-170 MHz) model TR116
that will prove to be very popular for the operation of many of the race tracks across the country and Receive-Only models in both UHF &
VHF. The Receive-Only models, (RO116 & RO416) are used by race tracks and sanctioning bodies to provide One-Way Communications to its racers. Racing Electronics and USAC have just signed an exclusive agreement for use of the Reliant Radio for some of its series. Additional information on Reliant Radios and Systems can be found on the website at: www.racingelectronics.com/reliant.html. RE is an advertisor on the Jayski site and sponsors the Scanner Freqs page.(3-26-2004)
#42 and #14 Car Seized by NASCAR; #14 Team Goes Home RESPONSE: NASCAR on Friday morning confiscated the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge driven by Jamie McMurray, when it failed to meet the X-measurement of the rear window. The violation is similar to those made by the teams of Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch last season, which resulted in NASCAR confiscating both cars. NASCAR spokesman Mize Zizzo said NASCAR will tow the No. 42 and No. 14 back to its research and development center in Concord, NC, for evaluation. And additional penalties will be forthcoming after the race weekend, Zizzo said. Following the inspection process, the car was placed alongside the NASCAR hauler and the team brought out a backup car. The backup car has never been run. "You definitely don't bring your best aero car to Bristol, but the first time NASCAR checked the X-measurement - the same measurement they got Tony Stewart for and Kyle Busch - it showed to be too much," said team manager Andy Graves. "Right now we're trying to figure out what happened, if it was a mistake on our part or if a mistake made in measuring the first time. We're going to have them measure it again." Graves said the #41 and #40 Dodges, driven by Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Casey Mears and Sterling Marlin, respectively, both measured correctly. The X-measurement is taken diagonally from each the top corner of the rear window to the bottom corner of the opposite side. "It shows three-quarters (of an inch) more than any car we've ever had, so we're kind of baffled by it," Graves said. #14 Seized too: Larry Foyt's #14 Dodge car failed to pass inspection a first time and his crew worked on the problem areas before returning to the inspection line. When the Dodge failed the final time, the car was seized by officials. The Foyt team had only a speedway car on hand as a backup, so they decided not to make a qualifying attempt for Sunday's Food City 500.(ThatsRacin.com) AND The #42 Havoline Dodge was confiscated during the first inspection at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday for being five-eighths of an inch off of the X-measurement. NASCAR uses the X-measurement -- that gauges the length of the rear window from corner to corner to determine the off-set of the decklid to the roof. "The car was in line this morning and they just pulled it to the side," says Ganassi team manager Andy Graves. "I don't understand. We had to make updates, but the roofline and the decklid is the same as last year." When driver Jamie McMurray arrived at the track Friday morning, he described the situation as "puzzling". He added that it did not make sense to bring an illegal car to the track, especially at Bristol where little if any aerodynamic advantage can be gleaned. "We raced this car like seven times last year," McMurray says. "So it's a bit confusing." Crew chief Donnie Wingo agreed that the situation was "confusing" since this was the primary short track car the team used last year. "I'm just frustrated," Wingo says. "At least we have another good car in the trailer and we'll have one sent from the shop this afternoon."(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-26-2004) #42 Team Response: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has issued the following statement regarding NASCAR's seizure
of Jamie McMurray's No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge during inspection Friday morning at Bristol Motor Speedway.
"This is an unfortunate situation that happened today at Bristol with the 42 car," Chip Ganassi said. "This is a short track car from last
season that we put a new body on during the off season. If there was an error made in the body shop on our part, we will get it rectified.
We look forward to working closely with NASCAR to make sure this issue is resolved in a timely manner." As a result, McMurray and the Texaco/Havoline were forced to unload the backup car, chassis #214. McMurray finished 11th last year at Bristol in the spring race and finished third last August.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(3-26-2004)
Back to the Future: A special paint scheme will launch a nationwide campaign to "Keep It Genuine", accentuating the importance of using genuine Ford and Lincoln Mercury Parts and Service to keep a vehicle performing at its best. The #21 Motorcraft Racing Ford Taurus will run the colors made famous by David Pearson during the 1970's at Texas Motor Speedway for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 weekend. According to Eddie Wood and his Uncle Leonard, the Wood Brothers "genuine" look was developed in the mid-1960's to distinguish one team entry from another. On several occasions the Wood Brothers entered two or three cars in an event and used a combination of red and white paint schemes on the team cars. The crew chose the red top, white bottom and gold numbers as its primary paint scheme. Leonard Wood remembers that Cale Yarborough was the first Wood Brothers Racing driver to compete in those colors full-time, starting in 1967. The red, white and gold paint scheme went to victory lane 72 times with Yarborough, Parnelli Jones, Dan Gurney, Donnie Allison, A.J. Foyt, Pearson, and Neil Bonnett behind the wheel between 1967 and
1982. "Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealerships are known for the genuine Motorcraft parts and quality service Ford customers have come to depend on," says Judi Moritz, the Ford Customer Service Division (FCSD) Motorsports & Events Marketing Manager. "And what better way to launch the new FCSD "Keep It Genuine" campaign than to introduce it with a genuine Wood Brothers Racing paint scheme."
The race at Texas precedes the national dealership introduction of the "Keep It Genuine" program on Monday, April 5. The "Keep It Genuine" initiative reinforces the importance of using genuine Ford and Lincoln Mercury Parts and Service to keep the vehicle performing at its best. Only Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealerships can provide factory-trained technicians and parts engineered specifically for the vehicle. By depending on the dealership to keep the vehicle genuine, owners can drive away with genuine peace of mind.(Motorcraft Racing PR)(3-26-2004)
Geoffrey in the #98: first Larry Gunselman was listed in the #98, then Todd Bodine, then back to Gunselman...and now from the geoffbodinefanclub.com site: Geoffrey has announced that he will be subbing for younger brother Todd Bodine in the #98 Lucas Oil Products Ford this weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Todd [see story below] has a prior commitment and is unable to attend the race.(3-26-2004)
2nd Texas Race for All-Star Race Trade? Bruton Smith is reported to be on the verge of getting NASCAR to agree to grant him a long-awaited second Nextel Cup date at Texas Motor Speedway, through the purchase of North Carolina Speedway, according to sources. But then it gets complicated, according to those sources. In turn NASCAR wants Smith to let Richmond International Raceway take the May all-star race from Smith's Lowe's Motor Speedway. For that, Smith wants a second Cup date for his Las Vegas track. If all that happens, Darlington Raceway could lose one of its two Cup races. Smith has considerable support at the moment, from teams and sponsors and TV networks, for his Las Vegas pitch.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-26-2004)
Mr. Gordon goes to Washington: #24-Jeff Gordon was on Capitol Hill today to urge Senate passage of a bill to reauthorize a five-year funding cycle for the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which maintains the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry and facilitates transplants from unrelated donors for patients with leukemia and other diseases. Gordon, a longtime advocate for NMDP and board member of its partner, The Marrow Foundation, visited key lawmakers to urge passage of the legislation, which was passed unanimously in the House last year but has not been voted on in the Senate. Current authorization for the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry expired in September 2003. "The NMDP offers hope to the more than 30,000 people diagnosed each year with fatal blood diseases like leukemia," said Gordon. "It's critical for the Senate to continue its longstanding support of NMDP, which is on track to facilitate its 20,000th transplant later this year." Gordon's visit also highlighted NMDP's special Capitol Hill donor drive held in the Hart Senate Office building, which offered the opportunity for Members of Congress and their staff to sign up and become part of the national Registry. For more information about the NMDP, call 1-800-MARROW-2 or visit online at www.marrow.org.(U.S. Newswire)(3-26-2004)
Andrews is looking UPDATE 3 to BANG?: Paul Andrews, a successful crew chief for many years [championship with Kulwicki, wins at Penske and DEI], lost his job earlier this week with Bob Osborne, an engineer now taking over with Jeff Burton at Roush Racing. Andrews is still on the Roush payroll but reportedly looking elsewhere for a job.(Gaston Gazette)(3-21-2004) UPDATE: Crew chief Paul Andrews is looking for a job, since being released by Jeff Burton and Jack Roush, and says "We're talking to different people now about what we might do next. We've got a lot of people talking and that's good. "I was brought in to win races and we hadn't won races, so we felt like we needed to make a change and that's what we did. I think Jeff is a good driver and there are a lot of good things going on over at Roush's. But that's just what happened. We couldn't win races together."(Winston Salem Journal)(3-22-2004) UPDATE 2: hearing that Larry McReynolds and Bang Racing are talking to Andrews about potentially heading up their Nextel Cup effort later this year.(3-22-2004) UPDATE 3: Paul Andrews, who was replaced as Jeff Burton's crew chief before Darlington, said yesterday he still is weighing his options but is optimistic about rejoining a Cup team by midseason. "It's a little early in the season for most teams to make changes, but there's still quite a bit of activity," said Andrews, who is working on putting a limited Busch North Series schedule together for his son Tim. Andrews didn't win in 50 starts with Jeff Burton but has 12 career victories and a championship. "I'm disappointed I couldn't make it work at Roush," said Andrews, who has worked for Team Penske, Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Roush since 1999. "It just didn't click right. I want to make sure we go somewhere and stay for a while. I don't like moving around at all, and I've been moving around a little too much."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-26-2004)
Show Me The Money: TMS again increased its purse for the NASCAR races next weekend. The Samsung/RadioShack 500 goes up to more than $6.7 million, an increase of $720,000 over last year. It's the third-highest payout in Nextel Cup. Only the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 at $8 million rank ahead of TMS. Here's a list of the top 10 purses in the series:
1. Daytona 500: $16 million.[ISC Track]
2. Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis: $8.2 million*.
3. Samsung/RadioShack 500 at TMS: $6.7 million.[SMI Track]
4. UAW-Daimler/Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas: $6 million.[SMI]
5. Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte: $5.7 million*.[SMI]
6. Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 in Atlanta: $5.4 million*.[SMI]
7. Food City 500 at Bristol: $5.292 million.[SMI]
8. Sharpie 500 at Bristol: $5.289 million*.[SMI]
9. Banquet 400 at Kansas City: $5.287 million*.[ISC]
10. Auto Club 500 at California: $5.230 million*.[ISC]
*2003 payout (From the Dallas Morning News)(3-26-2004)
Norris close to a job UPDATE 3: Ty Norris, who resigned in January as vice president for motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc. in January, expects to start a new job this week. "I think they'll announce it Tuesday or Wednesday," he said Saturday. The position is in racing, but Norris said it's different than anything he's done before. He also won't have to travel as much, which was a requirement he made for himself when he was contemplating what he was going to do. "My family has sacrificed enough over the past 15 years," he said. In eight years with DEI, Norris took the team into the Nextel Cup Series, where it now has drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip. Junior won the Daytona 500 for the first time earlier this season, with Norris watching from home. "I was just so proud for Dale Jr. and the team," Norris said. "It was great feeling like I had a little part in that."(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-13-2004) UPDATE: hearing the job will be with SMI [Speedway Motorsports Inc./Bruton Smith] in some capacity.(3-15-2004) UPDATE 2:Ty Norris, who helped run Dale Earnhardt Inc., for eight years until leaving suddenly in January, is expected to announce a new job next week with Speedway Motorsports.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-19-2004) UPDATE 3: Ty Norris, former Dale Earnhardt Inc. executive, has been selected vice president for Speedway Motorsports Inc.(Greenville News)(3-26-2004)
PRN to Carry Texas IROC Race:Performance Racing Network (PRN) will broadcast the inaugural Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) event at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night, April 2. The flagship station for the broadcast will be 97.1 KEGL-FM in Dallas-Fort Worth. The broadcast begins at 7:45 p.m. (CST) with green flag just after 8 p.m. (CST). The Performance Racing Network will also broadcast their regular schedule of events during the Samsung/RadioShack 500 race week including O'Reilly Auto Parts Qualifying for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series on Friday, the O'Reilly 300 NASCAR Busch Series event on Saturday, April 3, and the Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Sunday, April 4. The PRN broadcast team for the weekend will be Doug Rice and Mark Garrow calling the race from the booth, Pat Patterson and Brett McMillan in the pits, and Chuck Carland and Rob Albright in the turns.(TMS PR)(3-26-2004)
Looking for Fabricators: Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. is announcing that they are taking pre-applications to attend their newly developed professional Cup racecar Body Fabrication Instructional Program. They are inviting you to learn from fabricators who are on the frontline everyday, dealing with rule changes, up to date templates, at track testing and wind tunnel knowledge and who have cars competitively running in today’s CUP fields. You can prepare for your career in professional motorsports at their state of the art
20,000 square foot facility that has currently six service plates, up to date fabrication equipment and a above industry standards down
draft paint booth system. For more information visit www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(3-25-2004)
Bobby Labonte, Michael McSwain, J.D. Gibbs To Visit "Racing For Life" Mobile Health Unit: Bobby Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion, his crew chief, Michael "Fatback" McSwain and J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing will visit the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), "Racing For Life" Mobile Health Unit outside of Bristol Motor Speedway at 10:00am Friday, March 26. Wellbutrin XLT (bupropion HCl extended-release tablets), a medicine indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder in patients
18 years and older produced by GSK, will serve as the primary sponsor for Labonte's #18 Chevrolet at Bristol and seven other races in
2004. In addition to their sponsorship, GSK officials announced in February at Daytona that they would be offering free health screenings to fans across the nation at 23 races in 2004. The unique "Racing for Life" mobile health unit expands into a patient education and health-screening center, and provides screenings and information on such health topics as hypertension, type II diabetes, osteoporosis,
asthma, men's health, smoking cessation, migraine, and depression. Labonte, McSwain and Gibbs will each be screened in the unit as part of the "Green-flag Ceremony," which helps kick off Wellbutrin XLT's primary sponsorship at Bristol.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(3-25-2004)
Todd Bodine...crew chief: Todd Bodine has formed an agreement to be co-owner and crew chief for Rookie candidate Travis Foster during the 2004 ASA National Tour. Bodine will make his debut with the Illinois driver at USA International Speedway on Saturday, March 27.(ASA Site), Bodine was listed in the #98 car for the Bristol Cup race, but Larry Gunselman is now listed in it.(3-25-2004)
Sauter's Penalty Upheld: The National Stock Car Racing Commission announced Thursday that it had rejected NASCAR Busch Series driver Johnny Sauter's appeal of financial and points penalties levied earlier this month. The Commission, consisting of Chairman George Silbermann, NASCAR's director of administration; former sports car driver Lyn St. James; and former track owner Mike Staley upheld NASCAR's $10,000 fine and 25-point penalty. Sauter has the right under Section 15 of the Busch Series rulebook to appeal the decision to National Stock Car Racing Commissioner Charles D. Strang and Thursday his team owner, Clarence Brewer, said the team was seriously considering that move. "As of right now we plan to appeal," Brewer said. "Because I think we've been made an example of. My biggest problem with the whole situation is not the fine for cursing, because I agree with it. Even if it were more I wouldn't have a problem with it. The problem I have as a team owner is that when you deduct points for an action that the driver did, you're affecting Clarence Brewer and the team more than the driver." Sauter is currently 10th in the Busch Series driver standings, 113 points behind leader Kevin Harvick. Without the 25-point penalty, Sauter would be tied with Bobby Hamilton Jr. for sixth position.(NASCAR.com), see past new about this on my Busch Site.(3-25-2004)
Bickford back with Gordon: Jeff Gordon, president and owner of Jeff Gordon Inc., announced changes in the senior management of his company on Thursday. John Bickford, Gordon's stepfather, has been named vice president and general manager of JG Inc., and Gordon's other business interests. "I'm very excited about working with John in this capacity again," said Gordon. "He helped shape my racing career and was pivotal in the decision-making process as I progressed through different racing series up to NASCAR. I'm confident in his ability to move JG Inc., forward." Bickford, an Action Performance Co. executive since 1997, is excited to be working with his stepson again. "Jeff is a proven winner on and off the track," Bickford said. "My goal is to strengthen his current business relationships while branching out to create new and better opportunities. I've always wanted the best for Jeff Gordon as a person. That won't change as I take on this new role of overseeing his business interests." Jeff Gordon Inc., also announced that Robert B. Brannan, vice president and general manager of the company since May of 1995, has resigned. "Bob has been instrumental in the growth of this company, and I have the utmost respect for him as a person and a businessman," Gordon said. "With the addition of my stepfather into a senior manager role, Bob's services were no longer required." Said Brannan: "I've enjoyed the opportunity to work with Jeff Gordon and my associates at JG Inc., over the years. I know that John Bickford will bring a new level of enthusiasm to the organization to move it to a higher level.I'm looking forward to pursuing other business opportunities and spending some time with my family."(ThatsRacin.com)(3-25-2004)
Labonte better the he started, only one: Through the first five races of the 2004 schedule, #5-Terry Labonte is the only
driver who has finished in a higher position than he started in each event. Labonte is the lone Hendrick Motorsports driver without a DNF (did not finish) through the first five races of the season. By running to the end of the March 28 event at Darlington, Labonte extended his series-high streak of consecutive races without a DNF to 47. The last time he failed to complete a race was in October 2002 at Talladega Superspeedway. The modern-era record is 56 in a row, set by Gordon in 2001-02.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(3-25-2004)
Pit Crew For Greg Biffle Captures McDonald's/POWERade Win in Darlington: Greg Biffle's pit crew claimed first prize and the $20,000 weekly check for winning the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday's (March 21) Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Biffle's Roush Racing teammate - the crew for Kurt Busch's No. 97 team finished third in Darlington and jumped into first place in the McDonald's/POWERade standings with 184 points, 10 more than Tony Stewart's second-place crew. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew is third with 183 points. The season pit crew champion will receive a $200,000 bonus. Biffle's crew displayed a superior effort in Darlington with a 35-second margin over last week's winner - the No. 31 crew for Robby Gordon. Biffle's Travel Lodge/National Guard Ford spent 378.315 seconds on pit road compared to 413.964 for Gordon's No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet. "This pit crew is awesome," said Biffle. "They totally deserve this award for all their hard work and dedication to the team. This is the second year for most of these guys working together. And not only are they fast but they are consistently fast, which is what it takes to have the competitive edge on Sunday." Biffle's over-the-wall crew consists of Adam Emmert (front-tire changer), Jeff Silver (front-tire carrier), Mike Hillman (rear-tire changer), TJ Hamilton (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Merkel (jackman), Donnie Ratledge (gasman), John Eicher (catch can). The team's crew chief is Doug Richert.(DMF Communications PR), see top 10 at Darlington and standings on my Pit Crew Page.(3-25-2004)
Blaney Assoc at Texas: Earlier in the week it was announced that Mooney Starr and the Batesville Speedway would be primary sponsor for the Dave Blaney's #23 Dodge, owned by Bill Davis Motorsports Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway, Sunday April 4. Starr announced today that an associate sponsor has been added to the package. Bad Boy Mowers of Batesville, Arkansas will join the Batesville Speedway, The Alltel 100, and the Comp Cams Topless 100 as sponsors for Blaney. Bad Boy Mowers [and I just bought a John Deere] of Batesville manufactures a zero turn radius commerical mower. The company, started in 1998, has since moved into a 30,000 square foot production facility in Batesville, and is providing a superior product to experts in the commerical turf industry. Bad Boy mowers can be seen at their website, www.badboymowers.com. Bad Boy Mowers looks forward to their participation the upcoming Nextel Cup event at the Texas Motor Speedway, and their one race assocation with Starr, Bill Davis
Motorsports, and Dave Blaney.(PR), also check out the Michigan Race Sponsor Fan Pledges via my #23 Team News and Links page.(3-25-2004)
Gillette Young Guns 5 for 5: This past weekend's event at Darlington Raceway was yet another banner day for the Gillette Young Guns, who have now claimed the checkered flag at every race this season. Jimmie Johnson, driving the #48 Chevrolet, recorded his first victory of the season, joining fellow Young Guns Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth as the only race winners so far this year. Though only five out of the 36-races have been run so far, the Young Guns -- Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman -- have factored heavily into the outcome of each race, leading an impressive 830 out of 1,478 (56%) total laps run so far in 2004. In addition to the first five races being won by these drivers, Gillette has made weekly $1,000 donations in the name of each winning Young Gun to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC), which is a season-long program.(Alan Taylor PR)(3-25-2004)
Plane Coming From Darlington Missing UPDATE found, no survivors: A private plane bringing six people back from a NASCAR race [Darlington] in South Carolina disappeared on its way to Bloomington, IL Sunday. Emergency crews continued to search for the plane early this morning. The six-seat, single-engine Piper Saratoga II was carrying pilot Curt Piercy [used to drive ARCA] and his wife, Linda Piercy; Don Maurer Jr. and his wife, Amy Maurer; Amy Maurer's brother, Brad Webb, all of Carlock; and Webb's girlfriend, whose name wasn't available, according to family friends. They were returning from NASCAR races, friends said. The Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 race was Sunday in Darlington, SC. Curt Piercy has more than 475 hours as a pilot and 50 to 55 hours flying planes with retractable gear, like that of the missing plane, he said. Curt Piercy owns Piercy Auto and Truck Body in Carlock, and Don Maurer Jr. runs Don Maurer Wrecker Service in Carlock with his father.(The Pantagraph)(3-23-2004) UPDATE: Rescuers searched into the evening Tuesday for signs of an aircraft that was carrying six people when it was last heard from on Sunday as it flew from South Carolina to Illinois. Air patrol rescuers had already flown the entire Kentucky flight segment in search of wreckage and were continuing those efforts, said 1st Lt. Michael Brown, public affairs officer for Kentucky Wing Civil Air Patrol. "We are trying to find these people and bring them home alive," Brown said. Tuesday night, a crew spotted debris near Harlan. It's not clear if it's the debris from the plane. The search will resume Wednesday.(wkyt.com)(3-24-2004) UPDATE 2 Sad News: Searchers found the wreckage of a single-engine plane Wednesday that crashed while carrying six central Illinois residents home from a NASCAR race in South Carolina, authorities said. FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said there were no survivors. Ground crews had been searching a heavily wooded mountainside in southeastern Kentucky near where the plane was last spotted on radar Sunday night. Cory said investigators from the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board were en route to the scene. Kentucky State Police Trooper Walt Meachum said the airplane crashed into the side of Little Black Mountain. "If they had gone 20 to 30 yards higher, they would have cleared the top," Meachum said. Harlan County Coroner Philip Bianchi said the impact occurred at about 3,000 feet and that the plane hit trees, rock and earth and was not intact but not scattered over a large area. Debris from the wreckage was in a very small area on the mountainside. It was partially burned, said Meachum, who was at the scene Wednesday night. He said he believes all the victims died on impact, and Bianchi agreed. The pilot, Curt Piercy of Normal, and his wife, Linda, owned an auto body shop in Carlock. Don Maurer lived in Carlock, where he ran a wrecker service. His wife, Amy, who gave her husband the NASCAR tickets as a birthday present, worked in the McLean County state's attorney's office. Her brother, Brad Webb, and his girlfriend, Erica Edgington, also lived in Carlock and were aboard the plane. Gavin Pitcher of Carlock, a spokesman for the families, said relatives were upset because news reports that the plane was found were broadcast before the families were officially notified.(wkyt.com)(3-25-2004)
Darlington AND Rockingham to lose races? Alternating ONE racedate? Texas and Vegas get the dates? UPDATE 2 Darlington expects to get two dates in 2005:
Settlement negotiations in a lawsuit over a second Nextel Cup date for Texas Motor Speedway have potentially major ramifications for two tracks in the Carolinas, The Observer has learned.
A source close to talks in a suit against NASCAR by two Speedway Motorsports Inc. [SMI] shareholders said Monday a settlement could result in International Speedway Corp. selling both North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham and Darlington Raceway to SMI. If such a deal were made, two of three remaining Cup dates from Rockingham and Darlington would move – one to Texas Motor Speedway and the other to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, giving those SMI-owned tracks two dates each per season. The other date would alternate between Rockingham and Darlington, with the Nextel Cup, Busch and Truck series racing at Rockingham one year then at Darlington the next [so much for lights and SAFER]. "I am aware of the (settlement) talks," SMI chairman Bruton Smith said Monday. "I think that they have been going on for about two months, and they're further down the road than they ever have been. But there will have to be a written agreement among all of the attorneys before there's any done deal." Smith said that in his mind any settlement of the suit would have to include a second Cup date for Texas. "That's certainly the key to it, that's why it was filed," he said.(more at ThatsRacin.com), see past news about this on my lawsuit page.(3-23-2004) UPDATE: After attracting the largest crowd in the 45-year history of Darlington Raceway's spring Nextel Cup event, track officials are feeling good about their chances of keeping two races for 2005. How good? "I feel confident we'll host two races next year. Frankly, I can't see it any other way," raceway president Andrew Gurtis said Tuesday. "As the promoter at Darlington Raceway, look at the last two races we've had here. We've had a sellout for the Mountain Dew Southern 500, and a record crowd for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. We have two strong sponsors on our Cup races, and great racing. Things are just stacking up." But sources have indicated to The Post and Courier that the millions of dollars ISC has spent to add the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barrier and a lighting system at Darlington guarantee that the Pee Dee track will have at least one annual event on the Nextel Cup schedule.(Chareslton Post and Courier) BUT Could a settlement be imminent in the battle to bring a second Nextel Cup race to Texas Motor Speedway? According to several media outlets, yes. But spokesmen for the opposing camps said they are simply following court orders in a mediation process. According to The Associated Press, Samuel Cherry, the attorney for a TMS shareholder who sued NASCAR over its refusal to award a second event, said Tuesday that progress is being made in settlement talks. Cherry said the plaintiffs and NASCAR have agreed not to discuss specifics of the 2-year-old suit. Spokespersons from both racing entities contend that no settlement is about to materialize. "(The suit) is based on the false presumption that NASCAR promised Texas Motor Speedway a second date, which NASCAR did not," NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter said. "No settlement has been reached, to my knowledge." Lauri Wilks, Hunter's counterpart at SMI didn't know anything more. "Not as far as I know," Wilks said. "I don't have an official word of anything." Apparently, there is no agreement -- at least not in written form -- on the table. "Obviously, as everyone knows, it's in the best interest of the sport to put this thing behind us," Hunter said. "We're not at liberty to discuss any of the particulars. There is no timeline. In the meantime, we've got to get on with the business of running the races."(in part from the Daytona Beach News Journal/AP)(3-24-2004)
SAFER causing remeasuring of tracks? Size does matter -- especially when it comes to racetracks. And with the SAFER barriers installed at many NASCAR tracks, the dimensions of the circuits have changed. "We're going to have to remeasure all the tracks where we've put in the SAFER wall," says Jim Hunter, V.P. of corporate communications. "I don't have any idea how it will affect it, but I'm sure it will affect it to some degree." The SAFER walls at Darlington come out 30 inches from the outer wall. NASCAR measures tracks 15 feet in from the outer wall, but it doesn't expect changes in dimensions to be significant enough to affect records.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-24-2004)
Belmont Comments on USA Today article: Andy Belmont [field-filler.com] comments to XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio's Clarie B. Lang [CBL] on Tuesday concering a USA Today article: 'Field filler' Belmont's online openness an eye-opener by Chris Jenkins. What's about the stuff in your words on your web site about Ephedra:
"Pretty simple. I want people to read my stuff...it's that simple" are you using ephedra:
"Heck no..no I can't take that with my blood pressure medicine, my doctor would shoot me. I just...I'm a seat of the pants kind of guy and I don't take anything in life seriously and you know ephedra is illegal after April 12th in this country so....to be candid with you I didn't know it' was illegal under the NASCAR substance abuse policy but I wouldn't use it anyway because of my blood pressure medicine so it's not an issue." And NASCAR hasn't contact you or anything (after the media regarding your statements on your web site) "No, nobody's said a word." What about the statements regarding the minimum speed(s)
"Well, that was taken out of context. The minimum speed was 32.50 and we were going 32.40's so how that was...In other words when I'm saying I was under the speed I was under the 34.50, we were running 32.40's." Other statements from Belmont to CBL:
"I'm just a hard working guy like everybody else out there trying to make it. And if showing your checking account balance is going to be a requirement to qualify, you know we got real problems. If you cut out what it is that the average Saturday night guy, which is what I am,I
am just Joe average, trying to chase a dream and if you take that away so that the only way a guy can actually ever make it is to be one of the chosen few that a major car owner calls...that's a disastrous situation about to unfold. I mean that's what happened to CART."
"......As we sit here speaking we all met the criteria and we're playing by the rules that are given to us. If they want to change the rules
that's NASCAR's object. I don't see Rick Hendrick answering my calls when I'm trying to get an engine. I don't see...you know I got a call
into Jimmie Johnson to see if I can work something out on..you know I can't afford to buy a $70,000 motor being an independent. But if they could help me out and take a cut of my winnings or do something along those lines or give me engines that are experimental stuff that maybe they don't want to try in cars that they have on the race track. It don't matter who you go to - me Hillenburg whatever we would all do that to try to be faster to try to be respectable. When I was racing Cup in '92 Larry McReynolds gave me some weird stuff to put up under the car chassis wise because they didn't want Davey running it till they figured out what it was going to do. But those opportunities don't seem to be there any more because all those teams have their very own test teams and all that. So what are you going to do?"
Do you feel that now because of your off-handed comments on your web site that NASCAR will have reasonable suspicion to test you?
"They have the right..those are the rules we play by. If they want to check me have at it. I got nothing to hide and the reality of it is,
I'll probably test positive because of my blood pressure medicine. You know what I mean? I had to fill it out on the physical form. You know. Le'Let's call a spade a spade. It's their ball and jacks. If they don't want us there bad enough they will figure out how to get rid of us and it won't be anything we've done. It's what they've created to get rid of us. I'm trying to make it Claire just like anybody else out there
that has a dream."(XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio 144)(3-24-2004)
No Redneckjunk.com on the #50: during an interview on XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio 144 with Chris McLain, #50 driver, Derrike Cope was asked about the sponsorship of Redneckjunk.com [RJunk.com] and said that was in the past and that Redneckjunk.com [RJunk.com] would not be on the car and the team has moved on, looking for a new sponsor. Past News on my #50 Team News and Links page.(3-24-2004)
Hawk to NASCAR's Diversity Program? hearing that NASCAR is going to or has hired Don Hawk to help with its diversity programs. Hawk is President of Hawk Sports Management which provides consultative services in the area of endorsements, product licensing, sport celebrity appearances, marketing concepts, and sponsorship programs to a diverse client base including NASCAR drivers, teams, race tracks, various racing entities, Professional Golfers and Tournaments and Licensing and Marketing Companies. The first two clients added on February 19, 2000 were Dale Earnhardt and NASCAR. Since that time, Hawk Sports Management has added to its list of clientele and grown into a diverse sports management company. Hawk was also General Manager for Alan Kulwicki Racing and President of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., More info at www.hawk-sports.com.(3-24-2004)
Donohue to Indy 500 Hall of Fame: Five legendary names from the Indianapolis 500 will assume their place among racing legends May 21 at the 2004 Auto Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. The event is taking place at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown in conjunction with the annual “500” Oldtimers’ Club Banquet. Indianapolis 500-winning drivers Emerson Fittipaldi and Tom Sneva, and team owner John Zink are expected to attend the ceremony, while driver Mark Donohue [click here to see Jayski's tribute] and team owner Lindsey Hopkins will be inducted posthumously.(IMS Site)(3-24-2004)
Foyt at Bristol and Texas UPDATE: #14-Larry Foyt will attempt to make the Nextel Cup races at Bristol and Texas. The team is still looking for a sponosr for both races.(3-23-2004) UPDATE: After nearly a month off, Larry Foyt returned to the cockpit of the A.J. Foyt Racing Dodge when he tested March 16th and 17th at Texas Motor Speedway. Foyt plans to compete in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend and the Samsung/RadioShack 500 on April 4th. "Our test at Texas went pretty decent," Foyt said. "We weren't the fastest car there but we were only two to three tenths off guys like Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. We didn't do any qualifying runs, we were in race trim the whole time. On the second day, the wind came up in the afternoon so we quit early. We only had the one car and we were happy with where we were running so I didn't want to take any chances." Foyt is running a limited schedule this year because the team is without primary sponsorship. "We've been looking but it's been a challenge in this economy," said team owner A.J. Foyt. "Right now I'm running Larry out of my pocket basically, so we have to pick and choose our races. I hope we can find a major sponsor soon." Foyt's son competed in his first Daytona 500 in February and finished 28th. He started 41st and had quickly moved into the top 25 but then he had to pit with a misfire in the power plant. The team's engine specialist diagnosed the problem as a loose spark plug wire which was fixed and Foyt returned to the race. He competed in the next race at Rockingham, N.C. and finished 32nd after struggling with the car's handling. "It was a tough weekend but we brought the car home in one piece." Foyt is currently 43rd in the driver standings after competing in just
two of the five races run to date.(Foyt Racing PR)(3-24-2004)
Mr. Kenseth Goes to Washington: [a day old and already happened but....] Matt Kenseth is slated to make a trip to the nation’s capital tomorrow [actually Tuesday], as he will be attending the 2004 March of Dimes Gourmet Gala. At the invitation of NASCAR, Kenseth and invited guests Jack Roush, Richard and Lynda Petty and Mike Joy will all participate in this year’s festivities at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Other honored guests attending the gala will be Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona and Congressman Robin Hayes of North Carolina. Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, the President and CEO of the March of Dimes will be the keynote speaker with Mike Joy filling in as the emcee. The gala is a dinner of sorts, with a cocktail reception and regional specialties of food. Just before the sit down dinner, Kenseth will sign a few autographs near the No. 17 DEWALT Tools Ford show car for dignitaries and large donors. The next day, NASCAR representatives will make a breakfast presentation on Capital Hill about stock car racing, its popularity, competitiveness and its national appeal. A question and answer session will follow. Kenseth will only appear at the previous evening’s festivities, as he will be traveling to Texas that same evening to attend a "Winner's Circle" appearance on behalf of Texas Motor Speedway. Kenseth is slated to visit over a dozen television and radio outlets in Texas to promote the upcoming Samsung-Radio Shack 500 on April 4th.(DeWalt Site)(3-24-2004)
Kyle Petty Returns to Rolex Series for Phoenix 250: Kyle Petty announced that he will return to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series next month, competing in the Phoenix 250 at Phoenix International Raceway, April 10 [off weekend for Nextel Cup]. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver will rejoin Gunnar Racing, this time at the wheel of the No. 45 Porsche GT3 RS. Petty kicked off his 2004 racing season by competing in his fifth Rolex 24 At Daytona earlier this year, teaming with famed-actor Paul Newman, Gunnar Jeannette and Michael Brockman in the Gunnar Racing entry. Jeannette and Petty will team back up in the No. 45 Porsche for the Phoenix 250. Petty is no stranger to the Rolex Sports Car Series, competing in seven races over the last three seasons. He teamed with John Andretti for the GT victory at Watkins Glen International in 2001 and has scored five class podium finishes, including a second-place finish with Jeannette and Newman in the GTS class at Watkins Glen last season. Petty's No. 45 Porsche is one of 40 race cars on the pre-entry list for the Phoenix 250 announced earlier this week. Tickets to the Phoenix 250, round three of the Rolex Series, are available at www.phoneixraceway.com. The Phoenix 250 will be broadcast LIVE on SPEED Channel, April 10 at 9 p.m. ET. For additional information on the Rolex Sports Car Series, visit www.grandamerican.com.(Phoenix International Raceway PR)(3-24-2004)
Some Tix Still Avialable for Race for Hope: Ticket sales for Elliott Sadler's Race for Hope are off to a great start. According to a spokesperson for the NASCAR SpeedPark, the VIP Dinner packages have sold out. All proceeds from the venue will benefit the Autism Society of America and The Victory Junction Gang Camp. Although the effort has recently reached the halfway point of its
fundraising goal, a few packages are still available for fans to obtain autographs, and race against NASCAR NEXTEL and NASCAR Busch Series Stars, more info on my Racing Charities Page.(3-23-2004) UPDATE: The scheduled lineup of drivers for Elliott Sadler’s Race for Hope has changed. Due to a conflict with a recently scheduled test at Daytona International Speedway, Kyle Petty will not be in attendance for the May 25th event. Standing in for Petty will be his seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion father, Richard Petty. The logistics of the change are minor as fans who have already purchased tickets for Kyle Petty will now have the opportunity to meet Richard, NASCAR’s all time wins leader. There are still over 100 tickets available for the Richard Petty autograph session through the NASCAR SpeedPark ticket office at 1-877-626-8725. All proceeds from the event will go to The Autism Society of America and The Victory Junction Gang Camp.(3-24-2004)
Brewer Penalized: NASCAR has fined Tim Brewer, crew chief for the #4 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Lepage, $5,000 for an infraction detected during NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series opening-day inspection at Darlington Raceway. Brewer was penalized under Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book: (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules). The No. 4 had an unapproved rear deck lid.(NASCAR PR)(3-23-2004)
Ward Burton teams up with Blue Ox [where is Paul Bunyan?] Ward Burton and Blue Ox Towing products of Pender, Nebraska have formed a marketing relationship with Burton endorsing Blue Ox products. Blue Ox is the industry leader in towing equipment for recreational vehicles. The partnership is a natural fit for both parties, with Burton using Blue Ox products on his motor coach to travel the country. Blue Ox offers not only the most reliable towing products in the industry, but the most thorough, responsive service as well. They prove it 24 hours a day through a toll-free, 24-7 hotline, 1-888-425-5382. Recreational vehicle enthusiasts can call this number to talk to a Blue Ox customer care representative who’s trained to answer all types of towing and braking equipment questions. Blue Ox has multiple racing related programs and sponsorships for 2004. Blue Ox has teamed up with Haas CNC Racing and will be associate sponsors for both the #0 NEXTEL Cup car, driven by Burton, and the team’s #00 Busch Series car, driven by Jason Leffler, for both the spring and fall Bristol, Tenn. races. Blue Ox will also be sponsoring a campground for the March 28, 2004 Food City 500 and the August 28, 2004 Sharpie 500 racing weekends at Bristol Motor Speedway. There will also be Blue Ox highway signs, and public address announcements each day. In addition, throughout the racing season Blue Ox will be hosting special events and opportunities to meet Ward Burton. For more information on Blue Ox and its racing involvement please visit www.blueoxracing.com.(PR)(3-23-2004)
New Sneaks for Harvick: #29-Kevin Harvick is endorsing a new line of sneakers from Lugz, a boot and shoe company looking to expand beyond its mostly "urban-based" clientele. The new shoes go on sale in July.(USA Today)(3-23-2004)
Too Much Military at the Races? [not in my book] UPDATE Nextel Responds: NASCAR's pre-race shows are impressively and colorfully patriotic, with flags waving and race crews, including drivers, standing crisply at attention on pit road, and with glorious vocals and spectacular military flyovers. However, according to sources, some Nextel officials are uneasy with the image that might be seen by some as too staunchly militaristic and pro-war and might prefer a more middle-of-the-road approach to that and other sensitive political issues. And it is being suggested, according to these sources, that since Republican George Bush was invited to Daytona, a similar invitation should be extended to John Kerry, a Democratic presidential candidate, at another Nextel Cup race later this season.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-21-2004) UPDATE - from NEXTEL: quite a few readers emailed Nextel and hammered them, they got a nice response back:
"Thank you for taking the time to write and voice your thoughts regarding NASCAR. I want you to know that Nextel supports our service men and women wherever they are serving this great country, without reservation. We have many Nextel employees in the reserves and a great many veterans. In fact, our Chief Operating Officer, Tom Kelly, is an Army veteran. There is no question that we value their dedication, bravery and commitment.
The comments and views that the Winston Salem Journal sports writer Mike Mulhern reported in his Sunday NASCAR notebook section are not remotely close to those of Nextel – I have personally discussed this with him. We are very upset with how Nextel has been improperly characterized as not supporting our service men and women through NASCAR pre-race shows. Nextel stands shoulder to shoulder with the millions of patriotic NASCAR fans.
In partnership with the American Red Cross, Nextel has supported the armed forces through the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services (AFES) program. This is a program that asks people to donate their old wireless phones so that we can recycle them and generate funds for the Red Cross. Through this program, Nextel has already raised more than $400,000 for AFES and has helped service men and women around the world stay in touch with their families during times of celebration or grief.
Nextel has proudly taken this program to NASCAR and its fans to garner additional support for our armed services men and women. And we will continue our efforts on this front and wherever we see opportunities."(3-23-2004)
Teen who helps others, joins forces with Kyle: Zach Frye was eight years old when he met Kyle Petty on a South Carolina beach 10 years ago. Petty was vacationing, gathering sand dollars with his daughter Montgomery Lee. Kyle invited Zach to join them. A decade later, that chance meeting paid dividends to needy Bristol-area citizens. Over the next 10 years, Zach followed Kyle's career, particularly Petty's charitable work in the Bristol area. Petty's successful "Race To End Hunger" food drive collected thousands of pounds of food for the Bristol Emergency Food Pantry.
Zach picked up where Petty left off, and he created a highly-successful food drive of his own. Next week at Bristol, Petty will meet Zach again as the Blountville, Tenn., youth serves as an honorary member Kyle Petty's #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawney Dodge crew.
Last year, the Sullivan Central High School (Blountville, Tenn.) running back and basketball player took time away from school and athletics to generate publicity and gather food at his school and at a Food City store located near Bristol Motor Speedway. He collected more than 4,000 pounds of canned goods for Bristol Emergency Food Pantry.
Though he wants the spotlight on his cause and not himself, his efforts attracted several honors this year, including one from The White House. Frye received the "President's Award for Student Service," as well as the 2004 "Civic Responsibility and Outstanding Character Award" and the "National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award." What he really wants is to tell Kyle Petty about his successful food drive and how meeting him 10 years ago put him on track to achieve his goals of service to others.
Petty and his Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge crew more than welcome Frye to the team for the Food City 500 at Bristol. "The ripple theory - one pebble in a pond creates ripples that go forever - really came into play here, but you need young people with Zach's compassion and willingness to help others to make it work," Petty said. "A lot of cool things happen in a race car driver's life, but something like this is pretty hard to top. Somebody told me Zach had said it was a real honor to be in our pit at Bristol. Let me tell you, it's an honor to us to have him there," Petty added.(Williams Company PR)(3-23-2004)
Bill France Jr. to visit Nashville's Music City Motorplex at Opener: Bill France Jr. is planning on attending the April 3rd Dodge Dealer's 400 at Nashville's Music City Motorplex. The April 3rd event will mark the return of NASCAR sanctioned events to this
historic 5/8 mile oval after a one-year hiatus. "When I got the word this past Friday it reaffirmed NASCAR's commitment to Nashville and to grassroots short track racing," commented Joe Mattioli, President of the Music City Motorplex. In September of 2003, Bill Jr. passed the baton to his son Brian France who now serves as NASCAR's board chairman and chief executive. Bill Jr. continues to serve as NASCAR's co-vice chairman and as a member of the board of directors. For the additional information call the Music City Motorplex at 615-726-1818, or visit www.musiccitymotorplex.com.(PR)(3-23-2004)
Hillenburg was up to NASCAR's minimum speed UPDATE more on speed requirements: #80-Andy Hillenburg was traveling above NASCAR's mandated minimum speed of 135.409 mph (34.5 seconds per lap) [note: not sure how NASCAR calculates minimum speed, this speed is about 80% of the pole speed] in Sunday's race when #20-Tony Stewart got a run on his car and sent it sideways on Lap 28. Title contender #24-Jeff Gordon, who was running behind those two, had nowhere to go and T-boned Hillenburg's car. The wreck ended Gordon's day, and he finished 41st, dropping him from fifth to 13th in the points standings. After the accident, Hillenburg admitted, "We have to go back and make the car faster to keep up with these guys." That wasn't good enough for Gordon's team owner, Rick Hendrick. After the race, Hendrick said, "If those guys can't get out of the way, then they shouldn't be there." Hendrick plans to discuss the issue of slower cars with NASCAR this week.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-22-2004) UPDATE: Executive Vice President of Communications Jim Hunter said NASCAR still doesn't view the issue as a major concern, chalking up the crash as typical for the treacherous 1.366-mile oval with extremely tight corners. "It's racing," said Hunter, a former president of Darlington. "There are always going to be slower people. Not everybody is going to be running as fast as the leader." NASCAR polices the problem at each race by setting a minimum speed within about 15 percent of the fastest lap in the final practice. Failure to keep pace results in a black flag, and only one warning generally is given before teams are parked permanently. Sunday's minimum at Darlington was 142.539 mph nearly 25 mph slower slower than Mark Martin's fast lap of 166.298 mph Saturday. Kirk Shelmerdine was banished after 49 laps Sunday for excessive lagging. At least one car has started each of the four races since Daytona with a lap 10 mph slower than the pole. In recent years, Formula One implemented the "107 percent rule," which prevented cars from starting if they didn't qualify within a certain range of the pole position speed. Gordon suggested NASCAR might be well-served to follow the international series' policy, which Hunter said NASCAR would be willing to consider.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-23-2004)
"Field-filler" announcement? hearing that NASCAR is going to make some kind of announcement this week about the whole
Blaney sponsor for Texas:Batesville Speedway owner and promoter Mooney Starr has entered into a one-race sponsorship deal with Bill Davis Motorsports to back Dave Blaney's #23 Dodge in the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. Blaney's Dodge will carry the Batesville Speedway as a sponsor, but also appearing on the car will be Starr's two primary events in 2004, the Alltel 100 for Modifieds, and the Comp Cams Topless 100 for Late Models. According to Starr, he wants to feature the primary sponsors of those two events as well as his track.(midsouthracing.com) and fans of Blaney are up to over $50,000 of pledges, for more info on that drive, see my #23 Team News Page(link fixed - DOH!)(3-22-2004)
Action Father's Day Promotion at MIS in June on....Father's Day: A Father's Day promotion will run on June 20, 2004 at Michigan Speedway for the NEXTEL Cup Series. This race falls on Father's Day and as part of a recognition program of the inspiration of family and racing. Action has proposed that drivers pay tribute to their Father and the connection they have built through racing. Each car that carries this special package will have a "Happy Father's Day" on the hood along with "Thanks Dad" on the TV panel. The Fathers name will appear on the passenger side above the door. Driver's announced so far include: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. #33-Kerry Earnhardt, #15-Michael Waltrip, #41-Casey Mears, #42-Jamie McMurray and #20-Tony Stewart.(3-22-2004)
Grandpa Marlin...and congrats Steadman: #40-Sterling Marlin became a grandfather at 6:14pm/et Sunday following the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway. Marlin's son, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Steadman Marlin and his wife, Mandy, gave birth to Stirlin Blaise Marlin at at Williamson County Hospital Tennessee. The baby weighed in at 9 lbs 3 oz and is 21 ½ inches long. "Paula and I are very excited," Sterling said. "The baby is a healthy and beautiful baby boy! I have been looking forward to this and I am glad the day is finally here."(ThatsRacin.com)(3-22-2004)
Busch Scheme at Bristols: #97-Kurt Busch will be driving a Sharpie 40th Anniversary paint scheme at both Bristol Races this year.(3-22-2004)
Must Have A Pit Crew Rule to be Added? Expect NASCAR officials to add a rule in the off-season requiring teams to start each race with a full pit crew, because of the James Finch controversy at Rockingham. Finch and driver Joe Ruttman started the Rockingham race without a pit crew chief, and NASCAR planned to fine the team, until Finch pointed out that there was no such rule in the book.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-22-2004) AND heard from a few folks telling about the effort that #89-Morgan Shepherd's crew gave, supposedly there were three crew members, a gas man, a tire changer and a jackman and did the stop one tire at a time. The first stop Shepherd made, after leading 2 laps under caution, Shepherd was able to do so without losing a lap, the next time around he got lapped while on pit road. After going a lap down, low on tires and making a few stops, Shepherd parked the #89 Racing for Jesus Dodge.(3-22-2004)
More Changes at the #2: Unhappy with his pit crew's performance in Sunday's race, driver Rusty Wallace and crew chief Larry Carter elected to make a swap of rear-tire changers with Penske teammate Brendan Gaughan's team. Rich Macco from Gaughan's team went to Wallace's team for the remainder of the race and Cole Chitty from Wallace's #2 team moved to Gaughan's #77.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-22-2004)
Bodine to make ARCA Debut at Nashville: NASCAR veteran Todd Bodine will make his ARCA RE/MAX Series debut next month when the teams roll into the Nashville Superspeedway. Bodine will be driving for Dan Shaver Motorsports. Bodine, who has a solid record at the track will drive the #49 Petro Express with guidance from crew chief Jeff Buice.(Catchfence)(3-22-2004)
So What Happened to Kenseth? Series points leader #17-Matt Kenseth was involved in an accident on Lap 161 that collected six cars in Turn 1, but Kenseth's problems grew worse when he was assessed a one-lap penalty for passing cars under caution. Kenseth had to pit while pit road was closed immediately following his incident, and was sent to the end of the longest line. While the rest of the lead-lap cars went to pit road, it appeared Kenseth would take over the lead if he stayed out. But while he passed the cars that had pitted, NASCAR assessed the penalty. Kenseth's crew chief, Robbie Reiser, became involved in a heated confrontation with several NASCAR officials after the incident. "It seems these days you need a rule book for every race track we go to, but I don't know what the rule was and I don't really know what happened," Reiser said. "The penalty for pulling up to pit - we didn't pit. So, whatever you want to tell us, I'm sure I'll understand it after they get done with me." NASCAR's Jim Hunter said since Kenseth was assessed a penalty, he was never the race leader during the caution. "The fact is he passed some cars, and you cannot pass people under caution," Hunter said. Kenseth's damage ended up being more extensive and he required several pit stops later in the race and finished 31st.(ThatsRacin.com and more at Speed Channel)(3-22-2004)
Tony not Happy with Biffle UPDATE: hearing that following the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway, #20-Tony Stewart from his car to #16-Greg Biffle's hauler to "confront" him. Supposedly there was some incident on pit road where Stewart could not pit when Biffle supposedly cut off Stewart, causing Stewart to have to drive around anther lap to pit, explains why Stewart went from the top-10 to 17th for the final re-start.(3-22-2004) UPDATE: .....another caution came on lap 275 for oil on the track, which should've set the stage for the #20 team's last pit stop. But as the field headed to pit road, Biffle blocked Stewart from entering the pits. Livid, Stewart was forced to make a full lap around the 1.366-mile oval before getting his scheduled service. The silver lining in all of this was the five bonus points Stewart earned for leading a lap, as all the other lead lap drivers were getting four tires and fuel in their respective pit stalls. That was a tough sell to Stewart, however, as he emerged for the lap 283 restart in 17th.(Truespeed PR/Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-22-2004)