Elliott Sadler wins at Texas: #38-Elliott Sadler won the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, his first win since Bristol in March 2001, 108 races ago. It is the first ever points win for sponsor M&M's and the first win for Sadler at Robert Yates Racing [not counting the Twin 125 win]. #9-Kasey Kahne had another close call and ended up 2nd, just inches from winning the race. The rest of the top five were #24-Gordon, #8-Earnhardt Jr., and #2-Wallace. #17-Kenseth was the points leader going into the race at Texas and had some troubles and ended up 16th, losing the points lead to #97-Kurt Busch.
For race results, see: Jayski's Texas Race Results page ThatsRacin.com MotorsportsOne or NASCAR.com
and/or see my Texas Race Information for my race rundown with laps led, cars out, caution narrative, notes, lucky dogs.(4-4-2004)
StockCarFans.com - Rumblings - Texas: It wasn't as close as Rockingham, but it wasn't far off....#38-Elliott Sadler held off #9-Kasey Kahne today at Texas Motor Speedway, winning the Samsung/RadioShack 500 by a whopping .028 seconds for his second
career Cup victory and #55 for Robert Yates Racing. He broke a 108 race losing streak (his other previous win was at Bristol in March of 2001), and gives RYR a 15 year streak with at least one victory (Hendrick Motorsports has the longest current run at 19). His win was worth $497,733 from the whopping $6.8M in posted awards, and he's now 89th on the all-time win list.
Other important milestones for Sadler & the Yates team today: They're now the on the Winners Circle plan for the rest of the season (they're the first wild card for 2004), they become the 22nd qualifier for the Nextel All-Star Challenge in May at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and they got M&M's their first ever Cup points win (Elliott won a Twin-125 at Daytona in February).
#9-Kasey Kahne had the dominant car again, leading six times for 148 laps. He's now lost two races this season by a combined .038 seconds, and he's been the bridesmaid three times already this year.
#24-Jeff Gordon (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Atlanta last October.
#41-Casey Mears (7th) tied his career-best finish today. He was 7th at Las Vegas last month as well.
#25-Brian Vickers (12th) had his career-best finish today. He was 13th at Phoenix last November.
#10-Scott Riggs (15th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 25th at Atlanta last month.
STREAKIN....Kurt Busch has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
This Week's Elevator...UP: Operator of the Week is Michael Waltrip (+21), followed by Ken Schrader (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Bill Elliott (-34), followed by Greg Biffle (-27), Bobby Labonte (-24), Ryan Newman (-24), and Brendan Gaughan (-22).
Elliott Sadler led today for the first time since he led once for one lap at Atlanta last October. Joe Nemechek led today for the first time
since he led once for 19 laps at Martinsville last October. And, Bill Elliott led today for the first time since he led six times for 189 laps at Homestead last November. We've had 31 different drivers to lead a lap this season.... plowing our way to the number of 48 we had
We've got a new points leader after today.....Kurt Busch assumes the point. He's got a 19 point advantage over teammate Matt Kenseth, and of course any other year we'd be able to talk about how tight the points are (first and fifth are separated by only 90 markers), but
that means nothing now! Rusty Wallace (17th to 11th) made the best move forward today, while his teammate Ryan Newman (5th to 10th) fell five spots.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(4-4-2004)
Victory Junction accepting camper applications: The Victory Junction Gang Camp [VJGC] for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses being built in North Carolina is now accepting applications for campers this summer. The camp, founded by Kyle Petty and his family in honor of their late son, Adam, is scheduled to open in time to host eight sessions this summer, beginning on June 20. Each session lasts five days, beginning on Sunday or Monday and ending on Friday. Campers will attend free. Children between the ages of 7 and 15 with blood diseases such as hemophilia or sickle cell anemia, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, heart, kidney and liver disease, spina bifida and cancer are eligible. The camp will have medical personnel on site to help maintain care for each group of campers. Applications for campers can be downloaded at www.victoryjunction.org. Applications and information also are available by calling (336) 498-9055 and speaking with Anna Cox at extension 46 or camp medical director Sharon Space at extension 44.(ThatsRacin.com) and don't forget to check out about Jayski.com and readers donation drive to sponsor the Computer Lab ay VJGC, see www.victoryjunction.org or my Racing Charities/Events page.(4-4-2004)
More on the 2005 Dodge: The Dodge Intrepid goes out of production at the end of the year, leaving a big NASCAR question: What model will represent DaimlerChrysler on the circuit next year? Ray Evernham is involved in developing a new model, though he said he doesn’t know what the name of that model will be. A lot of talk centers on the resurrected Charger, but there is also speculation that it would be impossible to adapt under the so-called common templates that now govern the representatives of Dodge, Ford and Chevrolet. “We’re currently working on a 2005 model,” Evernham said. “We’re actually doing some wind-tunnel testing and will be doing some track testing. Dodge hasn’t given us a name plate for that car, but we expect to be able to present something to NASCAR in the near future.”(Gaston Gazette), past news on 2005 Dodge rumors on my Dodge News Page.(4-4-2004)
No Full Time Elliott in 2005, but could be a full time #91: Ray Evernham said it's unlikely Bill Elliott will return to a full-time schedule next year, but his car could. If he lands a full-time sponsor for a third team, Evernham said he'd consider an arrangement akin to Richard Childress Racing, which won the Busch Series owners championship last year with a car shared by Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter. "I think that's a great idea," Evernham said. "That might be a direction this sport is heading. It wouldn't be out of the question to see Bill Elliott in a car for 15 races and somebody else in it for the others."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-4-2004)
Wimmer Ear Problems: Rookie driver #22-Scott Wimmer revealed that he had been hampered by inner-ear problems in several races leading up to Sunday’s Samsung/Radio Shack 500. “I guarantee we’ll be a lot better then we were in Atlanta,” said Wimmer, Atlanta being a track similar to this one. “But Texas isn’t Atlanta and Atlanta isn’t Texas, so we’ll just have to wait and see where we stack up. I had some health issues when we raced in Atlanta, and I have those cleared up now so that should also help us. I have a chronic inner-ear problem that gives me the symptoms of vertigo, so I’ve had tubes in my ears for a couple years now. They must have fallen out sometime since the season began, and it was definitely giving me some problems with my balance.”(Gaston Gazette)(4-3-2004) AND see more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Wimmer swats 'bug'.(4-4-2004)
NFL QB vists Sadler: #38-Elliott Sadler ended up picking up a new pal along the way Thursday — Pittsburg Steelers quarterback, Tommy Maddox. Maddox recognized Sadler, who was in the local Dallas-Fort Worth area premier golfing facility, The Trophy Club. The Steelers QB wasn’t shy and introduced himself to Sadler by asking the question, “Hey aren’t you Elliott Sadler?” The two got together and apparently played a round together. Rumor had it that Sadler shot a 68 on the challenging course. The friendship made it through the night as Maddox was at the track with Sadler this morning, wearing one of Sadler’s sponsor’s caps as he hoofed around the garage getting the VIP treatment. Maddox made a special request to meet with Sadler’s driving partner, Dale Jarrett, which was fulfilled just prior to the Friday morning practice session.(Ford Racing)(4-3-2004)
Stewart making amends: #20-Tony Stewart knows he has angered a few of his rivals the last few days and his own teammates. So he's been making amends. First he called #22-Scott Wimmer to apologize for Sunday's temper tantrum at Bristol. So Tony, why all the anger? "Leave the innocents out of this," Stewart said with a grin, nodding toward his crew. "Just ask me."(Winston Salem Journal)(4-3-2004)
#22 Crew Chief Still Upset over Bristol penalty: Frank Stoddard, crew chief for #22-Scott Wimmer, will meet with Nextel Cup officials David Hoots and John Darby this morning to discuss a one-lap penalty assessed against Wimmer at Bristol. Stoddard was furious about the call after the race and remained dismayed yesterday. Wimmer and Tony Stewart both were punished when their cars collided after Wimmer braked hard to avoid hitting Ricky Craven. "We're not in 1975 anymore," Stoddard said. "They had plenty of time under caution to see replays and decide whether the 22 should have been penalized. Clearly, we shouldn't have been based on what at least 4 million other Americans saw. We got a one-lap penalty for being an innocent bystander. After the race, people were spinning people on pit road and didn't get a lap penalty. We got penalized for saving [Craven] from wrecking."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-3-2004)
No Retaliation from Kahne: #9-Kasey Kahne says Bristol's troubles with Jamie McMurray are behind him: "I was really upset when it happened, to be out of the race that early. But Jamie started backing out when he realized there was no room. He apologized. He said he was probably too aggressive. I mentioned retaliation, but there is no retaliation."(Winston Salem Journal)(4-3-2004)
Sauter to run Truck race at Martinsville: Cup rookie Johnny Sauter said he'll also compete in the truck race at Martinsville in two weeks for his own team. Sauter said he'll use the race as an additional test for the Cup event.(Roanoke Times)(4-3-2004)
McMurray Making Up: #42-Jamie McMurray said Friday he knew better than to spin Matt Kenseth's Ford out on the cool-down lap following last week's race at Bristol. "I've watched people do that and thought, 'that idiot, what was he thinking?'" McMurray said. "I knew it wasn't going to do any good, but it's the only thing you can do," said McMurray, who was angry at Kenseth after contact between their cars on the final lap of the Food City 500. "You can't get out and fight. (Jimmy) Spencer got suspended for that, so I knew it wasn't the right thing to do. You just want to do anything you can to get back at them, you don't want somebody to think you're going to let them push you around. But it's not even about that, Matt isn't that kind of guy. ...He was just fired up like I was." McMurray blamed the whole thing on Bristol. "That place will bring it out of you," McMurray said. "I never get mad, but I was mad. That's just what Bristol does." McMurray also said he had talked to Kasey Kahne during the week, apologizing for an early race incident that knocked Kahne out at Bristol. Kahne promised to exact revenge on the track at some future time, but McMurray said he isn't worried about that. "It's over now," McMurray said.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-3-2004)
Jamie McMurray Announces "Drive for a Cure" Awareness Campaign: Jamie McMurray hopes to create awareness and raise money for the#42-Autism Society of America during his "Drive for a Cure" charity promotion announced Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. Throughout the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season, McMurray will donate $42 for every lap he leads to the Autism Society of America. In addition, the Joplin, Mo. native will donate $42 for every pole he wins in 2004. McMurray has a niece who has autism. So far during the 2004 season, McMurray has led a total of 116 laps, equaling $4,872 in money raised for the Autism Society of America. ChevronTexaco, who sponsors McMurray's No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, is showing its commitment to this program by announcing today that it will match Jamie's pledges during the 2004 season. For every lap and pole McMurray leads and wins in 2004, ChevronTexaco will match the $42 pledge. "The Autism Society of America is so grateful to Jamie, ChevronTexaco, and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for their thoughtful and generous initiative," said Artie Kempner, Autism Society of America Board Member and Coordinating Director of NASCAR on FOX. "The number of children being diagnosed with autism is growing at an alarming rate, and we need to find the cause and the cure for this disorder. Jamie's efforts will not only raise much needed money for research, but will also generate great public awareness." Demonstrating its one-team approach philosophy, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates also announced that it will match McMurray's $42 pledges during the 2004 season. With the three pledge matches combined, McMurray, ChevronTexaco and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates have already raised $14,616 for the Autism Society of America.
To help activate the charity promotion, Action Performance has created a special "Drive for the Cure" t-shirt and decal that will be sold
trackside and through retail. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the merchandise will go to the Autism Society of America.
McMurray will join fellow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers on May 25 for the Elliott Sadler "Race for Hope" Celebrity Race at NASCAR Speedpark in Concord, NC. To learn more about autism or to make a donation, call 1-800-3AUTISM or visit www.autism-society.org.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(4-3-2004)
Polaris Offers the Ride of a Lifetime - on ATVs with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: One fan and a guest to win an afternoon on Polaris Predators with the Daytona 500 champ This summer, one lucky fan will have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to take a joyride with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. - not on asphalt, but in the dirt near his home in North Carolina - through the Polaris "Ride of Your Life" Sweepstakes. Earnhardt, Jr., the sweepstakes winner and a guest will forego a racecar for an afternoon ride on Polaris ATVs. "It's always fun to hang out with fans doing something I truly enjoy, and I plan to take the winner out for a ride they won't forget," said Earnhardt, Jr. "I've been riding ATVs for a long time, and the Predator is a great performance machine that helps me get away from the stresses of racing and everyday life. It's one of my favorite ways to unwind and have a good time, and I'm looking forward to joining a few lucky fans on a great ride."
From April 1 - 30, 2004, people ages 18 and older can visit Polaris dealerships throughout the United States and Canada to enter the sweepstakes. One winner, to be announced in May, and a guest will meet with Earnhardt, Jr. and ride Polaris ATVs in North Carolina in June. For Polaris dealership locations, go to www.polarisindustries.com. For Sweepstakes rules, visit a local Polaris dealer.
Earnhardt, Jr. signed a special services agreement with Polaris ATVs in February, and has since appeared in the company's print and radio advertising for the "Ride of Your Life" sweepstakes promotion, and provided his signature for a newly styled 2004 Predator 500 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. special edition, complete with a red and black chassis, racing stripes and the No. 8 on the rear fenders.
The special-edition Predator is the second in Polaris ATVs' line featuring NASCAR stars. The company's Sportsman 500 H.O. Richard Petty special edition, which was produced in 2002, was a hit with ATV riders and NASCAR fans alike. For more, see polarisindustries.com - click here.(4-2-2004)
Dale Jr. still leads Most Popular Driver Voting: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has picked up right where he left off-he leads the Grands!® Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award voting after the first seven weeks of nationwide fan participation. Since its mid-February launch, the voting Web site, www.mostpopulardriver.com, has recorded more than 400,000 votes. That total surpasses last season's seven-week mark by more than 170,000 votes. Earnhardt, Jr. is the leader over second-place Jeff Gordon and third-place Kevin Harvick. Tony Stewart is fourth, followed by Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte and Kyle Petty.(Williams Company PR)(4-2-2004), for past news and to vote, see above
Bristol Final TV Ratings up 18%: Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show that ratings for Fox's broadcast of last Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway increased 18 percent from last year, today's Sports Business Daily reports. Final figures show the race with a 6.0 rating and a 15 share, up from 2003's 5.5/13. The 6.0 rating ranked the race third among the weekend's sporting events behind a pair of NCAA Tournament basketball games. In 2002, Fox's broadcast of the Food City 500 from Bristol pulled a 6.2/16.(NASCAR Scene Daily 'Free' Newsletter), for past TV Ratings Numbers, see my TV Ratings Page.(4-2-2004)
Irvan Grand Marshal: Retired NASCAR driver Ernie Irvan will be available for autographs Saturday at I-20 Speedway in Batesburg, SC [803-657-6383] from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Irvan will be the grand marshal for the USCS winged outlaw sprint car event.(The State) AND Irvan has recently become affiliated with the United Sprint Car Series owned and directed by Pete Walton of Fayetteville, GA. Irvan will have an ownership interest in the series and will assist in promoting USCS events. The USCS recently acquired the assets of the American Outlaw Action Series previously owned and directed by Bob Wood. Irvan is expected to play a large part in helping to grow the series.(Irvan.com)(4-2-2004)
Fan can't hear race, shoots at plane, gets 6 months: A NASCAR fan armed with a deer rifle and emboldened by a high blood- alcohol level has been sent to prison for six months after firing on a North Carolina crop duster last year. The man opened fire on D. Wayne Slaughter, who owns Wa-Lu Aviation in Farmville, North Carolina. Medication may have enhanced the effects of the alcohol, the shooter's attorney told the court. The shooter couldn't hear the televised race while Slaughter was legally dusting pine trees nearby, so he successfully drove the airplane off after a 12-shot volley. Three of the shots hit the aircraft, one piercing the wing a foot from the Air
Tractor's fuel tank and another causing the battery to explode. The pilot was not hit but suffered mental anguish. Slaughter, past
president of the National Agricultural Aviation Association, said he hopes publicity about his case will encourage other ag pilots to
report similar incidents.(Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Email Newsletter)(4-2-2004)
Dale Jr. Talks About Penalty, Spin: Dale Earnhardt Jr. says intentionally spinning his car out to bring out a caution flag at Bristol was a mistake. He told PRN's Garagepass that NASCAR President Mike Helton spoke to him about the integrity of the sport and Dale Jr. agreed saying "NASCAR has to hold up the integrity of the sport and when you look at it from that standpoint something needed to be done I suppose. Nobody likes to get penalized, but it's something that couldn't be overlooked. At the time I was doing it I didn't realize I was making a mistake or breaking any rules, I was doing what first popped into my mind at that time. Maybe if I had time to think it over and made a different decision, but in the heat of the battle I had no time to think, you know, and that's what I came up with and it wasn't the best idea. So we'll try not to make it a huge negative on our part and try to move past it as fast as you can. I hate that I made it because it's a bad representation of myself and the sport and what we're trying to accomplish because I want to do what's best for the sport. I don't want to do anything that's going to be a negative on everything we're doing and I don't want to do anything that's altering the show or anything like that...and when you put it that light I feel pretty bad about it. I'm totally cool with everything and understand why the fine and penalty was given to me and just really want to move past it with a win here in Texas would be great."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-2-2004)
What does it cost to run a Cup race? there is a story in the USA Today: 'Field-filler' has dreams of making big time, quotes from Andy Belmont, driver of Hermie Sadler's #02 Pontiac. Total expenses: $49,163.50 [see story for the breakdown]; Income Winnings from finishing 37th at Darlington: $51,225.00; Total profit $2,061.50.(USA Today), also see my #02 Team News and Links page for a transcipt Belmont did with XM Radio's Claire B. Lang.(4-2-2004)
#18 Rotating Sponsors: Hearing Interstate Batteries will 'share' primary sponsorship of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy driven by Bobby Labonte. Glaxo [Wellbutrin at Bristol] will be the sponsor at eight races: Bristol [last week], Talladega (Apr), Daytona, Chicago, Michigan (Aug), California (Sept), Richmond (Sept) and Atlanta. MBNA will be the primary sponsor at both Dover races. Interstate Batteries will be an associat sponsor for the 10 races. Interstate will retain full sponsorship for most of the Chase for the Champoinship playoff, which covers the last 10 races of the season.(4-1-2004) PLUS Shrek II will be on the car at Lowe's Motor Speedway race in May.(4-2-2004)
Todd Bodine back in the #98, may run Busch with Cicci; looking to 2005: Todd Bodine will compete in this weekend's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at the Texas Motor Speedway. The Chemung native will be back in the #98 Ford that he's driven in two previous events in March. Older brother Geoffrey raced the car in the Food City 500 last Sunday while Todd helped crew chief for American Speed Association driver Travis Foster during an event at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla., on Saturday. Foster was involved in an accident in the first quarter of the race and finished 37th. The small-budget Nextel Cup team Bodine is driving for has yet to finish a race. The car has suffered mechanical failures each time early on. The car is normally driven by Larry Gunselman. Bodine [Todd], who is without a full-time ride in NASCAR this year, is trying to put a Busch Series program together with Elmira native Frank Cicci Jr. He's also working on securing sponsorship for a Nextel Cup program in 2005.(Elmira Star Gazette)(4-2-2004)
Driver Survey:The Dallas Morning News asked questions to the Nextel Cup competitors who were asked to answer a set of 10 questions anonymously in order to get honest responses. Fifteen drivers didn't respond or refused to participate, but 23 agreed to answer some of the questions. The only stipulation was they couldn't vote for themselves or a teammate. The leaders of the survey: BEST ACTIVE DRIVER
Matt Kenseth – 9 MOST INTELLIGENT DRIVER
Matt Kenseth – 7 MOST UNDERRATED DRIVER
Jamie McMurray – 4 MOST PROMISING ROOKIE
Kasey Kahne – 14 MOST OVERRATED DRIVER
Brian Vickers – 4 DRIVER WHO TREATS YOU FAIRLY
Mark Martin – 4 MOST AGGRESSIVE DRIVER
Ryan Newman – 4 MOST DANGEROUS DRIVER
Robby Gordon – 6 WORST TEMPER
Tony Stewart – 7 BEST DRIVER IN HISTORY
Dale Earnhardt Sr. – 10
Richard Petty – 7
(see the full lists at the Dallas Morning News - What do drivers think of other drivers?)(4-1-2004)
Kulwicki Movie? UPDATE: hearing from some readers that there will be a Alan Kulwicki movie filming in Wisconsin soon. No actors mentioned and not sure when. Supposedly the name of the movie is "Dare to Dream"(3-31-2004) UPDATE: been told that some filming will take place at Greenfield High School in Greenfield, WI on Friday, April 2nd. The school is where Kulwicki appeared in January of 1993 for a homecoming/victory celebration [see image above, that is from that appearance]. Flyers/Releases were handed out to the students. The film is called "Dare to Dream" by DDI Films LLC from Wisconsin. Some proceeds from the production will go to the Greenfield Education Foundation. AND been told that on Thursday, April 1st members of the cast and crew of the Alan Kulwicki movie will be on hand at Slinger Super Speedway [in Slinger, Wisconsin] to shoot several scenes for the upcoming film. Kulwicki, a former Slinger track champion, was well known for his expert navigation of the world's fastest quarter-mile oval.(4-1-2004)
Thank You! The Pit Board Charity Donates to Jayski.com Fundraiser - No one knows better the power of the NASCAR fans and their ability to come together in support of a good cause than the Pit Board Charity. For three years, the PBC has provided a way for fans of Dale Jr. to unify in the name of charity. To date they have raised over $75,000 for various racing charities. This past weekend, in conjunction with the Bristol race, the Pit Board Charity organized a fundraiser to benefit the Jayski.com VJGC Computer Lab sponsorship drive. Fans of Dale Jr. raised $1388 to be donated toward the computer lab. For more information on the Dale Jr. Pit Board Charity, please visit www.8pbc.com.(4-1-2004)
Rusty thinks Dale Jr' cost him a win: At Texas Motor Speedway Thursday, while keeping a watchful eye on his Busch Series driver Billy "Catfish" Parker and the #66-Duraflame Dodge, Rusty Wallace weighed in on NASCAR's fine and penalties handed down to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for intentionally spinning his car out at Bristol to get a caution flag. Wallace said "What he did by spinning that car out cost me a victory....I really think it did because I was right on that kids (Kurt Busch) quarter panel getting ready to get underneath him and.....the caution flags killed me personally but, it's done and there's nothing you can do about it. I guarantee if I would have done that I would have gotten fined probably a hundred grand and a hundred points, so in my eyes, and he knows it too he just got a token penalty. Wallace went on to say "obviously there had to be a penalty. I don't think his fans want him to do that, but if you're a Rusty supporter you're gonna support me, and if you're a Junior supporter you're gonna support him no matter what. You know the money isn't much to these big teams but when you take points that really hits home."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-1-2004)
Labonte back to the Busch Series in 2005: Bobby Labonte says he and Joe Gibbs Racing are talking about running around 10 Busch Series races in 2005. Labonte says if they can land the right sponsor they'll "dabble in that a little bit."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show), Labonte is running the Busch race at Texas this weekend in the #29 RCR Chevy - the PR in part Bobby Labonte will slide behind the wheel of Richard Childress Racing's (RCR) NASCAR Busch Series entry sponsored by the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserves (ESGR) this week at Texas Motor Speedway in the first of a five-race program with an all-star lineup of drivers. The program's driver lineup, announced in February at Daytona International Speedway, also includes Tony Stewart (California), Ricky Craven (Chicago), and RCR drivers Kerry Earnhardt (Dover-Sept) and Kevin Harvick (Homestead). ESGR is a Department of Defense agency whose mission is to gain and maintain employer support from all public and private employers for the men and women who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. ESGR operates through a network of more than 2,000 volunteers throughout 55 committees located in each state, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Europe. Labonte will drive the #29 ESGR Chevry with a paint scheme honoring the Army Reserve and Army National Guard. RCR's #2 ACDelco Chevrolet, driven by Ron Hornaday, is carrying This week's paint scheme will honor the Army Reserve and Army National Guard. the ESGR logo on the rear deck lid for the entire 2004 NASCAR Busch Series season. For more information about ESGR Employer Outreach Programs and ESGR volunteer opportunities, please call 800-336-4590 of visit our website at www.esgr.com.(RCR PR), see my 2004 Busch Series Paint Scheme page for images of the cars(4-1-2004)
NASCAR Supports National Car Care Month: NASCAR recently announced a new marketing campaign that will support the automotive industry's "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education initiative. The campaign, which will debut in April, includes TV, radio, and print creative. In addition to spreading the word on April being 'National Car Care Month', the campaign will promote the NASCAR Performance Network, a network of thousands of auto repair and collision shops available to car-crazy NASCAR fans. Creative ads are set to debut around the time of the April 4th Samsung Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (FOX, 1 p.m. EST). The campaign features some of NASCAR's most popular crew chiefs, including Ryan Pemberton (No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet), Jimmy Fennig (No. 97 Rubbermaid/Irwin Ford) and Tommy Baldwin (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) stepping into the consumer world and offering guidance with car repair.
The TV campaign is comprised of 3 different commercials. NASCAR crew chiefs relay automotive advice to everyone from a woman
distraught over a relationship gone bad to a frustrated man in marriage counseling. The crew chiefs humorously advise them on their
various issues by suggesting different forms of car care advice. Print and radio ads will follow the same theme of crew chiefs giving expert advice to everyday people on the importance of proper automotive care.
Working with the MAKOS agency out of Austin, the NASCAR campaign will reach key consumer broadcast audiences via in-race spots
on national NBC and FOX broadcasts as well as the SPEED Channel, XM Radio and the Motor Racing Network (MRN); and in print, via
publications including NASCAR Scene, NASCAR Illustrated, NASCAR preview and press guides, the NASCAR track and travel guides as well as select NASCAR souvenir race programs. Banners ads will also appear on NASCAR.com.
The NASCAR Performance Network is a new, nationwide branding and service initiative of NASCAR aimed at supporting the automotive
industry's call to "Be Car Care Aware" and the $62 billion of unperformed consumer maintenance each year.(NASCAR PR)(4-1-2004)
#14 Gets Some Help: Several associate sponsors have been signed for this weekend for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway for the #14 A.J. Foyt Racing Dodge driven by Larry Foyt. Smith Chrysler-Dodge, located in Waxahachie, TX will be featured on the hood of the car. Ft. Worth Harley-Davidson will be on the car's rear quarter panels while Texas Harley-Davidson will
be on the car's TV panel. Insurance Auto Auctions will be featured on the rear deck lid. IAA is a leading provider of automotive and
specialty salvage services in the U.S. providing cost effective turnkey solutions to process and sell total-loss and recovered theft vehicles. Foyt is attempting to compete in his first race since the Subway 400 Feb. 22 at North Carolina Speedway where he finished 32nd. He returned to the cockpit of the A.J. Foyt Racing Dodge for the first time when he tested at TMS March 16-17. Team owner, A.J. Foyt will miss the first two days of action at TMS because he will be working with his Indy car team and grandson A.J. Foyt IV who is testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Saturday.(Foyt Racing PR)(4-1-2004)
Blaney Back in Action: Dave Blaney will compete this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in the #23 Dodge. Bill Davis, owner of the #23, has entered into a sponsorship agreement with Batesville Speedway. Mooney Starr, the owner and promoter of Batesville Speedway, has been a long-time supporter of local dirt track racing and felt this would be a unique way to help a longtime friend and also give something back to the local racing community. The #23 Bill Davis Racing entry will be sponsored by Batesville Speedway and also carry decals of it’s two primary events in 2004, the Alltel 100 for Modifieds and the Comp Cams Topless 100 for Late Model Stocks. Bad Boy Mowers of Batesville, AR will also lend support to Davis’ #23. Bad Boy Mowers, established in 1998, manufactures a zero turn radius commercial mower catering to experts in the commercial turf industry. Batesville Speedway is located in Locust Grove, Arkansas. It is a 3/8-mile, red clay oval nestled in the foot hills of the Ozark Mountains in North Central Arkansas. For more information on the event or sponsors, please visit www.batesvillespeedway.com or/and www.badboymowers.com.(BDR PR), also as reported recently, fans of Dave Blaney are pledging money to sponsor a car for Blaney at Michigan, more info on my #23 Team News and Links page; Current Amount 'Pledged': $60,936 as of 4/1.(4-1-2004)
More Casting for the Earnhardt movie: J.K. Simmons and Elizabeth Mitchell have joined the cast of ESPN's movie about NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. The movie, titled "3" after the number of Earnhardt's car, is set to begin filming April 14 in Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., ESPN says. Barry Pepper is playing Earnhardt. Russell Mulcahy ("Highlander," "Skin") will direct the film, which will track Earnhardt's life from the small town of Kannapolis, N.C., his rise through the NASCAR ranks and his lightning-rod status as both a hugely popular and widely reviled figure among the sport's fans. Simmons, a regular on HBO's "Oz" and the ABC series "The D.A.," will play Dale's father, Ralph Earnhardt, a driver in NASCAR's early days who introduced his son to stock-car racing. Mitchell ("The Lyon's Den") will play Teresa, Dale Earnhardt's wife. The movie is scheduled to premiere on ESPN in December.(Zap2It.com)(4-1-2004)
Harvick Paint News UPDATE: Kevin Harvick is scheduled to run a #29 Ice Breakers Liquid Ice Chevy at Texas, the new mint item is billed as the future of instant breath freshening.(1-25-2004) UPDATE: Childress, Harvick, Hershey Foods and GM Goodwrench to unveil first completely holographic race car. The #29 Ice Breakers Liquid Ice / GM Goodwrench Chevy will be driven by Kevin Harvick in Samsung/Radio Shack 500 Nextel Cup race on Sunday, April 4, 2004 and be unvieled at the track on Friday, April 2nd in the morning. In conjunction with the race car graphics, Hershey Foods is introducing new Ice Breakers Liquid Ice mints. The first intense, liquid-filled mints from Ice Breakers, Liquid Ice delivers instant mouth freshening and is designed for consumers with a need for breath-freshening speed (Keystone Marketing PR). See a diecast image of the car on my #29 Team Paint Schemes page.(4-1-2004)
Back to the Future REVISED scheme: 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), see the original image and the revised 'red' front image on my #21 Team Paint Schemes page.(3-26/4-1-2004)
#41 to sport different colors at Texas: The #41 Target Dodge will be adorned with the unmistakable green and white of Fujifilm for the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. For the first time this season, Casey Mears will not be sporting the Target bullseye on the hood of the #41 Dodge. Instead, his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup car will carry the colors of sponsorship partner Fujifilm. Mears ran a Fujifilm car last season at Chicagoland Speedway. In addition to the special paint scheme, Mears will have the opportunity to fly the Fujifilm Blimp above the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway on Thursday. Fans will see the blimp soaring high over the Fort Worth area and Texas Motor Speedway throughout the race weekend. The Fujifilm Blimp is over 200-feet long and weighs close to 8 tons, making it the second largest blimp in the world. Powered by two Porsche 930/67/AL/3 6-cylinder, air-cooled, turbocharged engines, the blimp features two rotatable-ducted propellers that give it the ability to hover as well as take-off and land almost vertically. For more information on Fujifilm products, consumers can call 800-800-FUJI or access the Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilm.com.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(4-1-2004)
Senator Burton? Seems sometimes that one can hardly turn around in the garage without bumping into a Republican who is seeking office or helping friends win an office in this election year. Of course George W. Bush set the trend with his visit to Daytona International Speedway in February. Then, last week, senate majority leader, Bill Frist worked the NASCAR crowd to get the vote out. With the political winds blowing through the NASCAR garage there’s little wonder that some within the sport are trying their hand at the game. The most serious contender in this category is NASCAR’s former director of operations, Kevin Triplett, who is now running for the 9th congressional district seat in his home state of Virginia. But it doesn’t end there. Now one of the drivers is showing interest in a career in politics, once he’s done driving. That driver is Ford Racing’s own Jeff Burton, who drives the #99 Roush prepared Taurus. In a shocking revelation Burton told www.teamfordracing.com, “I look forward to, in my fifties, being involved in politics. I intend to run for senator when I’m through racing.” While it is still too early to get a Burton for Senate lapel pin it would be interesting to see Burton shed his drivers suit for a three-piece suit in the future.(Ford Racing)(4-1-2004)
Be a Star, Extra's needed for Earnhardt Movie: Want to be in a TV movie and support one of your favorite NASCAR drivers? Extras of all ages are needed for the ESPN original movie, "3: The Dale Earnhardt Story," which will be filmed in the Charlotte and Concord areas over the next month. Barry Pepper, who also appeared in "Saving Private Ryan," "The Green Mile," and "We Were Soldiers," will star as racing legend Dale Earnhardt in the upcoming ESPN original film. Pepper also starred as New York Yankee slugger Roger Maris in the 2001 HBO film "61". Extras casting director Tona Dahlquist is looking for many extras, all types, males and females of all ages. However, due to the nature of the periods covered in the story, there is a special need for adult males. Anyone with pit crew experience is also needed - as well as infant and toddler identical twins of both sexes. If interested, you must bring a non-returnable current photo to one of two casting sessions: 4-8 p.m. Eastern Friday, April 2nd; or 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 3rd. Both sessions will be held at the Center Court at the Carolina Mall, 1480 Concord Pkwy, Concord, N.C.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-31-2004)
Dale Jr. causes caution UPDATE 3 Penalized, docked points and a statement: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. admitted repeatedly after Sunday's race he spun out on purpose on Lap 431 of 500 to prevent from having to pit under green and lose one or more laps. "I had a loose wheel and I didn't have any choice but to spin the car out to get a caution. So I went down in the corner, had some clear room behind me, and I just spun it out," Earnhardt Jr. said after the race. The caution came out, I put the clutch in and got going. What the hell else was I supposed to do? Go a lap down? Go two laps down?" Earnhardt Jr. also engaged in a profanity-laced exchange with his crew over his radio regarding NASCAR's decision to extend cautions late in the race to blow debris from the track. That earned Earnhardt Jr. a trip to the NASCAR hauler. His admission of intentionally causing a caution - an act which has been penalized previously by NASCAR - did not seem to raise the ire of series director John Darby. " 'I spun a car out' - that's a great excuse for spinning a car out, but proving that is another story," Darby said. "To brag about it is not enough for me to make a move on it."(ThatsRacin.com)(3-29-2004) UPDATE: NASCAR is reviewing the post-race comments made by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in which he admitted intentionally spinning out to cause a caution, NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said Tuesday. "This issue is still being looked at," Zizzo said. Following Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Earnhardt Jr. admitted repeatedly he spun out on purpose on Lap 431 of 500 to prevent from having to pit under green and lose one or more laps. In the 2002 Winston all-star race, Kurt Busch admitted after the race he intentionally spun driver Robby Gordon to bring out a caution. Later in the week, NASCAR fined him $10,000 for intentionally wrecking another competitor. Sunday, Nextel Cup series director John Darby said initially he didn't think Earnhardt Jr. deserved a penalty. However, on Tuesday Zizzo said Darby had heard only Earnhardt Jr.'s comments over his two-way radio after the race, not any comments Earnhardt Jr. made to the media. NASCAR should reach a decision on Earnhardt Jr. by Wednesday.(Kansas City Star)(3-30-2004) UPDATE 2: Section 12-4 (N) in the NASCAR Nextel Cup rulebook prohibits such action and lists what type of action is to be taken. It also states Earnhardt could be fined, lose championship points and lose his finishing position in the race.(Roanoke Times)(3-31-2004) Dale Jr. penalized #10G's and docked 25 points: Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was penalized with a loss of 25 championship driver points, a $10,000 fine and probation until June 1 for his actions during Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. The penalty also will extend to the team as Dale Earnhardt Inc. will lose 25 championship owner points for the actions of its driver. Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Busweiser Chevrolet, was penalized for intentionally causing a caution condition during the race and as a result was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-N (Any driver who, in the judgment of NASCAR officials, intentionally causes or attempts to cause a caution condition by stopping or spinning out or any other action) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book.
"The driver of the No. 8 car was quite vocal in admitting he intentionally spun out his car to cause a caution condition on the track, which is clearly prohibited in the NASCAR Rule Book," NASCAR President Mike Helton said. " We have several rules in our Rule Book that have been in place for quite some time to prevent someone from altering the outcome of an event. This was a clear-cut case of that. Actions such as this will not be tolerated. We will always react to protect the integrity of our sport." Earnhardt Jr.'s championship points total will be adjusted to 832 points as a result of the penalty, but he will still maintain third in the championship standings. DEI also will be adjusted to 832 points with the 25-point penalty and remain third in the owners' championship standings.(NASCAR PR) STATEMENT: TERESA EARNHARDT COMMENTS ON NASCAR PENALTY:
Teresa Earnhardt, Owner of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in NASCAR Nextel Cup competition, commented today on the penalty levied against the team by NASCAR following Sunday's Sharpie 500 in Bristol, TN. The fine, assessed for a late race spin, cost the Dale Earnhardt Incorporated team $10,000 and 25 owners and drivers championship points. "We regret what this has cost us in our pursuit of the Nextel Cup Championship. In the heat of battle, a lot of things can happen and decisions can be made that come at a high cost. It was a mistake we've all learned from and we have to move past it. Our goal is regaining the ground we've lost and continuing our focus on winning."(DEI PR)(3-31-2004)
Marlin's Pit Crew Takes Bristol Win: #40-Sterling Marlin's pit crew won the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday's (March 28) Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Marlin's crew earned $20,000 for the victory and became the sixth different winner in the first six races of the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Kurt Busch's #97 crew, which finished second to Marlin's crew in Bristol, remains in first place in the McDonald's/POWERade standings with 236 points. #38-Elliott Sadler's crew is second (220) and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew is third (219). The season pit crew champion will receive a $200,000 bonus. Marlin's fourth-place finish at Bristol was helped by his Coors Light pit crew. His #40 Dodge spent 250.170 seconds on pit road, six seconds fewer than Busch's Sharpie Ford. Michael Waltrip's NAPA Chevrolet was third with a time of 315.650. "I think it is great that McDonald's and POWERade put on a program that allows the pit crews to compete against other pit crews and show what they do every weekend," said Lee McCall, crew chief for the No. 40 team. "We had some good stops at Bristol and I am really proud of the guys. The Coors Light pit crew works hard every week and this time we were able to get a top-five finish." Marlin's over-the-wall crew consists of Steven Wolfe (front-tire changer), Trent Davis (front-tire carrier), Randy Cox (rear-tire changer), Tim Shore (rear-tire carrier), Mark Jacobs (jackman), Randy Hildreth (gasman) and Mike Motil (catch can). The team's pit crew coach is Lorin Ranier.(DMF Communications PR), see the top 10 at Bristol and season standings on my Pit Crew Page.(3-31-2004)
McCall chosen Crew Chief of the Week: Lee McCall, crew chief for Sterling Marlin's #40 Coors Light Dodge, has won the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race for his efforts in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Fans who logged on to www.WYPALL.com concurred that Lee McCall's pit strategy earned him this week's top spot in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge. Although McCall made good calls in the pits from the start, it was the two-tire pit stop during the caution on lap 201 that made the difference. With fresh tires on the right side, Marlin came out front and maintained the lead for the next 67 laps. Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ultimately managed to sneak past Marlin to secure 2nd and 3rd place spots and then the five cautions during the last 120 laps served to keep the track position intact. McCall joins #48-Chad Knaus, #42-Donnie Wingo and #17-Robbie Reiser in a tie for 2nd place in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge, at one win each. #8-Tony Eury, Sr., with two wins, leads the challenge. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will be named WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and receive $10,000.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-31-2004)
Milestone for Rudd: Ricky Rudd, driver of the #21 Motorcraft Racing Taurus, will reach another milestone this weekend when he makes 810th-career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start to move ahead of Darrell Waltrip into sole possession of third place on the series' all-time list. Rudd, who made his Cup debut in 1975, trails only Richard Petty (1,185) and Dave Marcis (883).(Ford Racing)(3-31-2004)
Matt Martin wins a championship: Mark Martin left Bristol shortly after the final Happy Hour session on Saturday as he was headed to Lakeland, Fla., to see his son, Matt, recognized for winning the American Speed Association FastKids Winter Heat Series on Saturday night. Matt told his Daddy, to be there when the young driver was introduced as that series’ champ during the ASA series season opener. “He told me he was going to do it — get that jacket [the award for winning the Winter Heat], and I’ll be darned if he didn’t go out and do it,” said Martin, who was smiling widely. “He’s a little racer and I’m proud of what he’s done so far.” Mark’s got a special affinity for the ASA Series, as would any four-time champion of any race series. ASA was where Martin got noticed and is clearly the stepping-stone to today.(Ford Racing)(3-31-2004)
Todd Bodine back in the #98: been told that Todd Bodine will be driving for Larry Gunselman again this weekend at Texas in the #98 Ford and will be spotting for Randy LaJoie in the Busch race.(3-30-2004)
Lepage out? Spencer In? UPDATE 2: hearing reports that Kevin Lepage and the #4 Morgan-McClure team have parted ways and that Jimmy Spencer will driver the #4 Chevy at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.(3-29-2004 - 10am/et) UPDATE:Fox Sports Net's Totally NASCAR reports that #4 crew chief Tim Brewer told them Spencer will be in the car starting at Texas and for the next several races.(3-29-2004) UPDATE 2: Jimmy Spencer says he will replace Kevin Lepage in the Morgan-McClure team's #4 Nextel Cup car for this weekend's events at Texas Motor Speedway. "As of right now, that's what we're doing," Spencer said Monday. A team spokesperson said Spencer is expected to be in the car for the next few races, with likely sponsorship from Featherlite; the team began the season with sponsorship from a Web site, yoketv.com, but the deal apparently has fallen through. Spencer, 47, finished 24th in the season-opening Daytona 500 but was left without a ride when the #7 team lost its primary sponsor.(USA Today) UPDATE 3 its OFFICIAL: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announces that "Mr. Excitement", Jimmy Spencer, will pilot the #4 NEXTEL Cup Series car for the upcoming Samsung Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Additionally, Featherlite, the "Official Trailer" and "Official Luxury Coach" of NASCAR, will be the primary sponsor of the #4 Chevy at Texas. Featherlite is a North American leader in manufacturing and marketing high quality aluminum trailers, specialized transporters, custom mobile marketing trailers, and luxury motor coaches. A highly diversified product line is offered of standard to custom models of car, recreational, horse, livestock, utility and commercial trailers through a dealer network in the U.S. and Canada. Featherlite, which is well known in the NASCAR community for its high quality and superb service, is a major supplier of leading-edge racecar transporters. A premium line of NEXTEL Cup licensed Featherlite Car Care products is available at automotive stores and www.featherlitecarcare.com.
The 47-year-old Spencer will take over the wheel of the #4 Featherlite Monte Carlo at Texas while starting in his 441st career NASCAR Cup Series event. The Berwick, Pa.-native has two wins in the elite series since his first Cup Series start in 1989, each taking place in 1994 with victories at Daytona and Talladega. He has garnered 28 top-fives, an amazing 80 top-10s and three pole positions. Larry McClure quotes: "We are extremely proud to have Featherlite as a sponsor on the car for Texas. Everyone involved with the company is top-notch. We are changing drivers to evaluate our race team. Jimmy Spencer has a lot of experience which should help us determine a positive direction for the team. "He will bring a lot of excitement to the No. 4 Monte Carlo and the NEXTEL Cup Series this weekend. We are happy to have him in the car with Featherlite sponsoring it." Conrad Clement, Featherlite CEO, quotes: "Featherlite is excited to have the unique opportunity to be on the No. 4 car for the Texas race. Morgan-McClure Motorsports has always been a class act, and with Jimmy in the driver's seat this combination will keep fans excited throughout the race." Jimmy Spencer quotes: "I am happy to be in the No. 4 Monte Carlo this weekend. They are looking for a sponsor and I am looking for a ride. I know I do not have a lot of years left to drive in this sport. I have never seen any more determined group of people than Larry McClure and his brothers. When I drove for Junior Johnson, Tim Brewer worked for Kranefuss. Although I never worked with him, I knew Tim for years through Junior. I think he is one of the savviest crew chiefs out there, especially calling races and making pit calls. I look forward to working with him. I have been watching the races this year. I am not real sure what to expect with the new tires. I think once I take the race car around the track a few laps, it will give me a better idea of what the car needs. Larry and the guys are very open minded for changes. You have to be somewhere where you want the team to do well. A driver cannot start blaming the crew or the crew chief and they cannot start blaming the driver. A team will soon deteriorate when this begins to happen. I realize a team has to work together. If one guy makes a mistake or the driver makes a mistake, the team has to pull together. If a guy starts pointing fingers, it is sure to fail. You know, I think having a hands on car owner like Larry who prefers aggressive driving styles will benefit us both. We still have a desire to compete and to win."(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(3-30-2004)
McMurray Fined $$ - no points: #42-Jamie McMurray was fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Aug. 31 by NASCAR on Tuesday for spinning #17-Matt Kenseth on the "cool down" lap following Sunday's race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kenseth and McMurray traded bumps in the closing laps and then McMurray spun Kenseth's #17 DeWalt Ford on pit road after the race was completed. Kenseth and McMurray and their crew chiefs were called to the NASCAR hauler after the race.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-30-2004)
Elliott close to a sponsor? hearing #91-Bill Elliott is close to announcing a four-race Cup deal, with one of the races bring the Brickyard 400, no word on the sponsor. Had heard rumors it could be McDonald's, but sources tell me it apparently in NOT.(3-30-2004)
Benson in the #09 at Texas: Johnny Benson will drive the #09 Phoenix Racing Dodge at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, Joe Ruttman was listed on the early entry list.(3-30-2004)
Tennis Anyone? Jeff Gordon will be among the celebrities featured in a $3 million marketing effort to encourage more Americans to play tennis, this week's Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports. The story says the campaign is being funded by the U.S. Tennis Association and the Tennis Industry Association. Gordon is scheduled to be part of a print advertising campaign that will also feature boxer Roy Jones Jr., television newsman Mike Wallace and actress and model Daisy Fuentes.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-30-2004)
Jackson Hewitt Declares 'Army National Guard Appreciation Week': Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc., the nation's second largest tax preparation company, declared the week of March 29, 2004 "Army National Guard Appreciation Week" at the company's more than 4,900 locations nationwide. To kick off the week, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service will launch its "Support America's Troops" nationwide banner-signing initiative, with the help of Sharpie markers, where taxpayers can sign their names and send messages of support that will be sent to troops stationed across the world. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and the Army National Guard have partnered on a number of programs aimed at the Army National Guard's recruitment, outreach and charitable efforts. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service is a proud sponsor of the #16 National Guard Ford and Nextel Cup Series Driver Greg Biffle. In addition, Jackson Hewitt offers all National Guard members and their families a tax preparation discount at all Jackson Hewitt Tax Service locations. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service also proudly supports the soon to be announced Army National Guard's "True Champions" charity that will support military servicemen and women deployed overseas. In honor of "Army National Guard Appreciation Week," Jackson Hewitt will donate $5,000 to the "True Champions" charity. Earlier this year, Jackson Hewitt made the first donation to the charity with an initial $5,000 donation, which they presented to the Army National Guard in honor of their racecar sponsorship. In addition to that initial donation, Jackson Hewitt will donate an additional $5,000 for every race Greg Biffle wins on the Nextel Cup Series circuit in 2004. Sharpie, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and sponsor of fellow NEXTEL Cup Series driver Kurt Busch, donated markers for the banner signings across the country.(Yahoo Biz)(3-30-2004)
Gillette Young Guns Shooting Perfect: Through the first six races of 2004, all have been won by members of the Gillette Young Guns. Joining fellow Young Guns and 2004 race winners Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch was
victorious for the first time this season and the for the third straight race at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Food City 500. Starting the day in the 13th position, Busch ran in the top-10 a majority of the race. While Busch only led once, he did it when it counted the most. Taking the lead for good on lap 382, Busch led the final 119 laps and was able to hold on for a 0.428-second victory over a hard-charging Rusty Wallace. With his 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 Kurt Busch. As part of his victory in the Food City 500, Busch also picked up the $4,800 Gillette Mach3Turbo Award for being the highest finishing driver participating in the particular contingency program. Through the sixth race of the season, Kenseth still leads the NASCAR NEXTEL point standings, though the other Gillette Young Guns are closing in with all six of them securely in the top seven - Busch (Second), Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Ryan Newman (Fifth), Jimmie Johnson (Sixth) and Kevin Harvick (Seventh). Only 125-points separate the top-seven drivers. Out of 1,978 laps run so far in 2004, the Gillette Young Guns have led a very impressive 1073 laps (54%).(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(3-30-2004)
Military Jet Crashes: A military jet crashed late Monday morning in Rhea County [TN], but the pilot ejected and escaped serious injury. The pilot of the Naval jet fighter plane was taken by ambulance to Erlanger Medical Center, reportedly with only a broken ankle. The plane was from the Naval Air Station in Atlanta and was reportedly returning with other military jets to Atlanta from a weekend NASCAR event [at Bristol].(chattanoogan.com)(3-30-2004)
Sad News: Mary Earles Weatherford, 73, of Martinsville, VA died Friday, March 26, 2004, at Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County. She was born Nov. 11, 1930, in Martinsville, to H. Clay and Mildred Warren Earles, both deceased. She was the vice president of Martinsville Speedway and a member of Starling Avenue Baptist Church. She graduated from Martinsville High School, attended Mary Washington College and graduated from Perry Business School in Martinsville. Surviving are her husband, Francis M. "Pete" Weatherford of the home; a sister, Dorothy E. Campbell of Martinsville; one niece and one nephew; two great-nieces and two great-nephews.(Martinville Bulletin)(3-30-2004)
Testing at Martinsville: hearing #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #9-Kasey Kahne are testing at Martinsville Speedway today.(3-29-2004)
Elliott Dirt Tracking: Bill Elliott raced on dirt Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, TN. He qualified 33rd-fastest, but failed to qualify for the evening's feature race after crashing during his heat.(www.volunteerspeedway.com - site down).(3-29-2004)
Hawk to NASCAR's Diversity Program? UPDATE: 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) UPDATE: NASCAR is expected to announce that former Dale Earnhardt Inc. president Don Hawk will join its competition segment, working in racing development.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-29-2004)
Update on the New Ford Engine Heads UPDATE: Even though the NASCAR Ford Racing teams were granted a new cylinder head at the end of the 2003 season, the piece has not yet made an appearance in a Cup event. Reliability testing is the final hurdle as the engine builders work to ensure that the new piece is as robust as the old one. The old head, with its roots dating back to the very early 1990's, is certainly a proven piece that shows few failures in the casting. It is this reliability that Doug Yates and the Ford engine group are trying to translate into the new part. Slowing the process, however, is the fact that the teams need to race every week, and that alone creates a considerable amount of work with which the engine builders keep up. "Yes we have been working on the new heads. That's what we see as our future," Doug Yates told Team Ford Racing. "To this point we've worked extremely hard on our restrictor plate engines and did well and we've worked extremely hard at getting enough engines in the system to get to the race track with this current engine. That set us back a little bit on the production of our new engine. We know what we need and it's coming soon. The problem right now is that we've got a pretty good package with that engine, we've just got to get the new package tested and race track proven before we jump out there and have problems. The number one goal is to not have any failures." With event points as difficult as they are to come by Yates' approach of maintaining reliability is vital. TFR asked Yates about the option of transient dyno cells, which can torture an engine using real data gathered from a test session to manipulate the throttle and load as it would if a driver was manipulating the pedal in the car. "We don't have a transient dyno," Yates said of his engine shop facilities. "Some of the teams do and that's probably a real advantage. Ford Motor Company actually has one that's at our disposal." Yates then suggested that some ancillary issues could arise out of the use of a transient dyno, issues that could lead a builder on a wild chase. Giving an estimate as to when the new cylinder head might make its first appearance, Yates speculated, "I think Fontana is a pretty good date for when we need to have something on the race track. That's four or five weeks out right now."(in part from Ford Racing)(3-27-2004) UPDATE - More on Ford cylinder heads: Robert Yates, whose organization fields cars driven by Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler, is eager to run the new Team Ford Racing cylinder heads, but the current port heights don't fit NASCAR regulations. Ford hopes the new engine can make its debut at the May 2 race at California Speedway.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(3-29-2004)
Kennseth vs. McMurray: #17-Matt Kenseth and #42-Jamie McMurray traded bumps in the closing laps and then McMurray spun Kenseth's #17 DeWalt Ford on pit road after the race was completed. Kenseth "hit me two or three times going into Turn 1 when we took the green. He's not typically like that," McMurray said. "I got into him a little bit, trying to get him out of the way so I could get by him. It's just one of those deals. I'm shocked Matt acted that way." Of the post-race spin, McMurray said: "You can't really get out and punch somebody in our sport, so I just wanted him to know I was mad." Kenseth said he simply was retaliating on the track to McMurray's moves. "He just knocked me out of the groove and I did the same to him," Kenseth said. "They say nice guys finish last, I guess. "He didn't wreck. I didn't wreck, except for when he wrecked me on pit road." Kenseth and McMurray and their crew chiefs were all called to the hauler. A penalty is likely for McMurray's spin after the race.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-29-2004)
A Short Track Streak: Kurt Busch is fourth driver to win at least three straight Bristol races. Darrell Waltip won seven in a row at one point. Cale Yarborough won four straight and Fred Lorenzen won three in a row. The last driver to win three straight races at one short track was Rusty Wallace, who won both races in 1994 and the first race in 1995 at Martinsville.(ThatsRacin.com)(3-29-2004)
Sad News: Farris Frazier, father of Busch Series crew chief Bryant Frazier and Susan Grissom, wife of 1993 Busch Series champion Steve Grissom, died March 26,2004 in Gadsden, Alabama. Funeral services were held March 29. Bryant Frazier is crew chief for Labonte Motorsports and Team Coast Guard driver Justin Labonte.(Labonte Motorsports PR)(3-29-2004)
Sad News - Journalist dies: Tom Hodge, editorial director of the Johnson City Press, collapsed and died at the track Saturday while working as a volunteer for the Kiwanis Club. Hodge, 74, began his newspaper career as an 18-year-old sportswriter.(Tennessean)(3-29-2004)
Sad News: Thirty-two year old Sonny Sayre of Proctor, AR, passed away late last night after suffering critical injuries in Saturday night’s season-opening American Sprint Car Series National Tour event at Delta Bowl Speedway in Tunica, MS.(ascsracing.com)(3-29-2004)