Busch wins at New Hampshire: #12-Ryan Newman led the first 170 laps of Sunday's Siemens 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway the Nextel Cup race, but as it turned out he was only renting first place. But #97-Kurt Busch started 32nd, it took him a while to make his way to the front of the field on the tight 1.058-mile track. But once he got there, Busch was too tough for anybody to handle. #24-Jeff Gordon, who worked his way into second on Lap 233 at the same time Busch was taking the lead from Newman for the final time, took a couple of shots at getting by Busch on restarts following late cautions. The last came with just three laps to go after #2-Rusty Wallace spun after contact from #88-Dale Jarrett while they raced for eighth, but Busch just had too much. Busch won for the first time since a victory at Bristol in March, his 10th win in his career. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. started the race, but because of burns on his legs suffered in a crash a week ago in a race in California he got out of the car at the first yellow flag and Martin Truex Jr. took over. Truex later hit the wall and wound up finishing 31st, two laps behind the leader. Truex spun and smacked the wall after contact with Ken Schrader on Lap 140. The rest of the top five were #24-Gordon, #12-Newman, #17-Kenseth (31), #20-Stewart.(see a huge race article at ThatsRacin.com).
For race results, see: Jayski's Loudon Race Results/Awards page ThatsRacin.com Motorsports One NASCAR.com.(7-25-2004)
A question, I get: why do some drivers knock the PowerAde bottles off the top of the car in victory lane? Easy:
PowerAde is owned by Coca-Cola
Gatorade is ownerd by Pepsi
so drivers like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, who have ties to Pepsi or Gatorade knock the bottles off. Simple as that. comments concerning those actions can be addressed by contacting the teams.(7-1-2004) UPDATE: NASCAR wants Nextel Cup drivers to refrain from removing a conflicting sponsor's product from their cars in victory lane. At the drivers' meeting prior to Sunday's Siemens 300, NASCAR president Mike Helton told the drivers "do not take it upon yourselves to remove products" placed on cars as they come in for victory celebrations. "For years there have been sponsors that conflict with a car's sponsor or a driver's personal sponsor," Helton said. "We've been able to work through those with politeness and respect, and we need to get back to that." The recent issues have mostly been with a large, blue Powerade bottle that some drivers have pushed or even knocked off their cars because of affiliations with Gatorade or with Pepsi, which owns Gatorade. Powerade is a Coca-Cola product. "You can maneuver away from it or work around it," Helton said. "If that doesn't begin happening again, we will be forced to deal with it."(ThatsRacin.com)(7-25-2004)
Andretti on stand-by for Dale Jr. at Pocono: John Andretti, part-time driver for DEI's #1 Chevy, will be the stand-by driver for #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. next week at Pocono if needed. Martin Truex Jr., subbing for Dale Jr. at NHIS, will be unavailable as he will be at Pikes Peak International Raceway on Colorado for the Busch race.(FSN's NASCAR This Morning)(7-25-2004)
Dale Jr. comments after getting out of car at NH: from FoxSports/Sporting News site:
"Ain't many people I'd let drive my car. Martin's one of them. Luckily he was available this weekend. The car is not that good. It think the car might be worse than I am. It's real loose in, real tight in the middle - wouldn't turn in the middle at all. Hopefully we can work on it, get it a lot better and get a pretty good finish. We were real good all weekend in practice with Martin in the car. I know we can get a good run; we just got to get the car a lot better. The car just wasn't as good as I thought it'd be, or had been all weekend. Just ain't no fun getting out. I'm a tell ya that. I like running here, but Martin's gonna do a good job for me, so it'll be okay."
"My injuries really, really hurt bad. It's a pain I've never felt before. But I was in two burn centers and I saw some people in there that were a lot worse off than I was and it made me really appreciate how luckily I was to be able get out of there. Just ain't good enough to drive a car out here all day long. Hopefully next week we will be."
See more at FoxSports/Sporting News.(7-25-2004)
Makar, Busy Guy: Jimmy Makar is just back from a few weeks of missionary work in South America, and he may now wish to return, given the headaches on his desk as general manager at Joe Gibbs Racing. Talk about being in the eye of the storm. Look at it this way - the boss is about to embark on a return to the NFL, and attempt to revive those glory years with the Washington Redskins. But it's been 10 years since Gibbs last played that game, which he quit then for health reasons. The never-ending Tony Stewart saga is playing out more chapters, and Stewart found himself dodging debris-throwing fans after winning in Chicago the last time out. Two days after that Makar and J.D. Gibbs, Joe's son and Makar's immediate boss, found themselves faced with a major shakeup on Bobby Labonte's team, dealing out crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain and plugging in Brandon Thomas, the new crew chief. On top of all that, Makar and J.D. Gibbs are under the gun to put together a third Nextel Cup for FedEx, a $24 billion company, certain to want its money's worth and not willing to wait out a long-term investment. "Want my shoes?" Makar asked with a laugh.(see full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(7-25-2004)
Dale Jr. to start; Martin Jr. to finish; crew changes: Dale Earnhardt Jr. got in the #8 Bud Chevy and ran about 8 laps of practice. His speeds were within a tenth of Martin Truex Jr's best time. He did not go out in the second segment [Happy Hour]. Junior said he felt comfortable in the seat. He says he has less discomfort sitting behind the wheel then he does in a standing position. The plan for the Seimens 300 has not changed. Junior will start the race and the team hopes to make the driver switch under the first
caution. There are three permanent changes to the No. 8 Budweiser pit crew: Jay Guarneri = Rear Tire Changer; Jeff Clark = Gasman; Bill Snyder = Catch Can.(GM PR), expect to see TV cover the driver swap, when it happens, look for the first caution or 25 laps into the race.(7-25-2004)
DEI News? UPDATE 2: some sort of DEI announcement will be made at NHIS, Friday morning, July 23rd.(7-22-2004) AND SPEED Channel will interrupt Formula One Practice Friday morning at approximately 8:30am/et to present live coverage of a Dale Earnhardt, Inc. press conference from the New Hampshire International Speedway. At its conclusion, SPEED will resume F1 Practice from the point it left.(SC PR) UPDATE On Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, Dave reported that DEI will announce in a press conference Friday morning that Martin Truex Jr. will attempt to qualify the #8 car for the Cup race at New Hampshire on Friday [3pm on TNT].(7-23-2004) UPDATE 2: It was announced in a press conference at New Hampshire International Speedway, Friday morning [July 23td around 8:20am/et] that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would sit out practice and qualifying on Friday, July 23rd. Chance 2 Busch Series driver, Martin Truex Jr. will practice and qualify the #8 Budweiser Chevy. Dale Jr. may practice the car some on Saturday and plans are for Dale Jr. to start the car Sunday in the Siemen's 300 at NHIS and have Truex Jr. get in the car at the first oppurtunity/first caution. The reason to remove Dale Jr. is to protect his burns from infection, which being in a hot car and sweating could cause. Dale Jr. has a bandage wrapped around his neck and a 2nd, larger bandage on the left side of his neck. Earnhardt Jr. said he has been totally cleared to practice, qualify and race the #8 Budweiser Chevy. Dale Jr. said he has no plans to spot for Truex Jr. Attending the press conference were Dale Earnhardt Jr., crew chief Tony Eury Sr., DEI's Richie Gilmore and sub driver Martin Truex Jr., who left the press conference after the initial announcement and before the Q&A. (Speed Channel Press Conference Coverage), if Truex Jr. qualifies the car and Earnahrdt Jr. starts the race, no matter where the car is scheduled to start, Dale Jr. will have to fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag, same as usual.(7-23-2004) POINTS: If Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts the race at NHIS, and Truex Jr. replaces him at some point in the race, Dale Jr. gets all the points, just like any other driver change during a race.
Rookie stripes? been asked if the #8 will have rookie stripes on the car, I would guess so, but am not sure, will see today during qualifying.[yes the car has rookie stripes on it] From the DEI site - in part:
In a Friday morning press conference at New Hampshire International Speedway, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. announced their weekend plans for the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tony Eury, Sr, Richie Gilmore and Martin Truex, Jr. addressed the media and revealed the team’s intentions and approach for the Siemens 300 on Sunday. The following move was necessitated because of the burn injuries Dale Jr. received last week at Infineon Raceway in an American Le Mans Series event. Martin Truex, Jr., who normally drives the #8 Chance 2 Motorsports Chevrolet, will practice the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet and qualify the car on Friday. He will also partake in the Happy Hour session on Saturday. However, for the start of the race on Sunday, Dale Jr. will take the green flag and, at some point soon after, Martin will replace Dale Jr. in the car. The reason for Dale Jr. to start the race is to earn the assigned points that go along with the car’s finish. Martin will finish the race and whatever position he earns in the final rundown, those points will go to Dale Jr. in the Official Standings for the Nextel Cup Series. All through the week, the team was deciding on what to do in different scenarios and how to prepare for the race weekend. Dale Jr. visited the shop on Thursday, put on his uniform and sat in the No. 8 Chevrolet to see how it all felt. Collectively, Dale Jr, Tony Sr. and Richie came to a conclusion and plan for the weekend. Tony Sr. talked about having Martin in the car to relieve Dale Jr. Martin tested with the #8 Cup team at NHIS in early July and has vast experience at the one-mile oval in Busch and Busch North Series races. The plan is for him to get in the car at the earliest opportunity after the initial green flag. Richie said there is no set time as to when Dale Jr. will get out of the car right now. That factor will be better determined once Dale Jr. takes a few laps in the car, but that won’t happen until Saturday. Because of the rules of a driver change between qualifying and the start of the race, Dale Jr. will start at the rear of the field no matter where Martin qualifies the car. See the full report at the DEI SIte.(7-23-2004) AND on FSN's NASCAR This Morning, Kenn Wallace mentioned the burn on Dale Jr.'s neck [left side] was caused by the drink tube being against his neck, the tube got so hot it melted against his neck and burned him.(7-25-2004)
Hamilton Jr./Holly to PPI? see the past rumors and news on my #32 Team News and Links page..and below. The stir in the Winston [um..Nextel] Cup garage today came courtesy of Cal Well II’s PPI Racing team, which announced late last night that they’d be parting company with driver Ricky Craven at the end of the year. Wells’ #32 crew chief Dave Carpentier status with the team, is solid, according to him, “I’ve still got over two years left on my contract and I plan on honoring my commitment to the team.” Wells’ team has been in the news in recent weeks said to be looking at elements of Team Rensi Motorsports, run by brothers Sam and Ed Rensi, along with business partner Gary Weisbaum. Ed, who fields the #25 Ford in the Busch Series, did confirm with TFR that he’s spoken to Wells about his talent and that there will be a change at the end of the year as a result of those talks.
“Cal Wells approached me before Dover and told me that he wanted to talk to both Harold [Holly] and Bobby [Hamilton Jr.] about going over to PPI,” Rensi told TFR today. “I said – and I take this position with anybody who has ever worked with me, if you’ve got an opportunity to improve yourself God bless you. I’ll do everything I can to help you. Harold has made a tremendous contribution to our team as has Bobby. They’re both very talented young men who are on the upslope in their careers and Nextel Cup is something that everybody dreams of and I’m certainly not going to stand in their way. I wish them the very best. Harold is a very good friend of ours,” Rensi added. “He’s not only an employee but he’s a damn good friend. We’re happy to have him working for us. Both of those young fellows are moving forward. Cal did it the right way. [Wells] came and chatted about it and talked about it. I’ve know Cal since his days with McDonald’s and I said, ‘Hey man, if you’ve got a position for him and you can treat him right and help them further their careers, I’m all in favor of it.’ In fact I’ve said all along if Bobby and Harold can get the right kind of a situation that would make them happy and further their careers, I’d drive them over there. I’m frankly disappointed that they’re not going to stay in the Ford family because Ford has done so much for us but I can’t control that.” Rensi has asked Harold Holly to help the team with the team re-building project. “Harold and I and Sam and Gary have had continuing conversations and we’re going to kind of let Harold direct us to who he thinks our next crew chief ought to be,” Rensi told TFR. “Harold is a good friend of the family. The last two years have been terrific. I love working with the guy and we said, ‘Hey Harold, have you got any ideas about who we ought to hire as crew chief?” While the deal between Hamilton and Well’s in not quite done the paperwork on Holly has been completed, according to team members on Rensi’s operation. TFR asked Rensi about his once talked about plan to move to Cup, and where they stand now. “Money,” answered, in a word. “I’m not going to go Nextel Cup racing unless I have the money to do it the right way. How are you going to compete with DEI and Childress without money? You can’t do it.”(Team Ford Racing Site)(7-24-2004)
Waltrip, Wheeler among hall finalists: Three-time Cup champion Darrell Waltrip, Lowe's Motor Speedway president H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler and Harry Gant are among 20 finalists to be part of the 2005 class for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega. Waltrip led first-round balloting and was among seven to make the finals for the first time. The other first-time finalists are drag racers Joe Amato and Bob Glidden, Grand Prix champions Rene Dreyfuss and Nigel Mansell, powerboat racer Chip Hanauer and Indianapolis 500 winner Tommy Milton. Wheeler and Gant have made the final round before. They're joined on this year's list by Red Byron, the first champion in what is now NASCAR's Nextel Cup series, 1960 NASCAR champion Rex White, six-time modified champion Jerry Cook, modified and sportsman series champion Ray Hendrick, five-time late-model series champion Jack Ingram, stock-car driver and champion Cotton Owens and Ralph Seagraves, who was instrumental in setting up R.J. Reynolds Tobacco's involvement in NASCAR. The other finalists are American Auto Association champion Pete DePaolo, pioneer female driver Janet Guthrie, motorcycle champion Wayne Rainey and sprint-car legend Jan Opperman. The 2005 class will be announced this fall. Induction is set for April 28, 2005.(ThatsRacin.com)(7-24-2004)
July 23, 2004
Furr leaves the #0 team: during TNT coverage of Cup qualifying for the Siemens 300 at New Hampshire Intl Speedway, Benny Parsons mentioned that former #0 crew chief, Tony Furr, who swapped jobs with Bill Ingle, and was the shop foreman, left the team. Ingle is now the crew chief.(7-23-2004)
Craven out of the #32? DENIED [he is in the car at NHIS] UPDATE 5 Official - Parting Ways after 2004: 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) UPDATE 3:Insider Racing News is hearing that that Harold Holly has signed to take over crew chief duties on The Cal Wells owned #32 Team at the end of the 2004 season. Holly is the current crew chief for #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr. in the Busch Series. Hamilton Jr. stated last week that 2005 would be the time for him to move up to the Nextel Cup Series but no word on whether he would follow Holly to the #32 team.(Insider Racing News)(7-21-2004) UPDATE 4: hearing there will be some sort of announcement at NHIS that PPI Motorsports and Craven will announce, they will part ways at the end of the 2004 season, hearing Holly is signed for 2005 and negotiations are on for Bobby Hamilton Jr. to drive the car in 2005.(7-22-2004) UPDATE 5 - Wells & Craven to part ways after 2004 season: Joint statement released today [Thurs night] by PPI Motorsports team owner, Cal Wells and driver, Ricky Craven: "PPI Motorsports and Ricky Craven remain committed to each other and to getting the #32 team into the top-25 in points this season. Together, PPI Motorsports and Craven have evaluated the team's performance-related challenges and agree that it is in their mutual best interest to part at the end of 2004 and explore opportunities for 2005 and beyond. Both Cal and Ricky want to see the best for each other and remain focused on the second half of this season."(PPI Motorsports PR)(7-23-2004)
Milestones at NHIS: #5-Terry Labonte is expected to make his 800th career start at NHIS, #88-Dale Jarrett, 550; #89-Morgan Shepherd, 500; #99-Jeff Burton, 350.(7-23-2004)
Gordon Bluffs 'em UPDATE: 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) UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon prevailed as the winner of a recent episode of Celebrity Poker Showdown on Bravo!. Gordon matched his Texas Hold'Em card playing skills against the likes of Angie Dickinson, Kathy Griffin, Penn Jillette, and Ron Livingston. Taped earlier this year at The Palms Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, each celebrity plays for their favorite charity. Gordon played for The Jeff Gordon Foundation. He now moves on to the championship final sixth episode where he is guaranteed at least $7,500 for his charity of choice and could win as much as $100,000! The show is scheduled to air at 9:00pm/et, August 12th on Bravo! - (Jeff Gordon site)(7-23-2004)
Cingular to have 'COWS' at NHIS: To ensure that it meets the needs of the more than 100,000 race fans and wireless customers expected to attend this weekend’s NASCAR race in Loudon, Cingular Wireless New England announced the deployment of a “Cell site On Wheels”, known as a “COW”, to the Loudon race track. COWs are mobile cell sites that can be quickly and easily transported to a specific location to boost network capacity in response to temporary surges in cell phone usage. The Cingular COW will be positioned across from the race track and is expected to remain in place for the remainder of the racing season to support the increasing number of wireless customers attending the two Cup races at Loudon on July 25th and September 19th. Cingular Wireless New England has a number of COWs dedicated to the market for use at special events where large crowd attendance can put unusual strain on existing wireless network in the area. The majority of the company’s other COWs are currently deployed in Boston, Mass., to support the Democratic National Convention starting on July 29th.(RCR Site)(7-23-2004)
Newman wins pole at New Hampshire: #12-Ryan Newman won the Budweiser Pole for the Siemens 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway with an event qualifying record of 132.360mph, it is Newman's 4th pole of 2004 and 22nd of his 99 race career. #48-Jimmie Johnson is on the outside pole, #8-Martin Truex Jr. did a nice job and qualified 3rd, rounding out the top five are #15-Waltrip and #42-McMurray. #84-Kyle Busch wrecked on his lap before ran his lap and failed to qualify. #00-Ryan McGlynn withdrew before qualifying. #89-Shepherd used a provisional and will start his 500th career race and #5-Terry Labonte will start his 800th race.
See Jayski's Loudon Qualifying/Grid Page for pole progression, where the rookies qualified, top manu qualifier, who missed the race and why. Other New Hampshire Qualifying Results/Starting Lineup at: ThatsRacin.com MotorSports One NASCAR.com.(7-23-2004)
Stock Car Fans - Rumblings - Loudon: Since he took four months off from dominating Fridays, I guess we can say....He's baaaack! Ryan Newman was a half-mile an hour slower than he was in practice, but he was still the fastest today at New Hampshire International Speedway as he captured his 4th Bud Pole of the season for Sunday's Siemens 300. In winning his first pole since Bristol in March, Newman sped around this mile oval in 28.776 sec (132.360 mph) to capture the 22nd top-spot of his career, with three of those in Loudon.
Jimmie Johnson will start outside the front row. He had the pole for most of the session (he went out 21st and Newman 45th), but Newman just beat out both the rain and Johnson.
Martin Truex Jr. qualified Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car for him today quite well, thank you. They'll be listed with a third place starting effort, but it was for pit-position only as Little E'll have to start from the back with the driver change.
Jamie McMurray (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Martinsville in April.
Ricky Craven (10th....and dusting off his resume) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th at Darlington last September!
A statistical aberation: Bobby Hamilton Jr. has started 28th for the last three races in a row!
Welcome Back: Ted Christopher (42nd in Kirk Shelmerdine's ride this weekend) makes his first Cup start since Watkins Glen in August of 1999. He started 33rd and finished 31st that day.
STREAKIN....An empty category this week.
The Trouble Train was a short one today with only 46 cars on hand. Kevin Lepage, Kyle Busch (who crashed coming to the green), and Ryan McGlynn (who didn't take a time - withdrew) all got the early out. Kyle Petty, Todd Bodine, Morgan Shepherd, Ted Christopher, and Hermie Sadler all used provisionals to make the field.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(7-23-2004)
July 22, 2004
Howard out? Benson in the #23 truck? UPDATE 4 Benson at MIS: hearing that Shelby Howard, driver of the #23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota, has parted ways with the team and thay Johnny Benson will take over the ride after the team takes a few weeks off.(6-28-2004) UPDATE: been told that Benson will NOT race the #23 Toyota Truck. However the truck has been removed from NASCAR.com's entry list at Kansas. No mention of the situation at either shelbyhoward.com or billdavisracing.com.(7-1-2004) UPDATE 2: Shelby Howard has been released from the Bill Davis Racing truck team.(WInston Cup Scene Print Edition) UPDATE 3: Johnny Benson mentioned on Speed Channel's Inside Nextel Cup that he would be testing a Bill Davis Racing truck at Nashville Superspeedway on July 20th and 21st.(7-20-2004) UPDATE 4: Johnny returns to NASCAR competition on Saturday, July 31st at Michigan International Speedway. He will be driving for Bill Davis Racing in the #23 Toyota in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.(Johnny Benson Site)(7-22-2004)
Sad News: Chuck Lamb passed away this past Monday night after a long battle with cancer. Lamb was able to handle all the health problems (the chemo treatments), his daily job and his Phillyracing.com website without skipping a beat right up to the last couple months. Chuck was a big booster of local short track racing as could be seen by his PhillyRacing.com website. He was a regular visitor to many of the area short tracks and was a very active member of the Eastern Motorsport Press Association. The family has requested that donations be made in Chuck's memory to:
Colon Cancer Research
c/o American Cancer Society
1615 West Chester Pike, Suite 102,
West Chester, PA 19382.
The viewing will be at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Stretch Funeral Home, Eagle and St. Dennis Rds. Havertown, PA. The funeral
will follow at 11 a.m. Additional information and directions can be found at www.stretchfuneralhome.com.(7-22-2004)
Coors and Molson to merge: Molson Inc., Canada's largest brewer, has agreed to merge with Adolph Coors Co. [sponsor of the #40 Dodge] in a $6-billion US deal that creates a new beer behemoth and ends the independence of two of North America's biggest family-run brewing icons. In reporting financial results early Thursday, the Montreal company revealed it had struck a deal to join with Coors, the third-biggest brewer in the United States.(Canadian Press), no word on how or if this would effect the sponsorship of the #40 Dodge Sterling Marlin drives in the Cup Series. Also more on the merger at Yahoo: Coors-Molson Brew Deal, Questions Loom.(7-22-2004)
More Green Flag Racing with TNT: TNT will offer viewers more green flag racing during its eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races in 2004 as the network revs up for the "Race to the Chase," the crucial stretch of races before the final 10 drivers are determined for the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship." In an effort to ensure that viewers can see the most racing action possible, TNT is cutting its in-race promotional time in half by reducing the length of the network's promotional spots. TNT will air six of the last eight races as part of the "Race to the Chase," beginning with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Racing from Loudon on July 25 at 1:30 p.m. ET and ending on September 11 at the Chevy Rock and Roll 400, the last race that will determine the final field for the "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship." The primetime telecast of the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 in Richmond, VA (7 p.m. ET) will be broadcast in high-definition in "TNT in HD" to showcase the drama and intensity of this pivotal race in a crystal-clear picture. During the network's eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Races, TNT will present Inside the Field, a spin-off of TNT's Through the Field, as a fresh, new element for the network's race coverage. Every week, each pit reporter will take viewers inside the lives of drivers and teams who are not in the top-20. TNT will also talk to 10 or 11 drivers during the pre-race show, Discover Card Countdown to Green, each week.(TNT PR)(7-22-2004)
The Taurus Replacement?...the Ford 500? someday...not 2005: Ford's New Flagship: The Five Hundred This all-new flagship of the Ford car showroom was developed in the U.S. with a vehicle architecture and safety package inspired by Volvo, which is part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group. The Five Hundred is about the same length as a Ford Taurus, but it boasts about twice the rear-seat knee room, and a bigger trunk than the much larger Ford Crown Victoria. In fact, the trunk is so well designed it can hold up to eight full-size golf bags. Another feature that drivers and passengers will immediately notice is the Five Hundred's Command Seating position. A car with Command Seating gives drivers an SUV-like view of the road because their "H-point" - the pivot point of the hip when seated - is about four inches higher than competitive vehicles, such as the Toyota Camry.
Under the hood, the Five Hundred boasts sophisticated powertrain technology, including six-speed automatic and continuously variable transmissions. These new technologies allow the car to out-accelerate similarly sized sedans with larger, thirstier engines.
Ford's fuel-saving transmissions complement Five Hundred's 3.0 liter Duratec 30 V-6, which has exceptionally clean tailpipe emissions. Five Hundred - along with the Mustang and Freestyle - will be certified to a government standard that is twice as clean as the Ultra-Low Emissions vehicle standard. Another invisible but potentially invaluable feature is the Five Hundred's available all-wheel drive system. This system, which requires no driver action whatsoever to engage, can shift power between the front and rear wheels almost instantaneously to keep the car moving confidently in rain, snow and sand.(Team Ford Racing site), see past rumors and an image of two on my Ford Past News page and for more info on the 500, see the fordvehicles.com site.(7-22-2004)
Mikey to run for Petree in CTS at IRP: Michael Waltrip will wheel Andy Petree's Monaco Coach Corporation Chevrolet at Indianapolis Raceway Park for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race there, Friday, Aug. 6.. Waltrip's name joins that of Tony Stewart and hot rookie Clint Bowyer as another in the talent driving Andy Petree Racing equipment. "We are really excited to have Michael joining us and helping give Monaco Coach Corporation a great ride at IRP," said Petree. "We've had some great runs with our Truck, and haven't done too badly at Indianapolis the past few years. We're working hard to give Michael a solid piece and we know he'll be working hard to get this Monaco Coach Corporation team back to Victory Lane." Waltrip has some NASCAR Truck Series experience, finishing fifth after qualifying 13th at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May of this year with another team. The past two years at IRP, Petree has driven the truck, finishing 20th last season and 12th the year before. A few weeks ago, Petree saw his sponsor surprisingly bolt to another team with strong Nextel Cup ties, leaving his in a lurch financially. Still, Petree said, the team is looking to not only run well at IRP but to maintain its position in the NASCAR world.(Williams Company PR)(7-22-2004)
Rusty to run some Busch Series, McMurray also for RWI: Effective immediately, Rusty Wallace and Jamie McMurray will assume primary driving duties for Duraflame RWI Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series. Wallace, a former NASCAR Premier Series Champion and McMurray, a former NASCAR Premier Series Rookie of the Year, will replace 27-year old rookie driver, Billy Parker, at the helm of the #66 Dodge for the remainder of the team's 2004 NASCAR Busch Series schedule. McMurray will be tapped for the team's next start at New Hampshire International Raceway. Said team owner and now driver, Wallace, "This was a really tough decision to make. The team's performance just isn't where we think it should be, so we have to start taking a look at what's going on. In order to do that, we had to get more of a veteran in the car so that we can evaluate our equipment. Jamie McMurray has a great track record in the Busch Series and I think that his input is going to really help this team. He's an incredibly talented and aggressive driver. Obviously, I've been doing this for a long time as well, so hopefully between the both of us, we'll be able to give the guys some good feedback." Wallace's 2004 Busch Series starts will mark his first starts in the series since Milwaukee in 1993. The 1989 Premier Series Champion and 55-time race winner has eight top-five and fourteen top-ten finishes in 33 career Busch Series starts. His 2004 Busch Series stint will mark his reunification with the legendary number 66, the number he drove to the majority of his over 200 short track victories. McMurray will participate in the New Hampshire, Bristol, California, Kansas, Richmond, Atlanta and Miami NASCAR Busch Series races on behalf of Duraflame RWI Racing and will drive in the Phoenix and Michigan Busch Series races for Discount Tire pursuant to a prior commitment with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. In accommodation of this commitment, Wallace, eighth on NASCAR's all-time wins list, will take command of the Duraflame Dodge for the Phoenix and Michigan rounds of the series.(RWI PR), see the full PR and the 6 updates on my Busch Series Site. NOTE: actually Wallace last ran in the Busch Series at California Speedway in Oct. 1997.(7-22-2004)
Waltrip's ASA Team Tests at Hickory: Michael Waltrip Racing has been successful in the big leagues of NASCAR, but now it is branching out to a driver development phase and, at least for the time being, it will use the American Speed Association to do so. This Tuesday [July 20th], at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC), the new program hit the track for the first-time. Jimmie Johnson’s little brother, Jarit, and Ken Butler III, whose Dad heads up Aaron’s Rent, were the men behind the wheel of Michael’s machines. “It has been fun,” says Michael with a smile as we sit on the back of his Busch Series rig at Hickory. “We've really learned a lot with Jarit and Ken. Ken has never really driven much, so this is new to him. It is a lot of fun though seeing the sport through someone’s eyes who is new to the game. I'm real thankful I am getting to experience this.”(Speed51.com - lots of pics)(7-22-2004)
Jeff Green fastest overall at Indy testing: A total of 38 drivers combined to turn 6,284 laps around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway during six days of testing this month for the 11th annual Brickyard 400 on Aug. 8. That’s 15,710 miles of testing, nearly the same distance from Indianapolis to Auckland, New Zealand – and back. In fact, each driver averaged 165 laps – five laps more than the actual race distance – during testing July 6-7, July 12-13 and July 19-20 at Indianapolis. The top three drivers in testing this month - Jeff Green, Brian Vickers and Jason Leffler - have combined to complete just three full NASCAR NEXTEL Cup seasons. Green has raced two full seasons, Leffler one, while Vickers is a rookie after capturing the NASCAR Busch Series title in 2003. Green was fastest overall at 181.641 mph in the #43 Cheerios Dodge on July 7, while Vickers was second at 181.554 in the #25 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolet on July 13. Leffler rounded out the top three at 180.787 in the #60 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet on July 13.(IMS PR/Site), see all the speeds at brickyard400.com.(7-22-2004)
July 21, 2004
DHL to sponsor a team? hearing rumors that DHL could sponsor a Cup team in 2005, one rumored is the #1 DEI team. DHL would join UPS and Fed-Ex as delivery service companies joining NASCAR.(7-21-2004)
Dale Jr. -- NO Concussion UPDATE Truex Jr. OK'd: contrary to some rumors floating about, I been told that Dale Earnhardt Jr. did NOT suffer a concussion in the ALMS crash at Sonoma on Sunday and will be ready to drive at New Hampshire. Busch driver, Martin Truex Jr. will on standby if Dale Jr. needs a sub on Sunday.(7-20-2004) UPDATE: Martin Truex Jr. has experience at New Hampshire International Speedway in the Busch North Series and has tested a Nextel Cup car owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc. there in anticipation for running the Cup race at NHIS in September. A NASCAR spokesperson said Tuesday that approval for Truex as a possible fill-in driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. should be a formality. Approval is necessary since Truex is not a Cup regular.(Charlotte Observer)(7-21-2004)
Foyt Plans Limited Return To Cup; #14 Cup team and IRL owner, A.J. Foyt said last Saturday that he will run a few Nextel Cup races in the 2004 season and then try to put some sponsorship packages together for a few runs in 2005. Those races are still to be determined. Says Foyt: "I'm not through with the Cup cars just yet, but we're still looking for some backing. I don't have any plans for Larry Foyt until we can put something together."(Insider Racing News), Foyt practiced the past two days at Indy in the #52 Ware Racing Dodge, but wrecked Tuesday, and they packed it up as they had no backup.(7-21-2004)
Newman Racecase Offer: ExxonMobil is offering new and existing Speedpass customers an opportunity to get a Ryan Newman #12 Nextel Cup race car Speedpass RaceCase that fits over its standard Speedpass key tag device. For more info, see www.speedpass.com.(7-21-2004)
Tuesday Indy Testing UPDATE speeds: #40-Sterling Marlin set the pace in the morning session today on the last of six days of NASCAR testing in preparation for the Brickyard 400. Two drivers made contact with one of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's concrete walls. Tony Stewart's car sustained only minor cosmetic damage when he brushed the wall, but Larry Foyt's #52 Dodge was battered beyond quick repair when he slammed hard into the turn-one wall. Marlin's lap of 180.305mph in a Ganassi Racing Dodge was fastest of the 14 drivers completing preparations for the Aug. 8 race. #00-Kenny Wallace, who led Monday's session at 179.104 mph in a Chevrolet owned by fellow driver Michael Waltrip, improved to 179.895, second behind Marlin. #0-Ward Burton, #91-Bill Elliott and #32-Ricky Craven completed the top five.(Indianapolis Star)(7-20-2004) Speeds from Tuesday's practice:
#9 and #19 Schemes for the Summer: the #9 and #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge will continue to run its new paint scheme this weekend in New Hampshire. The new scheme will run through the August 28th race in Bristol in support of Dodge's
Summer Sales Drive.(Clear!Blue PR)(7-20-2004)
New car chief for the #77: Rodney Childers will take over Car Chief responsibilities of the #77 Kodak/Jasper Engines Dodge beginning at Pocono Raceway, next week. Childers replaces Kevin Kidd who has accepted a Race Engineer position with another NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team. Childers is a former Jasper Motorsports employee; he joined the #77 team in
January 2003.(Penske Racing PR)(7-20-2004)
Stewart / Foyt wreck at Indy - are OK: NASCAR drivers #20-Tony Stewart and #52-Larry Foyt, in the Ware Racing Dodge, crashed today -- but neither was hurt -- during testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for next month's Brickyard 400. Stewart returned to the track in a different car. Stewart, fourth in the Nextel Cup driver standings, damaged the right rear of his car when he hit the wall in the second turn. Foyt hit the wall in the first turn, damaging the car's right side. He did not return to the track because his team brought only one car for the session leading to the Aug. 8 race.(Indianapolis Star/AP)(7-20-2004)
Martin Moved to Crew Chief of RCR Special Teams Program: Gil Martin has been named crew chief for Richard Childress Racing's (RCR) special teams program. Martin's new responsibilities will include the crew chief roles for the #33 Bass Pro Shops team (with driver Kerry Earnhardt) in the Cup Series and the #29 ESGR team (with an all star cast of drivers) in the NASCAR Busch Series. He has been the team manager for RCR's #29 GM Goodwrench team since midway through the 2002 season. He served as the team's crew chief for the first 23 races before handing the reins over to current crew chief Todd Berrier. The three races remaining on the 2004 Bass Pro Shops calendar are Aug. 22 at Michigan International Speedway, Oct. 3 at Talladega Superspeedway and Oct. 31 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The ESGR team is scheduled to race twice more this season -- Sept. 25 at Dover International Speedway (with Earnhardt/Air National Guard & Air Force Reserves) and Nov. 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (with Harvick/Coast Guard Reserve). Martin has earned two victories as a crew chief in the Cup Series and 11 in the Busch Series. Martin replaced Gary Cogswell, who was released July 13.(RCR PR)(7-20-2004)
Nemechek extends at MB2; Update on Nadeau: MB2 Motorsports announced that it has extended Joe Nemechek’s contract through the 2005 season to drive the #01 U.S. Army/USG Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Nemechek, who is coming off two consecutive top-10 finishes, including an eighth-place result in the recent Nextel Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway, joined MB2 Motorsports with four races remaining in 2003. “In a short time together, Joe and the team have developed a great working chemistry," said Jay Frye, general manager of MB2 Motorsports. “This team continues to turn out solid performances and has the ingredients to reach a new level of success. As a driver, Joe has done an excellent job piloting the 01 car and has been equally outstanding as a spokesperson and representative for our sponsors. We are excited about what we feel is in store for the future of this team.” Frye also announced that a recovery driving program continues to be in place for Jerry Nadeau, who drove the #01 car before suffering a head injury in an accident on May 2, 2003 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Nadeau, 33, is still recovering from the injury and has no immediate timetable for a return to competition. “I want to thank MB2 and all of our sponsors,” said Nemechek. “This Army/USG team has plenty of talent and we are jelling as a unit. We had a streak of bad luck recently, but we hung in there and never lost our focus and confidence in each other. We’ve had great cars at all different types of tracks and I can’t wait for the second half of the season. I look forward to working with the U.S. Army,” Nemechek continued. “It’s a privilege and honor to be associated with this institution. We support our troops and they support us. I want nothing more than to have success on the track and make our soldiers proud of their 01 Army race team.”(MB2 Motorsports PR)(7-20-004)
Sub Driver Rule coming? Fox's Darrell Waltrip reports that NASCAR is probably taking a pretty hard look right now at approving a substitute driver for all competitors who regularly race in Nextel Cup, but especially for those who are in the top 10 in points. I [DW] just feel certain that they're going to approve a substitute driver in case something like Dale Jr's accident happens to someone else.(FoxSports)(7-20-2004)
Leffler to run the Brickyard 400: This past Monday and Tuesday, July 13-14, Jason Leffler and his Haas Automation Racing team traveled to Indianapolis for a two-day test in the #60 Haas Automation Chevrolet. Working with his current Busch Series crew chief, Robert “Bootie” Barker, Leffler was able to top 180mph during Tuesday’s afternoon practice session. Jason Leffler and his Haas Automation Racing team will be pulling double duty Indianapolis weekend as Leffler will also vie for a spot in the NASCAR Busch Series race held across town on Saturday night at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Leffler will serve as teammate to #0-Ward Burton and the NetZero Racing team in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, also out of the Haas CNC Racing stable.(NetZero Racing PR)(7-20-2004)
Indy Testing Continues - Monday Speeds: Nine teams are scheduled to participate in private testing on July 19-20 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 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. Last week [7/13], #25-Brian Vickers was fastest at 181.554, the week before [7/6], #18-Bobby Labonte was fastest at 176.013mph. Testing is scheduled each day from 9:00am - 12:00noon and 1:00 -5:00pm, and the public is welcome to watch testing for free in the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2. See my 2004 Test News and Results page for previous speeds from Indy [and other] testing], also...add #40-Sterling Marlin, #5-Terry Labonte, #32-Ricky Craven and #34-Geoffrey Bodine as those testing.(7-19-2004) UPDATE - Monday Testing: #00-Kenny Wallace was fastest in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing July 19 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with an unofficial lap of 179.104 mph in the #00 Aaron's Chevrolet, a car owned by fellow NEXTEL Cup competitor Michael Waltrip. Wallace's speed was nearly 2.5 mph faster than the 12 other drivers taking part in testing, and he attributed it to a solid program in place at Michael Waltrip Racing. "This is Michael Waltrip's new Cup team in collaboration with DEI (Dale Earnhardt Inc.), so we have good equipment," Wallace said. "Our concern is to make the race for Aaron's, the sponsor. We've got a real competitive car, and we just keep tuning on it. Right now, we're where we want to be." 2002 NASCAR champion Tony Stewart was second fastest in the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet at 176.783, #91-Bill Elliott was third in the Visteon Dodge at 176.638, #88-Dale Jarrett was fourth at 176.604 in the UPS Ford and Geoffrey Bodine was fifth at 176.314 in the #34 RaceElPaso Dodge. #12-Ryan Newman also tested in the Alltel Dodge for Penske Racing. The team did not authorize the release of speeds during the private test. The speeds and laps run:
Kyle Busch to attempt NHIS: Kyle Busch mentioned on Speed Channel's Inside Nextel Cup that he would run the Siemens 300 Cup race at New Hampshire this coming weekend.(7-20-2004)
Kerry Earnhardt finishes 4th in West race: Kerry Earnhardt turned in a strong performance Saturday night at Evergreen Speedway finishing fourth in his NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series debut. Earnhardt, a veteran of 65 NASCAR Busch Series starts and four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup starts, qualified his Bill McNally-owned #18 Napa Auto Care Chevrolet sixth in the 24-car field and lurked in the top-five for the majority of the 200-lap event. While tire stagger issues kept Earnhardt from challenging for the win, he paced himself throughout the night at the bumpy five-eighths mile Monroe, Wash., oval. Earnhardt's Bill McAnally Racing teammate Austin Cameron won the event with fellow BMR driver Jeff Jefferson scoring runner-up honors. Next up for Kerry Earnhardt in the NASCAR Grand National, West Series will be a trip to Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway Saturday, July 31, for the NAPA AUTO PARTS 150 presented by Southern California Pipe Trades.(RCR PR)(7-20-2004)
Dale Jr. suffers moderate burns in wreck UPDATE 3 Released: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., suffered moderate burns Sunday morning when the car he was driving was involved in an accident and caught fire while practicing for the American Le Mans Series Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. Earnhardt suffered what track medical officials described as "moderate-sized burns of moderate intensity" in the facial area and lower extremities. For precautionary reasons, he was transported by air to the University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif. Earnhardt was driving a Chevrolet Corvette C5-R in a 30-minute practice session when the accident occurred. The car spun and impacted a barrier in the Turn 8 section of the road racing track and then caught fire. Earnhardt quickly exited the car on his own and was then assisted by safety crews. Earnhardt was scheduled to co-drive in today's American Le Mans Series sports car race with veteran road racing driver Boris Said. The team has withdrawn the car from the race.(fingerprint inc./Anheuser-Busch/Dale Earnhardt Jr. PR) UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., will be held overnight for observation after suffering minor second degree burns on the inner sides of both legs and on his chin in a racing accident Sunday morning at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. A hospital spokesman said that Earnhardt was 'resting comfortably' at University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CA. and would be examined again Monday morning. "I'm bummed out and disappointed I couldn't run the race," said Earnhardt Jr. through a team spokesman. "I hope Corvette gets the victory." More updates will be provided as they come in and a confirmation of his release Monday morning will be released.(fingerprint inc./Anheuser-Busch/Dale Earnhardt Jr. PR) AND JJ Lehto and Marco Werner won Sunday's Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway, their third consecutive win this season in the American Le Mans Series. They drove the ADT Champion Racing Audi R8. Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell won the GTS class [the class Dale Jr. was racing in] in the Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, their fourth consecutive win at Infineon Raceway. They tied an ALMS record for the most consecutive wins at a single venue.(ALMS Site) WOW saw the video of the wreck on Speed Channel's Speed News, that was one scary wreck and fire, the car burst into flames and was all around car and driver....quite scary, thank goodness he had a full-faced helmet on.(7-18-2004) UPDATE 2: Steve Crisp, a spokesman for Dale Earnhardt Inc., said Earnhardt was not badly injured. "They've done the X-rays and there's no bones broken," Crisp said. "He'll be fine." Still, any crash involving Earnhardt always brings up memories of the last-lap wreck at the 2001 Daytona 500 that killed his father, easily the most popular driver of his era. Crisp said the younger Earnhardt will compete in next weekend's Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway.(NASCAR.com), get well wishes to Dale Jr. can be made thru the dalejrpitboardcharity.com ste.(7-19-2004) UPDATE 3: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been released from University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif., and is currently travelling home to North Carolina. Earnhardt Jr. suffered minor second degree burns on approximately six percent of his body (primarily to his legs and chin) in a practice-session crash Sunday morning at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. His injuries are not expected to prevent his full participation in the NEXTEL Cup Series race this weekend at Loudon, N.H.(fingerprint inc./Anheuser-Busch/Dale Earnhardt Jr. PR)(7-19-2004)
#800 for Terry Labonte: Terry Labonte is expected to make his 800th career Cup start at New Hampshire. He is the fifth driver in NASCAR history to compete in 800 or more Cup races. Richard Petty heads the list with 1,185, followed by Dave Marcis (883), Ricky Rudd (821 - current) and Darrell Waltrip (809).(ThatsRacin.com)(7-19-2004)
So..what's up with Hut Stricklin? Stricklin Auto & Truck Parts is Owned and Operated by Hut Stricklin, former NASCAR Nextel cup driver (previously Winston Cup). This is one of the premier auto and truck salvage yards across the country. Growing up in his family's salvage yard for 22 years, Hut has a knack for treating all his customers special. With a fully computerized network and parts locating service, Nationwide shipping, as well as delivery service within 75 miles to most businesses, let Hut and his staff be your source for all your car and truck part needs. See more at hutstricklinusedparts.com. Wonder how much he'll give me for my old Tbird?(7-19-2004)