Stewart wins at Chicagoland: #20-Tony Stewart won the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in a backup car, his first win of 2004 and first since his win at Lowe's Motor Speedway last October, 22 races wins ago. It is Stewart's 18th career win. The big controvery came after the 4th caution on lap 127, when #9-Kahne was leading, with Stewart starting 3rd behind #40-Marlin, passed Marlin after the restart on the outside and cam up to the rear of Kahne, who seemed to checkup and Stewart didn't, Stewart hit Kahne in the rear bumber, who spun and hit head-on into the turn one wall. A bit of a brawl then ensued on pit road between the #9 and #20 crews, sending the #20 car chief to the infield care center for scapes and minor injuries. A few #9 crewmen tried to make their way to victory lane, but were not allowed in security. The rest of the top five were #48-Jimmie Johnson, #88-Dale Jarrett, #24-Jeff Gordon [was at one point a lap down and way off the pace] and #19-Jeremy Mayfield.
The Stewart-Kahne incident as reported by ThatsRacin.com:
Rookie Kasey Kahne was leading on the restart on Lap 127, but the first car in line because several cars were on the tail end of the lead lap and lined up ahead of Kahne. Stewart was second, Sterlin Marlin third [after the pass], Jeremy Mayfield fourth and Jimmie Johnson fifth. As the cars took the green flag, Stewart moved to the outside to pass [Marlin] and ran up on Kahne, hitting him from behind. Kahne went into the wall, which triggered an eight-car wreck and placed the race back under caution. The crews of Kahne and Stewart began scuffling on pit road, causing NASCAR to call Kahne's crew chief, Tommy Baldwin, and Stewart's crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, to be called to the hauler. Baldwin made one visit while the race continued on. Kahne's owner, Ray Evernham, was incensed NASCAR issued no penalty for Stewart's action. He argued with NASCAR officials over the lack of penalty as the race restarted. "That's just Tony Stewart doing what he's been doing all year, driving like a moron, you know? There's no reason to do that stuff," Baldwin said. "He gets away with it all he wants, and all NASCAR does is fine him. He's got plenty of money. The guy needs to sit out a race." Race Re-Air: Speed Channel, Wednesday, July 14th at 3:00pm/et.
Race Rundown on Jayski's Chicago Race Info/Rundown page.
Race Results at: Jayski's Chicago Race Results from NASCAR ThatsRacin.com Motorsports One NASCAR.com.(7-11-2004)
Race Notes - Chicago:
Tony Stewart has finished third (2002), second (2003) and first (2004) in his last three races at Chicagoland Speedway.
Stewart led five times for 160 laps including the final 27 of the 267 laps raced in the 2004 Tropicana 400, leading the most laps for the fourth time in 2004.
Jimmie Johnson (second) scored his 13th top-five finish in 2004, the most of all drivers. It was his 14th top-10 finish of the season. He remained first in the point standings for the fifth time in his career. Johnson ranked first in the standings after Kansas City in September 2002 and first in the last four races. Johnson scored his best finish in his three races, at Chicagoland Speedway. Johnson finished fourth (2002), third (2003) and second (2004).
New Modern Era DNF Record: Kevin Harvick (10th) extended his streak of running at the finish in 57 straight races, a streak that began at Rockingham in November 2002. He set a modern era record (since 1972) in eclipsing the old record of 56 held by Jeff Gordon: Bristol - March-2001 through Darlington-September 2002.
Matt Kenseth has ranked in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 for 53 straight races.
Jeff Gordon has posted four straight Bud Poles: Pocono, Michigan, Infineon and Chicagoland. The last driver to score five straight Bud Poles was Cale Yarbrough at Nashville, Dover, Charlotte, Texas and Riverside - May 10 through June 8, 1980.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-11-2004)
Stock Car Fans - Rumblings - Chicagoland: #20-Tony Stewart broke through today and won his first race of the season, and to no one's surprise, the win was fraught with controversy. Oh, not that he didn't have the best car (he led 160 of 267
laps)....it was more who you talked to.... In the hometown of Jake & Elwood Blues, Tony took today's Tropicana 400 presented by Meijer at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet....and for just a moment you'd have thought there were a pile of those big Black & White's in turn one chasing those guys in black suits and sunglasses. Tony bumped the back of Kasey Kahne on a restart and all heck broke loose, and I don't mean just on the track. We had a full-fledged melee in the pits (tho most of the guys I saw on the ground were NASCAR officials... holding down Tommy Baldwin), and we hadn't seen one of those in awhile. But, it's nice to know that NASCAR is still in control.
When it was over Tony was standing in Victory Lane for the first time since he won at Lowe's Motor Speedway last October and the 18th time of his Cup career (he's tied for 33rd on the all-time win list with Geoffrey Bodine, Neil Bonnett, and Harry Gant). He's the 10th
different winner of the season (last year we had 17), and this was win #41 for Joe Gibbs Racing. The victory was worth $336,803 from the over $5.7M in posted awards.
#5-Terry Labonte (6th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Martinsville last October.
#01-Joe Nemechek (8th) had his best finish since he was 6th in the Daytona 500.
#1- John Andretti (16th) had his best finish since he was 13th in the Daytona 500 (only 4 races).
STREAKIN....Jimmie Johnson has 11 Top-10's in the last 12 races.
Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-5's in the last 5 races.
The Rookie Report: Brian Vickers (14th) is the top-finishing first year driver for the 6th time this season (just one behind Kasey Kahne). He was followed by: Scott Wimmer (23rd), Scott Riggs (29th), Brendan Gaughan (30th), and Kahne (36th).
This Week's Elevator....UP: The Operator of the Week is Michael Waltrip (+30), followed by Dale Jarrett (+26), and Sterling Marlin (+25). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kasey Kahne (-34), followed by Jeff Burton (-27), Ryan Newman (-26), and Mike Bliss (-24). This is Op #4 for Waltrip, trailing only Matt Kenseth who's captured that award five times this season.
Kevin Lepage led today for the first time since he led once for one lap at Phoenix last November. He's the 44th different driver to lead a lap this season....last years number was 48.
Jimmie Johnson padded his points lead today....he's now up 105 over Little E. Take a look at the current standings.....how farcical is it gonna be if the 10th place driver (who could be over 600 points behind the leader after Richmond) wins the Nextel Cup Championship? Like that 400 point deal meant anything, turn the calendar and gain 550 points or more!
Dale Jarrett (15th to 12th) made the best move forward today, while Kasey Kahne (11th to 14th) fell the most spots. Jeremy Mayfield is just 65 markers out of the final transfer spot (the only excitement we're allowed to have at this point in the season).
Jimmie Johnson's "Magic Number" is now 16.....that's the spot he needs to finish to guarantee a spot in the "Chase". A nice move from the 11th spot where it was after last week's event.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(7-11-2004)
Wallace and Jones to split #50 gig: on an XM Satellite NASACR Radio 144 interview, Mike Wallace said his next scheduled race with the #50 Arnold Motorsports team is at New Hamphire on July 25th. Wallace said he and P.J. Jones will split time driving with the team. Look for Wallace in at Talladega and Jones at Pocono and Watkins Glen and see where it shapes up from there.(7-11-2004)
Fox TV Ratings Down II: Fox reports that its NASCAR Nextel Cup ratings dropped three percent this season, as NBC and TNT take over broadcasting the rest of the Cup season with today's race at Chicagoland Speedway. Greensboro, N.C., was the nation's No.1 market with a 15.9 rating and a 30 share for Fox's broadcasts. A rating point is the percentage of TVs tuned to a program relative to the total number of TVs. A share represents the percentage of all TVs turned on that is tuned to that program. Norfolk's ratings dropped 9 percent. Norfolk's rating was 9.1 with a 17 share. After Greensboro, the top five markets were Greenville, S.C. (13.6 rating), Charlotte (12.7), Dayton, Ohio, (10.9) and Knoxville, Tenn. (10.2). Overall, Fox's rating this season was 5.6, down from the 5.8 the network had each of the last three seasons. A rating point equals 1.08 million homes. Fox's ratings were down 9 percent through the season's first three races. Network officials blamed the off weekend after the season-opening Daytona 500 for disrupting viewer patterns. After Darlington in March, the network reported a 2 percent increase in the next nine races before dropping at Daytona last weekend. NBC's ratings dropped two percent last year but could show an increase this season with NASCAR's new season-ending 10-race championship format.(Ronaoke Times)(7-11-2004)
Pit Road Rules Cleared Up: NASCAR cleared up some of its timing and scoring issues when cars are caught on pit road when a caution is displayed. NASCAR will revert to the method it used prior to the implementation of its "freezing the field" policy to score such cars. "It's very simple, it is where your car is on pit road when the caution comes out, not where you pit," NASCAR President Mike Helton said. If a car is ahead of the start/finish line when the caution comes out, it will remain on the lap it was on when it headed down pit road. If a car is beyond the start/finish line, to remain on its original lap it must beat the race leader to the pit exit line. However, a race leader must still slow when a caution is displayed and any driver on pit road cannot travel faster than the announced speed limit. "We are not going to promote speeding," Helton said. Since implementing its no-racing-back-to-the-caution policy last season, NASCAR has attempted to utilize electronic scoring to place cars into the running order when they were caught on pit road when a caution was displayed. The revised method of scoring began in Saturday's Busch Series race at Chicago.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-11-2004)
Nadeau back in racing...spotting:Jerry Nadeau, spotted for fellow Connecticut native Todd Szegedy [#7] in yesterday's Busch Series race at Chicagoland. Nadeau still is recovering from the head injury he suffered May 2, 2003 at Richmond.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-11-2004)
Biffle rumors continue: Rumors persist that Greg Biffle is looking to exit his contract with Roush Racing and the #16 Ford at the close of this year. The lead candidate to pick up Biffle is the #1 DEI Chevy.(Motorsport.com), JAYSKI Note: Biffle continues to say he is signed thru 2005 [see #16 Team page] and DEI announced that a sponsor was forthcoming for the #1 Chevy and John Andretti would drive the car in 2005 and 2006 [see #1 Team page].(7-11-2004)
McMurray and Gibbs? UPDATE 2: hearing conflicting reports that Jamie McMurray, driver of the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge for Ganassi Racing has either.....talked to Joe Gibbs Racing [JGR], is rumored to have talked to JGR or JGR wants to talk to McMurray, but has not..yet.....about the new #11 Fed-Ex team gig for 2005. McMurray is either in his option year or still has one or two [Ganassi] options years left on his contract.(7-7-2004) UPDATE: The day's top story swirled around the Chip Ganassi and Joe Gibbs teams, with reports that Jamie McMurray may have been talking with the Gibbs team about becoming a teammate with Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte next season, driving for Gibbs' new third team, to be sponsored by FedEx. McMurray downplayed the reports. "You can't believe everything you hear on that deal," he said. "I thought Greg Biffle was going there. "I don't know anything about it. I haven't talked with Joe Gibbs. I am under contract. So I probably couldn't go there, not if I'm under contract." Andy Graves, general manager for Ganassi, says McMurray hadn't expressed any dissatisfaction to the team but conceded he had heard speculation of a McMurray-to-Gibbs move. "I've heard that rumor since Michigan (in mid-June)," Graves said. "But he's under contract to us and he hasn't said anything to us that he wants to get out. So I don't know if Joe and those guys have talked with him or just want to talk with him. I really don't know what the deal is, to be honest. If there has been contact between Gibbs and Jamie I don't know. But Jamie hasn't come to us and said 'I want out. I'm unhappy,' or anything like that. The only thing I can think of is that maybe Gibbs is trying to stir something up in retaliation for that deal with Tony Stewart last year." That was the debate over Ganassi possibly hiring Stewart after Stewart's contract with Gibbs ran out at the end of 2004. Stewart discussed signing with Ganassi until signing a new contract [thru 2009] with Gibbs. Gibbs, J. D. Gibbs, and general manager Jimmy Makar were all unavailable for comment on the McMurray situation. Sources close to the situation said it was unlikely Ganassi would be willing to let McMurray out of his contract [Jayski Note: been told Ganassi holds the option on McMurray for 2005].(Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2004) UPDATE 2: Jamie McMurray's name continues to pop up as a possible driver for the #11 Fed-Ex Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy in 2005. McMurray has no contractual obligation to the #42 Ganassi Dodge after the end of this season.(Motorsport.com), JAYSKI Note: however, sources tell me that Ganassi holds the contract option on McMurray for 2005.(7-11-2004)
Crews waiting for Pemberton: Stock-car crews are anxiously awaiting Robin Pemberton's takeover as NASCAR vice president for competition, and NASCAR executives want him in place by Aug. 1, which means that Ford officials have to find a replacement by then, too.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-11-2004)
North Carolina NASCAR Plates UPDATE: The North Carolina House or Representatives approved a themed license plate that would allow NASCAR fans to display the number and signature of their favorite driver. Proceeds from sales of the $30 plates would go to the nonprofit North Carolina Motorsports Association, which helps promote the industry, among other duties.(St Petersburg Times)(7-9-2004) UPDATE: North Carolina Lawmakers signed off on a new series of license plates Friday that will have the car numbers, logos and signatures of at least 28 drivers. If Gov. Mike Easley signs the measure, the plates could be available in a matter of months. Each will cost $50. North Carolina has more than 100 custom tag designs, from ones that honor the Great Smoky Mountains to those backing UNC Charlotte and the Carolina Panthers. But the stock car racing plates were among the most complicated to get approved. The money raised from the state's current plates goes to state programs, such as highway beautification funds and to charities. The NBA and NFL donate the use of their team logos. NASCAR teams, however, wanted royalties, lawmakers said. After more than a year of negotiating, the teams agreed to donate proceeds to the North Carolina Motor Sports Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit that funds head injury research, tourism and a variety of other activities, lawmakers said. So will Easley sign off on the plates? The governor's office has touted his ties to NASCAR, including the time his press office said he "brushed the retaining wall" test-driving a race car at Lowe's Motor Speedway last year. Pictures of him running laps appear on his re-election Web site. But the office wouldn't say whether Easley would approve the bill Friday. He'll review it, his spokeswoman said.(Charlotte Observer)(7-11-2004)
NetZero Team hosts Ronald McDonald Families: Ward Burton and Busch Series driver Jason Leffler hosted three children from Chicago-area Ronald McDonald House programs and their families Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway. Joining Haas CNC Racing and the NetZero Racing team on Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway were three families who have benefited from the support of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and the Ronald McDonald House programs located near Chicago Children's Memorial Hospital, the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center: the Voehls from Seward, Nebraska; the Bartolinis from Lake Station, Indiana; and the Goebels from Sandwich, Illinois. Burton and Leffler had the opportunity to meet with all three families prior to the Busch Series race on Saturday afternoon. Nine-year-old Tim Voehl and his family are currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House near Loyola Medical Center, while four-year-old Kyle Bartolini and Jessica Goebel, 8, are former residents of the other Chicago Ronald McDonald House programs. To give back and help
support families dealing with the hospitalization and treatment of their ill child, a situation they uniquely understand, the Goebel family now volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House near Children’s Memorial Hospital as weekend managers. Ronald McDonald House Charities is the official charity of United Online, a leading provider of value-priced Internet service and the parent company of NetZero HiSpeed Internet service. For more information about Ronald McDonald House Charities, visit www.rmhc.org.(NetZero Racing PR)(7-11-2004)
July 10, 2004
New pit crew member for the #8 UPDATE: After problems on pit road again last week Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pit crew has a new look at Chicagoland. Car chief Tony Eury Jr. says the Bud Chevy team has a new rear tire changer. Eury says it’s hard to find a talented tire changer that won’t get screwed up if something small happens during a pit stop. Our main focus is to have a top five pit crew when it comes down to 10 races to go.”(PRN's Garage Pass radio show) UPDATE: Crew chief Tony Eury Sr. said Friday that Jay Guarneri will change rear tires, replacing Shannon Myers. Guarneri changed tires for Earnhardt last season before being replaced by Myers, who will move to the crew for #1-John Andretti. Eury said other changes could be coming. He said that gasman Jeff Clarke, who left the team after last season to start his own [motorcycle] business, has indicated a willingness to return and Eury might take him up on it.(Roanoke Times)(7-10-2004)
It's baaack....Gordon to F1? Jeff Gordon is again the subject of more hot Formula One rumors, this time linking him to a possible ride with the super-star Williams team and with [F1 Head] Bernie Ecclestone possibly willing to pay part of the salary. The Formula One series is increasingly desperate to sign a top American driver in order to improve its lackluster TV ratings in the U.S., and Gordon is widely seen as the most obvious choice. However Gordon says he feels he's too old, though only 32. Nevertheless, he's become friends with Formula One team owner Frank Williams, who is in the market for a new driver, to replace Juan Montoya and Ralf Schumacher. And Williams has three major U.S. sponsors, Budweiser, FedEx and Hewlett-Packard. Would Gordon be interested in asking for a full F-1 test? Gordon says he hasn't talked with Williams or Ecclestone in the last few weeks. "I'm not really in a position to want to do that or going to do that," Gordon said. "I love the sport and would love to pursue it, but I'm so deep into NASCAR that it would be really hard to pull that off. But I never say never ... though Rick (Hendrick) might. I always like to laugh at these opportunities that were never there when I was young enough to be able to make that move. Now I'm into my 30s and implanted into this sport, and it would be a very difficult thing to pull off. And I don't even know if I could drive those cars. But it sure was fun doing it last year, and it sure is fun talking about it. But who knows what the reality of that is." Gordon says he doesn't mind the Formula One questions at all. "I love it, I love it, I don't mind it. I wish it was true. I wouldn't change going from a winning situation over here to anything that wasn't a good team or good car." Williams, though, would meet that requirement, he said. "It is very difficult to walk away from this. I love where I'm at. I've got a group of guys that works extremely hard. They look up to me, and I look up to them. It would be hard to walk away from that. I have had talks, and I have had interest there, but I have had no offers. I really don't think it's a realistic thing."(more at the Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2004)
Green Flag Finishes Announcement soon? UPDATE: Sometime after Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Chicagoland and before the July 25 race at New Hampshire, NASCAR officials are expected to announce a plan that will guarantee green-flag finishes the remainder of the season. The idea is to give drivers a chance to adjust to the change before the 10-race “Chase for the Championship” begins Sept. 19 at New Hampshire.
Plans NASCAR is considering for mandatory green-flag finishes in Nextel Cup events:
• Green-white-checkered: A one-time, two-lap dash after the final caution.
• Green-green-white-checkered: A one-time, three-lap dash after the final caution.
• Multiple green-white-checkered: A two-lap dash after the final caution with the option to restart if caution comes out during the first lap of the dash.(The State)(7-9-2004) UPDATE: Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said NASCAR has not decided on any one plan to ensure green-flag finishes. NASCAR has been considering several options, including the two-lap shootout plan currently used in the Craftsman Truck Series. The shootout is race extended in two-lap increments until there is a green-flag finish. Another option is a one-time shot at a green-flag finish using a three-lap shootout. If a caution comes out during the shootout, then the race would end under caution. A new policy could be in effect in time for the July 25 race at New Hampshire.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-10-2004)
Four Tracks left to conquer for Gordon...including Chicago: Along with Phoenix, Texas and Homestead, Chicagoland is one of only four tracks Gordon hasn't conquered in Cup. He is the only driver to complete ever lap in the first three races at the Joliet, Ill., oval, averaging a finish of 7.6.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-10-2004)
All to have new Ford engine package: According to Ford Racing officials, all Ford primary race teams are scheduled to use the new D3 cylinder head package for this week's 400-mile event. Specifically the five Roush Racing entries, the Wood Brothers Racing Motorcraft Ford and the two Robert Yates Racing cars will run the D3 package. All the primary Ford teams ran the older C3 package in last week's Daytona International Speedway event, due to engineering required for a restrictor-plate motor with the new cylinder heads.(Team Ford Racing)(7-10-2004)
Austin Petty in wreck, is OK UPDATE: Austin Petty, 22-year-old son of Kyle and Pattie Petty, is recovering in a Greensboro, N.C., hospital with non-life threatening injuries following a motorcycle accident last night near Level Cross, N.C. Petty's motorcycle was hit by a car on Highway 62 near Level Cross Thursday evening. He was taken to Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro with two broken ankles and some minor injuries. His release is anticipated later this week.(Williams Company)(7-9-2004) UPDATE: Kyle Petty was on his way to Chicagoland Speedway when he got word his son Austin’s motorcycle was struck by a car near their home in North Carolina. Kyle talked with Austin several times Friday and says he’s doing well. Petty said "They operated on him yesterday (Thursday) put pins in his broken ankles and may drain his left ankle Saturday. I’m not sure how long he’ll be in the hospital but he’ll be out by mid-week or so and he’ll be in a wheelchair for probably three or four weeks." While the younger Petty recovers, Dad has a plan for the 22-year old. "He’s going to be out of commission for a few weeks but we’ll send him to camp (Victory Junction Gang Camp) because the camp is wheelchair accessible and we’ll let him be a councilor so he’ll have a good time."(PRN's Garage Pass radio show)(7-10-2004)
Elliott four in a row in 1985? aa few coflicting things about whether Bill Elliott has four stright poles in 1985. NASCAR Reports, TV Coverage and most colums state: This is the first time a driver has won four consecutive poles since Bill Elliott did it in July-August 1985. Elliott won five poles in a six-race stretch that year. The one race he didn't win the pole, he started on it as the points leader after qualifying was rained out. Only Cale Yarborough (1980) and Bobby Allison (1972) have won five consecutive poles [modern era].
HOWEVER...been asked, if you look at NASCAR.com July Pocono race results from 1985, it shows Bill Elliott starting 2nd and Darrell Waltrip starting 1st, and Pocono Results from racing-reference.com show the same thing, BUT if you above, it says: Pole Speed: 151.973 mph (Pole won by Bill Elliott). So....huh? So I went thru the following books I have: NASCAR Encyclopedia, Stock Car Racing Encyclopedia, 1986 UMI NASCAR Press Guide [stats from 1985], 1985 UMI NASCAR Yearbook and Greg Fielden's 40 Years of Stock Car Racing: Vol 4 with the following results:
NASCAR Encyclopedia has on page 977, the 1985 races, pole winners:
Race#, Track, Driver, Speed
1448, Pocono, Elliott, 152.563
1449, Michigan, no qualifying, Elliott was points leader started first
1450, Daytona, Elliott, 201.523
1451, Pocono, Darrell Waltrip, 151.973 [same as Elliott's above]
1452, Talladega, Elliott, 207.578
1453, Michigan, Elliott, 165.479
and if you count the number of poles for Elliott on that list is has 10, where all records show 11. Stock Car Racing Encyclopedia has the same EXCEPT, it has Bill Elliott in race 1451-Pocono, same speed.
The 1985 UMI NASCAR Yearbook simply has DW 1st and Elliott 2nd
1986 UMI NASCAR Press Guide has Elliott starting 2nd and DW 1st BUT in the notes lists Elliott as the Bud Pole winner with a speed of 151.973. OK So why the confusion? finally I got to Greg Fielden's 40 Years of Stock Car Racing: Vol 4, once again, it shows DW 1st and Elliott starting 2nd BUT with Elliott on the pole with a speed of 151.937mph BUT with an asterick (*), so at the bottom, there is this note: "Darrell Waltrip started on the pole after posting a 152.552 lap. 18 days later NASCAR Disallowed the pole time due to illegal fuel additives." So Elliott now gets credit for the pole. So didn't really start from the pole, but was awarded it later, he did start 5 of 6 races from the pole and officially would be 6. Whew...that was a lot of work....(7-10-2004)
Brett Bodine back driving: Former driver Brett Bodine, who joined the staff at NASCAR's research and development facility earlier this year, also has replaced Buster Auton as the Nextel Cup pace car driver. Bodine took over the job in May at Charlotte.(Tampa Tribune)(7-10-2004)
Georgia State Patrol in trouble for Elliott trip: The Georgia State Patrol, already slapped for letting the governor fly its aircraft, now is under investigation for letting NASCAR driver Bill Elliott take the controls of a helicopter — and then giving him a lift home. Pilots with the State Patrol invited Elliott to fly their military-style helicopter June 28 during a marijuana-eradication mission in North Georgia. On Friday, the head of the State Patrol, Col. George Ellis, ordered an investigation after he heard a civilian had been brought into a law enforcement mission that also included the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the local sheriff. Elliott, who is a licensed pilot, said the troopers involved in the mission asked him to come along on the trip and offered him the controls. "I wouldn't do anything to get anybody in trouble," he said in a telephone interview. "They were out doing this deal. I just thought I could help them out doing stuff. I fly a helicopter . . . I flew it some [on the patrol trip]. It has dual controls." The patrol was criticized a year ago because it kept poor records and because it shuttled Gov. Sonny Perdue to political events and let him take the controls once the state helicopter was in the air. As a result, the State Patrol adopted detailed policies on aircraft use and record-keeping. Attorney General Thurbert Baker said the state's aircraft could be used only for legitimate state trips. The helicopter Elliott piloted was one of two military-style aircraft used that day. The task force has access to 11 of the department's 14 aircraft.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-10-2004)
More rules changes? NASCAR is expected to announce two new rules changes today to clarify race procedures for cars on pit road when the caution comes out. But car owners trying to understand the new rules said they were not very clear.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2004)
#500 for Shepherd UPDATE 2: if #89-Morgan Shepherd can make the Tropiciana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, it would mark Shepherd's 500th career starts to go along with 7 poles, 4 wins, 63 top fives and 168 top tens [thats 33%, not bad...](7-7-2004) UPDATE: no #89-Morgan Shepherd on the Qualifying Order for the race, haven't heard why he withdrew, no mention on his site and Shepherd is not listed in the current Cup practice sheets.(7-9-2004) UPDATE 2: nothing official, but am hearing Shepherd couldn't get the car ready in time, but plans to be at New Hampshire in two weeks, after next week off weekend.(7-10-2004)
More Opinions at MRN: Bill France Jr. has given his OK to MRN reporters to offer more opinionated views.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2004)
July 9, 2004
Final Daytona TV Ratings fall 13.3%: Nielsen Media Research says Fox's broadcast of last Saturday night's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway drew a final rating of 5.2 and a 12 share, today's Sports Business Daily reports. The figures represent a drop of 13.3 percent from the 6.0/14 that NBC drew for the race last year but match Fox's numbers for the race in 2002.(Team Ford Racing)(7-9-2004)
Rusty and Kodak UPDATE also special scheme for Gaughan: Rusty Wallace is scheduled to run a Kodak paint scheme on his #2 Dodge at Watkins Glen in August, marking the first time Wallace will drive with another sponsor since he has been with the Miller Brewing Company. Kodak's main headquarters are located in Rochester, N.Y., and this opportunity now gives them more exposure on the track along with Wallace's teammate Brendan Gaughan, who is also sponsored by Kodak.(RacingOne)(4-8-2004) UPDATE: Rusty Wallace's Penske Racing South Dodge will feature Kodak as its primary sponsor in the Aug. 15 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International due to a unique cooperative effort between Penske Racing South, Miller Brewing Company and Eastman Kodak Company. Miller, which has been Wallace's primary sponsor since 1990, will be an associate sponsor on the car for the Sirius at The Glen. It marks the first time Wallace has not carried a Miller brand on his car as his primary sponsor in nearly 15 years. The unique marketing arrangement emerged earlier this year when executives with the three companies were discussing business and marketing objectives for the 2004 season. Miller Brewing Company has been involved with Penske's on-track efforts since 1985, initially with open-wheel star Danny Sullivan when he won the Indianapolis 500. Kodak is in its inaugural season with Penske Racing South, having signed a multi-year agreement to sponsor rookie Brendan Gaughan's Dodge. Gaughan's car will feature a paint scheme focusing on Kodak's Health and Imaging Division at The Glen. The two-car promotion provides Kodak with a major presence on the historical road course that the Rochester, N.Y.-based company considers its home facility.(Penske Racing PR)
see an image of the car on my #2 Team Paint Schemes page or Paint Scheme Gallery page.(7-9-2004)
Kerry Earnhardt to run in West Series: Bill McAnally Racing says Kerry Earnhardt will drive for the team for the remainder of the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series season. Earnhardt, who has competed in some Nextel Cup events for Richard Childress Racing this season, will join BMR as a teammate to Austin Cameron. Earnhardt is scheduled to make his West Series debut at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., on July 17.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-9-2004)
Rusty and Puddle of Mudd at Chicago: As part of Miller Lite’s Rock n’ Racing program, Rusty Wallace's #2 Dodge will feature a special Miller Lite Rock n' Racing paint scheme featuring Puddle of Mudd to promote a concert by the popular California rock band at the speedway this Friday [July 9th - TODAY] The band will perform after the NASCAR Pole Day at Chicagoland Speedway in Expo Village. The concert is scheduled to begin approximately at 5:00pm, but because of the large crowd expected for NASCAR Pole Day and the concert, guests are urged to arrive early. For more information about Puddle of Mudd, visit their official website at www.puddleofmudd.com.(TRPR.com), see an image of the car on my #2 Team Paint Schemes page or Paint Scheme Gallery page.(7-9-2004)
Red Baron swoops in on Schrader's car IMAGES: Red Baron Pizza - which sponsored Ken Schrader's NASCAR Winston Cup ride with the #90-Junie Donlavey team during the 1986 and 1987 seasons - will again sponsor the Fenton, Mo., native for two races in 2004: the July 11 Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., and the Oct. 31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Red Baron is returning to NASCAR competition in celebration of the Red Baron Pizza Squadron's 25th anniversary. The nation's leading civilian aerobatic performance team will participate in in approximately 150 events around the country during 2004, and will play a key role in the NASCAR promotion. Red Baron frozen pizza products are distributed under the Schwan's Consumer Brands North America banner, which also markets other leading frozen-food retail brands that include Tony's and Freschetta frozen pizzas, Pagoda Asian specialties, and Larry's potato side-dishes. Schwan's Consumer Brands is a division of The Schwan Food Company, whose Schwan's Home Service business unit sponsors Schrader and the #49 BAM Dodge throughout the remainder of the season. Red Baron Pizza will give NASCAR fans a chance to fully enjoy itsreunion with Ken Schrader. The brand has teamed with Jewel-Osco stores to offer a special in-store promotion that gives consumers chances to win great prizes that include four tickets to all five Chicago races, pit and garage tours, meet-and-greet opportunities with Ken Schrader and the BAM Racing pit crew, and opportunities to enjoy an exciting flight in a Red Baron Pizza Squadron vintage bi-plane. The promotion began in Jewel-Osco stores this week and continues through June 19.(Williams Company PR)(5-28-2004) IMAGES scored some images from the Red Baron Pizza site, see them there or on my #2 Team Paint Schemes page or Paint Scheme Gallery page.(7-9-2004)
#4 gets a sponsor for Chicago: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced a new sponsor for the upcoming Tropicana 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Chicagoland Speedway. The #4 Chevrolet, driven by Jimmy Spencer, will carry the primary sponsorship of Wide Open Performance - Enhanced Formula Energy Drink for a one race deal. New to the market, Wide Open Performance - Enhanced Formula Energy Drink is a "Made in the USA," New Wave Beverage containing a unique proprietary blend of vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants formulated to boost energy, enhance performance and relieve stress. Based in the rolling hills of Southwest, Virginia, Wide Open Performance, Inc. is a homegrown American brand designed specifically for the racing enthusiast and those who live life 'Wide Open.' Wide Open Performance, Inc. is revved up to launch the brand's marketing effort by breaking into NASCAR and sponsoring the #4 Chevy. The national company has aspirations of a long term NASCAR sponsorship in the future. The product was developed by racers for racers and people who live their lives on the edge. Wide Open Performance - Enhanced Formula Energy Drink is receiving rave reviews at taste panels and is available at select convenience stores throughout New Jersey, the Charlotte, NC and Abingdon, VA areas, Food City Stores beginning August 9, 2004, and on
www.4wideopen.com. Tom Underdahl, President of Wide Open Performance, Inc.: "Research shows that energy drinks are one of the fastest growing categories in the beverage industry. Given the lifestyle in NASCAR and racing in general, I feel there is an opportunity in the market for a product which specifically caters to Motorsports enthusiasts and to everyone who lives life wide open. Just like most who work in racing, I grew up around a local racetrack and raced on the local level for a while. My start in NASCAR came when I began working for Larry McClure in 1997 as a Business Manager. I worked for Morgan-McClure Motorsports until 2000. Positioning this sponsorship with Larry was natural. Being associated with him and his enthusiasm for competing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series is exciting.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(7-9-2004)
BANG Racing Cup team on hold UPDATE 2 McReynolds leaves BANG: Larry McReynolds' plans to expand his two-team Truck program to add a Nextel Cup team are on hold. "Things were in place for six, seven, eight races this year, but it wasn't solid for next year," said McReynolds, a Fox broadcaster, Truck team owner and former star crew chief. "I told Alex (Meshkin, the team owner) we don't need to take our focus away from the Truck championship this year and trying to win races this year, and there is no way you can put together a good Cup program for this year without having everything in place for next year. In all honesty, it's a little relief to me, because I don't want to take focus away from the Trucks, and I'm still nervous about Busch and Cup from my standpoint. The Truck deal works, because it's not a conflict of interests (with his TV jobs). When I walk through this garage, the guys respect me, and respect that when I'm with the Trucks, I'm with the Trucks, but when I'm in with them, I'm a broadcaster. So the Cup deal is not going to happen right now."(Winston Salem Journal)(7-6-2004) UPDATE: an hearing that Larry MacReynolds parted way with BANG Racing today. HOWEVER: there is a brand new article posted by McReynolds at FoxSports, where the teams switched crews again, back to where they were.(7-7-2004) AND no mention of McReynolds anymore on the BANG Racing Site, also of note, the car# listed on the BANG Racing site for their Nextel Cup team is #28.(7-9-2004) UPDATE 2: Fox TV commentator and former Nextel Cup crew chief Larry McReynolds said Friday he had resigned from his role with Bang Racing on Tuesday and will concentrate his time on his family and his broadcasting duties with Fox and Speed Channel.
"It was a business decision. I was spreading myself awfully thin," he said. "Not that I felt like I was short-cutting anything. I still feel I was doing as good a job broadcasting as I was when I didn't have anything else going on. My days were getting longer and longer and longer. I am going to devote a little more time to broadcasting. I'm going to catch my breath a little bit. I hope I never leave Fox or Speed because I enjoy it and I feel I put a lot into it," McReynolds said. He did not rule out an eventual role again as a consultant or team owner. "I'm not saying that in the near future I won't go back and do something" he said. "It would have to be probably under some different circumstances, though. I bit off an awful lot."(ThatsRacin.com)(7-9-2004)
Labonte not happy word got out: Bobby Labonte said during a break in Brickyard 400 testing this week that his older brother is not ready to retire and is unhappy that his talks with Hendrick Motorsports have gone public. Terry Labonte, 47, finished in the top 10 of the points last season and won the Southern 500, his first victory in more than four years. Bobby said the two-time NASCAR champion sought to clarify his future with owner Rick Hendrick while exploring what other options he might have. "It was supposed to have been handled really clean and neat, but unfortunately somebody spoke out of turn," Bobby said. "He doesn't want to quit driving. The situation might be for him to not drive there, so he has to look elsewhere. He was going to go ask for permission and say, 'What are you going to do with me?' instead of them coming to him and parting on bad terms. He really tried his hardest to do it the right way."(Indianapolis Star), see my #5 News and Links page for the news/rumors on this.(7-9-2004)
Kyle to be master of ceremonies at Route 66: The rolling thunder of the AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship [Motorcycles] rolls into Joliet, Ill., and Route 66 Raceway this Friday, July 9. The leading AMA Grand National riders from across the country will vie for the top prize on the half-mile oval in round seven of the 20-race series. In an historic first, this race is being held in conjunction with a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series race at the neighboring Chicagoland Speedway. The AMA race will be held directly after Nextel Cup qualifying giving NASCAR fans a unique opportunity to see AMA Grand National motorcycle racing. Many of NASCAR's top drivers are expected to be among the crowd taking in the exciting two-wheel action Friday night and Kyle Petty will be on hand as Master of Ceremonies.(Chicagoland Speedway PR)(7-9-2004)
July 8, 2004
Waltrip's Pit Crew Takes Daytona Win: The pit crew for Michael Waltrip captured the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Saturday night's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. It was the second time this season that Waltrip's #15 crew claimed the $20,000 first-place prize. The crew's other victory was at Texas Motor Speedway in April. The Daytona victory lifted Waltrip's crew into sixth place in the McDonald's/POWERade standings with 562 points. Waltrip's DEI teammate, the pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr., continues to lead the competition with 638 points. Elliott Sadler's pit crew is second with 614 points and Kurt Busch's crew remains in third with 588. A $200,000 bonus awaits the season champion. During Saturday night's 400-mile event in Daytona, Waltrip's NAPA Chevrolet logged the least amount of time on pit road - 175.899 seconds. Coming in second was Ricky Rudd's Motorcraft Ford with a time of 178.633. Third was Dave Blaney's AOL Chevy at 180.120. The over-the-wall pit crew for Waltrip's team consists of: Brian Chase (jackman), Jeff Opal (gasman), Chris Crumley (front tire changer), Greg Osborne (rear tire changer), Shawn Ward (front tire carrier), Chad Walter (rear tire carrier) and Tom Vigue (catch can). The team's crew chief is Richard "Slugger" Labbe and the pit crew coach is Walt Smith.(DMF Comminications PR), see the top 10 and standings as well as past races on my Pit Crew Page.(7-8-2004)
Loomis Votes Top Crew Chief: Robbie Loomis, crew chief for Hendrick Motorsports' #24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon, has been voted the top crew chief in Saturday's Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway in the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race contest. Loomis took the fans' vote for the second straight race and is now tied with Chad Knaus of Hendrick's #48 Chevrolet for Jimmie Johnson for second place with three wins each. Tony Eury Sr. of Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s #8 Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the contest with four wins. The winner of the season contest will receive $10,000.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-8-2004)
Another Wallace? UPDATE: Mike Wallace's daughter, Chrissy, 16, is a candidate for Jack Roush's Gong Show testing program. Roush is putting together a TV package for the series of driver tests.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-5-2004) More on the 'Gong Show': Roush Racing President Geoff Smith told Claire B. Lang of XM Satellite Radio that Roush Racing is in the process of ogranizing their Gong Show (driver talent search) that could handle from 12-20 perspective drivers and they're negotiating with television networks to produce the driver search into a television show. "We are actually in the process of contract negotiation with two (network) parties," Smith told Lang. "In the meantime if (the broadcast negotiations) don't quite line up with our needs for 2005 we'll go ahead and make the driver selection to fill a truck spot for 2005."
As to Chrissie Wallace and word that she might be invited to such a Roush Gong show Smith told XM, "Jack Roush had told me at Daytona that Mike (Wallace) had commented about his daughter Chrissie. And of course Jack and I looked at one another and said well you know those Wallaces all of them have a really unique personality. They're all very up beat,never say die people, all of them have been successful in motorsports and so we thought well if this gal has that same sort of spirit that the Wallaces all show she might be worth taking a look at but we haven't really gone into looking at it any more than that." Smith says the Roush "Gong Show" concept is in the hands of LA entertainment attorneys right now and added that "within three weeks we aught to know definitive which network we're going to be with and then we can make some announcements."(XM Satellite Radio)(7-8-2004)
NBC Returns: Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Chicagoland Speedway launches the fourth season of NASCAR on NBC & TNT – and first with the new "Chase for the Nextel Cup" to determine the series champion. NBC begins its coverage from Chicago with a special one-hour "Discover Card Countdown to Green" pre-race show at 2:30pm/et Sunday followed by green flag racing at 3:30pm/et. NBC also provides exclusive live coverage of NASCAR Busch Series Racing from Chicago Presented by Trimspa on Saturday, July 6 at 2:00pm/et. The NASCAR on NBC & TNT team returns for its fourth year together: Play-by-play announcer Allen Bestwick; analysts Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach; pre-race host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber; and pit reporters Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum. Producer Sam Flood and director Mike Wells will have 61 cameras, including robotic cameras in all four turns, at their disposal this weekend. At Chicago – the first of 19 culminating races on NBC and TNT – NBC will introduce "Inside the Field" as a new element for race coverage on NBC & TNT. "The signature of our telecasts has always been our 'Through the Field' element, where we go 20-25 drivers deep, four to six times a race," said Flood.
Flood on NBC and TNT breaking out of commercials: "It's critical to break out of a commercial, if at all possible, to show what is happening on the racetrack when something big happens, like a wreck, like even the points leader coming in for a pit stop late in the
championship season - all things we've done in the past to make sure the audience isn't missing anything. We find that is an advantage to our advertisers, because there is no opportunity to surf during a commercial on NBC and TNT because if you go away, who knows if we are back after 10 seconds, 30 seconds or a whole commercial break? It's an added bonus to both our advertisers and to our fans."(NBC PR)(7-8-2004)
Pepsi 400 Early TV Ratings: Fox's broadcast of Saturday night's Pepsi 400 from Daytona International Speedway drew an overnight rating of 5.0 and a 10 share from Nielsen Media Research, the Sports Business Daily reports. The figures represent a 2 percent decline from the 5.1/10 overnight figures in 2003, but the race was again the most-watched televised sports event of the weekend.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-8-2004)
Testing at Indy UPDATE: #18-Bobby Labonte, #45-Kyle Petty and #43-Jeff Green are scheduled to test Tuesday and Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Roanoke Times)(7-5-2004) UPDATE: Indianapolis Motor Speedway says #18-Bobby Labonte was fastest of three Nextel Cup drivers testing Tuesday as he lapped the 2.5-mile oval at 176.013mph. #43-Jeff Green was second at 175.547, and #45-Kyle Petty was third at 174.123. The three were scheduled to wind up their two-day test Wed.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-8-2004)
ISC Report: International Speedway Corp.reported increased revenues for the second quarter but said quarterly earnings fell because of a number of charges. Total revenues for the quarter increased 11 percent from $119.6 million to $132.7 million, but quarterly earnings fell to $6.1 million, or 11 cents per share, from $12.5 million, or 24 cents per share, in the prior year. ISC said it took a pre-tax charge of $13.2 million, or 16 cents per share, for the impairment of the assets of Nazareth Speedway, where it will discontinue racing. It also took a $5 million pre-tax charge for the early redemption of $225 million senior notes due in October. ISC said prior period financial statements have been restated to reflect discontinued operations related to its sale of North Carolina Speedway as part of a settlement agreement in the Ferko lawsuit.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-8-2004)
Dale Jr. on 60 Minutes: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will appear on the long-running CBS TV program 60 Minutes later this year. The Bud Chevy driver was interviewed by 60 minutes reporter Mike Wallace for a half-hour in Daytona after Dale Jr. rode the 86-year old Wallace around the track at 130 miles per hour in a 2005 C-6 prototype Chevrolet Corvette. Earnhardt Jr. said "I’ve always liked the show. I don’t think NASCAR is anyplace to g shopping for a gut wrenching story but when I’ve seen a controversial topic on 60 Minutes typically it’s been fair on both sides. They just ask the real questions and want the real answers." No air date has been set for the interview; however it will run this fall in conjunction with the chase for the championship.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-8-2004)
July 7, 2004
Nextel Connects NASCAR Fans with Real-time Race Action: Nextel announced a new NASCAR content offering, PitCommand, a wireless Java application that delivers real-time race data in an exciting, full-color, visual display. PitCommand is available as part of NASCAR.COM TO GO, which packages NASCAR.COM's exclusive content in an easy-to-use service available on Nextel phones. PitCommand creates a single view of all the critical race elements - including speed, RPM, throttle/brake indicators, lap counts and more - the same live information that crew chiefs receive at their command stations, or "war wagons," at the pits. Images of PitCommand are available at ftp.nextel.com/pub/nol/nascarcomtogo.
PitCommand, available first from Nextel, provides fans with a unique look at their favorite drivers' position on the track, lap count and time behind the leader. To offer this application, Nextel has partnered with NASCAR.COM, the official site of NASCAR, Digital Orchid Inc., an innovator in the development, management and distribution of branded wireless applications, and Sportvision, a market leader in sports-media technology. PitCommand uses in-car telemetry data that is provided six times per second via Sportvision's proprietary Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to track the position of the entire field of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series' drivers in real-time as they compete during a race.
PitCommand presents a graphical version of the track on the screen of the Nextel phone, with icons representing each stockcar that are synchronized with their relative speed and position. Fans can customize their experience by selecting a virtual speedometer, odometer, gas and brake pedals for any car they choose, plus driver profiles and current standings. NASCAR.COM's PitCommand mobile application is immediately available for all upcoming NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races. NASCAR.COM TO GO with PitCommand is available for several color, Java-powered Nextel phones, including the recently-launched i830, which is the smallest walkie-talkie-enabled handset ever; the i730, a sleek feature-rich handset; and the i736 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and Driver Series handsets. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Phone displays a checkered flag and an enlarged NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series logo. The ten NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Driver Phones each feature the number and unique design, colors and signature of a particular driver, including:
#2 Rusty Wallace; #6 Mark Martin; #8 Dale Earnhardt, Jr.; #15 Michael Waltrip; #17 Matt Kenseth; #20 Tony Stewart; #24 Jeff Gordon; #48 Jimmie Johnson; #88 Dale Jarrett; #97 Kurt Busch.
All i736 phones are preloaded with extensive content that is specially designed for NASCAR fans.
In addition to PitCommand, NASCAR.COM TO GO provides access to NASCAR news, schedules, standings, live leader boards and more as part of the service. Other services available to Nextel subscribers include NASCAR.COM Mobile, a wireless website with NASCAR news and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series content, and NASCAR.COM Alerts, a wireless messaging alert service that provides subscribers breaking news and event results. NASCAR.COM TO GO with PitCommand is available to Nextel customers as part of a bundled data package for $15.99 per month, or for $9.99 per month when also subscribed to a Total Connect data plan and Nextel Online® Web service. Additionally, customers can enjoy a free one-month trial of NASCAR.COM TO GO if activated before September 30, 2004. NASCAR.COM TO GO with PitCommand can be previewed and purchased at www.nextel.com.(7-7-2004)
Comcast to sponsor the #99 at Chicago: Roush Racing announced that Comcast will be the primary sponsor for Jeff Burton and the #99 Roush Racing Ford at the upcoming NEXTEL Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast Cable [and own Jayski Fave - NHL Philadelphia Flyers] is a division of Comcast Corporation, a developer, manager and operator of broadband cable networks and provider of programming content. Operating in 17 of the United States' 20 largest metropolitan areas, Comcast is one of the leading communications, media and entertainment companies in the world. Providing basic cable, digital cable and high-speed Internet services, Comcast Cable is the company to look to first for the communications products and services that connect people to what's important in their lives. The company's 55,000 employees, in six divisions, serve more than 21 million customers. Comcast Cable serves more than 1.7 million customers in the Greater Chicago Region. Comcast, whose regional officies are located in Schaumburg, IL, employees more than 4,000 people in Illinois and NW Indiana.(Roush Racing PR)(7-7-2004)
To the Wind Tunnel? UPDATE: hearing NASCAR could be taking some of the top finishing cars from the Pepsi 400 to the Wind Tunnel, not sure which Wind Tunnel, but the Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA is on the way back to NC.(7-2-2004) AND? have heard nothing about any wind tunnel testing or any cars taken to a wind tunnel or even put on the chassis dyno.(7-6-2004) UPDATE: Despite rumors circulating in the garage that the top-finishers from the Daytona events would be taken for NASCAR aero-testing, no cars were gathered-up by NASCAR after either event. It appeared as though NASCAR was going to test the cars. Even NASCAR's grey hauler, often used for such tasks, was on-property.(Ford Racing)(7-7-2004)
Fake Petty making the rounds: Earlier this year at Dover we had a small problem arise. On Saturday during the time when they were trying to get the Busch race started (or the track dry) there was a gentleman who visited the grandstands who was impersonating Richard Petty. The real Richard Petty was in New Jersey that day making an appearance for a sponsor and not at the track. Petty Enterprises was made aware of this imposter when they received a call from another teams' rep stating that Richard was in the grandstands and they actually thought it was him. This guy apparently had the look because he fooled many fans into thinking he was the real deal. The imposter even went as far as to sign autographs for almost two hours. He was signing the name "Richard Petty" but the signature is not even close to the actual. The 'fake' King even had a security escort with him during his 'autograph session'. Apparently this guy has fooled the fans, the track and even the security or police into thinking that he was Richard. Petty Enterprises wants to make the fans aware that this man was not Richard Petty...for one thing, Petty never visits the grandstands and is usually in the infield or garage area. The fake Richard Petty is a few years younger then the real Richard Petty, who just turned 67. There have been some reports of other sightenings. Richard Petty prides himself in being good to his fans and the fans of this sport. Petty Enterprises do not want is for this imposter to give Richard a bad name.(PE)(7-7-2004)
Not Cup but a driver boycott UPDATE:A flag flap caused a boycott of a 75-lap feature by Langley Speedway's Late Model drivers, then a temporary cancellation of the race, then a show by driver Bobby Spivey and, as midnight neared, a race before nearly empty stands, after an apology by track management. The protest was mounted when track management told Late Model driver Paul DeBolt that he would be disqualified for flying the flag on his hauler. DeBolt continued to fly the flag and track general manager Brink Nelms decided to reverse the disqualification decision, saying that the administration would handle the matter next week. The drivers then refused to race because of the threat of delayed punishment, and all seven of the officials who work in the scoring tower - including chief steward Bryan Bowyer - resigned in support of the drivers. Late Model driver Shawn Balluzzo confirmed that all 15 drivers said they would boycott if DeBolt were disqualified. "It's unanimous," Balluzzo said. "I've never seen anything like it in my life." Fans were told that the drivers were boycotting the race, and a crowd of about 2,000 began to file out of the track. Those left were entertained by Spivey, who drove onto the track and did doughnuts in his car while waving an American flag.(full story at Daily Press)(7-3-2004) UPDATE: The Langley Speedway flag flap is over for now. But questions remain, even though the ban on infield flags has been lifted. It started Thursday when the track's general manager, Brink Nelms, told Late Model Sportsman driver Paul DeBolt to take down an American flag flying on his hauler, which was parked in the infield pits. Langley's management had issued a rule June 21 banning all flags, banners and windsocks from being flown in the infield because they obstructed track patrons' views. Chief steward and race director Bryan Boyer told one source he was informed by an unnamed track employee that the ban actually was ordered by track owner Dwight Schaubach, who reportedly had been offended by someone flying a Confederate flag in the infield earlier this year. Schaubach denied the Confederate flag was a factor in his decision. DeBolt wouldn't take down the flag, and Nelms told Boyer to disqualify the driver. Boyer refused, receiving support from six other track officials and all 15 drivers in the race who threatened to boycott the event. After a 40-minute delay, the race was run, though many in the grandstands already had left the track. The following day, Boyer and the six supporting officials resigned from Langley. Yesterday, Nelms issued a statement in which he apologized to drivers, officials and fans. "As of today, I am lifting the flag-flying rule in the infield," Nelms said. "But I would like - as a courtesy to the fans who are watching the race - to have the flags below the roof line. [Not as a rule but as a request.]" Attempts to reach a track spokesman for verification on whether the officials have been reinstated were unsuccessful.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-7-2004)
July 6, 2004
Marlin tests at NHIS UPDATE and others: hearing #40-Sterling Marlin tested at New Hampshire International Speedway on Monday, July 5th.(7-6-2004) UPDATE: Nextel Cup and Busch Series drivers converged on NHIS to prepare for the New England 200 and 300, scheduled for July 24 and 25, but were forced off the track and into garages during the morning and afternoon. Scheduled to test are, Cup - #40-Marlin, #12-Ryan Newman, #8/15-Martin Truex Jr. and #19-Jermey Mayfield. Busch - Truex Jr., #11-Paul Menard, #5-Kyle Busch, #31-Todd Bodine and #?-Matt Kobyluck up from the Grand National, Busch North Series and make his first Busch start in the New England 200. Mother Nature surely didn’t cooperate with the test session as a steady rain forced many drivers to sit and wait. Those who didn’t get a chance to test will try again today. The teams expect to test today from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and the speedway’s main grandstand will be open free to spectators.(Foster's Democrat)(7-6-2004)
Tornado Hits Stewart's WoO shop: Mother Nature has been a thorn in the side of many of the World of Outlaw teams these past few weeks with all the cancelled events due to rain. Things elevated to another level for the Tony Stewart Motorsports team early Sunday morning when a tornado hit the Lasoski Racing shop located Southeast of Higginsville, MO. The full extent of the damage is not known at this time but included structural damage to the building and shop equipment. “The most important thing is nobody was hurt and we are very thankful of that,” said Tony Ross, team manager for Lasoski/Stewart Motorsports. “The tornado blew off part of the roof and blew every door off the shop. We are looking at four to six weeks before the structural damage can be repaired. We do not know the full extent of the damage just yet but we know we hurt some cars, top wings, and trophies and put a gouge in the hauler. It also blew a tree into the main part of the shop. We are really fortunate because it could have been so much worse than it was. Everything that was damaged can be replaced. Danny, Chris, Hope and Landon were all in the house just a few hundred yards away and luckily they were not hurt,” said Ross. “None of the guys were at the shop when the tornado hit. I hate to think of what would have happened if anybody ‘d been here when it hit. Most of the damage was on the side where we keep the racecars. It is a very unfortunate deal, but we can buy more racecars and we are lucky it wasn’t worse.” Jimmy Carr and Todd Splain were able to leave in the hauler as scheduled Monday for the upcoming events at Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, SD and Red River Valley Speedway in Fargo, ND.(Danny Lasoski site)(7-6-2004)
NASCAR Great Jim Paschal passes away: Jim Paschal, a NASCAR pioneer, died Monday. He was 77. Paschal drove in NASCAR's first race for late model cars. That was in 1949 at Charlotte. His career in racing continued into the 1970s. He won 25 races in what is now the Nextel Cup Series and ranks 23rd on the all-time win list. Paschal died of cancer Monday morning at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro, NC. His funeral will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at Briggs Funeral Home in Denton. Burial will be at North Bend Cemetery near Jackson Creek. Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Briggs Funeral Home.(High Point Enterprise)(7-6-2004)
2-Time Indy 500 winner Rodger Ward passes away: Rodger Ward, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner in the glory era of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, died Monday in Anaheim, Calif. He was 83. Ward won the 500 in 1959 and '62 to become the race's sixth multiple winner. Ward competed in 15 500s, and he never finished lower than fourth from 1959-64. He was the last surviving race winner from the 1950s. A.J. Foyt said Monday that Ward was as talented on the dirt tracks as anyone he competed against. Ward was born in Beloit, Kan., on Jan. 10, 1921. After World War II service as an Air Force fighter and bomber pilot, he helped prepare a midget car for local competition while stationed at an air base in Wichita Falls, Texas. He drove the car because the team's regular driver failed to show up for a race. Ward, who was in failing health in recent months, said earlier this year that winning the 500 was "the greatest thing that happened to me in my life." Ward is survived by his wife, Sherri; sons Rodger Jr., David and Rick; and daughter Robin. Services are pending.(see a full article about Ward at the Indianapolis Star)(7-6-2004)
Fox TV Ratings down...more primetime races?: The Fox half of the NASCAR season is over, and the final ratings will come out this week. With Saturday night's Pepsi 400 not included, Fox's network telecasts averaged a 5.6 rating, down from 5.8 over the first three years of the TV contract. The reason for the drop in ratings is still not clear, and it's unknown if NASCAR's new 26-10 regular season-playoff season system has had any effect. Fox's David Hill still wants to do more prime-time Nextel Cup races, but it's still unclear if his bosses will open the schedule for him. He has wanted to put Richmond's May race on in prime time, but the network bosses have so far vetoed him, leaving it on FX cable. But Phoenix's race next April, new to the Cup schedule, is already set as a Saturday night race.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-6-2004)
Gordon wins from pole 2 straight races 8th time in modern era: Jeff Gordon won the 2004 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway and at Infineon Raceway, winning his second straight race from the Bud Pole, the second time in his career to do so. He also won two straight races from the Bud pole in June 1996: Dover and Poco# What is the modern era [1972-present] record? Darrell Waltrip won 4 consecutive races from the the pole in 1981 [Martinsville, North Wilksboro, Charlotte and Rockingham].(Speed Channel's Inside Nextel Cup TV Show) AND Before Gordon did it in 1996, Bill Elliott was the last driver to accomplish the feat in June 1985, winning at Pocono in June and then Michigan one week later [qualifying was rained out at MIS, Elliott was the points leader at that time and started 1st.] It's only the 8th time in the modern era that a driver has won back to back races from the pole.(7-6-2004)
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)(7-6-2004)
Special Scheme for Elliott UPDATE Memphis Busch race: been told that Bill Elliott will drive the #09 Dodge Elvis Presley "He Dared To Rock" 2004 Dodge in the Memphis Busch Series race.(4-16-2004) UPDATE and images: On the front steps of Sun Studio, and in harmony with today's worldwide celebration of "50 Years of Rock 'n' Roll," officials from Memphis Motorsports Park, along with Elvis Presley Enterprises, the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau and Action Performance Companies, announced that legendary NASCAR driver Bill Elliott will compete in the Sam's Town 'He Dared To Rock' 250 on October 23, 2004 at Memphis Motorsports Park - in a specially-designed race car sponsored by Lucas Oil and Boyd Gaming Corporation's Sam's Town Tunica Hotel & Gambling Hall. Elliott and officials from the track unveiled the #09 Elvis Presley
'He Dared To Rock' Dodge at the legendary Sun Studio Monday morning, fifty years to the day that a young Elvis Presley stepped inside the studio to record the revolutionary "That's All Right." Also on hand at this once-in-a-lifetime celebration of Memphis music were "50 Years of Rock 'n' Roll Ambassadors" Justin Timberlake, Isaac Hayes, Scotty Moore and "Sam the Sham" Samudio. Adorned with a logo of Elvis on the hood, the car will carry "Awesome Bill" Elliott in his first race ever in Memphis and his first NASCAR
Busch Series race in more than a decade. For tickets or more information on the NASCAR Busch Series Sam's Town
'He Dared To Rock' 250 Benefiting St. Jude on October 23, 2004, call the Memphis Motorsports Park Ticket Office at 1-866-40-SPEED (77333).(Memphis Motorsports Park PR), see images of the car on my 2004 Busch Series Paint Schemes page.(7-6-2004)
Todd Bodine back with the #98: Todd Bodine recently tested with the #31 Whelen Chevy Busch Series team at Chicagoland Speedway in preparation for this Saturday's Tropciana Twister 300. Bodine, will also return to Mach One Racing, the #98 Cup team as well this weekend at Chicago.(Catchfence)(7-6-2004)
July 5, 2004
Congrats: NASCAR honored race director David Hoots in the driver's meeting before the Pepsi 400, which marked his 500th race in the control tower. Hoots, from Winston-Salem, N.C., has been the director of NASCAR's Nextel Cup events for the past 15 years. He's the voice of NASCAR heard by teams and fans over the scanners, directing traffic, calling for the caution flag and issuing instructions. He was presented with a Nextel Cup helmet signed by all the drivers and a crystal Eagle engraved with the slogan ''Soaring to Amazing Heights.''(Tennessean)(7-5-2004)
More Parts Confiscated: NASCAR inspectors added several parts Saturday to their take for the weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Carburetors with unapproved alterations were confiscated from the #41 Target Dodge driven by Casey Mears and the #09 Dodge driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr. Both teams could face penalties for the infractions. Also taken: unapproved fender braces from Ricky Craven's #32 Tide Chevrolet and an unapproved oil line expansion tubing from the #29 GM Goodwrench/C2 Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-5-2004)
Sad News: A 27-year-old racer was killed Saturday night when his car sailed over the banking at a Cullman County [AL] dirt track and went full speed into a piece of heavy equipment more than 100 yards away. The throttle on Keith Hays' car apparently stuck wide open just as a practice session began at River Valley Raceway near Interstate 65 between Cullman and Birmingham. The driver from Morris was pronounced dead at the scene. The track canceled Fourth of July races scheduled for Sunday. Funeral services for Hays will be at Morgan Funeral Home in Gardendale at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, with visitation from 6 to 8 tonight. Hays is survived by his parents, Dan and Mary Jane Hays, and his brother Ken.(Alabama Live)(7-5-2004)
2005 uncertain for Labonte at Hendrick? UPDATE 2: #5-Terry Labonte said Thursday his future with Hendrick Motorsports and the series remains up in the air beyond this season. Labonte, 47, is currently working under a year-to-year contract with owner Rick Hendrick and has said he didn't expect to drive past age 50. The quick rise of Hendrick's young talents, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch, have prompted questions about how soon Labonte, a two-time Cup series champion, would leave the Hendrick organization. "I told Rick last year I didn't know how much longer I wanted to do this and we needed to be up front about it so they could make plans for their future down the road," Labonte said. Labonte said several possibilities remain open beyond this year, including remaining with Hendrick, driving for another team and driving a partial schedule the way veteran Bill Elliott has with Evernham Motorsports this season. "I will be honest with you, there are probably only a handful of teams I would consider driving for and it would have to be a Chevy. I'm not going to drive for another make of car and Rick and I are partners in a Chevrolet dealership," Labonte said. "If somebody came up and said they had a three-year deal, I wouldn't do it because I don't want to run three more years." Labonte's name has been mentioned in connection with Richard Childress Racing's #30 Chevrolet, which has Dave Blaney signed through the end of the year, and a new third team planned for Joe Gibbs Racing [that would give J.J. Yeley another year in Busch and makes sense]. Retirement, whether at the end of this season or later, would be a difficult decision, Labonte said. Earlier Thursday, Busch, 19, confirmed his original contract with Hendrick expires this season, although it includes an option year Hendrick can pick up, but hasn't yet. "Supposedly, I am going to have some contract conversations sometime in September, or whenever they give me a piece of paper that I can sign," Busch said. "I hope they give me something to sign because my deal is up. I'm sure they are going to give me something." Busch said he would like to run in the Cup series next year, but if he did, either a current Hendrick driver would have to leave, or the organization would need to expand to a fifth Cup team. Hendrick spokesman Pat Perkins said Thursday it was "a given" Busch would remain with the organization. Perkins also said Busch was slated to run in the Busch Series again next season, but added, "Anything can happen."(see full story at ThatsRacin.com)(7-2-2004)
UPDATE: Terry Labonte is nearing the end of his racing career and hinted Friday that this season could be his last. Labonte, a two-time champion, is in his 26th full season in NASCAR's top series. He's on a year-to-year contract with car owner Rick Hendrick, and after finishing last season 10th in the standings with a victory in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway decided the end might be near. "I told Rick last year that this year would probably be my last," the 47-year-old driver said Friday. "You have to sort of decide those things in advance in order to make plans and move ahead." Labonte is struggling with the decision. After consecutive seventh-place finishes in Dover and Pocono, he realized he was still having fun racing. But when he ran into Bill Elliott, who has partially retired and will make just his third start of the season in the Pepsi 400 on Saturday night, Labonte started thinking about retiring again. "When I saw Bill and he said, 'I'm having so much fun, I'm having the time of my life,' I said 'Man, you are killing me,' " Labonte said. So Labonte seemed unsure Friday about what the future holds. Should Hendrick decide he wants to hand the keys to the #5 Chevrolet to young Kyle Busch next season, Labonte said he could consider driving for another team. Labonte is only certain of a few things. He knows that when he does retire, it will be for good and he's not likely to consider occasional NASCAR races or events in smaller series. And he has no interest in owning a team, even if it was with his son, Justin, as the driver.(NASCAR.com/AP)(7-3-2004)
UPDATE 2: Car owner Rick Hendrick said that he'll sit down with Terry Labonte soon to discuss the future. Labonte could cut back to run only selected tour events, opening up his current ride to promising young Kyle Busch. "When the year started, it was decided that Terry and the sponsors would sit down after Daytona," Hendrick said. "I think we were planning on talking in the next week or two. We want to look at what Terry wants to do, and we want to get the sponsors involved in the decision-making process, too. We haven't made any decisions, and we were hoping we'd stay out of silly season and do it on our timetable. So I think in the next couple of weeks we'll make that decision and make an announcement."(Winston Salem Journal)(7-5-2004)
UPDATE 2a: Hendrick sources say Labonte, one of the most respected and popular drivers in the garage, could continue to race for HMS for the remainder of his career. But if the organization decides to move Kyle Busch up to Cup in 2005, one option for Labonte could be the Cup team [Hall of Fame Racing last news back in March] expected to be owned by former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, with technical assistance from Hendrick.(FoxSports/Sporting News), Hmmmm.....how about a year in the #11 FedEx Chevy at JGR, teaming with brother Bobby, with J.J. Yeley taking over in 2006.(7-5-2004)
Truex Jr. to test for DEI at NHIS: Busch Series points leader Martin Truex Jr. was to test two Dale Earnhardt Inc. cars this week at New Hampshire. Truex, who's 24 and a second-generation racer, has experience at the track, but this will be the first time for him to drive a Cup car on it. "I learned everything from my dad," says Truex, who raced for his father in New Jersey before joining the Chance 2 team owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Teresa Earnhardt. "That's made me a better racer. Hopefully, our testing can help Junior win the championship." Truex is expected to make his Cup debut at the fall New Hampshire race, but Slugger Labbe, crew chief for Michael Waltrip's #15 DEI car, says that if the tests are exceptional, he will gladly allow Truex to race in one of his team's cars in this month's race at NHIS.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(7-5-2004)
President Bush at RIR? hearing President Bush will attend the Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway on 9/11/2004 and that security for the race will be heightened even more since the race falls on 9/11, the three year anniversary of the attacks.(7-5-2004)
Loop problems? NASCAR officials are still working out bugs in their new 'loop' scoring system. One problem is that the software can't take into account a car that might crash in between loops.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-5-2004)