Stewart in the Indy 500? UPDATEs NO didn't happen: Tony Stewart is at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it was mentioned that Stewart passed a physical to run the Indy 500 on May 30th. At first when the camera's spied Stewart in the garage area, they were shown the door, but later Stewart was interviewed and was evasive and had a huge grin on his face. Stewart took a AJ Foyt #14 IRL car and said he felt comfortable, the reporter tried to lock down a yes / or no from Stewart, who said "I'm here aren't I?" with a big grin. Even mentioned his people were talking to Foyt about a contract, hard to read how serious this may be, PLUS, it is raining at the Speedway and it doesn't look good for any other attempts before the end of Bump Day today. Of course the IRL broadcast team was speculating on what kind of message it sends to drivers warring with Stewart and the Fox broadcast team. AND NASCAR star Tony Stewart, a former IRL champion, made an unexpected appearance at the track Sunday, passing a physical and chatting with team owner A.J. Foyt in his garage. That fueled speculation that Stewart might try to qualify one of Foyt's backup cars if the track dried in time. Foyt already has son Larry and grandson A.J. IV safely in the lineup. If he was successful in bumping his way into the lineup, Stewart would join fellow NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Robby Gordon in doing a difficult double next Sunday, racing in both the 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 in Concord, N.C. Gordon qualified 18th on the opening day of time trials.(CNNSI/AP) UPDATE: it was mentioned and shown on ABC's Indy 500 time trials TV coverage that if the track dries, and it looks good now, Stewart will take the #14T car out to practice, his name is already on the car. HOWEVER, it was mentioned that Foyt Racing has not submiited the paperwork to make the driver change in the car....yet [as of 5:20pm/et] NO RUN: Stewart passed a physical and was getting ready to jump into one of team owner A.J. Foyt's backup cars to practice and perhaps attempt to bump his way into the lineup when everything came to a sudden halt. Stewart and Foyt were informed on the pit lane by Cary Agajanian, Stewart's agent, that there was an unspecified contract issue that would prevent him from driving the car. All Stewart could do at that point was grin and shrug off the disappointment. "I'm going to try to put something together for next year. I've got the fever now," Stewart said. The 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup champion, who drives Chevrolets for Joe Gibbs Racing, said the hang-up Sunday had something to do with his stock car contracts. He did give specifics.(CBS Sportsline and ThatsRacin.com(5-23-2004)
Fellows in a DEI car at Watkins Glen: Ron Fellows will be behind the wheel of a Dale Earnhardt Inc. NASCAR Nextel Cup Chevrolet at the Watkins Glen road course in August, The Toronto Sun has learned. The Toronto driver, who led the DEI team to its best ever finish at California's Infineon Raceway in 2003, will race just once in the Nextel Cup car this season because of a scheduling conflict with his American Le Mans Series Corvette C5-R program. "I would have loved to race both at Infineon and Watkins Glen but (ALMS) is racing in Mid-Ohio that weekend (June 25-27), and that's my first priority," Fellows said. The deal is doubled-edged in that Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- NASCAR's top driver at the moment -- will team up with Fellows to race a third factory Corvette at the ALMS event in California in July. Fellows and Earnhardt tested the Corvettes this week at Michigan's GingerMan Raceway. For Earnhardt it was his first time behind the wheel of the car in its current configuration. Also joining Earnhardt on the Corvette team will be veteran road racer Boris Said.(Toronto Sun)(5-23-2004)
Petty Honor: Richard Petty is one of five who will be honored as a national father of the year by the National Father's Day Committee in June, with former basketball star Isiah Thomas; former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda; Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Ellis Marsalis Jr., patriarch of a noted musical family.(Charlotte Observer)(5-23-2004)
Lots of Lobster: #32-Ricky Craven, the only NASCAR driver from Maine, is celebrating a Sunday off today with a grand picnic for his team. In fact, it’s a rather upscale picnic. Craven is having 500 lobsters flown in from Maine, and the team members are already making informal wagers and the like over which one of them will be able to consume the most.(Gaston Gazette)(5-23-2004)
Kerry may attempt the 600 also: #33-Kerry Earnhardt hopes to enter next week's Coca-Cola 600 as well. "We're going to see how the all-star race goes and make sure we have a good enough car to make the race and get in the Coca-Cola 600," he said. "If everything goes well, we'll make that decision Saturday night."(ThatsRacin.com)(5-22-2004)
Hendrick to build new shop: Hendrick Motorsports plans to build a new shop for its #5 and #25 teams, a team source confirmed to NASCAR.COM on Friday. The shop will be built next to the two-year-old shop that houses the No. 24 and 48 teams in Harrisburg, N.C., near Lowe's Motor Speedway. Hendrick's pairing of Jeff Gordon's #24 and Jimmie Johnson's #48 teams in one location has proven successful, as Johnson has won seven times and Gordon eight times in the two-plus seasons they have been together. Hendrick hopes the 25/5 shop - which will be headquarters for drivers Brian Vickers and Terry Labonte, respectively - will be done by the end of 2004. Vickers' and Labonte's teams are currently in separate buildings, but Hendrick wants all four Nextel Cup teams as close to each other as possible. The #25 team is housed next to the current museum, which could expand slightly into the old shop. Or Hendrick's chassis engineering department, which needs more room, could take over the old #25 shop. Labonte's #5 team moved into Gordon's old shop. Plans for that building are unclear.(NASCAR.com)(5-22-2004)
Interesting Fact: #5-Terry Labonte's two all-star race wins came 11 years apart to the day - May 22, today's date.(Roanoke Times)(5-22-2004)
Attendance: Here's the total attendance for NASCAR's all-star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway:
Richmond TV Ratings Fall: Last Saturday's Chevy American Revolution 400 Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway drew a 3.8 Nielsen cable rating for FX, according to today's Sports Business Daily. The figure is down 7.3 percent from the 4.1 it drew on the same station in 2003. The Daily says the race reached 3.160 million households and 5.053 million viewers, making it the sixth most-viewed program in the station's history. FX drew a 1.4 rating for last Friday's Funai 250 Busch Series race, reaching 1.189 million households and 1.698 million viewers.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-22-2004)
Kenseth wins Nextel All-Star Challenge and over $1 million: #17-Matt Kenseth won the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Kenseth slipped his #17 DeWalt Ford right to the rear bumper of #12-Ryan Newman's Dodge in Turn 4 on the 18th lap of the 20-lap final segment. The air of Kenseth's nose caused the rear end of Newman's to wiggle slightly, and Kenseth sped by on the inside. It was a classic move, done without contact, and it was worth $1 million for Kenseth and his team. Newman ran across the grass to Kenseth's car to congratulate the winner as he stopped for the victory celebration at the start-finish line. The three-segment, 90-lap event came down to a duel between those two. Kenseth made his first challenge of the fourth lap of the final segment, cutting to the low side off Turn 4 as #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. tried to go high. Newman, who had last pitted for tires on a mandatory stop during the first 40-lap segment, fought back with a strong run off Turn 2 and brought the lead back to the line. Kenseth tried again on Lap 13, but again Newman held on. Finally, with just more than two laps to go, Kenseth made the move work. "He made me work," Kenseth said of Newman. "I think that's as hard as either one of us has drove in a long time. I was shaking there at the end. I don't think I've ever been nervous in a race car since we got our first win here in the 600 (in 2000)." Newman, who won the all-star race in 2002, said his gamble to stay on old tires just didn't quite work out. It was Kenseth's first victory in four starts in the all-star race. His best previous finish was third two years ago. #2-Rusty Wallace was on the pole and got the jump on teammate Newman at the green. After #32-Ricky Craven slid up into the outside wall in turns 1-2 on Lap 4 to bring out the first yellow, but it would not be the last.
On Lap 11, the second lap after the restart, #97-Kurt Busch got into the rear of teammate #16-Greg Biffle's Ford going into Turn 1. Busch bounced off and sideswiped #48-Jimmie Johnson's Chevrolet, and from that point the crash was on. Before it was over, 12 cars had been damaged - some far more seriously than others. The race was red-flagged while the track was cleaned up, the crews worked on their cars and tempers boiled.
"Kurt Busch has his head up his...whatever," Biffle said of his fellow Roush Racing driver. "I just don't understand. He wrecked us on the straightaway. ...Kurt Busch took out the whole field. If I was (car owner) Jack Roush I don't know what I would do." Busch said he was trying to push Biffle's car down the straightaway, hoping to help him get past Matt Kenseth. "My car just lifted him instead of pushing him," Busch said. "I apologize for all of the wrecked race cars on pit road. I have to get myself in check, I guess."
Newman and #20-Tony Stewart had passed Wallace just before the sheet-metal storm hit the track, so they steered clear of that bout of trouble and lined up side-by-side for the double-file restart on Lap 16 after a delay of 15 minutes. Stewart shot to the lead in Turn 1 on the restart while Gordon, Johnson and Brian Vickers chose that lap to make their green-flag pit stops required in the first segment. Stewart gave up the lead to make his stop on Lap 20, giving the lead back to Newman. He pitted on Lap 25, moving Dale Earnhardt Jr. to the point. He and Terry Labonte came in on Lap 28, completing the cycle. Stewart shot past Earnhardt Jr. as the No. 8 Chevrolet exited pit road, reclaiming the lead with Kenseth, Mark Martin and Wallace behind him. Kenseth began closing in as the end of the 40-lap segment neared, but Stewart held on to win it.
The number eight was drawn to determine the number of cars to be inverted for the start of the second segment. That moved #15-Michael Waltrip and #5-Terry Labonte to the front row for the start of that 30-lap run, with Stewart lining up eighth as the green flew again. Labonte led the first lap of that segment, but in Turn 4 on the second Dale Jarrett got sideways and skidded toward the entrance to pit road. He didn't hit anything, and everyone else avoided him, but the yellow did come out. Newman and Earnhardt Jr. shot around Labonte on the outside in Turn 4 on Lap 48 once the race restarted, grabbing the top two spots. Stewart, meanwhile, had already clawed his way back up to fourth.(more at ThatsRacin.com)
See results at: ThatsRacin.com Motorsports One NASCAR.com.(5-22-2004)
Marlin wins Nextel Open; Schrader gets voted in: As the field came to the green flag to begin the Nextel Open, the transmission broke on the Dodge in which #41-Casey Mears was starting on the outside of the front row. #19-Jeremy Mayfield, lined up right behind him, rammed Mears' car and picked its rear wheels completely off the ground. Mears turned immediately into the outside wall and the pack behind his car begin piling up on the frontstretch. Eleven cars were involved in that chain reaction, which also led to a red flag in that heat [car #'s 41,19,21,89,4,99,10,77,33,30,72]. #40-Sterling Marling came back to win to the Open, passing #42-Jamie McMurray and Mayfield as they raced off Turn 4 coming to the white flag, moving Marlin into the main event for the 13th time in his career. Since #33-Kerry Earnhardt's car had eventually succumbed to the damage he suffered in the early crash, the free pass based on fans vote into what used to be a winner's only race passed down to #49-Ken Schrader, who'd finished ninth in the Open. That put him in the all-star race for the first time since 1995.(ThatsRacin.com)
See results at: ThatsRacin.com Motorsports One NASCAR.com.(5-22-2004)
Stock Car Fans - Rumblings - NEXTEL All-Star Challenge: It was our All-Star event....it was at night....it was wild. What else is new? We'll start at the beginning. Half the field for the Nextel Open hadn't made it to the green flag yet when we started wrecking. Casey Mears (starting on the outside pole) blew up a tranny going through the gears and took out about 11 cars with him....after going no further
than about 50 feet! Don't ya love when the driver tells you how good of a car they had, and they hadn't even turned left once yet to know?
Anyway, the final three laps of the Open were as good as it gets (or so we thought at the time) as Jeremy Mayfield and Jamie McMurray staged a ding- dong battle at the front (Jamie's save was world-class!). Out of nowhere Sterling Marlin pulled off the pass with a couple laps to go and took the Open for the 4th time in his career.....this one worth $56K.
Ken Schrader won the fan balloting so he joined Sterling in the feature, the Nextel All-Star Challenge.
With Lowe's Motor Speedway all aglow, Segment One of the Challenge looked a little like the open....we had another 11 car pileup just past the start- finish line. Kurt Busch got into his teammate Greg Biffle triggering the accident....and we started to wonder if we'd have
enough cars to invert!
Tony Stewart took the first 40 lap segment and pocketed $75K. This years gimmick said we invert 8.
Ryan Newman took the second 30 lapper (pocketing $75K also). Then came the crucial move of the night.....they stayed out as all the other teams pitted.
Ryan was valiant with old tires (haven't we seen that before?), but Matt Kenseth was finally able to get him loose enough to grab the lead with three laps left in the final 20 lap segment to bring home the big money. Kenseth's first ever All-Star win was worth a cool $1.044M, and seeing as how Roush Racing lost three cars (Jeff Burton was in that pile-up in the Open) made for a bittersweet night for Cactus Jack.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(5-22-2004)
New Sam Bass Art: Winning the Daytona 500 is arguably the most prestigious feat in all of motorsports. It is also perhaps the most difficult. It took icons Darrell Waltrip, Buddy Baker, David Pearson, Bobby Allison - and even Dale Earnhardt himself - the better part of two decades to prevail in The Great American Race. Legends like Rusty Wallace, Ricky Rudd, and Mark Martin are still waiting. Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn't. In the most popular victory in recent memory, Earnhardt Jr. captured this year's Daytona 500 in only his fifth attempt. Motorsports artist Sam Bass has immortalized that landmark triumph in his latest masterpiece, "Won & Done!"
"The expression on Dale Jr.'s face when he crawled out of the car is indicative of just what a monumental win this was for him," Sam said. "It is an honor to be able to chronicle such a historic moment. It's a victory that everyone had been anticipating from the moment Junior moved up to the Cup Series." The artist spent countless hours composing this elaborate montage of images that capture the electricity of Earnhardt Jr.'s greatest victory. "That race was a major epic in NASCAR history," said Bass, "so it is a pretty complex work of art. A lot of time and detail went into 'Won & Done!' " The focal point of the painting is an image of Earnhardt Jr. with arms triumphantly raised above his head in a stance reminiscent of the famous pose struck by his father after winning the 1998 Daytona 500. Serving as the backdrop for "Won & Done!" is a collage of moments that include the #8 Budweiser Monte Carlo flashing across the finish line, as well as two different views of the jubilant celebration that began immediately following the checkered flag. Images of the official Daytona 500 logo, the Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy, and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series logo put the finishing touches on this classic example of Sam Bass art.
"Won & Done!" is now available as a limited edition print, signed and numbered by the artist. Visit the Sam Bass Gallery, conveniently located within sight of Lowe's Motor Speedway at 6104 Performance Drive, SW in Concord, NC. The gallery is open to the public, and normal hours are 10 a. m. - 5 p. m., Monday - Saturday. Visit www.sambass.com or call 704/455-6915 for more information about Sam Bass' motorsports art.(5-21-2004)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Tests American Le Mans Series Corvette at Infineon: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was introduced to the American Le Mans Series version of the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R race car in a test session on Wednesday and the NASCAR superstar was more than impressed. Taking advantage of a rare off weekend on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Earnhardt will join Corvette Racing and compete in the Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma for the American Le Mans Series July 16-18 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Veteran road racer Boris Said will co-drive with Earnhardt as the Corvette team fields a special third entry for the event. Earnhardt and his father, the late Dale Earnhardt, drove for the factory Corvette team in 2001 in the 24 Hours of Daytona, both making their first-ever appearance in a sports car race. But Earnhardt, Jr. had never driven the car in its high-tech configuration for the American Le Mans Series until Wednesday. Said, a former GT class winner in ALMS competition, was also getting his first drive in the car. Earnhardt and Said were joined by two-time ALMS GTS class champion Ron Fellows for the test session at Michigan's GingerMan Raceway road racing circuit. Fellows, who has driven for the factory Corvette team since its inception in 1998, helped Earnhardt and Said adjust to driving the Compuware Corvette. Fellows and co-driver Johnny O'Connell will be gunning to win the GTS class in the ALMS event at Sonoma for the fourth consecutive year. The Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma will get the green flag at 11:30 a.m. (PDT) on Sunday, July 18, and will be televised live in North America by CBS Sports and in Europe on MotorsTV. The American Le Mans Series Radio Web will have live coverage online at www.americanlemans.com. Ticket information is available online at www.americanlemans.com or by calling (800) 870-RACE.(Infineon Raceway PR)(5-21-2004)
Claire B. being honored: Claire B. Lang, the voice of NASCAR racing on XM Satellite Radio, will be one of six alumni and friends honored by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Alumni Association on Friday in conjunction with the school's spring commencement. Lang, a 1976 UW-Eau Claire journalism graduate, will receive the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award. Lang is a full-time anchor with NASCAR Radio on XM Satellite Radio, based in Washington, D.C. Her daily show airs from XM’s satellite studios in Charlotte, N.C. On weekends, her work takes her on the road with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, hosting live shows for XM from the tracks. Lang also is editor of Winners Magazine, the publication of The Speedway Club at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Charlotte; does free-lance feature reporting for RACELINE, a syndicated television show about NASCAR racing, broadcast nationally and internationally; and operates Claire B. Lang & Co. Media, specializing in broadcasting, writing, reporting, consulting and public relations.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-21-2004)
False Rumor: Rumors of Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc., outsource race car fabrication facilities in Denver, NC closing is false. They are fully operational and will continue to be. Body Dynamics Racing, Inc. will be sharing space at their location with Chris Edwards of MACH 1, Inc. and his #98 NEXTEL Cup efforts [Todd and Geoffrey Bodine]. They will be working separately out of the same location at 3536 Denver Drive, Denver, NC 28037 on their own goals. For more information please visit www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(5-21-2004)
Rusty Wallace wins pole for the Nextel All-Star Challenge: #2-Rusty Wallace went fast enough on the race track and slow enough as he came to pit road for his mandatory four-tire stop to win the pole for Saturday night's Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway. It took Wallace 2 minutes, 3.998 seconds to complete three laps and his pit stop, allowing him to edge teammate #12-Ryan Newman for the top spot in the 20th annual running in stock-car racing's all-star event. #97-Kurt Busch would have been faster than either of the Penske South Dodges, with a time of 2:23.480 had it not been for a 20-second penalty he incurred for exceeding a 45 mph speed limit as he entered pit road.
Busch, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #9-Kasey Kahne, #24-Jeff Gordon, #88-Dale Jarrett, #01-Joe Nemechek, #32-Ricky Craven and #31-Robby Gordon all found out, picking up the 20-second penalties. They'll start 14th through 21st, ahead of only #98-Geoffrey Bodine who had the evening's slowest time because of a disastrous. 31.3 second stop. #5-Terry Labonte also got a five-second penalty for driving through more than three pit stalls as he went to make his stop. He'll start 13th. It all sets the stage for Saturday's all-star race, with defending champion Jimmie Johnson starting 11th in an event with a history of wild finishes and grudge-building controversies that pays at least $1,003,500 to the winner.(ThatsRacin.com)
For the lineups and lineup links, see Jayski's Nextel All-Star Challenge / Nextel Open Qualifying Results and Starting Lineups Page.(5-21-2004)
Dave Blaney wins pole for Nextel Open: #23-Dave Blaney, a part-time driver in the Nextel Cup Series this season for Bill Davis Racing, powered the #23 Finish Line Dodge to the pole for Saturday night's Nextel Open with a lap at 185.058mph. Dodges swept the top four spots, six of the top seven and eight of the top 10 for the Open. #41-Casey Mears and #42-Jamie McMurray will line up right behind Blaney. Mears ran 184.527 mph and McMurray 184.181 mph. #99-Jeremy Mayfield, in an Evernham Motorsports Dodge, was fourth, followed by #0-Ward Burton in a Chevrolet. The winner of the Open will earn a spot in the Challenge that will immediately follow it. Another driver will advance through a vote by fans - the top vote-getter that does not win the Open and does finish on the lead lap of that 30-lap event.(ThatsRacin.com)
For the lineups and lineup links, see Jayski's Nextel All-Star Challenge / Nextel Open Qualifying Results and Starting Lineups Page.(5-21-2004)
New Book about Hendrick: UMI Publications, in conjunction with Hendrick Motorsports, is pleased to announce a new book celebrating 20 years of NASCAR competition by one of the most outstanding organizations in motorsports history. What began as a chance meeting between a semi-retired crew chief and a successful businessman with a passion for racing ultimately grew into a motorsports empire that garnered well over 100 victories and nine NASCAR championships in just its first 20 years of competition. "Twenty Years of Hendrick Motorsports" documents the history of Rick Hendrick's racing organization from its inception, in 1983, and recounts each racing season leading up to and including Hendrick Motorsports' historic milestone, its 20th season, in 2003.
Perhaps no other racing organization has accumulated such a record of success in such a short period of time, and "Twenty Years of Hendrick Motorsports" tells the whole story of how these achievements were accomplished. Quite simply, this is a story that needed to be told, and UMI Publications is honored to bring it to the public eye with award-winning writing and outstanding photos, many of which have never before been published. "Twenty Years of Hendrick Motorsports" is available directly from the publisher for $34.95 plus shipping & handling, and may by ordered by contacting UMI Publications, Inc., at 1-800-747-9287 or by visiting their website at www.umipub.com. Book excerpts may be viewed at .(5-20-2004)
Bodine to run All-Star Challenge in the #98: This weekend in Charlotte, NC the MACH 1 team with driver Geoffrey Bodine with sponsorship from Lucas Oil will enter in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a brand new Ford, their second in their stable, and a Roush engine under the hood. The Mach 1 team started the year out with one car, and one engine. They have traveled to every race since Las Vegas this year, qualifying for every race except Las Vegas and Talladega where they went home with DNQ’s. The Mach 1 team has qualified on speed for five races started 43rd at Martinsville and was forced to take a provisional at California due to engine problems. Mach 1 will be adding two additional cars within the next month bringing the total cars to four. The next acquisition is expected to be a super speedway car that will be prepared for the July Daytona race. Two new associate sponsors, Winston Tires & www.ExtremeMotorcycles.com have joined the #98 team to compliment the Lucas Oil primary sponsorship. “We are excited to have Geoff[rey] behind the wheel for this event,” stated Chris Edwards, President of MACH 1, “We have been working with Geoff’s brother Todd and we have experienced some great results, so this time out should not be any different. We are PUMPED!” The team has shown steady improvement in owner points, qualifying position and finishing position since they began the year in Las Vegas this year. Currently they are 43rd in Owner Points. The battle for positions 39th – 43rd is very tight right now with just 61 pts separating the four spots.(PR)(5-20-2004)
NASCAR and Magic UPDATE: NASCAR and basketball have been competing for the sports audience this spring, but this week, they will be working together as officials plan to give an overall update Thursday on NASCAR diversity programs. The update will include a new intiative involving NBA great Earvin "Magic Johnson" and the official unveiling of the Drive for Diversity program. The unveiling will take place at NASCAR's research and development center in Concord NC.(FoxSports)(5-18-2004) UPDATE: Earvin "Magic" Johnson to Play Leading Role in NASCAR Diversity Efforts:
NASCAR announced that Earvin "Magic" Johnson will serve as co-chairman to the newly-created Executive Steering Committee for Diversity. Johnson, the NBA legend and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, will be active in a number of areas related to diversifying NASCAR's fan base, participants and work force. Johnson is known universally for his illustrious 13-year professional NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he has re-defined himself as a successful businessman. The Magic Johnson brand has become one of the most expansive and successful business networks in the country. The brand stimulates economic growth and development through education, community enrichment and franchise development. Magic Johnson Enterprises is responsible for the direction and expansion of the Magic Johnson brand. The team oversees marketing and other business opportunities for the brand including endorsements, licensing and speaking engagements. Johnson also heads Johnson Development Corporation and Magic Johnson Entertainment.
Specifically, Johnson will:
* Help complete selection of the Executive Steering Committee for Diversity
* Assist NASCAR with creating grassroots programs such as Drive for Diversity that identify and develop African American, Hispanic and women drivers and crew members
* Help NASCAR develop marketing programs that will increase the sport's visibility in urban communities and raise awareness of career and competitive opportunities in motorsports
* Serve as an advisor to NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne who has day-to-day operational responsibilities for all aspects of diversity in NASCAR
NASCAR also announced the successful launch and funding for the 2004 Drive for Diversity program managed by Access Communications.
The Drive for Diversity program seeks to identify and select minority and women drivers and crew members to compete in NASCAR sanctioned races. Already, Drive for Diversity has five drivers and six crew members competing in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series respectively. The drivers and crew members were selected as a result of their outstanding performance during a competition "combine" held last January in Hickory, N.C.
The driver program includes: Morty Buckles drives for the Belnavis Racing sponsored by the National Guard and Domino's; Allison Duncan drives for BH Motorsports sponsored by Sunoco/Miller Brewing and Domino's; Joe Henderson drives for Bobby Hamilton Racing sponsored by Kodak and Domino's; Reggie Primus drives for Innovative Motorsports sponsored by Lowe's and Domino's; and, Bruce Driver drives for SCORE Motorsports sponsored by MBNA/Centrix and Domino's.(NASCAR PR) See the fill PR and quotes on my Racing Schools/Jobs page. WIND TUNNEL: NBA legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson will be SPEED Channel's guest on tonight's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 10:00pm/et. NASCAR today announced that Johnson will serve as co-chairman to the newly-created Executive Steering Committee for Diversity. Johnson, the CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, will be active in a number of areas related to diversifying NASCAR's fan base, participants and work force. In 2004, SPEED Channel is the exclusive U.S. cable home for many of the top motor sports series in the world. In addition, SPEED's weekly programming schedule brings car enthusiast television to Prime Time Monday through Thursday. Now available in more the 65 million homes in North America, SPEED Channel is among the fastest growing sports cable networks in the country and the home to NASCAR TV.(Speed Channel)(5-20-2004)
Busch tests at Dover: Kurt Busch spent Wednesday [May 19] testing his #97 Sharpie Ford at Dover in preparation for the MBNA 400: A Salute to Heroes Nextel Cup race on June 6. "I really like the race track here," said Busch, who made his first career Cup start at Dover in the fall of 2000. "It's fun to race on. It's great to challenge yourself to come up with new setups, because you can drive almost anything on this race track. It's just that it bites you pretty quick if you have one little circumstance go wrong."(Delaware News Journal)(5-20-2004)
DW Honored: Darrell Waltrip was presented the Community Leadership Award at Williamson Christian College's annual fund-raiser this week. Waltrip has supported the college, located in Cool Springs, TN, by donating racing memorabilia for a silent auction.(Tennessean)(5-20-2004)
Texas Deer Hunters not happy: The one constituency apparently overlooked by NASCAR when it awarded Texas Motor Speedway its new fall Nextel Cup race date is the state's deer hunters. TMS president Eddie Gossage said that shortly after NASCAR announced that TMS would host its inaugural fall Cup Series race on Nov. 6, 2005, the complaints started rolling in. "We've gotten about a dozen e-mails from fans who can't believe we had a date put on the opening [weekend] of deer season," Gossage said. "They're extremely passionate about the opening of deer season. But as we've proven over the last eight years, we don't have much to say about dates. You don't have a choice when you deal with NASCAR because it's like fitting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. It's not like we said, 'We want to be on the schedule at the start of deer season.' It was, 'Do you want this date? Yes, we do.' And we're glad to have Nov. 6."(Fort Worth Star Telegram), ya think Rockingham would take the date back?(5-20-2004)
Gordon OK with Tony: Jeff Gordon says he’s cool with Tony Stewart after Stewart apologized for their run-in at Richmond. “Tony’s not a guy who walks up in my truck very often after a race so I’m gonna take his word for it. It doesn’t do any good to go out there and have paybacks and that kind of stuff on your mind so I want to block it out and race him as hard and as clean as I always would and hope to get that same respect back.” Gordon met with the media after being picked to win this weekend’s Nextel All-Star Challenge by Lowes Motor Speedway President Humpy Wheeler. With a smile on his face Gordon said he accepted Stewart’s apology and appreciated Tony coming into the hauler and that it meant something. Gordon then laughed and said he told Stewart “you’ll have to accept mine for what I said to the media out there before I came up here. He (Stewart) said no problem.(PRN's Garage Pass radio show)(5-20-2004)
Junior Johnson Honored: Fifty years ago, Junior Johnson regularly hurtled along U.S. 421, hauling illegal moonshine whiskey from stills in Wilkes County to bootleggers in Charlotte and elsewhere across the Carolinas. Monday [May 24th], a section of the route, rebuilt to interstate standards, will be dedicated as "Junior Johnson Highway." The stretch runs about 10 miles from the Wilkes-Yadkin county line, near Johnson's home, to the Windy Gap Road exit.(see the full Tom Higgin's article at ThatsRacin.com)(5-19-2004) AND Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond will be there to honor Junior at the dedication.(5-20-2004)
Lepage to run at Lowe's UPDATE not in #79, helping Hermie: confirmed the Kevin Lepage will run in the Nextel Open for Conley Motorsports #79 Chevy, depending on how Lepage runs at the Open, will determine if the team and Lepage attempts the Coca-Cola 600.(5-17-2004) UPDATE: Change of plans - Kevin Lepage will NOT be running in the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge, driving for #79 Conely Motorsports. Time limitations prevented the team from "being properly prepared" and they have decided not to come to Charlotte for the race. Instead, Lepage will be helping #02-Hermie Sadler in an unknown capacity.(5-19-2004) UPDATE 2: Hermie Sadler announced today that Kevin Lepage will assist #02- Score Motorsports with its preparations for the Nextel Open this weekend at Lowes Motor Speedway. Sadler will practice and qualify the car, but will travel to Nazareth for practice and qualifying for the Busch Series race on Saturday, handing the driving duties to Lepage in the event Sadler does not make it back from Nazareth in time. "The Busch Series car is my main focus this weekend, "stated Sadler, " so we wanted someone to help out the Cup team to help us in the Open and to help us prepare for the 600 next week. Kevin's record at Lowes speaks for itself, and we feel he will be a big asset for us." AND Hermie Sadler will be signing autographs at Toys R Us, 8050 Concord Mills Blvd., Concord, NC on Friday May 28 from 7-8 pm. In addition to signing autographs and pictures, there will be a drawing at 8 pm for 2 people to join Hermie in the pits for the Carquest 300 at Lowes Motor Speedway.(5-20-2004)
Blaney Sponsor at the Nextel Open: Dave Blaney will drive the #23 Finish Line Dodge in this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge for Bill Davis Racing. Finish Line Dodge is located at exit 49B off Interstate 77 in Statesville, NC. Finish Line Dodge is one dealership in the Bertolami Automotive Group, which also owns Finish Line Ford and Toyota West.
"This is an incredible opportunity for our automotive group," said Gary Reece, President of the Bertolami Automotive Group and General Manager of all dealerships. "Bill and Gail Davis have been personal friends of mine for quite some time and it was an incredible opportunity to do a one race deal with them. We saw it is a great opportunity to do a business deal together where we could cross promote the dealership with this unique sponsorship opportunity.
"We're located in Statesville, where many of the NASCAR teams are within minutes of our dealership," added Reece. "Our employees are really charged up about having Dave Blaney in the #23 Finish Line Dodge for such a fun and exciting race. They are all looking forward to seeing the Finish Line Dodge car finish up front in the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge this weekend. We'll definitely have some fan support in the stands."
Blaney will have to race his way in by winning the NASCAR NEXTEL Open or by fan voting at www.nascar.com in order to advance into the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. The winner of the event will transfer and the driver with the most fan votes will also transfer. Blaney is slated for a spectacular run after a successful test session last week with the #23 Bill Davis Racing team. Blaney was among the quickest teams at the test session.(BDR PR), the Fan Pledge drive is still going on with a total pledges at $65,661 [$100,000 = the goal, the pledges have seemed to stagnate a bit in the past weeks] see more on my #23 Team News and Links page.(5-20-2004)
Different Look for Shelmerdine in the Open: The #72 team of Kirk Shelmerdine will be sporting a different look this weekend at the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge Open. The car is the same one he ran at Richmond last week, with the black paint scheme. The different look will be decals saying "VOTE FOR KIRK" as an invitation for fans and viewers to vote for Kirk as the one entry other than the Open winner to advance to the Nextel All-Star Challenge [see story and links below to vote]. Shelmerdine said, “It would be a great honor to race with the guys in the Challenge, but I'd have to be voted in to be able to do that, so I'm relying on all my fans to help me. Let’s go, Underdog fans, VOTE FOR KIRK!" Shelmerdine continues to seek primary sponsorship for the Coca-Cola 600 and beyond. Interested parties may contact Rick Russell at (704) 662-5458.(Racing Underdog)(5-20-2004)
Sad News: a little late, however...Doris Roberts, passed away peacefully at her home in Kannapolis, NC on May 5th, 2004. In 1950, Doris McConnell married the late Glenn “Fireball” Roberts and moved to Daytona Beach, Fla., where she lived for more than 20 years. She moved back to Kannapolis and opened Cousin’s Cross Stitch on South Main Street. She retired in 1996 after selling her shop. She spent more time doing the things she loved, which included attending NASCAR events and functions, fund-raisers and children’s charities. The family requests that memorials be made to Hospice of Cabarrus County, P.O. Box 1235, Concord, NC 28026-1235 or to Old Timers Racing Club, 119 Northeast Drive, Archdale, NC 27263.(Independent Tribune)(5-20-2004)
Sad News: Bill Taylor, 84, Auburndale, Fla., a retired race driver and racing executive, died May 16. Taylor's racing career began after World War II, when he borrowed $375 to buy a midget race car. He wrecked that car after four races, but he proved his speed, and car owners began hiring him to drive for them. He came to Indianapolis in 1949, having won the 1948 West Coast Stock Car Racing Association title, and finishing second to Troy Ruttman, 1952 Indianapolis 500 winner, in the midgets. That year Taylor passed his rookie test. He drove an experimental rear-engine car called the Rounds Rocket. Although Taylor reached speeds of 124 mph in the Rocket, the car weighed too much to qualify. Taylor tried to qualify for the 1952 Indy 500 in the Blue Crown Special but a stuck throttle caused a crash during practice. Taylor then became racing director for Mobil Oil. He handled Mobil's economy runs, logistics for cross-country runs and world speed record runs at the Bonneville Salt Flats and Daytona Beach. In 1968, Taylor became director of the United States Auto Club's stock car program. In that position, he helped A.J. Foyt, Al and Bobby Unser, and Parnelli Jones race stock cars. Taylor then became a representative of Simpson Racing Equipment at all NASCAR races. He was a licensed chief steward and was a member of the NASCAR National Racing Commission and the Indianapolis 500 Old Timers Club. Taylor was a recipient of the Buddy Shuman Award. He was also a Navy veteran of World War II. He is survived by his wife, Nicki Griffin Taylor.(Indianapolis Star)(5-20-2004)
Humpy Picks Jeff Gordon: H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway, today predicted Jeff Gordon will win Saturday night's 20th running of the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Wheeler, known for his promotional flair and Karnac-type ability, has correctly picked the winner of NASCAR's all-star race nine times in the past 15 races, including last year when Jimmie Johnson took home the $1 million prize. If Wheeler's prediction holds true, Gordon would be the first driver to win the event four times. "If ever there was a race that was made for a specific driver, it is the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and Jeff Gordon. He can drive a car smoothly with total reckless abandon," Wheeler said. "He can drive as deep or deeper into a corner than anybody out there." Wheeler also indicated several recent changes in Gordon's life away from the race track played into his decision to pick the four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion. "I don't think the fire ever went out in Jeff Gordon, but he's made some changes in his life and I see the old Jeff Gordon again," Wheeler said. "Since his stepfather, John Bickford, has gone back to work for him as his manager, Jeff's won half the races he's entered. Even though he may not fit the true definition, Wheeler tabbed defending race winner Johnson as his dark horse selection. "My dark, dark horse is Elliott Sadler. He did a great job winning at Texas and that's a very similar track," Wheeler concluded. NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge activities kick off Friday night with qualifying for both races. In addition to qualifying, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will compete in the Infineon 200. Tickets start at $20. Good seats, in various price ranges, are still available for Saturday's NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. Tickets start at $21 and
may be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.
"Humpy" Wheeler's Pick the Winner Results
Rusty Wallace (1)
Dale Earnhardt (1)
Davey Allison (1)
Davey Allison (1)
Dale Earnhardt (1)
Ernie Irvan (15)
Jeff Gordon (1)
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Rusty Wallace (2)
Dale Earnhardt (4)
Rusty Wallace (5)
Jeff Gordon (3)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1)
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Jarrett (2)
Jeff Gordon (11)
Jimmie Johnson (1)
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Belmont to run the Open UPDATE: Been told that 'field filler' Andy Belmont is planning to run in the Nextel Open at Lowe's Motor Speedway with his own #59. Belmont has been an outspoken "field filler / independent" and even has a website: fieldfillers.com, Belmont ran a few races in Hermie Sadler's #02 Pontiac.(5-18-2004) UPDATE: on Tuesday night's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain [Speed Channel 10:00pm/et], Belmont wrote in and said he will drive the "Dave Despain 4 President" #59 Pontiac in Saturday's NEXTEL Open. Despain suggested that fans vote for Belmont in the Fan Vote [see below for the story and to vote]. Belmont also said that if he got voted into the All-Star Challenge, he would donate the winnings to the Penndel Fire Company's New Truck Fund. The fire company is in need of a new truck and has been conducting fund raisers for a long time to make this needed purchase. Also hearing that Belmont will run at Dover and Pocono, not sure if he will drive thge #59 or #02 car.(5-19-2004)
Redneckjunk.com News:Redneckjunk.com, the online marketing portal that sponsored Derrick Cope in the #50 Arnold Motorsports entry [at Las Vegas before NASCAR disallowed it], has entered into a co-marketing agreement as the exclusive web storefront for BSR Products. BSR was established in 1982 in a move to be the first company to service all the major NASCAR races. It offers 34,000 square feet of retail and warehouse space in Concord, NC and a 5,000 square foot retail location at Lakeside Park in Mooresville, NC. BSR operates four trucks that service on-site customers at NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch Grand National, ARCA and Grand American sports car events. Now, BSR will ramp up its online presence through an affiliation with redneckjunk.com, through the launch of a new site exclusively for oval track racing parts - rjgoods.com. "We're real excited to be working with Butch Stevens, and the entire crew at BSR Products," said Tom Connelly, founder of redneckjunk.com and the new rjgoods.com. "Butch runs a top notch business, and provides efficient service for top NASCAR teams like DEI, Hendrick and Roush, to name a few. We're formulating a plan that will bring BSR's excellent products to local tracks more effectively through the Internet and rjgoods.com." The Internet storefront www.rjgoods.com is scheduled to launch in late July.(PR)(5-19-2004)
Pit Crew Win Gives Earnhardt Jr.'s Team Double Victory in Richmond: It was a double victory Saturday night for the No. 8 DEI team at Richmond International Raceway. Not only did Dale Earnhardt Jr. capture the Chevy American Revolution 400, but his pit crew also claimed victory in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. It was the second victory of the season for Earnhardt Jr.'s pit crew, which leads in the McDonald's/POWERade standings with 425 points. Elliott Sadler's crew took over second with 396 points and Tony Stewart's crew moved into third with 390 points. The prize money for the pit crew championship includes $20,000 to the weekly winner and $200,000 to the season champion. The #8 crew edged its DEI teammate - Michael Waltrip's No. 15 pit crew -- for top honors in Richmond. The No. 8 and the No. 15 crews finished first and second respectively in last year's McDonald's/POWERade season championship point standings. Earnhardt's Budweiser Chevrolet spent 125.128 seconds on pit road in Richmond while Waltrip's Napa Chevy was second with a time of 163.435. Tony Stewart's No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet was third at 165.927. "It wasn't too bad of a night in the pits," said Tony Eury Jr., car chief for the No. 8 team. "We didn't have our front tire changer (Phil Drye), so I had to do some tire changing. It was kind of like an old-school type deal (Tony Jr. was formerly the full-time front tire changer before relinquishing his over-the-wall duties prior to last year). It's just like wearing an old shoe -- if you can do it, you can do it; if you can't, you can't."
"This pit crew did another great job," said Dale Jr. "And I got to hand it to ol' Tony Jr. He hasn't had to change tires for quite some time, so it was kind of neat seeing him chugging around the car. I had to make sure I hit the brakes early to give him plenty of room! Our pit stops have been real good all year long, and that's a big reason we're leading the (driver) points right now." The No. 8 over-the-wall crew consists of: Bill Snyder (gasman), Kevin Pennell (jackman), Phil Drye (front tire changer), Danny Earnhardt (front tire carrier), Shannon Myers (rear tire changer), Troy Prince (rear tire carrier), Craig Lund (catch can). Tony Eury Sr. is the crew chief and the car chief is Eury Jr. The pit crew coach at DEI is Walt Smith.(DMF Communciations PR). See standings, top 10 at RIR and past info on my Pit Crew Page.(5-19-2004)
New Ford Engine Heads to debut at All-Star Race UPDATE 2: Ford Racing's new engine will make its debut this week in the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "The old model is worn out," engine builder/team owner Robert Yates says. "Hopefully, we'll have equal power against the competition in (the Challenge). We can only get 90 percent with the cars, we need the extra 10 percent that the engine can deliver. This is a move to take Ford, Ford engineering and Ford design back where they need to be." Ford was expecting four engines would be available for competition, but which drivers would receive the new power plants had not been determined.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-17-2004) UPDATE: been told that Robert Yates Racing [RYR - I supplement the 'guys' income?] ran the new cylinder heads at Richmomnd this past week.(5-18-2004) UPDATE 2: The new Ford cylinder head is slated to be in five Ford Tauruses this weekend for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. Engine builder Doug Yates said that #38-Elliott Sadler ran the new configuration at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night, a race in which he finished 12th and remained in 10th-place in the point standings. While the new engine now appears ready for action, Yates said a full fleet won't be available until July at either Chicago, Loudon or Pocono. He explained how the system would work in the meantime during a phone interview on Tuesday morning. Doug Yates, Head Engine Builder - Roush-Yates Engines: "We raced it last week in the 38 car and the plan for this weekend is to have it in five cars based on our first five guys in points. So the 17, 97, 38, 88 and the 6 [cars] will have it this weekend and then from there we'll evaluate it and start getting it ready to go full-time in the second half of the year."(Team Ford Racing)(5-19-2004)
Steele Back Racing: Tim Steele always thought it was the race driver who needed to tame the track. Today, in a fight to reclaim his life, Steele, the three-time ARCA/REMAX Series champion from Coopersville, is hoping the track can tame him and his addiction. "I had the world by the tail and cocaine took it all away," Steele, 36, said before taking the track Saturday night at Berlin Raceway, a track where he was Rookie of the Year in 1988. "When I finally hit bottom I realized all I had given up. It took racing away from me. It took my family away from me." Saturday's 100-lap double late model feature at Berlin was Steele's first competition since last June in the ARCA Flagstar 200 at Michigan International Speedway and his first race at the local track since 1990. It came less than two months after the end of his self-imposed stay at the Hazelden Clinic in Minnesota for a cocaine addiction that had spiraled out of control and thrown a red flag at his promising track career. Steele, with the financial backing of his father and the HS Die and Engineering Motorsports Team, parlayed his two years at Berlin Raceway in 1988-89 into an ARCA ride, which soon produced three championships. Continued success took him to a run on the NASCAR Busch Series, to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1999 and to five starts atop NASCAR's peak, the Winston (now Nextel) Cup. In 1993, Steele racked up nearly $135,000 in winnings on the ARCA circuit. In all, he's won 41 ARCA races and 31 poles and secured three MIS victories in 11 starts at the two-mile superspeedway. He and Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre were discussing the possibility of forming a Winston Cup team. Then Steele's career crashed. He got hurt at Atlanta Motor Speedway in November of 1997. Part of his recovery included the use of pain killers. "When I got off (the pain killers), I substutited one drug for another," he said. "Toward the end, I was using drugs every day. Every minute of every day. I hit bottom when I got sick and tired of being sick and tired." Last week, Steele traded his ARCA machine to former Berlin racer Chad Blount in exchange for Blount's late model Berlin ride and the chance to run again every week for a Berlin Raceway points championship.(see full article at Michigan Live)(5-19-2004)
IROC Testing at RIR: IROC testing continues on Tuesday, May 18th at Richmond International Raceway in preparation for the first RIR and short track race in IROC Series history. IROC test drivers Jay Sauter, Jim Sauter, Dave Marcis and winner of the second IROC race of the 2004 season, Danny "The Dude" Lasoski will do the testing. The grandstands are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on both days. Admission is FREE.(Richmond International Raceway)(5-18-2004) UPDATE: IROC made a stop at Richmond International Raceway for two days of testing in preparation for its Richmond and short track debut this September. Danny "The Dude" Lasoski, winner of the second of four races, fired up an IROC car for these practice days along with regular IROC testers Jim and Jay Sauter and long-time NASCAR veteran Dave Marcis. The drivers were impressed with the newly paved surface at Richmond International Raceway. "Richmond is phenomenal," said Lasoski. "As everyone knows, Tony Stewart heads up my car in the Sprint Car Division. He was telling me what to expect when I came here, and it's everything of that and more." All four agreed the third out of the four IROC races on the 2004 schedule will be a treat for the fans on Thursday, September 9 at Richmond International Raceway. The dozen superstars will experience "Racing Perfection" in September while battling it out "under the lights." Fans have the opportunity to see two great races-IROC and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series-for the price of one on Thursday, September 9. All tickets are general admission and are just $30, which is the same price as previous NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events. Additionally, children 12 and under are free with a paying adult. For ticket information, fans can log onto www.rir.com or call the track's toll free number, 1-866-455-RACE.(RIR PR)(5-19-2004)
Testing at Kentucky this week UPDATE: Kentucky Speedway will host NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Truck Series testing May 19-20. NEXTEL Cup Series drivers #40-Sterling Marlin, #42-Jamie McMurray, #25-Brian Vickers, #77-Brendan Gaughan, #0-Ward Burton and NASCAR Truck Series driver Chris Horn are scheduled May 19. Fans can view testing from an area outside the speedway’s Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(5-18-2004) UPDATE: testing on Wednesday, May 19th: #40-Chip Ganassi, #42-Jamie McMurray, #15-Michael Waltrip, #1-John Andretti, #0-Ward Burton, #25-Brian Vickers, #77-Brendan Gaughan. Busch team #8-Martin Truex, Jr. and Trucks #58-Chris Horn.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(5-18-2004)
Evernham Helping Out: Ray Evernham, CEO of Evernham Motorsports [#9, #19, #91], has been named National Chairperson of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk. Evernham will put serious horsepower behind the Society's efforts to raise funds for lifesaving cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. The Light The Night Walk is the Society's annual fall event held in communities throughout the U.S. to raise money for blood cancer research and patient services. Last year, the walk raised more than $18 million in 260 communities. Evernham, a longtime supporter of the Society, has a personal connection to blood cancer. In 1992, his son, Ray J, was diagnosed with leukemia at just under a year old. Today, Ray J. is a healthy teenager. In cities across the country, teams of co-workers, families and friends walk together along a two- or three- mile route in twilight holding illuminated balloons -- white for survivors and red for supporters. The walks commemorate lives touched by blood cancer. Individuals and teams of walkers are invited to participate.
Call 800-LTN-WALK or visit www.lightthenight.org.(Evernham Motorsports PR)(5-19-2004)
DuPont and Pepsi to Switch on the #24? UPDATE: hearing that Jeff Gordon's sponsorships will switch around in the future, and that Pepsi will be on the hood of the #24 Chevy and that DuPont will move to the TV Panel [rear-end between the light decals](Speedway Scene Magazine - print April 30th issue)(5-17-2004) UPDATE: been told there is no truth to the rumor that DuPont and Pepsi will be switching positions on the #24 car.(5-18-2004)
#8 Car Chief to change tires: Tony Eury Jr., car chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team, will again serve as front-tire changer in place of the injured Phil Drye this weekend in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Walt Smith, pit crew coordinator at Dale Earnhardt Inc., said it is unclear whether Drye will be back for the Coca-Cola 600 on May 30. Eury, who relinquished his full-time over-the-wall duties prior to last season, stepped in Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway and helped the Budweiser team to its third win of the year. Joked Eury, "(Changing tires) is like wearing an old pair of shoes. If you can do it, you can do it; if you can't, you can't. But I made sure Dale Jr. knew how to use that brake pedal when he came into the pits." The Budweiser team is the reigning McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Champions and currently leads the 2004 standings with 382 points.(fingerprint, inc./Budweiser Racing PR)(5-18-2004)
Quarterly Spirit Award Winner: Ken Patterson, who served as director of public relations at Talladega Superspeedway before his death April 2 from myelo dysplasia syndrome, has been named the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association/Pocono Spirit Award for the first quarter of 2004. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Others receiving first-quarter votes included Nextel Cup drivers Ricky Craven and Jamie McMurray.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-18-2004)
Robby Gordon skipping Nazareth:BGNRacing.com has confirmed that Robby Gordon has tentatively decided not to run the Busch race this weekend at Nazareth. Plans could change, but the team currently plans on skipping the race and forgoing the chase for a Busch Series championship.(5-18-2004)
DW Comments on the Stewart Flap: Darrell Waltrip responded yesterday to a series of personal sideswipes by Tony Stewart by saying, ''I don't like it when it turns ugly. 'At first I thought he was just messing around with me, doing a little pre-race sparring, which is OK,'' Waltrip, a Fox Sports announcer, said from his home in Franklin. ''But then he just kept on and on, and I began to realize he wasn't joking around. 'I find it odd that he singled me out as his biggest critic. It's unfortunate.'' Stewart directed sharp remarks toward Waltrip before and after Saturday's race in Richmond. Stewart was upset by Waltrip's comments the week before that perhaps NASCAR should suspend him for one race for rough driving. Several drivers have complained about Stewart's over-aggressiveness in recent weeks. After the race Stewart, who had made slight contact with Jeff Gordon, said in a live, nationally televised interview: ''Darrell and those guys are up there in the booth now, lobbying to get me suspended for life.'' He continued to make pointed comments toward Waltrip. In reference to contact that was made among several drivers Stewart said, ''If Darrell had his way, we'd have only about 18 cars racing next week.''
Yesterday Waltrip was asked if he was peeved, hurt or amused by Stewart's personal attacks. ''I don't really have a reaction,'' said Waltrip, a three-time champion whose 84 wins tie for third all-time. ''He drives his car and we talk about it. That's our jobs.'' Waltrip said he has always liked Stewart and has repeatedly praised his driving talent. ''I don't have anything against Tony,'' Waltrip said. ''What I said was not meant to be personal. Part of my job is to comment about situations on the track, and you can't ignore Tony's situation. This is reality TV. We don't make it up.'' Waltrip said he has had no contact with Stewart since last Saturday night's outburst. ''I kept thinking maybe he'll call me up and tell me he was only kidding around,'' he said. ''But so far I haven't heard from him.''(see full article at the Tennessean)
The columns at FoxSports would be: Not the first to be singled out, Stewart doesn't deserve to be parked and Parking Stewart would teach him self-control.(5-18-2004)
Carl Long to run the Nextel Open with Jaret's Angels:Carl Long will once again let Jaret's Angels come along for the ride on his #46 Dodge NASCAR NEXTEL Open entry, in hopes of raising awareness for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Jaret's Angels is a family support team founded by Charlotte residents Erik and Sandy Arneson, whose son Jaret was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of two. Since forming Jaret's Angels, the group has raised more than $40,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in hopes of finding a cure for the life-threatening disease. "We just hope it does something for Jaret and some of the other families dealing with diabetes," Long said. "And we hope to be able to build on this relationship and this effort as the team continues to grow." Long also carried Jaret's Angels and JDRF logos on his Cup and Busch Series entries in 2002. "When Carl was nice enough to do this a few years ago, we were stunned by the response we got from across the country from others working to raise money for a cure," said Arneson, the director of public relations for SPEED Channel and a JDRF Charlotte board member . "This was never meant to be a fundraising effort, simply an awareness opportunity, but it has turned into both. We are extremely grateful to Carl and his team. It feels wonderful to look my son in the eye and tell him how many people are trying to help him get better." JDRF, the world's leading nonprofit, nongovernmental funder of diabetes research, was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with diabetes -- a disease which strikes children suddenly, makes them insulin dependent for life and carries the constant threat of devastating complications. Since inception, JDRF has provided more than $680 million to diabetes research worldwide. For more information, www.jdrf.org or call 800/533-CURE.(5-18-2004)
Charlotte looking to keep All-Star race: In a bid to keep the NASCAR all-star race in Charlotte for years to come, Queen City business and political leaders offered a display of appreciation during a luncheon Monday. Wachovia Corp. Chief Executive Ken Thompson hosted the meeting, held at the bank's headquarters. Attendees included speedway executives Bruton Smith and Humpy Wheeler, retailer John Belk, NASCAR President Mike Helton, Mayor Pat McCrory and stock-car team owner Ray Evernham. On Friday, NASCAR announced that the all-star race would be held at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 2005. No decisions have been made regarding future years, again fueling concerns the all-star event might move to another city.(Charlotte Business Journal)(5-18-2004)
One of the Young Guns wins again: For the seventh time [in eleven races] this season, a member of the Gillette Young Guns found their way to victory lane. Dale Earnhardt Jr. led five times for 115 laps at Richmond Raceway Saturday night en route to his third victory of the season and the 12th of his young career. After leading 91 laps, fellow Young Gun Jimmie Johnson finished second 1.481 seconds behind Earnhardt Jr. Joining Earnhardt Jr. and Johnson in the top-10 were Matt Kenseth (Fifth) and Ryan Newman (Ninth).
Despite Earnhardt Jr.'s victory in Richmond, the point's race continues to be tight as he still leads fellow Young Gun Johnson by
40-points. All six members of the Young Guns are still solidly in the top-10 of the point standings, with 252-points separating the top-nine
drivers. With his victory and thus being the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun for the sixth time this season, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Dale Earnhardt Jr. As the race winner and highest finishing eligible driver in the contingency program, Earnhardt Jr. also picked up the $4,800 Gillette Mach3 Turbo Award. Finishing results for the remaining Gillette Young Guns were as follows: Johnson (Second), Matt Kenseth (Fifth), Ryan Newman (Ninth), Kevin Harvick (25th) and Kurt Busch (31st).
If the Gillette Young Guns sweep the top six positions at the upcoming Coca-Cola 600 on May 30, 2004 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and you correctly predict the order in which they finish at www.gilletteyoungguns.com, you'll be entered into a random drawing for $5 million. Plus, if a fan wins $5 million, Gillette will make a matching $5 million charitable contribution to the NPCC.
This past week the Gillette Young Guns were together in Charlotte to film two brand new commercials for Gillette's newest razor, the M3Power. While Hollywood has no reason to worry, the six drivers had a great time filming the commercials and poking a little fun at themselves. The commercials will debut during the telecast of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 30 on FOX.(Alan Taylor PR)(5-18-2004)
Kyle Busch to skip Open but to run at Kansas: Kyle Busch will attempt to qualify for the Oct. 10 Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway, adding a sixth points-paying race to his 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule in the #84 CARQUEST Chevrolets. In another change to Busch's calendar, Hendrick Motorsports has elected to not field the No. 84 entry in the May 22 NASCAR NEXTEL
All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Instead, the 19-year-old Busch will remain in Nazareth, Pa., to concentrate on the May 23 NASCAR Busch Series event at Nazareth Speedway. The Las Vegas native is currently first in the Busch Series championship standings after 11 of 34 races. Busch started 18th and finished 41st at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his first-ever NEXTEL Cup start on March 7. He will next enter a Cup-level event at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 30.
REMAINING 2004 SCHEDULE - NO. 84 CARQUEST CHEVROLETS:
May 30, Lowe's Motor Speedway
July 25, New Hampshire International Speedway
Aug. 15, Michigan International Speedway
Sept. 5, California Speedway
Oct. 10, Kansas Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(5-18-2004)
Kerry Earnhardt to run the Nextel Open: #33-Kerry Earnhardt will pilot chassis #112 from the Richard Childress Racing stable at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Nextel Open. This is the same car Kevin Harvick drove to a 13th-place finish in February at Rockingham. Harvick also raced this car last season at Texas (3/30/03), California (4/27/03) and Michigan (6/15/03). The NASCAR NEXTEL Open will be Earnhardt's second Cup Series start of 2004 for RCR. His most recent appearance came last month at Talladega where he qualified 36th and finished 35th. While the end result was a less than desirable outcome, Earnhardt was running inside the top-15 when he was tapped by another car and spun into the inside retaining wall, ending his day 63 circuits short of the scheduled 188 lap distance. Earnhardt will sport a special paint scheme this weekend highlighting Bass Pro Shops support of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Earnhardt tested chassis No. 93 May 10-11 at LMS in preparation for the NASCAR NEXTEL Open. Earnhardt also tested at Michigan International Speedway last week in preparation for the Sirius 400, June 20. The NEXTEL Open will be Earnhardt's second NASCAR Cup attempt at LMS. He attempted to make the UAW-GM 500 in October 2002 with FitzBradshaw Racing, but missed the field due to lack of owner championship points after rain washed out qualifying. Earnhardt won the 2001 EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 100 ARCA Series race at LMS. Additionally, he made two other ARCA starts at the suburban Charlotte track, recording second and 20th-place finishes.
Crew Gary Cogswell says: "Kerry and I have tested together twice at two different tracks and I think I have a pretty good direction as to what I need to give him so he can drive the car hard. I'm eager to go this weekend. Kerry is really motivated. He knows he has a chance to drive a quality car with a lot of support behind him to help him run well. As far as expectations go, we just want to be able to race. We want to win, but we're not going to put the cart in front of the horse. To me, if we can run the whole race competitively - if we can pass cars, if we get
passed that's ok, as long as we can pass too. If we can stay out of trouble and run all the laps we'll call it a good day."(RCR PR)(5-18-2004)
Newman commercial to debut: ExxonMobil will air its first national television commercial featuring Penske Racing driver Ryan Newman during Fox's May 30 broadcast of the Coca-Cola 600 Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, this week's Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports. The story says the ad is designed to promote use of the company's Speedpass credit card system.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-18-2004)
Evernham Motorsports Hosts Third Annual Fan Appreciation Day: Evernham Motorsports [#'s 9.19.91] will hold its third annual Evernham Motorsports Fan Appreciation Day featuring Jeremy Mayfield, Kasey Kahne, Ray Evernham and Bill Elliott to thank fans for their support of the team and provide them an opportunity to meet the stars of Evernham Motorsports in person. Evernham Motorsports Fan Appreciation Day will be held Friday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the Evernham Motorsports facilities in Statesville, N.C. Throughout the event, fans will have the opportunity to tour the race facility and meet members of the Dew Crew. The day will conclude with an autograph signing with Elliott and a second with Mayfield, Kahne and Evernham. Charlotte's WFMX-FM will be doing a live broadcast from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from the event. In addition, a silent auction will be held featuring several items including race memorabilia. Funds from the auction will be distributed to Racing for a Reason, a foundation established by Ray Evernham that benefits several worthy causes. For more information and directions, visit www.evernhammotorsports.com.(5-18-2004)
Spotters "Other" driver to make ARCA debut: 19-year-old Kelly Bires will make his first start in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in the “Quaker Steak and Lube 100” at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 27th [where Jayski will be the grand marshal]. Bires will drive for Mike Calinoff [#17 Cup Spotter/comedian] and FitzBradshaw Racing, who have established a joint-venture for this event. Bires, who competed successfully at Late Model tracks in Wisconsin for the past two years, will drive the Atlantic Pin Striping Company/Meadow Valley Log Homes Chevrolet. A recent test at the Nashville Speedway prompted ARCA to approve Bires for the 1 ½ mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He had never competed on anything greater than a half-mile, and ran laps that would have been quick enough to place him in the top-five for the ARCA race at Nashville. Bires recently tested at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to further prove that he can adapt quickly to an even quicker track. He posted the sixth fastest time of 23 cars in the final rundown. Last season, Bires won four feature events, including the prestigious Wisconsin Challenge Series 100. He scored 8 top fives and 12 top ten finishes. In addition to Atlantic Pin Striping and mvloghomes.com, the team will sport associate sponsorship from Wisconsin-based companies who have supported Kelly through his career. Lange Plumbing, WTL Builders, Leo’s Uppers Dells Bar have joined Kelly in his ARCA debut.(MJ Sports Properties PR)(5-17-2004)
Lepage to run at Lowe's: confirmed the Kevin Lepage will run in the Nextel Open for Conley Motorsports #79 Chevy, depending on how Lepage runs at the Open, will determine if the team and Lepage attempts the Coca-Cola 600.(5-17-2004)
Racing to the finish line: Victory Junction near goal: Victory Junction Gang Camp, a camp in Randleman for seriously ill children that has been created by racing legend Richard Petty's family and will be part of a network of camps inspired by actor Paul Newman, hopes to reach its $24.4 million capital goal before it opens June 20. The camp has raised $22.9 million and needs to raise only $500,000 more to secure a $1 million challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation in Troy, Mich., that will complete the drive, says Brian Collier, executive director. With the capital drive nearly wrapped up, Collier says, the camp already is raising money for its annual fund and gearing up for a $5 million endowment drive to begin early in 2005. The camp also is raising money to cover its annual budget, which this year will get a $500,000 boost from funds raised in the capital drive but still requires another $1.1 million to be raised privately. While this year's $1.6 million budget will cover just over six months of operations, next year's budget will grow to $2.5 million to cover the first full year of operations. Opening events include a June 17 open house and a June 15 invitation-only celebrity gala that will include Newman, donors who made large gifts, and NASCAR drivers, sponsors and team owners [Jayski will be there].(Business Journal Serving the Greater Triad Area)(5-17-2004)
Schrader wins Toledo ARCA race: A winner’s trophy for Ken Schrader, more trying times for Frank Kimmel and a black flag for Billy Venturini; and that was only part of the fascinating story Sunday afternoon at Toledo Speedway where the ARCA RE/MAX Series played before a packed house. In the end, Schrader held off Jason Jarrett in a spirited door-to-door, two-lap shootout to win the thrilling Hickory Farms 200 presented by Federated Car Care. Rookie Boston Reid, in his first series attempt, looked very sharp, led laps and finished third. For Schrader, the victory represented his 11th ARCA RE/MAX Series victory in his 31st attempt.(ARCA Racing Site)(5-17-2004)
No Busch RCR engines for Gordon at Nazareth: Robby Gordon will run triple duty, racing in the Indy Racing League, Nextel Cup and the Busch Series. Gordon had initially planned to run a partial Busch schedule, and his Cup owner, Richard Childress Racing, had agreed to supply the engines. But when Gordon decided to stretch his Busch schedule beyond 25 races, Childress told Gordon he needed to find another power source. Enter his former IRL owner/sponsor John Menard, who will build Gordon's engines for this weekend's race at Nazareth Speedway.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-17-2004)