#8 looking to make changes? AND: XM Satellite NASCAR Radio reports that #8 Crew Chief, Tony Eury Sr. says there needs to be crew changes on the #8 pit crew and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not happy with the pit crew performance and said so in TV and radio interviews. AND The slow pit stops hampered Earnhardt Jr. throughout the race and his crew chief, Tony Eury Sr., said that problem would be addressed this week. "Our pit crew was horrible all night for some reason. I don't know what's wrong with the pit crew. We definitely have a problem there and we've had it for a while," Eury Sr. said. "We pay good money for those guys to do a job and they don't do it, so we're definitely going to fix it."(ThatsRacin.com)(7-4-2004)
Waltrip to run for Victory Junction: Michael Waltrip announced he will run the Las Vegas Marathon on January 30, 2005, and has made a commitment to raise $1 million benefiting Victory Junction Gang Camp in an effort called "OPERATION MARATHON, Going the Distance for Kids." Additionally, Waltrip has teamed up with Devine Racing in a five-year agreement to support OPERATION MARATHON. For every person who signs up to run in this year's Las Vegas Marathon, Devine Racing will donate $10 to the cause. Over the next three years, the company is committed to spending $2.3 million in advertising and public relations to promote the Las Vegas Marathon and OPERATION MARATHON. According to Waltrip, OPERATION MARATHON stemmed from a desire to help
with the operating costs of Kyle and Pattie Petty's newly opened Victory Junction Gang Camp in honor of their late son, Adam Petty. OPERATION MARATHON is an avenue for people to donate money to the camp. Fans can contribute to OPERATION MARATHON by logging onto www.michaelwaltrip.com or calling 1-866-WALTRIP. All the information needed to get involved with the marathon, or to simply donate, can be found on the website. Waltrip offers several ways for fans to get involved including entering the marathon or the 5k Run/Walk on Saturday, January 29, 2005. The 3.1-mile race has designated OPERATION MARATHON as the PresentingSponsor and will be followed by an autograph session with Waltrip. The 39th Annual Las Vegas Marathon is expected to draw more than 10,000 racers, many of them International Elite runners. This year's prize money will be in excess of $100,000..(PR)(7-4-2004)
Last time the Pepsi 400 was won from the pole? 23 years ago UPDATE: The last time a driver won the Pepsi 400 from the Bud Pole was by Cale Yarborough in July 1981, 23 years ago(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-3-2004) UPDATE: Jeff Gordon won from the pole in 2004, becoming the 5th driver in 46 races to do so.
The others: Fireball Roberts (1959), Jack Smith (1960), David Pearson (1974), Cale Yarborough (1981)(7-4-2004)
Fans struck by lightning..OK: The three unidentified men were struck while walking past souvenir trailers before the start of the Nextel Cup Pepsi 400. They were transported to the care center and held briefly for observation, track spokesman David Talley said. Talley said the men had only minor injuries and were released.(FoxSports)(7-4-2004)
Gordon wins from pole at Daytona: #24-Jeff Gordon held off teammate #48-Jimmie Johnson to win the rain-delayed Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The win is Gordon's 68th career win, 4th of 2004, his 5th at Daytona and 3rd Pepsi 400, his first win at Daytona since the 1999 Daytona 500. #48-Johnson held onto 2nd place and increased his Nextel Cup points lead to 27 over #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt Jr. made an awesome move late in the race, a slingshot like move to pass two cars and take 2nd place, but the car went away and he fell back before recovering for 3rd. Rounding out the top five were #97-Busch and #20-Stewart. All four Hendrick Motorsports teams, #24-Gordon (WON), #48-Johnson (2nd), #5-Labonte (8th) and #25-Vickers (9th) finished in the top ten and a few times all four were in the top five. The highest finishing Dodge was #41-Casey Mears at 11th.
Race results at: Jayski's Pepsi 400 Race Results from NASCAR ThatsRacin.com Motorsports One NASCAR.com.(7-4-2004)
Petty and Mears to Visit Target House: Richard Petty and Casey Mears will visit Target House families for a special event which will include an autograph session, a NASCAR simulator and a racecar helmet design coloring contest on Wednesday, July 7 [5-7pm] at Target House, 101 North McLean Blvd. in Memphis, TN. The event will serve as a pre-cursor to the Target House 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on September 4, in Fontana, Calif., which will feature an opening message from the kids at Target House. Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team driver Casey Mears will wear the winning coloring contest design on his helmet during the Target House 300 race.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), for info on Target House, see target.com(7-4-2004)
July 3, 2004
Finish under green, announcement soon? during FOX's pre-race coverage of the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Jeff Hammond said he expects NASCAR to make an announcement during the offweek [no race on the July 18th weekend] that ALL Cup races will finish under green flag conditions [even if there is a caution and the race goes longer then the dvertised distance], what exact format is not clear.(7-3-2004)
Stewart 3rd in Grand Am Race at DIS: Tony Stewart and co-driver Andy Wallace finished third in the Paul Revere 250 on the infield road course at Daytona International Speedway. Running a single pit stop strategy, Stewart and Wallace, aboard the No. 20 Howard-Boss Motorsports Crawford/Pontiac, had hoped to steal the win. A late-race caution allowed their competition to pit under yellow, however, and Stewart and Wallace had no chance to defend their lead with well-worn tires. “That yellow didn’t help us at all,” Stewart said. “The one-stop strategy would have worked if it went green the rest of the way. It’s an easy car to drive. This car has got such a good balance. It’s not one that you feel you need to fight. It’s very driver-friendly. I’m looking forward to racing this car again with Andy at Watkins Glen.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-2-2004)
So what happened to Robby at Sonoma? Loose wheels: #31-Robby Gordon said his tire problems last weekend at Infineon Raceway were because the team forgot to tighten the lug nuts on all four tires before the race. Gordon said that all four tires nearly came off, wearing the studs off the hubs. He said that ground the sway bar off the car, later popping the left front and right front tires. Gordon had three front tires go down during that race and finished 34th. He has won the previous two Cup road races.(Roanoke Times)(7-3-2004)
Hmmmm..what gives? NASCAR vetoed car owner Jack Roush's multi-million-dollar sponsorship deal with Crown Royal [actually parent company Diageo ...see my #99 Team News page for the past info], citing worries about hard-liquor sponsors. But NASCAR's concerns couldn't be too serious, because its sister company, the International Speedway Corp., just signed Crown Royal to a lucrative sponsorship as "the official whiskey of Daytona International Speedway."(Winston Salem Journal) and see a full article at ThatsRacin.com: Crown Royal is OK for ISC, but ....(7-3-2004)
New advertisor at Daytona International Speedway
would look good on the #99 car
image sent to me by a few readers, from autoracing1.com
#50 gets a sponsor for the Pepsi 400: Surprise winner of the Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona International Speedway Busch Series race, Mike Wallace, will also race the Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup race on Saturday night in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge. The team will be sponsored by Sport Clips one of Wallace's Busch Series sponsors. Sport Clips has 185 stores in 41 markets across the country. Moe info on the company at sportclips.com.. Wallace is also scheduled to run the #50 at Talladega, P.J. Jones is scheduled to be back in the car next week at Chicagoland. Also see an article at the Naples Daily News: Team Arnold 'still here'.(7-3-2004)
France on penalties: from an XM Satellite NASCAR Radio interview with NASCAR's Brian France;
Clarie B. Lang: Brian where do you form the line? [where the line will be drawn for drivers...some said there needs to be a firm line (like clipping penalty)]:
FRANCE: "It's like a basketball game. There's a penalty if you go on the court just to break up a fight. There's another penalty that's more severe if you actually participate. There's another penalty if you hit somebody. We're no different than anybody else from that standpoint. Obviously you can't touch another competitor. You can walk-up and voice your displeasure. That's perfectly acceptable, but when you go to the point of contact with another individual we're going to take a discipline action and depending on that contact is how severe we're going to be with the penalty. It's as simple as that."(7-3-2004)
July 2, 2004
Kahne's Ford Contract Revealed: A lawsuit filed June 16 by Ford against Nextel Cup driver Kasey Kahne in district court in Michigan provides insight into the Ford/Kahne contract dispute that began when Kahne joined Ray Evernham’s Dodge team for the 2004 Cup season. The contract, which is at the center of the dispute, doesn’t provide any clear answers, however, according to a story in NASCAR Scene. According to the story, Ford was under no obligation to put Kahne in a Cup car for 2004, but Kahne had refusal rights regarding rides set up for him by Ford. In the suit, Ford contends that it “expended substantial financial and other resources to enhance defendant Kahne’s competitiveness and marketability” without reaping any benefits. The contract, signed in 2002, stipulates that Ford would pay Kahne a $30,000 signing bonus and $200,000 annually for being a Ford driver. He was also required to do 12 appearances a year for the automaker. Kahne contends that he has fulfilled his contractual obligations, and he has not filed a response to the suit in court.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-2-2004)
Quite a difference: nothing to do with Daytona or the race this week, just interesting [to me] #25-Brian Vickers holds the Cup track record at Richmond with a lap of 129.983mph back on May 14. Helio Castroneves sat on the pole there last weekend for the Indy Racing League race with a lap at 171.202. That’s 61 feet per second faster. Or, in other words, the Cup guys would be getting lapped about every three laps? So in a 400-lap race the Cup guys would be down around 130 laps.(Caledonian Record)(7-2-204)
Sacks back in a Cup car? UPDATE: during Speed Channel's Busch Series Qualifying coverage, Jeff Hammond mentioned that Greg Sacks, attempting to make the Busch Series race at Dover, is working on a deal to get back in a Nextel Cup car, possibly as soon as Chicago in July. No word on what team and no idea if it has anything to do with that #05 Team he announced a few years ago.(6-4-2004) UPDATE: Greg Sacks, 51, will debut the #13 Daytona Speed Dodge at Chicagoland Speedway next weekend. Daytona Speed, owned by Sacks, Ed Raabe and James Wilsberg, will be based here, although the team is still searching for a building suitable for a race shop. Sacks has not raced at the Nextel Cup level since 1998 after being injured at Texas Motor Speedway. He has seen spot duty in ARCA, and in the Busch and Truck series in recent years [NOTE: he did, however, announce back in August 2002, the #05 Chevy team, sponsored by a board game, that never made it to the track]. Sacks is buying his cars and equipment from Evernham Motorsports, which campaigns two factory-backed Dodge cars in Nextel Cup. Ray Evernham said his team is developing an in-house chassis. As the new Evernham cars are put into service, the older cars will be sold. Sacks has "right of first refusal." "He asked if he could be the first guy in line when we start selling cars," Evernham said. "I've known Greg for a long time. He's a good guy. I told him when we start to sell cars, yeah, he could have first crack at them." Daytona Speed will get its engines from Mike Egge [who does the Petty Engines]. Sacks will wear the crew chief hat until next season. Sacks will enter 10 races this season. He'll be joined by a team car, the #73 Dodge, at Dover and Martinsville. "We'll start the 2005 season as a two-car team," Sacks said.(Daytona Beach News Journal), see the Greg Sacks Fan Site for a nascar.com image and info and my old #05 Team News and Links page for past news, sorry DO NOT have a shop address or any contact info with this team.(7-2-2004)
Another Series? At least three top Nextel Cup team owners have talked recently with officials at Speedway Motorsports about the long-debated issue of a second stock-car racing series, according to sources in the NASCAR garage. Bruton Smith, the head of Speedway Motorsports, has long denied any interest in a second series, despite rumors that date back several years. It's highly unlikely that any Cup team would leave the NASCAR fold, but talks would be another indication of owners' extreme frustration and increasing dissatisfaction with some aspects of the direction this sport is taking. Reports of the talks come amid increasing complaints about NASCAR's handling of a number of issues. While car owners are unlikely to leave, sources say they are more likely to start throwing their weight around in secret talks with NASCAR executives. It is unclear what particular points car owners might want to press, but a more equitable distribution of television money is likely.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-2-2004)
Different look for Bobby Labonte at Daytona: Wellbutrin XL, a medicine indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder in patients 18 years and older, will serve as the primary sponsor for the #18 Chevrolet that Bobby Labonte drives this weekend at Daytona. Wellbutrin XL served as primary sponsor March 28 at Bristol and April 25 at Talladega and will serve as the main sponsor at Chicagoland (July 11), Michigan (Aug. 22), California (Sept. 5), Richmond (Sept. 11) and Atlanta (Oct. 31). The car is blue and yellow, not purple as it was ay Bristol and Talladega.(JGR Site)(7-2-2004)
Jackson back...or never left? Jesse Jackson says NASCAR should feature more African-American drivers because "negroes can drive cars fast." Jackson made the remarks on Tuesday at a NASCAR-sponsored sports luncheon at the 33rd Annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition conference in Chicago. "One thing I know, negroes can drive cars fast," Jackson said to laughter. "I mean, we go through red lights, even [drive] at night with our lights off. We can drive cars fast," he asserted from the podium. NASCAR's sponsorship of the sports luncheon at this week's conference is contrary to previous reports indicating that NASCAR had ended its financial support of Jackson and his organizations in 2003 because of negative public pressure.(cnsnews.com)(7-2-2004)
Sonoma TV Ratings Down from 2003: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 from Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., drew a 4.7 final rating and an 11 share from Nielsen Media Research, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The 4.7/11 represents a 2 percent dip versus last year’s event, which drew a 4.8/11.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-2-2004)
Confiscated parts...new spring rule? NASCAR inspectors appeared to have a light day’s work Thursday. Only two items were tagged and placed on display at the NASCAR hauler following Thursday’s pre-qualifying inspections at Daytona International Speedway. The rear decklid of the #09 Dodge driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr. was confiscated as were two unapproved oil line expansion hoses from the #30 AOL Chevrolet driven by Dave Blaney.(ThatsRacin.com) AND Stock-car chassis specialists were up in arms yesterday at NASCAR's newest Daytona inspection procedures and were demanding changes. NASCAR hands out special shocks to each team here to keep costs down and keep teams from using exotic technology. But NASCAR lets teams use their own springs, and some trick springs can cost $500 apiece. Yesterday, NASCAR cracked down on that, confiscated large numbers of springs and promised a new rule. Crews said the best thing would be for NASCAR to hand them springs along with the shocks. NASCAR, in fact, has talked with spring makers about that possibility.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-2-2004)
The Bird? and what is with a few of the drivers giving other drivers, 'the bird/flipping off/middle finger', so often? some of recent note: Harvick in a Busch race with Brad Teague and Stewart with Rusty and last week gestured at Jim Inglebright. Pretty childlike....and disrepectful.(7-1-2004) AND from the Daytona Beach News Journal - Fists and fenders vs. fines?.(7-2-2004)
July 1, 2004
Stewart fined, docked points, on probation NO Suspension UPDATE: NASCAR is not taking lightly Tony Stewart’s attack of rookie Brian Vickers after Sunday’s road race in Sonoma. Stewart will receive a fine that could be as much as $50,000, a loss of at least 25 points in the Nextel Cup race, which will cost him at least one spot in the standings, and a lengthy probation, sources close to the sport said Tuesday. An official announcement will come Wednesday.(The State) UPDATE: Tony Stewart has been fined $50,000, penalized 25 driver championship points and placed on probation until Aug. 18, resulting from a post-race altercation with fellow driver Brian Vickers last Sunday at Infineon Raceway. In addition, Joe Gibbs, owner of the #20 Chevrolets driven by Stewart, has been penalized 25 car owner championship points. The point penalty drops Stewart one spot in the series standings, to sixth place. Stewart was found in violation of Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (actions detrimental to stock car racing; involved in altercation with another competitor). “This action we’ve taken speaks for itself,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. “Tony Stewart is well aware of what is expected of him going forward.”(NASCAR PR)(6-30-2004), see original story, updates, quotes from NASCAR's Brian France on my #20 Team News and Links page. UPDATE - Response: The following is a statement from Tony Stewart: "I understand and accept NASCAR's penalty. With NASCAR's continued growth and their rise in mainstream popularity, I realize their rules have become stricter than they were in the past. And after meeting with Brian France (NASCAR Chairman and CEO), I know it's my job to live within those rules. I'm putting this incident behind me and I plan no further comments. I'm going to focus on Daytona and the remaining races before the final 10-race run for the championship."(Joe Gibbs Racing site)(7-1-2004)
So...Are they athletes or not? FoxSports.com has an interesting [misguided?] piece up called 'Are they athletes or not?' profiling different sports, Auto Racing is one, he is part of what is said: You can get lost on any major urban expressway in the country and employ all the skills needed to succeed in auto racing: turning left, depressing the gas pedal, being forced into a retaining wall by an insane man. Good ol' boy Jimmy Spencer gets ink as an up-and-coming athlete. In reality, dressed to the nines in his Target-sponsored logo suit [how old is this story? or is the writer just that clueless?], he looks more like a comically resolute fire hydrant than anything resembling an elite competitor. As for drivers in general, their victory celebrations are unspeakably lame. They do donuts in the infield, pop out the driver's side window à la Bo Duke, stand on the hood, quaff deeply from whatever beverage they endorse and get trash thrown at them by soused rednecks. Then they smoke a Winston, shop at Home Depot, slam a Bud, make out with a Golden Corral race queen [?], order a Papa John's pizza with their Nextel mobile phone, brush their teeth with Valvoline, use Craftsman tools to eat Swanson Hungry Man Dinners, paint their dogs with the help of Sherwin Williams, make their kids eat Levitra and Folgers' Crystals, set up a meth lab behind their local Food City and otherwise behave as the inveterate whores of brand loyalty that they are. See the full story at: msn.foxsports.com. All, I know, is that after testing a Bandalero for 45 laps around a 1/5th mile a month ago, and wrecking at LMS a few weeks ago, you need to be in at least decent shape to drive a race car, and I wasn't out their for 500 laps at Bristol or 95 degree weather in California.(comments can be made to the author at FoxSports NOT jayski)(7-1-2004)
RYR to try a Busch team again UPDATE..the young driver?: Robert Yates Racing will add a Busch team to its stable for 2005. Yates will run Elliott Sadler, Dale Jarrett and a younger driver in the car. "Our drivers are interested in the companion knowledge that could be gained by running in the Busch races," Robert Yates says. Although a sponsor has not been announced, Citibank, which recently signed on as an associate sponsor on the #38 (Sadler) and #88 (Jarrett) Nextel Cup cars, could be a possibility.(FoxSports/SportingNews)(6-28-2004) UPDATE: hearing the younger driver will be David Regan and that their will be an announcement in Daytona on Saturday. Again? remember in 2002 - the #98 ChannelLock team in Busch with.......um...Kasey Kahne?(7-1-2004)
G.I. Joe Car Unvieled: On Wednesday at the Lake Mirror Amphitheater [FL], #01 U.S. Army driver, Joe Nemechek publicly consummated his relationship with Hasbro Inc., the company that manufactures G.I. Joe. He unveiled a new race car that highlights its 40th Anniversary. Under the scorching midday sun, about 200 patrons, both young and old, saw Nemechek and his mother, Martha, remove the tarp from the #1 U.S. Army/G.I. Joe 40th Anniversary Chevrolet Monte Carlo race car. The car, blanketed in sponsor decals, is several shades of Army green and glossy black. Occupying most of the car's hood is a commemorative emblem of the 40th Anniversary G.I. Joe. A camouflage of greens cover its sides and top. Nemechek plans to race the car for the first time Oct. 16, 2004, at the Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC.(Lakeland Ledger), see images of the car on my #01 Team Paint Scheme page.(7-1-2004)
Victory Junction statue stolen, UPDATE Returned. Thieves stole a bronze statue from the Victory Junction Gang Camp just two weeks after the camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses opened. Administrators reported the theft to Randolph County sheriff's deputies Tuesday morning. The 6-by-4-foot statue of two children playing leap frog was beside a gatehouse at the camp's front entrance. NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, founded the camp in honor of their late son, Adam. Camp officials are trying to contact the art gallery that donated the statue to determine its value. They estimate its worth at $7,000-$10,000.(www.wxii12.com) AND Missing: two children, 6 feet tall, with metallic complexions and a combined weight of several hundred pounds. Police have few clues, but one thing is certain. The kids didn’t run away. Thieves boosted a bronze statue from the Victory Junction Gang Camp late Monday or early Tuesday, less than two weeks after the Petty racing family opened their camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Administrators reported the theft to Randolph County sheriff’s deputies about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. “Just the brazenness of it,” said executive director Brian Collier. “We’re in a neighborhood, and they pulled right up, took the statue and made off. You can’t get any lower, to me, than stealing from a children’s camp, especially children who suffer from life-threatening illnesses.” The statue, which was beside a gatehouse at the camp’s front entrance, depicts two children playing leap frog. It is about 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Deputies are investigating the theft and have no suspects or leads. Camp officials were trying Tuesday to contact the art gallery that donated the statue to determine its value. Collier said a rough estimate is between $7,000 and $10,000. “I just hope that someone either took it and returns it, or they know who took it and they turn it in,” he said. Anyone with information is being asked to call Detective Brian Arrington at 336-318-6699 or Randolph County Crimestoppers at (800) 672-2530 (News and Record)., let's hope they catch the moron or moron's who did this.(6-30-2004) RETURNED: from the Victory Junction Gang Camp:" I am very happy to report that the statue was recovered by the Randolph County Sheriff's Department this morning. It was returned to the Victory Junction Gang Camp Administration Building today at 11:30am/et by the Randolph County Sheriff's Department. Victory Junction will make plans to securely replace it at the front entrance. Remember to sign up for National NASCAR Day on August 20th. For more information, go to www.nascar.com/nascarday.(PR)(7-1-2004)
Blount to make Cup debut at Daytona in the #37, will run Chicago too: Chad Blount looks to make his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series debut at the Daytona International Speedway in the Pepsi 400. Blount will pilot the #37 Dodge owned by John Carter and Roger Craven for the 46th running of the Pepsi 400 on Saturday night. Blount burst onto the scene in 2002 while competing in the ARCA Series for Braun Racing. He went on to post one of the most impressive rookie seasons in the history of that series: as he garnered 4 wins, 5 poles and 2 new track records (Atlanta and Chicagoland). The last two seasons have seen the 24-year-old compete in the NASCAR Busch Series where he has made 20 starts with a career best 5th place finish at Texas last season. He has also spent much time serving as a test driver for Penske Racing. The #37 team will be debuting a newly acquired speedway car from Ganassi Racing along with a strong engine program from Ernie Elliott Engines. The car was prepared for the Daytona race out of the Braun Racing shop and will be led by crew chief Todd Lohse, who has worked with Blount previously in the Busch Series. Blount and the #37 team will also be competing next week at Chicagoland Speedway. The rest of the 2004 schedule for Blount and the team will be determined at a later date.(Integrity Sports Marketing PR)(7-1-2004)
#23 gets sponsor for Daytona: Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant in Orlando would be the primary sponsor on the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge this weekend in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant in Orlando has been open for eight years and has become the must see location for tourists with over one million visitors per year. Bobby Moore, president of Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant in Orlando, is a former elephant trainer, a racing enthusiast but more recently a successful restaurant entrepreneur that has assembled some of the biggest names in racing to make Race Rock a success. Richard and Kyle Petty, Mario and Michael Andretti, Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace, Geoffrey Bodine, Ernie Irvan, Don Prudhomme, John Force, Darrell Gwynn, Dave Schultz, and Scott Parker are all owners of Race Rock. Tony Raines will drive the #23 for Bill Davis Racing and Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant this weekend. It will mark Raines’s first start for Bill Davis Racing. For more information on Race Rock Supercharged Restaurant in Orlando, please visit www.racerock.com.(BDR Site)(7-1-2004)
WIX working JGR on a cabin air filtration system: WIX Filters Inc., is working with Joe Gibbs Racing to develop a cabin air filtration system that can remove everything from carbon monoxide to dust, rubber and noxious fumes from the air breathed by drivers. "A few teams have tried to come up with their own (air filtration) system, but the deal for us was the safety of our drivers," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, which employs top drivers #18-Bobby Labonte and #20-Tony Stewart. "We want our drivers to be alert and feeling good throughout the race." While the WIX system is a complicated piece of engineering, its operation in a race car is relatively simple. Air enters through an intake in the passenger side window and passes through a hose into the filtration system. The air is scrubbed to remove most of the carbon monoxide, and then passed through another air filter that removes soot, debris and fumes. The cleaned air is cooled and sent into the driver's helmet. NASCAR has been trying to find a way to filter the air drivers breathe during races - which can last five hours with cars approaching speeds of 200 mph - for the last 18 months, since veteran driver Rick Mast announced he would retire at 45. Mast, who made 364 starts at NASCAR's top level, said years of exposure to toxic fumes in his car gave him acute and chronic carbon monoxide poisoning, a feeling he described as "the worst hangover in your life. You wake up feeling nauseated and you want to throw up and you can't," he said at the time. "Your head is pounding all the time and you just feel awful." When Stewart began complaining of similar symptoms, Joe Gibbs Racing approached WIX about a filtration system that could be installed in their race cars. "Tony is particularly sensitive to carbon monoxide fumes," Bruce Johnston, brand manager for WIX Filters, said in an interview at the company's headquarters in Gastonia. "They wanted to see if we could provide them something to make it easier for him to run at tracks like Martinsville and Bristol." J.D. Gibbs became a believer after blood tests on Stewart and Labonte following races showed the drivers had been exposed to potentially dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. "In racing, you are always looking for small advantages," he said. "We think this is a big advantage for our drivers. And both of our guys told me it was a good move." Greg Rhyne, a WIX product designer, said improved aerodynamics in NASCAR cars have exacerbated the carbon monoxide problem in recent years. "These cars are so aerodynamic that almost no air flows into them," he said. "Essentially, the drivers are breathing the same air for 500 miles." Carbon monoxide's effects on the human body are cumulative, building up each time a driver is exposed to it. Some drivers have undergone oxygen treatments after races to decrease the effects of breathing the fumes. NASCAR's research and development center has developed a device, called a catalyst, that reduces carbon monoxide in cars and is encouraging teams to design filtration systems around it. The WIX filter uses NACAR's catalyst, as does a system developed by Penske Racing South and NASA. The Penske system uses two filters - one containing carbon and the other the catalyst developed by NASCAR - to convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. In May, during a Nextel Cup race in Richmond, #12-Ryan Newman and #77-Brendan Gaughan tried the Penske system in their cars. Johnston said WIX will offer its system to all racing teams that want to use the technology. After Stewart used the system in his car for the first time at Martinsville last year, he emerged from his car saying: "I could have run 500 more (laps)."(AP/Fox Carolina)(7-1-2004)
Black AOL car: Instead of the regular AOL blue and gold paint scheme, Dave Blaney's #30 Chevrolet will carry an AOL for Broadband special design in black and gold to run under the lights at Daytona for the Pepsi 400.(RCR PR)(7-1-2004)
Tired of this question..so.... why do some drivers knock the PowerAde bottles off the top of the car in victory lane? Easy:
PowerAde is owned by Coca-Cola
Gatorade is ownerd by Pepsi
so drivers like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, who have ties to Pepsi or Gatorade knock the bottles off. Simple as that. comments concerning those actions can be addressed by contacting the teams.(7-1-2004)
Sadler's Pit Crew Shines Again: Elliott Sadler's pit crew pocketed its second victory in as many weeks by winning the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday's Dodge / Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Sadler's #38 pit crew also took top honors the week before at Michigan International Speedway. The back-to-back victories by Sadler's crew not only increased its prize money total to $40,000 ($20,000 for each win), but significantly closed the gap in the McDonald's/POWERade season point standings and the chase for the $200,000 champion's bonus. Sadler's pit crew gained 16 points on the leading #8 crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. After 16 of 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, Sadler's crew has 590 points, only 12 behind Earnhardt's crew. Kurt Busch's crew is third with 553 points. During Sunday's road-race on the twisting 11-turn, 1.99-mile circuit, Sadler's M&M's Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road - 104.331 seconds. Jeff Burton's Roush Racing Ford was second with a time of 105.277 and Michael Waltrip's NAPA Chevy was third at 108.526. "Two-in-a-row is pretty stout," said #38 crew chief Todd Parrott. "These guys are working their hardest. I am real excited for this team and I am speaking on behalf of Elliott as well. We would not have the finishes we've had without the help of the pit crew. How cool is that!" 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), see the top 10 from Sonoma, season standings and more on my Pit Crew Page.(7-1-2004)
Loomis voted as Crew Chief Challenge Winner at Sonoma: Robbie Loomis, crew chief of the #24 DuPont Chevy which won the Dodge / Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 27th, was voted as the WyPall Crew Chief Challenge Winner. For more info, to see season standings, go to www.wypall.com.(7-1-2004)
YOKETV.com returns to Morgan-McClure: Eric McClure, who made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start earlier this season in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, is entered in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona this weekend. The 25 year-old McClure will drive the #04 YOKETV.com and 77sports.com Chevrolet in his second NEXTEL Cup Series event. YOKETV.com is pleased to return as a primary sponsor to Morgan-McClure Motorsports, which began the 2004 season with the YOKE logo embellishing its #4 Chevrolets. In addition, 77sports.com returns after launching its first primary sponsorship outing at McClure's
Talladega debut. The #4 car and Jimmy Spencer return to competition at Daytona, where Morgan-McClure Motorsports has five wins. Spencer, who gained his first NASCAR Cup Series win at Daytona on July 2, 1994, will make his 450th career Cup Series start. Brent Meikle, CEO of YOKETV.com, quotes: "I am pleased to be able to announce this resolution with Morgan-McClure and our return to the exciting Nextel Cup series. We have a great deal of confidence in Eric and I want to thank Larry McClure for giving us the time we needed to make a fresh start. While this resolution currently does not include a full season, it paves the way to a 3-year relationship which hopefully will result in our full support for Eric and, in any event, will allow us to work together with the good folks over at Morgan-McClure."(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(7-1-2004)
NRA on the #33: The #33 Bass Pro Shops Chevy with Kerry Earnhardt driving, will sport a special paint scheme this weekend saluting the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA boasts a membership of approximately 4 million people and is the foremost conservation and firearms safety organization. Additionally, the NRA certifies over 48,000 firearm instructors who train millions of gun owners every year. Over 11,800 certified law enforcement instructors educate members of the law enforcement community along with military personnel. The "Eddie Eagle" gun safety program has reached over 16 million kids since 1998. The NRA has spent over $100 million over the last 10 years on gun safety and education programs.(RCR PR)(7-1-2004)
Al Unser Jr to retire UPDATE: Al Unser Jr. is retiring, which has been a suprise to just about everyone including Unser Sr. The two-time Indy 500 champion is putting away his driving gloves and retiring from racing. The 42-year-old Albuquerque native has been driving this season with Pat Patrick Racing, but after a disappointing 21st-place finish in last week's IRL race at Richmond, Unser is calling it quits. Unser has done it all in the sport of open wheel racing. Along with his victories at Indy, he has two cart championships and two IROC championships under his belt. Action 7 News spoke with his father, who was caught off guard by his son's decision. Unser will make his retirement official at a news conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday.(Action 7 News site), Unser Jr. will appear on Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on Wed.(6-30-2004) UPDATE: Two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr. retired Wednesday because he was no longer having fun as a driver. Unser also won two CART championships, but struggled in recent years and had little success since joining the IRL series in 2000. "I have always said that I would get out of the race car if driving stopped being fun for me and if I felt that I was no longer competitive on the track," Unser said. "After careful thought, I came to this conclusion just after the Richmond race and knew that it was time for me to retire." Unser said he would stay with Patrick Racing as an adviser. The team said it would select a replacement driver later. He worked for several months to find a ride for this season after breaking his pelvis last October when he was thrown from an all-terrain vehicle in New Mexico. After months of rehabilitation, Unser signed with Patrick Racing in March but missed the first three races of the IRL season. Unser had three IRL starts this year, never finishing in the top 10. His final race was last Saturday at Richmond, where he ended up 22nd. Unser won the closest Indy 500, defeating Scott Goodyear by 0.043 seconds in 1992. His other Indy victory came in 1994 when he won from the pole and beat Jacques Villeneuve by 8.6 seconds. The 42-year-old from Albuquerque, N.M., was the second-generation star from one of auto racing's most famous families: he is the son of four-time Indy winner Al Unser Sr. and nephew of three-time winner Bobby Unser. Unser missed two races during the 2002 season while staying at a treatment center for alcohol abuse following his arrest in Indianapolis after his girlfriend said he hit her in the face while drunk. Prosecutors didn't file charges against him. With Unser's retirement, the IRL has lost two of its best-known drivers since May 2003. Michael Andretti retired at age 40 after last year's Indianapolis 500 to focus his attention on ownership in the Andretti-Green team.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-1-2004)
Glick to be first print journalist inducted into Motorsports HOF: Veteran Los Angeles Times writer Shav Glick will become the first print journalist inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in a July 29 ceremony. Glick, who for decades has covered NASCAR and other motorsports, joins such notables as Richard Petty, A.J. Foyt, Darrell Waltrip, Roger Penske, Marion Andretti and Dale Earnhardt in the Michigan-based Hall of Fame. Glick was a classmate of Jackie Robinson and a member of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's post-war staff in Japan, prior to launching his sports writing career.(Tennessean)(6-30-2004)
Some Contest Winners: Richard Childress will present AOL's Daytona to Daytona Sweepstakes winner an America Online Chopper valued at $150,000 along with a check for $50,000 during pre-race ceremonies for the Pepsi 400. Finalists Stephen Arnold of Phoenix, Ariz. and Jeff Kepschull of Osceola, Ind., along with their guests, have won trips to DIS. Arnold and Kepschull will each pull a key from a bag, and then attempt to start the bike to see which lucky AOL member will walk away with the Grand Prize. Finalists were chosen at random from all contestants who entered the sweepstakes on AOL.(RCR PR) AND Cintas Corporation (Nasdaq: CTAS) announced the winner of its "What NASCAR wears on Race Day Sweepstakes." Dayton, OH resident Sharon Meyers was randomly selected to win an autographed hood from Bobby Labonte's #18 Interstate Batteries Nextel Cup car. When asked what she was going to do with the hood, Sharon Meyers replied, "First I'm going to hang it above my bed. Then after I enjoy it for awhile, I'm going to give it to a charity to help them raise money for their cause." The hood came from the #18 car that raced at Miami-Homestead in 2003. Second prize in the sweepstakes was a Washington Redskins racing helmet signed by Joe Gibbs and Bobby Labonte. An Interstate Batteries NASCAR race jacket was given away to the third prize winner.(JGR PR)(7-1-2004)
June 30, 2004
#77 Crew Chief Fined: Shane Wilson, crew chief for the #77 Dodge driven by Brendan Gaughan, has been fined $10,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. He was found in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (unapproved fuel cell container modification).(NASCAR PR)(6-30-2004)
Some Selected Tidbits from Brian France's press conference at Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday: On the Tony Stewart/Brian Vickers incident:
Q. I am curious as to your thoughts on the latest Tony Stewart incident, is this a big deal in your mind?
BRIAN FRANCE: It is a big deal. We're going to see how big it is here shortly. But his behavior at Sears Point is unacceptable. We will be dealing with that shortly. Tony has to work within the same rule structure and behavioral expectations that we have for all of our drivers. And one way or the other, we will figure that out.
Q. I was just wondering, you said on Tony that we'd know something soon. Can you be a little more clear on the timetable, is it going to be today or tomorrow?
BRIAN FRANCE: It will be before the Pepsi 400, that's for sure. Look, we'll do it as fast as we can. We are still reviewing a few details to make sure we understand exactly what occurred and then we'll be reacting as soon as we get that completed.
Q. Because a normal reaction to some-thing like this would be a fine, probation, points deduction, things like that. Because this is something of a continuing pattern, I guess, is it at least being discussed of doing something even more harsh than that?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, Tony is not on probation now. And he is like any other driver and we are going to look at the circumstances open mindedly. But we are on record, and I'll say it today, that his behavior at Sears Point is not acceptable. And so just how severe the punishment need to be to make a point that we are not going to accept that, and punish somebody for what they did, that's something we are going to have to work through.
Q. I want getting back to Tony Stewart, have you or will you talk to Tony Stewart about his latest incident, and with regards to that, you said there's something that would come out shortly. Is this going to be your decision or something you're signing off with that Mike Helton's decided to do?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, I'll sign off on anything that is substantial. Mike will, as he always does, make his recommendations and we'll do that as a group. We have talked to Tony and I'm sure we'll talk again with Tony. That's where we are.
Green-White-Checker in Cup:
Q. There's been talk about green-white-checker, and Rusty Wallace thinks it might not work, but where is NASCAR looking at races finishing under green and are we going to see a change on that in the near future?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, we are studying that whole idea of how we might give ourselves more opportunities to finish under a green flag scenario, which is what we want. If we find the right system, I know we have one that works in the Truck Series, but remember those are shorter races. And we are having to factor in a number of other things of where the NEXTEL Cup Series races on, how many tracks, and really, most important thing is how long the events are. But if we can figure out a better approach, I hope everybody knows us or knows me by now, that we will implement it if we can and we are looking at it closely.
Q. How big of a fight is it to,‘ I have a suspicion that you would pull the trigger tomorrow on a green-white checker finish or something close to it, I know you're not going to fill us in on the internal struggles that might go on in the front office among those that are for it or against it, but how does that process play out? I mean, do you guys go through a lot of scenarios of what could happen, what could go right, what could go wrong, but I assume at the end it's a matter of dragging some folks along with you who are against it; is that a fair assessment?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, we have a lot of smart people who have good views, and they don't always agree with me and I don't always agree with them. But we have always in NASCAR, we want to hear the opposing views, because you never know when somebody might make the right point. We are going through that process now as we are with three or four, we always seem to have three or four things that we are looking at for next year, for this year. We are looking at our rules package, which we are going to have out three months earlier than we have ever had with more input than we have ever had, with our team owners and drivers. So, listen, NASCAR is an industry that you have to reach out and get all of the ideas. And if we can find one, as you know, we will make a decision if it promotes better racing or safety or anything that we think improves the industry.
Q. Do you find kind of a humorous, for lack of a better word, excuse or complaint among some of the drivers to be against the guaranteed green-flag finish? Their argument seems to be, hey, we can't be trusted with a shootout like that.
BRIAN FRANCE: We know at 53 years of managing the sport, we know what the drivers are up against in terms of finishing under green or not finishing under green. Most of them have said recently that they would support some version of it, and we are going to look at and listen, we want to finish the races under green. That's what we are all about. There are all kind of elements we have to factor in, and if we can manage through those elements and figure out the right package for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, a fiveâ€‘mile race is not as simple as one might think, and we want to be very thoughtful of going through the process. And if we can find a better solution, you've heard me say this on a variety of topics, we are going to be open-minded to change. We've got to find the right solution.
Hard Liquor - not allowed:
Q. Going back to, can you figure out why beer and wine sponsors are acceptable and yet hard liquor isn't? Do the fans recognize the difference?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, they may or may not. What's at issue here is a long-standing rule going back into the '70s of a cooperation that the network television partners would have when it comes to hard liquor and spirits, and you know, a lot of our events, 80 percent of them, are on network television. That's a different challenge than other motorsports series have or other people might have. So, we have to understand that we've got to be in step, and that's not to say that our television partners are for or against allowing spirits. That's one thing that we've got to understand as we go along. Another is the hard liquor and cars have another element that you have to consider. And timing of such a thing, we're all going through now, the incident at the Super Bowl and other incidents where there's a real crackdown of what's, you know, broadcast on national television, how it's treated, how it's presented. There's a lot we have to consider before we just throw out a 30-‘year policy. And that's what we did consider. We looked at all of the circumstances that we thought Roush could provide. They did a nice job of laying out some things in the end. We think the timing is just not right now, and we're going to leave it at that and we'll review it down the road.
Q. And you're talking about the hard liquor situation relating to the television partners and some of the regulations there, how is that different from what you guys had to go through with the cigarette advertising? I know it wasn't too long ago that Jimmy Spencer had a car sponsored by Winston, how is that different from the hard liquor?
BRIAN FRANCE: Well, one of it was that we had tobacco starting in the early 70s before all of the restrictions and all of the things that eventually impacted the industry, the way it did in the 90s. They were already a partner of ours, unlike the spirits, where we have a policy where they are not in the sport. So that's the most important thing. And then you had all of that loyalty built up in a time when they didn't have any restrictions and they were just a normal company doing business to where that changed in the midst of them being a partner within the sport. So we had to look at that differently and we'd look at cigarettes coming into the sport out of the blue today differently. You have to look at all of the circumstances, but RJR was a great partner for a long time and you just can't dismiss that when restrictions swirl back and forth.
Scoring back to the last green flag lap:
Q. How much consideration is being given to scoring by the last completed green flag lap?
BRIAN FRANCE: We like what we have now in terms of, we know we are much more accurate going back to the last available loop. It's completely accurate, it's more current and if we should go back a full lap, and we've recently simplified that procedure, but to capture that , easy to understand, is one of our challenging when we tried to have a system where we used all available means to be even more current. But we are plenty current and plenty accurate enough and very simple with the current system we have, and you've seen that in the last two weeks and I think you'll see it continue to be simpler to understand and more accurate.
Car of the future:
Q. I just wanted to ask you a little bit about the Car of the Future thing, how that's progressing and do you see that probably coming to fruition by 2006 or maybe even before the end of next season? And where does all of that stand, is that a very important project for you and obviously it's a major change for the sport.
BRIAN FRANCE: Yes, it is. Mike Helton feels strongly about it, as does Gary Nelson and everybody who is working on it and they are doing good work. They are on schedule, and one of the challenges they have, this will be a project where we have reached out like never before to the industry, they have their input, their ideas, because we are all going to be living in this car for a long time. So there's a lot of work being done now to sit down with every crew chief, team owner, some drivers, and that's ongoing. We are hoping to get that car on the racetrack sometime next year, and then we are going to be announcing a phase-‘in system, as we've obviously got a lot of equipment that we've got to deal with that needs to be cycled out. So those are all timelines we are working on but the project is going great.
Q. So the only thing that's confusing me is if you brought it in in the middle of a season, basically everybody would have to switch cars in the middle of the season. That seems difficult at best. Is that really the plan, to do it that way, rather than try to do it at Daytona because it's such an aerodynamic track?
BRIAN FRANCE: We never said we were just going to drop it in in the middle of a season. You're right, we will have to be very intelligent about that. Although, you know, there are some tracks like Talladega being one and others; Atlanta is a very fast track where people are building certain cars for certain tracks maybe. But listen, those are all coming as we finalize the time line. You're right, we never just introduce it in the middle of a season and hope for the best. It would be a coordinated effort as we do unveil that car.
See the full transript/Q&A, with MUCH more at NASCAR.com.(6-30-2004)
New Assoc for Yates? UPDATE 3: hearing that Citibank (Citi Financial Group) has signed on as an associate sponsor for the #88 UPS / RYR Ford with driver Dale Jarrett, supposedly will be officially announced at Daytona next week.(6-23-2004) UPDATE: also hear the #38 will pick up associate sponsorship from Citibank.(6-27-2004) UPDATE 2 - RYR to try a Busch team again: Robert Yates Racing will add a Busch team to its stable for 2005. Yates will run Elliott Sadler, Dale Jarrett and a younger driver in the car. "Our drivers are interested in the companion knowledge that could be gained by running in the Busch races," Robert Yates says. Although a sponsor has not been announced, Citibank, which recently signed on as an associate sponsor on the #38 (Sadler) and #88 (Jarrett) Nextel Cup cars, could be a possibility.(FoxSports/SportingNews)(6-28-2004) UPDATE 3: Robert Yates, owner of Robert Yates Racing (RYR), announced a new partnership with CitiFinancial. Effective immediately, CitiFinancial is an associate sponsor of Robert Yates Racing, the #88 UPS race car driven by Dale Jarrett, and the #38 M&M’S race car driven by Elliott Sadler. CitiFinancial will be the exclusive financial service company for Robert Yates Racing. The partnership with Robert Yates Racing is CitiFinancial’s first foray into NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Racing. As part of the organization’s new
association with Robert Yates Racing, CitiFinancial decals will be part of the #88 and #38 paint schemes for the rest of the 2004
NASCAR season, beginning with this weekend’s NEXTEL Cup event at Daytona International Speedway. CitiFinancial, a member of Citigroup, the world’s largest financial services company, is the leading community-based lender in North America, serving more than 8 million customers through more than 2100 offices in 48 states and Canada. Additional information may be found at www.citifinancial.com.(6-30-2004)
Larry Mac's son wins at LMS: There were fireworks on and off the track Tuesday night during round three of the 10-week Hardee's Summer Shootout at Lowe's Motor Speedway as Brandon McReynolds and Donald Bond were the big winners. McReynolds, the 13-year-old son of former NASCAR crew chief and FOX television analyst Larry McReynolds, added his name to the list of feature winners in the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns division while Bond drove his GMC Syclone to victory in the One-on-One Spectator Races.
Thomas Van Wingerden of Huntersville, N.C., nudged pole-sitter Kyle Grissom [Steve's Son] up the track and out of the lead on the way to his first feature victory of the season in the Tom Johnson Camping Center Legends Car Pro division. Van Wingerden kept his cool following a seven-car crash on lap 16 that collected point leader and defending champion Michael Van Wingerden. Grissom settled for a second-place finish followed by Cliff Daniels.
Defending Quaker Steak & Lube Thunder Roadster champion Ryan Zeck of Harrisburg, N.C., needed only eight laps to go from worst to
first en route to grabbing his first victory of the season. Despite starting at the rear of the 20-car field, Zeck traded paint with point
leader Michael Van Wingerden, capitalized on several early caution flags and sliced his way to the front. Andrew Rogers and John Freeman rounded out the top three.
Charlotte's Andrew Rogers captured his first feature victory in the Raceape.com Legends Car Semi-Pro division.
Point leader Clay Hair went to the outside of the front row for a lap-13 restart and that decision proved to be the move of the night as he quickly grabbed the lead and won his second consecutive feature in the Holiday Inn University Legends Car Masters division for drivers
ages 40 and over. Hair pulled away to win by 10-car lengths with John Sossoman and Tom Van Wingerden following him across the stripe.
Kyle Fowler of Smyrna, Ga., won the TopChoice for Fire Ants Bandolero Bandits division feature in his first Hardee's Summer
Lexington, N.C., resident Bruce Benson II notched his second consecutive feature victory in the 20-lap run for the Premise Termite
Elimination Bandolero Outlaws [the series Jayski will run a few races in]. Benson took the lead on lap two and never looked back as he beat Jason Hayes and Artie Clever to the stripe in the division for drivers ages 16 and over.
The Hardee's Summer Shootout at Lowe's Motor Speedway continues on Tuesday night, July 6. Gates open at 5 p.m. with feature racing starting at 7:30. Call 1-800-455-FANS for ticket information or visit www.lowesmotorspeedway.com. Anyone interested i getting involved and racing in the Shootout, see 600racing.com.(6-30-2004)
June 29, 2004
Speed Channel added to XM Satellite NASCAR Radio: XM Satellite Radio announced that NASCAR Radio (XM Channel 144) is adding programming from the popular cable network SPEED Channel to its premier schedule of live NASCAR races, exclusive interviews, and call-in shows. NASCAR Radio, one of the most-listened-to channels on XM, now carries 11 programs produced by SPEED Channel, one of the nation's fastest-growing sports cable networks. The SPEED programming on NASCAR Radio includes NASCAR This Morning, Totally NASCAR, Pit Bull, NASCAR Victory Lane, NBS 24/7, Inside Nextel Cup, Trackside, NASCAR Edition Speed News, NASCAR Fast Forward, and Men Behind the Wrenches. As part of this new partnership, XM will be the presenting sponsor of the highly-rated SPEED program Pit Bull, which can be seen on SPEED and heard on XM every Saturday preceding a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at 6:30pm/et.
The SPEED Channel programs join NASCAR Radio's stellar line-up, which includes exclusive XM shows such as Dialed In, the enormously popular call-in program hosted by Charlotte-based reporter Claire B. Lang. Dialed In receives tens of thousands of calls each month as fans heat up the phone lines to talk about the latest NASCAR happenings. NASCAR Radio also carries every live race broadcast from Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Performance Racing Network (PRN), every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying session and race, every NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, and series and specials that you can only
hear on XM. NASCAR Radio, available exclusively on XM, is the first and only 24-hour radio channel dedicated to a single sport. For
more information about XM, visit (SPEED Channel)(6-29-2004)
Wyoming Attorney Cleared In Earnhardt Seat Belt Case: The Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled that a lawyer hired to sue NASCAR for blaming a seat belt for Dale Earnhardt's death did not commit an ethics violation. The justices did not find evidence that Robert Horn had violated a Wyoming State Bar rule against representing different clients in the same or related cases if they have competing interests. The high court also affirmed that Simpson Performance Products (SPP) of Charlotte owes Horn about $20,000 in legal fees. SPP made the seat belt Earnhardt was wearing when he died in a crash at the 2001 Daytona 500. NASCAR officials blamed Earnhardt's death in part on seat belt failure. SPP then hired Horn to look into suing NASCAR. The company did not file suit, but company founder Bill Simpson sued in 2002, after he left the company. Horn represented Simpson and the company.(WRAL.com/AP)(6-29-2004)
Road Race Laps Led - Gordon now fifth all-time: Jeff Gordon led 92 laps Sunday in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 [a new track record]. In doing so he became only the fifth driver to lead more than 500 road-course laps in his career. Gordon has now led 521 laps on road courses and trails only Cale Yarborough (609), Dan Gurney (696), Richard Petty (885) and Bobby Allison (1,025) in that category.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-29-2004)
Biffle going for Back-to-back: Roush Racing's Greg Biffle will be shooting for his second straight Pepsi 400 victory at Daytona International Speedway. Only four drivers -- Glenn "Fireball" Roberts (1962-1963), A.J. Foyt (1964-1965), Cale Yarborough (1967-1968) and David Pearson (1972-1974) - have been able to capture back-to-back victories in the mid-summer classic.(DIS PR)(6-29-2004)
Daytona double: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will try to pull off the Daytona double and win the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400 in the same year. It won't be an easy feat for Earnhardt Jr. as only Bobby Allison (1982), LeeRoy Yarbrough (1969), Cale Yarborough (1968) and Fireball Roberts (1962) have been able to win the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400 in the same year. In February, Earnhardt Jr. held off Tony Stewart and Scott Wimmer to capture his first triumph in the "Great American Race." Also in Speedweeks 2004,
Earnhardt Jr. captured the Hershey's 300 NASCAR Busch Series race, a Gatorade 125-mile qualifier and finished second in the Budweiser Shootout.(DIS PR)(6-29-2004)
20th Anniversary Of Petty's 200th: During pre-race ceremonies for the Pepsi 400, the 20th anniversary of Richard Petty's 200th NASCAR victory will be celebrated with Petty taking the checkered flag in his famous #43 Pontiac. Petty, NASCAR's all-time wins leader, will also receive several special gifts and awards as Daytona International Speedway recreates a landmark moment in the history of NASCAR. Petty, driving his famous #43 STP Pontiac, captured his 200th and final NASCAR victory in the 1984 Pepsi Firecracker 400, all with the late President Ronald Reagan in attendance. Petty nipped Cale Yarborough at the start/finish line to take the white flag and the yellow flag to secure the milestone victory.(DIS PR)(6-29-2004)
Raines in the #23 at Daytona UPDATE: Tony Raines will drive a second [#23] car for Bill Davis Racing at Daytona next weekend. Dave Blaney had driven the car until leaving to join Richard Childress Racing full time.(Roanoke Times)(6-26-2004) AND Raines will supposedly also run at Indy in the Brickyard 400 for Davis in the #23 Dodge.(6-29-2004)
Big names in Racing movie UPDATE: Heard earlier this week that while in California Darrell Waltrip, Richard Petty and Humpy Wheeler recorded their parts for the new Pixar movie that comes out in the Fall of 2005. The title is called "Cars". No word on the plot line but all characters are cars and naturally it is based around racing. Pixar has produced blockbuster after blockbuster animated movies starting with "Toy Story" and most recently "Finding Nemo".(6-27-2004) UPDATE: the movie is about a collection of classic automobiles set out for adventure on Route 66. Also, voices include: Bonnie Hunt, Paul Newman, John Ratzenberger, Larry The Cable Guy and Owen Wilson.(6-29-2004)
McClure tunes up for Nextel Cup with LPR win: Eric McClure tuned up for his attempt to qualify for his second career NASCAR Nextel Cup race by taking a first and second in the Late Model division twin 50-lap races Saturday at Lonesome Pine Raceway. The LPR appearance was the first for McClure in four weeks. After finishing 26th in his Nextel Cup debut in the April running of the Aaron's 499 at Talladega, McClure hopes to make the field for Saturday's running of the Pepsi 400 at Daytona.(Coalfield.com)(6-29-2004)
Harvick and KISS at RIR: #29-Kevin Harvick in Cup, #6-Matt Crafton in Trucks and #2-Ron Hornaday in the Busch Series will run paint schemes adorning the rock group [and Jayski fave - 24 CD's] KISS. These special paints are scheduled to be run at the Chevy Rock and Roll weekend at Richmond in September. See an image of the #29 on my #29 Team Paint Schemes page.(6-11-2004) UPDATE: Rock and Roll all Night....party every day.... NASCAR Busch Series driver Ron Hornaday, fresh off his win this past
weekend in Milwaukee, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Matt Crafton, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the rock group KISS, Executives from Chevrolet, Warner Music Group, Action Performance Companies, Inc., and Richmond International Raceway will hold a press conference on Tuesdaym June 29th as KISS will be featured on Hornaday's #2 AC Delco, Crafton's #6 Chevy truck and Kevin
Harvick's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy during the September 9-11 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 weekend at Richmond International Raceway. For the second straight year, the Chevy Rock & Roll weekend will feature concerts and special paint schemes featuring some of the most popular musical artists around. The concert lineup for race weekend and participation from other
bands will be announced in the near future.(RIR PR)(6-29-2004)
Stewart goes after Vickers UPDATE: #20-Tony Stewart again finds himself in the middle of controversy, this time involved in an alleged physical confrontation with rookie #25-Brian Vickers. Following Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, Stewart brought his #20 Chevrolet to a rest on pit road, exited his car and hurried quickly to Vicker's car. Witnesses said the two engaged in what appeared to be an amicable conversation at first, with Stewart leaning over the driver's-side window of Vicker's car. After a few moments, Stewart became quite animated, began reaching into the car and tried to pull Vickers out, witnesses said. Members of Vicker's team quickly grabbed Stewart and hustled him away from the car. Stewart and Vickers both made a trip to the NASCAR hauler after the race. Late Sunday, NASCAR President Mike Helton said the sanctioning body was still gathering information about the incident. Vickers, who remained at the track well after Sunday's race while Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon celebrated the win, said he had no idea why Stewart was upset. "He hit me earlier in the race and then he wrecked us in Turn 11 and that's why we spun there. Then after the race he came over to the car and then it just went from there. "I was still strapped in the car with my helmet off. He came after me in the car. He reached for me and knocked the breath out of me. It was not a fist and he didn't hit me in the face." Vickers said he laughed when Stewart yelled at him because he had no idea why Stewart was so angry. "He said that I laughed about the situation and when I laughed I pissed him off and that's why he did it. I'm not going to lie to him and say that I didn't smile about it," Vickers said. "Somebody is upset at me because they wrecked me and I thought it was funny."(ThatsRacin.com)(6-28-2004) AND from a Raybestos ROTY report/PR: BRIAN VICKERS, #22 GMAC CHEVROLET:
NOTES: Vickers finished 22nd and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the fourth time this season.
WHAT WAS TONY STEWART SO UPSET ABOUT?
"To be honest with you, I have no idea why he is upset. He hit me earlier in the race and then he wrecked us in turn 11 and that's why we spun there. Then after the race he came over to the car and then it just went from there."
YOU WERE STILL SITTING IN THE CAR?
"I was still strapped in the car with my helmet off."
WAS HE YELLING AT YOU?
"At first it was a discussion about why he hit me and I thought it was kind of funny. I was trying to figure out why he was coming to me, mad at me, when he hit me. I was a little confused there and I thought it was kind of funny and that's when he came in the car
WHAT DID NASCAR SAY ABOUT ALL THAT?
"You'll have to ask them for that. That's a question that you will have to ask NASCAR."
WHAT PREVENTED IT FROM GETTING OUT OF HAND?
"My team grabbed him off and pulled him off of me. He came after me in the car. He reached for me and knocked the breath out of me. Here's the deal: it was not a fist and he did not hit me in the face. He hit the armrest and he reached in the car and he grabbed me in the chest and when he did he hit me. It was kind of open-palm, grabbed my shirt. It was hard enough to knock the breath out
of me and then he tried to pull me out of the car and that's when my guys grabbed me."
DID STEWART APOLOGIZE WHEN YOU GUYS MET WITH NASCAR AFTER THE RACE?
"He said that I laughed about the situation and when I laughed it pissed him off and that's why he did it. I said 'Yeah, I did laugh. I
thought it was funny that you were mad at me because you wrecked me.' I thought it was funny. I'm not going to lie to him and say that I didn't smile about it. That's how I was raised. This is not a situation that I'm going to make a big deal out of. Somebody is upset at me because they wrecked me and I thought it was funny. He was always behind me. I never passed him, I was never behind him."
HAVE YOU EVER HAD A PROBLEM WITH TONY BEFORE TODAY?
"No, actually Tony I get along. Well, we used to [laughs]. We used to get along fine, actually, I guess as well as can be."
ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC THAT THINGS WILL SORT THEMSELVES OUT?
"I'm sure NASCAR will do the right thing. I'm sure they will handle the situation. They'll take care of it. If this happened at a restaurant, it would be my problem to handle. This happened at their racetrack and they're running the deal. It's their problem to handle and I'm sure they'll do the right thing. Right now, I'm looking forward to next weekend. What happens down the road happens. Am I happy with the guy right now? No, not really but I'm not going to make a big deal out of it. That's NASCAR's job to penalize people for things like that, not mine. Whatever NASCAR decides is their decision and I' support them in whatever they do."(Camp and Assoc.) AND II After his visit to the NASCAR hauler Sunday, Stewart left without comment. But he and Vickers did speak afterward.(see another story at NASCAR.com)(6-28-2004) UPDATE: Tony Stewart could get word today or Wednesday from NASCAR officials about his run-in with rookie Brian Vickers after Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-29-2004)
June 28, 2004
Sonoma TV Ratings Match 2003: Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 from Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., drew a 4.8 overnight rating and a 10 share from Nielsen Media Research, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. The figures are identical to the overnight numbers from 2003, when the race wound up with final figures of 4.8/11.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(6-28-2004)
Cope in the #94 at Daytona: Derrike Cope will be running at Daytona this weekend in the Pepsi 400. Cope says, "I will be driving the WW Motorsports #94 Dodge this weekend at Daytona. It’s a brand new super speedway car of mine that has never been on the track, so we are going down cold. We’ll be running a Joey Arrington restrictor plate engine in our Dodge. We anticipate doing some dyno testing this week in preparation for Daytona. We are pleased to have Racer’s Edge Sports Drink as our sponsor at Daytona. Our goal, obviously, is to make the field and to have a productive showing. We are planning to run at Chicago the following week in the Tropicana 400. After that, our schedule is not finalized."(Derrike Cope site), WW Motorsports Chevy's were being driven by Stanton Barrett in some Cup races,(6-28-2004)
Rudd at Kentucky: #21-Ricky Rudd is scheduled to test the #21 Motorcraft/ Air Force Ford for the Wood Brothers at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, July 29th. Fans can watch from the front of the Turn 3 Fan Center. Schedule subject to change daily.(Kentucky Speedway site)(6-28-2004)
No Spolier Cut for 2004, lose an inch for 2005: NASCAR officials have decided against cutting the rear spoiler a half-inch at midseason and another half-inch at the end of the year, series spokesperson Mike Zizzo said Saturday. Instead, NASCAR will cut the rear spoiler one inch after the season. Zizzo said that NASCAR decided not to cut the rear spoiler this season because series officials are pleased with the competition. Also, series officials don't want to burden teams with additional costs adjusting to the new rear spoiler, such as more wind tunnel testing. The rear spoiler was 6 1/4 inches at the end of the 2003 season. NASCAR cut it to 5 1/2 inches for this season. The spoiler will be 4 1/2 inches for next season if NASCAR follows through on this plan.(Roanoke Times)(6-28-2004)
No IRL Team for Stewart? Indy 500 in....2010? Tony Stewart is back to saying he has no intention of competing in the 2005 Indianapolis 500 or starting an Indy Racing League team. After showing up on bump day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month and toying with the idea of attempting to qualify an A.J. Foyt Racing car, Stewart said he would come back next year and do it for real. But asked about it before his 15th-place finish Sunday in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, Stewart said he got carried away by "Indy fever."
"I would love to do it for the fans, but I just can't," the Columbus, Ind., native said. "It's too much of a hassle. There's nothing in my contract (with Joe Gibbs Racing) that says I can't do it, but there's no way I can and be fair to these guys here." Stewart said the next possibility is 2010, when the new contract he signed last year with Gibbs will have expired. He'll be 39 then. He also backed off his comments of a few weeks ago, when he said he has considered buying an IRL team or starting one. "I'm not working on it and haven't done anything about it," he said. "I've got three full-time (U.S. Auto Club) teams and one World of Outlaws team. That's plenty to keep me busy."(Indianapolis Star)(6-28-2004)
Petty Movie News: Disney's movie on the Petty family, once projected to be in theatres this year, has had its script rewritten. Bill Scott, executive vice president at Petty Enterprises, says the plan is for the movie to begin shooting late this year or early next year. Scott said that would lead to a release in early 2006. Scott says he's not sure if filming will take place in North Carolina. "North Carolina has not stepped up to the plate in terms of tax breaks for movie productions like some of the states, even Georgia and South Carolina have," Scott said. "I think that's going to be an issue. If they're going to save millions of dollars by shooting somewhere else, as much as we at Petty Enterprises and Richard and the family want them to do it in North Carolina, those are not calls that we make. Hopefully, the North Carolina film commission and the legislature will do something to really make it economically feasible to do in North Carolina."(Roanoke Times), see past news on many NASCAR themed movies on my NASCAR Movies page.(6-28-2004)
Longer Road Races? Ford team owner [#'s 6,16,17,97,99] Jack Roush said he would prefer that the Nextel Cup Series’ two annual road races were longer. “I think it would be beneficial to hold these races for longer than 180 miles,” said Roush. “For many years I competed in endurance racing, and it would be a positive, I think, if we had an incentive to make these cars durable.” The actual length of Sunday’s race was 218.9 miles. During the 1960s and ‘70s, NASCAR held races on the road course in Riverside, Calif., that were 500 miles. Roush suggested a length of 350 miles for the races at Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen.(Gaston Gazette)(6-28-2004)
What happened to the Lucky Dog Pass? NASCAR announced Sunday it was eliminating the use of the "free pass" - allowing the first car not on the lead lap to return to lead lap under each caution - for both road course events this season. Generally the length and slow speeds of a road course make it unusual for cars to fall off the lead lap. NASCAR officials also cited the length of time to bring the car around the field as a reason not to use it on the road courses.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-28-2004)
Said To Race Nextel Cup: #36-Boris Said told Insider Racing News that he will drive a minimum of three more races in NASCAR Nextel Cup this season and possibly more will come out of the meeting this week. Currently it looks like Watkins Glen, Brickyard 400 at Indy and Fontana with the MB2/MBV Motorsports team and teammates Scott Riggs & Joe Nemechek. The sponsor will continue to be CENTRIX Financial, LLC, the Official Auto Finance Company of NASCAR . Said, stated that if not with him, he was sure CENTRIX would be around the sport for some time to come.(Insider Racing News)(6-28-2004)
New Pit Road Speeding System: Greg Biffle wants NASCAR to develop a more accurate system to record the speed of cars coming down pit road. Biffle was busted for speeding in the Busch race at Kentucky, and it cost him the race. Although NASCAR contends Biffle was clocked at well over the 45-mph speed limit on pit road, Biffle insists he maintained the required speed and that officials using stopwatches don't produce precise speed measurements. Biffle might get his wish soon. NASCAR sources have told the Sporting News a new timing and scoring system is in the works.(FoxSports/SportingNews)(6-28-2004)
Green, Petty Team Complete All 110 Laps - means...a lot of books: Petty Enterprises and Cheerios made it a storybook finish at Infineon Raceway in Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Nextel Cup race. By completing all 110 laps of Sunday's race, Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios Dodge team earned a donation of 4,730 books to families in the San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento areas. Cheerios had pledged a 10,000-book bonus if Green finished in the top 10. "Because of the effort Jeff and the Cheerios Dodge guys had all day, we want to go ahead and donate the bonus anyway," said Greg Zimprich, a spokesman for Cheerios. So, a total of 14,730 books will be donated by Cheerios and First Books, a national children's literacy program. 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. 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)(6-28-2004)
Harvick Wins - Bill Elliott Second at Mesa Marin: Kevin Harvick, flew three NASCAR Nextel drivers to Mesa Marin Raceway, Harvick's home track in Bakersfield, CA., on Saturday for the Kyle Carter - McMillin Homes Race of Champions presented by Cingular Wireless and Young Wooldridge. Mesa Marin Raceway, is a high banked 1/2 mile paved oval with turns banked 17 degrees and 7 degrees banking in the straights. After an autograph session, the four took to the track with Harvick winning by a bumper over Bill Elliott, Sterling Marlin was third and Scott Riggs finished fourth.(Insider Racing News)(6-28-2004)
Sad News: NHRA drag racer Darrell Russell died Sunday night from injuries suffered in a violent crash during the Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway. Russell, a 35-year-old native of Hockley, Texas, had just lost to Scott Kalitta in the second round of eliminations when his Top Fuel dragster crashed while running about 300 mph at the end of the quarter-mile strip at Gateway International Raceway. The crash occurred around 7:30pm/et. Just less than two hours later Graham Light, NHRA senior vice president of racing operations, announced to the media that Russell had died at St. Louis University Hospital. Russell is the first participant to be killed in competition at an NHRA national event since Blaine Johnson died in a crash during a qualifying run at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis in 1996.(see full story at ThatsRacin.com)(6-28-2004)
Said wins at Infineon [Trans Am] Boris Said, who pulled a unique double-double Sunday. He finished sixth in Sunday's Cup race, then moved to another car and won the Trans-Am series race at Infineon that followed.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-28-2004)
Co-winners declared in Pikes Peak climb: Robby Unser [has driven in the Truck Series] and Paul Dallenbach [Wally's brother] were both declared the overall winners of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on Sunday because officials were not sure the racing's timing equipment was reliable.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-28-2004)