MORE NEWS/RUMORS
JUNE 14-20, 2004



MORE NEWS-RUMORS!
YESTERDAY and BEYOND..


    (6-20-2004)

  • Newman wins at Michigan: #12-Ryan Newman overcame trash on his grill, falling a lap down while piting to have it removed, got the Lucky Dog pass on the 3rd caution and slowly worked his back up from, took the lead and won the DHL 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his first win of 2004, his first since Kansas in Sept 2003. #9-Kasey Kahne, who started 34th and fell a lap behind early with an ill-handling car, fought back and got his 4th runner-up finish of 2004. The rest of the top five were #88-Dale Jarrett [his first top five since he won in Rockingham in Feb 2003], #48-Jimmie Johnson [took over the points lead] and #38-Elliott Sadler [his first ever top 10 at MIS]. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in the top 10, then lost positions late and finished 21st and lost the points lead. #24-Jeff Gordon lost an engine while leading early in the race. Jimmie Johnson was the highest finishing driver with the Father's Day scheme, so $25,000 goes to his father Gary.
    For results, see:
    Jayski's Michigan Results Page
    ThatsRacin.com
    Motorsports One
    NASCAR.com.(6-20-2004)

  • StockCarFans.com - Rumblings - Michigan: #12-Ryan Newman used the free pass to perfection today, coming back from an early overheating pit stop to win the DHL 400 at Michigan International Speedway.....once again, under caution. Newman's win was his second consecutive at MIS (ending a streak of nine different winners in a row at this track), his first of 2004 (his last win was at Kansas last October), and the 10th of his Cup career (he's tied for 46th on the all-time win list with Donnie Allison & Sterling Marlin). He becomes the 9th different driver to score a victory this season. This was win #55 for Roger Penske (if you add in the three that then partner Michael Kranefuss had with Jeremy Mayfield), and was worth $176,367 from the almost $5M in posted awards for Newman. What we'll never know is if Kasey Kahne could have caught him....though I agree with him and think he would have come up just a little short. For Kahne, this runner-up finish (his 4th of the season) ties his career- best. The last time he was the bridesmaid was at Texas in April.
    #88-Dale Jarrett (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Rockingham in February of 2003. This is his first Top-5 since that event, and brings us to 22 drivers who have scored a Top-5 this season....last year's number was 30.
    #40-Sterling Marlin (6th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol inMarch.
    #30-Dave Blaney (15th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Texas in March.
    #45-Kyle Petty (18th) had his best finish since he was 18th at Martinsville in April.
    STREAKIN....Jimmie Johnson has 8 Top-10's in the last 9 races.
    Michael Waltrip has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
    This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the week is Dale Jarrett (+34), followed by Kasey Kahne (+32), and Dave Blaney (+24). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeff Gordon (-37), followed by Robby Gordon (-28), and Casey Mears (-22). Jeff Gordon in now leading the down side of this category....this was BD #3.
    We have a change at the top of the point standings after this weekend as Jimmie Johnson takes the lead from Dale Earnhardt Jr by 7 markers. Jr had held the top spot since we left Martinsville in April....seven races. Kasey Kahne has moved back above the "Stayin' Alive" line, but only by a single point. Teammate Jeremy Mayfield is on the outside lookin' in by 43 points. Brian Vickers (22nd to 19th) made the best move forward today, while Ward Burton (21st to 25th) fell the most spots. We've got a three-way tie for 6th....any other year that might mean sumptin'.(for more and some opinions on the yellow finish, see StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter/Site)(6-20-2004)

  • Long's Rockingham Car Diecast up for Auction: Up for auction on eBay.com is a custom-made 1/24th scale model of Carl Long's car that was destroyed in the frightening rollover crash at North Carolina Speedway earlier this year. This car is only 1 of 2 replicas ever produced by the artist, Richard Dupuis. 100% of the proceeds received from the winning bidder will be used to fund Carl Long Racing. For more info and the link to the auction, see www.carl-long.com.(6-20-2004)

  • NASCAR says they are still in charge: the transcript of the statement by NASCAR President Mike Helton to the drivers at the drivers meeting: "I think everyone is aware of our challenges right now. Let me remind you of something that most all of us became participants in NASCAR well after it was began and founded with the exception of Richard (Petty). Richard's been around forever. And I suspect that 50 years from now as there still having driver's meetings at race tracks there won't be many of us around to remember this conversation. But I want to remind everybody that this sport is what it is because of its longevity, it's effort to be correct and fair and the participants that make it up and the officials that run the races and the race tracks that entertain us and the sponsors that become involved. And it's gotten bigger and better every time we've moved and it's still the greatest form of motorsports if not one of the greatest form of sports in this world. Don't misinterpret some of the issues we may have with weakness we may have to challenge us. We'll still police the sport...we will still police what goes on at the racetrack and we will still enforce the regulations of this sport. So, don't misinterpret anything that may be going on right now as an opportunity to take advantage of any situation. We're not going to let that happen. In saying that I would also, we seem to go in this cycle of everybody being very respectful to then everyone not being too respectful to get to the point where no body is respectful at all with each other on the race track. I think we're kinda getting back into the bottom of that cycle where it seems like theres a lot of beating and banging going on at the racetrack thats causing aggression thats causing cautions thats causing things that shouldn't be caused. So I would suggest drivers that you be more respectful on the race track to start with, with each other and that should go a long way to what goes on on the racetrack and what we have to get involved in. The other thing crew chief's, we announced last week that when we freeze the field the computer does it, the software establishes it and the messages comes back to you what your position is. When you ask or are told by an official on pit road what your position is thats it. Theres no debate. Go on to something else. Our officials will pay attention to other things but when he delivers the message to you of where your car belongs on the race track theres no debate to it.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144)(6-20-2004)

  • Stewart walks out of drivers meeting, goes to the back: Nextel Cup driver #20-Tony Stewart walked out of Sunday's pre-race drivers meeting at Michigan International Speedway before its conclusion and was sent to the rear of the field to start Sunday's DHL 400. Several drivers were asking questions of NASCAR President Mike Helton and events director David Hoots regarding restarts, when Stewart appeared to get frustrated. He said in part, "Can't we just go race?" and walked out of the meeting. The meeting continued. Stewart had qualified 27th.(MRN Radio race coverage/ThatsRacin.com)(6-20-2004)

  • Marlin Safe: [Chip Ganassi's] Comment on Sterling Marlin's Future with the 40 team: "Sterling is not going anywhere. I asked him yesterday if somebody else was throwing him out besides me. I ain't throwing him out. I'm just going to send our young guys to language class so they can understand him (said in jest)."(Dodge Notes/Clear!Blue PR)(6-20-2004)

  • Think Sponsors Don't Care about drivers actions? Brendan Gaughan barely had been in the Jasper Engines and Transmissions office in Atlanta for a minute, hardly had pulled back his hand from the firm shake with a sponsor that could give him his first full-time ride in Nextel Cup. The inevitable question came quickly. "Tell me about Homestead," asked Bud Denker, Kodak's vice president of brand and market development. Gaughan gulped, then did what he does second best. He started talking. Talking too much had gotten him into this mess about 72 hours earlier at Homestead. Gaughan had entered the final race of the NASCAR truck series schedule leading in points for his father's Orleans Racing team. He was running in the top 10 with 31 laps left when Marty Houston, making his first truck start in three years, caused an accident that wrecked Gaughan. His title hopes dashed, Gaughan blasted fellow Dodge team owner Jimmy Smith for entering an unusually high five trucks, at least one of which Gaughan felt was being handled by an unqualified driver. "Jimmy Smith can kiss my a--," Gaughan said. See full article at the St Petersburg Times.
    Because sponsor support underpins their careers, drivers are obliged to heed concerns over behavior, either perceived or documented. Both 2002 champion Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch were ordered into anger counseling the past two years. Though Caterpillar stood behind rookie Scott Wimmer through his conviction in June for driving while impaired, there are likely to be in-house consequences beyond the 60-day suspended sentence and 24 hours of community service he received in court.(6-20-2004)

  • Good chance Cingular back with the #31 in 2005: #31 Car owner Richard Childress said sponsor Cingular Wireless has an option to remain sponsor of Robby Gordon's ride next year. "It's a performance option," Childress said. "Right now we're within that."(Roanoke Times)(6-20-2004)

  • Ford taking legal action against Kahne? UPDATE: Word from Ford sources that Ford Motor Company is reportedly taking legal action against Dodge sensation #9-Kasey Kahne over its contract with Kahne. Kahne, the sport's hottest rookie, deferred to his agents, Rod Moskowitz and Cary Agajanian. Moskowitz: "We have no comment at this time. Kasey said earlier this year that he has fulfilled all his obligations to Ford, and our position remains the same." Ford gave Kahne a major break by putting together a Busch package with Robert Yates. That Ford contract contained a clause that allowed Ford, if Kahne were offered a Cup deal by a rival car maker, to keep Kahne if Ford could match that deal with a ride of similar capability. When Dodge's Ray Evernham offered Kahne the ride Bill Elliott was winning in last fall, Ford appeared unable to match it. Or at least that's the way the situation was explained at Daytona earlier this year. It's unclear what Ford's actions might mean, what situation Dodge and Evernham might now be in, and what might happen next.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-19-2004)
    UPDATE: The latest on Ford's legal action against Kasey Kahne: Kahne was served with papers when he landed here Thursday, informing him of the suit over breach of contract. Ford apparently only wants to recoup some of its investment in Kahne, 24, not to park him or put him back in a Ford. Part of Kahne's decision to leave Ford for Dodge and car owner Ray Evernham followed Robert Yates' decision not to expand to a third Cup team for Kahne, who was driving a Busch car for Yates. The turning point, one source said, could have come last September when Yates put Jason Jarrett in a third Cup car at Talladega instead of Kahne.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-20-2004)

  • Image added the #98 C2 [Coca-Cola] Dodge image that Bill Elliott will run at Dayonta in July to the 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page, see the other seven cars too [#'s 1,16,20,21,29,97,99].(6-20-2004)

  • FedEx.......AND MORE - Biffle under contract thru 2005? UPDATE 2: J.J. Yeley, the Sprint-car star learning the NASCAR ropes in a Joe Gibbs Busch car, will get a shot at Cup racing this fall in five to seven races in a #11 car, expected to be sponsored by FedEx. FedEx interviewed Yeley and Greg Biffle this week for the ride for next season, according to team sources. However, Geoff Smith, head of Roush Racing, says Biffle is under contract with Roush through the 2005 season and he plans to sit down with Biffle later this year and discuss a contract extension.(Winston Salem Journal)
    UPDATE: Despite weekly rumors to the contrary, Greg Biffle said he would fulfill his current contract with Roush Racing. Biffle has said repeatedly in recent weeks he would remain with Roush at least through the end of the season. "We're not going anywhere right now," he said Saturday. "Things are getting pretty crazy out there. There are other teams starting up and things going like that, so there's speculation about what's going to happen." Biffle said his priority is to get his #16 team in the top 10 in points and into victory lane. "I feel like we're really close," he said. "I'm working as hard as I can here to get this program turned around and capable of making the top 10 in points."(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND even MORE hearing that the #11 will run eight different FedEx paint schemes in 2005, one paint scheme for each of the different companies.(6-19-2004), see below for a LARGE bunch of stories, and even two images of one of the schemes of the #11 car.
    UPDATE 2: Greg Biffle adamantly denied recent reports that he is talking to other Nextel Cup teams about leaving Roush Racing. Biffle's name has surfaced in conjunction with a supposed third Joe Gibbs Racing team, but Biffle said neither he nor any of his representatives have talked to another team. Biffle also said his contract runs through next year, and Roush could exercise an option year. Could Biffle get out of his current contract and join another team? Jack Roush is known for having airtight contracts with his drivers, so that doesn't seem likely. Gibbs currently fields Chevrolets for Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, but the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported this week that FedEx has signed a letter of intent to sponsor a third JGR team. Biffle, who has been public in his criticism of Roush Racing's engine problems this year, was allegedly high on Gibbs' list of potential drivers. But there is no contract between FedEx and JGR, a team source said Saturday. And Biffle was vehement about staying at Roush.(NASCAR.com)(6-20-2004)
    IMAGES got two images of the #11 FedEx Chevy, see my 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page

  • El Paso to sponsor Geoffrey Bodine at Indy: Successful El Paso businessman Gregg Jackson is leading a $100,000 effort by local businesses to sponsor a race car that will attempt to qualify for NASCAR's Brickyard 400 this summer. The El Paso NASCAR Race Car, a 2004 Dodge Intrepid scheduled to be driven by 55-year-old stock car veteran Geoffrey Bodine, features a paint scheme centered on the city's new tourism slogan -- El Paso: Do Texas Different. The car, which will test next month and try to qualify three days before the Aug. 8 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, begins a six-week tour of local businesses and sponsors today at Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino. El Pasoans will be offered the opportunity to sign the hood of the car for $50. Proceeds will go to the Fort Bliss Families Fund, which benefits children of soldiers killed in Iraq. A news conference announcing the race team's plans, including coming appearances and events, is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday at the El Paso convention center. El Paso's at-the-track NASCAR effort will be led by team owner Gary Trout of North Carolina, a friend of Jackson's who helped put the unique deal together. Dodge engines will be provided by Ray Evernham, one of NASCAR's biggest names. Bodine, preparing earlier last week to run another car [#98 Ford] in the NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway today, sounded confident in the "El Paso" program. Trout "has bought some really good stuff from Ray Evernham," said Bodine, who is scheduled to attend a hospitality event for sponsors at the convention center on July 21. "I'm real confident we'll be in the field."(full story - long - at the El Paso Times) and see another site: www.suncityracing.com, where you can find out more on the team, which will run the #34 Dodge and the crew chief is Geoff Kaeser.(6-20-2004)

  • Love-Bug NASCAR Movie? hadn't heard much about this in a while: Herbie: Fully Loaded, a movie with Herbie the Love Bug. Plot Outline: The classic white Volkswagen with a knack for helping couples hook up finds itself in the world of NASCAR racing. Production is scheduled to begin on June 21st, 2004 [tomorrow]. Only cast member mentioned at www.imdb.com is actress Lindsay Lohan.(6-20-2004)

  • Jarrett helps out [$$] Kenseth? At least two people inside the NASCAR garage said Dale Jarrett gave fellow Ford driver Matt Kenseth a large bill to help pay his $25,000 fine for last week's bumping incident with Kevin Harvick.(The State)(6-20-2004)

  • Belt Confiscated from #49: Confiscated from Ken Schrader's #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge at Michigan International Speedway was a Crotch Belt. The belt in violation, as it had surpassed the two year manufacturer's date, stamped on the belt. Evidently the rest of the belt met requirements.(Insiderracing.com)(6-20-2004)

  • NASCAR's favorite "sons" take a drive with their biggest fans-their Dads: Action Performance Companies is ensuring NASCAR Dads will have a Happy Father's Day with a special race day program at Michigan International Speedway on June 20, 2004. Several NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers will showcase special paint schemes that honor their favorite "NASCAR" Dads-their own. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series entrants will compete during the 400-mile race in Brooklyn, Mich. on Father's Day Sunday. Action Performance helped create the program as a vehicle for drivers to share the NASCAR experience this Father's Day and to thank "Dad" for all of his unending support in making their racing dreams come true. Each race car in the program will incorporate Father's Day-oriented slogans among its standard paint scheme. Each driver also will share the race day spotlight, as his father's name will be featured above the passenger-side door. In addition to the Happy Father's Day motif, Kyle Petty and the #45 Georgia-Pacific team are using the opportunity to create a full-fledged tribute to Petty's noteworthy father, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Richard "King" Petty. Each driver who participates in the Father's Day program also is eligible for a $25,000 bonus. The prize will be rewarded the highest finishing driver, who will then present it to his father or Dad's favorite charitable organization.
    The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers participating in the Father's Day event include:
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr./Dale Earnhardt
    #33-Kerry Earnhardt/Dale Earnhardt [DNQ]
    #48-Jimmie Johnson/Gary Johnson
    #18-Bobby Labonte/Bob Labonte
    #5-Terry Labonte/Bob Labonte
    #40-Sterling Marlin/Coo Coo Marlin
    #42-Jamie McMurray/Jim McMurray
    #41-Casey Mears/Roger Mears
    #45-Kyle Petty/Richard "King" Petty
    #20-Tony Stewart/Nelson Stewart
    #25-Brian Vickers/Clyde Vickers
    #2-Rusty Wallace/Russ Wallace
    #15-Michael Waltrip/Leroy Waltrip
    Action Performance is producing the commemorative die-cast replicas of all 13 Father's Day edition NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race cars. A percentage of the proceeds from the sales of these Father's Day collectibles have been earmarked to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The die-cast will be available through Action's usual distribution channels, including the 17-member ARC distributor network and the exclusive RCCA collector club.(Williams Company PR), for images of the cars, see my 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page.(6-20-2004)

  • ASA Troubles? Problems continue to mount for the troubled American Speed Association with the latest setback the cancellation of its scheduled July 4th race at Pikes Peak International Raceway. The ASA's National Tour was to have raced at the one-mile track in Colorado Springs, Colo. as part of an Independence Day doubleheader with the USAC National Sprint Car Series. But on Friday, the series announced the ASA portion of the doubleheader was cancelled because "event sponsorship did not materialize in time." The Pikes Peak turn of events comes in the wake of reports that ASA president Steve Dale informed teams at last weekend's event at Berlin Raceway that there would be no guarantees of future purses or television exposure and that the sanctioning body was experiencing severe financial problems. Several sources reported Dale was emotional and distraught during the impassioned session. Earlier in the week, ASA television partner SPEED Channel announced it had renewed its deal to carry ASA National Tour events through the 2005 season. Since purchasing the ASA from the Robbins family nearly two years ago, Dale has made several drastic modifications to the sanctioning body's business model. The majority of changes came to the premiere National Tour division including the addition of superspeedway events to the traditional short track oriented schedule and the controversial color scheme introduced on cars at the beginning of the season. The new design, which incorporates sponsor logos on the side door panels while relegating numbers to the rear quarter panels, has been widely criticized by fans, television viewers and even some drivers. Dale also expanded the ASA's base of operations to include a touring late model stock car series (the former US Pro circuit), a modified division (SMART) and a regional west coast truck circuit. ASA also introduced its Member Track Program this season aimed at bringing weekly short tracks into the fold, similar in nature to NASCAR's popular Dodge Weekly Racing Series. Turmoil within the organization was reported as early as April when a mass exodus of long-time management personnel took place including former vice president of marketing and series co-owner Mark Gundrum and media relations staffers Mike Miller and Kyle Larsen.(see full story at RacingOne) and from the ASA Racing site: The reason given was anticipated event sponsorship did not materialize in time.(6-20-2004)

  • New Shock Rule Coming? #9-Kasey Kahne, who had a rare off day Friday and will start 34th. NASCAR wanted to check the air pressure in his rear shocks after qualifying and got upset when the crew drained the pressure before turning them over. NASCAR is now considering a mandatory air-pressure rule for shocks. Changing the air pressure in shocks can change the ride-height of a car, increasing speed.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-20-2004)


    (6-19-2004)

  • Something new for the fans: Last week, #2-Rusty Wallace, a full fleet of engineers and NASCAR officials recently conducted a test at Talladega Superspeedway. The test ran Wallace’s Dodge without a restrictor plate, enabling lap speeds to clock into the 216 mph neighborhood, with straightaway speeds dancing around the 228 mph mark. www.teamfordracing.com learned from garage sources the test dealt with a new wireless technology item that may become available to the fans.(Team Ford Racing)(6-19-2004)

  • Waltrip to run for Charity - $1 million goal: #15-Michael Waltrip held a brief Q&A session with the media on Pit Road at Michigan International Speedway this morning while training for the Las Vegas Marathon. By participating in the Marathon on January 30, 2005, he hopes to raise $1 million for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Kyle Petty was also on hand to lend his support for Waltrip's effort. "I felt like it was important for people to remember that Kyle (Petty) and those folks have done such a great job raising all the money to build the camp. It's going to take a real commitment from the whole community to maintain the camp. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that if the kids come there for a year, it's going to cost $2 or $3 million. The donations need to continue to roll in. When you do something new, it gets a lot of attention. We want to make sure that attention remains on the camp and what Kyle and the whole Petty family have built. I thought this was a neat way to draw attention to it. I have some wonderful sponsors that are going to get involved and help. It's become a real joy for Buffy and I to work on and to see where it all goes."
    "We want to raise $1 million. I think we can do that with the sponsors we have and with the fans. We're going to come up with a program where people can log online and train with me. When they join the Marathon they'll get maybe a die cast car. We're going to do everything we can to get the fans involved. With such a hefty goal, we're going to need the masses to pitch in $10 at a time in order to accomplish our goal. But we feel pretty confident that with the folks we have around us and the sponsors we have and the way the race fans have responded to the camp that we can accomplish our goal."
    "The plan is to have an announcement in July at Daytona showing the fans how they can get involved and talking about the wonderful corporate partners we have line up to be a part of it. This is just an eye-opener to let folks know I am going to do this and hopefully get some interest built in it. And then in July we're going to announce how exactly the fans can contribute and how they can be a part of me running the marathon. Hopefully by then we can get some more drivers to commit to running the marathon too. We're planning to offer that up in relay form so that we can maybe get 10 drivers to run a mile or so or a couple of miles apiece to knock out a marathon in that fashion as well. Maybe we should get the media involved. That would be interesting."(Chevy Notes and Quotes PR)(6-19-2004)

  • Ford Engines UPDATE: Speed Channel's coverage of Nextel Cup qualifying at Michigan mentined that all the Ford Yates/Roush teams #'s 38, 88, 6, 16, 17, 97, 99 have a new Ford engine package except #21-Ricky Rudd.(6-18-2004)
    UPDATE: Doug Yates and his motor gurus were busy this week readying a nearly full compliment of new D3 headed engines for the Ford entries. The new D3, which ran in all but two cars last week at Pocono Raceway, will run in seven of the eight Ford factory cars here at Michigan International Speedway. #21-Ricky Rudd will be the lone car with the older C3 issue package while both the Robert Yates Racing cars and all of the Roush Racing cars will have the D3 package this week. According to Yates the variety of engine failures in last week’s event were all unique unto themselves, and that there was no pattern of breakage that raised a red flag with the noted engine builder. Yates said the engine in Mark Martin’s and Jeff Burton’s Tauruses suffered from upper end valve train problems while Dale Jarrett’s Ford suffered from a piston problem. The problems found in Martin’s car differed from Burton’s car, but Yates didn’t elaborate regarding what he found. Yates said that it is “good to see the 88 running strong at Pocono,” and admitted that they were “probably pushing on [D.J.’s car engine] a little too hard”.(Team Ford Racing)(6-19-2004)

  • Off to F-1 for the day: Teammates #24-Jeff Gordon, #25-Brian Vickers and #48-Jimmie Johnson and several Hendrick Motorsports team members hopped aboard a helicopter and then a private plane and headed for Indianapolis immediately after the final practice Saturday. They made the quick trip to Indy in time to watch qualifying for Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix and take a tour of the Formula One garages at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We're going to show these guys a little bit about what Formula One is like and how it works," said Gordon, who earlier this year caught an F1 race in Barcelona, Spain. Joining the drivers, who will start 1-2-3 in Sunday's race, were Chad Knaus, Johnson's crew chief, Hendrick Motorsports competition manager Ken House and Brian Whitesell, team manager for Gordon and Johnson.(Michigan Live/AP)(6-19-2004)

  • The Official Bank: SunTrust Banks announced a multi-year agreement with NASCAR to become the "Official Bank of NASCAR." SunTrust's relationship with NASCAR, one of the largest and most popular sports in the country, reinforces the company's commitment to serve the financial needs of the motorsports industry. Under terms of the agreement, SunTrust will be involved in NASCAR at many levels, including supporting the sport's diversity initiatives, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, grassroots racing, and various charitable and community programs. In order to best serve the NASCAR community of drivers, owners and teams, SunTrust will build upon its Motorsports Banking Group announced earlier this year. The expanded unit will support both the financial needs of NASCAR's drivers and teams as well as assist with the sport's community-related programs that directly benefit the families of NASCAR's drivers and teams. Sanctioned organizations that will receive immediate support from SunTrust Motorsports Banking include Women's Auxiliary of Motorsports (WAM), which helps to provide support for the families of NASCAR racers; Motor Racing Outreach (MRO), a non-denominational group that provides religious services for NASCAR and other racing series; and Victory Junction Gang Camp, a retreat for children living with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. SunTrust will also take its sponsorship to the track and broaden the number of NASCAR fans it reaches across the country by becoming an associate sponsor of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team to be named, as well as a contingency award sponsor of NASCAR's Dodge Weekly Racing Series, NASCAR's grassroots racing series. This local program will also include sponsorship of several grassroots racing facilities.(Yahoo Biz)(6-19-2004)

  • Dodge Charger? the Dodge Intrpid replacement for Dodge's NASCAR entry has been rumored for months to be a Charger, and am hearing it will be introduced as a new body line in mid year 2005, will be rear wheel drive, have a Hemi option, and be a four door.
    AND The automaker [Dodge] is expected to build a higher-output, 6.1-liter Hemi to join the current 5.7-liter model, now available in Dodge pickups and SUVs as well as the Chrysler 300 Series sedan. As many as half of buyers choose the Hemi in those vehicles. Chrysler has begun putting the bigger Hemi in prototype models of the all-new 2005 Dodge Charger sedan, which is in test production in Brampton, Ontario, according to two company sources familiar with the project. The Charger is expected to reach showrooms next spring.(Detroit News), July 1st is the drop-dead date set by NASCAR for new car submissions.(6-19-2004)

  • ABC/ESPN back? ABC/ESPN is targeting a takeover of the NBC/TNT half of the NASCAR TV package, which expires in 2006 -- two seasons earlier then FOX's contract.(Sporting News Print Magazine, dated 6-21-2004, page 7)(6-19-2004)

  • Still Feudin': #17-Matt Kenseth and #29-Kevin Harvick continued their feud from last weekend's race at Pocono in dueling news conferences Friday at Michigan International Speedway. Kenseth and Harvick each spun out in incidents involving the other in the final four laps of last Sunday's Pocono 500. This week, NASCAR fined each $25,000 and placed both on probation until Aug. 11. Harvick said Kenseth's spin was the result of Kenseth brake-checking in front of him, while Kenseth said he retaliated against Harvick because if "I was going to lose those spots (on the track), then he was going to lose his, too." While Kenseth spent much of his time with the media contradicting Harvick's account of the incident, Harvick directed most of his comments at NASCAR officials, saying he was penalized him without cause. "We presented NASCAR with everything they needed. (Kenseth's) skid marks are very evident on the race track and I wish now I had taken a picture of them. There's no way you can spin someone out under caution without at least knocking the grille out of your car," Harvick said. "Just like (Nextel Cup Series director) John Darby told me, 'Your past is probably why you're getting a fine.' I don't think that's the right way to go. But then, what has been right the past few weeks?" Harvick said he would not appeal the penalty. "The appeals process doesn't work. It doesn't matter if you're right or wrong, you're going to lose," he said. Harvick and his team owner, Richard Childress, remain adamant that Kenseth instigated both incidents under caution. "I've done a lot of wrong things, and that's the first time I have ever talked to Mike Helton twice and presented everything we presented," Harvick said. "Whether they like it or not, they are hard, cold facts." Kenseth denied he brake-checked, triggering the first spin. After both news conferences, Darby again asked both drivers to visit the NASCAR hauler, where they met for several minutes before the start of Friday's practice session.(see full story at ThatsRacin.com)(6-19-2004)

  • Green Flag Finishes in all races in 2005? UPDATE 2 maybe sooner? and more NASCAR is looking at ways to finish races under green, but nothing is expected to change until next season at the earliest, a series official said Monday. Three of the past six Nextel Cup races have ended under caution. "I think long-term, we've got to do everything we can to figure out how to finish races under green," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president. Hunter said he doesn't anticipate a change this year. One option is to guarantee that the race's final two laps are run under green, as is done in the Craftsman Truck Series.(Roanoke Times)(6-15-2004)
    UPDATE - sooner? Atlanta Motor Speedway president Ed Clark said Thursday that NASCAR officials indicated to him this week that mandatory green-flag finishes for Nextel Cup races are in the works and could be in place before the end of the season. Clark said this week would be a good time to start: "There's no reason not to do it right now. It would be equal for everybody." Fans have expressed their displeasure at races ending under caution by throwing objects onto the track and at officials. "My expectation is that every race that ends under caution, you'll see the same thing," Clark said. "It's like booing a driver -- once everybody gets to doing it, there's no stopping it."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-18-2004)
    "green-green-white-checkered" but: NASCAR officials, working quickly to repair an image damaged by a series of recent mistakes, are considering a new rule intended to ensuring green-flag finishes. The rule, which could go into effect later this season, according to NASCAR sources, would be used in the event of a yellow flag in the closing laps of a race and would allow NASCAR to run a "green-green-white-checkered" finish - that is, a three-lap green-flag shootout - even if that meant the race would go beyond the scheduled distance. But if the yellow came out again during that shootout, then the race would end under caution.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-19-2004)
    AND: NASCAR is exploring possibilities to help ensure green-flag finishes in its Nextel Cup Series, spokesman Mike Zizzo confirmed Saturday. A green-white-checkered rule is already used in NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series, but whether NASCAR would adapt the same rule, or something a little different for Cup has not yet been decided.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-19-2004)

  • NASCAR Pay Per View Racing Special: a racing program that premiered last night [Friday, June 18th] on inDemand called "The greatest night of champions. It pits 5 current NASCAR drivers against 5 retired drivers. The program runs for almost 3 hours. Legendary drivers include three-time Winston Cup Chamption Cale Yarborough, Ernie Irvan, Harry Gant, Dave Marcis and Dick Trickle. Representing the current drivers are Sterling Marlin, Jimmy Spencer, Bill Elliot and Kerry Earnhardt. Darrell Waltrip will host the event and his brother Michael Waltrip will serve as race commentator. For re-airs, see inDemand.com and check to see if your cable provider carries it.(6-19-2004)

  • Elliott at Indy UPDATE: #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)
    UPDATE: on Tuesday, June 22nd, Visteon's Greg Gyllstrom, vice president and general manager of North America and Asia Aftermarket Operations, will join Ray Evernham and driver Bill Elliott to announce details of the Brickyard 400 and a primary sponsorship of the team. Visteon's Aftermarket Operations are committed to leading the market in delivering products that withstand the extreme vehicle requirements and endurance of racing, and to delivering original equipment components and systems to customers and consumers of Aftermarket products. The Brickyard 400 will also be the venue for the first public showing of Visteon's newest line of glass products, the NASCAR Performance Windshields and the GlideMaster rear windows for light duty trucks.(Visteon Site)(6-19-2004)

  • Robby Apologizes: #31-Robby Gordon publicly apologized to #12-Ryan Newman for the crash that eliminated Newman from the Pocono 500 and led him to describe the crash by saying Gordon “ran out of talent.” “I’m sorry about what happened with Ryan,” said Gordon. “He is a very talented driver and I respect him greatly. I just got pushed down too low on the track onto the curb and it made me loose, causing me to swing up into him. I didn’t mean to do that. I was just trying to save my race car and, unfortunately, bumped him in the process.”(Gaston Gazette)(6-19-2004)

  • Software for the pit crews coming? NASCAR's next technical challenge is to develop computer software and hardware to provide its teams on pit road with the new freeze-the-field scoring information from the loop system. NASCAR's Mike Helton said last week the new system would be used to set the field at the yellow. However, teams say they have no scoring monitors to tell them what the field should look like. And they say that NASCAR's only two-radio channels are filled with chatter.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-19-2004)

  • Melling and Elliott team up at MIS: Mark Melling and Bill Elliott, two of the most famous names in Michigan International Speedway history, are getting back together this weekend at MIS. Melling, a Jackson businessman whose father, Harry, sponsored Elliott from 1981 through 1991, is sponsoring the Bill Elliott Racing Team entry driven by MIS newcomer Ray Cook in the Flagstar 200 ARCA Re/Max Series race Saturday. The sponsorship of Cook by Melling Cylinder Sleeves is one of two Melling sponsorship interests in the ARCA race. Melling is also sponsoring the Melling Oil Pump Chevrolet driven by Billy Venturini.(Michigan Live)
    HOWEVER: Bill Elliott's debut as an ARCA Re/Max car owner got off to a rough start Friday when his driver, Ray Cook, became the first to test the new SAFER walls at Michigan International Speedway. Cook lost control of his Dodge late in practice and backed the car hard into the wall in Turn 2. Cook wasn't hurt, but the car's rear end was caved in to the back window, and Cook was not able to qualify it for today's Flagstar 200, scheduled for 1:00pm/et.(Detroit Free Press)(6-19-2004)

  • Davis not happy with Blaney leaving: Car owner Bill Davis was not pleased at Blaney's decision to join Childress. Davis said he had a verbal agreement with Blaney to field a car for him here and at other tracks this season.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-19-2004)


    (6-18-2004)

  • Seen on Pit Road: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy, in a Matt Kenseth Championship T-Shirt.(MRN Radio Qualifying Coverage)(6-18-2004)

  • Pit Road Flag Changes: the control tower will now radio down to the pit road flagman what flag to display and when pit road is closed or open.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio Report)(6-18-2004)
    AND Beginning this weekend, NASCAR officials in race control will instruct the pit road flagman when to signal pit road is open or closed, NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said. Previously, the pit road flagman received instruction from race control, but also could wave the flag at his or her own discretion. Last weekend at Pocono, pit road flagman Dean Duckett mistakenly put out a green-flag, signaling pit road was open when it should have been closed. Several drivers, including then-race leader Jimmie Johnson, followed correct procedure and did not pit, but the majority of the lead-lap drivers did. NASCAR could not find a suitable method to correct the mistake and left the running order as it was. Johnson still won the race.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-18-2004)

  • Gordon wins DHL 400 pole: #24-Jeff Gordon won the pole for the DHL 400 at Michigan International Speedway with an event [not track] qualifying record speed of 190.865mph, his 2nd Budweiser Pole of 2004, 48th of his career and 4th at Michigan. Hendrick Motorsports swept the first three spots as #25-Brian Vickers is on the outside pole and #48-Jimmie Johnson qualified 3rd [#5-Terry Labonte starts 31st]. Rounding out the top five is #12-Ryan Newman and #31-Robby Gordon. #30-Dave Blaney broke loose and backed into the turn two wall and will need to go to a backup car and use a provisional, starting 39th, but will have to fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag on Sunday. Failing to make the race are #33-Kerry Earnhardt and #00-Carl Long.
    Michigan Qualifying Results/Starting Lineup at:
    Jayski's Semi-Live Michigan Qualifying/Grid Page
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorSports One
    NASCAR.com.(6-18-2004)

  • StockCarFans.com - RAMBLINGS -- MICHIGAN:
    It was a Hendrick Motorsport parade today at Michigan International Speedway....and Jeff Gordon was at the head of the line. Gordon grabbed his second Bud Pole of the season (he nabbed the top-spot at Martinsville in April) this afternoon for Sunday's DHL 400 with a speed of 190.865 (37.723 sec). This is the 4th pole for Gordon at MIS, and the 48th of his career. Hendrick Chevy's took the top three spots...Brian Vickers and last week's winner Jimmie Johnson were the supporting cast today.
    Robby Gordon (5th) has his best starting spot since he started 3rd when we were here last August.
    Kurt Busch (7th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Martinsville in April.
    STREAKIN....Brian Vickers has 6 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
    Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-5 starts in the last 5 races.
    The Trouble Train only contained two cars today....45 on hand, so the early outs go to Kerry Earnhardt & Carl Long.
    Gotta wonder about TV sometimes. Speed TV [Channel] couldn't tear themselves away from an interview with an employee (Michael Waltrip) long enough for us to see Dave Blaney crash on his first qualifying lap. Brother DW was letting 'em know there was trouble, but I guess it just didn't fit their broadcast mode du jour. Funny, I thought it was a qualifying show. How's about that brother stuff. Todd Bodine in on time by .001 over brother Geoffrey....can't get any closer than that! 400 miles here is a mere sprint after what we've had the last couple weeks. This race is often fast and fuelish....wide sweeping turns with multiple grooves makes this a place where you need to hit the setup off the truck, cause chances are you're not gonna get a whole lot of pit stops to improve it.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(6-18-2004)

  • Morgan-McClure to skip Infineon Raceway race: #4 Morgan-McClure driver, Jimmy Spencer, says the team will not run a car at the road course at Infineon Raceway next week [June 27th]. The unsponsored team has ran in all the races so far in the 2004 Nextel Cup season, but is 36th in owners points. Spencer said that lack of sponsorship led to the decision. Team owner Larry McClure said a deal to put Johnny Miller [who ran the car last year at Infineon] in the car couldn't be worked out. McClure said he is still talking to potential sponsors, but says the team needs a few decent runs to help seal the deal.(NASCAR Scene Magazine - need sub to read online)(6-18-2004)

  • 3rd Evernham team? Harley Davidson? UPDATE: 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)
    UPDATE: Team owner Ray Evernham dismissed a report that he has signed Harley Davidson as a sponsor for a third team, but didn't dismiss the idea of bringing his #91 team up to fulltime. Evernham says he is just friends with a top company official at Harley Davidson and the official recently visited Evernham. As for the third team, Evernham would like to put the program together and that Bill Elliott would be part of that with the option of driving full-time or sharing the ride.(NASCAR Scene Magazine - need sub to read online)(6-18-2004)

  • Official Suspended for Truck Race Snafu: Dion Hinskey, the official who mistakenly triggered a caution during the May 21 Craftsman Truck Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, was suspended by NASCAR for three races, ThatsRacin.com has learned. As of Friday, NASCAR, however, had not suspended Nextel Cup Series official Dean Duckett, who served as the flagman at the entrance of pit road in last weekend's controversial race at Pocono, sources confirmed. During the Pocono race, Puckett mistakenly waved a green flag allowing lead lap cars to pit when they were not supposed to. Then-race leader Jimmie Johnson and three others did not pit, instead following the correct procedure outlined in the drivers' meeting the morning of the race. Johnson rebounded and ended up winning the race. In the Truck race, Hinskey, the backup flagman, mistakenly activated the caution lights on the track with four of 134 laps remaining when a truck spun, but no caution was called by race control. Then-race leader Carl Edwards slowed thinking there was a caution as did second place Dennis Setzer. Setzer, realizing no caution was called, passed Edwards and held on for the victory. At the time, NASCAR denied the caution lights were activated. Later, once in-car camera footage was found showing the light illuminated, NASCAR admitted it had made a mistake. Hinskey's first missed race was the June 4 race at Dover, Del., where Cup flagman Jimmy Howell replaced him in the flagstand. When asked about any punishments officials have received in either incident, NASCAR spokesman Mize Zizzo said NASCAR would not comment on internal personnel matters.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-18-2004)

  • Mountain Dew back on the #9 and #19 - #9 at MIS: Evernham Motorsports teammates Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne showed their alliance to the "Dew Crew" today when they unveiled their Mountain Dew Dodge paint-outs plastered with the team green at the Michigan International Speedway. "Fueled by Dew," Kahne's #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge will feature a Mountain Dew paint scheme when he competes in the DHL 400 this Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. Mayfield will race in his Mountain Dew-themed #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge at the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on November 14. Mountain Dew is sponsoring Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield throughout the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Both drivers are making appearances for Mountain Dew during the season and they are featured on in-store display materials. In addition, Mountain Dew sponsors the over-the-wall pit crews for Kahne and Mayfield. Their teams are known as the "Dew Crew."
    "The association between Mountain Dew and Evernham Motorsports is such a big part of our race team and I've enjoyed working with them," said Mayfield who is in his third season as a driver for Evernham Motorsports. "Everything they do is so much fun to be a part of. I'm excited about the Dew paint scheme I'll be running at Darlington and look forward to making the other drivers green with envy."
    "This is my first year being associated with Mountain Dew, it's been fun so far," said rookie driver Kasey Kahne. "Everyone on the team has been great to work with and each week I meet new people who are part of the Mountain Dew team. I love Mountain Dew, so working with them comes naturally. Running the Dew car at Michigan this weekend is something I'm looking forward to. It's always fun to drive a car with different paint on it. It gets the fans' attention and if you do well it helps the sponsors." This marks the fourth year that Mountain Dew has sponsored Evernham Motorsports. Pepsi-Cola North America, the makers of Mountain Dew, has been involved with NASCAR since the sport was introduced in 1948. Today, Pepsi serves its products at 16 of the 23 Nextel Cup Series tracks and is the title sponsor of NASCAR Nextel Cup races in Daytona, Fla. (Pepsi 400), and Darlington, S.C. (Mountain Dew Southern 500).(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR), see images of the cars on my #9 Team Paint Schemes and #19 Team Paint Schemes pages.(6-18-2004)

  • Waltrip starts a driver development program: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) introduces the formation of a driver development program. The Sherrills Ford, N.C. based team, which already fields winning NASCAR Busch Series cars and competitive NEXTEL Cup cars with experienced drivers, will now field cars in the American Speed Association (ASA). They will compete in a limited number of events in late 2004 with plans to field a two-car team for the entire 2005 schedule. "The fact that we have limited schedules in different series enables us to test all the waters," explained Director of Competition Joe Garone. "We feel like we have a real grasp on what it takes to be competitive on any level. Our focus is not a specific series, but a program built on nurturing a driver from all aspects including performance, relationship building and media savvy." "The emphasis has to be on performance," car owner Michael Waltrip said. "It is necessary to win to be successful in any type of racing. It is also it's important to develop all the elements necessary to be a winning driver." Michael Waltrip Racing will begin testing with several drivers this summer, and is talking with current ASA and NASCAR competitors about coaching the new talent during these tests. "We have our eyes on a lot of guys we think have potential to be the next NASCAR star," said Waltrip. "With the experienced people we have in place at MWR, we feel like we have the perfect opportunity to develop that talent. Between my years of driving race cars and representing sponsors and Joe Garone's and Jerry Baxter's (current Busch Series crew chief) expertise in building winning race cars, the rewards of developing young talent are obvious."(MWR PR)(6-18-2004)

  • Stewart to run Olympics scheme at MIS in Aug: This year the 2004 summer Olympics will be held in Athens, Greece, the birthplace of the modern and ancient Olympic games. Excited to support the U.S. Olympic athletes, Home Depot has renewed its sponsorship of the U.S. Olympics and Paralympics Teams through 2008. For the second time on the NASCAR circuit Tony Stewart will be racing his #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet to support this legendary athletic competition. To commemorate the 2004 Athens Olympics, Stewart's special paint scheme will feature the Olympic logo and graphics at the August 22nd race in Michigan.(Sunday Hauler) and see an image on my #20 Team Paint Schemes pages.(6-18-2004)

  • Mears Car at MIS: Once again the Target Team will bring chassis #402 to Michigan International Speedway to try and earn #41-Casey Mears his first top-five finish. This chassis has four top-10 finishes this season including a 10th last weekend at Pocono.(Casey Mears Site)(6-18-2004)


    (6-17-2004)

  • Fed-Ex to Gibbs? 3rd team UPDATE 2 Biffle? Yeley? Letter of Intent: Greg Biffle, a former truck and Busch champion, is looking to leave his Roush Racing Cup ride, but he'll be with the #16 car for the rest of this season. He isn't about to risk losing his Roush ride in the Busch Series as he tries to find a new Cup ride. "There's no way I'd ever leave anywhere midseason," Biffle says. "Times are tough, but they're not that tough. I'm going to try to honor all of our contracts that are present. For now, we're going to work real hard to get this Busch and Cup deal turned around." Biffle is sixth in Busch Series points and 23rd in Cup.(FoxSports/Sporting News), see past rumors on the #16 Team News and Links page.(6-14-2004)
    AND Federal Express, which once was in the running to be the title sponsor of NASCAR's top series before Nextel came on board, has been in talks with both Joe Gibbs Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Word in the garage: Fed Ex will end up on a third Cup car for the 2005 season at JGR with J.J. Yeley, a Busch rookie this season, behind the wheel. But Gibbs says it's too early to commit. "Right now, we're in the process of moving through things, and we can't announce anything because the deal isn't done," Gibbs says. "We've been in conversations for a long time but right now it's just a work in progress."(FoxSports/Sporting News)(5-24-2004)
    THE UPDATE add...Biffle: FedEx will announce Wednesday that it will sponsor a third Nextel Cup car for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2005. The car will carry the #11, which was the number that J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, wore as a football player at William and Mary. J.J. Yeley was expected to be the driver of a third Nextel Cup car next year, but the organization wants a veteran driver for the ride. Sources close to the team say that Greg Biffle would be at the top of their list. Joe Gibbs, the Washington Redskins' coach, will play his home games at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. next fall so a relationship already existed between Gibbs and the company that will move from the field to the track next year.(FoxSports)(6-16-2004)
    UPDATE 2 Yeley: hearing that FedEx introduced J.J. Yeley and Joe Gibbs at their annual sales meeting in Orlando, FL today with the car, owner and driver [Yeley](6-16-2004)
    UPDATE 3: FedEx said Wednesday it has signed a letter of intent to sponsor Joe Gibbs Racing's third car starting in 2005. A driver hasn't been chosen for the #11 FedEx Chevrolet. No financial terms were announced, although UPS's sponsorship of the #88 Ford driven by Dale Jarrett - one of the sport's marquee drivers - reportedly is worth as much as $16 million a year. FedEx confirmed only that it has signed a letter of intent. Gibbs Racing said it expects a contract to be signed within a month. FedEx and Gibbs Racing have been in talks for about 18 months. It hasn't been decided if FedEx will have associated sponsorships with other Gibbs drivers, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart. One of the candidates to drive the new FedEx-sponsored Chevy is Busch Series rookie J. J. Yeley. Yeley, a Gibbs driver, has one top 10 finish in nine starts and sits 29th in the Busch standings. "What we're going to do is build a list (of potential drivers) based on what kind of potential they have and what kind of equipment they're running already," said Dean Noble, vice president of business affairs for Gibbs Racing. "After interviews we'd narrow the list to a couple of guys who would meet with FedEx. It's truly a partnership putting this team together." FedEx's entry into the sport could help the Memphis Motorsports Park, said vice president and general manager Jason Rittenberry. The track has NASCAR Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series events and covets a place in NASCAR's premier Nextel Cup Series.(Memphis Commercial Appeal)(6-17-2004)

  • NASCAR Day featured on the #50 at MIS: Arnold Motorsports announced they will feature the NASCAR Day logo on their #50 Dodge this weekend at Michigan International Speedway with driver P.J. Jones. NASCAR Day is an opportunity for the NASCAR community nationwide to unite and celebrate its enthusiasm for the sport while raising money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp for kids, which celebrated its grand opening Tuesday. PJ Jones will again be driving for Arnold Motorsports after a team-best 22nd-place effort at Pocono last weekend.

    NASCAR Day

    "I¹m very proud of the car we¹re running this weekend in support of NASCAR Day," said PJ Jones. "We had a good race last weekend and we¹re hoping for the same this weekend to attract attention to this unique program that the entire NASCAR community can get behind. Victory Junction is going to provide seriously ill children with the chance to just be kids as they experience the fun of summer camp. I¹m excited that Arnold Motorsports and I can do our part to help support the Camp by showing our NASCAR spirit to benefit children." 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 on August 20, the inaugural NASCAR Day. All participants will receive a commemorative NASCAR Day lapel pin. Proceeds will benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp, which was established to provide fun and memorable camping experiences to chronically ill children. Fans seeking information, or to sign up for NASCAR Day, should visit www.nascar.com/nascarday or call 1-866-305-4703. For more information on Arnold Motorsports, visit www.arnold-motorsports.com.(Arnold Motorsports PR)(6-17-2004)

  • Special Coca Cola Schemes at the Pepsi 400 UPDATE: interesting, hearing that eight drivers will run special Coca-Cola C2 [never flavor of coke, less sugar or something] schemes at Daytona in the July 3rd, 'Pepsi 400'. The drivers? #29-Harvick, #1-Andretti, #91-Elliott, #16-Biffle, #97-Busch, #99-Burton, #21-Rudd and #20-Stewart. See images of the #29 and #1 on my 2004 Cup Schemes page.(6-4-2004)
    ADDED: #16, #21, #97 and #99 Coca-Cola C2 to my 2004 Cup Schemes page.(6-5-2004)
    UPDATE: Bill Elliott has become a big player in the cola wars that will be fought at Daytona International Speedway next month. The July 3 Nextel Cup race is sponsored by Pepsi, but Atlanta-based Coca-Cola has chosen the event for a huge promotion of its new mid-calorie, reduced-carb beverage, Coca-Cola C2. Elliott, who hasn't raced in Cup since April 4 at Texas, will drive a Coke-sponsored #98 Dodge [not sure how this effects the current #98 Ford team and who would get to use the number, they are listed at #198 for owners, and last I heard, #98 is held by Yates, assume Elliott would be owner #298]. Because his usual car owner Ray Evernham has a deal with Pepsi, Elliott will have to be his own car owner. He will lease the car from Evernham, and after a recent test at Daytona is confident of a strong run. "I'm looking forward to this," Elliott said Wednesday. "Coke's from Georgia and so am I, so for me this is a really neat deal." Seven other drivers will be carrying the C2 colors at Daytona, including #1-John Andretti, who like Elliott, is running a limited schedule this season. Elliott's return as a car owner actually will come this weekend at Michigan when he'll field an ARCA car for his dirt racing buddy, Ray Cook. "Ray's a good young driver and he's worked awfully hard at racing," Elliott said. "I'm just trying to open some doors for him and help him get some credibility."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and see the #20 Home Depot/Coca-Cola image on my #20 Team Paint Scheme page.(6-17-2004)

  • Cautions...Cautions...Cautions: 24.5% of laps have been run under caution in last two races on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup tour (and a whopping 34.3% in final half of those races) - only 13.8% of Michigan's last 10 races run under yellow -- "Gosh, I'll tell you, it must be a situation where the moon is aligned with some of the evil stars or something weird like that," chuckled Rusty Wallace about the recent happenings. "Michigan has always been a pretty calm place, with all the excitement centered around fuel mileage, pit strategy and track position. I really think things will calm down a whole lot this week at Michigan and I'll be totally shocked if they don't."(TRPR)(6-17-204)

  • Waltrip Racing Experience Announced: Three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion and FOX Sports Analyst Darrell Waltrip announced plans for a $5 million, 30,000 square-foot motor racing-themed attraction to be opened in this resort community in spring 2005, sited at the multi-purpose Belle Island Village development in the heart of Pigeon Forge, Tenn. “Darrell Waltrip’s Racing Experience” is the second major attraction to be announced at Belle Island Village, located in an East Tennessee community that attracts more than 11 million visitors a year as a gateway to America’s most visited national park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The venue will include such components as an interactive theatre, competition radio-controlled cars, a racing car simulator, pit crew area, an arcade, and both permanent and rotating exhibits ranging from 15-25 actual stock cars that have won a variety of racing events.(Bristol Herald Courier)(6-17-2004)

  • Final Pocono TV Ratings off 1.9%: Fox's broadcast of last Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway earned a 5.2 national rating and a 14 share from Nielsen Media Research, down 1.9 percent from last year's 5.3/14. Sports Business Daily figures show Fox averaging a 5.8/14 through 11 races, down 1.7 percent from the 11 comparable races in 2003.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-17-2004)

  • Benson wins at Berlin..laps Waltrip: Johnny Benson Jr. promised Michael Waltrip that he would have a blast if he someday joined him for a night of racing at the Berlin Raceway in Marne. Waltrip did make it out to Berlin on Wednesday night and said he had a great time. However, Benson had everyone beat when it came to having fun. Benson grabbed the checkered flag in the 125-lap Spring Memorial, outdueling the powerhouse T.A. Gentry teammates of Joe Bush and Lee Anderson in front of 6,330 fans. Benson overtook Bush, the track's Late Model division points leader, with 11 laps to go and pulled away, disappearing into lapped traffic over the final laps.(Michigan Live)(6-17-2004)

  • Cope in the #02: Look for Derrike Cope this weekend at Michigan where he will be attempting to qualify Hermie Sadler’s #02 Nextel Cup car and run in the DHL 400. Cope indicated that someone would fill in for him this weekend in the Busch Race at Kentucky [Mark Green](Derrike Cope site)(6-17-2004)

  • Kahne is Hot: This week People Magazine picks, for the fifth year, "The 50 Hottest Bachelors" in a special double issue. From a pro tennis player (Andy Roddick), to a NASCAR driver (Kasey Kahne) and an astronaut (Benjamin Alvin Drew), there's someone for everyone. This year PEOPLE has chosen actor Orlando Bloom as Bachelor #1. #9-Kasey Kahne was chosen in the "At the To of the Game" Section.(Clear!Blue PR)(6-17-2004)

  • Mears' Pit Crew Collects Pocono Win; #8 Crew Extends Points Lead: The pit crew for Casey Mears, which has been close many times in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade, can now lay claim to winning the weekly contest with a solid effort in Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. The victory, worth $20,000, was the third of the season for the Chip Ganassi Racing stable. Mears' teammates - the No. 40 team for Sterling Marlin and the #42 team for Jamie McMurray - also scored pit crew victories with Marlin's crew winning in Bristol and McMurray's in Charlotte. Mears' crew gained five spots in the McDonald's/POWERade standings, moving from 17th into a tie for 12th. The #8 crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues in first place with a 38-point margin over Elliott Sadler's team. In the first 14 races of 2003, the #8 crew has garnered two wins, nine top fives and 13 top 10s. The season champion receives a $200,000 bonus. Mears' #41 Target Dodge spent the least amount of time on pit road in Pocono - 233.419 seconds. Busch's Irwin Ford followed with a time of 260.402. Earnhardt's Budweiser Chevy was third at 304.851. "I am really proud of the guys," said Jimmy Elledge, crew chief for the 41 team. "Pit stops have never been our suit, but the Target guys have been working really hard during the week. This just proves that their hard work is paying off and we are getting the results that we've been striving for over the past year." Mears' over-the-wall crew consists of: Dave Gebhardt (front-tire changer), Marty Forcier (front-tire carrier), Jason Sheets (rear-tire changer), Scott Myers (rear-tire carrier), Rick Reling (jackman), Les Huntley (gas man) and Todd Anderson (catch can).(DMF Communications), for the top 10 at Pocono and the standings, see my Pit Crew page.(6-17-2004)

  • Knaus wins Pocono WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the race: #48 crew chief, Chad Knaus for driver Jimmie Johnson in the Hendrick Motorsports / Lowe's Chevy, won the Crew Chief Challenge Winner on June 13, 2004 at Pocono Raceway.(WypAll Wipers site)(6-17-2004)

  • Long misses race UPDATE: Despite the absence of his crew chief, Jim Long, who was sick and remained in Charlotte this weekend, #5-Terry Labonte earned his second consecutive seventh-place finish. The team's chief engineer, Alan Gustafson, served as crew chief for the race.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-14-2004)
    UPDATE: Jim Long, crew chief of the #5 Kellogg's Chevrolets, is expected back in the garage this weekend after sitting out the race at Pocono. He remained home in Denver, N.C., last week for tests and treatment of migraine headaches while chief engineer Alan Gustafson served as interim crew chief.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-17-2004)


    (6-16-2004)



  • Victory Junction Gang Camp Opens: I attended the grand opening of the Victory Junction Gang Camp on Tuesday [June 15th] and was blown away by the camp and all it's beautiful buildings. The event was well organized, enjoyable and quite emotional [yes I shed a few tears]. I got to see the computer lab funded by readers of Jayski.com an was shocked to see a huge Jayski banner adorning the wall of the Silver Theatre where the lab is located, the home page for all the computers is Jayski.com, I was quite humbled. If nothing else becomes of this site, knowing that I and the readers were in some small part able to help the Petty's and kids, all the hard work is worth it and really motivates me to continue and keep working at it. The folks attending the event were quite impressive, all the Petty's were there, Paul Newman, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Brian Vickers, Robbie Loomis, Benny Parsons, Ned Jarrett, Gov. Mike Easley, Rep. Karen Ray and just so many people, some I knew, some I met. Brian and Heather [and Mechanzie?] Collier and their staff have done an awesome job, I was just in awe and shocked at the place. Even on-and-off showers couldn't dampen the night or the spirits of everyone there. I dropped off my check for Robby Gordon's double [$815 - for each mile he ran at Indy and LMS - plus I added a bonus of $185], so the computer lab fund is up over $12,000 now]. I took a bunch on pics and hope to post them soon, but FoxSports.com has a few images posted to get ya started at: PHOTOS: Victory Junction Gang Camp grand opening and see a good PR about the night at Catchfence.com and story at the Rocky Mount Telegram. I plan to come up sometime soon once things settle down and spend a day up there, updating from the Computer lab and seeing the staff and kids and helping in anyway I can. And thanks to Kyle and Pattie Petty for the kind words, it means alot to help out.(6-16-2004)

  • Harvick and Kenseth dropped in final finishing order UPDATE and fined $25k: 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)
    AND the official results are now posted at the Pocono Race Results/Awards page.(6-14-2004)
    AND II Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick were penalized for bumping each other at the end of the Pocono 500. With Sunday's race about to end under caution, Harvick spun Kenseth into the infield in Turn 3 on Lap 197. Kenseth then did the same to Harvick on the backstretch on the next lap. Both Kenseth, the 2003 series champion, and Harvick were interviewed after the race by NASCAR officials, who then dropped them to 20th and 21st. Harvick originally finished 11th, and Kenseth had finished 10th. More penalties could be coming later this week, NASCAR president Mike Helton said. "It boils down to a frustration level between the 17 [Kenseth] and the 29 [Harvick] that got played out on the race track, under caution, and that's something we frown on ... greatly," Helton said.(CNNSI/AP)(6-15-2004)
    UPDATE - Kenseth and Harvick fined: Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth were each fined $25,000 by NASCAR and placed on probation until Aug. 11 for bumping incidents between the two during the final laps of Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. Harvick, driver of the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy, and Kenseth, driver of the #17 DeWalt Ford, took part in bumping and spinning out each other during the final caution period of the race, which extended from Lap 197 to 200. Both drivers were penalized for involvement in an altercation with another competitor during a caution period. The rift began 11 laps from the finish when Harvick passed Kenseth coming out of Turn 1 and cut in front of Kenseth's car. Kenseth then used the front of his car to lift Harvick's rear wheels and passed him again as the final caution came out. While the race was under caution, Harvick spun Kenseth into the infield in Turn 3 on lap 197. At the time, no penalties were assessed or drivers or crew chiefs called to the NASCAR hauler. Kenseth then returned the favor on the backstretch on the following lap, after which NASCAR called both drivers and crew chiefs to the hauler after the race.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-16-2004)


    (6-15-2004)

  • Special Scheme for Kenseth at Michigan: This weekend, the #17 Ford will sport a Carhartt paint scheme, as one of the team’s largest associate sponsors takes over the primary role. Headquartered in nearby Dearborn, Mich., Carhartt (established 110 years ago) manufactures the most rugged, high quality workwear on the market.(Matt Kenseth Site), see an image of the scheme on the #17 Team Paint Schemes page.(6-15-2004)

  • #30 driver at Michigan? UPDATE it's Blaney: The question of who runs for him [in the #30 AOL Chevy] at Michigan, [team owenr Richard] Childress said, will likely be decided Monday or Tuesday. Sauter is 28th in the standings entering today's Pocono 500. For the moment "I don't know," Childress said of his Michigan driver. "Right now Johnny Sauter is hired to drive the car, and he doesn't have (competing) commitments. But...."(Winston Salem Journal), see past rumors [from April] on the #30 Team News and Links page.(6-13-2004)
    UPDATE [from June 11th - see quote: With Dave Blaney stepping in for Johnny Sauter for this weekend's Nextel Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., there is speculation that Sauter is on his way out of the #30 car with Richard Childress Racing. The official word is travel commitments would not allow Sauter to make it back and forth between this weekend's Busch Series race in Gladeville, Tenn., where he is competing, and Pocono. Sauter did not return a phone message, but his father, Jim Sauter, said a permanent driver change could be on the way based on discussions with his son. "I think it's more than (travel)," Jim Sauter said. "That's just as far as they're concerned, a way of getting around it with the media. If Childress was going to keep him around, he would have left him in there. It doesn't look good."(Wisconsin State Journal), the entry lists for MIS have Sauter listed in the #30.(6-15-2004)
    UPDATE 2 - Blaney In; Sauter still with RCR: Dave Blaney has been named to take over driving duties of Richard Childress Racing's #30 AOL Chevy, replacing rookie Johnny Sauter. Blaney, who is in his seventh season in the Nextel Cup Series, has logged 155 career races with his first start coming at North Carolina Speedway in 1992. Most recently, Blaney drove a limited Cup schedule for Bill Davis Racing, making eight starts during the 2004 season. "This sport has gotten so tough and complicated, sometimes tough decisions have to be made," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. "Our sport is driven by business decisions and that is what this driver change is, a business decision. Blaney has a strong, consistent driving style that will fit well with the No. 30 team. As a veteran racer, Dave will work well with our crew chief Kevin Hamlin to get the America Online Chevy up front." Blaney, 41, of Hartford, Ohio, currently lives in High Point, N.C. with his wife Lisa and their three children. The 1995 World of Outlaws champion, along with his family, owns Sharon (Ind.) Speedway. "I am really honored to be driving for Richard Childress," Blaney said. "I look forward to getting back to racing every weekend and can't think of a better opportunity for me than with a great team like RCR and a great sponsor like America Online." Sauter will remain under contract with RCR and drive additional Nextel Cup Series events throughout the 2004 season, to be named at a later date. "I still feel very strongly about Johnny's ability as a young driver," said Childress. "That is why I wanted to keep him under contract with RCR to run the additional Cup races for us this season and help us with testing." Sauter said he will use the change to focus on his Busch ride with Brewco Motorsports [#27]. "I am happy about remaining under contract with RCR to do some testing as well as running a limited number of Cup races," he said. As announced last week, road course specialist Jim Inglebright will drive the #30 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on June 27.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-16-2004)

  • $25,000 to Dad's favorite charity / special schemes: Several NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers will showcase special paint schemes that honor their favorite "NASCAR" Dads-their own-- during the DHL 400. Action Performance helped create the program as a vehicle for drivers to share the NASCAR experience this Father's Day and to thank "Dad" for all of his unending support in making their racing dreams come true. Each race car will incorporate Father's Day-oriented slogans among its standard paint scheme. Each driver [#'s 2,5,8,15,18,20,25,40,41,42,45,48] also will share the race day spotlight, as his father's name will be featured above the passenger-side door. Fathers who will be at MIS for the DHL 400 will be invited to the drivers' meeting as well as introduced with their sons during pre-race ceremonies. Each driver who participates in the Father's Day program also is eligible for a $25,000 bonus. The prize will be rewarded the highest finishing driver, who will then present it to his father or Dad's favorite charitable organization.(MIS Site), see images of the cars on my 2004 Paint Schemes page.(6-15-2004)


    (6-14-2004)

  • It's a big, fast truck...what's not to like? Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip's Toyota Tundra pickup truck, an exclusive VIP trip to the Toyota Tundra 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race Aug. 14 in Nashville, a "Do-It-Yourself" Dream Garage of more than 500 Craftsman tools and a $1,000 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shops will go to the highest bidder in an online eBay charity auction hosted by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS).
    One hundred percent of the proceeds from the winner's bid will go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a retreat for children living with chronic or life-threatening illnesses, established by Kyle and Pattie Petty. More information on the charity auction on eBay can be found at www.DarrellsTundra.com, with the online auction running June 14-24. The Victory Junction Gang Camp is a designated charity of NASCAR.
    For more info see www.DarrellsTundra.com or my Racing Charities page.(6-14-2004)

  • Overnight Pocono TV Ratings Down 8%: Fox's broadcast of Sunday’s Pocono 500 from Pocono Raceway drew a 4.7 rating and 11 share overnight from Nielsen Media Research, today's Sports Business Daily reports. The figures from the nation's largest television markets represent an 8 percent drop from last year's overnight rating of 5.1. ABC’s broadcast of Sunday night’s NBA playoff game between the Lakers and the Pistons was the weekend's most-watched sports event, drawing a 14.4/23, according to the Daily’s figures.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-14-2004)

  • NASCAR Canada Announced: NASCAR announced the formation of NASCAR Canada, in partnership with TSN, that establishes a Canadian base of operation with a new office and dedicated staff in Toronto and further extends the marketing of the sport in NASCAR’s largest market outside of the U.S. The business venture with TSN, a division of Bell Globemedia, one of Canada’s leading media companies, supports the continued growth of the fan base of NASCAR in Canada and brings a range of sponsorship and licensing opportunities to all businesses involved in the sport. Under the agreement, TSN Events, TSN’s marketing division, retains exclusive rights through NASCAR Canada to NASCAR’s marketing assets over a multi-year period and will operate NASCAR Canada, providing partners with numerous opportunities in a sport known to have the most brand-conscious and brand-loyal fans. NASCAR Canada will provide Canadian businesses with marketing rights to the NASCAR mark; a multi-platform TV, print and radio media program; grassroots initiatives through the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series which has events at Delaware Speedway in Ontario and St. Eustache Speedway in Quebec; event marketing; and a licensed goods program. The bond between NASCAR sponsors and fans is unmatched in professional sports. NASCAR fans are three times more likely to purchase the products of NASCAR sponsors versus non-sponsors. NASCAR fans also purchase more than $2 billion in NASCAR licensed merchandise each year. Canadian fans already exude a strong passion for NASCAR. With TSN televising NASCAR since the network’s inception in 1984, NASCAR is the top-rated motorsport on Canadian television. Additionally, a significant number of Canadian NASCAR fans regularly travel to NASCAR events across the United States. NASCAR, the second-highest rated television sport in the United States, is also seen in 150 countries in 23 languages through relationships with 30 international broadcast partners. TSN recently signed a three-year agreement for 16 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races annually through the 2006 season. Additional NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races are broadcast in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet, Craig Media and SPEED Channel. NASCAR Canada will be based at TSN headquarters in Toronto and will liaise directly with NASCAR’s International Division in Los Angeles. The Canadian operation will work closely with NASCAR’s New York and Charlotte offices to assist sponsors and licensees, respectively, with their activation plans to extend their reach into Canada. TSN's programming and news content is also available online at TSN.ca.(NASCAR PR)(6-14-2004)

  • Still Waiting - #99 Sponsor...would be Diageo: Car owner Jack Roush and driver Jeff Burton continue to wait on NASCAR to decide whether it will allow the full-time sponsorship from Diageo. That company owns many of the premium liquor brands [including Bailey's, Guinness, Smirnoff, Crown Royal, Captain Morgan, Johnny Walker, Seagrams] in the world and, despite coveting the exposure from two beer companies - and the sponsorship from Busch for one of its racing series - the racing organization still has problems with hard liquor being a sponsor in the sport. Roush said the sponsorship is ready to sign - NASCAR permitting.(Augusta Chronicle), see past news on this on my #99 Team News and Links page.(6-14-2004)

  • It's a big, fast truck...what's not to like? Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip's Toyota Tundra pickup truck, an exclusive VIP trip to the Toyota Tundra 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race Aug. 14 in Nashville, a "Do-It-Yourself" Dream Garage of more than 500 Craftsman tools and a $1,000 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shops will go to the highest bidder in an online eBay charity auction hosted by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS).
    One hundred percent of the proceeds from the winner's bid will go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a retreat for children living with chronic or life-threatening illnesses, established by Kyle and Pattie Petty. More information on the charity auction on eBay can be found at www.DarrellsTundra.com, with the online auction running June 14-24. The Victory Junction Gang Camp is a designated charity of NASCAR.
    For more info see www.DarrellsTundra.com or my Racing Charities page.(6-14-2004)

  • Harvick creeping up on record: by finishing the Pocono 500, #29-Kevin Harvick has now been running at the end of 53 straight races. No DNF's [did not finish]. The modern era record [1972-present] is 56 held by Jeff Gordon [2001-2002], the all time record is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963.(6-14-2004)

  • Double-Duty Pocono-Nashville: four drivers competed in both the Cup race at Pocono Raceway and the Busch race at Nashville Superspeedway [driver, Cup finish, Busch finish]:
    Robby Gordon [#31 Cup, #55 Busch], 8th, 14th
    Michael Waltrip [#15, #99], 33rd, 38th - both DNFs
    Gregg Biffle [#16, #60], 13th, 11th
    Kasey Kahne [#9, #38], 14th, 6th.(6-14-2004)

  • No one in the garage believes NASCAR? Kahne too low? Yesterday's problems [at Pocono] were yet another chapter in one of the biggest stories of the season - NASCAR's dwindling credibility and numerous faux pas. One team owner, who declined to be named, shook his head and said: "I've been in this sport 30 years, and NASCAR's credibility in the garage is at an all-time low. Nobody believes them anymore." Among questions raised here: Was Kasey Kahne's car too low after winning Friday's pole and did NASCAR ignore it, as several rivals complained? Was Michael Waltrip's Talladega car too low and did NASCAR ignore that, as rivals too complain? The lower the nose, the faster the car. Car owner Ray Evernham denied that Kahne's car was too low: "Nothing was brought to my attention about our car being low, so I would say that's probably fake".(read more at the Winston Salem Journal)(6-14-2004)

  • Craven ride in jeopardy? DENIED 2: #32-Ricky Craven could be one of the first drivers to be on the way out of their present rides. Craven has had a miserable campaign, with no top-10 runs and a best finish of 16th. He’s 31st in points driving for Cal Wells’ PPI Motorsports.(Alton Telegraph)(6-13-2004)
    UPDATE: #32-Tide Chevrolet car owner Cal Wells denies a published report driver Ricky Craven’s job is in jeopardy. "I don’t know where it came from" said Wells prior to the start of Sunday’s Pocono 500. Wells added, "Despite the pathetic performance we’ve had so far this year I think we’ve got a reasonable shot at getting a program (second team) for next year. We’ve been looking around a lot, so maybe that’s part of it, I don’t know. It’s a chemistry thing and we haven’t hit it." Craven is in the first of a new three year contract with the Tide team.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show/Sporting News)(6-13-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Wells hasn't ruled out moving crew chief Dave Charpentier to a different position, saying the team "hasn't hit on the chemistry" yet.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(6-14-2004)

  • Waltrip good thru 2005 UPDATE NAPA too: during an interview with XM Radio's Claire B. Lang on Friday, DEI's director of motorsports, Richie Gilmore said Michael Waltrip is signed with DEI thru 2005 and plans are to keep him in the #15 NAPA Chevy.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144 - subscription required)
    AND from ThatsRacin.com: Richie Gilmore, director of motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc., downplayed remarks last weekend by Dale Earnhardt Jr. about a possible departure of driver Michael Waltrip from the organization's #15 Chevrolets. "Michael would probably want to finish his career at DEI, but the chances of that happening I wouldn't say are 100 percent right now," Earnhardt Jr. said at Dover, Del. On Friday, Gilmore – who was not at Dover last weekend – said he spoke to Earnhardt Jr. Thursday night about his comments. "The biggest thing he tried to do was protect Martin (Truex Jr.), because there had been a lot of rumors Martin was going into the No. 15," Gilmore said. Earnhardt Jr. "kind of fired back and really didn't give the right solution. He was trying to protect Martin, but how it came out it was more aimed at Michael." Gilmore said DEI did not have any problems with Waltrip, who is 20th in points but has three consecutive top-10 finishes entering Sunday's Pocono 500. "We've had some really bad luck that happened on the race track. It wasn't like Michael just decided two weeks ago to start driving again," he said. "Michael's our driver. He's signed through 2005. Our driver lineup is pretty much set for next year. I think we'll even keep (Dale) Jr. now," Gilmore joked.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-11-2004)
    UPDATE: NAPA has exercised its option as the sponsor for next year.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(6-14-2004)

  • More on the idiots: Nextel Cup flagman Jimmy Howell wasn't hurt after being hit in the back of the head by a cooler thrown by a fan [idiot] on the final lap. A Pocono spokesman said the fan was escorted away but wasn't arrested because Howell didn't want to press charges [shame]. Bobby Labonte's #18 Chevrolet also was dinged by a beer can as other fans rained debris on the track during yesterday's final caution. Since Jeff Gordon's Chevrolet was pelted by trash after winning at Talladega, Cup races have been plagued by a rash of incidents involving fans [idiots] littering the track.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-14-2004)


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