MORE NEWS/RUMORS
JULY 12-18, 2004



MORE NEWS-RUMORS!
YESTERDAY and BEYOND..


    July 18, 2004

  • Charger submitted to NASCAR by Dodge: A reborn version of Chrysler’s legendary Dodge Charger muscle car could be screaming around the high-walled turns of the Daytona 500 in February — at least one month before a street-ready Charger sedan lands in dealer showrooms. DaimlerChrysler AG’s Dodge division has submitted a new car design to NASCAR for the 2005 Nextel Cup racing season, and is expected to name it Charger. The racing debut could also create buzz for the mass-market Charger sedan that will be launched in the spring of 2005 and is another key vehicle for the Chrysler Group, which is struggling to return to profitability. That’s part of the reason why Dodge has taken its time in developing a new race car for NASCAR. Mike Zizzo, a NASCAR spokesman, said the racing association and Dodge have been in talks about a new design since the spring of 2003. He said NASCAR will give Dodge final approval on the design by Sept. 1, assuming it passes a variety of safety and performance tests. That would make it ready to race in February’s Daytona 500, the official kickoff of NASCAR’s racing season. “The (review) process is in the final stages, and it’s moving along quite well,” Zizzo said. Dodge has raced the Intrepid sedan in NASCAR’s flagship circuit since 2001, but according to NASCAR rules, could not run the car in 2005 because the car is no longer in production. The Intrepid was replaced in May by the new Dodge Magnum station wagon. The full-size Charger, which will be sold as a four-door sedan, is a closer match to the Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Monte Carlo — the only three other vehicles competing in NASCAR’s top-tier Nextel Cup next year. Though the Ford Taurus is expected to be phased out in the next four years, Kevin Kennedy, a Ford racing spokesman said “as long as Taurus is around, it will be our car.” Pat Suhy, GM’s engineering group manager, said the Monte Carlo would not change for the 2005 racing season. The 2005 Dodge Charger will be built at Chrysler’s Brampton, Ontario, assembly plant. The rear-wheel-drive sedan will share the same underpinnings as the new Chrysler 300 sedan and Dodge Magnum wagon.(Detroit News)(7-18-2004)

  • Race Official Killed: A Santa Rosa [CA] resident was killed during a racing event at Petaluma Speedway Saturday night, according to the Petaluma Police Department. Randy Clifton, 41, known as Rollover Randy for a stunt he performs in a pick-up truck at the raceway, was struck by a race car while working as a Second Turn Race Official during the 360 Sprint Car Racing event, reported police. He was struck by a car driven by Adam McCarthy of San Jose while a yellow caution flag was in effect, according to police. Witnesses report that Clifton was on the racetrack when he was struck. Clifton was transported to Petaluma Valley Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.(Local CBS)(7-18-2004)

  • Gordon Bluffs 'em: Jeff Gordon is not only a winning driver, he can also play a little Texas hold 'em. The four-time Nextel Cup champ drew a 10 on the final river card for a three-of-a-kind to beat "Police Woman" Angie Dickinson and win the latest round of Bravo's "Celebrity Poker Showdown." Gordon advances to the championship, where he has a chance to win $100,000 for his charitable foundation.(Charleston Post and Courier)(7-18-2004)

  • Japanese Driver tests at Hickory: Aki Okamoto became one of the few Japanese drivers to get behind the wheel of a NASCAR when he tested a Weekly Racing Series car at the Hickory Motor Speedway on Thursday [15 July]. The 25-year-old from Tokyo completed 70 laps of the circuit behind the wheel of the Lackey Motorsports Chevrolet, setting a best time of 15.446 seconds. His performance impressed team owner Mike Lackey, especially as he was running on tyres that had already completed a full race distance. “Aki did a fantastic job,” he said. “He built up at his own pace to turn some very consistent lap times inside the 15's which for the first time at Hickory is great. At his pace he can run in the top 3 here”. With previous experience on faster ovals from his time competing in the American Barber Dodge Pro-Series, Okamoto was pleased with how the test went.(Crash.net)(7-18-2004)

  • Earnhardt Jr. to partner with Boris Said at Sonoma UPDATE: The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team says Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be paired with Boris Said for this weekend's American Le Mans Series race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. "I am really looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the Corvette C5-R because it is such a great race car," said Earnhardt Jr., who has the weekend off as the Nextel Cup Series takes a break. "I'm happy that Chevy has given me the chance to crossover and take part in its sports car program, which has been a huge success."(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-14-2004)


    Dale Jr. practicing at Infineon
    Image courtesy of Infineon Raceway

    TV - Correction: The race is scheduled to air on CBS from 3:00 - 5:00pm/et on Sunday, July 18th.[not Sat](7-16-2004)
    UPDATE: Marco Werner led a record-shattering American Le Mans Series qualifying session Saturday to win the pole for Sunday's Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was the star attraction of the day, drawing a long line to a driver autograph session and then watching as co-driver Boris Said qualified third in the GTS class in the Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5-R they will share in Earnhardt's first ALMS event."It's going real good," said Earnhardt. "The car is real fast and I'm comfortable in the car. My co-driver is very, very quick and we feel like we have a good chance this weekend. It's a great car. Corvette has done a lot of testing. They deserve it because there is a lot of hard work behind it. I am very fortunate just to be able to climb right in and go so fast. "It's going to be different, watching for the prototypes, and the GT cars, being careful and just having alot of respect and courtesy out there for everybody," he said. "You know I don't do this every weekend and to be here is a big honor for me to race against such a great group of competitors. I am just trying to earn respect and pay my dues out there and take my time and work my way up. I feel like we have a good chance to get a great finish this weekend if we keep our heads straight." Oliver Gavin of England, driving another car from the factory Corvette team, won the GTS class pole with a track record lap of 1:28.042. He will co-drive with Olivier Beretta of Monaco. The pole was Gavin's third straight this season. Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell, seeking their fourth straight GTS class win at Infineon, will start second in class in a third Corvette.(Infineon Raceway PR)(7-18-2004)


    July 17, 2004

  • Dawsonville Museum could be back on track: For the first time in months, Gordon Pirkle is optimistic that Thunder Road is headed out of the ditch. The auto racing museum and attraction that Pirkle helped found in his hometown of Dawsonville [GA] has struggled to attract visitors and service its debt since opening in May 2002. It fell into foreclosure and was sold two weeks ago to a group of Dawsonville-area investors operating under the name Phoenix One. But Pirkle, who operates the nearby Dawsonville Pool Room as well as the Champion's Café inside Thunder Road, said the new owners have the potential to develop unused portions of the Thunder Road property and get the racing attraction back in regular operation. Now it's only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. "I feel better about it than I've felt in a long time," Pirkle said. He said the museum couldn't have kept going like it was, saddled with nearly $10 million in debt and without the support it needed from Dawson County. "The new owners got into this with the intention of making money," Pirkle said. "This way it'll either go forward or collapse for good."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-17-2004)

  • Home Depot Supports Stewart: Home Depot, the Atlanta-based worldwide chain of home improvement stores ran full-page newspaper ads last week celebrating Stewart's win in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, and a statement from the company seems to indicate Stewart's post-race run-in at Sonoma, Calif., with Brian Vickers isn't a big concern. NASCAR fined Stewart $50,000, docked him 25 Nextel Cup points and put him on probation for grabbing Vickers, but he's received no penalties for several on-track incidents other drivers have blamed him for this season. Home Depot spokesman Eric Oberman issued only a brief statement in response to the recent events. "The Home Depot supports Joe Gibbs Racing and NASCAR in their response to recent incidents involving Tony Stewart," the statement read.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-17-2004)

  • Earnhardt movie to be shown in Dec - Image released: Barry Pepper's days seem to be numbered. He's been in 61 and 25th Hour. Next, he stars in 3— ESPN's biopic of NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt. The movie — titled after the number on Earnhardt's car — is set for broadcast in December. A photo of Pepper in character was released exclusively to The Associated Press. But what was it like transforming into the craggy, mustached face of the iconic driver? "I play him from 17 to 49, and there's all kinds of prosthetics all over my face," Pepper said. "It was a real challenge — especially in that heat, that North Carolina heat. You're always having things melting off of you. But it was just the coolest experience." Some of Earnhardt's family have expressed reservations about the movie, but Pepper said he had a positive meeting with Earnhardt's son, racer Dale Earnhardt Jr. "We had an opportunity to hang out and have a few beers. That was really important for me to make a connection with him and express to him how much effort and care went into the making of 3, to bring dignity and respect to his father's life and legend."(See full AP story and image at USA Today)(7-17-2004)

  • Hamilton Jr. wants to run Nextel Cup in 2005: Busch Series regular Bobby Hamilton, Jr. said he wants to run in the Nextel Cup Series next season, but only if the right opportunity comes along. Right now, he's negotiating a new deal with Team Rensi but admits he's heard things about his career as well. "I've head a couple of rumors myself," he said. "I'm not going to lie. There have been phone calls, but that's about all that they've extended to me so far. We're still negotiating with [Rensi], and as far as I know, I'm here with [Rensi]. As far as hearing a lot of stuff that I've heard, none of it is true."(NASCAR Scene via BGNRacing.com)(7-17-2004)

  • What some drivers are doing this week:
    It was NASCAR Night on Tuesday night at St. Francois County Raceway, with guest Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace on hand. Schrader brought his Federated Auto Parts sponsored late model and modified, while Wallace brought his Stacker2-sponsored modified. The UMP (United Midwestern Promoters) Modifieds kicked things off, and it was NASCAR veteran Schrader picking up the win with a last-lap pass. Bobby Bittle set the pace for most of the event as he led the first 22 laps of the 25-lap main event. But Schrader wound up in Victory Lane, and he gave the winner's trophy to a young child in the stands. The youngster was very pleased with his gift and crowd gave a huge ovation to Schrader for his kind gesture. Wallace ended up 5th.(St. Louis Post Dispatch)
    at Jackson Speedway, Jake Peters Wins Non-Winged Sprint car championship on Arnold Motor Supply night at Kemna-Asa Jackson Nationals. Dave Blaney thrills crowd with Stock Car qualifying win.(Jackson Speedway site)(7-17-2004)

  • Driver Killed: A San Jose [CA] man died Saturday after his race car collided with another vehicle during the Chowchilla Speedway races. The collision occurred shortly before 11 p.m. during the final event of the evening, the Figure 8. Chowchilla police said no one mishandled the vehicles, and no malfunction occurred that resulted in the death of Brian Davis, 36. Despite the fact Davis was wearing his harness and helmet, he suffered massive head injuries, according to police, and died at the scene. The driver of the second vehicle was not identified. He received minor injuries to his neck and ankle, police said, and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. This is the first fatality at the Chowchilla Speedway. Davis, a native of Nashville Tennessee, had been racing four years, two years in the Figure 8 competition. He was named Rookie of the Year in the Watsonville and Chowchilla Figure 8 competitions, and placed second in Chowchilla Figure 8 points in 2002.(Madera Tribune)(7-17-2004)


    July 16, 2004

  • Drive for Diversity Launches 2005 Recruiter Efforts: "Drive for Diversity" is now formally accepting resumes and information from experienced minority and female drivers and interested minority and female pit crew candidates to be part of its development program for 2005. Interested candidates can submit materials to Access Marketing & Communications from now through Aug. 31, 2004. Selected applicants will be invited to participate in a testing and evaluation combine this fall at a location to-be-determined. Drivers will showcase their skills in hopes of receiving an opportunity to compete for an established team in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series next season. Meanwhile, qualified potential crew members selected at the combine will receive "over-the-wall" pit crew training and instruction from 5 OFF 5 ON Race Team Performance, with placement opportunities to various NASCAR Series teams. "Drive for Diversity" is a long-term initiative aimed at developing a steady pipeline of well-trained and supported minority and female drivers and crew members. Interested drivers should send resumes, videotapes, on-track photos, race results, references and other supporting materials; Interested crew members may also send their information; for address and email info, go to www.drivefordiversity.com.(7-16-2004)

  • So where is former #10 crew chief James Ince? The addition of veteran crew chief James Ince to Ashton Lewis' Busch Series team seems to be paying off. Lewis was in contention for the victory in the Tropicana Twister 300 at Chicagoland Speedway and finished a season-best fifth. "We felt like we had a car that could have won the race, but it did not work out in our favor at the end," Lewis said. "It is evident that we have made tremendous improvements in our program since the beginning of the year. I feel that we can contend at any track."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-16-2004)

  • Final Chicago TV Ratings up 2%: Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show NBC's broadcast of last Sunday's Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway drew a 5.5 rating and 13 share, up 1.9 percent from last year's 5.4/14, today's Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is the highest the Chicago race has drawn since its NBC premiere in 2001.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-16-2004)

  • Wallace and LesCare with the #50 at NHIS: LesCare Kitchens, Inc. will be the primary sponsor on the #50 car to be driven by Mike Wallace in the Siemens 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 25. LesCare Kitchens also has agreed to be an associate sponsor on the GEICO Ford that Wallace will drive in the NASCAR Busch Series event at the track on Saturday, the 24th. LesCare Kitchens is a builder of custom and semi-custom cabinets, and is the largest privately owned cabinet manufacturer in North America.(PR)(7-16-2004)

  • Ford sues Kahne UPDATE: NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne is being sued by Ford Motor Co. in Wayne County Circuit Court for allegedly breaking a contract with Robert Yates Racing to pursue a more lucrative deal to drive Dodge race cars. Kahne, 24, is the top rookie on the Nextel Cup circuit. He is 14th in the points standings after 18 races and has five top-five finishes. Ford has not yet said how much it would seek in damages, but according to a summons filed in court Friday, the breach of contract is more than $25,000. According to the lawsuit, Ford and Yates signed a contract with Kahne that required him to drive Ford cars for the team and appear in promotional activities. But last October, according to documents filed in court by the plaintiff, Kahne dropped Ford and started driving Dodges for a team owned by Ray Evernham. Kahne took over the #9 Dodge for Evernham Motorsports after Bill Elliott decided to run a limited schedule this season. Kahne's lawyer, Harvey Heller, said Monday that as a policy the firm did not comment on cases involving its clients but said an answer to the charge will be filed in court later this week.(Detroit Free Press)(7-13-2004)
    UPDATE: Kasey Kahne's lawyer fired back Thursday at Ford Motor Co., saying the NASCAR driver's former sponsor breached the personal services agreement it made with Kahne, which gave the top-ranked rookie in the Nextel Cup circuit every right to drive for someone else. Ford filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court last Friday that said Kahne broke a contract with the company and Robert Yates Racing by agreeing to drive Dodges for Ray Evernham Motorsports. In documents filed in federal court Thursday, Kahne's lawyers argued that the personal services agreement was not an enforceable contract and that Ford didn't offer Kahne a chance to race in the Nextel series, which released Kahne of his obligations to the company. "What's happened here is Kasey has had an extraordinary rookie season at Nextel,"' said Kahne's lawyer, Paul LiCalsi, who spoke to reporters in a conference call. "Ford is embarrassed. When Ford could not agree with Kasey because they were either unable to or didn't have the vision to agree to put him in a Nextel car, he had no obligation to them."(Detroit Free Press)(7-16-2004)


    July 15, 2004

  • Papa Joe Hendrick Passes Away: Joseph R. Hendrick Jr., father of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and company president John Hendrick, passed away Wednesday evening at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. He was 84. Fondly referred to as “Papa Joe,” Hendrick began his auto-racing career in the early 1960s with longtime friend Frank Edwards, winning races throughout the state of Virginia at tracks like South Boston, Martinsville and Richmond. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday and will be immediately followed by a 1 p.m. memorial service at the Central Church of God, 5301 Sardis Rd., Charlotte, NC 28270. For friends and family in Virginia, a Sunday graveside service will be held at Union Chapel Methodist Church in Palmer Springs at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Nazareth Children's Home, P.O. Box 1438, Rockwell, NC 28138, or the Papa Joe Hendrick Fund, care of the Hendrick Marrow Program, 4400 Papa Joe Hendrick Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28262.(Hendrick Motorsports Site - more there)(7-15-2004)

  • Dale Jr. wins an ESPY: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Budweiser team and winner of the 2004 Daytona 500, scored a victory of a different sort Wednesday night, winning the ESPY Award for "Best Driver". The announcement came at the annual ESPY Awards banquet Wednesday at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. Fan voting determined the winners of 38 different categories (the complete list of winners can be found at www.espn.go.com/espy2004). ESPN, the sports cable network that created the ESPYs in 1993 to recognize sports excellence, will televise the show Sunday, July 18 at 9:00pm/et. Dale Jr. was unable to attend because of scheduling conflicts.
    Other nominees in the Best Driver category included six-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, 2003 NHRA Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon, Indy Racing League champion Scott Dixon and 2003 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champ Matt Kenseth. This marks the second straight year a NASCAR driver has won the ESPY for Best Driver. Tony Stewart earned the honor in 2003. NASCAR drivers have won the award seven times in 12 years, led by Jeff Gordon with three (1996, 1998, 1999).(fingerprint, inc./Budweiser Racing / Dale Earnhardt Jr. PR)(7-15-2004)

  • Craven out of the #32? UPDATE 2: hearing that driver Ricky Craven and the #32 PPI Motorsports team have parted ways. Not sure who will drive the car at New Hampshire,but hearing a future pairing for the team could include driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. and his Busch crew chief, Harold Holly. Johnny Benson could end up in the car a race or two, but is supposedly commited to PPI's 2nd car, the #96 Chevy which supposedly will run 10 races later this season. Seems like odd timing, if true, as one of Craven's best tracks is New Hampshire International Speedway, the next race.(7-13-2004)
    UPDATE: a PPI Motorsports spokesperson says.....NOT TRUE.
    UPDATE 2: Ricky Craven denied a rumor Wednesday that he has been fired from his NASCAR Nextel Cup team. Craven said that he has not lost his ride in the Tide Chevrolet for the PPI Motorsports Team as rumored on the Jayski.com Web site. "There's no truth to it at all. I have no idea where it [the rumor of being fired] came from and how it got started," said Craven, who is spending time with his family in their vacation home on Moosehead Lake in Greenville during a rare off-week in the Nextel Cup schedule. Team owner Cal Wells III could not be reached for comment. Craven is under contract to PPI Motorsports through the 2006 season.(Bangor [Maine] Daily News)(7-15-2004)

  • Ward gets a new crew chief? hearing that Bill Ingle is now crew chief for the #0 NetZero Chevy fielded by Haas CNC Racing for Ward Burton. Former crew chief, Tony Furr supposedly will assume Shop Foreman duties.
    UPDATE: Haas CNC Racing announced today the appointment of Bill Ingle as crew chief of the NetZero Racing Team. Tony Furr, who had been serving as crew chief since April 2003, will now serve as Shop Foreman. Ingle, who had been overseeing the preparation of both the #0 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series NetZero Chevrolet driven by Ward Burton and the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolets driven by Jason Leffler in the Busch Series, will take over duties as crew chief effective immediately. “Essentially, we just swapped their positions,” stated Joe Custer, General Manager of Haas CNC Racing. “We originally asked Tony to join our team last year as shop foreman and about halfway through the season we had the need to fill the crew chief role. Obviously this team is not performing as well as we would like and we are very lucky to have the kind of depth we have here at Haas CNC Racing. Both Tony and Bill are more than capable of handling both of these roles and we’re hoping that having Tony back at the shop overseeing the preparation of both the Busch and Cup cars, and Bill at the track leading our NEXTEL Cup Series team might help us achieve the results we think we’re capable of.”
    I’m looking at this as my latest challenge,” said Ingle. “I was 28 years old the first time I took on my first job as crew chief and it was a challenge then too. Now, the best things I have going for me are my experience and the resources of Haas CNC Racing. I’m not sure there is anything seriously wrong with this team, and sometimes all you really need is a little bit of change.”(NetZero Racing), looks like NASCAR This morning is down to John Roberts, Chad and Kenny, they need more of Steve Waid.(7-15-2004)

  • New #18 Crew Chief: Brandon Thomas, a member of the Joe Gibbs Racing engineering department, will serve as interim crew for Bobby Labonte's #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Series, team officials announced July 15. Thomas takes over for Michael McSwain, who was released from his duties as crew chief July 14 after severing as crew chief for the 2003 season and 18 races in the 2004 season. Team officials have not set a timetable for when a permanent crew chief will be hired. Thomas, 30, from Kingsport, Tenn., spent the 2003 season as the engineer for Labonte and served as crew chief for Mike Bliss' JGR-prepared No. 80 Slim Jim/Act II Chevrolet July 11 in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Bliss was the top-qualifying JGR car at Chicago, starting seventh and finishing 31st after an accident on Lap 205. Thomas began his JGR career in December 2001 in the shock department, before leaving in June 2002 to serve as John Andretti's crew chief at Petty Enterprises for the remainder of the 2002 season. After his stint at Petty, Thomas returned to JGR for the 2003 season as Labonte's engineer. During the 2004 season he has served as the head of Superspeeedway research and development for JGR. Prior to coming to JGR in 2001, Thomas served as engineer for Rusty Wallace at Penske Racing South from Aug. 1999-Nov. 2001. During that time, Wallace scored six wins and finished seventh in points in 2000 and 2001. From 1998-July 1999, Thomas was the assistant race engineer for Dan Gurney's All-American Racers and driver Alex Barron in CART. Thomas earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech University in 1997. Jimmy Makar, senior vice president of racing, will assist Thomas and the team until a permanent crew chief is announced. Makar served as crew chief on the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet from 1992-2002, winning the 1993 Daytona 500 with Dale Jarrett and the 2000 NEXTEL Cup Championship with Labonte.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(7-15-2004)

  • Arrests made in Victory Junction statue theft: Randolph County [NC] sheriff's deputies have charged three teenagers in the theft of the bronze statue from the Petty racing family's new Victory Junction Gang Camp for sick children. Andrew Marco Callicutt, 19, and Edward York Branch, 18, both of Randleman; and Charles Thurman Bailey Jr., 17, of Trinity, have all been charged with felony larceny. Deputies said they obtained arrest warrants Tuesday and served them on Callicutt and Bailey, who were each placed under $2,500 bonds. Officers said Wednesday afternoon that Branch was away with a relative and would be served later. All three confessed to stealing the statue, said Lt. Chris Maness. Investigators don't know why the teenagers stole it. Maness speculated that the theft was a "spur-of-the-moment thing." The sculpture depicts two children playing leap frog. It was stolen between June 28 and June 29. That was less than two weeks after the Petty racing family opened the camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The statue has since been returned to the camp. The staff plans to place it back in its original location and secure it to prevent another theft. Detectives said they got a tip July 2 that the teenagers were bragging about stealing the statue, which is 6 feet high and 4 feet wide. Fearing the law was closing in on them, they abandoned the statue in a church parking lot on Providence Church Road on the night of June 30, authorities said. Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, bought the $1,500 sculpture from Metropolitan Galleries in High Point. It was imported from Thailand.(News & Record)(7-15-2004)

  • Can you say 'Hemi'?: DaimlerChrysler has launched the official HEMI.com Web site dedicated to HEMI owners and enthusiasts worldwide (www.HEMI.com). HEMI.com is an interactive Web site that presents a historical timeline of the evolution of the HEMI engine, beginning with HEMI's inception back in the early 1950s. The development of the legendary 426 HEMI, which revolutionized NASCAR and NHRA racing (and was ultimately banned by NASCAR), is featured, along with the new generation 5.7L HEMI. In addition, Web surfers will find vintage photographs and biographical information featuring the people who were behind the most famous automotive powerplant in the world. For the history buff, the site contains vintage ads from the 1950s and '60s, when Detroit muscle was king. For the more technically minded, HEMI.com contains specifications for the historic HEMI engines and provides graphic details of how these engines managed to produce such incredible power. Visitors to the site can also visit our multimedia section where they can download their favorite HEMI ads and wallpaper images.(Clear!Blue PR)(7-15-2004)

  • Chicago Win Gives Sadler’s Pit Crew Third Victory in Last Four Races: The pit crew for Elliott Sadler claimed the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday’s (July 11) Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. It was the third time in the last four races that Sadler’s No. 38 crew collected the first-place $20,000 prize. The other wins were in Michigan and Sonoma. At the halfway point of the 36-race schedule, Sadler’s pit crew remains a top contender for the McDonald’s/POWERade season championship and the $200,000 bonus. The No. 38 crew is in second place, only nine points behind series leader – the No 8 crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Sadler’s M&M’s Ford spent 190.811 seconds on pit road during the Tropicana 400. Tony Stewart’s Home Depot Chevy was second with a time of 193.051. Third was Sterling Marlin’s Coors Light Dodge at 212.097. My M&M’s crew brings their “A” game every weekend to the track,” said Sadler. “I cannot tell you how pumped up these guys are and how fast their stops are week in and week out. Track position is so important these days, and these guys know that. They are prepared, in great shape and have made it their mission to win the McDonald’s/POWERade championship. We all win if they win the race off pit road every week. They are one of the reasons we have stayed in the top-10 in points for the entire season.” 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), for the top 10 at Chicago, season standings and more, see my Pit Crew page.(7-15-2004)

  • Boyer tests the #31 at Kentucky: Richard Childress Racing [RCR] driver Clint Bowyer conducted a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series fact-finding mission in the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet during a test at Kentucky Speedway today. Bowyer, who is driving a part-time Busch Series schedule for Childress in the #21 Reese’s Chevrolet, used the day to gain valuable NNCS seat time and gather information that will benefit RCR Cup drivers Robby Gordon in the #31, Kevin Harvick in the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet and Dave Blaney in the #30 AOL Chevrolet during the second half of the season. “We’re just working on a whole lot of different things and gathering data,” Bowyer said. “We’re just putting all of those little bits and pieces together for the big package. The RCR cars aren’t running where they’re used to running and that’s why we’re here. There’s a lot of data you can gather from this racetrack that helps on a lot of different racetracks. Hopefully, they can use the data they’ve learned here to put forth a better effort in the Cup series.”(Kentucky Speedway PR)(7-15-2004)

  • Jarrett's 3rd helps out: Dale Jarrett's third-place finish in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday results in another $5,000 donation from Ford Credit to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to help in its mission to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease. Ford Credit, a sponsor of the #88 UPS Taurus, now has donated $688,800 to the Komen Foundation based on Jarrett's on-track performance and end-of-season bonuses since 1998 - including $20,000 in 2004. Ford Credit gives the Komen Foundation $10,000 for each of Jarrett's victories, $7,500 for each second-place finish, $5,000 for each third-place finish and $5,000 for each pole position won (as fastest qualifier).(Team Ford Racing)(7-15-2004)

  • Elliott Sadler’s Race for Hope Successful for Second Straight Year Elliott Sadler announced today his Race for Hope charity event has raised a total of $86,400. The proceeds from the event are going to the Autism Society of America and the Victory Junction Gang Camp. “Race for Hope was a big hit with the fans, the media and the NASCAR drivers that participated,” explained Sadler. “I know the Autism Society of America and The Victory Junction Gang Camp are happy with the results.” More than 3,000 fans were in attendance on May 25th to watch Elliott Sadler, Hermie Sadler, Richard Petty, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Sterling Marlin, Michael Waltrip, Jamie McMurray, Darrell Waltrip, Tony Stewart, Martin Truex, Jr., and Casey Mears race against fans and sign autographs at the NASCAR SpeedPark in Concord, N.C. Fans were also given the opportunity to attend private dinners with select drivers for up close and personal fan experiences – the experience of a lifetime for some fans. The evening was filled with fun and excitement. One of the highlights was when both Elliott and Hermie Sadler were awarded a certificate of appreciation from the Autism Society of America for their hard work and dedication to the cause over the years.(Team Ford Racing)(7-15-2004)

  • Racin' the Bases Raises ~$50k: Officials from Chicagoland Speedway announced that the inaugural 'Racin' the Bases' charity softball game raised approximately $50,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Several drivers from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series, as well as Chicago media and NBC's NASCAR Broadcast team, took part in the July 8 'Racin' the Bases' celebrity softball game. Proceeds from 'Racin' the Bases' were raised primarily through ticket sales, commemorative T-shirt sales, auction items and corporate sponsorship. 'Racin' the Bases' took place at Silver Cross Field which is located three miles north of Chicagoland Speedway in downtown Joliet and is home to the Joliet JackHammers. For more information on Victory Junction Gang Camp visit their website at www.victoryjunction.org.(Chicagoland Speedway PR)(7-15-2004)


    July 14, 2004

  • Crew Chief Change coming at the 18? Denied...UPDATE 3 Yep: Insiders say that a crew chief change on the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Chevy of Bobby Labonte is imminent. Current crew chief, Michael "Fatback" McSwain was involved in an altercation with a crew member at Pocono. Rumor mill has Jimmy Makar returning as crew chief.(Motorsport.com)(7-11-2004)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has informed me that this is NOT true, no changes planned.(7-13-2004)
    UPDATE 2: been getting this memo sent to me all day......Joe Gibbs Racing has decided in their Chase for the Championship with Bobby Labonte and the Interstate Batteries race team to make a crew chief change effective immediately. Michael "Fatback" McSwain is officially released from his position, and a new crew chief will be announced in the next few days. While McSwain has been a successful crew chief, Joe Gibbs Racing is looking for an individual who will better fit the Interstate team's style and personnel. As soon as the new crew chief has been selected, we will communicate that to you. Supposedly it will be announced tomorrow [Wed]
    AND Been told by sources, this is true.(7-13-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Gibbs Racing released Michael McSwain from his duties as crew chief of the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy in the NASCAR NEXTEL Series, team officials announced July 14. McSwain joined Joe Gibbs Racing in December 2002 and served as Bobby Labontes crew chief for the 2003 season and the first 18 races of the 2004 season. "Over the past two years, Michael McSwain has worked extremely hard for Joe Gibbs Racing," J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, said. "This was a difficult decision, but it was time to go in a different direction. We appreciate all that he has done for the team and wish him the best of luck in the future." McSwain, 37, scored victories with Labonte in 2003 at Atlanta (spring) and the season-finale at Homestead-Miami, en route to an eighth-place finish in the point standings. "Joe Gibbs Racing and I had a successful relationship," McSwain said. "I wish them the best the remainder of the year and in the future." An interim crew chief will be named in the near future. Jimmy Makar, senior vice president of racing, will assist the team as the interim crew chief while team officials search for McSwains replacement. Makar served as crew chief on the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet from 1992-2002, winning the 1993 Daytona 500 with Dale Jarrett and the 2000 NEXTEL Cup Championship with Labonte. "We hope to make the decision on a permanent crew chief in the near future, but we are going to take our time to find the best person for the job," Gibbs said. "Michael did a great job when he came in and took over for Jimmy Makar after the 2002 season," Labonte said. "We won a couple of races in 2003 and won some poles. He works hard, and I wish him success down the road." Joe Gibbs Racing is one of the premier organizations in NASCAR, fielding two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams for drivers Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart, and two NASCAR Busch Series teams for drivers Mike Bliss and J.J. Yeley.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR/Site)
    McSWAIN Surprised: McSwain plans to take a week off to further evaluate his options and determine why he was let go. He says he simply doesn't know. "It's no different than anybody else -- we've had good weeks and bad weeks, but it was a big surprise, I'll give you that," he said. "It really was. I can't say we didn't do good together, because we did. We had some success together. Sometimes, though, things work out and sometimes they don't. It was as big a shock to me as it was the rest of the world. If we were 25th in points I probably wouldn't be so disappointed. But being in the position we were in (sixth), it's disappointing."(see full story and quotes at NASCAR.com)(7-14-2004)

  • Crew Chiefs fined for Daytona infractions: Four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs were fined for inspection violations during the recent Pepsi 400 weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
    Marc Reno, the crew chief for the #09 Miccosukee Resorts Dodge of Bobby Hamilton Jr., and Jimmy Elledge, the crew chief for the #41 Target Dodge driven by Casey Mears, were each fined $20,000 for violating Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing), because of a misaligned carburetor throttle body. Both infractions were discovered during pre-race inspection at Daytona.
    Reno also was fined $5,000 for violating Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing), because of a non-approved rear deck lid that did not fit the templates. The infraction was discovered during opening-day inspection. Todd Berrier, the crew chief for the #29 Goodwrench Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick, and Kevin Hamlin, the crew chief for the #30 America Online Chevrolet of Dave Blaney, were each fined $1,000 for violating Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing), because of an unapproved oil tank breather hose. Both infractions were discovered during pre-qualifying inspection.(NASCAR PR)(7-14-2004)

  • Baldwin Fined: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crew chief Tommy Baldwin was fined $10,000 for an incident that occurred this past weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Baldwin, the crew chief for the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge of Kasey Kahne, was fined $5,000 for violating Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing). That penalty was assessed for being involved in an altercation in another Competitor’s pit area. Baldwin also was fined $5,000 for violating Section 9-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (The crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his/her driver, car owner and team members), and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2004. The incident occurred during Sunday’s Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland.(NASCAR PR)(7-13-2004)
    AND Evernham Statement: Responding to the penalties imposed by NASCAR today, Ray Evernham, president and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, issued the following statement: "NASCAR has made its decision; now it's time to move on," Evernham said. "I understand why Tommy (Baldwin, crew chief for the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) and the team reacted the way they did in the heat of competition. NASCAR has rules. I agree with rules. Evernham Motorsports also has rules. NASCAR has made its decision and imposed its penalties. Now, I will impose the appropriate penalties for Evernham Motorsports. This is behind us now. As a team, our focus is on the upcoming events and the future."(Clear!Blue PR)(7-14-2004)

  • Indy Testing from Tuesday: The total lap count for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway two-day test was 3,455 laps, and Mark Martin turned the most of any driver, with 316. Twenty-two drivers combined to turn 1,734 laps around the 2.5-mile oval Monday, while 21 drivers combined to turn 1,721 today. Jeff Burton only tested Monday. Today’s fastest driver was NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rookie Brian Vickers, who turned an unofficial lap of 49.5721 seconds, 181.554 mph. Running second to Vickers in the two-day test was Jason Leffler at 180.787. Martin was third of the 22 drivers at 179.690 in the No. 6 Viagra Ford, Elliott Sadler was fourth at 179.587 in the No. 38 M&M’s Ford and three-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon was fifth at 179.456. Vickers’ time was only seven-tenths of a second slower than the official event record of 48.822, 184.343 set by Kevin Harvick during qualifications for the 2003 race. Jimmy Spencer recorded the fastest lap of practice July 12 at 178.517, and Jeff Green was fastest in the first round of private testing, on July 6-7, with a lap of 181.641 on the second day.
    Nine additional teams are scheduled to participate in private testing on July 19-20. The drivers tentatively scheduled to participate are: former Brickyard 400 winners #88-Dale Jarrett (1996, 1999) and #91-Bill Elliott (2002), #30-Dave Blaney, #0-Ward Burton, #31-Robby Gordon, #42-Jamie McMurray, #12-Ryan Newman, #20-Tony Stewart and #00-Kenny Wallace.
    BRICKYARD 400 TESTING UNOFFICIAL SPEEDS (COMBINED)
    Second day IMS testing with rank, car number, driver and speed in miles per hour, day, session, total laps.
    1. 25A, Brian Vickers, 181.554, today, afternoon, 149;
    2. 60X, Jason Leffler, 180.787, today, afternoon, 142;
    3. 6A, Mark Martin, 179.690, today, afternoon, 316;
    4. 38, Elliott Sadler, 179.587, today, morning, 218;
    5. 24A, Jeff Gordon, 179.456, today, afternoon, 103;
    6. 23, Tony Raines, 179.011, today, afternoon, 156;
    7. 2A, Rusty Wallace, 178.833, today, afternoon, 143;
    8. 4A, Jimmy Spencer, 178.517, Monday, afternoon, 141;
    9. 19A, Jeremy Mayfield, 178.244, today, morning, 243;
    10. 77A, Brendan Gaughan, 178.027, today, afternoon 134;
    11. 22, Scott Wimmer, 177.528, today, afternoon, 204;
    12. 01B, Joe Nemechek, 177.362, today, morning, 264;
    13. 9B, Kasey Kahne, 176.489, today, morning, 219;
    14. 41A, Casey Mears, 176.378, today, morning, 161;
    15. 16A, Greg Biffle, 176.259, today, morning, 203;
    16. 10A, Scott Riggs, 176.257, today, afternoon, 173;
    17. 49, Ken Schrader, 175.727, today, afternoon, 91;
    18. 21A, Ricky Rudd, 175.072, today, morning, 142;
    19. 99, Jeff Burton, 174.582, Monday, morning, 87;
    20. 14, Larry Foyt, 172.669, today, morning, 74;
    21. 98, Todd Bodine, 172.601, Monday, morning, 42;
    22. 72, Kirk Shelmerdine, 161.827, today, morning, 50.
    (Team Ford Racing)(7-14-2004)

  • Words from Tony - NOT going to DEI...: in an interview with XM Radio's Claire B. Lang, Tony Stewart answered some questions:

    On Talking To Kasey:(he's going to call him but hasn't yet) "I'm gonna call him and ask him what happened. You know it's easy to stand on the sidelines or watch on TV and say, 'Yea, he ran right over him,' but the only people who know what happened are Kasey and myself and, I don't even know what happened. I just know that for some reason his car checked up in front of us and we had contact and like I said' at that part of the race track, that wasn't the best place to have that happen by any means. We could have got taken out just as easy as he got taken out there but I definitely will call him and find out you know for two reasons. One to let him know that hey I truly did not mean for that to happen and second to find out what happened, what was the reason the car checked up."

    Should he have eased up on Kasey on the restart: "Nobody gives anybody a break, not as competitive as this series is. Especially as competitive a place as Chicago. track position is very, very important there, the situation we were in there was no where that I could go. It wasn't a situation where I could push him forward and make things better. Daytona and Talladega tracks like that you can push each other and help each other out but that wasn't a situation where that was going to help because Kasey had somebody who was in front of him so, There really wasn't anything to gain from it. Getting that one spot from Sterling (Marlin) that was huge that put us into second spot right away and the only guy we were racing for position at that point was Kasey so you know getting by the lapped cars and getting by the cars that were at the tail end of the lead lap was something that was very important at that point but you know it's not something that you can sit back and have the luxury, if you take it easy three or four guys are going to drive by you because they know it's important to get everything you can get when everyone is grouped up like that.

    Should Kasey have signaled if he had slow restart problems? "In Kasey's defense if he had a problem it's impossible for him to signal, you're in crowded quarters right there and if he was shifting and missed a shift he doesn't have time to signal so he's still trying to get the thing in gear so you know whatever happened it was something that he was trying to figure out the problem at the same time and it makes it impossible so in his defense it's hard for him to signal when you have a problem like that in that amount of time."

    On talk that Joe Gibbs departure has affected his attitude: "Look at all the other stuff that's happened in my career. Joe was always there then so what's different now. Joe's still around the race team. Don't be fooled into thinking that Joe's not a phone call away and Joe still talks to us quite a bit. Yet his presence isn't at the race shop every day but he's still in contact with Bobby and I and the crew chiefs and his son. J.D. (Gibbs) is just a younger Joe, .J.D. runs that race team just like his father did and I respect J.D. as much as I respect his father so there's no substance to that. It's people that are speculating."

    On the consistent rumor of him wanting to leave the sport and that he's causing riffs to get released:
    "I like what I do. Is there a lot of headaches and hassles? Sure there is but we're at the top form of racing in the United States and with that you're going to have hassles and headaches but you know the one thing that Joe Gibbs has always told me and especially with some of the cases that have happened in the past he goes, 'If you ever get to the situation that you don't want to be here anymore let me know.' If I didn't want to be there I'd call Joe right now and say, 'Joe I've had enough of this I'm ready to go do something else and we would work it out.' If I didn't want to be here I wouldn't have to go to the extent of causing problems to do that. I mean I want to win another championship. If it were up to me I'd try to win five more championships in the next five years so no it's not true. I love what I do I love my race team. Greg Zipadelli is like a big brother to me, it would be hard to not race with him, It's just not true."

    On continuous rumors that he has his eye on DEI and wants to get out of Gibbs: "Yea. I love it. Claire every time you hear something like that write it down because it's probably the most amusing thing that I hear. I mean I've been with Joe Gibbs racing since I started in the Busch series and Bobby Labonte's probably the best team mate you could ask for. I love driving for Joe Gibbs Racing..I love the guys there I mean the team I mean it's the best group of guys. We can start sentences and the guys can finish it or they start sentences and I can finish it. It would be crazy to leave Joe Gibbs racing now especially after we've won a championship with them so people if they would sit back and think about what they say before they say it like I need to stop and do sometimes and think of the common sense side of it, questions like that answer themselves when you sit back and think about it."(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144)(7-14-2004)


  • What the........? Don't go looking for Spike Lee at any NASCAR events this summer. The ornery movie director and Knicks fanatic nurses a paranoid fantasy about the NASCAR circuit. "I just imagine hearing some country-and-Western song over a loudspeaker at NASCAR: 'Hang them n-- up high! Hang them n-- up high!' I'm not going to no NASCAR," Lee vows in the August issue of Playboy.(New York Daily News)(7-14-2004)

  • Peta Ad Pulled: A company that produces official racetrack publications for NASCAR events rejected an advertisement that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] had purchased in a recent NASCAR race-week program. The ad, which showed a leg kicking a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket and a caption that read "Hey, Junior! KFC Races Dirty," targeted Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s race team. Since signing an endorsement deal with KFC's parent company, Yum Brands, in January, Earnhardt has become the first person other than Colonel Sanders to be featured on the restaurant chain's signature chicken bucket. The ad went on to say, "Junior, you may belong in the winner's circle, but KFC's treatment of animals is a black-flag pitstop." Mainstream Media publishes the programs to approximately 20 auto racing events each season, including the program distributed at the recent Pepsi 400 held July 4 at Daytona International Speedway. PETA had purchased its ad in that program. Mainstream Media president Jonathan Wilson said a sales representative with his company called PETA to gauge its interest in placing an advertisement. Believing that officials would "go in a completely different direction," the sales rep accepted the ad copy and a $9,500 check. The publishing company, however, reserves its right to reject ads that have political agendas or are deemed too risqué for a family audience. NASCAR spokesman Andrew Giangola said "NASCAR is not aware of any plans for a PETA ad or of any controversy surrounding such an ad."(more at ESPN.com)(7-14-2004)

  • Mikey on TV: Two-time Daytona 500 Winner Michael Waltrip prepares for his close-up during recent filming for a Best Western television commercial on Los Angeles' Sunset Blvd. As the first Official Hotel of NASCAR, Best Western also serves as an associate sponsor of Waltrip and the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned #15 NAPA Chevrolet on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. This fall, Best Western will be the primary sponsor of Waltrip's #99 NASCAR Busch Series Car for the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 in Phoenix, AZ. Waltrip's Best Western commercial is scheduled to debut nationwide Saturday, August 21.(Best Western/Alan Taylor Communications)(7-14-2004)

  • Pepsi tops Coke at Daytona: An analysis done for the Sports Business Daily shows that Pepsi easily bested Coca-Cola in terms of television exposure during the July 3 Pepsi 400 Nextel Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. The Daily says Pepsi got 58 minutes 22 seconds of exposure to Coke's 1 minute 19 seconds. The study was done by SRi for the Daily after Coca-Cola put its C2 low-carb soda brand on eight cars for the race.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-14-2004)

  • Baldwin takes this week's crew chief honors: This week's WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race is #9-Tommy Baldwin. Baldwin's decision to enter enemy territory and confront the team that spun out his driver earned him the fans' vote. After Kasey Khane got turned around by Tony Stewart, Baldwin made an unadvised trip to the #20 team's pit stall to stick up for his driver. WYPALL Wipers spokesman Robbie Reiser gave some insight as to what made Baldwin make the risky move. "The guys at the shop work so hard on their cars," said Resier. "So much time and preparation goes into each race, and when someone dumps your driver, all that hard work goes down the drain. Even if it's unintentional, it's frustrating. It can definitely make you do some crazy things." Tony Eury, Sr. remains in first place in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge with four wins. Chad Knaus and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with three wins each. Robbie Reiser and Tommy Baldwin are tied for third place with two wins. Larry Carter, Lee McCall, Donnie Wingo, Phillipe Lopez and Matt Borland are tied for fourth place, each with one win. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will be named WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and receive $10,000.00.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-14-2004)

  • 20 Years Ago: today is the anniversary of Nashville's last Nextel Cup (then Grand National) race. Geoff Bodine won the July 14, 1984 race at the Fairgrounds. NASCAR pulled the track's sanction shortly thereafter, citing management concerns.(Tennessean)(7-14-2004)


    July 13, 2004

  • Ford sues Kahne: NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne is being sued by Ford Motor Co. in Wayne County Circuit Court for allegedly breaking a contract with Robert Yates Racing to pursue a more lucrative deal to drive Dodge race cars. Kahne, 24, is the top rookie on the Nextel Cup circuit. He is 14th in the points standings after 18 races and has five top-five finishes. Ford has not yet said how much it would seek in damages, but according to a summons filed in court Friday, the breach of contract is more than $25,000. According to the lawsuit, Ford and Yates signed a contract with Kahne that required him to drive Ford cars for the team and appear in promotional activities. But last October, according to documents filed in court by the plaintiff, Kahne dropped Ford and started driving Dodges for a team owned by Ray Evernham. Kahne took over the #9 Dodge for Evernham Motorsports after Bill Elliott decided to run a limited schedule this season. Kahne's lawyer, Harvey Heller, said Monday that as a policy the firm did not comment on cases involving its clients but said an answer to the charge will be filed in court later this week.(Detroit Free Press)(7-13-2004)

  • Redskins Owner to be part owner of Gibbs 3rd team? #18/#20/#80/#11 Cup team owner, Joe Gibbs has apparently persuaded the owner of the Washington Redskins, Daniel Snyder, to take a stake in his newest stock-car team, according to team sources. The third Gibbs team [#80/#11], which finished 31st Sunday with Mike Bliss at the wheel, is still in its infancy, with no driver or crew chief yet for 2005, though there has been heavy speculation that Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray are under consideration. J.J. Yeley, the hotshot USAC Sprint racer driving for Gibbs on the Busch tour this year, is also a long-shot for the ride but probably needs another year or two of seasoning before moving up to Cup.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-13-2004)

  • More on Indy Testing, and more next week UPDATE: Indianapolis Motor Speedway says Jeff Green recorded the fastest lap of the three drivers who took part in a two-day test this week. Green lapped the 2.5-mile oval at 181.641 mph in Petty Enterprises' #43 Dodge. The track says Kyle Petty suffered two engine failures in his #45 Dodge on Tuesday and wound up watching Wednesday's session. No other times were reported for the second day of the test. Bobby Labonte had been the fastest on Tuesday at 176.013mph in Joe Gibbs Racing's #18 Chevrolet.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)
    NEXT WEEK: Cup Series private testing will resume Monday, spanning into Tuesday, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with 23 drivers, including former Brickyard 400 winners Ricky Rudd and Jeff Gordon scheduled to test. Drivers and teams will prepare for the 11th annual Brickyard 400, scheduled for Aug. 8. Testing is 9:00am - 5:00pm/ct both days, with a lunch break. Although the tests are private, the public may view testing at no cost from the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2. A final round of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series private testing is scheduled at IMS for July 19-20.
    The tentative drivers scheduled:
    #01-Joe Nemechek; #2-Rusty Wallace; #4-Jimmy Spencer; #6-Mark Martin; #9-Kasey Kahne; #10-Scott Riggs; #14-Larry Foyt; #16-Greg Biffle; #19-Jeremy Mayfield; #21-Ricky Rudd; #22-Scott Wimmer; #23-Tony Raines; #24-Jeff Gordon; #25-Brian Vickers; #38-Elliott Sadler; #40-Sterling Marlin; #42-Jamie McMurray; #49-Ken Schrader; #60-Jason Leffler; #77-Brendan Gaughan; #99-Jeff Burton; and #98-Todd Bodine.(Team Ford Racing)(7-9-2004)
    Monday's Speeds: #4-Jimmy Spencer, the 2001 Brickyard 400 pole winner, was fastest in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing July 12 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Spencer, driving the #4 Wide Open Energy Drink Chevrolet for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, turned a lap of 50.4155 seconds, 178.517mph on a sunny and humid day in Indianapolis with temperatures reaching 86 degrees. This was the first day of a two-day test in preparation for the 11th Brickyard 400 on Aug. 8. Testing resumes from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. (EST) Tuesday, and the public is welcome to watch testing for free in the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2. Additional teams are scheduled to participate in private testing on July 19-20. Unofficial Speeds at Indy Testing 7-12:
    Rank Car No. Driver Speed (mph)
    1. 4A Jimmy Spencer 178.517
    2. 6 Mark Martin 177.535
    3. 19A Jeremy Mayfield 176.958
    4. 38 Elliott Sadler 176.426
    5. 01B Joe Nemechek 176.074
    6. 2A Rusty Wallace 175.208
    7. 25A Brian Vickers 175.050
    8. 21A Ricky Rudd 175.030
    9. 16 Greg Biffle 174.877
    10. 41 Casey Mears 174.862
    11. 10A Scott Riggs 174.737
    12. 60 Jason Leffler 174.621
    13. 9B Kasey Kahne 174.603
    14. 99 Jeff Burton 174.582
    15. 24A Jeff Gordon 174.566
    16. 23 Tony Raines 174.090
    17. 22 Scott Wimmer 173.833
    18. 49 Ken Schrader 173.131
    19. 77B Brendan Gaughan 173.029
    20. 98 Todd Bodine 172.601
    21. 14 Larry Foyt 167.101
    22. 72 Kirk Shelmerdine 158.581
    (Morgan-McClure PR)(7-13-2004)

  • To the Wind Tunnel UPDATE 2: NASCAR is taking two cars of each manufacturer to the Wind Tunnel [not sure which one] after the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway (Speed Channel's Speed NASCAR News). No word on which cars will go, a guess? #20 and #48 [Chevy], #40 and #19 [Dodge] and from Ford, how about #88 and #16?...(7-11-2004)
    UPDATE...the cars are.... NASCAR impounded the Chevrolets of #20-Tony Stewart and #48-Jimmie Johnson; the Fords of #88-Dale Jarrett and #17-Matt Kenseth; and the Dodges of #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #40-Sterling Marlin, after the race. NASCAR plans to take them to the wind tunnel for testing, in part to check the results of a possible spoiler height change for the 2005 season.(ThatsRacin.com), hey...I was 5 for 6....I forgot about Biffle's damaged nose.(7-12-2004)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR spokesman Herb Branham said the tests aren't necessarily to determine brand differences. He said it was more of a fact-finding mission to determine what race teams are doing to the cars and to see what happens aerodynamically when the rear spoilers are trimmed, as the circuit plans to do next year.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-13-2004)

  • Craven to test at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway's weekly calendar shows that Ricky Craven is expected to test PPI Motorsports' #32 Chevrolet on Wednesday. The track says fans are permitted to watch from the Fan Center but cautions that schedules are subject to change.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-12-2004)
    UPDATE: been told Craven is NOT testing at Kentucky this week.(7-13-2004)


    July 12, 2004

  • Chicago overnight TV Ratings up 6%: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday's Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway drew a 5.2 overnight rating and 11 share from Nielsen Media Research. The overnight rating was up 6.1 percent from the 4.9 last year and represented the highest figure for the race since NBC began carrying it. The Sports Business Daily also reports that NBC's broadcast of Saturday's Tropicana Twister 300 Busch Series race drew a 2.1/5 overnight, up 17 percent from the 1.8/5 in 2003.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-12-2004)

  • Making it official...today UPDATE: NBC reported during its prerace show that Michael Waltrip and sponsor NAPA had re-signed with Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s #15 Chevrolet for next year. Speculation on Waltrip's future was fueled in early June when Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Waltrip would like to finish his career at DEI but might not get the opportunity.(Richmond Times Dispatch), see my #15 Team News page for past info on the rumors and DEI saying Waltrip is staying.(7-12-2004)
    UPDATE: NAPA AUTO PARTS will continue its sponsorship of the #15 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) Chevrolet Monte Carlo during the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL CUP season. Piloting the NAPA Chevy in 2005 will be two-time Daytona 500 champion and current driver, Michael Waltrip. Waltrip will carry the NAPA shield for the fifth consecutive year in NASCAR's premier series. "We are pleased to announce our continued partnership with both Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Michael Waltrip," stated Bob Susor, NAPA President. "This partnership began is 1996 and has resulted in two NASCAR Truck Series Championships, a top-five finish in the NASCAR Busch Series points standings in 2000, and four NASCAR Cup Series wins to date including two Daytona 500 victories. Michael Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. are excellent representatives of the NAPA brand and we are proud to have them flying the NAPA colors."(Champion Sports Group PR)(7-12-2004)

  • NASCAR....Stewart/Kahne = racing incident: NASCAR spokesman Herb Branham said officials considered the #20-Tony Stewart / #9-Kasey Kahne accident a "racing incident and nothing more," and if a penalty was required, it would have been assessed during the race. Branham said that NASCAR was reviewing the pit-road brawl. "If any penalties results, they will be announced later this week."(many sources) all kinds of columns with quotes and comments from all involved on my Article/Column/Story links page.(7-12-2004)

  • Brake Lights? ThatsRacin.com's Jim Utter's cure to resolve the questions of when drivers "check up" and when somebody simply runs over them? How about some brake lights? Certainly the technology exists to implement such an addition to the cars and it would at least force drivers to come up with a better excuse.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-12-2004)

  • Yeley to make Cup debut at Michigan UPDATE: during a MRN Radio interview before the Busch race at Chicago on Saturday, it was mentioned that J.J. Yeley will attempt to make his Nextel Cup debut at Michigan International Speedway in August in a third Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy [#11?, #80?], the original plan was for Yeley to debut at Talladega in Oct., but NASCAR didn't hink he had enough speedway experience. Yeley mentioned Home Depot and Vigoro [lawn fertilizer] as sponsors.(MRN's Busch Series race coverage)(7-11-2004)
    UPDATE: Vigoro, a leading brand of premium lawn and garden products for over 80 years, along with The Home Depot, will be the primary sponsors of Joe Gibbs Racing driver J.J. Yeley as he attempts to make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut at Michigan Speedway. Yeley will enter the #11 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday, August 22nd. Sold exclusively at Home Depot stores, Vigoro is manufactured by St. Louis-based United Industries Corporation, which goes to market at Spectrum Brands. A native of Phoenix, the 27-year-old Yeley joined Joe Gibbs Racing with an impressive list of credentials. In 2003, he became only the second driver in racing history to win the USAC Triple Crown by earning the Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown championships in a single season. En route to that milestone, Yeley earned a total of 24 USAC victories, easily surpassing the mark of 19 set by A.J. Foyt in 1961 and tied in 1988 by Sleepy Tripp and in 2000 by Jay Drake. And while amassing such a large win total, Yeley became the first driver in USAC history to win on pavement and dirt in all three national series in a single season. In 2004, Yeley has competed in 10 NASCAR Busch Series events. His best outing of the year was at Nashville Superspeedway in June, where he scored his first top-ten, finishing eighth. His best start was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when he qualified seventh.(Matrix Sports Marketing PR), see my new #11 Team News and Links page for updates on the Fed-Ex sponsorship and driver rumors. Also see the #11 Old Spice Chevy that Yeley will supposedly drive at Talladega in Oct on my #11 Team Paint Schemes page.(7-12-2004)

  • NASCAR Visits Toronto: Some NASCAR executives were at the Toronto Indy on Saturday [7/10]. The top racing series in North America has expressed an interest in the Canadian market as a jumping off spot for global expansion. NASCAR's chief operating officer George Pyne told The Toronto Sun he was here on a fact-finding mission. "We're just kicking the tires," Pyne said as he led NASCAR technical director Gary Nelson and international director Robbie Weiss on a tour of pit lane. "I have always said that Canada is an important market for us," Pyne said. "Is it possible we could run (Craftsman) trucks or Busch (at Molson Indy)? Yes, it is possible." Pyne and his group also met with CASCAR Super Series owner Tony Novotny. While Pyne would not comment on the possibility of NASCAR buying the Canadian stock car series, it was noted that Nelson, who controls all things technical in the Daytona Beach-based series, was inspecting the CASCAR cars that were getting ready to race yesterday. A Molson Indy executive told The Sun they were aware of NASCAR's interest in Toronto and welcomed any inquiries about future participation by them at the annual event.(Toronto Sun)(7-12-2004)

  • Hendrick and Action deal....for 2006: Action Performance has announced a five-year die-cast licensing agreement with Hendrick Motorsports that takes effect Jan. 1, 2006. The company says the agreement lengthens Action Performance's deal with drivers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson and extends the license rights to the remaining Hendrick drivers, Terry Labonte, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch. The Arizona Republic reports the deal is expected to increase Action's sales by $25 million under terms of an agreement that guarantees royalties through 2010. Action currently has a licensing arrangement with Gordon and his company, JG Motorsports Inc., that expires Dec. 31, 2005, and a contract with Johnson that concludes Dec. 31, 2004.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-12-2004)

  • Chicago's Lack of NASCAR Coverage: Chicagoland Speedway is viewed as a gateway to the nation's No. 3 television market for NASCAR, its teams and sponsors. But the only view of the Windy City's famous skyline from the 1.5-mile track is when its grandstands are empty, and the vacant seats form an orange and blue pattern of skyscrapers. The Joliet track is located about 45 miles southwest from the Loop, about an hourlong drive. The distance might explain why the Nextel Cup Series, which normally enjoys blanket coverage while criss-crossing the country each week, has struggled for exposure in the metropolitan area.
    NASCAR couldn't bump the Cubs, White Sox or Olympic trials off the cover of yesterday's sports section in the Chicago Tribune, the city's biggest daily newspaper. The Tribune had two stories on Saturday's events buried on Page 13. Local television wasn't much better. The two inflatable oranges that got loose during Busch qualifying Friday dominated the weekend's telecasts, overshadowing Jeff Gordon's fourth straight pole position.(Richmond Times Dispatch, also see an article about this aty the Winston Salem Journal)(7-12-2004)

  • Kenseth and Harvick to test at Milwaukee: #29-Kevin Harvick is scheduled to test the Milwaukee Mile on Monday, July 12th and Tuesday, July 13th; #17-Matt Kenseth is scheduled to test there on Tuesday, July 13th and Wednesday, July 14th. Fan can watch, free of charge, go to Gate 3.(Milwaukee Mile site), why? it is a flat one-mile oval, very similar to New Hampshire, the next race on July 25th.(7-12-2004)


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