Gordon wins from pole at Infineon: #24-Jeff Gordon dominated Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, leading a track record 92 of 110 laps on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile course and earning his first road course win since August 2001 at Watkins Glen. That winless streak seemed out of place for the driver who held the all-time Cup series record for road course wins (seven) entering Sunday's race. The win is Gordon's third of the 2004 season and 67th of his career. To earn the victory, Gordon had to hold off a strong challenge by Chip Ganassi Racing. Gordon bested #42-Jamie McMurray by 1.012 seconds for the win, followed by #39-Scott Pruett, driving a fourth Ganassi car this weekend. #15-Michael Waltrip and points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson completed the top five. The rest of the top 10: #36-Boris Said, #41-Casey Mears, #6-Mark Martin, #99-Jeff Burton and #38-Elliott Sadler. Despite getting a slow start on the race's first lap, Gordon, the pole winner, took early control and led 43 of the first 55 laps in dominating fashion.(ThatsRacin.com)
For my race rundown, cautions, notes, lap leaders, etc, see my Infineon Raceway Race Info/Rundown Page
For race results, see: Jayski's Sonoma Race / Awards Results page ThatsRacin.com Motorsports One NASCAR.com.(6-27-2004)
Gilliland wins after Harvick and Said wreck: In one of the wildest finishes for a race at Infineon Raceway, Nextel Cup race qualifiers Boris Said and Kevin Harvick, running first and second, wrecked with little more than one lap to go, and David Gilliland, who was completely off the track on at least four occasions, wound up winning Saturday's Southwest Series Snap-On Tools 200, a prelude to today's Dodge/Save Mart 350 main event.(Press Democrat)(6-27-2004)
One for the Books at Infineon Raceway: Petty Enterprises is promising a storybook finish to the June 27 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.. That's because Cheerios and First Book, a national children's literacy organization, will donate 43 children's books for each lap completed by Petty Enterprises' Jeff Green and the #43 Dodge, which carry the Cheerios and Betty Crocker colors. "If Jeff completes all 110 scheduled laps, we'll donate 4,730 books to area children who need them," said Greg Zimprich, a spokesman for Cheerios. "But we'd like to sweeten the pot: if Jeff finishes in the top 10, we'll donate 10,000 more books - for a total of almost 15,000 books." The books-per-lap donation is part of the ongoing Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories® program, which gets books into the hands of children. More than 60 percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for
their children. "Growing up with my two brothers, we enjoyed books of all kinds, and I want other kids to have that same opportunity," said Green. "I'm happy to know that this race is one for the books." NASCAR audiences will get to share in the excitement by cheering on the #43 Dodge, which will be sporting a special Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories paint scheme for the race. After the race, the books will be donated to programs serving needy children in San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento, Calif. To kick off the weekend, Cheerios hosted 50 children from the Boys and Girls Club, Valley of the Moon, in Sonoma, on Friday morning, June 25 for
a breakfast and story time at the speedway. Green read The Racecar Alphabet, after which the children had the opportunity to watch practice from the grandstand. Over the past two years, through its Spoonfuls of Stories program, Cheerios has donated $1 million to First Book, and has distributed more than 10 million books to children across the country.(Williams Company PR)(6-27-2004)
June 26, 2004
Green x 2 -White-Checkers starting next week at Daytona? UPDATE - NO: NASCAR's proposed green-green-white-checkered finishing rule - for a three-lap green-flag shootout finish - may go into effect at Daytona next week, according to NASCAR sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-26-2004) UPDATE: NASCAR said Saturday that the Nextel Cup Series would not use a green-white-checkered rule next weekend at Daytona. Speculation has had NASCAR implementing the rule as soon as this Saturday's Pepsi 400, but NASCAR said that won't be the case. "We continue to evaluate the green-white-checkered, and there is a possibility you could see it sometime this season," said NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo.(NASCAR.com)(6-26-2004)
Johnson 2nd Qtr Speed Channel Driver of the Year: Driving in championship form, Jimmie Johnson demolished the competition in voting for the Speed Channel Driver of the Year, second quarter, 2004. Johnson, who jumped to the top of the NASCAR Nextel Cup points
standings after last week's DHL 400 in Michigan, had two victories including a win from the pole at in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and a win at the Pocono 500 in the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet. He had a virtually unblemished second quarter with only one finish out of the top-four. Despite his fine record, Johnson was surprised when he learned of his award. "I couldn't believe it when someone told, me," he said. "I'm completely honored to win this award." Perhaps it's a tradition for his team. The 28 year-old drives under the Hendricks Motorsports banner in a car owned by Jeff Gordon, a four-time Driver of the Year. "When you at look at the people who have won (it) before it's pretty amazing company," he explained. "They're some of the best racers in the world."
In the voting he took 12 first-place Speed Channel Driver of the Year votes, and a vote on every ballot with none lower than third
place. As a result, he scored 144 points. Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice finished in second with 91 points and three first-place votes. Rice also won the pole and led the most laps at the Brickyard in the Pioneer Argent/Mortgage Rahal-Letterman G Force/Honda. Martin Truex, Jr., a protégé of Dale Earnhardt Jr., was third with 52 points. Driving the Dale Earnhardt Inc. owned Ritz Crackers Chevrolet, Truex notched three wins and one runner-up finish and continues to lead the points in NASCAR's Busch series. A total of 18 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting, including fourth place Greg Anderson (with three first-place votes) from the PowerAde Pro Stock division, fifth place Sebastien Bourdais, points leader in the Champ Car series, and IRL's points leader Tony Kanaan was sixth.
Noteworthy; Jeff Gordon won the fan vote, with Earnhardt Jr. second, and Johnson third. More than 40,000 fans clicked their votes on the www.speedtv.com website. In it's 38th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch to be presented on Speed TV.(DOTY/Speed Channel PR)(6-26-2004)
New Shock Rule Coming? UPDATE 2: #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) UPDATE: NASCAR officials are exploring the possibility of implementing a new shock rule for its Nextel Cup Series, spokesman Mike Zizzo confirmed Friday. The rule, if adopted, would regulate the gas pressures in shocks, setting minimum and maximum limits. Currently, teams are encouraged to follow the shock manufacturers’ guidelines when setting pressures. The rule, which could be instituted as soon as the July 11 race weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., could also include confiscation of teams’ shocks following qualifying and races. Several Cup teams use high pressures in their rear shocks to help bring the rear ends of cars higher into the car, making up for the lower spoiler height instituted before the start of the season. The Cup rulebook sets a minimum height requirement of 51 inches for Cup cars, but there is no maximum limit.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-25-2004) UPDATE 2: For the upcoming Chicagoland race, NASCAR officials will implement new rules regarding shocks that will require teams to turn in the shocks that will be mounted on their cars for NASCAR inspection. The shocks will be confiscated on the day before the race, after the final practice, and returned on race morning. Teams were informed of the impending move on Friday. Expect NASCAR to go public in Daytona next week.(Gaston Gazette)(6-26-2004)
Still Waiting - #99 Sponsor...would be Diageo UPDATE 2 Officially NO: 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).(6-14-2004) UPDATE: NASCAR officials are not likely to allow Roush Racing to have a hard-liquor company sponsor Jeff Burton's car, although series officials are examining the issue. Series officials have not allowed sponsorship from a hard-liquor product for several years. If the sponsor is not allowed, Roush Racing will have to find a new sponsor for Burton, who has run all season without a full-time sponsor. "Our scenarios about getting through this season are tempered completely by whether or not we've got someone signed up for next season. That makes a big difference," said Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing.(Roanoke Times)(6-21-2004) UPDATE 2: The Associated Press reports that NASCAR has decided to hold to its ban on liquor sponsorships, thus apparently shelving a bid by international producer Diageo to become primary backer of Jeff Burton's #99. Jack Roush's #99 has run all this year without sponsorship. Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said at Michigan that the deal with Diageo was ready to go, pending NASCAR's approval. NASCAR, however, said Friday that the arrangement would not be approved. "It is very unlikely at this time that we would change such a long-standing policy," NASCAR president Mike Helton said, adding that the sanction will continue to examine the matter. Television likely is the impediment, with the major networks holding to a 40-year ban on liquor advertising. NASCAR permits sponsorship from beer, tobacco and prescription drug companies, and even from the maker of a controversial "fat burning" diet supplement. NASCAR's policy seems to be in line with what the networks permit. Diageo's Crown Royal brand is sponsor of the IROC series this year, but IROC is not directly connected with NASCAR. Jim Beam is sponsor of an IRL IndyCar team. Diageo produces dozens of major liquor brands, including J&B, Crown Royal, Smirnoff, and Jose Cuervo. Smirnoff, a brand of gin and vodka, also produces the Smirnoff Ice malt beverage, which is partial sponsor of Roush's #17, so Roush has a settled relationship with the British company. Smith said the team remains committed to Burton and the #99. "The plan is for him to run the entire schedule, but we have to find some money somewhere soon," he said.(Speed Channel)(6-26-2004)
Gaughan and PR Rep escape injury: Nextel Cup rookie Brendan Gaughan and his public relations representative, Terry Jarrell, escaped injury Thursday night in a head-on collision in San Francisco. After the wreck, the other driver attempted to drive away, striking other cars, Gaughan said. "He got blocked in, the police got him, no one got hurt and the good guys prevailed," he said. Gaughan was on his way to a media appearance. "We figure we got the crash out of the way," he said. "We can let that be the crash of the weekend and let Avis take care of that."(ThatsRacin.com)(6-26-2004)
June 25, 2004
New Nextel Feature: Nextel Communications on Thursday unveiled a new NASCAR feature, called FanScan In-Car Audio, which lets Nextel subscribers use their cell phones to eavesdrop on the chatter between NASCAR drivers and their crew chiefs, spotters and other team members. The service is for the NASCAR faithful who can't enough of the 15- to 30-second snippets used by TV networks during race broadcasts. Nextel, the sixth-largest U.S. cell phone service provider, wants to capitalize on its sponsorship of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series of races. A number of different FanScan service plans will be offered to subscribers starting Sunday. Under one plan, customers pay $10 for a month of chatter, or about four races. To combat declining per-minute phone prices, U.S. cell phone service providers have been offering new features like FanScan that don't involve phone conversations.(CNET)(6-25-2004)
A Speed Racer Movie: Actor Vince Vaughn is developing a live-action movie version of the Japanese cartoon series Speed Racer [which can be seen daily on Speed Channel], Daily Variety said Thursday. The paper said the DodgeBall star would star as Racer X -- the long-lost brother of the title character. The project is being produced for Warner Bros. by Joel Silver (The Matrix) and Richard and Lauren Shuler Donner. Vaughn will also serve as an executive producer. Speed Racer has had a series of false starts in the past -- with such directors as Alfonso Cuaron, Julien Temple, Gus Van Sant and Hype Williams preparing at various times to take it to the starting line. Variety said Vaughn revived the project with a pitch that focused more on character and family than on big-budget effects. I've been a fan of the show since I was a kid and I always liked the theme of the protective older brother who can't reveal his identity, Vaughn said.(Big News Network.com), doesn't say who will play Speed Racer - Jeff Gordon?, also for more info on other NASCAR themed movies, see my NASCAR Movies past news page.(6-25-2004)
Incentive for Busch: #97-Kurt Busch has extra incentive to run well at Infineon to benefit low-income families. For a top five-finish, IRWIN will donate $10,000 in product to the charitable foundation Rebuilding Together, and $20,000 for a win.(Roush Racing)(6-25-2004)
$42k for DW's Truck 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 went up for bid in an eBay auction with the Toyota truck going for $42,301.(6-25-2004)
SEM sponsors Graf and the #59 BAM car: SEM Products announced its sponsorship of BAM Racing's #59 SEM COLOR HORIZONS Dodge and driver Klaus Graf, for the upcoming Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. As BAM's "Road Course Hired Gun," Graf is also the first driver professionally trained for Formula One racing by European automobile manufacturers to move into the NASCAR stock car racing world. "We are pleased to have this partnership deal with BAM and the #59 car. This is a dynamic time for our company and we look forward to showcasing our expanded COLOR HORIZONS line," stated Brian Joyner, Marketing Manager for SEM Products. SEM's custom paint scheme is called "California Dreamin" and includes a mix of different metallic oranges, yellows and black, as well as, a palm tree.
"SEM has done it again. This will be the most colorful and exciting car on the track, maybe in NASCAR history. Everybody always works to come up with specialty paint schemes for the night races; this is one of the first for a day race with a theme tied into the track itself," said Eddie Jones, General Manager of BAM Racing. "With the ingenuity of SEM and the expertise of our fabricators, this is going to be one that will really show off this race car." The theme was designed by California native, Ron Fleenor, Custom Finish Manager at SEM Products. "This new line of Custom Finish Products is unlike any other product out there. It rocks!" says Fleenor.
The recently re-vamped COLOR HORIZONS line, creates a rainbow of color combinations for almost any look. COLOR HORIZONS, which can be applied to metal, aluminum or plastic surfaces, are also available in an array of base and candy concentrates, metallic flakes and pearlescent pigments, as well as, easy to use aerosols for a show-stopping finish. "We are very pleased that SEM and COLOR HORIZONS will be on our car for this big race." said Beth Ann Morgenthau, who owns BAM Racing along with her husband Tony. "Having SEM with their history of excellence as a part of BAM Racing means a lot to all of us," she continued. "We plan on giving them our best effort for this race, and are excited to see how good our car will look on the track at Infineon Raceway."(SEM PR), see images of the car on the 2004 Paint Schemes Page.(6-25-2004)
#16 Team Gets Cool Ride: Earlier this week the call came in to the Roush Racing shop in Concord, NC. that the National Guard had finalized special travel arrangements for the #16 team. After several weeks of planning, it was confirmed that the team would arrive and depart from Infineon Raceway on Sunday in a CH 47 Chinook Helicopter. The CH 47 Chinook is a tandem-rotor transport helicopter. It is 51 feet in length, weighs approximately 33,000 pounds, has a maximum payload of more than seven tons and travels at up to 150 mph. It requires three crew members and can carry 33 troops. The first Chinooks were built in 1961 and were first used in combat during Vietnam War. By 1968, the Chinook had put in 161,000 hours of flying time, carrying 22.4 million passengers and 1.3 million tons of cargo. Chinook helicopters were also used to transport U.S. and allied troops in the Persian Gulf War. During 2002, the Chinook’s high speed and large payload gave it the lowest cost-per-ton-mile of any transport helicopter available. 300 Chinooks are currently undergoing another modernization process to make them fully compatible with 21st century operational and war-fighting requirements as well as improve the aircraft’s efficiency and effectiveness. The CH 47 used to transport the National Guard crew this weekend will be operated by three members of the National Guard. The Chinook will be brought in to Oakland, Calif. on Saturday for the early morning flight to Infineon Raceway. The team will meet the helicopter at 5:30 am for the 20-minute flight to the track as the garage is schedule to open at 6:00 am. Following the 110-lap event, the CH 47 will be brought back to the Infineon Raceway helipad where it will pick up the National Guard team to take them to Roush Air in Oakland. The National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and one of the nation’s longest enduring institutions. The National Guard operates in all 50 states, three territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit the National Guard website at www.1-800-GO-GUARD.com.(Roush Racing)(6-25-2004)
NASCAR Names New Southeast Series Media Coordinator: Jason Mitchell, of Charlotte, N.C., has joined the NASCAR Public Relations staff as the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series media coordinator, effective immediately. Mitchell, a graduate of Appalachian State University, is a former sports writer for the Independent Tribune and the former assistant sports editor for the Wilkes Journal-Patriot. Mitchell has also covered motorsports for RacingOne.com, Racing Milestones, Stock Car Racing magazine, Last Lap magazine and has been a featured guest on several motorsports radio programs. In addition, Mitchell has written three books for the Charlotte Observer, including Tony Stewart: Driven to Win and Young Guns and Living Legends.(6-25-2004
Yikes - Michigan TV Ratings off 16.7%: Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show Fox's broadcast of last Sunday's DHL 400 at Michigan International Speedway drew a 4.5 rating and 13 share, down 16.7 percent from 2003's 5.4/16, today's Sports Business Daily reports. The ratings were the lowest for the race since Fox began broadcasting it, the Daily says.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-25-2004)
June 24, 2004
Harvick Tshirt goes for $3.2k - plus!: Take one Matt Kenseth t-shirt worn by Kevin Harvick during Michigan qualifying, add 29 hours to bid on it in the name of a great cause, toss in a bunch of fans from both sides wanting to win it for their driver's "family," and you've got a recipe for a fabulous fund raiser. Kevin decided to auction off the Kenseth t-shirt as a way to raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. On Wednesday, June 16 at 3:00 p.m. ET, bidding began for the infamous shirt. By 3:01 p.m., the bidding was up to $500.00. A few minutes later, that amount doubled. Soon enough, fans of driver Matt Kenseth began tossing in bids of their own, letting their loyalties be known and prompting Kevin's fans to try harder. Bids began flying with taglines such as "Kenseth Rules" or "Harvick Rules More!" As the 29 hours wound down, a neutral bidder was in the lead. Kevin's fans rallied in order to prevent the shirt from landing in the hands of anyone but a die-hard Harvick fan. In the auction's final moments, Kevin's fans surrounded Sue Bunce, a Harvick fan who was determined to place the highest bid. After receiving help from fellow fans, Sue presented a final bid of $2,929.29. Seeing the amount of Sue's bid, Kevin asked those in charge of the auction if she had won it. With two minutes remaining in the event, they were unable to give Kevin a positive answer because there were other participants (of the Kenseth variety) still actively bidding. Saying, "I can't let anyone but a Harvick fan get it," Kevin tossed in an extra donation to bring the amount of Sue's bid to $3,245.29, a number that represented not only Kevin but honored Adam Petty, who drove car number 45. His extra push helped Sue's bid stay above another one received in the final moments of the auction. Following the announcement of the winner, Kevin matched the amount, increasing the total monies raised to $6,490.58. Every single penny is being sent to the Victory Junction Gang Camp in the name of Kevin Harvick's fans. On a side note, Kevin also wore another Kenseth shirt on race day at Michigan, which he plans to give to the VJGC on behalf of all the Harvick fans that pitched in to make this a successful bid! Following the auction Harvick had this to say, "We couldn't let the shirt get into anyone but a Harvick fans hands."(Kevin Harvick Site)(6-24-2004
New Penske Shop? UPDATE: hearing that Penske Racing South [#2, #12, #77] has purchased the Matsushita building in Mooresville, NC. Hoping to move in the 415,000 sq ft /105 acre property in Dec 2004. The building is located at Mazeppa Road and NC, 801.(5-11-2004) UPDATE: Penske Racing South said Tuesday it will remain in Mooresville, moving its three NASCAR teams to the vacant Matsushita Compressor Corp. of America building in the Mooresville Business Park. "I absolutely did not want to leave Mooresville," said Don Miller, president of Penske Racing. The team is currently located in Lakeside Park at Exit 36, and is one of the original racing tenants there. The decision to stay in Mooresville came in the face of pressure from nearby cities to relocate Penske's operations. Concord, which recently lured Chip Ganassi Racing from Mooresville, lobbied especially hard, Miller said. Penske has already placed a down payment on the Matsushita facility, and is awaiting final approval from banks and the Environmental Protection Agency to renovate and move in. In buying the 400,000-square-foot building, nearly as large as eight football fields, Penske is taking over a facility that has been vacant since 2001. "We're excited that it's not a vacant building (any longer)," said Melanie O'Connell Underwood, director of economic development for the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce, and manager of the Mooresville Business Park. "(Penske racing) is one of the first race shops in town, so they have career employees," Underwood said, commenting on the difficulty of relocation for employees. "That (Penske is) staying shows their belief in their employees, and Don Miller's belief that he wanted to be near the sport that he grew." Penske Racing South, which fields teams for drivers #2-Rusty Wallace, #12-Ryan Newman and rookie #77-Brendan Gaughan, has been in Mooresville since 1991. About 200 employees will work at the new facility. Penske Racing South plans to continue operations at the Auto Research Center wind tunnel facility at Lakeside Park, and at Penske-Jasper Engines in Concord. As for making changes to the Matsushita building, Miller said it would be the "finest facility in racing." He added that a 300-foot walk would be built above the shop area so fans can see the operations in action. Those operations will comprise about 227,000 square feet, he said. The rest will be leased, perhaps to another race-related business.(Mooresville Tribune - need to register)(6-24-2004)
Pit Rule amended: NASCAR amended a pit-road rule. Pit road will open the second time the leader reaches the pit entrance while behind the pace car. The rule debuted at Pocono but didn't specify if the leader had to be behind the pace car. A NASCAR official signaled that pit road was open a lap early at Pocono, leading series officials to later apologize for the mistake.(Roanoke Times)(6-24-2004)
NASCAR's R&D Center - a tour: check out FoxSports/SportingNews Lee Spencer's story and Harold Hinson's photos of NASCAR's Research and Development Center, click here and scroll through this guided tour/gallery of images and words.(6-24-2004)
Bodine and Brown leave the #37: Todd Bodine will no longer be driving the #37 Dodge and has parted ways with the team immediately as did crew chief Teddy Brown. No word on Bodine's Cup plans [he drives the #31 Whelen Ford part-time in Busch] or who may drive the #37 Dodge.(Todd Bodine site)(6-24-2004)
June 23, 2004
Jeff Gordon wins pole at Infineon Raceway: #24-Jeff Gordon, one of the smoothest road course drivers in NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series, bobbled, slid and wobbled his way through his qualifying lap Friday at Infineon Raceway and still won the pole for Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350. It is Gordon's 3rd pole of 2004 and 49th of his career. With the help of new pavement, Gordon's lap at 94.303 mph also broke the track record, 93.620 mph set last season by road course specialist Boris Said [in the #36 this year]. Gordon's eventful lap came early in Friday's session and he withstood several strong challenges. #2-Rusty Wallace (94.174 mph) and #97-Kurt Busch (93.825 mph) came closest. #6-Mark Martin and #17-Matt Kenseth completed the top-five. Series points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson will start 34th. Several road course specialist made their way into Sunday's race. #39-Scott Pruett, driving a fourth entry for Chip Ganassi Racing this weekend, qualified sixth; Said was 19th in a third entry by MB2/MBV Motorsports; and #30-Jim Inglebright qualified 27th in Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. #72-Tom Hubert (35th), #62-Austin Cameron (32nd), #02-Brandon Ash (37th) and #59-Klaus Graf (38th) all made the field for their first Cup starts of the season.(ThatsRacin.com)
2nd's for Kahne: #9-Kasey Kahne has four second-place finishes in 2004, what is the record? 12, done by Bobby Allison in the 1972 season.(Speed Channel's Inside Nextel Cup TV show)(6-22-2004) AND Rookie -of-the-Year contender Kasey Kahne has scored four second-place finishes in 2004. The last time a driver scored more than four second-place finishes in their rookie season occurred in 2002 when Ryan Newman scored a record setting five second-place finishes. Newman also scored his first career victory that season winning at Loudon in September 2002. James Hylton is the only other driver to score four second-place finishes in his rookie season in 1966.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-23-2004)
Sadler's Crew Grabs First Win of Season with Michigan Victory: Elliott Sadler's pit crew captured its first victory of the season in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade with an impressive performance in Sunday's DHL 400 at Michigan International Speedway. With Sadler's #38 crew winning the $20,000 weekly prize, there have been 10 different pit crew winning teams in the first 15 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races of the season. In the McDonald's/POWERade standings, Sadler's crew closed the gap with the first-place team of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #8 crew. Earnhardt's pit crew has a slim 28-point lead over Sadler's crew in the chase for the $200,000 that will be awarded to the season champion. The #38 pit crew scored a narrow victory in Michigan over its Robert Yates Racing teammate - the #88 crew for Dale Jarrett. Sadler's M&M's Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road - 192.295 seconds. Jarrett's UPS Ford was right behind with a time of 192.498. Kevin Harvick's #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy was third at 202.837. "My pit crew deserves this," said Sadler. "Eddie D'Hondt recruited all of these guys over the off season and we have just meshed together. I never had a crew so good - and never had a team so pumped up and wanting to win. Every time I come to pit road I'm confident they are going to give me good track position. These guys deserve the recognition because they work their tails off - not only last weekend but all season long. Those guys are awesome and I'm real proud of them." Sadler's over-the-wall crew consists of: Darryl Lockyer (front-tire changer), Kevin Hall (front-tire carrier), Dave Smith (rear-tire changer/car chief), Lance Hanna (rear-tire carrier) Rodney Fetters (jackman), Preston Cordell (gas man) and Jay Thompson (catch can). The team's crew chief is Todd Parrott.(DMF Communications PR), for the top 10 at MIS and seson standings, see my Pit Crew Page. For resultsd from the rest of the season, see my 2004 Past Pit Crew News page.(6-23-2004)
Here she comes...: This is a big week for the Wood family with three major events taking place. Car owner Eddie Wood's daughter, Jordan, competes in the Miss Virginia Pageant with the preliminary events beginning today in Roanoke and the finals Saturday night at the Roanoke Civic Center. The winner goes to the Miss America Pageant in September. Wood's son, Jon, competes in Friday's Craftsman Truck Series race at Milwaukee, where he has two top-10 finishes in three races there. Eddie Wood's team competes in the Cup race at Sonoma, Calif., with driver Ricky Rudd. "It's hard to be in three places at once," Eddie Wood said. "I've always tried to be at as many of Jon's races as I could, but this weekend could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Jordan. I wouldn't miss that for anything. It could be a big weekend for the Wood family if all three of us can win."(Roanoke Times)(6-23-2004)
Pemberton to NASCAR? UPDATE: It has been more than four years since Mike Helton was named NASCAR president and vacated his former role of VP for competition. For some time, Helton has juggled the responsibilities of both jobs, but NASCAR has attempted to recruit someone to serve as a liaison between the competitors and the sanctioning body. Sources tell Sporting News that current Ford field manager Robin Pemberton has been selected for the job. Roger Penske says he was unaware of the situation, but refers to Pemberton as a first-class guy. Pemberton, 47, has 22 career wins as a crew chief and worked with such notables as Richard Petty, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(6-21-2004) UPDATE: NASCAR has hired Robin Pemberton. Pemberton was one of stock-car racing's best-known and most respected crew chiefs during his 17 years with drivers such as Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin. Now he has signed on with NASCAR, to take unspecified, but sorely needed, responsibilities helping the beleaguered sanctioning body regain credibility with its competitors, and, it is hoped, its fans. Pemberton has been Ford's NASCAR field manager the past 18 months. Ford officials yesterday said they have begun searching for a replacement. NASCAR discussed just such a management role with Pemberton in late 2002 when he left Petty Enterprises after a year as general manager. But NASCAR at that time was unwilling to offer a competitive salary.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-23-2004)
Raceline helps the Troops keep up with NASCAR: RACELINE has been selected by American Forces Network to help American troops worldwide keep up to date on the lastest NASCAR news. Joe Moore, executive producer and host of RACELINE is also co-anchor for Motor Racing Network's radio broadcasts of the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch and Truck Series and hosts MRN Radio's NASCAR Today. Joe worked as an announcer and news reporter for AFN while in the US Army in Thailand from 1972 - 1974. RACELINE has been in production 11-years and is currently seen by over 60-million viewers on 150 television stations coast to coast and on several networks including Foxnet, The Outdoor Channel, American One TV, Time-Warner Television/Ohio and FamilyLand. AFN reaches American forces in 178 countries and 200 ships at sea.(6-23-2004)
Belt Confiscated from #49 UPDATE Penalty: 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) UPDATE: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chief Scott Eggleston has been fined $500 for a driver restraint equipment infraction that occurred this past weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Eggleston - crew chief for the No. 49 Dodge driven by Ken Schrader - was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 20-17.2C (anti-submarine belt - expired manufacturer's date) in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book. The infraction was discovered by NASCAR officials during last Friday's initial inspection process.(NASCAR PR)(6-23-2004)
Tracy was offered a RCR ride at Sonoma but...: Robin Miller mentioned on Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain and in an article at the Speed Channel site: Paul Tracy could have been making his Nextel Cup debut this weekend at Sonoma, Calif. but was denied permission by his Champ Car owner Gerald Forsythe. "Richard Childress offered me a ride last month but Gerry and Kevin (Kalkhoven, OWRS ower) thought it would confuse people and they would think I was going to NASCAR," said the 2003 CART champion. "I think it would have been good for Champ Car." Forsythe and Kalkhoven may understand business but they need a PR class because they blew an excellent opportunity to get some free exposure to a group of race fans that don't know Champ Car exists.(Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel)(6-23-2004)
Up...Up..Up..and Away: #12-Ryan Newman and crew chief Matt Borland will make an appearance at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz. on Monday, June 28. With the assistance of Luke Air Force Base, Newman and Borland will spend the day at the base going through training prior to taking a flight in a F-16 with the 56th Fighter Wing. The two will go through flight evaluations, life support training, a pre-mission briefing and one-hour mission. The flight will take the NASCAR standouts over Prescott, Sedona, Winslow, Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon, before coming back to the base. Following the mission, the two will some spend time at the Enlist Club signing autographs and taking photos with base personnel, some who have recently returned from duty overseas. This will be the first time either Newman or Borland have been in a fighter jet.(Penske Racing PR)(6-23-2004)
Newman 13th fastest to get win #10: #12-Ryan Newman became the 15th driver in history to record his 10th win within his first 100 career starts. His victory at Michigan on Sunday was his 10th in 95 career starts, making him the 13th fastest to reach 10 race wins. Newman became the 48th driver to win 10 races. The fastest any driver has reached 10 wins was Speedy Thompson, who scored his tenth win in only 55 career starts. The other drivers to post their tenth win in their first 100 starts are: Herb Thomas (58 starts), Tim Flock (60), Dick Hutcherson (61), Fonty Flock (67), Curtis Turner (68), Fred Lorenzen (71), Dick Rathmann (73), Fireball Roberts (77), Tony Stewart (79), Junior Johnson (81), Bobby Allison (91), Ryan Newman (95), Jeff Gordon (96) and Lee Petty (100). #48-Jimmie Johnson is knocking on the door, and has 10 races to become the 16th driver on this list; he has 9 wins in 90 career starts. No other active drivers are on pace to make the list.(LT Picks)(6-23-2004)
More on Biffle to Gibbs: Rumor — Greg Biffle will driver Joe Gibbs' FedEx Chevy in '05
Here's what we know —
1. Gibbs is definitely adding a third car next season.
2. FedEx is definitely on board.
3. Gibbs says he is looking for a veteran driver.
Here's what we think we know —
1. NBS ace J.J. Yeley is too young and too inexperienced to get the ride.
2. Longtime Roush Racing employee Biffle is the perfect age, a proven winner and becoming increasingly vocal about the fact that he isn't getting the same good stuff (i.e. engines and cars) that his four more famous teammates are.
Biffle is flat denying the rumors [and says he is signed for 2005 with Roush] that he will jump to JGR, but don't believe it. Larry Mac is fond of saying "I talked to my people," and I [Ryan McGee] have talked to my own people at Gibbs. When Biffle's names come up, they just smile and say, "I don't know what you're talking about, man."(see more facts/rumors at FoxSports)(6-23-2004)
Cameron making a Cup run at Sonoma: Bill McAnally Racing with driver Austin Cameron will be heading to Infineon Speedway in Sonoma, California for the “Dodge/Save Mart 350”. Cameron will be piloting the #61 McMillin Homes/NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet. The BMR pit crew has been working hard and will have the opportunity to warm up by servicing the #0 NASCAR Elite Division Southwest Tour car of Jim Inglebright on Saturday as Inglebright goes for his fourth win at Infineon Speedway in the series. For more information on Bill McAnally Racing, check outr their website at www.billmcanallyracing.com.(RacingWest)(6-23-2004)
What's up with Larry Foyt?: Once again, Larry Foyt will perform as A.J. IV’s spotter, this time at Richmond. Foyt had planned to attend the race along with some people from his NASCAR Nextel Cup crew. When Foyt IV heard of those plans, he asked Larry to spot for him. “Larry did a great job for me at Texas,” said Foyt IV. “I know he’d rather just watch the race and have fun so I really appreciate him doing this.” Larry Foyt’s next planned start in his father’s Nextel Cup car is the Brickyard 400 at Indy unless sponsorship can be secured before that event.(Foyt Racing PR)(6-23-2004)
Penske Racing Fair & balanced method: that's the way team shop foreman Gary Brooks explained the allocation of new race cars after Rusty's Miller Lite Team received the new PRS-75 they are racing in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 this weekend. "With Brendan (Gaughan) and his team switching over to our in-house chassis, we are handling the situation quite well," Gary explained. "Brendan's team joins the rotation with Rusty and Ryan - getting every third new chassis. Then, to speed up the process of making sure all three teams are running the same cars, each time the No. 2 or No. 12 team gets a new chassis, they'll also send over one they already have in their stable to the No. 77 team. That's a pretty fair and balanced method of getting the job done."(TRPR)(6-23-2004)
DNF's: Four drivers who have made all 15 Nextel Cup race starts in 2004 do not have a DNF [did not finish]:
Kevin Harvick who has the longest streak at 54 races without a DNF, 2 short of Jeff Gordon's modern era record [56 races], but a bit short of the all-time record of 84. #20-Tony Stewart [31 races since], #38-Elliott Sadler , and #18-Bobby Labonte .(6-23-2004)
Ford Credit donates thanks to Jarrett's 3rd-place finish: #88-Dale Jarrett's third-place finish in the DHL 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday results in another $5,000 donation from Ford Credit to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to help in its mission to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease. Ford Credit, a sponsor of the #88 UPS Taurus, now has donated $683,800 to the Komen Foundation based on Jarrett's on-track performance and end-of-season bonuses since 1998 - including $15,000 in 2004 (Jarrett won the non-points Bud Shootout at Daytona International Speedway in February). Ford Credit gives the Komen
Foundation $10,000 for each of Jarrett's victories, $7,500 for each second-place finish, $5,000 for each third-place finish and $5,000 for
each pole position won (as fastest qualifier).(Campbell Co. PR)(6-23-2004)
Penske Trio to be Honored: The Society of Manufacturing Engineers has announced plans to award VIP membership to Penske Racing South driver Ryan Newman, crew chief Matt Borland and chief engineer Michael Nelson. The trio will receive their honors on July 22 at an SME banquet in Laconia, N.H. The society said it is honoring the three to acknowledge the contribution of engineering and technology to auto racing. Newman, a 10-time Cup winner, earned his bachelor's degree in vehicle structure engineering from Purdue University. Borland earned his degree in mechanical engineering from the General Motors Institute, now known as Kettering University, in Michigan. Nelson earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Clemson University in South Carolina.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-23-2004)
June 22, 2004
#4 Owner Talks about future of team; skipping Sonoma: #4-Morgan-McClure Motorsports will not attend the upcoming race at Infineon Raceway. However, the team, which has 14 NASCAR Cup Series wins, continues to move forward in 2004 as it seeks sponsorship. With two top-20 finishes in 2004, Larry McClure stays focused on bringing his No. 4 Chevrolet back to its competitive potential. The team began the 2004 season with a sponsor, but since has been without a fulltime primary decal on the car. McClure seeks sponsorship in order to bring his three-time Daytona 500 winning team back into the competitive ranks of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Although he has experienced both sides of racing success now, McClure remains optimistic about his race team.
Larry McClure quotes:
"We have tried to use our money as well as we could. We got behind the eight ball a little bit at the beginning of the year because of the change over from Pontiac to Chevrolet. We have used several different people to put bodies on the cars. The inconsisitency of this hurt us. We were in a position that we had to run some of those cars without doing the aero work on them that they needed in order to be competitive. We found a few shortfalls when we did research in the wind tunnel recently. We have chosen a couple of the cars we have that are the better of the lot to change. It seems like from week to week to week that we are making progress even though our stats may not show it."
"Spencer quoted this past weekend that his car was the best he has driven all year with the exception of the restrictor plate cars. He felt like we have decent engines and we could be competitive if he could get through the middle of the corners a little better. Sunday at Michigan we had a reasonable effort. The team lost one lap because we ran out of gas. We lost a second lap because Spencer felt like he had a vibration in the car, like a loose wheel, which was not visual to us after pitting. Actually we shot ourselves in the foot twice. We had an opportunity to be in the top-15, possibly one lap down."
"Our sponsorship funds are limited this year. We have had to put the team on a diet. We are doing the best we can with what we have to do with. Basically that is what has happened. We are still searching for sponsorship dollars. "Changing cars from Chevrolet to Pontiac and then back to Chevrolet over the past two years really lost the team a lot of ground. I am not saying that is totally our problem. We do not have 20 engineers working on this race car and team. It is a downfall. We have to try a lot of things without them being proven and that costs us time. It creates problems with performance. With lack of engineering support and lack of sponsorship support, it has put us in a deficit deal. We are working hard to try to catch up. If we had the funds, we could buy the people and the technology. We do not have the funds. We are trying to work harder and be smarter with our group."
"Being in this position, I realize there is not much difference from an outhouse to a penthouse. On a short track, the difference is 3/10ths and on a larger track it is less than a second. If we can just come up with the right combination, we can get back to where we once were. That motivates me, because I am a competitor. I want to win. I want to be competitive. When the time comes for me to step back and to step out of this sport, I would like to know that I have given it everything I have. Plus, the fact is we have a lot of people here who depend on this company. We are doing everything we can to keep the company afloat and continue racing and make a livelihood for the people who work here."(Morgan McClure Motorsports site)(6-22-2004)
Dale Jr. 59th in Celebrity 100:Forbes Magazine unveiled its most recent "Celebrity 100" and "World's 50 Highest-Paid Athletes" lists in its July 5 issue. While it should come as no surprise that celebrities such as Mel Gibson, Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise graced the top of the "Celebrity 100" list, NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt Jr. was ranked 59th. According to Forbes.com/celebs, rankings are based on the relative star power of the celebrity, including how much they earn and how many people are paying attention to them. Earnhardt Jr., whose estimated earnings from June 2003 to June 2004 were $20 million (including salaries, bonuses, prize money, endorsements and appearance fees), was "power ranked" in the same category of celebrities such as Jay Leno, Derek Jeter, Halle Berry and Jessica Simpson.(NASCAR.com)(6-22-2004)
Update on the #50 Plans: The #50 Arnold Motorsports team and driver P.J. Jones will have California-based Bennett Lane Winery as the sposnor of the #50 Dodge at Infineon Raceway. The following weekend at Daytona for the Pepsi 400, Mike Wallace will probably be behind the wheel with GEICO as the sponsor [and supposedly at Talladeage in Oct too]. At Dover, Wallace, with the GEICO sponsorship aboard, replaced Derrike Cope, who was in the hot seat the first 12 races of the season. (Naples Daily News)(6-22-2004)
Rookie's in Top-20: For the first time this season, every single Nextel Cup rookie finished in the top-20. As a matter of fact, it appears that this was the first time since June of 2002 that all of the rookies [of the year candidates] have finished in the top-20 in the same race.(LastCowboys.com)(6-22-2004)
Overnight TV Ratings Down 11.1%: Fox's broadcast of Sunday's DHL 400 Nextel Cup race from Michigan International Speedway drew an overnight rating of 4.0 and a 10 share from Nielsen Media Research, today's Sports Business Daily reports. The rating represents a drop of 11.1 percent from the 2003 race, which drew a 4.5/11 overnight and a final 5.4/16. This year's race trailed both the third and fourth rounds of the U.S. Open golf championship on NBC in the ratings from the nation's largest television markets.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-21-2004)
Kurt Busch testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway's Web site calendar shows that Kurt Busch is expected to test Roush Racing's #97 Sharpie/Irwin Tools Ford on Tuesday. Spectators are permitted to watch from the Fan Center, but the track cautions that the schedule is subject to change.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-21-2004)
Special Sunoco Premium Offer: Sunoco plans to sell about 400,000 remote control cars as premiums in its first retail promotion of its sponsorship deal that makes it the official fuel of NASCAR, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports. Columnist Terry Lefton says cars will be offered at Sunoco's 4,500 locations this summer. The three remote control cars will be offered at $9.99 each. A picture shows one will carry the #15 and NAPA logo of Michael Waltrip’s Nextel Cup car. Two will carry paint schemes and the No. 8 of Dale Earnhardt Jr., although the red model will not carry the Budweiser logo because the promotion is aimed at children, the story says. A blue-and-white model will carry the Oreo cookie paint scheme.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-21-2004)
Still Waiting - #99 Sponsor...would be Diageo UPDATE NO?: 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) UPDATE: NASCAR officials are not likely to allow Roush Racing to have a hard-liquor company sponsor Jeff Burton's car, although series officials are examining the issue. Series officials have not allowed sponsorship from a hard-liquor product for several years. If the sponsor is not allowed, Roush Racing will have to find a new sponsor for Burton, who has run all season without a full-time sponsor. "Our scenarios about getting through this season are tempered completely by whether or not we've got someone signed up for next season. That makes a big difference," said Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing.(Roanoke Times)(6-21-2004)
June 21, 2004
First time in modern era OOPS actually..the 2nd time: Hendrick Motorsports became the first team in NASCAR's Modern Era (1972 - present) to take the top three qualifying spots for a Cup race when #24-Jeff Gordon won the pole position, #25-Brian Vickers qualified 2nd and #48-Jimmie Johnson qualified 3rd for the DHL 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Other teams have qualified first and second, but never first, second, and third.(Chevy Notes and Quotes PR)(6-19-2004) Top Three Starters..same team: this was not the first time a team swept the top three starting spots in qualifying. In fact it was the 2nd time Hendrick Motorsports did it. At the spring Darlington race in 1995, #24-Jeff Gordon, #5-Terry Labonte and #25-Ken Schrader started 1-2-3.(Don't need to look it up, already did)(6-21-2004)
Maintaining a Top-10 Standard: Four drivers have remained in the top-10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings all season: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and Elliott Sadler.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-21-2004)
3-way tie for 6th: Three drivers are tied for 6th in drivers points with 1933. #24-Gordon gets 6th [2 wins breaks the tie], the #38-Sadler gets 7th [1 win, next best is a 4th], then #97-Kurt Busch gets 8th [1 win, next best is a 5th].(6-21-2004)
Why the caution? and Jones is OK: After two weeks of confusion and controversy over scoring problems and miscues by NASCAR officials, Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway came off without a hitch. But there were some questions when a caution flag came out on the final lap with the crashed #50 car of P.J. Jones sitting in the middle of the track in Turn 2, far behind the leaders. NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said the yellow was waved because there were at least six cars racing on the track behind Jones' wreck and NASCAR did not want to delay the safety crew from reaching him. Jones was not injured.(NASCAR.com/AP)(6-21-2004)
ARCA driver to attempt Cup? UPDATE it was mentioned during Speed Channel's ARCA race coverage at Michigan that ARCA driver A.J. Henriksen plans to attempt Pocono and the October race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, didn't say if it was with his ARCA team [E.C.C. Motorsports] or another team.(6-20-2004) UPDATE: The team Henriksen will drive for is ECC Motorsports with plans to attempt to make the cup races at Pocono, Chicagoland, and Lowe's Motor Speedway race. The team is in the finishing stages of completing their Cup car and hope to test at Pocono in about 3 to 4 weeks. The team is activly seeking sponsorship help for their Cup and ARCA efforts.(6-21-2004)
Ganassi Racing to have a Busch team in 2005 UPDATE 2: been told that Ganassi Racing will run a full time Busch program next year in house and possibly a second team for 15 - 20 Busch races also. Supposedly the drivers will be some combination of their current three Cup drivers (Marlin, McMurray and Mears) and possibly David Stremme and/or Reed Sorensen. Ganassi Racing also plans to move into their new building by the Concord [NC] Airport in July.(5-10-2004) UPDATE: announced at MIS and on Fox Sports Net's NASCAR This Morning, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will field a full-time Busch Series team in 2005 with Discount Tires as the sponsor. Reed Sorensen will drive in four Busch races later in the 2004 season. Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray and Sorensen will drive in 2005. AND Chip Ganassi announced Sunday morning that Discount Tire Co. and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) have joined forces. Discount Tire Co. will become the "Official Sponsor of Talent Development" for CGRFS. Discount Tire will be an associate sponsor on all three CGRFS NEXTEL Cup Series cars and the primary sponsor of a NASCAR Busch Series Dodge for eight races in 2004. The Busch Series car will be driven by Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears and ASA driver Reed Sorensen.(Dodge Notes/Clear!Blue PR)(6-20-2004) UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi Racing on Sunday announced the formation of an in-house NASCAR Busch Series team to assist in its driver development program. The team will debut this season in eight races. Ganassi Nextel Cup drivers Casey Mears and Jamie McMurray will each drive two and 18-year-old up-and-comer Reed Sorenson will drive in four events. Sorenson was rookie of the year in the American Speed Association last season and won Saturday's Automobile Racing Club of America series event at Michigan International Speedway in a Ganassi-prepared Dodge. Ganassi has signed Discount Tire Co. as a sponsor for the team's 2004 races. Team owner Chip Ganassi said he hoped to have Sorenson run most of the Busch schedule in 2005. McMurray will drive the #41 Dodge in the Aug. 21 race at Michigan and Nov. 6 at Phoenix. Mears will be in the car for the Sept. 4 at California and Oct. 15 at Charlotte. Sorenson, currently fourth in the ASA points race, will be in the car Aug. 7 at Indianapolis, Oct. 30 at Atlanta, Nov. 13 at Darlington, and Nov. 20 at Homestead.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-21-2004)
Sauter to run his own car in Cup with RCR engines: The Johnny Sauter saga is taking another strange turn. While car owner Richard Childress has put Dave Blaney in the #30 cars that Sauter has been driving on the Cup tour, Childress is keeping Sauter under contract and will provide engines and backing for Sauter to run his own cars later this summer. So Sauter will get a novel chance to show he can make it in this sport in the coming weeks by designing his own Cup cars with buddy Joe Shear. Cary Agajanian, Sauter's agent and one of this sport's noted attorneys says that it's a good break for Sauter: "Johnny will run a few races, under no pressure, with a car the way he wants it built. When Johnny won ... last year at Richmond in the Busch series, it was in a car built by Joe and Johnny themselves. And these cars will be the same thing - these two guys will be able to build their own cars for Cup, it's a most amazing thing." Agajanian said that it will be a joint venture by Childress and the Sauter-Agajanian team. "And then we'll see what happens for next year," Agajanian says.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-21-2004)
Pit Road Flagger reassigned....for now: Dean Duckett, the Nextel Cup Series official who mistakenly waved a green-flag signaling pit road was open in last weekend’s race at Pocono, has had his race-day duties temporarily reassigned, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Duckett did not work the entrance to pit road in Sunday’s DHL 400 at Michigan International Speedway, and instead was assigned to the garage area during the race. It was unclear how long Duckett would serve in his new role, but it could be two or three weeks, sources said. When asked about Duckett’s reassignment, spokesman Mize Zizzo said NASCAR would not comment on internal personnel matters.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-21-2004)
Sunday's Illegal Part Confiscated: #20-Tony Stewart's Home Depot Chevy had an oversized fuel entry neck confiscated. The oversize would allow the gas tank to fill at a faster rate, saving time on pit road.(Insider Racing News)(6-21-2004)