Martin wins at Dover and ends 73 race drought: #6-Mark Martin won his first race since May 2002 [Coca-Cola 600] in 73 races, winning the MBNA 400: A Salute to Heroes at Dover International Speedway, in a slow, ugly, wild race. It is Martin's 4th win at Dover and 34th of his career. Only 5 cars ended up on the lead lap, the rest of the top five were: #20-Stewart, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #99-Burton and #10-Riggs. #10-Scott Riggs had his best career finish and was the highest finishing rookie of the year candidate. Earnhardt Jr. increased his points lead over #48-Johnson. Sixteen cars did not finish the race and many more that were still running were damaged.
For race results, see: ThatsRacin.com MotorSports One NASCAR.com.(6-6-2004)
TOP FIVE [unofficial] DRIVERS POINTS after Dover:
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 1963
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 1865, -98
#17-Matt Kenseth, 1784, -179
#20-Tony Stewart, 1767, -196
#24-Jeff Gordon, 1709, -254
For full standings see ThatsRacin.com or NASCAR.com.(6-6-2004)
StockCarFans.com - Rumblings - Dover:
For what was going to be an emotional weekend, Saturday's news increased it tenfold. The passing of President Ronald Reagan brought a thoughtful remorse to many. The world lost the greatest leader of the 20th Century, NASCAR lost a friend, and their fans lost a hero. Certain memories of Mr. Reagan will always be emblazoned in our minds....whether it be the speech he gave 20 years ago today on that beach in Normandy, the famous "Tear Down this Wall" speech in Berlin, the images of him lying on that sidewalk in DC, or just simply that picture of the President and the King smiling in the press box at Daytona International Speedway on July 4th, 1984.
Now, where do we start? It's not often we can say that "pit in" determined the outcome of the race, but you could certainly make an argument for it today. With about 80 laps to go in today's MBNA 400 "A Salute to Heroes" 400 at Dover International Speedway, we finally had our first round of green-flag pit stops. After racing 320 laps, I guess a few guys forgot how tricky this pit-road entrance can be.
First Tony Stewart totally missed it. He had to make an extra lap and that probably cost him the race. Then came the telling move. Ryan Newman spun coming in, hit the cones, hit the tires that protect the end of pit wall, and brought out the caution that would lead to "THE BIG ONE". What's that you say? You think it only happens at Talladega? We had an 19 car job today in turn 3....and it was a major mess.
But, before we got to that point, a few other observations....
Ryan Newman got the deal of the century. He had no less than 4 infractions (hitting the commit-line cones, spinning on pit road, pitting too early, running the stop sign at pit out), and his team spent the next 20 laps complaining that he was getting a ONE LAP PENALTY.
So, while NASCAR was covering itself in ignominity trying to figure out who was where "at the moment of caution", not to mention who was the "lucky dog", we lost a ton of laps to that confusion. BTW, NASCAR seems to lead the league in confusion lately. Since this was not NASCAR's finest hour (keeping the WWII theme intact), they topped it off by not throwing a caution when Casey Mears grenaded an engine in turn 4 and Kasey Kahne was lucky enough to be the first car through that area....about 20 seconds later. He was toast....
When the concrete dust settled (how come this is one of the last tracks to get "soft walls"? Buddy Baker was telling us 15 years ago the
hardest hits in NASCAR came at Dover!), it was Mark Martin in Victory Lane....and it's been quite awhile since he'd graced that location.
Martin's victory broke a 72 race losing streak (his last win was the Coke 600 at Lowe's in May of 2002), and was the 34th of his Cup career. This breaks a 17th place tie with the legendary Fireball Roberts on the all-time win list, and was win #70 for Jack Roush. His 4th win at Dover was worth $271,900 from the nearly $5.5M in posted awards.
17 DNF's today.....they don't call this place the Monster Mile for nuttin'!
Tony Stewart (2nd) had his best finish since he was the runner-up at Daytona in February.
Jeff Burton (4th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Richmond last September.
Scott Riggs (5th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 15th at Texas in April.
Burton & Riggs' Top-5's now gives us 21 drivers at that number (last year we had 30). Riggs' Top-10 gives us 30 drivers at that mark (last
years number was 42).
Scott Wimmer (9th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at the 500 in February.
Jimmy Spencer (17th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Rockingham last November.
STREAKIN....Dale Earnhardt Jr has 6 Top-10's in the last 7 races.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the week (for the second time this season) is Terry Labonte (+27), followed by Jimmy Spencer (+24), Dale Earnhardt Jr (+23), and Kevin Harvick (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper was a tie between Jeff Gordon (-23) and Stanton Barrett (-23), followed by Brendan Gaughan (-22). This was also Gordon's second BD of the season.
We're halfway thru the season fans (we're gonna have to consider this a 26 race season for all but 10 drivers, after all), and we're down to
just the Top-10 currently eligible for this year's Chase. Sure didn't take us long to get there, huh?
Jeff Burton (29th to 24th) made the best move forward today in the points, while Greg Biffle (21st to 25th) and Joe Nemechek (23rd to 27th) fell the most spots.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(6-6-2004)
Chris Bristol claims first win for Reggie White/Joe Gibbs Racing: Chris Bristol qualified second and led every lap to claim his first win at Caraway Speedway in his MBNA - Rockwell Automation sponsored Chevrolet. It is the first win for the Reggie White/Joe Gibbs Racing diversity program.(JGR PR)(6-6-2004)
Dale Jr. to appear on KFC Buckets: KFC says Dale Earnhardt Jr. will become the first person other than chain founder "Colonel" Harland Sanders to appear on buckets of its fried chicken. KFC, which is sponsoring Earnhardt Jr.'s Chance 2 Motorsports team for six Busch Series races this year, says Earnhardt Jr. will appear in racing gear with a Chevrolet painted in KFC colors on the buckets.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-6-2004)
Toyota Names Program Manager: Toyota has named Pat Wall to a newly created position as vice president and Craftsman Truck Series program manager for Toyota Racing Development USA Inc. Wall, who has spent 15 years as a motorsports consultant providing marketing and sponsorship services, will be responsible for oversight of all TRD resources in High Point, NC [where Bill Davis Racing is located]. He will also oversee Toyota’s technical and racing relationship with NASCAR.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-6-2004)
Congrats: Eric McClure, who made his NASCAR Nextel Cup debut at Talladega on April 25 in a 2nd Morgan-McClure Motorsports #04 Chevy, is currently celebrating his honeymoon. He has been working on sponsor plans to race again soon.(Bristol Herald Courier)(6-5-2004)
Ford Engines at Dover: haven't heard for sure, but heard on an XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio interview with #21 crew chief, Ben Leslie says none of the Fords will be using the new Ford cylinder heads at Dover.(6-5-2004)
Stremme to Cup by 2006: NASCAR Busch Series driver David Stremme, one of several up-and-comers Chip Ganassi has signed to driver development contracts, should join the Nextel Cup ranks by 2006, said Andy Graves, Ganassi's team manager. "We have David Stremme signed long-term with the Ganassi organization, Reed Sorenson and Ryan Hemphill. We're excited about those three young guys," Graves said. "I think you're going to see David Stremme in Cup in the near future, if not 2005 I'd say for sure in 2006. Reed and Ryan are both getting their feet wet. It's going to take a little more work to get them to that level, but they both have the talent." Stremme is driving the #32 TrimSpa Dodges for Braun Racing this season. Sorenson is running full-time in the American Speed Association and Sorenson and Hemphill are both running Automobile Racing Club of America series events. Graves called Roush Racing among the most successful at developing new talent in the Cup series. "I think those guys have done good jobs bringing up Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth. I think they're the ones that kind of started it," he said. "Both Hendrick and ourselves have kind of caught up with them, and hopefully we've got some young guys to get ready for the future."(ThatsRacin.com)(6-5-2004)
Ganassi Shakeup? [no details]: A shakeup may be brewing inside the Chip Ganassi camp, according to insiders. Ganassi's three drivers are all winless over the past year and a half.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-5-2004)
RCR Crewman wants Biffle: Crewmen at Richard Childress' shop are chomping at the bit with the possibility of acquiring Greg Biffle. "We need someone to step this operation up a notch," an RCR crewman said. "And Biffle could do that. Childress needs to get him - no matter what it costs."(Winston Salem Journal)(6-5-2004)
Ward to test at VIR: #0-Ward Burton and the NetZero Racing team are scheduled to test at Virginia International Raceway next Wednesday, June 9th in preparation for the upcoming road course event at Infineon (Sonoma Calif.) Raceway.(Ward Burton PR)(6-4-2004)
Testing at Infineon Raceway: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers #31-Robby Gordon, #5-Terry Labonte, #2-Rusty Wallace and rookies #30-Johnny Sauter and #25-Brian Vickers will be testing at Infineon Raceway on Tuesday, June 8, from 8:30am - 7:00pm/et.(Infineon Raceway PR)(6-4-2004)
NASCAR takes control of caution lights: NASCAR president Mike Helton said Friday the sanctioning body has taken control of the switches for the caution lights away from the flagstand. The switches will only be located in the control tower during races for all of NASCAR's three major divisions. The decision comes after a mistake in the Infineon 200 Craftsman Truck Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway last month where the caution lights came on and leader Carl Edwards slowed. The lights, allegedly turned on by the backup flagman, were quickly turned off, and there was no caution. Edwards ended up losing the race, and NASCAR later admitted it was wrong. The flagstand will no longer be able to turn on the caution lights but can still wave the caution flag.(NASCAR.com)(6-4-2004)
Sacks back in a Cup car? during Speed Channel's Busch Series Qualifying coverage, Jeff Hammond mentioned that Greg Sacks, attempting to make the Busch Series race at Dover, is working on a deal to get back in a Nextel Cup car, possibly as soon as Chicago in July. No word on what team and no idea if it has anything to do with that #05 Team he announced a few years ago.(6-4-2004)
Jim Inglebright to Drive #30 AOL Chevrolet in Sonoma: Due to a conflict in driver Johnny Sauter's NASCAR NEXTEL Series and Busch Series schedules, Richard Childress Racing (RCR) team owner Richard Childress has named Southwest Series driver Jim Inglebright to pilot the #30 AOL Chevrolet for the June 27 Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Inglebright, 43, a regular on the NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series, has eight wins in 96 starts, including three straight victories at Infinion Raceway (2000-2002). He finished fourth in the 2003 event. He also ran a limited Craftsman Truck Series schedule during the 2000 and 2001 seasons, posting one top-ten finish in 17 starts. "We're disappointed Johnny couldn't run Infineon due to the Busch race weekend in Milwaukee, which is Kleenex's, his Busch team's sponsor's, hometown," said Childress. "We decided to put Jim Inglebright in the AOL Chevrolet for that race and are confident he will do a great job for us. Jim has the aggressive driving style I like and he definitely knows his way around Infineon, his track record speaks for itself." Sauter will remain the full-time driver of the #30 AOL Chevrolet and will return to the seat for the July 3 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. "I am honored to get the opportunity to drive the AOL Chevrolet for Richard Childress," said Inglebright, the Fairfield, Calif., native who will also compete in the Southwest Series event at Infineon Raceway. "Driving in the Nextel Cup Series has always been a goal of mine. What better way to reach my goal than to drive for Richard Childress and AOL at Infineon Raceway." Inglebright will test the #30 AOL Chevrolet at Infineon Raceway Tuesday, June 8, in preparation for the Dodge-SaveMart 350. "AOL is excited to have a driver of Jim Inglebright's status in the seat of the AOL Chevrolet for the road-course event at Infineon Raceway," said JD Ettore, AOL Director National Promotions & Sponsorship. "Jim is a very well respected driver and with him we know we have a great shot at winning."(RCR PR)(6-4-2004)
More on the Mikey leaving DEI rumors [looks more and more like he will leave]: Rumors have begun to swirl -- again -- that 41-year-old Michael Waltrip's job with Dale Earnhardt Inc. is in jeopardy. On Wednesday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said that although it would be a tough decision, there is a good possibility DEI will replace Waltrip when his contract expires at the end of this season. ''I know Michael personally would like to finish his career [with DEI],'' Earnhardt said during a Pepsi 400 promotion at Daytona International Speedway. ``But I don't see, ah, I don't see the chances of that being so good right now. But we haven't made a decision yet. Michael goes and runs good this past weekend at Charlotte [a second in the Coca-Cola 600]. He puts up a good argument for himself. But we need results out of that team.'' Earnhardt also emphasized that rookie Martin Truex Jr., the star driver of his Second Chance Busch Series team, should not be seen as the ``villan.''
''If we decide not to keep Michael, I believe we'd bring another driver in other than Martin,'' said Earnhardt, citing that he believes the best course for Truex's development in one more year in the Busch series. ''It's kind of tough for Martin because he feels like he's causing problems that he's not even causing,'' Earnhardt said. Waltrip has won a total of four races during his 3 ½ years with DEI, but all the victories have come on the superspeedways of Daytona or Talladega, where DEI cars have excelled in restrictor-plate racing. Waltrip finished 24th in the point standings in 2001, prompting the first round of talk that his job was in jeopardy. But in July of 2002, DEI extended his contract with NAPA Auto Parts as its primary sponsor for two more years. Waltrip finished 14th in the championship in 2002 and was 15th last year. This year Waltrip is 24th, 229 points out of the final spot for the 10-race shootout for the championship.
''I love Michael,'' said Earnhardt Jr., who leads the championship race. ``It's very difficult because Michael and Dad were great friends. And Michael is a good friend, and I think the world of him. And Michael would love to finish his career where he's at. At the same time, we have to look toward the future. . . . That team [the No. 15 Chevy] has been going for three or four years and we feel like we've got to position ourselves for another driver for a good long relationship.'' In the offseason last year, DEI tried to to lure two-time Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. to drive a third car. Hornish decided to remain in the IRL and drive for Team Penske. Earnhardt said the team can't pass up on a good ''home run hitter in the offseason'' because they were waiting for Waltrip to retire. He also said it's not ''healthy'' for a team to switch drivers midseason, although he did not rule out the possibility that it could happen. ''If it cuts Michael's career a couple of years shorter than he anticipated [with DEI], I don't think he's going to have a problem continuing what he wants to do,'' Earnhardt said. Waltrip could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but after finish second to runaway victor Jimmie Johnson last week in the Coca-Cola 600 he said: ``I know I have the talent and ability to do the job. It just reaffirms that.''(in part from the Miami Herald - need to register to view)(6-4-2004)
Wimmer gets NASCAR probation also: Nextel Cup rookie #22-Scott Wimmer has been placed on probation by NASCAR for the remainder of the season after being convicted of driving under the influence. Wimmer pleaded guilty and received a year's probation and a requirement to do 24 hours of community service. He was allowed to keep his driver's license. NASCAR also plans to require Wimmer to do some sort of community service. "We're looking at some different things so Scott can get the message out so that it will help others not put themselves in the position he put himself in," said NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter, adding that NASCAR and Wimmer have worked together since Wimmer's arrest on Jan. 31. "We feel he has accepted responsibility for his actions and is truly remorseful."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-4-2004)
MRN Honored: Motor Racing Network (MRN) swept top honors in all eligible radio categories at the annual American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) Awards Banquet in Indianapolis on Saturday, May 29. The nation's largest independent sports radio network, based in Daytona Beach, Fla., received first place honors for 2003 programming in the Radio Staff Produced and Radio Single Produced categories. Following are those who were recognized in each category:
Radio Race Report: NASCAR Busch Series - "Dreambody 250" from Pikes Peak International Raceway Eli Gold, anchor; David Hyatt, Executive Producer and T.G. Ailstock, Producer
Radio Feature Program: NASCAR Heroes - Richard Petty, Eli Gold, Host; David Hyatt Executive Producer and Marty Hough, Producer
The AARWBA is the second National Association to honor MRN for its outstanding radio coverage of NASCAR races in 2003. Earlier this
year, National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) recognized MRN with 8 awards including the prestigious "Barney Hall Award" given to NASCAR Live Event Producer, Ryan Horn. "These awards show the dedication of the entire MRN staff to producing quality programming for our millions of listeners," said network President and Executive Producer Hyatt. "We are honored to be recognized by our peers."(MRN PR)(6-4-2004)
Special D-Day scheme and diecast deal: MBNA is the primary sponsor of the #18 Chevy for Dover, and Labontes car is painted in a style reminiscent of World War II military equipment. A 1:24 scale die-cast replica of Labonte's MBNA D-Day car is available and a portion of the royalties from sales of the die-cast will be donated to the D-Day Memorial Foundation and to the Armed Forces Family Scholarship and Assistance Fund (AFFSAF), administered by the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation (MCLEF).(JGR PR), check out the die-cast at www.full-victory.com.(6-4-2004)
National D-Day Memorial Foundation Logo: Elliott Sadler will run a special D-Day logo on the rear quarter panel of the #38 M&M's Ford. According to National D-Day Memorial Foundation President and Retired Army Colonial William A. McIntosh, M&M'S as a distinct place in wartime history. "Wherever American troops were - there were also M&M'S," said McIntosh. "M&M'S was the only candy that didn't melt in the conditions we faced as GI's. I remember eating them for a quick pick me up and just because they tasted so good. We are so thankful to the Mars family for their contributions to American soldiers over the years."
"We are proud to be a part of American history," said Jeffery Moran Director of Communications for Masterfoods USA. "Placing the National D-Day Memorial Foundation decal on the #38 car for the MBNA 400 at Dover International Speedway is a great to pay tribute to the Americans who fought for our country on this historic day."(M&M's Racing PR)(6-4-2004)
McMurray's Pit Crew Scores First McDonald's/POWERade Victory: Jamie McMurray's pit crew claimed the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. Though McMurray's crew had been close to the top in a number of races, this was the first time the #42 team captured the $20,000 weekly prize. The first-place finish lifted McMurray's crew from 11th to eighth in the McDonald's/POWERade point standings. The season winner will collect a $200,000 bonus. Speaking of winners, last year's season champion - the pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- remains first with 459 points and a 21-point margin over Elliott Sadler's crew. The margin of victory for McMurray's crew was a mere three-tenths of a second over Sadler's team. McMurray's Texaco-Havoline Dodge, which is part of the Chip Ganassi racing stable, spent 283.521 seconds on pit road. Sadler's Pedigree Ford was clocked at 283.824. Michael Waltrip's NAPA Chevy was third at 288.029. "I'm really proud of this entire Texaco/Havoline team," crew chief Donnie Wingo said. "They have really pulled together and we have a very solid pit crew. I also want to send a word of thanks to Dave Collins, who is an important part of the 42 pit crew. Dave injured his finger a while back and is out of commission for now, but we look forward to him getting back soon. I also want to say thank you to McDonald's and POWERade for their support of this pit crew competition. Our team takes great pride in being awarded this prize." The #42 over-the-wall crew consists of: Shane Church (front tire changer), Keith Mansch (front tire carrier), Billy Curwood (rear tire changer), Andrew Carter (rear tire carrier), Mark Cass (jackman), Mike Bodick (gas man) and Heath Silver (catch can).(DMF Communications PR), see the top 10 from the race and the standings on my Pit Crew News page.(6-3-2004)
Long at Dover UPDATE: hearing that Carl Long will attempt to make the MBNA 400: A Salute to Heroes at Dover International Speedway in the #00 McGlynn Motorsports Chevrolet, while not asscoaited with Michael Waltrip or DEI, it is a former DEI car supposedly.(6-2-2004) UPDATE: Carl Long has teamed up with the #00 McGlynn Motorsports Nextel Cup Chevrolet crew this weekend at Dover International Speedway and again for the upcoming Pocono Nextel Cup race scheduled for Sunday, June 13, 2004. Long has nine NASCAR Cup Series, four Busch Series and six NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career starts to his credit and is one of the most popular independent drivers in NASCAR. Long has been tabbed by Team Owner Raynard McGlynn to help his team gain valuable experience on and off the track. McGlynn's long-term strategy is to enter his son Ryan in the July 25, 2004 Loudon [New Hampshire] Cup race. Driver Ryan McGlynn has been approved by NASCAR to compete in Nextel Cup tracks up to one-mile until he gains additional Cup experience. McGlynn competed at the inaugural Daytona truck event and is approved to compete at Superspeedways in all truck competition. McGlynn Motorsports plans on running at least one truck series event, possibly Kentucky. McGlynn Motorsports and driver Ryan McGlynn posted their career-best finish in the Kentucky truck race, coming home eleventh (11th) after qualifying twenty-ninth (29th) for the July 14, 2001 event.(TruckSeries.com)(6-3-2004)
#32 Testing the road: hearing that the #32 Tide PPI Motorsports Chevy team tested at Virginia International Raceway on Wednesday in preparation for the upcoming road course race at Infineon Speedway. Ricky Craven drivers the #32 Tide Chevy.(6-3-2004)
Racing Electronics Expands:Racing Electronics has announced their plan for the expansion of their southern operations. A brand new state-of-the-art 12,000 square-foot facility is planned to house both Racing Electronics and RaceSAFE Systems, Inc. at 840 Derita Road, Concord, NC. Racing Electronics’ building site is one mile from the entrance to Concord Airport, one-quarter mile from Poplar Tent Road, and directly across the street from the new facility being constructed by Ganassi Racing. “This area is a rapidly expanding, high visibility area. Our plans are to expand our southern operations with a new retail center, distribution facility, technical center, repair center, and state-of-the-art showroom and audio testing laboratory,” said Bruce Silver, president of Racing Electronics.(RE PR)(6-3-2004)
Jerry Nadeau Returns to Connecticut with Endurance Karting: NASCAR driver and Danbury [CT] native Jerry Nadeau returns to his home state June 18 and 19 for the EnduranceKarting.com events at Lime Rock Park. Nadeau will serve as an instructor in the June 18 racing school, which is limited to 20 participants. On Saturday, June 19, Nadeau will be on one of 28 teams competing in an eight-hour go-kart endurance race. Nadeau says: "I really enjoyed instruction and working with people and coming back to Lime Rock is going to be so much fun." Pre-registration is required for the race and the school. "I have raced with EnduranceKarting.com three times at the kart track at Lowe's Motor Speedway [in Charlotte]," Nadeau said. "Last time, I teamed up with Ernie Irvan and my dad, who had not raced in years. We had a great time, racing together and against racing enthusiasts." Nadeau was seriously injured in a May 2003 crash at Richmond International Raceway. He has since undergone extensive rehabilitation
and has progressed remarkably. He keeps his racing skills in practice through go-karts and racing-themed video games, in hopes of returning to the Nextel Cup Series in 2005. The Lime Rock race also marks a homecoming to go-kart racing for Nadeau. He began racing go-karts at age four, winning three consecutive World Karting Association Gold Cup Championships (1988 to 1990). He won the WKA Grand National Championship and the Skip Barber Eastern Series Rookie-of-the-Year title in the same year (1991). In 1996, he competed in the Formula Opel European Series and finished sixth, the highest-ever finish by an American. Nadeau began racing in the prestigious Nextel Cup Series in 1997, posting one win at Atlanta Motor Speedway (November 2000) in 177 starts. Throughout his rehabilitation process, Nadeau has enjoyed spending time with his wife Jada and one-year-old daughter Natalie.
EnduranceKarting.com travels the country holding "Arrive and Race" events for the avid race fans to try the spirit of racing. For more
information on the Lime Rock races, or EnduranceKarting's other events in Portugal, North Carolina, Indiana, Las Vegas or Florida, visit
www.EnduranceKarting.com or call toll-free 1-866-722-3669.(Endurance Karting PR)(6-3-2004)
Gunselman in the #98 at Dover: Larry Gunselman, co-owner of the #98 Lucas Oil Ford will climb into the car this weekend in Dover International Speedway, attempting to make the MBNA 400: A Salute to Heroes race. Gunselman has worn a number of hats this season as co-owner, pit crew member, as well as being fully involved with the day-to-day operations at the MACH 1 shop in Denver NC. Gunselman brings a wide array of experience from various levels of racing, including the former the Winston West, the NASCAR Busch, NASCAR Craftsman’s Truck, and NASCAR Nextel Cup series. Most recently Gunselman raced the full year in 2003 finishing 21st in points in the NASCAR Busch Series. “I’m very excited about driving the car this weekend in Dover”, stated Gunselman.(Mach 1 PR)(6-3-2004)
TV Ratings: Indy 500 beats Coke 600? UPDATE or does it? The Indianapolis 500 defeated the Coca-Cola 600 in preliminary overnight Nielsen ratings, despite enduring lengthy rain delays Sunday. ABC's 4.7 rating for the Indy 500 fell from a 5.1 last year, but it edged out the 4.5 for Fox's Coca-Cola 600, which declined 8 percent from 2003. Usually, the Indy 500 is over by the time the Coca-Cola 600 begins, but rain delays caused them to compete for two hours. In each half-hour segment from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern, the Indy 500 won, ending with a 4.8 rating from 7 to 7:30, compared with a 4.0 for the Coca-Cola 600. Each overnight ratings point equals 754,274 television households. Viewership did not plummet during the Indy 500's rain delays, which actually pushed it into a later time period with more viewership. The two rain-delay segments, the first from noon to 2 p.m. and the second from 2:45 to 4:30, rated a 3.6 and a 3.7.(New York Times - need to register)(6-2-2004) UPDATE OR? NASCAR's Coke 600 Overpowers Indy 500 by Widest Margin Ever:
Sunday's heated TV viewership rivalry between the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Nextel Cup's Coca-Cola 600 produced the widest ratings
disparity since 2000. That year however, it was the Indianapolis 500 that topped the Coca-Cola 600 by a margin of +61% (5.5 on ABC vs. 3.4 on TBS). This past Sunday produced an entirely different result. In a further indication of NASCAR's surging national appeal, the
Coca-Cola 600 fired a 5.0 national rating and captured its third consecutive ratings victory over the Indianapolis 500, which posted a 4.1 national rating. The +22% gap over Indy represents the widest margin of victory favoring the Coca-Cola 600 in the history of both events. From a viewership standpoint, NASCAR's victory was even more impressive as the Coca-Cola 600 generated an average audience of 8.4
million over a 4.5-hour broadcast, while the Indianapolis 500 drew 6.1 million, a difference of + 38%. Facts and figures:
Coca-Cola 600 vs. Indy 500
HH Rtg - +22% - (5.0 vs. 4.1)
M18-34 - +200% - (3.0 vs. 1.0)
M18-49 - +110% - (4.4 vs. 2.1)
M25-54 - +86% - (5.2 vs. 2.8)
P2+ - +38% - (8.4 mill vs. 6.1)
NASCAR Day: NASCAR announced plans for a new and exciting charity initiative, designating August 20, 2004 as the inaugural “NASCAR Day.” This one-day event is an opportunity for the nationwide NASCAR community to celebrate its enthusiasm for the sport while raising money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp, which is scheduled to open this summer. On Friday, August 20, fans can show their NASCAR spirit by donating a minimum of $5 in exchange for the opportunity to wear their favorite NASCAR apparel to work. All participants will receive a commemorative lapel pin celebrating NASCAR Day. Proceeds will benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp for kids, a Proud Charity of NASCAR established to provide fun and memorable camping experiences to chronically ill children. All fans and companies are welcome, and encouraged, to participate in this cause program.
Already, NASCAR is seeking participation within the industry and is encouraging companies outside the industry to participate. To date, The Coca-Cola Company, Goodyear, Best Western and Levi Strauss Signature have committed their support by allowing employees to wear NASCAR apparel on August 20th.
Fans seeking information, or to sign up for NASCAR Day, should visit www.nascar.com/nascarday or call 1-866-305-4703. Corporations interested in implementing a company-wide NASCAR Day program can call 704-348-9640.
“There are no other fans like NASCAR fans,” said Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge. “Their dedication and enthusiasm for the sport is unrivaled. NASCAR Day is a great way to harness the energy of every single person, company and organization involved in the sport for a greater good. I’m looking forward to showing my NASCAR spirit on August 20.”
NASCAR Day is organized through NASCAR Community Relations, which makes the most of the sport’s combined strengths to help as many people as possible through charitable foundations. Together, the NASCAR community is using this unique and dedicated format to assist people everywhere.(NASCAR PR)(6-2-2004)
Blaney to run the #23 at Dover: Bill Davis Racing announced the addition of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Inc. as a primary sponsor of the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge for the MBNA 400 “A Salute to Heroes” at Dover International Speedway. Headquartered in Harrisburg, PA, Ollie's Bargain Outlet has 31 locations stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. In addition to serving as a primary sponsor of the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge this weekend at Dover, Ollie’s is already a primary sponsor of the #43 Curb-Agajanian team piloted by Aaron Fike in the NASCAR Busch Series. Mark Butler, the CEO of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, remarked that “the Bill Davis Racing #23 NASCAR team is a perfect partner for Ollie’s. Despite not having a full-time sponsor in 2004, the #23 team has fielded a number of very competitive entries in Nextel Cup races this year. “As we recently opened a store in Dover and are looking forward to expanding with more stores in the Delaware area, we believe that sponsoring a team in such an extremely popular and widely covered sporting event as the MBNA 400 ‘A Salute to Heroes’ will help us promote our company’s commitment to providing quality products at cheap prices in Delaware. The #23 Bill Davis Racing team has competed in a limited schedule this year due to a lack of full-time sponsorship, but it certainly does not
appear that Dave Blaney has been driving for anything less than a full-time team; Blaney has notched four top-20 finishes in five Nextel
Cup Series starts as driver of Bill Davis’s #23 car. “I am excited to pilot the #23 Bill Davis Racing Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Dodge at Dover this week. We have a great team working on that car, and we will build on some positive things we took away from our performance in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte last weekend.” Headquartered in Harrisburg, PA, Ollie's Ollie’s Bargain Outlet was founded in 1982 by Mr. Mort Bernstein and Mr. Mark Butler. Ollie’s purchases By buying overproduced, overstocked and discontinued goods from manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers and offers a compelling value to its customers by selling these , Ollie's is able to sell its products at prices typically 40% to 50% below suggested retail prices. Please visit www.olliesbargainoutlet.com for more information.(Bill Davis Racing PR), Blaney was listed in the #7 Ultra Motorsports Dodge at Dover, no idea if they will field the car with another driver [Steve Park?] or withdraw.(6-2-2004)
Wimmer testing at Pocono: The #22 Caterpillar team will make a stop at Pocono Raceway on Thursday, June 3 in preparation for next week’s race. The team will be testing the car they raced at Rockingham, Darlington and California. Wimmer hasn’t raced at the three-turn track, so the test session is essential to the team. Dave Blaney, Wimmer’s part-time teammate will be on hand to help the team.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(6-2-2004)
CASCAR to NASCAR? Rumours are rampant that the CASCAR Super Series -- Canada's top stock car racing sanctioning body -- is in negotiations with NASCAR to sell its events, including races at the Toronto and Vancouver Molson Indys. Reports of the sale were being spread this past weekend in Charlotte, N.C., home of NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 [at Lowe's Motor Speedway]. If the sale were to be completed, it is expected that NASCAR would rename the series NASCAR North and lump it in with its two other regional racing series -- Busch North and Grand National West. CASCAR spokesman Richard Coughlin, reached at Delaware Speedway where the series held its first race of the season this past weekend, said there have been talks but denied a sale is imminent. Veteran driver Peter Gibbons, who coincidentally has his race shop in the Charlotte area, won the race at Delaware in his #1 Canadian Tire Chevrolet.(Toronto Sun)(6-2-2004)
Wimmer Convicted; Gets Probation UPDATE 3: NASCAR driver Scott Wimmer [#22 Caterpillar Dodge] was convicted Tuesday of drunk driving after a single-vehicle accident in January. Wimmer, 28, was sentenced to one year of probation and 24 hours of community service after he was also found guilty of fleeing the scene of an accident. He was given a 60-day suspended prison term, served only if he violates probation, will lose his driver's license for one year [NOTE: been told that Wimmer only loses his driving privileges if he violates his license restrictions and/or doesn't fulfill his 24 hour community service]. He has already undergone an alcohol assessment, satisfying the last term of the sentence. Chuck Alexander, Wimmer's Winston-Salem-based attorney, said he will appeal the decision of a District Court judge, meaning Wimmer can keep his license until the appeal is resolved. Wimmer was arrested Jan. 31 for driving while impaired after wrecking a 2004 Dodge Ram pickup truck owned by Bill Davis Racing. Wimmer drives for the High Point-based racing team in NASCAR'S top-level Nextel Cup series. His wife, Judy Ambrose, was found innocent of charges that she impeded the investigation by lying to police.(CNNSI/AP)(6-2-2004) UPDATE: NASCAR officials are withholding comment on Nextel Cup rookie Scott Wimmer's conviction on drunken driving charges stemming from a Jan. 31 arrest in High Point, NC. Following a bench trial Tuesday in High Point, Wimmer, 28, was convicted of driving while impaired. He was given a 60-day suspended sentence, 24 hours of community service, fined $100 plus court costs and must relinquish his N.C. driver's license [NOTE: been told that Wimmer only loses his driving privileges if he violates his
license restrictions and/or doesn't fulfill his 24 hour community service]. Wimmer is appealing the conviction, his attorney said in court. NASCAR officials plan to wait to comment until they have had time to review the conviction and speak with Wimmer, spokesman Mike Zizzo said late Tuesday. AND - NOTE - IMPORTANT: A valid driver's license is NOT a requirement to compete in NASCAR. Competitors must have a valid NASCAR license.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-2-2004) UPDATE 2 - Response: Scott Wimmer got his day in court today answering charges for driving under the influence. Wimmer was arrested January 31, 2004 after an accident in High Point, NC. The court heard Wimmer’s case and found him guilty of driving under the influence. It resulted in a level five conviction, the lowest conviction for such charges, where Wimmer will serve 24 hours of community service in a 30-day period and he must also undergo an alcoholic assessment, which he has already completed. Wimmer’s conviction will not result in a loss of license. The charges of delay and obstruction against Wimmer’s wife, Jody, were dismissed. Since Wimmer was found guilty, the court returned an automatic appeal, however, Wimmer will resign the appeal in front of Supreme Court and accept the ruling of the courts. “I respect the decision of the courts,” said Wimmer. “I’ve been very fortunate to have the support of my sponsor, my family and the entire Bill Davis Racing family throughout all of this. I’m eager to put all of this behind me and move forward. My next commitment to putting all of this behind me is to try and help others from making the same mistake that I’ve made.”(Bill Davis Racing PR)(6-2-2004)
Red, White and Blue for Kirk: Kirk Shelmerdine and the #72 crew head for the Monster Mile at Dover, Delaware this weekend for the MBNA 400 “A Salute To Heroes.” Shelmerdine’s Ford Taurus will sport a red, white, and blue paint scheme to honor our veterans, and the other heroes who have given so much to keep us free. Kirk and his crew also wish to send a special salute to honor the 60th anniversary of D-Day. Freddie B’s, RacingUnderdog.com, and The Winning Team Racing Apparel are Shelmerdine’s associate sponsors for this week’s event.(RacingUnderdog.com / Hearsay Entertainment PR)(6-2-2004)
Cope Out? UPDATE yep Mike Wallace in, Jones at Pocono: hearing Derrike Cope and the #50 Arnold Motorsports team have parted ways.(6-1-2004) UPDATE: Team owner Don Arnold of Naples said late Tuesday afternoon that he will replace driver Derrike Cope with Mike Wallace for Sunday's MNBA 400 at the Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del. Wallace through the 2004 season has been piloting the #4 Geico/Sportclips Ford in the NASCAR Busch Series. "I think you know where I'm going with this," said Arnold, whose Nextel Cup Series team has struggled to find consistent corporate sponsorship since it debuted last summer in a Brick yard 400 qualifying attempt in Indianapolis. In the recent Nextel Open race in Charlotte, Arnold had the Geico sponsorship on the hood of the car driven by Cope and changed the overall paint scheme from gold and red to all-red. Geico will sponsor the car this weekend. "We've decided not to use Derrike at this point," Arnold went on. "We may go back to him, but right now we're going to try some options on drivers. Derrike has done an awful lot to help us progress and bring our group forward. He brought the program a long way." Arnold said he made the decision to change drivers along with crew chief Mike Hillman, who had a previous association with Wallace for A.J. Foyt Racing two years ago. In addition to giving Wallace a chance behind the wheel, Arnold said he would have P.J. Jones drive the #50 Dodge at Pocono on June 13 after earlier lining up Jones to handle the upcoming road course event at Sonoma on June 27. "Certainly I am not pleased. This wasn't something I anticipated," a disappointed Cope said Tuesday night. "I haven't talked to Don yet. He wasn't the one who told me. So it's difficult to comment. He owns the race team and he has to do what he thinks is best for his team. That's just the way this sport goes sometimes. There are no hard feelings," Cope added. "Some things happen for a reason. I'll talk to Don (today) and go pick up a couple of my racecars I have in his shop." Cope, who managed his own Cup team a year ago, said he wouldn't try to qualify on his own this weekend at Dover. "I wouldn't want to do that," he said. "I want to be proficient and that's putting a lot on your plate."(Naples Daily News)(6-2-2004)
Papa Joe Honored: "Papa Joe" Hendrick, the father of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick who planted the seed that has grown into one of NASCAR's most successful organizations, was presented The Order of the Long Leaf Pine by N.C. Gov. Mike Easley on Tuesday. The award is the State of North Carolina's highest honor presented to an individual for dedication and extended length of service to his or her organization. Gov. Easley made the presentation at Hendrick's headquarters near Lowe's Motor Speedway, in front of nearly 450 of the organization's employees, including Hendrick Nextel Cup driver Jimmie Johnson, who won Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. "Mr. and Mrs. Hendrick you really have helped the weak grow strong and you've made the strong grow great," Easley said. "Because of the work that you two started many, many years ago, you have improved the quality of life of thousands of North Carolinians and those beyond this state."
"Papa Joe" Hendrick Jr., 84, has been in and out of a Charlotte, N.C., hospital battling cancer in recent months. He and his wife, Mary, were on hand Tuesday to receive the honor. Johnson and former Hendrick driver Ken Schrader made remarks during the presentation. Johnson lauded "Papa Joe" for his courage in the face of adversity. "Pop, you make us all wake up every morning and work a little harder seeing how hard you've fought through everything," he said. "You give us all a lot of inspiration to wake up each morning, put a smile on our face and get to work." "Papa Joe" Hendrick co-owns Hendrick's #5 Busch and #25 Nextel Cup series teams with his grandson, Ricky Hendrick. "Papa Joe" Hendrick began racing modifieds in the early 1960s. While fielding a car with driver Ray Hendrick (no relation), the team won races throughout Virginia at such tracks as South Boston, Martinsville and Richmond.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-2-2004)
Ganassi Being Sued: NASCAR and IRL Team[s] owner Chip Ganassi was accused in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday of failing to pay his share of a $35 million debt linked to the construction of the Chicago Motor Speedway. The multimillion dollar lawsuit filed by the Chicago-based National Jockey Club alleged that Ganassi failed to adequately fund the project and was trying to duck his share of the debt, according to a statement from the club. Ganassi could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.(CBS Sportsline/AP)(6-2-2004)
Congrats to one on my favorite sites [non-nascar but automotive! sometimes some good auto racing stuff posted] www.autoextremist.com, an interesting look at the automobile industy for car enthusiasts everywhere. Run by Peter DeLorenzo, the site turned five years old today. Peter has been a guest on Dave Despain's Wind Tunnel [Speed Channel - 10:00pm/et] in the past. Congrats.(6-2-2004)
Johnson back to the Busch Series..for a race at LMS...with SpongeBob: #48-Jimmie Johnson who will join Kyle Busch in driving special "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" paint schemes during the Oct 15th, Busch Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The race will mark Johnson's first appearance in the Busch Series since 2001. Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevrolet will sport the SpongeBob character while Busch's #5 Lowe's Chevrolet will be outfitted with SpongeBob's starfish buddy Patrick. See more in the Track Section below.(Lowe's PR), see some images of the car on the 2004 Busch Paint Schemes page.(6-1-2004)
Gloves, required? a few asked, so...... Q) While watching the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. wasn't wearing his racing gloves during the race. Is it mandatory for racers to wear ALL of their racing gear during the race? And also can Dale Jr. be penalized for not wearing his racing gloves during the race?
A) Jeff Hammond: No, drivers are not required to wear gloves. It is recommended that they wear them.
A) Larry McReynolds: That's a great question, but gloves are not required by NASCAR. It is a lot like a full-face helmet. NASCAR suggests you wear it.(FoxSports Q&A)(6=1=2004)
Stewart in trouble? UPDATE unlikely: Tony Stewart may be in trouble with NASCAR for an incident in Saturday's Busch race: Stewart's car was sponsored by rocker Kid Rock, who bills himself as "American Bad Ass," from the title of his first hit single. Stewart's car had Kid Rock painted on the quarterpanel and "American Bad Ass" on the hood, but NASCAR officials made Stewart tape over the offending song title. However during the first pit stop Stewart ordered his crew to pull off the tape, which the crew did.(Winston Salem Journal) UPDATE: been told by folks with the team that Stewart's car started the race without the tape covering any part of the song title and that Stewart made no such orders.(6-1-2004)
Waltrip looking to move on? Another driver whose name is suddenly being mentioned by rival car owners is Michael Waltrip, who has been having a tough season but is a two-time Daytona 500 winner. The DEI sponsorship situation is up in the air, with Waltrip's NAPA sponsorship up for renewal. Waltrip is apparently on the wanted list by some rival car owners for his marketability. Elsewhere at DEI, Martin Truex Jr., who has been remarkably successful in DEI's Busch car and who has developed a tight relationship with Dale Earnhardt Jr., is being pushed to step up to a full Cup ride next season. Crew Chief Slugger Labbe admitted - "The rumor mill is kicking up. But NAPA is behind us 100 percent, and Michael is our driver. We're focused on winning races, and I want to give Michael his first downforce win, and we're cutting bodies off each week. We're not going to bring inferior stuff to the track. Whatever happens happens, but we're going to do the best we can to win races and make sure Michael and NAPA are happy."(Winston Salem Journal)(6-1-2004)
Robbie's Mom doing better: Robbie Loomis, crew chief for the #24 DuPont Chevy driven by Jeff Gordon: "My mom just called, and she's had a real good day. She actually told my sister to leave the hospital, so I like the sound of that." Loomis missed Nextel Cup practice and qualifying Thursday to comfort his ailing mother in Daytona Beach, Fla., where she has been hospitalized for several weeks while being treated for several blood clots and complications with the pancreas. He returned for practice Saturday but blamed himself for Gordon's surprising struggles Sunday. "It was a horrible night," Loomis said. "I take full responsibility because I haven't had my head in the game here lately."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-1-2004)
Rusty in trouble? #2-Rusty Wallace maybe in trouble with NASCAR for running an extra lap Saturday after NASCAR ended practice for the Coca-Cola 600.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-1-2004)
Some Tidbits: The last driver to win the Coca-Cola 600 and go on to win the championship was Jeff Gordon in 1998. The last time a driver won the 600 and in Dover the next weekend was Dale Earnhardt in 1993.(Roanoke Times)(6-1-2004)
Rudd: Engine Good, Chassis Not: Ricky Rudd was the only driver using the next-generation Roush-Yates engine in the 600, and the results were mixed. The motor provided reliability and more power, but his #21 Air Force Ford couldn't match the performance. "The motor was good, but you've got to have a chassis that complements the motor," Rudd said. "We were bad in the corner, so we couldn't take advantage. This motor liked to go, but we were losing about 300 rpm more in the corner than we should have been."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-1-2004)
The Biffle Rumor Expands: The hottest property is Greg Biffle, whose all-star run-in with Roush Racing teammate Kurt Busch triggered a him-or-me outburst; he appears ready to leave Roush at the end of the season. Biffle is under consideration for rides with Richard Childress, DEI, Chip Ganassi and Ray Evernham, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal), past news on the rumor, see my #16 Team News and Links page.(6-1-2004)
Ice Bag from a Driver: A driver in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 was apparently attempting to cause an intentional caution when the a bag of ice hit several cars on Lap 349 of 400, Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said. Darby said the bag of ice came from a car in the field, but that the car could not be identified with certainty from video replay of the incident. The ploy worked, as NASCAR threw the caution. Causing an intentional caution is prohibited by NASCAR rules.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-1-2004)
Inspections Not Fair? One Cup car owner, who preferred not to be named, says it would be interesting for TV to set up cameras in the NASCAR inspection bay, because he says he's skeptical that every car gets a fair shake: "Some cars they don't even put half the body templates on."(Winston Salem Journal)(6-1-2004)
More Races for Kenny in the #00: Michael Waltrip will expand his ownership role with five Nextel Cup races later this year. Waltrip will run Kenny Wallace in the No. 00, with Aaron's as the sponsor, starting with the Pepsi 400 on July 3. Joe Garone will be the crew chief for the team, which has acquired cars and engines from Dale Earnhardt Inc. Waltrip finished a season-best second Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-31-2004)
Vickers testing at road courses: Only two of Nextel Cup's 36 races are on road courses, but the events are important enough that rookie Brian Vickers is doing extensive road-course testing before the tour travels to Infineon Raceway on June 27. Two weeks ago, Vickers tested at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, S.C., with veteran Hendrick Motorsports teammate Terry Labonte. "Terry is very smart when it comes road racing," Vickers says. "I really learned a lot from him in Kershaw." The team also plans on testing at Virginia International Raceway, Infineon and Watkins Glen prior to the two Cup events.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-31-2004)
Tire Test at Daytona AND: Goodyear conducted a tire test last week at Daytona to determine what tire compound NASCAR will use for next year's Daytona 500. "We wanted to improve the wear of the tire for Daytona," says Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager of worldwide racing. "It may be a little softer than what we're using now, but we're going to wait and see what the rules are for 2005, and we'll react after discussing it with NASCAR. A new tire also could be introduced for Darlington and Bristol next year.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-31-2004)
Biffle to Childress? UPDATE 2: Richard Childress is again considering expanding to a full four-car operation next season, possibly with Greg Biffle, if he can sign him, according to Detroit sources. Bass Pro Shops is willing to provide sponsorship, at about $20 million a year, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-28-2004) AND Biffle is up for renewal in July with Roush, also hearing that Biffle could end up at DEI too.(5-28-2004) UPDATE: Greg Biffle's future with car owner Jack Roush has been up for debate the last year or so, and the run-in with Busch didn't make things any smoother. This is the last year of Biffle's contract with Roush and car owner Richard Childress has had his eyes on him, according to sources. Biffle, though, preferred not to talk about 2005: "At this time I can't really talk about it. I'd rather not discuss what we've got going right now. All that contractural stuff and what's going on, we're working on it. As soon as we get all of our differences ironed out, I'm sure we'll be more than happy to talk about it." According to insiders, the relationship between Biffle and Busch has not been good for quite a while. Biffle last Saturday did not seem pleased that Roush gave Busch a much stronger engine, one of Ford's new D models. Yesterday Biffle shrugged off the engine situation: "It doesn't matter to me. I was just making a wisecrack when I didn't get one for the Winston. It really doesn't affect me how they distribute the engines."(Winston Salem Journal) AND Greg Biffle didn't offer too much to dispel recent rumors that he may be looking to leave Roush Racing at some point after the 2004 season. After winning the pole Friday for Saturday's Carquest 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Biffle fielded some questions regarding garage area speculation he may end up with another team. Asked what he could say about his future with Roush Racing, Biffle replied: "At this time I can't really talk about it. I wish I could, but right now I'd rather not discuss what we've got going right now." Biffle did make clear there was no chance he would leave the Roush organization before the end of the season. "No, there's not a possibility for that at all," he said.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-29-2004) UPDATE 2: As far as the rumors and what's happening in the garage area, guys that are talking about changing around. You have the normal stuff. Who's going to go over to Richard Childress Racing? It had been Jeff Burton, now the latest is Greg Biffle. Don't know there, but most of the focus in the garage area has been, over the last number weeks, about the settlement between Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR. It's well-documented that Rockingham loses its last race, and Darlington loses one of its two races in deference to Texas and Phoenix. The all-star race is going to stay in Charlotte for one more year. So that news kind of had things on hiatus in the garage area, but I would expect through the summer that you'll start to see that churning and who might move in terms of crew chiefs and drivers over the next few months.(FoxSports - NASCAR This Morning)(5-31-2004)
RCR Getting Bigger: Richard Childress Racing is growing again. The latest plans include a 40,000-square foot engine shop that is expected to be completed by November.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-31-2004)