Gordon wins Talladega under caution: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, getting in the lead just before the yellow flag was thrown when #25-Vickers spun. #8-Earnhardt Jr. felt he was ahead of Gordon, but says he will take the points [as he stays in the drivers points lead]. It is Gordon's 3rd win at Talladega, 1st of the season and his 65th of his career [6th all-time]. Chevy has now won 11 straight Talladega races. The rest of the top five [there could be some scoring changes later] were #29-Harvick, #48-Johnson and #31-Gordon. The highest finishing rookie was #77-Brendan Gaughan with a 13th. There were 11 cautions for 55 laps, a new record for the number at cautions [9 was the record, but not a record for the most caution laps which was 62 in May 1972]. There were 23 drivers lead a lap and 54 lead changes.
Unofficial results at: Jayski's Aaron's 499 Race Results/Awards Standings page ThatsRacin.com MotorsportsOne NASCAR.com.(4-25-2004)
Parts taken and work being done on cars at 'Dega UPDATE: NASCAR inspectors confiscated a few parts in the Cup garage Friday morning before qualifying. Unapproved fuel cell gaskets were taken from the cars of #30-Johnny Sauter and #17-Matt Kenseth and unapproved windshield braces from the cars of #32-Ricky Craven and #48-Jimmie Johnson. #24-Jeff Gordon's Chevy also required some work on its rear end before it passed inspection.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-23-2004) UPDATE: NASCAR inspectors added to their collection of bad parts from teams over the weekend at Talladega. Topping the list: unapproved springs from the cars of #49-Ken Schrader, #45-Kyle Petty, #09-Johnny Benson, #9-Kasey Kahne and #32-Ricky Craven. Also seized were unapproved underpans from the cars of #88-Dale Jarrret and #00-Kenny Wallace.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-25-2004)
Gary Nelson Explains Restrictor Plates: The restrictor plates used by NASCAR to control speed at its two fastest tracks, Talladega and Daytona, are like a heart monitor or an artificial leg. You hate having to have them, but you can't do without them. The plate is a thin piece of steel, simple and bulletproof, about five inches square, and with four holes machined precisely so as to fit under the centers of the throttle bores. The holes have varied in size since the introduction of the plates in 1988, and currently are at 0.90625in (29/32nds). The plates are controlled by NASCAR and are installed and removed by NASCAR officials prior to competition events. The plate is intended to reduce the flow of air/fuel mixture from the carburetor into the intake manifold and hence into the cylinders, the ultimate goal being to reduce horsepower and speed. It is estimated that the restriction knocks about 300hp out of the engine, keeping speeds here and at Daytona in the 185-190 range, safely below the alleged "magic number" of 200mph.
There is a lot to this article by Ben Blake, see the full story at
Speed Channel: click here and for some stats and history of the restrictor plate races at Daytona and Talladega since 1987, see my Restrictor Plate Page.(4-25-2004)
Q&A with Mike Helton: One interesting Q&A: Q: We're hearing that at Daytona in July you'll require that teams qualify with race set-ups, then cover the cars and come back Saturday night.
Answer: "We've talked about it, but I'm not sure we're ready to get that far. That goes to my point of making weekends more efficient. There is a conversation among the competitors with NASCAR right now -- John Darby was the author of this -- if you qualify, and we impound you basically after qualifying, what does that do? That's the conversation John's having in the garage area, as well as with the promoters. It has an impact on Daytona; it would have an impact on Talladega. We're in that phase of talking about it right now. It has a possibility of happening, but it's not near that point."
Full Q&A at Speed Chanel: Q&A with Mike Helton.(4-25-2004)
Truex Eventually to the #15: ....so [Michael] Waltrip might have had reason to feel insecure. In fact, a man less certain of what he wants from the next five years of his NASCAR career and beyond would be inclined to suspicion, or even resentment. After all, Waltrip, who turns 41 Friday, has made his most important contributions to Dale Earnhardt Inc. in restrictor-plate races, winning four (his only career victories) since 2001. His drafting help has often been crucial to teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. But there are just four such races in the 36-event Nextel Cup schedule, and even Waltrip admitted after qualifying second for today's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway that "the cars are that good where we can be successful without each other." But according to DEI director of motorsports Richie Gilmore, there is no insecurity, no acrimony between the race team and Waltrip, because there are no "secret agendas." Though Gilmore said he wants to keep Waltrip "as long as we can," everyone knows DEI ultimately wants Truex in Waltrip's #15 Chevrolet. "I think Michael has been great with that," Gilmore said. "Besides Junior, he's been one of Martin's No.1 fans. We've had that conversation about one day putting Martin in that car down the road when Michael moves on. And Michael supports that." It helps that Waltrip is too busy looking ahead to look behind. Waltrip, who owns a Busch team he runs out of a shop in his back yard, will field a Nextel Cup team for five races this season with veteran Kenny Wallace driving. That's the first step of a master plan in which Waltrip sees himself phasing out of DEI and into a role as full-time owner. "I'd like to think that in five years I could have a Cup team or two that competes on a regular basis," Waltrip said. "I'd like to continue to run Busch for myself and continue to run for DEI until that deal runs itself out, maybe have a Cup team where somebody else would drive for me. I've enjoyed owning and developing a team more than people know." Gilmore said Truex could run some Cup races this season in the DEI #1 Chevrolet formerly driven part-time by John Andretti.(St Petersburg Times)(4-25-2004)
StockCarFans.Com - Rumblings - Talladega: To say that we ended in controversy would be the understatement of the
year.....Jeff Gordon was in front of Dale Earnhardt Jr (at least in the eyes of NASCAR) "at the moment of caution" today at Talladega Superspeedway and won the Aaron's 499 (where'd that mile go?). As a wreck happened behind them coming out of turn 3, instead of a drag race to the start/finish line, we had a couple laps of "what'd you see" to determine the outcome. More on that later....
Jeff Gordon's victory was #65 for his career (he's 7th on the all-time win list) and first since he won at Atlanta last October. It was his
7th plate win and first since he won this event in 2000. Oh yeah, it was worth a paltry $320,258 from the over $5.7M in posted awards.
Now, we're not gonna condone what happened at the race's end by the fans, but it certainly shouldn't have been unexpected. NASCAR fans aren't stupid. They know that "freezing the field at the moment of caution" isn't worth the PR paper it's printed on! 'Splain me how they can freeze a field at Nashville a couple weeks ago in the Busch race when you've got four cars sliding through the grass on the backstretch in a cloud of dust? Oh, we do it when they get back up to pace car speed......but don't pass anybody under the yellow, either. NASCAR doesn't have the technology.....plain & simple. And, the fans know it. The fans shouldn't have done what they did, but the last time this happened NASCAR became more forthcoming (the last red flag lap) with their rules. And, since nobody from NASCAR was gonna go out there and stand in front of that Gadsden grandstand and explain it, the fans expressed their displeasure. It's really a shame too, cause up till lap 183 we'd had about as good a race as we can get....plate or not.
There'll be a lot of talk about how this gives our sport a black eye, but it was a moment like this that many consider the defining moment in NASCAR history....a fist fight in turn 3 at Daytona International Speedway. Out of that, improvement came.....hopefully we'll see the
same after today. What a hot race.....lotsa overheating today.
The "Big One" came on lap 84....11 cars sent spinning when Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch made contact.
Jeff Burton (7th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Rockingham last November. He's the 26th driver to score a Top-10 this season....we've still got a ways to go to reach last year's number of 42.
Brendan Gaughan (13th) had his career-best finish this week. He was 17th at Martinsville last week.
Johnny Sauter (14th) tied his career-best finish today. He was 14th at Rockingham in February.
Ricky Rudd (17th) had his best finish since he was 15th at Martinsville last October.
Jimmy Spencer (20th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Rockingham last November.
Eric McClure (26th) did a commendable job in his first Nextel Cup start.
Kerry Earnhardt (35th) had his career-best finish today. He was 43rd in his only other Cup start at Michigan in August of 2000.
Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10's in a row.
Jamie McMurray has 4 Top-10's in a row.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
This Week's Elevator...UP: The Operator of the Week is a lonely Jamie McMurray (+26). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ward Burton (-30), Scott Riggs (-29), Joe Nemechek (-28), and Sterling Marlin (-22).
With 55 lead changes amongst 23 drivers it comes as no surprise that....Mark Martin led today for the first time since he led once for one lap at Richmond last September. Dale Jarrett led today for the first time since he led twice for 25 laps at Kansas last October. Jimmy Spencer led today for the first time since he led once for 9 laps at Homestead last November. Brian Vickers led today for the first time since he led once for 11 laps at that same Homestead race. And, Eric McClure led today in his first Nextel Cup race. That means we've now had 36 leaders this season.....last year's number was 48.
Jeff Burton (33rd to 28th) made the best move forward in the standings, while brother Ward (19th to 25th) went in the opposite direction.(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(4-26-2004)
Cingular helps War Vet to see race: When the green flag drops in Talladega on Sunday, James Mayne will be one of the most excited fans at the race regardless of which driver crosses the finish line first. That's because the lifelong motor sports fan from Fyffe, Alabama, will be attending his first ever stock car race VIP-style as the grand prize winner in the 'Ultimate Cingular Sports Experience' sweepstakes. Mayne, a Vietnam War veteran, submitted his winning sweepstakes entry at the Scottsboro, Alabama, Cingular store and received the news that he was randomly selected as the contest winner on Thursday. Thanks to Cingular, he will also get the chance to have a VIP experience at his second stock car race ever, as the 'Ultimate Cingular Sports Experience' also includes airfare to see the big race in Indianapolis on August 8th. Mayne's perks include:
* VIP experience to the stock car race in Talladega on April 25th and the race in Indianapolis on August 8th
* Roundtrip airfare for two to Indianapolis
* Three days, two nights hotel accommodations in Indianapolis
* A Meet and Greet with Team Cingular's NASCAR driver Robby Gordon
The 'Ultimate Cingular Sports Experience' sweepstakes was executed throughout Alabama from April 1-19th. Entry methods included text to win "RG31" for Cingular customers and register to win at participating Cingular stores in Alabama. The sweepstakes was supported with in-store POP and radio spots/on-air mentions.(Career Sports & Entertainment PR)(4-25-2004)
Dale Jr. wins 1st Qtr Driver of the Year honors: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. got 11 of 19 first-place votes in the first-quarter balloting for the 2004 Driver of the Year award, which is presented by Speed Channel. Earnhardt Jr., who won the Daytona 500 and the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta and is currently the Nextel Cup points leader, got 135 points in the balloting by a panel of media covering motorsports and an online fan vote. Sprint car driver Steve Kinser was second with four first-place votes and 97 points.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-24-2004)
Johnson's brother starts racing career: One of the younger brothers of #48-Jimmie Johnson has started his own racing career, competing in the Dodge Weekly Racing Series at Hickory Motor Speedway. Jarit Johnson, 25, competed in a Spec Truck division in El Canjun, Calif., before moving to Mooresville, NC. Jarit maintains his Limited Late Model entry in a two-car garage that has been converted to a part-time race shop. When he's not racing, Jarit works in the NASCAR Busch Series shop of driver Michael Waltrip. "Right now, we're just going out there to get some experience and learn," said Jarit. "This is my first year in the Limited Late Model class. I'm just going to go out there, try to finish in the top five in points and hopefully win some races." So far, Jarit is off to a fast start. He earned his first race victory April 17 and is ranked in the top 10 in the Hickory track standings.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-24-2004)
Larry Foyt looking to run the Indy 500 UPDATE: #14-Larry Foyt, whose Nextel Cup plans have been cut back by sponsor woes, is set to drive an Indy Racing League machine next week with an eye on competing in the Indianapolis 500.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) AND A.J. Foyt still doesn't know who will be in the team's second car for the Indy 500 but said his son, Larry, whose NASCAR career has fizzled, is a possibility.(Indianapolis Star)(4-23-2004) UPDATE: Larry Foyt, the son of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, said Friday that he will test a car Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with an eye toward competing in next month's 500. The second-year NASCAR Nextel Cup driver will drive one of the Indy cars being prepared for his nephew, A.J. Foyt IV, who will be trying to earn a spot in his second consecutive 500. A.J. Foyt started a record 35 500s in his Hall of Fame career, winning in 1961, 1964, 1967 and 1977. "I've been to that race (the 500) every year of my life. That race is why I wanted to be a race car driver," said the 27-year-old Larry Foyt during NASCAR's event at Talladega Superspeedway. His only Indy Racing League experience is testing at Texas Motor Speedway and Pikes Peak (Colo.) International Raceway a few years ago. Foyt spent two seasons in NASCAR's Busch Series before moving to Winston Cup, as it was called, last year. His career includes a season in the American Speed Association and 12 starts in the U.S. Auto Club's Formula 2000 division. Foyt's Indy test will be part of the IRL's rookie orientation program that includes Ed Carpenter, Mark Taylor, Kosuke Matsuura and Marty Roth. The league will have its open test for all 500 hopefuls Tuesday and Wednesday at the Speedway. Because of his status as a Nextel Cup driver, Foyt will not be required to pass the IRL's four-stage rookie program to compete in next month's 500. He will be graded by his father, who at times has a more stringent standard. "I'm going to give him some laps, but (running in May) is not for sure yet," A.J. Foyt said Friday by phone from Houston. "We've got to see how things go." A.J. Foyt's teams are struggling for sponsorship support in the IRL and NASCAR. The team owner is hoping that a financial deal can be put together for one of a handful of drivers that are available. The only other Nextel Cup driver expected to participate in the 500 is Robby Gordon, who will be driving a car from his own team.(Indianapolis Star News)(4-24-2004)
Elliott looking to help young drivers: Bill Elliott said Friday that he's working on a plan to put his dirt racing buddy Ray Cook, and some other young drivers, in a driver development program that will allow them to drive Ray Evernham-prepared cars in ARCA, Busch or Craftsman Truck Series races. Elliott said Cook, from Brasstown, N.C., likely will be running some ARCA races before mid-summer. "We need to get him through the hurdles that ARCA requires as far as testing and all," Elliott said. "I want to run him and some other guys, too." Elliott said he won't be the car owner. "I'll be more like an adviser," he said. "It's more of a co-op deal [with Ray Evernham]." Elliott said he's been impressed with Cook's driving ability and knowledge of race cars.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-24-2004)
No Selling of tires for testing rule? Michael Waltrip, who calls it "ridiculous" that NASCAR lets Cup teams test at Kentucky and Nashville, says the key to NASCAR ending expensive testing is simple: "Don't let Goodyear sell us tires for testing." Indeed NASCAR is considering just such a policy. Jimmy Makar, general manager for Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, says a no-tire testing rule would lead to more virtual testing through computers. "Virtual testing would become more important," Makar said. "If they put enough things in place to keep you from physically getting to a race track, obviously we'll look at all the loopholes to get around it. Would it save us money? Motels and engines and travel. But would you go more high tech? Obviously it would be easier on the guys who go on the road, and those guys would be all for it. But crew chiefs will be screaming they can't go test their ideas. I would be in favor of coming in Thursdays, a day early, for data acquisition testing at the tracks. Do that 12 times a year and that would take care of your testing." Makar said he and many crew chiefs are in favor of the no-happy-hour proposal that NASCAR officials have considered, where teams would qualify on race setups and then cover their cars after pole runs and not touch them until Sunday morning. Mark Cronquist, Gibbs' engine builder, goes a step further: "You could do all that on Friday, and then use only one motor. Let the engineers have the car Friday for computer data, Saturday you qualify, and Sunday you race. That way the engineers get data with the actual race motor at the track under actual conditions, much better than testing a month ahead. Like look at all those guys testing at Sears Point this week - that's two months before we race there."(Winston Salem Journal)(4-24-2004)
Bobby Hamilton Racing and Kodak team up for Diverstiy program: Eastman Kodak Company announced it will sponsor Bobby Hamilton Racing's #77 Dodge for the 2004 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series races at the Music City Motorplex in Nashville, TN. Eighteen- year-old Joe Henderson of Franklin, TN was chosen from the Drive for Diversity program to drive the Kodak Perfect Touch Dodge. The team is owned by veteran NASCAR driver Bobby Hamilton. The Radiate Group's Access Marketing & Communications agency worked with NASCAR to develop the Drive for Diversity program, which serves as a driver and crew-development program for young racers from multicultural backgrounds. "NASCAR is fortunate to have great companies like Kodak supporting Drive for Diversity," said NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne. "Kodak has a well-earned reputation of leadership in diversity and inclusion. NASCAR is aggressively promoting diversity at all levels of our sport, and Kodak's participation in this important initiative will contribute to this long-term goal." Kodak has consistently earned recognition for its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Most recently, DiversityInc. named Kodak to its Top 50 Companies for Diversity for the fourth consecutive year. In February, the company was also recognized among Diversity Best Practices/Business Womens' Network as a "Best of the Best - Corporate Awards for Diversity and Women" for 2004. In addition to racing, Henderson will graduate from Franklin High School and expects to attend Nashville Auto Diesel College in fall 2005. Bobby Hamilton Racing's #77 Kodak Dodge carries identifiers for the Kodak Perfect Touch photofinishing service. This premium service uses digital technology to enhance consumers' film pictures and correct red-eye in snapshots. The service is available through retailers across the U.S.(PR)(4-24-2004)
StockCarFans.com - Ramblings - Talladega: It's been a week of catchin up....First, Rusty Wallace wins his first race in three years last week, then...It had been 20 years since the Wood Brothers had won a pole, but Ricky Rudd grabbed the top-spot today at Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday's Aaron's 499 and ended that streak! Kinda hard to believe it'd been that long for the Wood's, but for Ricky it was a mere two years ago when he took his last Bud Pole at Watkins Glen in August of 2002. Ricky's speed of 191.180 (50.089 sec) was good for his 29th career pole, and nipped the DEI juggernaut of Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt Jr. He becomes the sixth different pole winner this season, and is now eligible for next February's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
Michael Waltrip (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Watkins Glen in August of 2002. So, if you've read closely, that means we've got the same front row here at a 2.66 mile Superspeedway that we had at that 2.45 mile road course. The more things change, the more they stay the same.....
#01-Joe Nemechek (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Richmond in May of last year.
#10-Scott Riggs (5th) has his career best starting spot. His previous best was 13th last week at Martinsville.
#6-Mark Martin (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Richmond last September.
#5-Terry Labonte (13th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 9th at Dover last September.
Welcome Back and Greetings: Kenny Wallace (27th) makes his first start of the season. Eric McClure (35th) makes his first-ever Cup start, and Kerry Earnhardt makes only his second Cup start this Sunday. His first was at Michigan in August of 2000....starting 27th and finishing 43rd.
STREAKIN....Dale Earnhardt Jr. has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.(StockCarFans.com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(4-23-2004)
Provisional Rules to be changed? UPDATE: hearing after last weeks error with the provisonals being awarded that there may be a change somehow in the Provisional Starting Process. Lat week at Martinsville, #72-Kirk Shelmerdine was out of provisionals but was origianlly on the Starting Lineup. The #98 team of Todd Bodine protested and was added to the field and Shelmerdine dropped [in hindsight, since Shelmerdine was told he was in, they should had just added Boding and started 44 cars, however...]. Anyhow, hearing it could be like the top 40 speeds, and the remaining three 'promotors option' or the top three in owners points not in already with none being charged, however, this is just a rumor.(4-21-2004) UPDATE - rules change: NASCAR issued technical bulletins in its Cup and Busch series this week outlining a minor change to the awarding of provisional starting positions. The change concerns instances when there are not enough teams eligible for provisionals to fill the provisional starting spots. Previously, NASCAR would award the remaining positions to teams based on their number of qualifying attempts and all teams would be charged for using the provisionals.
Under the revised rule, in the event the number of entries eligible for a provisional is equal to or less than the number of starting positions, provisionals assigned to fill positions 39 through 43 will not be charged to teams' maximum season total.(ThatsRacin.com), not much of a change and the rule pretty much already read like that anyway, anything to make the rule more confusing I guess.
this is from a NASCAR PR dated 1-6-2004: "In the event the number of entrants is equal to or less than the number of starting positions available for an event, provisionals assigned to fill starting positions 39 through 43 will not count toward the maximum season allotment."...so what is the difference? So with 46 cars entered, no provisionals for #72-Shelmerdine [out], #00-Wallace or #04-McClure [first attempt for the teams] and while the #33 [Skinner] used a provisional and somehow was charged it at Daytona when it didn't have any, assuming [hate to assume] that the #33 with Kerry Earnhardt/team is NOT eligible for a provisional. So that should/could/maybe make 42 teams eligible for a provisional this week at Talladega, so they shouldn't be charged this week.....
Been told, provisionals will NOT be charged at Talladega.(4-23-2004)
TV Ratings Up for Martinsville UPDATE: NASCAR says 7 percent more viewers watched Fox's broadcast of last Sunday's Advance Auto Parts 500 from Martinsville Speedway than in 2003. NASCAR says an average of 8,552,000 viewers and an average of 5,887,000 households tuned in. No Nielsen Media Research ratings were cited. For the year, NASCAR says both viewership and household numbers for the Nextel Cup Series are up 3 percent.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-23-2004) AND Fox's broadcast of last Sunday's Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway drew a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.4 and a 14 share, today's Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 1.9 percent higher than last year's 5.3 final figure.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-23-2004)
Brett Bodine to the pace car? NASCAR is reevaluating its staffing on its pace car and chase vehicles and is seriously considering turning pace car driving duties in its Nextel Cup series races over to former Cup driver Brett Bodine, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Bodine, 45, who retired from active competition, was recently hired by NASCAR to tackle several special projects with its research and development team based in Concord, NC, including work on the "car of the future," which will incorporate new safety measures. Bodine would replace Buster Auton, who has served as pace car driver in the Cup series since 1997, following the death of Elmo Langley. Auton has missed only a handful of races due to medical reasons. Auton is expected to then move to the "chase car," NASCAR's first-response vehicle to accident scenes, generally followed by safety crews and ambulances. Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president for corporate communications, said no final decisions have been made on staffing changes. "Whether Buster is driving the pace car or the chase car or whatever Buster Auton is doing, he is a vital part of NASCAR's operations," Hunter said. Hunter said NASCAR is always evaluating its needs on the track and in the garage, attempting to find where its employees' talent can be best utilized. Bodine drove in Cup for 20 seasons. He had one win and five poles in 480 career starts. A formal announcement of any changes is expected within a couple of weeks.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-23-2004)
#99 Team gets a 4-race sponsor: Roush Racing announced today that Roundup FastAct* weed and grass control, will team up with the #99 Roush Racing Ford of Jeff Burton for the next four races. Roundup will appear as the primary sponsor on the car this weekend at Talladega and the next three races at California, Richmond and the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Parent company, Scotts will also appear as an associate sponsor for all four races. "This is a great opportunity for our race team and I'm excited about our new partnership with Roundup and Scotts," said Burton. "I've used Scotts products, including Roundup, in my yard for as long as I can remember and I'm looking forward to growing our relationship with both Roundup and Scotts over the next four races." Vito Boscaino, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Scotts echoed Burton's excitement. "This partnership between Roush Racing and Roundup makes perfect sense." Boscaino continued, "Both are leaders in their industry and have successful track records. We've been exploring opportunities in NASCAR for sometime now and are looking forward to this trial run with one of NASCAR's most popular drivers." The Scotts brand is the exclusive worldwide marketing agent for the consumer lawn and garden Roundup brand, owned by Monsanto. For more than 130 years, The Scotts Company has been the world's leader in do-it-yourself lawn
and garden consumer products. The family of brands, including Scotts, Roundup, Miracle-Gro and Ortho, give beginning and expert gardeners all they need to create thick, green lawns, beautiful outdoor and indoor gardens, and delicious vegetables and fruits, as well as to keep their homes safe and sound from pests. For more information on Roundup or any of the Scotts products visit www.roundup.com, or www.scotts.com or call 800-246-7219 or 800-843-8873. AND The Duke Children's Hospital paint scheme has been postponed however; the #99 Roundup Ford will carry the Duke Children's Hospital logo on the deck lid for this weekend's race at Talladega. For more information on Duke Children's Hospital log onto www.dukechildrens.org.(Roush Racing PR)(4-23-2004)
See a car cut in half at Talladega: thought this was interesting.... 59-year old Lee "Hackman" Breton, a 42-year employee of Lenox will cut a car in half [wonder if he can cut my old tbird in half?], by hand, in less than five minutes, using only his skill and a super-tough Lenox blade. This car cutting event will introduce the world to Lenox Team Hackman, an incredible team of five master cutters who are traveling the U.S. and the world demonstrating the strength of Lenox saw blades and their impressive cutting skills by cutting cars, buses, trucks, houses, planes, trains and anything else they can get their hands on. The 'event' will take place at the Irwin/Lenox Workshop Mobile Marketing Unit Exhibit/Display Area at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 25, 2004 at 10:30am/local.(Lenox PR)(4-23-2004)
Ford looking for a woman driver: Ford racing director Dan Davis has seen enough of rising open-wheel driver Danica Patrick to believe a woman can succeed at racing's highest levels. He also has seen enough talented young drivers come out of the U.S. Auto Club midget ranks and achieve NASCAR success to believe that is the quickest route to the Nextel Cup series. So Davis is putting Ford's considerable resources to work to meld those two beliefs and provide a woman with an opportunity to earn a full-time NASCAR ride. With input from Lyn St. James, who since retiring as a driver has been an activist for women in racing, four candidates have been chosen for a tryout May 4-5 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway. USAC car builder Bob East will evaluate them and if he is convinced one shows promise, she'll be given a second look the next week at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Assuming all goes well, the goal is to get her into a few USAC midget races late this year with an eye toward a possible full-time ride with team owner Steve Lewis in 2005. "When it occurs that a woman makes it in NASCAR, we'd like (her) to be a Ford driver," Davis said. "This is just the first step in a long process. We'd like to get a sponsor involved, but if not, we'll pay for it." St. James said this is the first time in her experience that such an idea has been supported by a clear plan. "What's most exciting about this is that it finds someone with talent and then backs it up," she said. "It's got a beginning, it's got a middle and it's got an end goal." All parties involved said if none of the first four pans out, they'd bring in four more. The first candidates are Promising Newcomers Lynsey Tilton, 17, San Diego; Alison Macleod, 15, Mississauga, Ontario; Erin Crocker, 23, Buffalo, N.Y.; And Michelle Theriault, 18, Alpharetta, Ga. Lewis said it's probably a bit optimistic to expect one of the candidates to be ready to compete over a full USAC season by 2005. But he believes Ford's commitment ensures a woman eventually will work her way to Nextel Cup. "Dan Davis is really intent on doing this and is willing to invest the time and resources it's going to take," he said. "That just might be the difference-maker." The four drivers will be tested separately. East's son, Bobby, a USAC regular, will shake down the cars and provide instruction. Then each of the four will have half a day to show her ability. Bob East said he'll be looking at more than lap times. He wants to see how the women handle themselves in and out of the car and how they adapt as the session progresses. By the end of the two days, he's confident if there is a driver who deserves to move on, he'll know who it is. "Basically, I just have to look them in the eye," he said. "That's a lot of it."(Indianapolis Star)(4-23-2004)
So....what is up with Carl Long? Much of the hype has died down since the spectacular rollover wreck Carl Long was involved in at North Carolina Speedway almost two months ago. The car that was demolished in the accident has now been replaced. With help from the generous donations received from the fans, Carl was able to purchase a 2004 Dodge that will be ready to debut in the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge qualifier event at Lowes Motor Speedway in May. ALSO: Carl Long Racing Merchandise now available as Long recently announced the opening of its new Carl Long Racing Support Team online store. See more at Carl-long.com.(4-23-2004)
Testing at Infineon Raceway: hearing a few Nextel Cup teams will test at Infineon Raceway on April 27-28th, so far the drivers who plan to test include: #18-Bobby Labonte, #21-Ricky Rudd, #9-Kasey Kahne, #45-Kyle Petty and #16-Greg Biffle.(4-23-2004)
Shepherd car and site: hearing #89-Morgan Shepherd is running a speedway Dodge leased from Ultra Motorsports [ran #7 at Daytona]. Also, Shepherd has a new and improved website at www.morganshepherd.com.(4-23-2004)
Marlin to run low-carb beer scheme: In support of their new low carb beer Aspen Edge, Sterling Marlin will be driving an all White Aspen Edge themed #40 Dodge at the August 1st Pocono Raceway race.(4-23-2004)
Tire testing at RIR next week UPDATE: Goodyear will hold a tire test next Tuesday and Wednesday at Richmond International Raceway because of the repaving done there. #12-Ryan Newman, #17-Matt Kenseth and #29-Kevin Harvick will test tires.(Roanoke Times)(4-21-2004) UPDATE: Please note that both days of testing April 27-28 will be closed to the public.
More Testing: Many drivers are scheduled to test May 3-5. The grandstands will be open to the public every day May 3-5.
May 3: NASCAR Busch Series driver Regan Smith.
May 4: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #25-Brian Vickers, #0-Ward Burton and #38-Elliott Sadler; NASCAR Busch Series drivers Johnny Benson, Paul Menard, David Stremme, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, J.J. Yeley and Bobby Hamilton, Jr.
May 5: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers #38-Elliott Sadler, #0-Ward Burton, #4-Jimmy Spencer, #42-Jamie McMurray, #2-Rusty Wallace, #97-Kurt Busch, #77-Brendan Gaughan and #32-Ricky Craven; Testing their NASCAR Busch Series cars will be David Stremme, Justin Labonte, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Jay Sauter, J.J. Yeley and Johnny Benson.(RIR PR)(4-23-2004)
Hendrick Motorsports 20th Anniversary 2004 Schemes: Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2004, Hendrick Motorsports goes to Lowe's Motors Speedway with special paint schemes on the Chevy's for the race in October 2004. #25-Brian Vickers, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, and #5-Terry Labonte of the HMS team will be racing together to commemorate the first twenty years of Hendrick Motorsports. These cars will be based on their primary paint schemes, but the colors will be replaced with a "silver on silver" paint palatte, giving them a platinum or chrome effect. Each car will have the Hendrick Motorsports commemorative 20th Anniversary logo.(4-23-2004)
Gordon finishes testing at Michigan: Robby Gordon tested both his #31 Chevrolet from Richard Childress Racing and his Indy Racing League IndyCar Series entry Wednesday. Gordan made more than 30 runs Wednesday in his #31 Nextel Cup Chevrolet and shook down both of his Chevrolet-Dallaras in preparation for the 88th Indianapolis 500. "It's the best NASCAR test that I've ever been a part of," said Gordon after two days at the track. "In a test like this, it can help us with our mile-and-a-half and two-mile tracks." The track didn't report speeds, though Gordon said he ran at about 213 mph in his Indy entry. Evernham Motorsports' Jeremy Mayfield also tested his #19 Nextel Cup Dodge this week at the track.(MIS PR)(4-23-2004)
Pepsi back with Gordon: Jeff Gordon will compete in the #24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet at Talladega Superspeedway in the Aaron's 499 NASCAR Nextel Cup event this Sunday. While this marks the fourth consecutive year that Gordon has driven the DuPont/Pepsi car, the paint-out will feature a new design which includes the famous Pepsi Globe with ice shards that highlight the blue background for a three-dimensional appearance. The partnership between Pepsi-Cola, Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports is entering its seventh year and is highlighted by Pepsi's associate sponsorship of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Gordon has starred in three television commercials for Pepsi's flagship brand since 1998 and will be included in promotional activities through the 2005 season. Pepsi's involvement with NASCAR began when the sport was introduced in 1948. Today, Pepsi serves its products at 16 of the 23 Nextel Cup Series tracks and is the title sponsor of NASCAR Nextel Cup races in Daytona, Fla. (Pepsi 400) and Darlington, S.C. (Mountain Dew Southern 500).(Pepsi-Cola PR)(4-23-2004)
Sad News: former Brett Bodine Racing's PR rep, Carolyn Carrier's Mom passed away this morning. Betty A. Carrier, age 76 - native of Atlanta but spent early adult life in Bristol, TN. passed away in her sleep early morning of 4/22/04 Visitation is Friday 4/23/04 6-8pm at RT Patterson Funeral Home, 5275 N. Buford Hwy, Norcross GA, Graveside on Sat 4/24/04 at 10:30-Westview Cemetery in Atlanta and Memorial Service at 2pm on Sat at Gwinnett Christian Terrace, Lilburn In lieu of flowers, donations can be made
to Gwinnett Christian Terrace, 414 Berkmar Way, Lilburn, Ga. 30047.(4-22-2004)
Cogswell to RCR? UPDATE: hearing current #12 Fitz-Bradshaw Busch Series crew chief, Gary Cogswell, is leaving to go to Richard Childress Racing but not sure in what capacity. Tim Fedawa drives the #12 car.(4-21-2004) UPDATE: Gary Cogswell has tendered his resignation as crew chief of the #12 FitzBradshaw team and driver Tim Fedewa and will take a similar position at Richard Childress Racing working with its part-time Busch and Cup teams, ThatsRacin.com has learned.
Cogswell will work this weekend's race at Talladega with Fedewa before he leaves. Fedewa is currently ninth in points. "While we wish Gary the very best of luck, we feel the team can continue to build on the positive momentum it has built so far," said team co-owner Armando Fitz.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-22-2004)
Rick Hendrick gives CPCC $1 million: Rick Hendrick [#5, #24 and #48 Cup team owner], chairman of the national car sales company Hendrick Automotive Group, has donated $1 million to Central Piedmont Community College to build a center that will train mechanics in the latest automotive technology. CPCC will start construction on the Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology, on the Levine Campus in Matthews, by fall. It should be completed by December 2005. The $4 million, 25,000-square- foot building will be named for Rick Hendrick's father, who has been involved in auto racing for more than 40 years. The other $3 million will come from bonds, donations and other sources, according to the college. Joseph "Papa Joe" Hendrick Jr., 83, co-owns Hendrick's #5 Busch and #25 NEXTEL series teams with grandson Ricky Hendrick. He is in a Charlotte hospital with an undisclosed illness.(Charlotte Observer)(4-22-2004)
France Happy with 'points chase': After eight races this season, 23 drivers are within 400 points of leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. Last year at this point, only 17 drivers would have qualified. But 18 races remain until the championship cutoff after the Sept. 11 race in Richmond, VA. Brian France, the NASCAR chairman and CEO who was instrumental in the change to the new system, is pleased with the racing so far this season. "We could not be happier on how the chase is shaping up, with every driver racing so hard to make sure that they have a shot at the championship," France said Tuesday. "That's exactly what we want." Since the modern scoring system was established in 1975, only once have there been more than seven drivers (12 in 2002) within 400 points of the leader with 10 races remaining. Included in the group that would qualify are seven former Cup champions and a pair of rookies.(USA Today)(4-22-2004)
2nd PPI Team? PPI Motorsports may have a couple cars and a couple crew chiefs in the mix this week when it tests at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, KY. PPI owner Cal Wells III has long craved a second team to run alongside Ricky Craven's #32 Tide Chevrolet. He said the search is picking up steam. "It's a little premature to be talking about a second team," Wells said. "We've been working on some sponsorship opportunities and they're cooking pretty good. We're not quite zeroed in yet on what we're going to do, we're just talking away on it. We're going to take Rick to Kentucky this week (to test)," Wells said. "We're looking at maybe running two cars, the number 32 and 96, to sort through a couple of issues we've got." Former Cup crew chief Joe Garone, who most recently has been a high-ranking official at NASCAR's research and development center in Concord, N.C., will accompany PPI, Garone said at Martinsville. Garone has left NASCAR and is looking to get back into the Nextel Cup garage as a crew chief. Wells said his sponsorship talks might result in a limited program of races later this season. "Our talks have got us close to, not a full deal, but maybe a few races later in the season, in the second half of the year," Wells said. "We're probably looking at something in the last third of the season."(NASCAR.com)(4-22-2004)
International Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductions Tonight: Tonight, Auto Racing Writer/Reporter Al Pearce [Daily Press/Auotweek] will be recognized for his work as a motorsports writer with his induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame [site is a tad outdated] at Talladega, Ala. Pearce joins the Hall with a class that includes NASCAR chairman of the board Bill France, drag racer Shirley Muldowney, unlimited hydroplane racer Bill Muncey, IndyCar driver Bobby Rahal and short-track legend Red Farmer. Pearce is the 23rd person since 1969 to receive the Henry T. McLemore Award and induction into the media wing of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Former McLemore Award winners have come from newspapers in Los Angeles, Charlotte, Detroit, Baltimore, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Daytona Beach and Raleigh, and from Winston Cup Scene and the Associated Press. Among the previous recipients: Chris Economaki, Ken Squier, Barney Hall, Eli Gold, Bob Jenkins and Ned Jarrett. "I'm very honored," Pearce said. "This is the biggest thing to ever happen to me professionally. It's nice to know that people within the industry appreciate what I've done all these years." In addition to his 35 years with the Daily Press, Inc., Pearce has co-authored 13 books about racing and covered the sport for AutoWeek magazine for 31 years. He's a 1965 graduate of Presbyterian College in South Carolina and served three years in the Army, including a tour in Vietnam. Pearce has been married to the former Francie Bobbe for 16 years. They have a daughter, Annie, 14.(Daily Press)(4-22-2004)
'Duke Kid' to be in Jeff Burton's Pits at 'Dega: Jeff Burton will have some "miraculous" assistance this weekend when he competes at Talladega Superspeedway in his #99 Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center Ford. Mason Lindley, a five-year-old from Burlington, NC, who has battled against all odds in clinging to life, will be in Burton's pit during the race. Mason's amazing story is one that shows the face of courage and the truest champion. Burton, who, along with his wife Kim, has been a long-time supporter of Duke Children's Hospital and is eager to get the message out to people about Mason and Duke Children's. "Mason is simply incredible," said Burton," a 17-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series winner. "Once fans learn of his battle for life, it will touch each and everyone of them. It is one of many heart-felt stories that need to be told. Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is truly remarkable. Our hope is that we can help raise awareness and funding for this worthwhile cause." Burton's association with Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center began years ago after an associate sponsor invited him to visit kids admitted to the hospital. Since that time, Burton has continued his support through fundraising events, appearances, monetary donations, time and of course most importantly, visits to the hospital with Kim who has sat on the hospital board for the last four years. Through their efforts the Burtons have raised nearly $900,000 for the hospital to date. Duke Children's is dedicated to providing the most advanced medical care, innovation in basic and applied "bench to bedside" research, leadership in the education of future health care professionals, and advocacy for children's health. "Care. Advocacy. Research. Education. At Duke Children's, we're improving the health of children." For more information visit www.dukechildrens.org or call 1-800-DUKEKIDS.(Pro Sports Management & Marketing PR)(4-22-2004)
Ward at LVMS shooting commercial: NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Ward Burton and his sponsor, NetZero, were at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Wednesday to shoot commercials for an exciting new promotion. "We're here because of the weather," said NetZero Chief Marketing Officer Brian Woods. "This is the second time we've shot out here. This is such a great track, a great facility and management is always willing to work with us." While Woods declined to disclose the nature of the promotion, he did say the new commercial campaign would run between May and June. The production crew is from southern California. "We've hired director Jeff Zwart for the shoot," Woods said. "He's one of the best in the business, and just finished shoots for the Ford GT, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr." Burton drives the #0 NetZero Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series for the Haas CNC Racing Team. He finished 26th in the 2004 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at LVMS.(LVMS PR)(4-22-2004)
Sad News: Robert 'Bobby' Laurence Wawak, 64, a retired NASCAR driver, of Midland, NC, died Saturday, April 17, 2004 at his residence. Funeral services will be held at 4:00pm/et Thursday at Hartsell Funeral Home Chapel, Midland, Rev. Stan Johnson officiating. The family will receive friends on Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:30pm/et at the funeral home. Born September 4, 1939 in Chicago, IL, he was a son of the late Hazel Zoe Forrest Wawak and Charles William Wawak. A member of Love's Grove United Methodist Church, he competed in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series for 23 years and retired in 1988. He was a devoted husband, a loving father, grandfather, and friend. He will be missed by all who knew him. Survivors are his wife of 41 years, Stevi Wawak of the home; daughters, Jaclin Wawak of Midland, NC and Robin Wawak Pemberton of Mooresville, NC; brothers, Allen Wawak of Wayne, IL, and Richard Wawak of Villa Park, IL; sisters, Carole Tarvash of Albuquerque, NM, Joyce Annanie of Plainfield, IL and Marilyn Zmich of Conway, SC; and grandchildren, Lauri Trotter and River Pemberton. Memorials may be directed to Amyloidosis Research Foundation, 4174 Myers Avenue, Waterford, MI 48329. Hartsell Funeral Home of Midland is serving the Wawak Family.(Charlotte Observer)(4-21-2004)
Busch's Pit Crew Wins in Martinsville; Increases Points Lead: Kurt Busch's pit crew increased its points lead in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade after taking top honors in Sunday's Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The Martinsville victory, worth $20,000, was the second of the season for Busch's pit crew, giving the #97 crew the distinction of becoming the first team to score multiple wins in 2004. The team's other pit crew victory was the March 7th race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, Busch's pit crew leads the McDonald's/POWERade standings with 312 points, 10 more than the second place crews for Elliott Sadler and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Tony Stewart's crew is fourth with 280 points. Busch's IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road in Martinsville -- 284.693 seconds. Earnhardt's Budweiser Chevrolet was second with a time of 289.324. Bobby Labonte's Interstate Batteries Chevy was third at 290.121. "These Sharpie/IRWIN guys worked really hard in the off-season on our stops," said Jimmy Fennig, crew chief for the No. 97 team. "We've been consistent in the pits and had some good qualifying runs to get favorable spots on pit road which helps too. Kurt has done a great job of keeping the fenders on the car too, which has kept us out on the track for position. It's a team effort all around, and these guys really keep an eye on the McDonald's/POWERade Drive-Thru point standings." Busch's over-the-wall crew consists of: Scott Ward (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can). for the top ten results from Martinsville, season standings see my Pit Crews News page, past results on my 2004 Past Pit Crew News page and also check out my 2004 Pit Crew Chart.(DMF Communications PR)(4-21-2004)
Carter gets the clock, nice gesture by Rusty: --"It's a heck of a trophy to remember my first win as a crew chief with," Miller Lite Dodge crew chief Larry Carter said on Tuesday morning. "Tracy and I will always be appreciative of Rusty and Patti for their thoughtfulness." Turns out that Rusty and Patti made a surprise visit to the Carter home on Monday night bearing a "thank-you" gift -- the grandfather's clock won at Martinsville on Sunday, along with a special plaque commemorating Carter's first big league win.(TRPR.com)(4-21-2004)
Rusty keeps commitment: Rusty Wallace didn't have to come to Orangeburg, SC on Tuesday night to help raise money for the Indian Waters Council of the Boy Scouts of America at the organization's "Friends of Scouting" fund-raiser at Buckridge Plantation's Tourville Lodge. Fresh off his first NASCAR victory in 105 races at Martinsville, Va., this past Sunday, the veteran racer and former Winston Cup champion (1989) has faced a positive whirlwind of activity.(Times and Democrat)(4-21-2004)
Burton comments on the RCR rumor: "You know, I actually had a conversation with someone about this the other day because I'm curious how it starts. I really don't read a lot of rumor things on the Internet because when it involves me most of the time they have it wrong. But then there's an element of it that is right, too. They can say 40 things and there might be three of those that have an element of possibly being correct, but then on other stories they nail it so you have to pay attention to it. If one member of the media reports something, it forces everyone else to report it. The problem I have with what went on last week is that Richard Childress and I have had zero conversations about me replacing Robby Gordon or me replacing Johnny Sauter. We've had zero conversations about that and that's just the truth. One reporter reported that we were having these conversations and then it went very specific on how these things were gonna happen. It was reported kind of as rumor, but the next phase of it went into factual stuff that was fiction, but it was reported as fact. On Tuesday of last week, I had two strangers come up and congratulate me on my new ride. My attorney called me on Tuesday morning and asked me point blank, 'What in the world is going on?' I said, 'What are you talking about?' He said, 'I'm in my car and they just said on the radio that sources confirmed that Jeff Burton would replace Johnny Sauter in the AOL Chevrolet at the all-star race in May.' It was reported as fact. That's when I start having a problem and that's when I started to get upset because every member of this team deserves 100 percent effort from me and I deserve 100 percent effort from them. Every member on this team and my car owner and everybody that has anything at all to do with this team deserves to know exactly what's going on. When these things get going that aren't true, it puts a little bit of doubt and that's not right. A lot of people have made the comment and the claim that Roush Racing has done a poor job of getting a sponsor for the 99 car. I've had a lot of people walk up to me and say, 'They're not taking care of you,' and things like that. But the fact of the matter is that it hasn't quit running. They're running the team out of their pockets. No one has gotten a decrease in pay, so I think Roush Racing deserves some credit for doing the right thing for everybody on this team. Instead, they get negative and they also get people out there talking like the driver is gonna leave and that's not right. If there was truth to some of it, then I wouldn't be up in arms about it. I would be trying to avoid it, but when people start reporting stuff that's factual when it's not, I have a real problem with that."(Ford Racing)(4-21-2004)
Andrews gets Busch Gig: Former Nextel Cup crew chief Paul Andrews has been named to the same position with the NASCAR Busch Series team of driver Kasey Kahne, effective immediately. Doug Stringer, part-owner and general manager of Akins Motorsports and the #38 Great Clips Dodges, said he met with his team at 5:00pm/et Tuesday to notify them of his decision to hire Andrews. Andrews replaces Jamie Jones, who will remain with the team and work with Andrews. "I can tell you I haven't been this excited about something in a long time," Stringer said Tuesday night. "Kasey, myself and the team are excited about this. Paul's knowledge and leadership are going to be a tremendous asset to our organization." Andrews most recently worked with #99-Jeff Burton and Roush Racing. "We need someone to capitalize on the tremendous assets we have, with Dodge and our relationship with Evernham Motorsports and a talented driver like Kasey Kahne," Stringer said. "JJ (Jamie Jones) stepped up to the plate when we need a crew chief to be in that position and I appreciate everything he's done. He will work well with Paul." In seven races this season with Akins, Kahne is 18th in points with one-top-five and two top-10 finishes. Kahne also runs full-time in the Cup series with Evernham Motorsports.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-21-2004)
Ganassi Racing and Foyt Racing penalized points for confiscated cars UPDATE Sabates not happy: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and A.J. Foyt Racing were issued multiple penalties as a result of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series cars from those teams being confiscated March 26 during pre-event inspection at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge entry of Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates for driver Jamie McMurray was confiscated for a rear window opening that exceeded the diagonal specification and was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book.
As a result, owner Chip Ganassi was penalized with a loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship car owner points; McMurray with a loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship driver points; and crew chief Donnie Wingo was placed on probation until Dec. 31.
The #14 Dodge entry of A.J. Foyt Racing for driver Larry Foyt was confiscated for a non-approved roof that did not fit the car templates and was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book. Owner A.J. Foyt was penalized with a loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship car owner points; Larry Foyt with a loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship driver points; and crew chief Keith Koppenal was placed on probation until Dec. 31.
Both cars have been held at the NASCAR Research and Development Center since they were confiscated. NASCAR will release the chassis and engines to the teams this week, but the #42 car body and #14 greenhouse will be retained at the center and not returned to the teams.
“The process of gathering data from the two cars we confiscated has been completed,” NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Director John Darby said. “In addition to collecting the data we needed, we have been able to refine the overall process so that we have the ability to react very quickly to this type of situation in the future, specifically if this should occur in the final 10 races.”
McMurray’s championship points total will be adjusted to 939 points as a result of the penalty and will drop from 13th to 14th in the championship standings. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates also will be adjusted to 939 points with the 25-point penalty and fall to 14th in the owners’ championship standings.
Foyt’s championship points total will be adjusted to 194 points as a result of the penalty, and will drop him from 40th to 44th in the championship standings. A.J. Foyt Racing also will be adjusted to 194 points with the 25-point penalty and drop to 46th in the owners’ championship standings.(NASCAR PR)(4-20-2004) UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing part-owner Felix Sabates lashed out at NASCAR Tuesday for stripping 25 driver points from Jamie McMurray as a result of his car being confiscated March 26 during the race weekend at Bristol. The violation was similar to those of the teams of Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch last season, which resulted in NASCAR confiscating both of those cars. Stewart did not have any points taken. Busch did. However, it was the only Cup race Busch entered in 2003, making the penalty virtually meaningless. "This is pure, unadulterated (BS)," Sabates fumed. "You have got to be consistent in this sport. NASCAR is not too consistent right now. "(Joe) Gibbs (Stewart's owner) didn't get any points taken from him when this happened to Tony last year and Tony was in the hunt for a championship." Sabates said he and primary owner Chip Ganassi asked for an explanation of the penalty from NASCAR President Mike Helton but didn't receive a satisfactory response. "The only sorry excuse they had was that they took points from Kyle Busch. Well, big (expletive deleted) deal. He was running one race and the penalty came out after the damn season was over," Sabates said. "We are in the middle of a championship battle with an even greater priority this season with the 26-race deal and we lose points for the same violation as someone else and they didn't lose points. That is (BS)." Sabates was also livid at the slow response time of the penalty, which came three weeks since the cars were taken. "They told us that day what was wrong. What the hell have they been doing?" he said. "This is just sorry--- management, sorry management."(ThatsRacin.com)(4-21-2004)
Gibson to Dale Jr's Busch team AND #1 car close to 12 race deal UPDATE: Tony Gibson will return as crew chief for Earnhardt's Busch racing effort. Gibson will then go back to Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s #1 Nextel Cup team and John Andretti for the races July 3 at Daytona and July 11 at Chicago. Currently, DEI is working on sponsorship that would extend the team to a 12-race schedule.(Foxsports/Sporting News)(4-19-2004) UPDATE: been told that Tony Eury, Sr. will be the crew chief, as listed in the preliminary entry list put out by NASCAR today, on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #81 Taco Bell Chevy and the #8 Cup crew will pit the car - just like it was in Daytona.(4-21-2004)
Testing at Michigan on Wed: NASCAR says Richard Childress Racing's #31-Robby Gordon and Evernham Motorsports' #19-Jeremy Mayfield are scheduled to test their Nextel Cup entries at Michigan International Speedway on Wednesday. Gordon is scheduled to test both the #31 Cigular One Chevy from Childress that he drives in the Cup series and the Indy Racing League IndyCar entry he expects to run in this year's Indianapolis 500. David Stremme is also expected to test Braun Racing's #32 TrimSpa Dodge Busch Series entry. Testing is not open to the public.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-20-2004)
APR Looking for Help: Andy Petree Racing announced today that they are looking for some crew members that will travel with the car each week. "We have been able to fill most of positions that are needed, but we are still a couple of crew members away from having our roster complete." said Steve Barkdoll GM of APR. Car Chief/lead mechanic and a fabricator/mechanic looking to travel each week with the road team is our priority. Experience is key! People that fit these criteria and are looking for a great opportunity should call APR at (828) 698-0335.(4-20-2004)
Kentucky Testing this week UPDATE:Kentucky Speedway's calendar shows 10 Nextel Cup drivers expected to test there this week. Those on the list for Tuesday are #88-Dale Jarrett, #97-Kurt Busch, #17-Matt Kenseth and #6-Mark Martin. Those scheduled Wednesday are #77-Brendan Gaughan, #10-Scott Riggs, #32-Ricky Craven, #0-Ward Burton and #5-Terry Labonte and #48-Jimmie Johnson. Craven is also scheduled on Thursday. The track says those who would like to watch may do so from the track's Fan Center.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-19-2004) UPDATE: Cascading spring rains limited NASCAR NEXTEL Cup testing for Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Dale Jarrett today at Kentucky Speedway.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(4-20-2004)
New Look for the #49: The #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge of driver Ken Schrader will take on a new look beginning this weekend at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway. The car, fielded by BAM Racing, brings a darker blue to the front end and roof of the Schwan's Home Service Dodge, making it stand out even more on the race track. "This jazzes it up a good bit and I think our fans are going to really like it," said Schrader. "It will be a lot easier to find on the race track, and the 'Schwan's' stands out a little bit better too. We don't want anybody missing that part of it!" Said Howard Miller, Vice President of Corporate Relations, Schwan's: "We chose to brighten up the car to more closely match Kenny's wonderful personality. In addition, we believe our employees and customers will find the new color scheme more appealing and more quickly spot their favorite driver." Is the change permanent? "Yeah, about as permanent as anything can be in this sport," said Schrader. The new paint scheme will first hit the track for pole qualifying Friday at Talladega Superspeedway.(Williams Company PR), see my #49 Paint Scheme page for the image.(4-20-2004)
NASCAR on FOX wins Emmy: For the second time in its first three seasons, NASCAR on FOX won the Sports Emmy for Technical Team Remote, repeating the feat the series achieved in 2001. The 25th Annual Sports Emmy Awards were handed out in New York on Monday night, and Fox Sports Net and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences will present a one-hour best-of special that will air exclusively on FSN on Sun., May 2 at 9:00pm/local.(FoxSports)
Other NASCAR related nominations included:
Outstanding Live Event Audio / Sound, FOX
The Daytona 500 on iN DEMAND NASCAR in Car, iN DEMAND NASCAR Digital Entertainment
Hermie OK UPDATE: Yesterday's hourlong red flag arrived just in time for #02-Hermie Sadler. Sadler took a trip to the care center to treat burns on his shins. "It also lost power steering on Lap 80, but other than that everything's great," Sadler said during the break. "It's a real shame because this is the best car we've had at Martinsville, but we'll stick it out to get a good finish. It's unrealistic to think we can win, but we're showing we can be a top-25 team." Sadler finished 26th in his second Nextel Cup start of the season.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-19-2004) UPDATE: Sadler burnt the side of his leg, below the kneecap. It was burnt by the transmission tunnel and has mostly 2nd degree burns and one place with 3rd degree burns. On top of that, his power steering gave out, so it was a long, hot day.(4-20-2004)
Justice at Michigan: Amazon Princess Teams Up with Kenseth, Newman, Busch, Martin, J. Burton, and Rudd for a Super Powered Unveiling. A special event to unveil the JUSTICE LEAGUE-themed race cars that will be driven by some of NASCAR’s brightest stars during the first-ever Justice League Racing Weekend Presented by Hot Wheels, scheduled for August 21-22 at Michigan International Speedway. The unveiling will take place at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday, April 23rd. The special cars feature such all-time favorites as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter, and are a partnership between DC Comics, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, ISC, Mattel, and Michigan International Speedway. Justice League Racing Weekend Presented by Hot Wheels will feature specially- themed cars in both the August 21 NASCAR Busch Series event and the August 22 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race. #17-Matt Kenseth (Martian Manhunter), #9-Mark Martin (Batman), and #60-Greg Biffle (The Flash) will compete in the NASCAR Busch Series race, while #6-Martin (Batman), #16-Biffle (The Flash), #97-Kurt Busch (Superman), #21-Ricky Rudd (Wonder Woman), #99-Jeff Burton (Green Lantern) and #12-Ryan Newman (Justice League) will be running in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event.(PR)(4-20-2004)
Early Martinsville TV Ratings: The lengthy red flag in Sunday's Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway apparently provided a boost to Fox's ratings for the event. Today's Sports Business Daily reports that Fox drew a 4.4 rating and 11 share in overnight Nielsen Media Research numbers for the race from 1:30 to 3:45 p.m., a rating that was below last year's 4.6 overnight figure. But the event was prolonged for more than an hour by a red flag for track repairs, and the figures jumped to 5.4/11 from 5 to 6:45 p.m. Both portions wound up as the weekend's two highest rated sports events. The final results for last year were 5.3/14.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-19-2004)
Wanna Date? NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Jon Wood, AMA Superbike racers Eric and Ben Bostrom and Late Model newcomer Leilani Munter will be the first racers to participate in a Speed Channel show, 'I Wanna Date a Race Car Driver', more info on my TV News pages.(4-19-2004)
Congrats to DW: Before the race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, NASCAR Legend and Fox Broadcaster Darrell Waltrip [DW] was presented the H. Clay Earles Award for outstanding dedication to auto racing by speedway president Clay Campbell.(4-19-2004)
Did ya know? it's been 29 years [yikes I was 13] since Dodge won at Martinsville, when Dave Marcis won in 1975 at the old configuration.(4-19-2004)
Did ya know II? That when #2-Rusty Wallace won the race at Martinsville Speedway, he became the 6th oldest driver to ever win a Cup race? Wallace is 47 years, 8 months, 4 days. The oldest, Gentleman Harry Gant at 52 years, 7 months, 6 days when he won at Michigan on Aug. 6, 1992.(see the top 10 list at ThatsRacin.com)(4-19-2004)
Testing ban in 2005? A ban on almost all testing next season could be a major goal of International Speedway Corp.(ISC), according to NASCAR sources, and the key would be an agreement with Goodyear not to supply any tires for testing. Without Goodyear tires, it would be almost impossible to do any meaningful testing. A curious part of this proposal is that it was reported to have come from the ISC half of the family business rather than the NASCAR side. The reason for such a ban would be to save teams money, particularly the smaller-budget teams, to keep crewmen from having to spend so much time on the road, and - most important to ISC - to allow ISC to expand its schedule of Cup races. The tour covers 38 races this season, including the Daytona Shootout and Charlotte All-star race; next year's tour could include 40 races. Top teams say that it costs them about $50,000 per test, and they do 12 to 20 tests a season. The thinking is that testing not only is costly and time-consuming, but it generates no revenue, for teams, for tracks or for television networks. So ban testing and expand the number of races. When teams plan a test, they either order tires from Goodyear or from a central Charlotte warehouse where teams store their unused leftover race day tires, because Goodyear has a no-return policy on at-track tire sales. Since NASCAR has granted Goodyear a monopoly, it can set some policies.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-19-2004)
Gordon and Sauter deemed 'safe' despite rumors: Two drivers rumored to be on the hot seat apparently can rest easy. Richard Childress said before yesterday's race that he hadn't lost confidence in #31-Robby Gordon or rookie #30-Johnny Sauter. "It's too early to make any decisions on drivers changes right now, and I don't have any plans to," Childress said. "With Johnny, the biggest thing is give him the seat time in these cars. I think Robby's going to do real well. He got behind in a couple of wrecks. If we had top 10s instead, we'd be in decent shape." Reports last week indicated Sauter was on the verge of being fired. The gossip spread while Childress was out of range, hunting polar bears during an off-week trip to the Arctic Ocean. He met with his drivers Monday. "It's all good," he said.(Richmond Times Dispatch) AND Car owner Richard Childress is known for making major changes to his race teams when he returns from hunting trips. But after bagging an 1,800-pound polar bear in Alaska during the Nextel Cup circuit's Easter break, Childress didn't return to the shop as loaded for bear as he was after a hunting trip in 2002. That year he swapped the crews of the cars driven by Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon. Childress said he did a lot of thinking about his teams while out in the wild. "We're going to be doing some internal stuff for sure," he said. "There will be some changes." But he said drivers Johnny Sauter and Robby Gordon are safe in their current positions. "If there would have been a driver change, I would have made it when I came back last week," Childress said. "It's too early to make any decision on driver changes."(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(4-19-2004)
Two Morgan McClure cars at Talladega/To Meet with former sponsor: Morgan-McClure Motorsports will run two Chevrolets next weekend in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. In addition to its standard #4, they will also run a #04 Chevy for Eric McClure. Team owner Larry McClure said Robert Larkins would be the listed crew chief for the car, but that he would be part of a "committee" that would oversee it. McClure said Sunday he has a meeting set Monday with former sponsor YokeTV.com, with a possibility that the organization could still sponsor his car for more races this season.(NASCAR.com) AND On Friday, Eric McClure will attempt to qualify for his first-ever NASCAR Nextel Cup event at the 2.5-mile Talladega International Speedway. McClure, the nephew of Abingdon-based Cup team owner Larry McClure, will drive the #04 Chevrolet sponsored by the "I Can Learn" computer learning software company [www.icanlearn.com] that also is sponsoring six races for him this season in NASCAR's Busch Series. His entry will be a team car to the Morgan-McClure #4 piloted by Jimmy Spencer. McClure ran his first superspeedway race at Daytona this past February in a Morgan-McClure-prepared ARCA car. He qualified sixth and raced with the leaders all day before being bumped out of the lead draft at the end and finishing 13th.(Kingsport Times News)(4-19-2004)
Spoiler Plans Dropped: NASCAR officials have told some teams they've dropped plans to change aerodynamic rules for the California 500 on May 2 and will stick to the original timetable of July 11 at Chicago for the half-inch chop off the rear spoiler.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-19-2004)
Earnhardt movie moves to Lincolnton: The East Lincoln Motor Speedway is gearing up for some serious lights, camera and action next week. The speedway will be bustling with activity starting Monday in order to film, “3: The Dale Earnhardt Story,” a made for TV movie. Victory Lane Productions chose the speedway in December and found it to be the right size. “They looked at us first and then came back and told us they wanted to film here,” said Ernie Knight, co-promoter for the speedway. Scenes from the movie will also be filmed at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. The movie will be shot starting Monday and continue until Wednesday. Knight said they will be doing a lot of painting, will change some signs and will be spending time making the building look old in preparation for the production. The goal is to have the speedway look like the old Metrolina and Concord Speedway of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Although the regular race season has begun at the speedway, filming will be scheduled around those times. Race season started April 3 and will continue until October.(Lincoln Times-News), past news on the movie on my Media/Movies page.(4-16-2004)
Motorsports center unveiled: Plans were unveiled Saturday for a new Virginia Motorsports Technology Center in Henry County [VA]. The $1.2 million facility also has signed its first tenant, North Carolina-based racing team HT Motorsports #59 Truck Team]. The racing package, which came through Gov. Mark Warner's drive to recruit the motorsports industry to Southside, was announced by State Commerce Secretary Michael Schewel during Saturday's time trials at the Martinsville Speedway. The 50,000-square-foot facility and HT Motorsports will work in conjunction with Arrington Manufacturing [Engines] and Patrick Henry Community College's (PHCC) advanced motorsports curriculum, scheduled to be offered beginning in January 2005. Under the deal, HT Motorsports and its Craftsman Truck racing team will employ 75 people over the first 30 months, paying an average salary of $16 per hour. The team, owned by Lynchburg resident Jim Harris and currently based in Harrisburg, N.C., will move to the area by late summer. Upon moving to the area, the team initially will operate within Arrington Manufacturing before becoming a tenant of the Virginia Motorsports Technology Center. The announcement is a major development for PHCC's motorsports program, which will be able to offer students personal involvement in all facets of a successful NASCAR team. Warner's Virginia Motorsports Initiative was unveiled last August at Martinsville Speedway with the goal of luring the motorsports industry into Southside Virginia, using statewide incentives ranging from tobacco funds to NASA engineering support to local-level grants. HT motorsports will recieve a $50,000 grant from the Tobacco Regional Opportunity Fund, a $50,000 grant from Henry County, to be paid after the first 20 new jobs are created, and a $100,000 contribution from the Chamber's Partner in Economic Growth (C-PEG). HT Motorsports trucks currently are driven by rookie Mark McFarland. Both McFarland and crew chief Greg Conner are Virginia residents, as is Harris. HT Motorsports' arrival will make it the only full-time team from NASCAR's three most prominent series to be housed in Martinsville, Henry County or Patrick County.(Martinsville Bulletin)(4-19-2004)