Get Well: Veteran Nextel Cup crew chief, Tony Furr is in the hospital following a motorcycle accident on Wednesday, best wishes and a speed recovery, Furr is awake and alert with a leg injury.(7-30-2004) UPDATE: Tony Furr, who recently left the post as crew chief for Ward Burton's #0 NetZero Chevrolets, suffered leg injuries in a motorcycle wreck this week in the Charlotte area. He had surgery on Friday to repair some of the damage.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-1-2004)
Johnson wins at Pocono, completes sweep: #48-Jimmie Johnson won Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway completing the sweep of both Cup races at Pocono in 2004. Johnson is the fifth driver ever to sweep both races at Pocono, the others:
Bobby Labonte 1999
Tim Richmond 1986
Bill Elliott 1985
Bobby Allison 1982
It is Johnson's 4th win of 2004 and 10th of hs career [95 starts]. It is also Hendrick Motorsports 10th win at Pocono (Johnson-2; Gordon-3; T.Labonte-1; Richmond-3; G. Bodine-1). #6-Mark Martin held off rookie #9-Kasey Kahne for second to finish as a runner-up at this track, where he has never won a Cup race, for the sixth time in his career. #16-Greg Biffle was fourth [his 1st top-5 of 2004] with #24-Jeff Gordon fifth. Pole-winner #41-Casey Mears finished 18th after fading at the end. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who said before the race he planned to go the distance this week, came to his pit on the 52nd lap and climbed out of the #8 Budwiser Chevy. John Andretti got into the car to finish the race while Earnhardt Jr. sat under a tent behind his team's pit stall, hanging his head.(see a good race narrative/race report at ThatsRacin.com)
See my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page for notes, caution info, lucky dogs, narratives, where the top 10 starters ended up and more.
For race results, see: ThatsRacin.com MotorsportsOne NASCAR.com.(8-1-2004)
Dale Jr. gets out of car; Andretti finishes race, picks up 11 spots: Numbness, not pain, forced Dale Earnhardt, Jr. out of the Budweiser Chevrolet Sunday at Pocono Raceway. "I felt fine," Junior said. "The bumps hurt a little bit but my foot was going to sleep. I haven't been using it a lot -- I haven't been standing on it much and it just goes to sleep and cramps up real easy." Earnhardt, still nursing burn injuries suffered two weeks ago when he wrecked a sports car at Infineon Raceway, completed 51 laps before better judgment said to hand the ride over to substitute driver John Andretti.(NASCAR.com), Andretti restarted 36th and brought the #8 home in 25th.(8-1-2004)
Blaney in the #30 for the rest of the season: Dave Blaney will drive Richard Childress Racing's #30 AOL Chevrolet for the rest of the 2004 Nextel Cup season, Childress said Saturday at Pocono Raceway. "We wanted to get somebody in here to get this car stable and to get this team running, week in and week out," Childress said. "Right now we've pretty much got Dave for the rest of the year." Childress' decision to maintain Blaney in his third car put a conversation at New Hampshire between Childress and Busch North Series driver Dale Quarterley on hold. After Childress decided to use Blaney in the #30 in June, he ran West Coast NASCAR Touring Division driver Jim Inglebright at the Infineon Raceway road course. Quarterley, who last Saturday made Busch North history by becoming the first driver to win races on a speedway, short track and road course, was seeking a Nextel Cup road course [Watkins Glen] opportunity when he visited Childress. "Dale is somebody we would definitely have wanted to give a shot to, if we weren't going to keep Dave in the car," Childress said. "I've been impressed with what's he's been able to get done."(NASCAR.com)(8-1-2004)
Sacks back after 6 years: Greg Sacks didn't set any speed records Friday at Pocono Raceway. He was the 38th-fastest qualifier in the #13 Dodge, the last car to make today's Pennsylvania 500 on time. This will be Sacks' first Cup race since Texas in 1998, when he was driving for Cale Yarborough. It's taken Sacks five years to get back to stock-car racing's elite level by overcoming a head injury at Texas that derailed his NASCAR career. He is a co-owner of his car, running a limited schedule with an eye toward a full run in 2005 [see more info on my #13 Team News and Links page]. He failed to qualify last week at New Hampshire. Another significant number: 51, his age. Sacks is one of NASCAR's Real Old Guns. But don't even question his physical condition. "My condition is absolutely fabulous," Sacks said. "Let's go for a jog. I run three miles a day, three times a week." The conditioning helped his comeback. "My only concern about getting back into racing was control of my legs," Sacks said. "I had a hard time with that. [My doctor] didn't know that I was getting out of control. When I first got hurt, I left the hospital in a wheelchair. I couldn't walk for a good while. Eventually, I got to walking and then to moving and then a major step was to step off the curb and have control to get down. And then it was if you had to take a leap over the curb how do you do it and control your legs?" Sacks has had 258 career Cup starts in a career that began in 1983, 20 top-10s, poles at Daytona and Atlanta and one very big win. Sacks is best known for winning the 1985 Firecracker 400 at Daytona, beating the hottest driver of that era, Bill Elliott, who had won that year's Daytona 500 and was on the pole for both races. "My intent is to have the record for longest number of years between wins," Sacks said. "How about that? I want to be in the record books forever. I'm looking to win again." After rehabilitating following the 1998 Texas crash, Sacks returned to his modified racing roots and worked his way back up to ARCA, where he finished second at Chicagoland last year. He also ran ARCA here last year. This year, he's warmed up with a Busch race at Dover [40th] and a truck race at Texas [32nd], eliminated by mechanical problems both times.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-1-2004)
Race Notes - Pocono: Jimmie Johnson won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, scoring his 10th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 95th career start. His last victory came at Pocono in June, six races ago. All of Johnson's victories have occurred on superspeedways.
Johnson won the $90,000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus. He is the third driver in 2004 to win the bonus, joining Matt Kenseth (Las Vegas-$30,000) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Richmond-$80,000).
Johnson became the 16th driver to post multiple victories at Pocono Raceway and the fifth driver to sweep both races in a season at Pocono.
This was his fourth victory in 2004. He has swept races each of the past three seasons: Dover (2002), New Hampshire (2003) and Pocono (2004). He posted his 14th top-five finishes this season.
Johnson remained first in the point standings for the seventh race in his career. Johnson ranked first in the standings after Kansas City in September 2002 and in the last six races.
Johnson has a 232-point lead over second-place Jeff Gordon, the largest point lead of the 2004 season.
Johnson led six times for 124 laps including the final 38, the third time he has led the most laps in 2004.
Johnson led 126 laps at Pocono in June for a total of 250 of the 400 laps raced here in 2004 (62.5 percent)
This is the 12th victory for Chevrolet in 2004. Ford has six and Dodge has two. Notebook Items
All drivers in the top five in the current point standings have scored at least one victory this season.
While the drivers ranked 11th thru 15th remain in position to grab one of the coveted top-10 point positions, sixth-place Elliott Sadler
thru 10th-place Kevin Harvick in the current standings are separated by just 84 points, noting just how quickly a change in the standings could occur with just one bad finish in these very important six races.
Kevin Harvick (32nd) ended his streak of running at the finish in 58 straight races, the modern era record.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-1-2004)
Stock Car Fans - Rumblings - Pocono: Jimmie Johnson pulled off the sweep today at Pocono Raceway as he took the Pennsylvania 500 with the greatest of ease. He led six times for 124 laps (combined with what he did here in June that means he led 14 times for a total of 250 of the 400 laps run!), and grabbed his 4th win of the season and 10th of his career. He's now tied for 46th on
the all-time win list, and pocketed $276,950 from the over $4.8M in posted awards.
Well, Mike Helton told them to be inventive when it came to that PowerAde bottle in Victory Lane. He might wanna reconsider his words after they built a Lowe's privacy fence around it today....
Another typical Pocono. We had very high attrition again today with 17 cars out, only 26 running at the end. We lost 16 cars when we were here seven weeks ago.
Dale Earnhardt Jr made it 52 laps today...John Andretti finished out for him. Mark Martin (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Dover in June.
Greg Biffle (4th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Michigan last August. His Top-5 gives us 24 drivers to score a T-5 this
season.....last year's number was 30.
Robby Gordon (7th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Talladega last April.
Scott Wimmer (11th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Dover in June.
Ken Schrader (21st) had his best finish since he was 20th at California in May.
STREAKIN....Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-5's in a row.
Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-5's in the last 7 races.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Terry Labonte (+23), followed by Ricky Rudd (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Tony Stewart (-27), followed by Michael Waltrip (-25), Kurt Busch (-23), and Jamie McMurray (-23). This was Op #3 for Terry this season.
Jeff Green led today for the first time since he led once for 16 laps at Bristol last August. He becomes the 45th different driver to lead a
lap this season....last year's number was 48.
Jimmie Johnson padded his points lead today....it's now 232 over teammate Jeff Gordon. Seems like a shame to throw all that away, huh? Every position in the Top-10 changed hands today except the leader. Jeremy Mayfield is now only 40 markers out of the final transfer spot, and every driver down thru 15th is still in the hunt.(Stock Car Fans Nextel Cup Newsletter)(8-1-2004)
Special Signature on #21 Hood: Ricky Rudd hopes his #21 Motorcraft Ford exits today's race at Pocono intact, because the hood is a collectible. The autograph on the car hood says Edsel Ford. Ford, great-grandson of Ford founder Henry Ford, toured several Ford shops. "Having Edsel Ford show up at your shop, especially with our history with Ford and having raced for over 50 years, it's almost just like having Henry himself walk in," team owner Eddie Wood said. Wood was in the car when he decided to ask Edsel to sign the hood. "We put a piece of plastic over [the autograph] because with the cleaners and stuff we use it might have been wiped away, but that hood will go in our museum in Stuart, Va.," Wood said. "That's a one-race hood right there."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution and see a story at Team Ford Racing site)(8-1-2004)
Last Weeks MBNA Award WInner: #12-Ryan Newman earned his first MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award in 2004 by leading Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Siemens 300 at the halfway mark. Newman, who started from the pole, led the first 170 laps of the 300 lap event but finished the race in third place. Since Newman did not win the race and earn the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award race-win bonus, it will increase to $10,000 for next week's race at Pocono Raceway. The MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award is worth $10,000 to any eligible [#48-Johnson and #29-Harvick are not eligible] NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver who leads a race at the halfway mark and carries the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award decal on their race car. An additional $5,000 is earned if that driver also wins the race. If the race-win bonus is not earned the $5,000 rolls into the next week's award.(MBNA PR)(8-1-2004)
Crew Chief Challenge at Pocono: on Friday night, the first-ever "Crew Chef Challenge" held Friday night in the infield of Pocono Raceway. Proceeds from the sale of a cookbook and donations went to the Victory Junction Gang, which is a camp in the memory of Adam Petty. Carl Stella, who cooks for the #25 Hendrick Motorsports team and driver Brian Vickers, opened the competition, preparing a feast that featured porterhouse steaks, diced potatoes, spaghetti flavored with garlic, olive oil and rosemary. He also had antipasto salad, stuffed Italian tomatoes and for dessert - yes dessert - Italian anise cake. Lancaster, PA native Steve Witmer, who works for Encks' Custom Catering which cooks for about 23 Nextel Cup teams, was making pizza on a grill, traditional pizza, a barbecue pizza and a fruit pizza Witmer's teammates at Encks, Jeff Heisey and Ray Hertz, prepared a filet mignon topped with 100 percent crabmeat. Mary Whitesell, who works for Hendrick Motorsports, was making "melt-in-your-mouth steak.", marinated for five days Ken Enck, owner of the catering superteam, was making pork tenderloin, stir fry, chicken, grilled apple crisp and a broccoli and cauliflower salad. Syracuse native John Padula, another member of Encks' alliance, made tacos with flank steak. The winner of the contest was James Lupo of Kinston, N.C., who cooks regularly on the Busch Series. He made a Black Angus rib-eye steak with red and green peppers and scallions.(paraphrased from the Citizens' Voice)(8-1-2004)
July 31, 2004
Charger to NASCAR II: DaimlerChrysler expects NASCAR to approve its new Charger model as its 2005-and-beyond entry by early September. The company returned to NASCAR in 2001 with Intrepids but will not make that model past this year.(Autoweek), see past news and rumors about this on my Past Dodge News page.(7-31-2004)
Biffle says he is staying at Roush: Take Greg Biffle's name out of the 2005 sweepstakes. He says he's staying with Jack Roush, even though it's unclear if his sponsor, the National Guard, will return. Biffle has been under consideration for the third-team ride with Joe Gibbs [#11 Fed Ex Team](Winston Salem Journal)(7-31-2004)
What is up with McSwain: Elsewhere on the job front, crew chief Michael McSwain is now being mentioned for possible jobs with car owners Jack Roush, Roger Penske and Rick Hendrick.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-31-2004)
Stevie Waltrip doing TV Spots: Stevie Waltrip, wife of former three-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion driver and FOX Sports analyst Darrell Waltrip, is appearing in the new television and radio public service announcements for Our Daily Bread now airing throughout the United States and Canada. In the spot, Stevie shares how being the wife of a NASCAR driver can have its frightening moments and that her daily devotions with Our Daily Bread give her comfort and encouragement. An ODB reader for over 15 years, Stevie has partnered with RBC Ministries and Motor Racing Outreach to encourage others to receive Our Daily Bread. Motor Racing Outreach, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, works hand-in-hand with the racing community, providing spiritual support for drivers and their families as well as the pit crews and fans throughout the US. MRO provides chaplain support, Bible studies, print resources, and it conducts chapel services at the tracks before the races. To contact MRO, call 1-800-424-8138 or www.go2mro.com.(7-31-2004)
Kenseth's Backup deal: Matt Kenseth called it a dumb mistake, like someone running into a door backing out of their garage. He wrecked his primary #17 Ford in practice Friday and had to go to a backup when he hit the wall near pit road. He qualified 15th. "I just wasn't paying attention," Kenseth said. "I just hit the corner of the wall [on the entrance to the garage] and opened up the side like a can opener. We had the backup car prepared well, and it's the car we had here the last time so I feel good about it." The wrecked car was experimental, Kenseth said. "It wasn't driving very good this morning, which might turn out to be a good thing. I wanted to get a whole weekend on it and hoped it would work better to run it at [Indianapolis]. But what we have here is kind of tried and true."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-31-2004)
July 30, 2004
Tony Stewart concerned about his father's career: Nelson Stewart, the 66-year-old father of Tony Stewart, made his USAC Silver Crown spring car debut last weekend at Milwaukee. He finished 31st of 34 drivers. "I haven't exactly been supportive of that," Tony said. "I'm not sure he should be doing it, and I'm concerned about his safety. But they said they couldn't wipe the grin off his face all day."(Dallas Morning News)(7-30-2004)
McReynolds and Green Going for the Championship: Two young members of the NASCAR
family-15-year-old Tyler Green and 13-year-old Brandon McReynolds-will continue their "Chase for the Championship" during round eight of the Hardee's Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Green, son of veteran NASCAR Busch Series driver Mark Green, and McReynolds, son of former NASCAR crew chief and FOX television commentator Larry McReynolds, are separated by just 38 points after six races in the battle for the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns title. Consistency has been the key for Green who leads the standings on the strength of six top-five finishes, including a victory in round two. McReynolds has won twice, but a mechanical problem and an accident resulted in two finishes outside the top 15. Tuesday night's action will be pivotal in the title chase as the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns will run two main events. The first 20-lapper will be a make-up for the race that was rained out July 27.
A full slate of Legends Car, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing is on tap with nearly 160 race cars expected to jam the pit area. The Road Hawgs, the division designed to put the "stock" back into stock car racing, will make their final summer appearance. The 10-week Hardee's Summer Shootout runs every Tuesday night through Aug. 17. Admission is just $5 for adults. Children 6-12 are admitted for $3 and kids under 6 are free. Parking is free. Spectator gates open at 5 p.m. with preliminary action starting at 5:25. Feature racing begins at 7:30 p.m. and will conclude by 10:15. Contact the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS for
Mears wins pole at Pocono: #41-Casey Mears won his first ever Budweiser Pole at Pocono Raceway for the Pennsylvania 500, the 10th pole winner of 2005 and puts Mears in the 2005 Budweiser Shootout. It is the first time that a driver has won their first career pole at Pocono Raceway. The rest of the top five: #01-Joe Nemechek, #97-Kurt Busch, #40-Sterling Marlin [looks weird in a white car] and #38-Elliott Sadler. #17-Kenseth wrecked in practice and went to a backup, but will not have to go to the back as the team put the primary engine n the backup car. Missing the race are #90-A.J. Henrikson, #51-Kevin Lepage and #37-Andy Hillenburg. #13-Greg Sacks and #02-Jason Jarrett make their first Cup starts of the 2004. #80-Carl Long will run a race with a 4th different car # [also drove #02, #46 and #00]
Qualifying results at my Jayski's Pocono Qualifying/Starting Lineup Page.
Other Pocono Qualifying Results/Starting Lineup at: ThatsRacin.com MotorSports One NASCAR.com.(7-30-2004)
Pocono Qualifying Notes: Casey Mears won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Pennsylvania 500, lapping Pocono Raceway in 52.411 seconds at 171.720 mph. Kasey Kahne holds the track-qualifying record of 52.164 seconds, 172.533 mph, set June 11, 2004.
This is Mears' first career Bud Pole in 56 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. He became the fourth first-time Bud Pole winner this season.
It is Mears's second top-10 start in his four races at Pocono.
Mears is the 16th different Bud Pole winner in the past 17 races at Pocono. Qualifying was canceled in June 2002.
Joe Nemechek had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 52.431 seconds at 171.654 mph and will join Mears on the front row. This is Nemechek's ninth top-10 start this season and his ninth in 21 races at Pocono.
This is 10th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2004. Chevrolet has eight Bud Poles and Ford has two.
Greg Sacks (38th) qualified for his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race since Texas in 1998.
The last two Pennsylvania 500s have been won from the Bud Pole. Eleven of the last 14 races here have been won from fifth or better. There have been nine different race winners at Pocono since Bobby Labonte swept both races at the Pennsylvania track in 1999.
Eleven of the last 14 races at Pocono Raceway have been won from a starting position of fifth or better. Only five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Pocono have ever been won from a starting position worse than 15th, most recently by Jeremy Mayfield who won the 2000
Pocono 500 from 22nd. The farthest back that a race winner at Pocono has started was 27th by Terry Labonte in the 1995 Pocono 500.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-30-2004)
Stock Car Fans - Ramblings - Pocono: Casey Mears grabbed his first ever Bud Pole today at Pocono Raceway for
Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 with a time of 52.411 (171.720 mph). He becomes the 10th qualifier for next years Budweiser Shootout at Daytona in February, and smashed his previous best starting spot in the process (a 4th at Chicagoland in July of 2003). In what was a good day for the Ganassi Dodges (all three will start in the Top-7 on
Sunday), Casey edged out Joe Nemechek by .02 seconds. For Front Row Joe (2nd), this is his best starting spot since he had the
outside pole at California in May.
Sterling Marlin (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Daytona in February.
Elliott Sadler (5th) has his best starting spot since he started 4th at Lowe's in May.
STREAKIN....Joe Nemechek has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
Greg Sacks (38th) makes his first start since his accident at Texas Motor Speedway in April of 1998! It's been a long road back, and anybody who remembers that race knows the hospital list was rather long that day.
Jason Jarrett (42nd) makes his first start since Talladega last October (and second overall in his career). He started 25th and finished 29th in that race in a Robert Yates Ford.(StockCarFans.Com Nextel Cup Newsletter)(7-30-2004)
Biffle to Run Cup and Busch this weekend: Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Roush Racing Ford, will race in Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway and Saturday’s Busch Series race at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Biffle, who is 25th in Cup points and seventh in Busch points, will run the final Cup practice session Saturday and then fly to Pikes Peak International Raceway. Mike McLaughlin will practice and qualify Biffle’s #60 Roush Racing Busch Series Ford.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-30-2004)
July 29, 2004
Flag of appreciation: Members of the 193rd Special Operations National Guard unit, based out of Middletown, Pa., are presenting the #31 Cingular Wireless pit crew an American flag that flew during an Iraqi Freedom combat mission on April 23, 2003. The flag is being presented Sunday, August 1, at Pocono Raceway as a token of appreciation to the Richard Childress Racing crewmen for their spontaneous hospitality and support they devoted to the National Guard servicemen during their visit in June 2003 to the NASCAR race at Pocono Raceway(RCR PR)(7-29-2004)
Eury Sr. Wins Crew Chief Honors for NHIS: Tony Eury Sr., crew chief of the #8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., was voted the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race for his efforts during Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Eury continues to lead the overall Wypall standings with five victories. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season wins $10,000.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-29-2004)
Busch's Pit Crew Scores New Hampshire Win: Pacing Kurt Busch to victory in Sunday's Siemens 300 Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway was his pit crew, which took top honors in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. It was the third time this season that Busch's #97 crew pocketed the first-place prize that is worth $20,000 for each win. The other pit crew victories for Busch's team were at Las Vegas and Martinsville. In the quest for the $200,000 McDonald's/POWERade bonus that goes to the crew that garners the most points at the end of the season, Dale Earnhardt's team has a slim six-point lead over Elliott Sadler's crew (690-684). Busch's team remains in fifth place with 652 points. Busch's IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford spent the least amount of time on New Hampshire's pit road --113.812 seconds. Stewart's Home Depot Chevrolet came in second with a time of 115.241. Third was Jamie McMurray's Texaco/Havoline Dodge at 119.200. "These IRWIN guys really stepped it up to show what being a team is all about," said crew chief Jimmy Fennig. "Our car chief stayed in Charlotte over the weekend with his wife to have a baby, so the rest of the guys all did more than their fair share to fill in and make sure everything was perfect. The over-the-wall guys hit their marks all day during those three stops and helped us gain some positions in the pits." Busch's over-the-wall crew consists of: Scott Ward (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can).(DMF Communications PR) and see top 10 from NHIS and season standings on my Pit Crew News page.(7-29-2004)
Testing at Kentucky Speedway: #48-Jimmie Johnson was scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday, July 28th. Richard Childress Racing driver #29-Kevin Harvick is scheduled to join Johnson.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(7-29-2004)
Seven to be Inducted into Motor Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night: Seven inductees will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (www.mshf.com) on Thursday, July 29th in Novi, Mich. Being inducted into the 16th class will be NASCAR executive Bill France Jr., Indy 500 winners Bobby Rahal and Johnnie Parsons, NHRA Top Fuel champion Joe Amato, multiclass sports car champ Geoff Brabham, driver-designer-builder Don Vesco and longtime Los Angeles Times motorsports writer Shav Glick.(Augusta Chronicle)(7-29-2009)
Hamilton Jr. will not be a rookie: Bobby Hamilton Jr. will not be running for 2005 Raybestos Rookie of the Year as he started 10 races in one season, 2001, a driver cannot start more then seven Cup races in one season and run for the award.(7-29-2004)
Dale Earnhardt Foundation supports food delivery: The Dale Earnhardt Foundation will sponsor a Feed The Children semi tractor-trailer truck of food, nonfat dry milk and personal care items to help children and families in the Pocono area on July 29. The delivery is part of a partnership with international hunger relief organization Feed The Children.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-29-2004)
Product Placement Lifts Game Revenue: Levi Strauss and Procter & Gamble have purchased placement in EA Sports’ “NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup,” according to a front-page story by Kevin Delaney of the Wall Street Journal. The game is “generating over $1 million in ad revenue” for EA Sports, according to Delaney. EA is “expecting to generate $7 million of in-game advertising revenue this year, a 60 percent increase from 2003, helped by a recent five-game deal with P&G," according to Delaney.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-29-2004)
July 28, 2004
Hamilton Jr./Holly to PPI? UPDATE 2 - OFFICIAL: 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) UPDATE: Cal Wells' pending split with Ricky Craven at the end of the season is not unexpected, given the team's slump. Since last year's win at Darlington, things have gone slowly downhill. Now Wells says he could within the week announce Bobby Hamilton Jr., 26, in the car for next year, with Harold Holley as crew chief. Wells also said, again, that he would like to expand to a second team. With only 35 full-time Cup teams, and with 43 spots on the grid available each weekend, it would seem likely that Wells could put something together.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2004) UPDATE 2 - OFFICAL: PPI Motorsports announced today it has signed a driver-crew chief team to helm the #32 Tide Chevrolet full-time in 2005: Bobby Hamilton, Jr., and Harold Holly. Hamilton, Jr., currently drives the #25 car in the NASCAR Busch Series. He owns five Busch wins, of which four were earned with Holly as his crew chief, and finished a career-high fourth in the series in 2003, just 43 points behind champion Brian Vickers. Hamilton, Jr., also has 19 Cup starts to his credit, including five to date this year in the #09 Dodge. Holly currently serves as crew chief for Hamilton, Jr., and the #25 Busch Series team. After joining the team, Holly quickly helped propel them to a series-best four wins in 2003 and into championship contention this season. Holly also has championship experience, having earned the 2000 NASCAR Busch Series title with the largest margin in history (616 points) as crew chief to driver Jeff Green. From 1999-2001, Holly and Green earned 13 wins, 13 poles, 56 top-fives and 72 top-10s, finishing no less than second in championship points each year. Overall, Holly has amassed 25 wins in 248 Busch series starts to date. By signing Hamilton, Jr., and Holly in tandem, Wells hopes to capture the same chemistry that has propelled the duo to four wins and championship contention in the NASCAR Busch Series.
"We are excited about Bobby's potential in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series," Wells said. "He's been a standout performer in the Busch series and has several Cup starts already to his credit, and he's definitely ready for a shot at full-time Cup racing. Harold, with his championship experience and proven ability to lead and motivate a team, is a tremendous asset to our overall organization. We expect the two to be a strong, positive force for our team and in the Cup garage."
"All I can say is I'm more than ready to go Cup racing," said Hamilton Jr., who has turned down full-time Cup rides in the past to wait for the right time in his career. "I'm excited about this chance to drive full time in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series for PPI Motorsports in the #32 Tide Chevrolet. What makes this even better is the chance to keep working with Harold. He's been a great leader for our Busch team and has inspired all of us to perform at our best and achieve what we set out to do. I'm also grateful to the people at Team Rensi Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to drive for them the past two seasons and wish them all the best."
"Working with PPI Motorsports represents a great opportunity for me to transition full-time into the Cup series, something I've wanted to do if the right chance came along," said Holly. "The environment is very similar to what I've been accustomed to, and I believe that Bobby and I together can find success with this team. I'm looking forward to getting started." Both Hamilton, Jr. and Holly will begin testing under the PPI Motorsports banner later this month. Current #32 crew chief Mike Beam continues to serve as the team's crew chief this season and will help oversee the transition. PPI Motorsports, based in Hickory, N.C., fields the #32 Tide Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Since joining the series in 2000, the team has earned two wins, three pole positions, ten top fives and 20 top tens. The team also owns multiple titles and victories in off-road and open-wheel racing and will celebrate its 25th year in racing in 2005.(PPI Motorsports)(7-28-2004)
Watkins Glen testing washed out: no official reports, but have heard that testing at Watkins Glen on Monday [official] and Tuesday [unoffically] was rained out. Track officials have been able to schedule additional NASCAR testing time around existing track rental customers on Monday, August 2 from 7:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The session will be open to the public. No word on what drivers will attend thge practice on August 2nd.(7-28-2004)
Dale Jr. hopes to go all 200 laps: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver, #8 Budweiser team: "The plan is to rest and take it easy this week so I'll be ready to do 500 miles Sunday. The burns heal a little more every day, but I'm still in a lot of pain. I felt pretty good inside the car, but I'm going to need all my strength. Pocono can wear you out even when you're 100 percent healthy. I couldn't have finished 300 laps (at New Hampshire) but I'm going to do all I can to get through this and be ready to go this week. I owe it to my team. They've worked so hard for so many years to put us in a place where we're in position to grab a championship, and I owe it to my sponsors and especially my fans. Everyone has been really supportive of me and that means a lot. Anybody can be cool and get along great when you're winning races and kicking butt, but when things don't go right, it's important to have that support behind me." Dale Jr. and the #8 Budweiser team have four top-10s in nine races at Pocono Raceway and have finished no worse than sixth in the last
three events at the unique 2.5-mile tri-oval. Dale Jr. has led at Pocono four times for 89 laps and has been running at the finish in
each of his nine events there. Dale Jr. is still recovering from injuries sustained in an American LeMans Series race in Sonoma, Calif., but is hoping to attempt the full 500-mile race at Pocono. Should Dale Jr. not be able to run the full race, John Andretti will stand by as a relief driver in case needed. Andretti, who drives a part-time schedule for Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s #1 team, has 20 races under his belt at Pocono.(fingerprint, inc./Budweiser Racing PR)(7-28-2004)
New Hampshire TV/Cable Ratings: NASCAR fans revved up ratings for TNT's coverage of the Siemens 300. The Sunday night race was the most watched basic-cable show, with 6.8 million viewers. As usual, HBO's Six Feet Under [Jayski Fave] was the most watched pay-cable show, with 3.8 million.(Yahoo) AND New England doubleheader a hit ... In the off-to-a-good-start department, TNT's season debut at New Hampshire mirrored that of its sister network, NBC, three weeks ago at Chicagoland Speedway. The two networks will televise the second half of the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, and just as NBC enjoyed significant viewer response in Chicago, TNT scored big last week with its season-opening coverage of the Siemens 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. According to Nielsen Media Research, an
average of 4,706,000 households tuned in, a 17% increase from 2003. An average of 6,766,000 viewers tuned in, a 15% increase from 2003. The Siemens 300 was the most-watched NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event since premier-series competition began at New Hampshire in 1993. But that's not all. The NASCAR Busch Series event, the Siemens 200, also was a viewer hit. An average of 1,514,000 households tuned in, a 41% increase from 2003. An average of 1,954,000 viewers tuned in, a 43% increase from 2003. The Siemens 200 was the most-watched NASCAR Busch Series event since that series debuted at New Hampshire in 1990."(NASCAR PR)(7-28-2004)
July 27, 2004
New Mooresville Boutique to help out Computer Lab Fund - Grand Opening Tuesday: Take Too, a new upscale resale boutique located on Williamson Road in Mooresville, will celebrate its grand opening on Tuesday, July 27, and formally kick off its consignors' matching program to support Victory Junction Gang Camp, a specialized camp for chronically ill children founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty. The #24 Jeff Gordon and #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. show cars will be at the event, courtesy of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Hendrick Motorsports, which is open to the public from 10:00am until 5:00pm.
Take Too Boutique is a partnership between owners Carol Bickford, Deb Haskett and Cindy Sisson, all of whom have strong ties to NASCAR. Bickford, who is the mother of NASCAR's Jeff Gordon, is in business with her husband, John, manufacturing race components for open wheel racing, including sprint and midget cars. John also serves as SVP and General Manager of JG Inc., overseeing his step'sons racing and other business interests. Haskett, who originally created the boutique, moved from Michigan to Mooresville four years ago when her husband, Gene, became an executive with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Deb is a lawyer and still practices as a litigator specializing in hospital defense. Sisson is currently SVP and founder of Digital Orchid, a company that owns the wireless rights to NASCAR and other major sports properties. She is the former owner of the U.S. Postal Service cycling team with rider Lance Armstrong, five-time winner of the Tour de France.
Take Too, located at 131-A Williamson Road [across from Tuffy's], offers one-of-a-kind and upscale clothing for women and men, as well as shoes, jewelry and other accessories. The grand opening will mark the summer clearance event. Consignors of Take Too will have an opportunity to help the owners with a cause that is very important to each of them -Victory Junction Gang Camp. Proceeds from the matching charitable program will benefit the camp's Jayski.com Computer Lab.
Take Too also is enlisting the help of the racing community for this charity. Clothes donated by racing celebrities with an autographed photo wearing the consigned outfit will be matched at a certain level of Take Too's profits. Grand opening schedule and events:
9:30am/et - Ribbon-cutting event as new member of Mooresville Chamber of Commerce [attended by Jayski]
10:00am - 5:00pm/et - Take Too open to the public; summer clearance sale begins; show cars at store location. Event Supporters include: Absolute Signs, Camille's Sidewalk Café, Dale Earnhardt Inc., ECMS Advertising, Grapevine,
JG Motorsports, Jayski, Hendrick Motorsports, Legends Espresso Bar & Sweets, Mooresville Chamber of Commerce, Skirt Magazine, Victory Junction Gang.(7-26/27-2004) UPDATE: the ribbon cutting went nice, met some local officials and Take Too donated $1,500 to the computer lab, THANKS! (7-27-2004)
Stewart Welcomes 3-car Team; Talks to Kahne also: #20-Tony Stewart is not concerned about dwindling resources at Joe Gibbs Racing if the team adds a third Nextel Cup team for the 2005 season. The team currently fields a pair of Chevrolets for Bobby Labonte and Stewart. “You don’t have to have three times the equipment,” Stewart said. “A lot of times you can utilize the same resources and not necessarily have to have so many extras. If you have adequate resources to start with I think it helps. If you’re a team that doesn’t have enough funding to begin with it can be a distraction and take away from the effort.” Regarding the addition of a driver, Stewart doesn’t have a preference between a veteran and a rookie. “There’s pros and cons to having a veteran, and there’s pros and cons to having a rookie. It could really go either way. You could have a rookie and do just fine or you could have a veteran and do just fine.” The 2002 series champion also says that he had a phone conversation with Kasey Kahne today, discussed their Ju! ly 11 coming together at Chicagoland Speedway and that “there’s no problems between Kasey and I. It was a very productive phone call.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-27-2004)
NBC’s Ad Revenue Up: NBC’s ad revenue from NASCAR is up 20 percent this year, a “jump attributed primarily to the new format in which the final 10 races will act as a playoff” for the Nextel Cup, according to Andy Bernstein of the Sports Business Journal. The network has “sold title or presenting sponsor ad packages for 10 races and expects to close a few more by the end of the season. Last year it sold 11 in all.” Presenting deals require the purchase of at least six 30-second spots per race, and title sponsorships require eight to 10 spots, costing $750,000 to nearly $1.5 million. ExxonMobil retailers recently signed on as the presenting sponsor for the Aug. 8 Brickyard 400. Subway, already title sponsor of the Oct. 24 race in Martinsville, bought the presenting sponsorship of the Checker Auto Parts 500 in Phoenix Nov. 7. But NASCAR is still “not making money for NBC.” NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer, on breaking even with NASCAR: “We’re not there, but we’re gaining on it.”(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-27-2004)
Dashboard Caution Lights Coming? Tail Lights too? NASCAR vice president of communications Jim Hunter says that series officials are looking at the possibility of adding dashboard caution lights and functioning tail lights to cars. The caution lights, which already are being used in other racing series, could be used to quickly warn drivers to slow down for accidents; a yellow light would be mounted on each car's dashboard and could be activated by NASCAR officials. As it stands, drivers must rely on their team spotters, trackside yellow lights or the official at the start/finish line to determine when officials have issued a caution. The lights could be a safety improvement, but officials remain concerned that they could lead to more timing and scoring disputes between teams and NASCAR. Having functioning taillights on race cars, meanwhile, would be a radical change. They could play a marginal role in helping a driver avoid plowing into the car in front of him, an issue on restarts during several recent races. But drivers likely would not want the driver behind them able to tell precisely when they were braking heading into a turn; that would allow the trailing driver to better judge where passing might be easier.(USA Today)(7-27-2004)
Marlin to run low-carb beer scheme UPDATE: In support of their new low carb beer Aspen Edge, Sterling Marlin will be driving an all White Aspen Edge themed #40 Dodge at the August 1st Pocono Raceway race.(4-23-2004) UPDATE: In support of its new low-carb light lager, Aspen Edge, Coors Brewing Company will display a special Aspen Edge paint scheme on Sunday, August 1st at the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. "NASCAR is one of Coors' highest profile sponsorships, and we have showcased our Coors Light brand with great success over the years," said Steve Saunders, director of event marketing for Coors Brewing Company. "We are really excited about the opportunity to bring the Aspen Edge brand into the fold and increase awareness among NASCAR fans." Coors Brewing Company launched Aspen Edge nationally in early May and since then, the beer has steadily been gaining popularity and market share. Now, Aspen Edge is the second-largest-selling low-carb beer in
supermarkets. Aspen Edge has just 2.6 grams of carbohydrates and 94 calories and is available in retail outlets nationwide.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR) See the scheme on the #40 Team Paint Scheme page.(7-27-2004)
Yates Promotion: hearing that longtime Robert Yates Racing employee, Tim Lancaster has been promoted from the manager of the Machine Shop to Production Manager of RYR.(7-27-2004)
Hamilton Jr. and RCR? no idea if Bobby Hamilton was serious or pulling Dave's leg, but on Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, Bobby Hamilton was asked about the rumor of Bobby Hamitlon Jr. going to the #32 Tide ride, Hamilton said, didn't know about that but that Bobby Jr. was over talking to Richard Childress Monday.(7-27-2004)
Hammond looking for some help for the troops: In Iraq, members of the NASCAR community had an opportunity to visit the 10th Mountain Division, Camp Chosen, and Jeff Hammond got an e-mail recently that said they took a really serious mortar attack. All of the troops lost all of their personal items. Basically, they got out of there with only the clothes on their backs. The military will replace some of their items, but pictures from home, shaving kits, towels, CD and DVD players were lost. If you would like to donate some money or items to these men and women overseas, Hammond will take care of getting it to the folks who need to issue it to the troops in Iraq.
Please send your notes and packages to:
5 Off, 5 On
c/o Jeff Hammond
156 Byers Creek Road
Mooresville, N.C. 28115 (FoxSports)(7-27-2004)
#99 / Roush still looking for a sponsor: Jeff Burton has been in a funky mood since NASCAR's Mike Helton rejected a $15 million a year team sponsorship offer from Crown Royal three weeks ago - a sponsorship package that NASCAR's sister company, the International Speedway Corp., quickly picked up without batting an eye about a conflict of interest. But car owner Jack Roush says he has some new leads for sponsorship for Burton's team. "We've got a number of new, potentially positive discussions going on," Roush said. "I'm very hopeful based on some news I got today that we'll have full sponsorship, at the kind of numbers we're looking for, for next year for Jeff's car. I'm very hopeful that we'll get the help we need to help us have a reasonable finish with it this year. We have the resources to stay with the program until we decide that there is no prospect for sponsorship for it, and it's very much alive today."(Winston Salem Journal)(7-27-2004)
July 26, 2004
Mike Beam resumes Crew Chief role for Tide Team: Cal Wells has reinstated crew chief duties to competition director, Mike Beam for the #32 Tide Racing team. Beam returned to PPI Motorsports as competition director at the end of 2003 after a one-year absence from the team, while Dave Charpentier was hired as crew chief. "Mike Beam has been operating as the crew chief on the Tide team for some time now," said owner, Cal Wells. "Despite the fact that we announced last week that Ricky Craven will be parting ways with PPI Motorsports at the end of the season, I am committed to making sure the team has all the right elements in place to perform to their potential for the rest of the 2004 season. Mike and Ricky have a successful history together which is why I decided to make the change. Chemistry between driver and crew chief is essential at the competition level of NEXTEL Cup racing and I need to make sure I'm providing the best combination to make our Tide team run up front. I need to make sure Ricky has what he needs in making decisions about the car and calling the races." While with PPI Motorsports during the 2001 and 2002 season, Beam and Craven scored one win at Martinsville in the spring of 2001, and three pole positions at Michigan, Rockingham and Darlington.(PPI Motorsports PR), no word on what Dave Charpentier is doing or if he is still with the team, as reported the other day, he is quoted as saying he is signed thru 2006 with PPI.(7-26-2004)
Said gets sponsor for Watkins Glen: USG Corporation announced that it will sponsor Boris Said in the Aug. 15 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup road race at Watkins Glen International to help promote its Durock Brand Cement Board, a high-strength ceramic tile backer that provides superior tile adhesion. Said will drive the #36 USG Durock Brand Chevrolet as a third entry for MB2 Motorsports, which fields Joe Nemechek's #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet and Scott Riggs' #10 Valvoline Chevrolet. USG is also an associate sponsor on the #01 and #10 MB2 cars plus a primary sponsor on Nemechek's #01 car at four Nextel Cup races.(MB2 Motorsports PR), plans are also for Said to run the #36 at California Speedway in Sept. with Centrix Financial as the sponsor.(7-26-2004)
Fashion Sense: G-III/Carl Banks has joined forces with NASCAR to launch a men’s and women’s fashion collection that will be available for Fall 2004. The collection consists of track suits, T-shirts, sweatpants, hats and wool outerwear. The items will retail from $20 to $125 and will be sold at Macy’s West, Bon Marche and select mid-tier and specialty retailers nationwide.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-26-2004)
Craven to Retire? UPDATE 2 to Roush: Ricky Craven announced last night he will be separating from his team at the end of the 2004 NASCAR season and possibly retiring [see past news on the #32 Team News and Links page]. After a disastrous start to the season, Craven, of Newburgh, Maine, said car owner Cal Wells decided to terminate his contract at the end of the 2004 season. With two years left on his contract, financial terms were settled. "We've had a lot of heated discussions and it's mutual and I agreed to finish this year,'' Craven said. ``This is a performance business. I'm going to work as hard as I can for the rest of the 2004 season.'' Craven then speculated that after the season he may retire from NASCAR.[but doesn't expand of offer anymore](Portland Boston Herald) HOWEVER an excerpt from the Press Herald: "I still have a passion to compete," said Craven, the popular driver from the tiny Maine town of Newburgh. "I still hate to lose. I still have the hope and desire to succeed in this business and to compete at this level. I'm interested in exploring the options that might be available to me next year."(in part from the Portland Press Herald)(7-23-2004) UPDATE: Q: ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT POTENTIAL RIDES FOR 2005?)
A - Craven: "Part of the strategy of announcing this weekend and going into the second half of the season is that this is the beginning of the end of our association (with Cal Wells). We still have a lot of racing left. But I absolutely intend on racing next year and for a few more years. But if I'm not, I'll capitalize on the time off to teach my boy to go bird hunting or chase a moose in northern Maine or do something that has been completely opposite of what I've done for 25 years."(GM PR) AND Craven could be getting a look-see from Bill Davis for a possible second-team shot.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-25-2004)
UPDATE 2: Despite Craven’s struggles this season, he has attracted some interest to drive for a new team in 2005. One owner who could be interested is Jack Roush, whose five-car team includes Siemens 300 winner Kurt Busch, defending Nextel Cup points champ Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and Greg Biffle. “Ricky Craven is on my short list of people that I think can do a nice job in these cars,” said Roush. Roush runs Fords and Craven’s best year came in 2002 when he was driving a Ford for PPI-Motorsports. Craven finished 15th in points with nine top-10 finishes, including three top-fives, and two poles. Craven said, “If I get what I consider an opportunity that I can enjoy and be competitive or productive for 2005, then great. I’ll look forward to that. But I won’t just race part time. I’m not interested in just being here. The bottom line is I want to have a good ride. I definitely would like to race a couple more years,” said the 38-year-old Craven. “I’m still relatively young. When I came back to Cal [in 2001], I ran in the top 10 [at various stages of races] every week. For two and a half years, we were very, very competitive. I felt like I had earned that. I earned that through my years of Busch North and Busch Grand National. and even my frustrations in Winston Cup led me to the win at Martinsville and the win at Darlington. That’s the way I want to end my career.”(Bangor Daily News)(7-26-2004)
Kahne and Crew OK after wreck: A van carrying six members of Kasey Kahne's crew was hit from behind Sunday morning on the way to New Hampshire International Speedway. The van was stopped in traffic when it was rear-ended and knocked into another car. The only reported injury was to Jeff Seaburg, driver of the team's transport truck, who was sitting in the back of the van. Seaburg was treated at a Concord hospital for a strained back and released. He got to the track in time for the start of the race, but team officials decided Seaburg would use someone else to drive the transporter back to the team's shop in Statesville, N.C.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(7-26-2004)
Fatback and Rudd back together? UPDATE: FoxSports Larry McReynolds, in his latest column mentions...."I bet it won't be long until we see him [Michael 'Fatback' McSwain] surface with a pretty good race team. I've even heard some rumblings — not to take anything away from Ben Leslie — but I've heard rumblings that he may reunite with [#21] Ricky Rudd. But that's strictly rumors and rumblings."(FoxSports)(7-25-2004) UPDATE: Crew chief Michael McSwain may not be on the sidelines long. McSwain, who had Ricky Rudd in the national-championship hunt a few years back and who had Bobby Labonte sixth in this year's standings when he was abruptly dropped by car owner Joe Gibbs last week, is getting a long, hard look from Jack Roush and could be joining the Roush camp soon, according to team sources. McSwain and Rudd split acrimoniously [bitter] two years ago, but there are reports the two could be getting back together. Roush yesterday didn't directly comment on the reports about hiring McSwain but indicated "there might be something there."(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2004)
2005 Truex Sponsor close: Dale Earnhardt Inc. is close to signing a new sponsor for Martin Truex Jr. for 2005. The current proposal would have Truex Jr. running seven Nextel Cup races and the full Busch Series schedule. Subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at New Hampshire, Truex finished 31st. Truex Jr. has gained recognition throughout his first full season in Busch by leading the points and winning four races and five pole positions.(Foxsports/Sporting News)(7-26-2004)
Belts Illegal And Confiscated Bobby Hamilton Jr's, NASCAR Nextel Cup #09 Miccosukee Dodge had a full set of lap belts confiscated at New Hampshire International Speedway. The red belts had expired in June of 2002, over two years ago.(Insider Racing News)(7-26-2004)
Sauter back to Cup for RCR? but not #30: Richard Childress says it's possible Johnny Sauter will return in an RCR Cup car at Richmond in September, but it won't be the #30 AOL Chevrolet. Sauter was released from that ride in June because of a lack of success.(Foxsports/Sporting News)(7-26-2004)
Graf full time in 2005? Klaus Graf, the erstwhile Formula One racer now working the Porsche Cup tour full-time while working on breaking into NASCAR, will be at Watkins Glen today testing for next month's stock car race as Ken Schrader's teammate - if he made connections at New York's JFK last night enroute from Hockenheim, Germany. If car owners Beth Ann Morgenthau finishes sponsorship deals, Graf would also run the Talladega ARCA race in September, and Cup races at Martinsville and Homestead. "That would hopefully lead to a full schedule next year," General Manager Eddie Jones said. Graf finished 17th three weeks ago at Sonoma, Calif., in his only NASCAR start. "And he would have finished a lot higher if he hadn't lost the hose to his water bottle the last 60 laps and become severely dehydrated. He started 38th and could have finished 11th or 12th. He drove the car up to 16th before the first stop. But the heat finally got to him," Jones said.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-26-2004)