Changes to finishing order: after meeting with #17-Matt Kenseth and #29-Kevin Harvick for their beating and banging and spinning each other out, NASCAR moved both to the tail end of the lead lap. So Kenseth goes to 21st and Harvick goes to 20th. Unofficial results already had Kenseth in 21st due to his pitstop, Harvick drops from 10th to 20th but maintains 9th in the driver points standings.(Speed Channel's Speed News coverage)(6-13-2004)
Johnson wins a wild race at Pocono: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, dominating most of the race and leading the most laps and overcoming a pit road miscue. #19-Jeremy Mayfield finished 2nd, followed by #18-Bobby Labonte, #24-Jeff Gordon and #97-Kurt Busch. Over 25% of the laps were run under caution and the race ended under caution as #99-Burton lost an engine with only four laps to go. Some IDIOT tossed debris out of the stands and hit one of the flagmen and security is hunting for the the IDIOT. #17-Kenseth and #29-Harvick got into a spinning match, each spinning each other out and have been called to the NASCAR hauler. #8-Earnhardt Jr. finished 6th and maintains the points lead. It is Johnson's third win of 2004.[see another race story at ThatsRacin.com]
For results see: Jayski's Pocono Race Results / Awards Page ThatsRacin.com Motorsports One NASCAR.com.(6-13-2004)
Top Five [unofficial] Drivers Points Standings after Pocono:
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2113
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 2055, -58
#17-Matt Kenseth, 1889, -224
#24-Jeff Gordon, 1874, -239
#20-Tony Stewart, 1854, -259
Standings at: Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono NASCAR.com.(6-13-2004)
Riggs wins ARCA Race: NASCAR Nextel Cup Series rookie Scott Riggs [#99 Valvoline Pontiac], in his first ARCA RE/MAX Series attempt, raced the Valvoline Pontiac from 30th to first en route to winning the Pocono ARCA 200 Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. Red-hot rookie Ryan Hemphill, who was slowly chewing away at Riggs’s lead inside of ten laps remaining, got within five lengths of the leader when Hemphill ran out of gas two laps shy of the finish [finished 7th]. Ken Schrader was 2nd in the #69 Four Winds Motorhomes Dodge. Jason Jarrett finished 6th.(see full story at arcaracing.com)(6-13-2004)
StockCarFans.com - Rumblings - Pocono: Jimmie Johnson led early, led often (eight times for 126 laps), and led the
final 28 circuits to take his first Pocono win, his third of the season, and the 9th of his Cup career (he's now tied for 48th on the all-time win list). It was the 9th victory for Hendrick Motorsports at Pocono Raceway, their 5th of the season, and the 122nd in their history. Johnson cashed $186,950 from the over $4.7M in posted awards. With the exception of the way the race was run from the tower, it was the usual Pocono....tough on motors and tough on transmissions. Throw in a few more than the usual lug-nut troubles as well and it all added up
to a weird day.
Jeremy Mayfield (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Atlanta in March.
Kurt Busch (5th) had his best finish since he won at Bristol in March.
Greg Biffle (11th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Atlanta in March.
Jeff Green (15th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Texas in the #30 car in April of 2003! This was the best finish for the #43 car since John Andretti was 8th at California in April of 2003!
Geoffrey Bodine (28th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Daytona in July of 2002. (only 9 races)
STREAKIN....Jimmie Johnson has 7 Top-10's in the last 8 races.
Dale Earnhardt Jr has 7 Top-10's in the last 8 races.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the week is Scott Riggs (+24), followed by Kurt Busch (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was a lonely Mark Martin (-32). A slim category this week....
P. J. Jones led today for the first time in his Cup career (only his 13th start). He's the 40th different driver to lead a lap this season....last year's number was 48.
No changes in the Top-10 after this week (points-wise). Those are the only drivers currently eligible for the "Chase" at the moment, and
it's beginning to look like there will be only 10 in the post-season. In the race of consequence, Jeremy Mayfield is now only two markers
out of the last transfer spot. Mayfield made the best move forward (15th to 11th) this week, while Michael Waltrip (20th to 24th) made the commensurate move in the opposite direction.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(6-13-2004)
Pocono Race Stuff:
Jimmie Johnson won the 2004 Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, scoring his ninth career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 89th start.
His last victory came at Lowe's Motor Speedway, two races ago.
* This is Johnson's third victory in 2004, tying Dale Earnhardt Jr., for the most this season. Johnson also scored victories at Darlington
and Charlotte. All nine of Johnson's victories have occurred on superspeedways.
* Johnson's first victory was his second top-10 finish in five races at Pocono Raceway. He has posted top 15 finishes in all five of his Pocono races.
* Johnson posted his 10th top-10 finish in 2004.
* Johnson led eight times for 126 laps including the final 28 laps of the 200 laps raced in the 2004 Pocono 500. Johnson led the most laps for the second time in 2004.
* In the last three races (Charlotte-Dover-Pocono), Johnson led 461 of the 1,000 laps raced (46 percent).
* This was the eighth victory for Chevrolet in 2004. Ford has five and Dodge has one. Notebook Items
* Dale Earnhardt Jr. remained the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point leader, his ninth race in 2004 as leader of the point standings. He now leads by 58 points over second-place Jimmie Johnson.
* Nine drivers are within 400 points of current point leader Dale Earnhardt Jr., in the countdown to the chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship .
* Jeremy Mayfield (second) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 2004. He has scored top-10 finishes in the last three races. Mayfield scored his eighth top-10 finish in 20 races at Pocono Raceway. This is Mayfield's eighth second-place finish since his last victory which came at Pocono in June 2000.
* Bobby Labonte (third) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2004 and his seventh top-10 finish in 23 races at Pocono Raceway. He climbed from eighth to sixth in the point standings.
* Jeff Gordon (fourth) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 2004. He climbed from fifth to fourth in the point standings. Gordon scored his 16th top-10 finish in 23 races at Pocono Raceway (70 percent).
* Kurt Busch (fifth) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 2004. Busch scored his third top-10 finish in seven races at Pocono Raceway, including top-five finishes in three of his last four races there.
* Dale Earnhardt Jr. (sixth) scored his 11th top-10 finish in 2004. Earnhardt Jr., has scored top 10 finishes in his last four races in 2004. He has scored four top-10 finishes in nine races at Pocono Raceway.
* Brian Vickers (13th) was the highest finishing rookie for the third time in 2004.
* Kevin Harvick (20th) extended his streak of running at the finish in 53 straight races, dating to Rockingham in November 2002.
* Matt Kenseth (21st) has ranked among the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 in 49 straight races.
* Michael Waltrip (33rd) ended a three-race streak of top-10 finishes.
* P.J. Jones (22nd), who competed in his 13th NEXTEL race, led a lap for the first time in his career.
* The 16 different lap leaders in the 2004 Pocono 500 tied the record for the most in a race at Pocono. There were also 16 different lap leaders in June 1990 and 2003.
* The 112.129 mph average speed was the slowest in a Pocono race since the track opened in 1974.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-13-2004)
The Way it used to be done: There are 49, million-dollar haulers — some without sponsors — lined up outside the garages at Pocono, and then there was Morgan Shepherd's white horse trailer. Shepherd, who owns his car and calls his one-man team ''Racing with Jesus,'' hauls his car to the track in a small, four-wheel trailer that he pulls with a Dodge Ram pick-up, just like they used to do.(Morning Call)(6-13-2004)
Drive for Diversity Taps 5 OFF 5 ON Race Team Performance As Official Partner: 5 OFF 5 ON Race Team Performance [www.5off5on.com], the pit crew consulting, coaching, and placement division of PIT Instruction and Training, LLC, has been named as the official Crew Member Development Partner of Drive for Diversity, a long-term solution aimed at developing a steady pipeline of well-trained and supported minority crew members for the racing industry. Drive for Diversity is managed by the Radiate Group's Access Marketing & Communications and endorsed by NASCAR. For 2004, 5 OFF 5 ON worked in conjunction with Access staff to execute the evaluation of crew members and assisted in the selection of Drive for Diversity crew members for the current season. This past January, 5 OFF 5 ON conducted a motorsports combine testing and evaluation at their facility in Mooresville, North Carolina, and the process included a physical evaluation, functional evaluation, fitness assessment, skills assessment and oral interviews. Over 40 people participated in the combine, with six being chosen for opportunities in the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. While recruiting of the 2005 Drive for Diversity motorsports combine testing and evaluation will not formally begin until later this year, interested individuals are welcome to gain training and experience with 5 OFF 5 ON Race Team Performance in the meantime.(PR)(6-13-2004)
Some Short Trackin' Stuff with 'Cup' connections: Michael Crofford was in the right place at the right time. The Houston youngster scored the first ROMCO Super Late Model Series feature win of his career Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway in the First Convenience Bank 100. NASCAR.com's and Mooresville, NC's Leilani Munter finished 7th after starting 4thm see Munter on Speed Channel's "I Wanna Date A Race Car Driver" on June 16th at 8:00pm/et. AND Scott Riggleman won on Saturday night at Mountain Speedway in St. Johns, PA with the help of the Arnold Motorsports Nextel Cup crew who were in town for the Pocono 500. Bucktown Racing's crew chief George Reynolds made the call for some major adjustments to the Sony Nashville Chevy prior to qualifying and the Arnold Motorsports crew was right their to make the changes to put the #09 in top form. Shannon Conner a childhood friend of Scott and full time lead fabricator on the NASCAR Arnold Mororsports Team did the spotting for the #09 and was excited to help Riggleman keep the win streak going.(6-13-2004)
Stewart to start IRL team? Tony Stewart said he has had some discussions over the past month about starting an Indy Racing League team. Stewart, who started his career in open-wheel racing, won the IRL title in 1997. "It started with other groups of people that approached me about the possibility of starting a team," Stewart said. "With our schedule in the Cup series, all my teams (World of Outlaws and U.S. Auto Club) teams are self-sufficient. The biggest thing would be hiring a team manager and a good crew. If we could do that, I would definitely entertain it." Stewart, who races sprint cars in his spare time and is also running in three Grand American Sports Car series events this season, said he could see increased participation on his part if there were more such races run in conjunction with Cup. "I would love to see the IRL run in conjunction with NASCAR," he said. "If they would do that just like the race at Daytona with the sports car, I could promise you I would definitely entertain that."(ThatsRacin.com)(6-13-2004)
Labonte #600 in a Chevy: This weekend's Pocono 500 marks Terry Labonte's 600th race in a Chevrolet and his 795th start overall. His first-ever NASCAR start came in a Chevy on Sept. 4, 1978 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, where he finished fourth. The majority of his career victories (19 of 22) have come while driving the General Motors mark -- including the 1995 Pocono 500.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-13-2004)
some caution tidbits:
There have been 16 fewer cautions this season in Nextel Cup, but 75 more caution laps.
There are an average of 10.5 more caution laps per race since NASCAR banned racing back to the yellow flag in September.(St Petersburg Times)(6-13-2004)
Changes during a caution flag UPDATE 2: NASCAR's Mike Helton held a press conference at Pocono to discuss the scoring and long cautions at Dover last week and said two changes would be made this week:
1) the scoing and freezing the field when a caution comes out will be entirely dependent on electronics [not video or spotters].
2) pit road opening during the caution will be yielded to the leader of the race.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144 - subscription required), hope to have a better explantion in a bit. UPDATE: NASCAR President Mike Helton apologized today for the 24-lap caution period that occurred at Dover, calling it "unacceptable" and announcing that NASCAR was taking steps to help ensure it doesn't happen again. Beginning with this weekend's Cup race at Pocono, NASCAR will now rely solely on its electronic timing and scoring system to determine when the field is frozen and the running order when a caution flag waves. NASCAR officials have been using both electronic scoring and what Helton called "the human element" to make such decisions. NASCAR uses electronic loops around the race track to determine the running order at different points around the race track. Those loops will now be the sole source for determining the running order when the field is frozen. NASCAR will also attempt to shorten its caution periods with two moves: One, it will allow the free pass or "Lucky Dog" driver to move ahead of the pace car and back onto the lead lap quicker, between the first and sec! ond laps of pitting, or while the leaders are pitting. It will also shorten the laps it will take before it opens pit road. Pit road will now open the second time the leader -- not the pace car -- reaches the entrance to pit road. That means that the field may not have to complete two full laps now before pit road opens.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-11-2004) UPDATE 2 - good explanation: 1) Beginning Sunday, NASCAR will rely on electronic methods to resolve virtually all timing and scoring disputes. NASCAR will still use video replays to help resolve disputes at the end of races, Helton said [so you could see changes in the finishing order on Monday when the official results come out]. The change will affect all three of NASCAR's national touring series – Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Trucks. It is also possible NASCAR would use a red flag in the future, rather than run several laps under caution, when trying to resolve scoring issues. 2) An extra caution lap will no longer be used to bring the car earning the "free pass" [Lucky Dog]back onto the lead lap. Instead, the car gaining the lap back will move ahead of the pace car while lead-lap cars are pitting. That driver will then pit with cars one or more laps down. 3) The race leader, rather than the pace car, will determine when pit road opens for the first time under each caution. Under current rules, pit road is closed the first time the pace car passes the entrance to pit road. The race leader's first pass will now be used to make that determination (instead of using the pace car during a caution period as the determining vehicle that opens pit road the second time passing, the race leader’s passing pit road the second time would open the pits, unless circumstances prevented this opening)(ThatsRacin.com)(6-12-2004)
NASCAR defends safety efforts at Dover: NASCAR investigated the safety team's response time to #17-Matt Kenseth's wreck last weekend's race at Dover, but found no shortcomings, NASCAR President Mike Helton said. Kenseth was one of three cars to spin in oil dropped on the track by another car in the late stages of the race. His #17 DeWalt Ford came to rest alongside the pit road wall on the frontstretch. He then walked back to the garage area and complained that an ambulance never came to check on him. "They (safety teams) were moving in the proper amount of (time) of the command to go," Helton said. "The track did everything they were supposed to do. The workers at the track did everything they were asked to do when they were asked to do it. I don't have an answer past the point that if it took too long to get to him, we'll fix that."(ThatsRacin.com)(6-12-2004)
Geoffrey just wants to race: Geoffrey Bodine hasn't run full time in NEXTEL Cup since 1999 and raced only once last year. Yet, the 55-year-old Chemung, N.Y., native isn't ready to drive off into the sunset. He was at Pocono driving the #98 Lucas Oil Ford Friday, hoping to qualify for tomorrow's race. "I was talking to Buddy Baker this morning and said it's hard to quit," Bodine said. "He said, 'I know what you mean.' It's hard to stop going around in circles." A good portion of tomorrow's field wasn't even in kindergarten when Bodine made his debut in 1979. Two drivers - Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers - hadn't even been born. "I don't have anything else to do," Bodine said. "I don't have any family. The family is grown up and the wife is gone. I don't have any distractions. I can do this 100 percent. This is all I want to do really."(Times-Leader)(6-12-2004)
Elliott at Indy: #91-Bill Elliott plans to return to Indy, the site of his 43rd career win, driving a Dodge sponsored by Visteon.(RacingOne)(6-12-2004)
Complaints and Kudos about track garages: Crewmen and Crew Chiefs continue to complain about the quality, or lack thereof, in garage facilities. A visit to Dover, which has one of the most decrepit and dangerous garages in NASCAR, will do that to you. Most who spoke Friday commended Pocono for its spacious garage and commodious working conditions. "Why can't they build them all like this?" one top chief exclaimed. The ones singled out for abuse were Dover, Watkins Glen, and, curiously, given that it is one of the newer tracks, California. The California Speedway has nice garage amenities, but the garage stalls were built to accommodate the narrow champ cars, and it's almost impossible to squeeze the 5ft-wide stock cars into the stalls. Given that ISC now owns the speedway, that isn't likely to be changed any time soon. There are reports that Watkins Glen plans to greatly upgrade its garages before long. Dover continues to be a problem. A track spokesman said he knows of no immediate plans for improvements. That is odd, as the speedway has built a fairly nice Busch garage at the other end (Turn 4) of the track, with plenty of turnaround room and an open, roofed pad. It is puzzling that NASCAR has not taken a stronger hand in this matter, given its requirements for updates to its franchised facilities. There are government agencies who would be interested.(Speed Channel)(6-12-2004)
Special Davey scheme at 'Dega: #42-Jamie McMurray will run another special Texaco/Havoline retro paint scheme at Talladega in October to celebrate the life of Davey Allison and the 2004 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame.(RacingOne)(6-12-2004)
Blaney, not Martin should had been the lucky dog: #6-Mark Martin's Dover win was certainly popular and well-deserved, but NASCAR's confusing scoring snafu shuffled the field at a decisive moment. And the Bill Davis team insists #23-Dave Blaney, their driver, not Martin, should have been the man to get the crucial 'lucky dog' free pass back to the lead lap. That pass helped Martin win the race. If Blaney had gotten the free pass and gone on to win, it would have been his first tour win, and a major plus at a critical point in his career. Davis' team said NASCAR officials, when shown computer printouts yesterday of NASCAR's own scoring-and-timing at that moment, on lap 319 of the 400-lap event, reluctantly agreed Blaney, not Martin, should have gotten the free pass. But they said no change to the results would be made.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-12-2004)
Where is the #90 car? Junie Donlavey's #90 Ford is at Pocono Raceway this weekend, but his hauler is parked outside the Nextel Cup garage. Driver Kevin Ray will start 38th in today's ARCA 200. He originally had planned tomorrow's Pocono 500 as the second of a six-race foray into the Cup series, but the team elected to regroup after failing to pass inspection in its debut at Dover International Speedway last week. Ray, an ARCA veteran, still is planning to attempt the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway in three weeks. "There's not near as much pressure here as through the other gates over there," Ray said, motioning toward the chain-link fence separating the ARCA and NASCAR garages. "We just need to get everything going in the right direction, so we thought we'd take a step back and make what we got work."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-12-2004)
#1 team coming back...and a DEI Busch team? [gasp] AND: Within the next week, Dale Earnhardt Inc.[DEI] should announce plans to reopen its #1 Chevrolet Nextel Cup team with driver John Andretti and add a Busch Series team, DEI's director of motorsports, Richie Gilmore, said Friday. "We're real close to putting together a long-term deal with the #1 car and John Andretti. We're hoping to put some news out next week about that," Gilmore said. "This team has been the No. 1 priority this season. We didn't want to bring it back unless we could do it full time. We felt like that is what John needed and what we needed." Gilmore said the Cup deal would be for the remainder of this season, 2005 and 2006. Andretti would drive the car at least through 2005. DEI also plans to announce the hiring of Paul Menard, 23, who has been running in the Busch Series with Andy Petree Racing. Menard left that organization earlier this week. "We're trying to get that worked out. Paul reminds me a lot of Martin, especially his personality. He's a really good kid – and nothing against Andy (Petree) – but with DEI resources, I think Paul can really excel," Gilmore said. "We're looking at a long-term relationship with Paul because of his age and ability, with him and Martin (Truex Jr.) being the future of DEI."(ThatsRacin.com) AND the crew chief for the #1 car will be the Pete Rondeau, currently the car chief for the #15 DEI team, Tony Gibson will be the crew chief for Paul Menard and the new #11 Busch team.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144 - subscription required)(6-11-2004)
Simulators Allow Victory Junction Gang Campers to Take The Ride of a Lifetime: Pro-Image 2, Microsoft and the NASCAR Technical Institute have teamed up to build eight racecar simulators for Adam's Race Shop at the Victory Junction Gang Camp, which provides year-round camp sessions for children aged 7-15 with life-threatening illnesses. The racecar simulators at Adam's Race Shop, one of the signature buildings at Victory Junction Gang Camp, will allow campers to learn about various aspects of professional stock car racing by allowing up to eight campers to virtually race against each other and the stars of NASCAR at one time. Pro-Image 2 provided the design concept and technological guidance to create the simulators built by NASCAR Technical Institute student and instructor volunteers. Each of the eight simulators are run by Xbox consoles, donated by Microsoft.(PR)(6-11-2004)
Sadler to run one of the new Ford engines at Pocono AND four drivers: Elliott Sadler will have one of Doug Yates' new Ford D-3 engines this weekend, which should make him one of the favorites Sunday, particularly as strong as he ran at Charlotte two weeks ago. "Doug has taken a lot of pride, and all the guys, in that motor, and I think everybody will be pleased," Sadler said. "For the guys that have never had Yates horsepower at Pocono, I think they're going to be very happy." Sadler said that it has not yet been decided which of the other seven Jack Roush and Robert Yates teams will run the new D-3 and which will stay with the established C-model engine. The D-3, Robert Yates says, should be well suited to Pocono because it likes a low gear. Yates said, if he couldn't run one of the new engines at Pocono he might just go fishing this weekend.(Winston Salem Journal) AND during an interview on Speed Channel's Cup qualifying, Dale Jarrett said he would have the new Ford engine package this weekend at Pocono. AND II heard on MRN radio's qualifying coverage, also running the new Ford engine package are #17-Kenseth and #99-Burton, both had transmission problems in qualifying. And #16-Greg Biffle also has the new package.(6-11-2004)
Biffle scheme: This weekend at Pocono you won’t see the red, white and blue #16 National Guard car but you will see the bronze and black #16 Pennzoil SUV, Truck and Minivan/National Guard Ford Taurus. The familiar stars and stripes will return next week at Michigan. Pennzoil is in its first year of partnership with Roush Racing and serves as an associate sponsor on all Roush racecars and racetrucks. Pennzoil also takes on a primary sponsorship role for nine Busch series races in the #9 car with drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton. This weekend Pennzoil has chosen to showcase their SUV, Truck and Minivan motor oils as they take on a primary role on the #16 Ford Taurus driven by Greg Biffle.
The Pennzoil SUV, Truck and Minivan motor oil is specially formulated for the demands of larger vehicles. It combines the strength of a traditional Pennzoil motor oil with a boost of Pennzoil Synthetic to help provide protection against the stress of heavier loads.
Pennzoil SUV, Truck and Minivan provides the following protection for larger vehicles:
• Helps prolong larger vehicle's engine life
• Contains a unique anti-wear additive package to protect the engine during punishing short trips
• Excellent protection against engine strain under heavy loads
• Specifically formulated to provide a thick cushion of lubricant to protect harder working engines
• Helps keep engines running clean in the extreme temperatures created by harder working engines.(Roush Racing PR), see images of the car on my #16 Team Paint Schemes page.(6-11-2004)
Evernham may get into the engine business: Evernham Motorsports [#9,#19,#91] owner Ray Evernham said he is looking to expand his engine program and has had preliminary talks with several NASCAR teams. Although the most likely case would be to start building engines for a new team in 2005, Evernham said he could be ready sooner. "I think if we had someone who came to us and said we needed engines, we could do something right now. How extensive an effort we could manage right away remains to be seen," Evernham said. There are at least three full-time Nextel Cup Series Dodge organization that do not currently build their own engines, Petty Enterprises, BAM Racing and Arnold Motorsports.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-11-2004)
Petty Power Down: [#43-Jeff] Green seems to be just the steadying influence that Petty Enterprises, his current team, has needed. He's a nose-to-the-grindstone guy who doesn't mince words. Green's words this week are aimed to the engine department. Goodyear's new tires are putting a premium on low-end RPM, to get up quicker off the corners. That should be particularly evident at places such as Sears Point, a road course. "We've been qualifying good the last couple of weeks, although we haven't been racing very good," Green said. "We've got to work on our cars to get them handling better for the long runs. I think our big holdup now is our motor program. The guys are turning more RPMs on other teams; our guys are working really hard to get our motors where we can turn more RPMs. I think that's what shows during the race - when the tires start falling off, you start getting down lower in RPMs. Those guys who are running more gear than I am, it really shows."(Winston Salem Journal)(6-11-2004)
#50 at Pocono for Rudd: #21-Ricky Rudd is expected to make his 50th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start at Pocono Raceway, more than any other driver. Rudd has competed in all but the first three races at Pocono (1974-76). Rudd’s only Pocono victory occurred in June 2001 when he won there from the Bud Pole.(6-11-2004)
Harvick and KISS at RIR: #29-Kevin Harvick in Cup, #6-Matt Crafton in Trucks and #2-Ron Hornaday in the Busch Series will run paint schemes adorning the rock group [and Jayski fave - 24 CD's] KISS. These special paints are scheduled to be run at the Chevy Rock and Roll weekend at Richmond in September. See an image of the #29 on my #29 Team Paint Schemes page.(6-11-2004)
Eight Drivers Out: There have been eight different race winners in the last eight races at Pocono, since June 2000. Bobby Labonte was the last driver to sweep Pocono, scoring victories in both races in 1999.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-11-2004)
Dale Jr. tests at Kentucky for Pocono: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., brought his No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet to Kentucky Speedway on Thursday to tap the karma that has led to two of his three wins this season. Earnhardt, Jr., has converted weekday Kentucky tests into Sunday wins in both March and May so far this season. He tested at Kentucky Speedway on March 11 and visited Victory Lane at Atlanta three days later. Earnhardt, Jr., repeated the accomplishment on May 15 at Richmond International Raceway, just three days after testing an engine combination for that race at Kentucky Speedway. Should he visit Victory Lane in Pocono, Pa., this week, he will become the second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver to combine a Kentucky Speedway test with a Pocono win. Dale Jarrett first accomplished the feat in June 2002. Other drivers testing at Kentucky Speedway today included NASCAR Busch Series drivers Clint Bowyer, Billy “Catfish” Parker, Hermie Sadler and Kenny Hendrick.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(6-11-2004)
Sad News: Longtime racing photographer/writer Walter Chernokal passed away Tuesday night. Chernokal was the track an Associated Press Photographer, worked for the Chester Daily Times, was a photographer at the Reading, PA Fairgrounds, instrumental in the forming and running of the old NARA, was involved with George Stockinger in the promotion of the original Atlantic City Indoor Racing events, wrote for Illustrated Speedway News, and then later Area Auto Racing News. Chernokal was a life member of the American Racing Drivers Club. There will be a tribute to Walter on Saturday at the New Egypt Speedway [NJ]. Walter was proceeded by his wife Rose, and is survived by a son Jim, and daughters Rosemary and Ann, plus two grandchildren and three great grandchildren. The family has asked that donations in Walter’s Memory be sent to any of the following: Penn University Cancer Center, Checkered Flag Fan Club Injured Drivers Fund, Or to - Any Quarter Midget Track or Organization in his memory.(OWR)(6-11-2004)
Rusty hits 228mph at Talladega: #2-Rusty Wallace gave a new meaning to the term "high speed communication" on Wednesday afternoon when he piloted his Miller Lite Dodge at speeds up to 228 mph at Talladega Superspeedway. "We hit 228 (mph) at the end of the straightaway and averaged 221 (mph) for that overall lap segment," an excited Wallace said late Wednesday afternoon as he prepared to head back home to North Carolina. "It was a helluva deal that I certainly will remember for the rest of my life. We'd all been wondering what it would feel like to run at Talladega again without the (restrictor-) plates and now I know. I'll bet we could be running speeds up to 235 (mph) without the plates if we spent time doing some tweaking. But I'll tell you this - there's no way we could be out there racing at those speeds," Wallace offered. "It was neat to be out there running that fast by myself, but it would be insane to think we
could have a pack of cars out there doing that."
Wallace's high-speed opportunity came at the request of NASCAR officials on behalf of series sponsor NEXTEL and Racing Radios, the
Hampton, Ga.,-based company that serves as the "Official 2-Way Radio provider" for all three of the major NASCAR racing series. "I've enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Racing Radios and I jumped at the opportunity to assist them with their 'Communication of the Future' program for NASCAR," Wallace said. "We were invited to bring our Miller Lite Dodge superspeedway car down for the test to assure quality audio at high rates of speed. The NASCAR, NEXTEL and Racing Radios officials were all extremely pleased at the end of the day, so I'd say that we did a good job for them." Wallace's speed far exceeded the official track qualifying record of 212.809mph (44.998 seconds), set by Bill Elliott on April 30, 1987.
"I guess it was about as official as you could get as we were operating under the watchful eyes of NASCAR," chuckled crew chief Larry Carter, who flew to Talladega with Wallace after testing at Sonoma, Calif., on Tuesday. "John Darby (NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Director) and Buster Auton (long-time series official who has served as the pace car driver since 1997) were in charge, along with
officials from Racing Radios and NEXTEL. So, there were plenty of witnesses on hand.(Tom Roberts PR)(6-10-2004) AND A world record of 221.160mph for a close course was established at Talladega on Aug. 9, 1975 by Mark Donohue in a Porsche 917-30 [Non-NASCAR].(6-11-2004)
Sauter out of the #30? UPDATE 5 just too early? maybe for good?: hearing that Johnny Sauter, driver of the #30 RCR team has parted ways with RCR - Richard Childress Racing? IF TRUE - Two drivers being rumored are Tony Raines, part-time in the #74 Busch ride and Dave Blaney, part-time in the #23 Dodge in Cup and part-time in the #31 Ford in Busch. UPDATE: looks like my sources were incorrect as RCR has denied that Sauter has been released and will still drive the #30 AOL Chevy. UPDATE 2: MRN Radio's Sirius Speedway (Sirius Satellite Radio) is reporting that Johnny Sauter has not been released by Richard Childress Racing. Spokesperson Lisa Cox said that team owner Richard Childress has been in Alaska on a hunting trip since Monday, and that Sauter remains the driver of the #30 AOL Chevrolet.
PLUS another clue I should had heeded: Sauter and the team tested the last few days in Martinsville. UPDATE 3: PRN's Garage Pass radio show talked to Johnny Sauter today and he said: "There's absolutely no truth to it. Richard (Childress) hasn't said one word to me. As a matter of fact we had a conversation this weekend that said I was his driver no matter what happens and we're gonna continue to race. I'm not gonna worry about it. I've been the topic of rumors before I guess, and my relationship with Richard and everybody at RCR and AOL is as strong as ever and I just can't wait to get back racing. There's always rumor mills in this wonderful world of racing and I guess if they're talking about you at least they know you're alive." NOTE: Childress is in Alaska hunting polar bears.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-8-2004) UPDATE 4 - maybe the rumor was 2 months too soon? ....Now Sauter's future with [Richard] Childress is a topic of much discussion, and Childress isn't quelling any rumors. In the span of just a few days, Childress has decided to sub a veteran road racer ]P.J. Jones] for Sauter at Sonoma later this month and to sub veteran Dave Blaney for him this week for the Pocono 500. In both cases, Childress said, Sauter's Busch commitments have caused conflicts that precipitated the changes. But yesterday, Childress, asked directly about Sauter's future with the team, sidestepped the question. "Right now Dave Blaney is in the car for Pocono, and we'll see how that goes," Childress said. "This sport has gotten so tough and complicated, and tough decisions have to be made. Today the sport is driven a lot by business decisions." Asked if Sauter would be back in the car at Michigan International Speeway for the June 20 race there, Childress demurred. Sauter couldn't be reached for comment.(Winston Salem Journal)....oops.(6-10-2004) UPDATE 5 and even more: The early story line here [Pocono] this weekend centers on Richard Childress, who may be shopping for a new driver. Childress is doing nothing to dispel speculation that Johnny Sauter may be replaced. Dave Blaney will have Sauter's ride here for qualifying this afternoon for Sunday's Pocono 500; Jim Inglebright will have the Childress ride at Sears Point. Childress hasn't said who will be in the car next week at Michigan. Sauter hasn't said much about the situation.(Winston Salem Journal) AND Richard Childress says Sauter will be in the #30 car at Michiagn and that the team is taking the scheduling conflict with Sauter's Busch schedule to evaluate the #30 program with Blaney and Jim Inglebright.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144 - subscription required)(6-11-2004)
Sad News - Ralph Moody dies at 86: Ralph Moody, a partner in the legendary Holman-Moody Racing operation that helped put Charlotte on the map as a worldwide center for motorsports, died Wednesday morning at his home in Mooresville after a long illness. He was 86. Between 1958 and 1971, cars owned by Mr. Moody and partner John Holman won 93 races in what is now know as NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series. He also won five races as a driver in the 1956 and 1957 seasons. "His place in life was making a car go fast around a race track," said Lee Holman, the son of John Holman who is still president of Holman-Moody, a company that Mr. Moody sold his share of in 1972. "If you were a racer, you and Ralph Moody could get along." One the many racers who benefited greatly from Mr. Moody's expertise in building fast race cars was David Pearson. Pearson won 30 of his 105 Cup victories in Holman-Moody Fords, winning 16 times in 1968 and 11 more races in 1969 on his way to championships in both of those years. Pearson, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly, Fred Lorenzen, Nelson Stacy, Fireball Roberts, Dan Gurney, Dick Hutcherson, Mario Andretti and Bobby Allison all did win in Holman-Moody cars. According to the book "Holman-Moody: The Legendary Race Team," by Tom Cotter and Al Pearce, it was when a young Bobby Allison saw Mr. Moody driving his 1940 Ford coupe in a race Hialeah, Fla., that Allison was inspired to become a racer himself. Mr. Moody was born Sept. 10, 1917, in Taunton, Mass. As a teen he built a Model T Ford race car and ran it on nights and weekends. He served in the Army in World War II, driving a tank under the command of Gen. George S. Patton. After the war, he resumed racing. He and his wife, Mitzi, were married in 1949. They moved from New England to Hollywood, Fla., where Mr. Moody could race year-round. He also opened an auto repair shop and drove stock cars owned by Red Vogt and Pete DePaolo, the 1925 Indianapolis 500 champion. Mr. Moody was inducted last year into the N.C. Auto Racing Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame in 1990 and into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1994. Funeral arrangements for Mr. Moody were to be finalized Wednesday through Cavin-Cooke Funeral Home in Mooresville, NC.(See full column at ThatsRacin.com)(6-9-2004) SERVICES: A funeral mass for racing legend Ralph Moody will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Therese Catholic Church in Mooresville. Mr. Moody, co-owner of the Charlotte-based Holman-Moody motorsports dynasty, died Wednesday at the age of 86. "Holman-Moody spawned a lot of mechanics who turned out to be innovators - and perpetrators - in motorsports," racing legend Johnny Rutherford, now an official with the Indy Racing League, said Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway. Rutherford drove U.S. Auto Club and NASCAR stock cars for Holman-Moody in 1964. "I drove my first race for them at Milwaukee, which is a flat track where you have to kind of lean on other cars," Rutherford recalled. "I came from an open-wheel background where we didn't do that. I remember Ralph telling me, 'You've got to learn how to drive a stock car.' I asked him what he meant by that and he said, 'We've got a lot of new sheet metal back at the shop in Charlotte. We can fix it, so go out there and mix it up.'" Mr. Moody was a member of nine different automotive and racing halls of fame. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Marjorie "Mitzi" Tobin Moody; a son, Ralph Moody III of Mooresville; a daughter, Ann Moody of Denver, and three granddaughters. Following the funeral on Saturday, a graveside service will be held Tuesday at Westlawn Cemetery in Littleton, Mass. Mr. Moody was born in Massachusetts. Memorials may be made to St. Therese Catholic Church, 217 Brawley School Road., Mooresville, N.C., 28117 or to Hospice of Iredell County, 403 E. Statesville Ave., Mooresville, N.C. 28115.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-10-2004)
Stewart's Pit Crew Wins in Dover: Tony Stewart's pit crew took home the $20,000 first-place check as a result of winning the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday's MBNA 400 "A Salute To Heroes" at Dover International Speedway. It was the second victory of the season for Stewart's crew, which also finished first at the Daytona 500 opener. Stewart's crew remains third in the chase for the $200,000 bonus that will go to the McDonald's/POWERade season champion. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew continues to lead in the standings with 501 points, 33 more than Elliott Sadler's team and 37 more than Stewart's crew. Stewart's Home Depot/Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on Dover's pit road with a time of 305 seconds. Earnhardt's Budweiser Chevy was second at 338 seconds and Kurt Busch's Sharpie Ford was third at 355. "The crew gave me great stops all day long," said Stewart, who finished second in the 400-mile race. "They were definitely on their game at Dover. We led a bunch of laps and contended for the win, and they were a big reason why." Stewart's over-the-wall crew consists of: Chuck White (jackman), Tom Dean (front-tire carrier), Mike Lingerfelt (front-tire changer), Jay Barry (rear-tire carrier), Todd Foster (rear-tire changer), Jeff "Gooch" Patterson (gas man) and Brian Larson (catch can). The team's crew chief is Greg Zipadelli and the pit stop coordinator is Paul Alepa.(DMF Communications PR), for the top 10 at Dover, season standings, see my Pit Crew page.(6-10-2004)
So..what's up with Larry Foyt? part time Cup driver, #14-Larry Foyt, who competed in the Indy 500 two weeks ago, isn't driving in the Bombardier 500, but he is working during the race. Larry is the spotter this weekend for his nephew, A.J. Foyt IV. Team owner A.J. Foyt Jr. asked Larry to help out. "I think it's better to have a driver serve as the spotter," A.J. said. "Drivers see things in a different perspective and are better able to relate that information to fellow drivers."(Dallas Morning News)(6-10-2004)
Stewart to run Paul Revere 250 at Daytona: Tony Stewart will co-drive with sports car champion Andy Wallace in the Paul Revere 250 next month at Daytona and again in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series in August. "I really feel like it will help me be a better road racer when it comes time to go to road course races with Cup this year," said Stewart, the 2002 Cup champion. "We learn so much from the guys who are professional road racers. You pick up little things here and there."(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(6-10-2004)
Testing at Chicago: Monday, June 7 through Tuesday, June 8 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver #41-Casey Mears tested in preparation for the upcoming July 9-11 NASCAR weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Joining Mears on Tuesday was NASCAR Busch Series driver Mike Bliss who tested a NEXTEL Cup Series car for Joe Gibbs Racing. Also testing was NASCAR Busch Series drivers Todd Szegedy and David Stremme. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver, Joe Nemecheck, was also on hand assisting his Busch Series driver, Todd Szegedy.(Chicagoland Speedway) no speeds reported.(6-10-2004)
New Radio Call-In Show, "PRN's Sunday Drive": NASCAR fans across the country will have the opportunity to play backseat driver when Performance Racing Network's new interactive radio show, "PRN's Sunday Drive," debuts Sunday evening, June 13. Hosted by veteran motorsports broadcasters John Kernan and Stephanie Durner, the two-hour live call-in program offers fans a platform to sound off on the day's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race along with other happenings in the motorsports industry. "'PRN's Sunday Drive' promises to be entertaining, informative and fun," said Doug Rice, vice president and general manager of Performance Racing Network. "NASCAR fans are the most passionate in sports and this program gives them a forum to express their opinions about the day's race shortly after the victory lane celebration has concluded." Several driver analysts, including John Andretti, Geoffrey Bodine, Mike Wallace and Shawna Robinson, will participate in the program throughout the season, adding a behind-the-wheel view to the mix. "This is a great opportunity for me to stay in touch with the NASCAR fans and have some fun at the same time," said Kernan, longtime host of ESPN's "RPM 2Night."
"PRN's Sunday Drive" will be broadcast live from PRN's studio at Lowe's Motor Speedway every Sunday from 8:00 to 10:00pm/et during the remainder of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. The program will resume on Sunday, Feb. 20, following the 2005 Daytona 500. A list of radio stations that carry "PRN's Sunday Drive" and other PRN programming is available online at www.goprn.com. Performance Racing Network, a subsidiary of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. is a NASCAR radio rights holder and provides programming to over 720 radio stations and XM Satellite Radio's NASCAR channel.(LMS PR)(6-9-2004)
Crew Chief's penalized: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs Todd Parrott and Jeff Buckner were each fined $500 for driver restraint equipment infractions that occurred during this past weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Parrott was in violation of Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) for having the #38 M&M's Ford of driver Elliott Sadler with shoulder harness belts that had an expired manufacturer date. Buckner also was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) for having the #02 Chevrolet of driver Hermie Sadler with an anti-submarine belt that had an expired manufacturer date. The infractions were discovered by NASCAR officials during Friday’s opening-day inspection.(NASCAR PR)(6-9-2004)
New Addition to RE:Jayski advertisor, Racing Electronics is proud to announce the addition of Kip Childress to the R.E. family. Literally born into the world of NASCAR racing, Kip brings with him a lifetime of racing experience, as a NASCAR official, and most recently as team service representative and manager for Racing Radios. “I am extremely excited to have been given the opportunity to join what is already a top notch team of professionals. Bruce Silver and Racing Electronics have proven themselves to be progressive in an industry in which innovative technologies are a competitive advantage, both on and off the racetrack. I am proud to now be a part of this impressive undertaking, and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead,” says Childress, who will be operating out of Racing Electronics Concord, NC, facility as Operations Manager for the Southern Division. He resides in Lexington, NC, with his wife Jenny and daughter Sarah, and a child on the way. “During the last year Racing Electronics has grown and expanded with our new relationships as the Official Communications Provider for NHRA, USAC and World of Outlaws as well as the addition of our new company, RaceSafe. Childress brings exceptional organizational and people skills and is a perfect fit for our company. The timing couldn't be more perfect,” says Bruce Silver, President.(Racing Electronics PR)(6-9-2004)
Riggs to run ARCA Race at Pocono: Scott Riggs has never competed at Pocono Raceway, but he is hopeful that entering Saturday's ARCA Series race at the 2.5-mile track will better prepare him and the Valvoline team for Sunday's Pocono 500 Nextel Cup event. Coming off of a career-best fifth-place finish at Dover International Speedway, Riggs will pilot the #99 Valvoline Pontiac in the Pocono 200 ARCA race. Officially driving for Ken Schrader, Riggs is hopeful the ARCA experience will benefit him come Sunday. Riggs' only experience at the asphalt tri-oval is a one-day test session the #10 Valvoline Chevrolet team participated in last week. "We tested our Cup car in Pocono and everything went well," said Riggs. "The car was pretty good off the truck and by the end of the day it felt great. We're hopeful we can take the test session, the ARCA race, and our great result from last week and turn those things into another solid finish. We're still striving to be better. Last week's finish was a good shot in the arm. It lets us know we need to keep our heads up and it
will pay off."(MBV Motorsports PR)(6-9-2004)
Rusty 'speedy' at Infineon: Rusty Wallace posted the fastest lap Tuesday during a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup test session at Infineon Raceway. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will visit the scenic Sonoma Valley later this month for the Dodge/Save Mart 350
(June 25-27). Wallace, a two-time winner at Infineon Raceway in 1990 and 1996, recorded the fastest lap of the five NASCAR drivers at the one-day test session on the newly repaved 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course. Wallace turned the track at 1 minute, 15.5 seconds. Road-course specialist Boris Said holds the official track record of 1:16.522, set in 2003.
#31-Robby Gordon, defending champion at Infineon Raceway, was second-fast at 1:16.27. #5-Terry Labonte at 1:17.14; #30-Jim Inglebright at 1:17.20; and #25-Brian Vickers at 1:17.67 rounded out the quintet. Wallace was in qualifying trim, while the four other drivers were in race trim. All times were supplied by the race teams. "We always look forward to coming out here," Wallace said. "I heard they repaved the whole track so we thought it would be a good idea to come out here and test. We always feel like we've got a chance to win here and the test went good. The track's got a lot of grip." Added Gordon: "The track is a little bit faster than it was last year. It should make for a pretty exciting race when all 43 cars are out there." Inglebright, who has won three of the last four events at Infineon Raceway for the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series, is a resident of nearby Vacaville and will replace rookie driver Johnny Sauter in the No. 30 AOL Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing for the road-course race at Sonoma. "I'm looking forward to this race quite a bit," Inglebright said. "I've done well in the Southwest Series here and I'm hoping I can perform well for Richard Childress Racing."(Infineon Raceway PR) The speeds in mph:
#2-Wallace 94.887 [old track record us 93.620, 2003 by Boris Said]
#25-Vickers 92.236. (6-9-2004)
The Return of Buckshot to the Busch Series: Buckshot Jones has been named to drive the Yellow Transportation Dodge in the Federated Auto Parts 300 Saturday night at the Nashville Superspeedway. "I'm really excited about this opportunity," said Jones. "The Yellow team almost won the race at Nashville a couple of months ago. And I know that the team expects to contend for the win again this time." This will be the first NASCAR Busch Series start for Jones in two and a half years. During his 145-race Busch Series career, Jones has scored two wins, 13 top-five and 33 top-10 finishes. In the first race at Nashville this year, the Yellow team with Johnny Benson behind the wheel went into next-to-last lap of the race with a chance to win the event. Benson was running third when rookies Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer, running 1-2, got together on the backstretch. Benson, who was only a car length back of the duo, got caught up in the melee as did fourth-place Robby Gordon. As a result, Michael Waltrip leaped from fifth to first. Benson ended up seventh.(PR), of note, Finch bought Jones old team shop last year.(6-9-2004)
New Dodge car close to submission to NASCAR: According to folks involved with the Dodge factory efforts, their new car is close to ready for submission to NASCAR. The target date for submission is June 1st [well..was, not sure if it made it], though July 1st is the drop-dead date set by NASCAR for new car submissions. According to the Dodge source, that car will be more recognizable [Charger? Daytona?] than any of the current fleet. The factory rep would tell the name of the car, but the huge rollout scheduled for next year's Speedweeks [at Daytona] might be a hint on what name might be hung on Dodge's 2005 entry. If / when NASCAR approves the new Dodge, it will mean that every year since joining the [Cup] tour that Dodge Cup owners have had to carve their cars up for the following season.(Speedway Scene Print Edition - issue dated 5/28/2004) and they will again in 2006, when the 'Car of the Future' [COF] will supposedly run.(6-9-2004)
Buschwackers and Nashville: Nextel Cup is at Pocono this weekend so help will be needed at Nashville for teams with Buschwhackers [Cup drivers who drive in Busch]. Buckshot Jones will take over the #1 seat all weekend for Jamie McMurray. Tyler Walker will qualify for Kasey Kahne, Mike McLaughlin will fill in for Biffle, and Johnny Benson will try his hand in the #99 until Waltrip gets there, Johnny Sauter will drive the Busch car and skip the Pocono Cup race. Joe Nemechek will skip the Busch race all together.(BGNRacing.com)(6-8/9-2004)
Blaney to run the #30 at Pocono: Due to conflicts with Johnny Sauter’s racing schedules, Dave Blaney will drive Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #30 America Online Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the June 13 Pocono 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. “There were conflicts with Johnny’s schedules in trying to run both the Busch and Cup series’, so we decided it would be best to put Dave in the car for Pocono,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR.(RCR PR)(6-8-2004)
Nextel not Happy? UPDATE 2 - 10 year deal: Nextel officials continue to have sticker shock, a year after signing on as NASCAR's series sponsor. Officially the company has signed a 10-year contract with NASCAR, though some insiders say that it's a five-year contract with a five-year renewal option. The deal went down so quickly that many of the items that Nextel executives thought they were getting they find they're still having to negotiate for, and NASCAR sources say they're not happy.(from the Winston Salem Journal)(6-6-2004) HOWEVER "The NASCAR Nextel Cup is an unprecedented opportunity to brand the most exciting championship series in sports, which lasts 10 months of the year, travels to all corners of the U.S., and captures the imagination of 75 million fans," said Tim Donahue, president and CEO of Nextel. "NASCAR's reach is unmatched, and we're thrilled to be associated with it."(from the Delaware News Journal)(6-6-2004) UPDATE 2: NASCAR is denying a report in the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal that Nextel's sponsorship of its Cup Series is a five-year contract with an option for a five-year renewal. "As our organizations had announced last June, Nextel signed a 10-year deal with NASCAR,” NASCAR Director of Business Communications Andrew Giangola told today's Sports Business Daily. "The Winston-Salem Journal did not contact NASCAR or refer to the widely circulated news release about the agreement and got it wrong."(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-8-2004)
3rd Evernham team? Harley Davidson?: hearing that Evernham Motorsports may expand to a full-time 3-car team and that Harley Davidson may be involved with the team in some capacity. NO IDEA if this would involved Bill Elliott or who the thrid driver may be, if it happens.(6-8-2004)
#99 to run Duke Children's Hospital paint scheme: Roush Racing announced that Jeff Burton's #99 Roush Racing Ford will sport the Duke Children's Hospital paint scheme, originally set to run in Talladega, this week at Pocono. Duke Children's Hospital and Health Center will be carried on the car at the 500 mile race Sunday, June 13. Burton's association with the hospital began years ago after an associate sponsor invited him to visit kids admitted to the hospital. Since that time, Burton has continued his support through fundraising events, appearances, monetary donations, time and of course most importantly, visits to the hospital with his wife Kim who has sat on the hospital board for the last four years. Through their efforts the Burtons have raised nearly $900,000 for the hospital to date. Duke Children's provides $48 million in un-reimbursed charity care each year. Funds also support cutting-edge research, world-class
advocacy and support programs for families and their sick children, top-notch clinical care and medical education to ensure future generations receive the most advanced medical care available. Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center, located in Durham, N.C., is
a 148 bed hospital located on the fifth floor of Duke Hospital and includes an intensive care nursery, a transitional care nursery, a
pediatric intensive care unit and a newborn nursery. For more information visit www.dukechildrens.org.(Roush Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #99 Team Paint Scheme page. (6-8-2004)
SpeedFreaks on TV: SPEED Channel joins the "Freak Nation" in July, creating a television home for the popular nationally syndicated motor sports radio series -- SpeedFreaks. Scheduled to debut July 12 at 8:30pm/et, the half-hour, in-your-face summer adventure blends the worlds of motor sports and entertainment. "This has been a long time coming," said Robert Ecker, SPEED's VP of
Programming. "Bringing this radio program to SPEED Channel is the natural progression of its development. With all the stars finally in
alignment and the perfect slot on the schedule opening up, there was no longer anything to prohibit us from consummating the marriage." SpeedFreaks CEO and host Kenny Sargent showed no shame in getting the network's attention. "I guess me pitching the pup tent outside SPEED big-gunner Jim Liberatore's house 24-7 worked," Sargent said. "That and the Metallica at deafening decibels didn't hurt either. We've rattled the cages for four years as the most popular motor sports radio show in the country and now, we get to take the Freak Nation into 66 million homes. I better prepare SpeedFreaks' lawyers." Aimed at the 25- to 44-year-old male demographic, SpeedFreaks is the largest motor sports radio show in the country, reaching nearly 40 states as well as parts of Canada.
SpeedFreaks airs live on the radio Sunday nights from 7 to 9pm/pt on the Freak Radio Network. It is 80-plus markets including Los
Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Indianapolis, Boston, Detroit, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Charleston, Reno, Bakersfield, etc. Additional live coverage can be heard on the Internet at www.SportsByline.com, the Armed Forces Network and on Sirius Satellite's Sports Byline USA stream 122. SpeedFreaks can also be heard every Saturday live from 3 to 6pm/et on Sirius Satellite's Extreme Sports Action stream 123.(SPEED Channel PR)(6-8-2004)
Donate CD's to Victory Junction: Give the Gift of Music to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, donate music CD's for their New Rock-Ola Juke Box. The Victory Junction Gang Camp will soon be receiving the gift of music, in the form of a brand new Rock-Ola Bubbler Juke Box. The Juke Box is being donated from friends of the camp, Motorsports Image. This beautiful, nostalgic Rock-Ola Bubbler Juke Box will be placed in the cafeteria of the camp and fill the halls with the sounds of music for all to enjoy. Music CD's are needed to load into this new Rock-Ola Juke Box. Motorsports Image is asking for your help to donate Music CD's.
Motorsports Image was recently named as a distributor by the Rock-Ola Juke Box Company in order to supply some of the company's "National Restaurant" customers. The new Rock-Ola Juke Box donated by Motorsports Image, will be delivered to the Victory Junction Gang camp within the next two weeks. Please send music CD's directly to Motorsports Image so that they may be loaded in the new Juke Box prior to delivery.
The company's mailing address is:
319 Rolling Hills Road
Mooresville N.C. 28117
Please select CD's and music that are appropriate for children, and also please send original CD's in their original packaging, please no
More info at www.motorsportsimage.com, www.rock-ola.com and/or www.victoryjunction.org.(6-7-2004)
Another 'NASCAR' themed movie in the works: Beating out several other studios, Columbia Pictures has secured rights to the Will Ferrell comedy "Talladega Nights," to be directed by his longtime collaborator Adam McKay. Named after the famous racing track, the film will be co-written by Ferrell and McKay based on a pitch that is set in the world of high-stakes professional stock car racing. Jimmy Miller and Judd Apatow will produce the feature, which is tentatively set for a summer 2006 release. Ferrell and McKay will serve as executive producers, with Matt Tolmach overseeing for the studio. "We love this project and couldn't be more thrilled about working with Will, Adam, Judd and Jimmy," Tolmach said. Said Miller: "To produce this film with these three guys is a dream come true for me. Not only are they longtime clients, they are some of my best friends and some of the most talented people I know. I feel that this material is in great hands with Amy and Matt and the entire team at Sony."(Hollywood Reporter) --- so, think it will be a drama?, see past news on other movies on my Movie Past News page.(6-7-2004)
Menard to DEI? UPDATE 2:Motorsports.com is reporting that Dale Earnhardt Incorporated racing is set to announce the joining of Paul Menard to the DEI stable of drivers. Menard will run a yet unannounced numbered car with a Menard Home Improvement stores sponsorship. The sponsorship is stouter than the money deal with NAPA Auto Parts, and for five years. Menard will run three years of Busch and two years of Cup under the new contract. The team's first Busch event is set to be New Hampshire International Speedway.(from Motorsports.com)(6-6-2004) UPDATE: “You know more than I do," was all Menard would tell BGNRacing.com of the rumor regarding his racing future. A team representative for Chance2 said he had not been informed of any plans regarding Menard and was unsure of a possible new DEI entry into Busch.(6-6-2004) AND hearing that Chance 2 [Dale Earnhardt Jr./Tersa Earnahrdt's Busch team] has signed Busch north standout Ryan Moore, for seven Busch Series races in 2005, and full time in 2006.(6-5-2004) UPDATE 2: hearing the deal was signed on Friday, June 4th, a 5-year deal, it would be a DEI deal, not Chance2 and would be the #1 DEI team [for Cup] with the first few years in the Busch Series.(6-7-2004)
CASCAR to NASCAR? UPDATE: 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) UPDATE: NASCAR has been in discussions to buy Canada's top stock-car racing series, CASCAR owner and founder Tony Novotny of London confirmed yesterday. "We have had discussions with NASCAR as recently as February of this year," Novotny said. "However, we don't have any kind of a deal on the table right now that says they are going to buy us at this point." Novotny said that the most recent talks have centered on whether NASCAR is able to make a deal that works for him and the 30 or so teams who regularly run the CASCAR Super Series, including the Toronto and Vancouver Molson Indys. This isn't the first time that NASCAR has focused it's attention on the Canadian market in general and CASCAR specifically. "We have had discussions with NASCAR as far back as five years ago," Novotny said. "I sat down with then NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr." A key impetus to getting NASCAR's attention has been the huge success the past two seasons of having Nextel Cup drivers race in the annual Canada Day Shootout at Cayuga.(London Free Press)(6-7-2004)
Benson gets a ride at Kentucky: Johnny Benson will returning to Busch Series competition at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, June 19th. He will be driving the #17 Ford competing in the Meijer 300.(Johnny Benson site)(6-7-2004)
McClure loses Busch/Cup backing: Eric McClure passed his first NASCAR Nextel Cup test at Talladega Superspeedway. Although McClure's sponsor I Can Learn announced a plan for the 2004 season to include primary sponsorship of five races, the #04 team was recently informed that the company will not be able to honor the remainder of the agreement. That decision leaves McClure searching for financial backing for either the Busch Series or Nextel Cup. "We realize Eric has the talent to race in any situation," said McClure's father Jerry. "Eric has grown into a mature racer who uses his head. I am proud of what he has accomplished in such a short period of time." The McClure resume features two ARCA Series starts (Michigan-2003/Daytona 2004), two Busch starts (Rockingham-2003/Las Vegas-2004) and one Nextel Cup start. He finished 26th and on the lead lap at Talladega McClure competed in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Late Model event at Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn Saturday night.(Bristol Herald Courier)(6-7-2004)
Mears didn't lose an engine: heard many reports during the race and on shows later that #41-Casey Mears lost an engine which got oil on the track and some drivers complained that Mears stayed on the track too long, from a team PR: Mears told the team he thought he had a tire going flat as the car was beginning to smoke. He stayed at the top of the track until he could pit. He learned a lap later that he was dropping oil on the track but didn't realize it because the motor was still running. The leader [#9 Kahne] ran through the oil and spun bringing out the final caution on lap 383. The team repaired the oil line and Mears was able to finish the race 28th.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-7-2004)
Changes at RCR: A change in management occurred last week when Richard Childress Racing [#'s 29,30,31,33] promoted Mike Dillon, a former Busch Series competitor and Richard Childress' son-in-law, to general manager. Bobby Hutchens was named vice president of competition. Childress says RCR has been operating as a three-team organization despite its growth to five full-time teams in Cup and Busch. Childress did not rule out additional changes with his teams if performance does not pick up. Dillon added, "We're trying to improve all aspects of competition, and the change will take some of the weight off Bobby's shoulders." The move will allow Hutchens to spend more time with the engineering and R&D departments.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(6-7-2004)
Kenseth Not Happy: Late in the race, while the number of lead-lap cars had already been reduced dramatically through attrition, leader Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth spun in oil dropped on the track by Casey Mears' Dodge and wrecked in Turn 4. Kenseth, the reigning series champion, complained that NASCAR waited to call a caution knowing Mears had dropped oil. He also criticized the safety crews for not sending an ambulance to get him. "I think race fans should be mad. First, NASCAR spends 40 laps under caution screwing around for who knows what. Then a car blew up half a lap before we got (to the turn) and they never threw the caution. They just let it go green until we all rode down in there and wrecked," he said. "We've run two laps under yellow and haven't seen an ambulance. Glad I'm OK. I haven't seen anybody check me out yet."(ThatsRacin.com)(6-7-2004)
New Race Record at Dover International Speedway, not for the fastest, but Sunday's win by Mark Martin in the MBNA 400: A Salute to Heroes, was the slowest race speed average for a Cup race at Dover, 97.042mph, the old record was in June 1975 by David Pearson with an average speed of 100.820mph.(6-7-2004)
#99 Seeking Sponsor Approval UPDATE 3: Roush Racing is seeking NASCAR's approval for a liquor company to sponsor its #99 Ford for Jeff Burton, this week's issue of NASCAR Scene reports. NASCAR officials said earlier this season that the sanctioning body had no intention of changing its policies prohibiting sponsorship from hard liquor distillers, but Roush President Geoff Smith says the proposed sponsorship has been submitted. "They've only given an indication that they are reviewing [the policy against hard liquor sponsorships]," Smith said. The story does not name the proposed sponsor for the team.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)[Jayski hopes it is Jack Daniels](6-4-2004) UPDATE: Roush Racing reportedly is trying to win approval from NASCAR to secure a hard-liquor company to sponsor South Boston's Jeff Burton, whose #99 Ford has been competing without logos all season [actually has had some one-off deals and Round-Up for a few races]. NASCAR has a long-standing policy against allowing alcohol sponsorships involving distilled spirits, but President Mike Helton said changes were being considered. "It's a complicated process," Helton said. "We have a policy we've adhered to and said time and time before that the answer is, 'No.' It's not as simple as saying, 'It's OK,' this time. Why wasn't it OK before and what kind of ripple effect do you create to all the people you said, 'No,' to before? But in fairness to industry, we'll address our stances on sponsorships that in the past we haven't allowed."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-5-2004) UPDATE 2: Roush Racing president, Geoff Smith, told www.teamfordracing.com that a potential sponsorship package for Jeff Burton’s #99 has been sitting in limbo for quite some time. At issue — the offer comes from a hard alcohol company. NASCAR has a long-standing prohibition regarding hard liquor company sponsorship, which NASCAR believes violates the family atmosphere of an event. There have been cracks in that position through the course of time, with Roush Racing’s Smirnoff Ice product making it to the approved list after successful argument that the product is on par with beer. Hard alcohol products, as a group, had been banned from television for years, but a change in that position earlier this year opened the doors for liquor ads on TV. Seeing an opening the International Race Of Champions Series, with tactile approval from NASCAR, inked a deal with Crown Royal as their series sponsor. NASCAR indicated in early April that it was reviewing its policy on hard liquor, but no decision has been forthcoming since those statements were made at Texas Motor Speedway. General objection to alcohol advertising was reported in a recent Wall Street Journal article, in which officials from Anheuser-Busch noted, “a drink is not a drink”, working to maintain their marketplace share. Anheuser-Busch is not only one of the sport’s biggest advertisers, but also one of the biggest over-all spenders of advertising dollars; and listed 38th in the 2003 Ad Age top-100 advertisers. “We secured a commitment in late February for [liquor] sponsorship and asked NASCAR if it would review its prohibition,” Smith told TFR. Smith went on to say that they’ve been working with NASCAR to see if a resolution can be worked out, but so far have not received clearance for the sponsorship.(Team Ford Racing)(6-6-2004) UPDATE 3: Team owner Jack Roush said after the race that he has a sponsor immediately ready to sign a deal to sponsor Burton's #99 team, which has run unsponsored most of the year. That sponsor is for a hard liquor product, however, but NASCAR has not allowed sponsorship in that product category. Roush said he expects to hear as soon as this week if NASCAR will change that policy.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-7-2004)
Ford Pushes Dodge; Burton disagrees: After his planned pit stop went awry when he spun on pit road, #12-Ryan Newman ran his tank dry with the extra mile he had to go to come back around for gas. He received some unexpected help from Ricky Rudd, who pushed him most of the way around with his #21 Ford. Once on pit road, one of Newman’s Penske Racing teammates, Brendan Gaughan, provided similar assistance. Driver #99-Jeff Burton, who like Rudd drives a Ford, criticized Rudd for assisting Newman, who drives a Dodge. Said Rudd: "He was out of gas. Our spotter said to push him. I didn’t think about it."(ThatsRacin.com)...kudos to Rudd and the spotter!(6-7-2004)
Pamela Anderson pleads with Dale Jr.: Pam Anderson wants Dale Earnhardt Jr. to help out some chicks. The former “Baywatch” babe wrote a pleading letter to the NASCAR star after she learned that his race car is sponsored by KFC — which has been under attack from animal rights groups such as PETA, for whom Anderson is a spokeswoman. “Greetings from an admirer,” Anderson writes, then outlines the grievances against the fast food chain, including charges that it uses chickens that have been defeathered live with scalding water. “When you take a multimillion-dollar endorsement from a company, you must also take some responsibility for the company’s practices,” Anderson continues, “so we’re asking you to use your considerable influence with KFC to improve its animal-welfare standards.” Anderson even offers to have a letter drafted up that Earnhardt can sign and send to KFC. Earnhardt didn’t return our calls for comment, but Anderson said in a statement to the Scoop: “Little chickens need a big man like Dale to stick up for them!”(MSNBC)(6-7-2004)
Mears to get soapy: Casey Mears will test at Chicagoland Speedway this week in preparation for the Tropicana 400 on July 11. Mears had a season-best starting position of fourth there last season but finished 34th. Mears generally refrains from being a major player in NASCAR's As the Wheel Turns soap opera, but after this weekend's race at Pocono, the 26-year-old driver of the #41 Target Dodge will fly to Los Angeles to play himself in an episode of Days of Our Lives. "We're always looking for more exposure for the sport and more exposure for me," Mears says. "I think it will be a great experience, but the funny thing is I'm really not a soap-opera guy." This won't be Mears' first network experience. Several years ago, after Mears expressed interest in meeting Jennifer Love Hewitt, he was an extra on the since-cancelled Party of Five.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(6-7-2004)