Stewart wins at Watkins Glen: #20-Tony Stewart, suffering from leg cramps and an upset stomach, gutted it out and won the Sirius @ the Glen at Watkins Glen International, his 2nd win of 2004 [Chicago], his 2nd win at Watkins Glen, his 3rd road course win and 19th career win. Stewart didn't give a victory lane interview as a cart was waiting for him to take him back to his trailer. #1-Ron Fellows ended up 2nd after starting 43rd, the rest of the top five were #6-Mark Martin, #41-Casey Mears [his best career finish] and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. #31-Robby Gordon's brakes went away at the end and he finished 16th, #24-Jeff Gordon lost all but 4th gear with around 10 laps to go and finished 21st. Points leader, #48-Jimmie Johnson lost an engine early and ended up 40th and with Gordon finishing 21st, Johnson keeps the points lead, but just by 40 points and #-Earnhardt Jr. closed up to 128 points behind.
For race results, see: JAYSKI's Watkins Glen Race Results / Awards page ThatsRacin.com MotorsportsOne NASCAR.com.(8-15-2004)
Evernham-Baldwin likely to team up in Busch: Evernham Motorsports is hoping to field at least one NASCAR Busch Series team next season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. A formal announcement could come as early as next week. The Busch program would be among several expansions of the Evernham organization next season. Team owner Ray Evernham has also said he hopes to begin building engines for other teams in 2005. Sources suggested that an Evernham Busch program could be developed, at least in part, from the part-time team owned by Tommy Baldwin, crew chief for Evernham's rookie Cup driver, Kasey Kahne.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-15-2004)
Robby to have his own Cup team again? UPDATE 2 to Yates? Robby Gordon's future plans continue to be the subject of debate, and the veteran driver continues dodging the media. The latest report is that he's considering building his own Nextel Cup team for next season.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-9-2004) OR TO YATES? hearing Robby Gordon could be heading to Robert Yates Racing, a third team? with Citi Financial as the sponsor?(8-10-2004) UPDATE: With one driver situation cleared up for next season with the hiring of Jeff Burton in the No. 30 Chevrolets, Richard Childress Racing owner Richard Childress said he hoped to have the rest of his lineup set in concrete and announced in October. The future of Robby Gordon, driver of RCR's #31 Chevrolets, has been the subject of a mass of rumors over the past several weeks. When asked Friday about the situation with the #31 team, Childress relied: "Robby and I have been talking. What we're going to do in October is announce everything with RCR, even our Busch cars. "It takes one domino to fall and that's going to put everything else in play at RCR. The dominos fell. We got that thing rolling."(ThatsRacin.com)(8-14-2004) UPDATE 2: Robby Gordon said he is prepared to run his own NASCAR Nextel Cup team in 2005 should the need arise. Richard Childress, Gordon's current car owner, didn't exactly give Gordon a vote of confidence when asked about the status of the #31 team. Gordon said his contract is up after this season and doesn't know what will happen for 2005. "I've enjoyed working for Richard. I've had a lot of fun doing it. As of right now, I plan on continuing doing that next year." Gordon said. Gordon doesn't want to wait too long, he said, before deciding on what to do -- especially if he needs to start a Cup team. Gordon currently owns a Busch Series team and wants to expand that to a two-car effort for 2005, one for a full-time driver and one for himself for 24 races. But if a Cup ride isn't available, Gordon said he would "definitely need to run two Busch cars." And maybe a Cup car, too.(NASCAR.com)(8-15-2004)
Burton to the #31 in 2005? Insiders say that Jeff Burton could be in [Robby] Gordon's Cingular-sponsored #31-car next season. Gordon might have to sell himself to a potential new sponsor if AOL doesn't remain with Childress. Or Gordon might have to sell himself to AOL, a sponsor that is still looking for some solid results after a year and a half with Childress. In a curious twist, Cingular officials, according to sources, are pegging their contract renegotiations on whether or not Gordon makes the top 20 - if he makes the top 20, they renew, and if he doesn't, they don't. That's odd, because if Cingular doesn't renew with Childress, then it's out of NASCAR entirely [because of Nextel and the grandfather clause for Cingular and Alltel].(WInston Salem Journal)(8-15-2004)
Said to run more races; and 10-15 in 2005: MB Motorsports [#'s 01,10,36] general manager Jay Frye is working hard to put together not only more stock car races for Boris Said this season, but also an extended program in 2005. [Said who missed the Cup race at Watkins Glen due to the cancellation of qualifying]. Frye said Said has one planned oval track event coming up in an MB2 Chevrolet sponsored by Centrix Financial, and that the team probably would run at least one other oval track race this fall, as a "make up" to USG, whose Durock brand was on Said's car at the Glen. Frye said Saturday his team was diligently seeking sponsorship to run Said in a "10-15 race program" in Nextel Cup in 2005; and that the prospective deal could also include some races as sponsor of the team's #10 Valvoline Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs and the #01 U.S. Army Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek. Said will test this Thursday at Kentucky Speedway with Nemechek, prior to the team's travel to Michigan International Speedway for next weekend's GFS Marketplace 400.(NASCAR.com)(8-15-2004)
Winners: Three drivers from famous racing families wound up in victory lane Saturday night (August 14) at Lanier National Speedway, located 30 miles northeast of Atlanta and sanctioned by the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Keven Wood, son of Nextel Cup car owner Len Wood, won the Legends Pro race. Brian Sosebee, son of late NASCAR great Gober Sosebee, won the Sportsman race. Ryan Sieg, the younger brother of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Shane Sieg, won the Late Model event.(8-15-2004)
Watkins Glen Race Notes: Tony Stewart won the 2004 Sirius at the Glen, scoring his 19th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 198th career start. His last victory came at Chicagoland in July, four races ago.
Stewart scored his second victory at Watkins Glen. Stewart last won here in 2002. He joins Jeff Gordon (four), Mark Martin (three), Ricky Rudd (two) and Rusty Wallace (two) as the only drivers with multiple victories at Watkins Glen.
This is his second victory in 2004 and his third career victory in 12 road-course races.
Stewart led four times for 46 laps including the final 15, leading the most laps for the fifth time in 2004.
This is the 14th victory for Chevrolet in 2004. Ford has six and Dodge has two.
The top-six drivers are locked into the top-10 for this coming week. Sixth-place Elliott Sadler is 160 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne and providing he competes in the next race, cannot drop out of the top 10. Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte, and Jeremy Mayfield all could conceivably lose their top-10 ranking at Michigan.
Jeremy Mayfield climbed from 12th to 10th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings and became the first driver to enter the top-10 in the point standings since Bobby Labonte moved from 12th to 10th following race No. 9 at Talladega, 14 races ago.
Jimmie Johnson (40th today) remained first in the point standings for the ninth time in his career. Johnson ranked first in the standings after Kansas City in September 2002 and first in the last eight races. Johnson has a 40-point lead over second-place Jeff Gordon.
Johnson lost 135 points of his point lead in the 2004 Brickyard 400 and 57 at Watkins Glen for a 192 point loss in the last two races.
Johnson scored his fourth DNF in 2004. This marked the first time in Johnson's career that he scored consecutive DNFs.
Ron Fellows (second) scored first top-10 finish in his first race of 2004. It is his 11th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. It is his seventh race at Watkins Glen. He tied his career-best finish of second recorded here in 1999. â€˘ Mark Martin (third) scored his ninth
top-10 finish in 2004. This was his 15th top-10 finish in 17 races at Watkins Glen International. He is only 72 points from 10th-place
Mayfield. Martin has scored an amazing 31 top-10 finishes in 37 career road-course races.
Casey Mears (fourth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2004. This was his second race at Watkins Glen.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fifth) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2004. It was his second top-10 finish in five races at Watkins Glen, both in the
last two races. He remained third in the point standings, 128 behind Johnson.
Matt Kenseth has ranked among the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 in 57 straight races.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-15-2004)
Stock Car Fans - Rumbings - Watkins Glen: Tony Stewart had the dominant car pretty much from the get-go, made it
through the race in distress, and re-claimed the lead from Casey Mears on lap 76 to capture today's Sirius at the Glen. And yet once again, we had no Victory Lane "Made for TV" today. Tho sick all day, Tony dominated at Watkins Glen, grabbing his 3rd road course victory, his second here at the Glen, his second of the season, and the 19th of his Cup career. He's now tied for 30th all-time with some pretty famous names....Davey Allison, Buddy Baker, and Fonty Flock. This was win #42 for Joe Gibbs, and was worth $195,288 for Stewart from the over $4.6M in posted awards.
For me, the highlight of the race was a vintage Sterling Marlin quote. It's a pleasure when we still get to hear a driver speak his mind (thoI don't know that Greg Biffle liked it)....a "bug-eyed dummy" is 'bout as country as it gets!
Ron Fellows (2nd) tied his career-best finish today. He was also the runner-up here in August of 1999 (only 7 races).
Casey Mears (4th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 7th (which he'd done four times this season, the last of which came at Infineon in June). Those (2) Top-5's give us 26 drivers to hit that mark this season....last year's number was 30.
Kevin Harvick (6th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Talladega in April.
Ricky Rudd (8th) had his best finish since he was the runner-up at Loudon last September.
Fellows' and Rudd's Top-10's give us 35 drivers at that mark this season... last year's number for that category was 42.
Kyle Petty (18th) had his best finish since he was 18th at Michigan in June.
Hermie Sadler (33rd) had his best finish since he was 26th at Martinsville in April (only 6 races).
STREAKIN....Tony Stewart has 5 Top-5's in the last 6 races.
Jeremy Mayfield has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Ron Fellows (+41), followed by Ricky Rudd (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jimmie Johnson (-39). On a slim day in the "Shaft", Fellows can claim an almost perfect score!
Any other year we'd be talking about the how tight the points have gotten at the top, but we hardly even notice that Jimmie Johnson's lead is now down to just 40 points over teammate Jeff Gordon. Jeremy Mayfield has taken hold of the final transfer spot after today as
Ryan Newman fell to 12th in the standings. Mayfield's teammate Kasey Kahne is just 24 points behind (with Newman another 5 behind him), so there's no stopping for a breath in that bunch.
Robby Gordon advanced four spots today (23rd to 19th), while Greg Biffle (21st to 24th) fell three positions.(Stock Car Fans Nextel Cup Newsletter)(8-15-2004)
No NASCAR Plates in Tenn? A proposed NASCAR license plate for Tennessee is facing a yellow caution flag after slow demand for the new specialty tag. Before the plate will be produced, 1,000 people must put in paid orders for it. In the four months that the plates have been promoted, only 400 motorists have signed up to get one. Things could pick up speed later this month. Officials at the 160,000-seat Bristol Motor Speedway where the Sharpie 500 race will be held Aug. 28 are thinking of some type of promotion, spokesman Wayne Estes said. The speedway hasn't had a premiere event since the tags went on sale, he said. The additional $35 cost for the NASCAR plate benefits the Tennessee State Museum and the Bristol Speedway Children's Charity Fund, which helps children in upper East Tennessee and southwestern Virginia. If demand for the plates gains traction, state legislators could allow plates featuring the numbers of popular drivers, officials said. Several other Southern states offer plates touting NASCAR or individual drivers with mixed results.(Knoxville News-Sentinel/AP)(8-15-2004)
Tony Danza visits WGI: Among those perusing the garage area Saturday at Watkins Glen International was actor Tony Danza, who is here taping a segment on NASCAR racing for his upcoming nationally syndicated talk show. Danza, who was following drivers from the Chip Ganassi Racing team, alternated wearing a red Target shirt (for Casey Mears) and a white Coors Light shirt (for Sterling Marlin). He also spent plenty of time signing autographs, posing for pictures and doing interviews. "This is what impresses me," Danza said. "You don't think about racing as a team sport. I mean, I didn't. And now you come, and you see how much of a team sport it is. And you see how much it's built on relationships. If (crew chief) Jimmy Elledge doesn't have a relationship with Casey Mears, when he tells him something's wrong with the car, they might not get it right." Who's Danza's pick for today's race? "I'm going with our crew, the Ganassi racing team," he said. "One of those guys."(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-15-2004)
August 14, 2004
Lopez leaves BDR? hearing #23 Crew Chief, Philippe Lopez, and Bill Davis Racing has parted ways and Lopez may be heard to Gibbs or RCR.(8-14-2004)
NO IDEA: what Dave Blaney's plans are after this weekend, if I hear or see anything, it'll be posted....(8-13-2004) UPDATE: That leaves Dave Blaney, Childress' current driver, out of a ride. But Bill Davis says he'd pick him back up if he could find a sponsor.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-14-2004)
So what happens to Burton's Busch plans? from a GM PR, asking Jeff Burton, who is leaving Rosuh Racing for RCR starting at Michigan, about his Busch plans, his quote: " I do have some Busch starts coming up and I have no idea what we are doing about that. I know that sounds silly. We didn't even talk about it. There was so much going on that Geoff Smith and I didn't have a conversation about the Busch thing. Actually coming up here last night I said 'hey what about the Busch car?' We only had three or four races left. I really and truly don't know what we'll do there."(GM PR), have heard that but that Mark Martin will drive the #9 Cottman Ford at Dover and Atlanta.(8-14-2004)
Petty in Nashville: Nextel Cup driver Kyle Petty is scheduled to be at Nashville Superspeedway tomorrow to accept a check from Toyota for his Victory Junction Camp for ailing children. Toyota and Darrell Waltrip auctioned off a truck with the proceeds designated to Petty's camp.(Tennessean)(8-14-2004)
Rain at Watkins Glen? Rain Tires? NO: with the weather forecast for the weekend [40% on Friday for qualifying, chance of rain on Sunday] at Watkins Glen being iffy for the races, gettting asked a lot about Goodyear's rain tire. Have not heard if Goodyear will have them available to use, plus it is NOT a rain tire but a 'wet' tire, to be used on a wet race track, but not if there is a shower or rain. In the past it was mentioned a wiper and brake light could be added, still...no word if any plans to do so at Watkins Glen are in place. There is also Hurricane Charley to worry about, there is hurricane site I have frequented since 1996: www.storm204.com
For weather in the Watkins Glen area see raceweather.net or weather.com
No mention about the 'wet' tires on this weeks Goodyear Tire Fast Facts, those and other weather links on my Watkins Glen Race Info page.(8-12-2004) UPDATE: been told rain / wet tires will NOT be available or used at Watkins Glen this weekend and it would be treated as any other race, tirewise.(8-12-2004) MORE on TIRES: NASCAR has apparently seen the last of its "wet weather" tires. Nextel Cup series director John Darby confirmed Friday NASCAR did not update its inventory of wet weather tires this season and brought none to the track this weekend for Sunday's Sirius at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. NASCAR has contemplated the use of wet weather tires on the series' two road course events and even went so far as to use them in a practice session at Watkins Glen two years ago. They have never been used in race conditions. "We had an inventory of rain tires that had been in circulation for quite a few years to the point where the majority of them were weather cracked and dried," Darby said. "We reached the point where we were either going at the wet weather situation full-bore or just disband it." Darby said NASCAR also considered the importance of the event in determining who will make the 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup Championship and the need to race under the best conditions. "I think in all reality, we are a dry weather sport," Darby said, "and we need to stay that way."(ThatsRacin.com)(8-14-2004)
Special Scheme for Jarrett to be announced [see IMAGE] UPDATE: there will be an announcement on Thursday, August 11 that Dale Jarrett will run a special paint scheme on the #88 UPS Ford. The UPS Site says it will be 'scary'. And got an image of the Halloween themed scheme, see my #88 Team Paint Schemes page or 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page for the image.(8-10-2004) UPDATE: UPS delivers The Universal Monsters to Atlanta Motor Speedway this Halloween as Dale Jarrett and Robert Yates Racing will field and drive the #88 UPS/Universal Monsters Ford. The UPS Ford loses its customary brown, white and gold paint for the haunting look of Monsters. Riding aboard the orange and brown UPS Ford on Halloween 2004 are Frankenstein and his Bride, The Wolfman, The Mummy, Dracula, Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Invisible Man. In addition to the participation of Jarrett and Team UPS, Elliott Sadler and the #38 M&M's® team will race a Halloween-themed paint scheme.(UPS Site)(8-14-2004)
Stewart finished 8th in sports car race: Despite Tony Stewart's torrid rush to the front of the field early from a 15th place starting spot, he and Andy Wallace dealt with a tire problem and finished eighth, one lap down in the Sahlen's 200 sports car race at Watkins Glen.(Corning Leader)(8-14-2004)
Dale Jr. and Dave Matthews Band at California: Dave Matthews Band will feature their name and likeness on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car in the Pop Secret 500 at the California Speedway in San Diego this September. See an image on my #8 Team Paint Schemes page.(8-14-2004)
Fatback and Rudd back together? UPDATE 4 to RCR?: 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) UPDATE 2: McSwain and Rudd to reunite? Garage insiders say that Michael "Fatback" McSwain may be taking over crew chief duties on the #21 Woods Brothers Ford with driver Ricky Rudd. McSwain and Rudd worked together on the #28 Robert Yates Racing Ford previous to both parties going their separate ways. Speculation is the change could come as early as next week.(Motorsport.com)(8-6-2004) UPDATE 3: Rumors swirl around the Motorcraft Ford team, with talk that Michael “Fatback” McSwain might be ready to take the reins as crew chief of the #21 Ford. It’s difficult to get a solid read on the story, given that no one affiliated with the team has much to say about the subject. “We had some success together,” said driver, Ricky Rudd when asked about the Fatback rumor. Team co-owner Len Wood, who clearly didn’t want to discuss the subject, would only add, “The driver has talked to him.”(Team Ford Racing)(8-9-2004) UPDATE 4: Crew chief Michael 'Fatback' McSwain appears to be out of the running for a job with Ricky Rudd and Wood Brothers Racing, but insiders say he could now be on the list of candidates for a job with Richard Childress.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-14-2004)
Hoosier back in NASCAR? UPDATE: Hoosier Tire might return to one of NASCAR's top three series [Cup/Busch/Cup]. That was the buzz in the garage after Hoosier successfully outbid Goodyear, by a rumored $1.1 million, to supply tires to the Grand American Series, which NASCAR vice chairman Bill France Jr. has an interest in. One garage source said: "Hoosier may be OK for the ARCA series, but they're far from being ready to make a commitment to Cup." If Hoosier did return to one of NASCAR's top three series, the company would have to to supply tires for the entire garage.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-9-2004) UPDATE: Hoosier's Bob Newton announced his Indiana tire company, which battled Goodyear twice on the Cup tour, will be taking over the 24 Hours of Daytona from Goodyear, in a deal with Jim France.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-14-2004)
August 13, 2004
Rusty to retire after 2005? Although nothing has been announced yet, Rusty Wallace, the 1984 NASCAR rookie of the year and 1989 champion, has begun planning for a farewell tour next season . Such announcements often come during the October weekend in Charlotte, but it wouldn't be surprising if Wallace, who will turn 48 Saturday, were to make his in two weeks in Bristol, Tenn., site of nine of his 54 victories.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) - been told the announcement will come at California Speedway during the first labor day weekend race there.(8-13-2004)
Two more years for Terry Labonte...part-time? UPDATE 2: #5-Terry Labonte, after 25 years on the tour, will likely run another two years, according to team sources, who expect the 47-year-old racer to sign a new contract for a limited schedule of 10 to 15 races with car owner Rick Hendrick.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-7-2004) UPDATE: Two-time series champion Terry Labonte would not confirm Saturday a published report that he will remain with Hendrick Motorsports next season but run a partial schedule. Labonte said last month that he was uncertain of his future. Labonte has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 1994 and has won 12 of his 22 career races with the team. Despite his competitiveness, Labonte said a partial schedule is intriguing. "It'd be nice to have an off weekend," he said. "It might be nice to not go to some of the tracks you particularly care for." If Labonte runs a partial schedule, it could allow Hendrick Motorsports to put 19-year-old Kyle Busch, who is challenging for the Busch series title this season, into a Cup ride for select races next year to gain experience.(Roanoke Times)(8-8-2004) UPDATE 2: the NASCAR Scene reports that if Labonte runs a limited schedule, it would be in the #84 Chevy with Kyle Busch running the #5 Chevy.(NASCAR Scene) AND hearing it will be part time and the crew chef for Labonte would be Alan Gustafson, currently the team engineer for the #5 car.(8-13-2004)
Special Tony Stewart Monte Carlo: Chevrolet will pay tribute to one of NASCAR's recent champions with the introduction of the 2005 Tony Stewart Signature Series Monte Carlo. The limited edition vehicle is the 10th NASCAR-inspired Monte Carlo that Chevrolet has created over the last five years. "We are delighted to announce the latest edition to the Signature Series Monte Carlo line as an on-going effort to recognize NASCAR and Chevy's past and present driving stars," said Jim Campbell, director of car marketing for Chevrolet. "The Tony Stewart Signature Series Monte Carlo is a perfect way to honor Tony's success on and off the race track." The Tony Stewart Signature Series will be a black supercharged Monte Carlo built with many elements of Stewart's No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet subtly incorporated into the vehicle. The exterior of the vehicle is modeled closely after Stewart's night race paint scheme with an all black body complimented by Stewart's signature displayed on the sail panel and No. 20 graphics and Home Depot orange accents prominently lining the bottom trim of the vehicle. A Joe Gibbs Racing signature badge is also displayed on the rear decklid. The attention to custom detailing is also prevalent within the interior of the Monte Carlo with Stewart's signature embroidered on the head restraints, displayed on the door sill plates and positioned within the gauge cluster. The gauge cluster also contains orange-outlined white numerals in the same typeface as exterior graphics and Stewart's signature while both front seats are accented with orange French seams.
Beyond a unique design concept, the Monte Carlo maintains its powerful supercharged 3800 V6 engine, delivering 240 horsepower and 280 lb.-ft of torque. Other features include a heavy-duty four speed automatic transmission, sport front bucket seats with Ebony leather seating surfaces, a racing-inspired grill and 17-inch black-accented diamond-cut cast aluminum wheels. A total of 1,020 units of the Tony Stewart Signature Series Monte Carlo will be available later this year. Pricing has not yet been announced. "I am honored to be recognized as a part of an elite group of Chevrolet drivers and NASCAR champions," said Tony Stewart. "The Signature Series Monte Carlo is a unique way to promote the sport of NASCAR while also raising money for many important charities through The Tony Stewart Foundation."
Chevrolet will make a donation from the sale of the Tony Stewart Signature Series Monte Carlo to The Tony Stewart Foundation, a private, non-profit corporation which focuses on raising and donating funds to help care for chronically ill children, drivers injured in motorsport activities and to help other charitable organizations.(GM PR) thanks WMS.(8-13-2004)
Stock Car Fans - Ramblings - Watkins Glen: We had a day of no action on the track at Watkins Glen International, so the field for Sunday's Sirius at the Glen was set by the rule book (and I guess there must be one cause they're always quotin' a couple of 'em, especially that one about "actions detrimental to stock car racing").
Jimmie Johnson will lead 'em to the green, but we better keep our fingers crossed that Charley tracks a little more to the east than what
they're saying. If we had trouble with moisture today, we can only imagine what Sunday could look like.
Not much to talk about, so we'll point out something we find extremely interesting this week.....and it comes as a quote from Mike Helton via NASCAR.com. "But we also want our competitors to be mindful of the importance of protocol involving Victory Lane, which is as much a part of racing as taking the checkered flag." Huh?
Now, I realize that was very carefully worded by a PR person, but can they actually find a fan or competitor who thinks that their "protocol" (whatever that is) is just as important as winning? Maybe it is to NASCAR, but they may be amazed to find that a lot of fans
(and it seems to be a growing number) turn off the race the minute it's over. I know, cause I hear from them every week. And, unfortunately, even more are turning it off before it's over. Maybe Mike Helton and NASCAR could show a little more concern about that in the future. If we are really as concerned with how Victory Lane is run as we are with how the race is won, then I'm afraid we've somehow misplaced our priorities. But, maybe thats just me....
Since our grid is set by points (and attempts), take these "Best Sinces" for what they're worth.
Tony Stewart (5th) has his best starting spot since he started 4th when we were here last year.
Bobby Labonte (8th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Texas in April.
Todd Bodine (36th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 28th at Pocono in June (only 5 races).
Larry Gunselman (39th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 42nd at Daytona in July. (You think it's easy finding something to type about?)
Welcome and welcome back: Tony Ave (42nd) makes his first-ever Nextel Cup start and Ron Fellows (43rd) makes his first start of the season. Fellows' last race was here last August when he started 18th and finished 38th.
STREAKIN...Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
There are some disadvantages to being a road-course ringer, and one of those was apparent today. When we get washed out these guys don't have enough points or attempts, so the Trouble Train consists of: Scott Pruett, Boris Said, Klaus Graf, and Stanton Barrett. With the way Pruett ran at Infineon a couple months ago, you can bet this was a bitter pill.(Stock Car Fans Newsletter)(8-13-2004)
Crew Chief Fined: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chief Geoffrey Kaeser was fined $5,000 for a fuel cell bladder infraction that occurred during last weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Kaeser, crew chief for the #34 El Paso Dodge of driver Geoffrey Bodine, was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) for an unapproved modification to the fuel cell bladder nut ring. The infraction was discovered by NASCAR officials during Friday’s opening-day inspection.(NASCAR PR)(8-13-2004)
August 12, 2004
Burton and RCR? UPDATE 2 OUT and to RCR: The Jeff Burton to Richard Childress Racing rumor has cropped up again, with Burton supposedly signing with RCR on Tuesday, however, sources tell me there is nothing to report on this and that Burton and the #99 team remain committed to finding a sponsor and one could come as soon as Bristol.(8-11-2004) UPDATE: this rumor has been heating up all day, nothing confirmed, but hearing Burton has left the #99 team and said his goodbyes and that Roush CTS driver, Carl Edwards, would be in the #99 Ford, not if that would be at Watkins Glen or the following week, or what Roush would do about the #99 Truck Team IF this is true. UPDATE 2 - Burton OUT: Jeff Burton will drive his final race in the #99 Fords owned by Roush Racing this weekend at Watkins Glen International, ThatsRacin.com has learned. An official announcement could come as early as later this afternoon. Burton, 37, will be replaced in that car by Carl Edwards, who has been driving for a Jack Roush-owned team on the NASCAR Truck Series, beginning with next weekend's race at Michigan International Speedway. Burton's future could very well lie with Richard Childress Racing. Last year, with sponsorship uncertainty clouding the future of the #99 team, Burton talked with Childress about driving the #30 Chevrolets sponsored by America Online. Just before the NASCAR awards banquet in New York, however, Burton was assured by Roush officials that the #99 team would run a complete Cup schedule in 2005. So Burton remained with the team for which he has driven since 1996 and won 17 Nextel Cup events. Burton's car has had sponsors on the car for several races this year, but has not been able to find a sponsor for the entire season. A potential long-term deal with a company that makes Crown Royal whiskey was nixed by NASCAR in late June.(ThatsRacin.com) BURTON TO RCR: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) has signed Jeff Burton to a multi-year agreement to drive its #30 America Online Chevrolet beginning at next week's GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. "Jeff will bring a great deal of experience and knowledge to the America Online team and all of RCR," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "I know back in 1998 and 1999, Dale Earnhardt talked to Jeff quite a bit about driving the #3 car when he retired. Then Kevin [Harvick] came along and the plan shifted toward him but Jeff was one of the few people we kept an eye on to be in our organization. I've really watched Jeff's talent and his ability to race for a championship," added Childress. "He is a driver who knows how to get the job done and we're going to give him what it takes to be a championship contender." Childress and Burton will hold a media conference in the Watkins Glen International infield media center Friday, Aug. 13, at 10:00am/et.
"I have always had the utmost respect for Richard Childress, and we're both dedicated to winning and running up front every week," said
Burton. "This opportunity gives me a fresh start with a proven organization that is committed to success both on and off the track. I look forward to getting back into Victory Lane with RCR and I will work extremely hard to carry on the winning tradition. Since 1996, I have enjoyed some of the greatest days of my life with the #99 Roush Racing team," continued Burton. "I will forever be grateful to Jack Roush, my driving teammates and my crew. I wish only the best for the entire organization."(RCR PR)(8-12-2004) EDWARDS to Cup, still run CTS: Roush Racing announced today that Carl Edwards, age 24, will enter the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition as the driver of the #99 Roush Racing Ford for the remainder of the 2004 season commencing in Michigan at the GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday, August 22. Edwards, currently third in the Craftsman Truck Series championship standings, will continue to drive the #99 Superchips F-150 in the remaining Truck Series races.(Roush Racing PR), no word if Edward's will run for 2004 Rookie of the Year honors.(8-12-2004)
So..what is up with Dick Trickle? After a racing career that has spanned more than 40 years, you'll pardon Dick Trickle [www.dicktricklefanclub.com] if he wants to back off a bit. But the 62-year-old Wisconsin Rapids native has developed quite a fan following, and area fans got the chance Tuesday night to catch the stock-car racing legend in a rare competitive moment. Trickle drove to a ninth-place finish in the 150-lap Miller Lite Classic at Madison International Speedway, where West Salem's Steve Carlson triumphed to take home the $12,000 top prize. Trickle now resides on an eight-acre spread in North Carolina, surrounded by his family, which includes his wife, Darlene, three children and three grandchildren. But when he is contacted to race and do an occasional promotional event in the Midwest, he usually answers the call. Trickle, who was the 1989 NASCAR Cup rookie of the year at age 48 and still does testing for the International Race of Champions series.(see full story at the Capital Times)(8-12-2004)
Stewart to run sports car race at Watkins Glen: #20-Tony Stewart will co-drive a Citgo-sponsored Pontiac-Crawford Daytona Prototype with Andy Wallace Friday at Watkins Glen International. Stewart, who nearly won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in February with Wallace and Dale Earnhardt Jr., will be making his third Rolex Series start of the season Friday, and fifth overall. The former Indy Racing League champ has finished third three times in the series, but believes The Glen's 2.45-mile short course could present a challenge. "It's going to take a little longer to get used to Watkins Glen, I believe," Stewart said. "When I first started driving sports cars a couple of years ago, it was at Daytona with the Crawfords (Max and Jan) in an open-cockpit car. All of the track time I've had in (closed-cockpit) Daytona Prototype cars is at Daytona in a Crawford car. So, the learning curve may take a little longer at Watkins Glen." Wallace has won each of endurance racing's crown jewels - Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans and Watkins Glen - and normally drives with Milka Duno. Wallace and Duno won at Homestead in March.(Corning Leader)(8-12-2004)
N.C. hall honors Earnhardt, Parrott: Dale Earnhardt and Buddy Parrott are the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame's honorees for 2004. Earnhardt, the seven-time champion in NASCAR's premiere series who won 76 races, will be inducted at the hall's eighth annual induction ceremony on Oct. 13 at the Mooresville Citizens Center. Parrott, a veteran crew chief who began his racing career a tire buster for Goodyear, will receive the Snap-On Golden Wrench Award for his contributions to the sport. "Both of these men brought something different to the sport," said Don Miller, co-founder and chairman of the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. "...Both men set a competitive standard for the sport that continues to be the yardstick by which success is measured today.(ThatsRacin.com), more info on the hall at www.ncarhof.com, a must see if in Mooresville along with Memory Lane Museum. Past news and links on Halls of Fames and Museumns on my Hall of Fame page.(8-12-2004)
World Series Scheme for Dale Jr. UPDATE No? For the third time on the NASCAR Circuit, Budweiser and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be teaming up with Major League Baseball to race at the Martinsville Speedway on October 24th. Earnhardt Jr. will be racing his MLB World Series car the same weekend as the start of the World Series [GO Phillies!]. Dale Jr's special paint scheme will feature the MLB World Series logo and graphics. October 24th, Martinsville Speedway.(8-11-2004) UPDATE: being told now that is will NOT happen.... BUT there may be some sort of MLB scheme in the works but NOT at Martinsville.(8-12-2004)
Wimmer and Wallace NOT swapping gigs: hadn't heard this before, but on Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain [10:00pm/et M-Th], Kenny Wallace was a guest on Wednesday, and was asked if the rumor of he and his Bill Davis Racing Cup teammate, Scott Wimmer switching rides for 2005 true. Wallace said no switch is in the works and he plans to be back in the Busch Series in 2005 with BDR in the #23 with Stacker 2 as the sponsor.(8-12-2004)
Gov. Easley to Sign Historic Motorsports Bills UPDATE: North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley will visit Lowe's Motor Speedway Wednesday and sign into law Senate Bill 3, which provides funding for the North Carolina Testing and Research Complex, and Senate Bill 754, which allows for stock car racing theme license plates.(LMS PR)(8-11-2004) UPDATE: NC Gov. Mike Easley today signed into law Senate Bills 3 and 754, which provide funding for the N.C. Motorsports Testing and Research Complex and allow for stock car racing theme special license plates to be issued. Easley signed the bills at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord.
"The motorsports industry is an important economic engine for the state of North Carolina, bringing in more than $1.5 billion each year
and employing more than 10,000 hardworking North Carolinians," said Easley. "These two bills send a strong signal that North Carolina is committed to this industry and its future here in our state."
Senate Bill 3 amends House Bill 1414 (Appropriations Bill) to increase the appropriation from the General Fund from $2 million to $4 million for the N.C. Motorsports Testing and Research Complex. This facility will be owned and operated in conjunction with UNC Charlotte's automotive and engineering program.
"As the motorsports industry continues to grow and gain popularity, competition from other states for this industry is becoming more
intense," said Easley. "Investing in the planning and design of this testing and research complex could result in drivers being able to practice on a state-of-the-art track without having to go out of the state or use a sanctioned track, such as the Lowe's Motor Speedway."
Senate Bill 754 authorizes the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles to issue a series of stock car racing theme special registration plates.
Proceeds will go to the N.C. Motorsports Foundation, a nonprofit that funds research, tourism and economic development in the motorsports industry. The fund will be used to promote NASCAR and motorsports throughout the state. The new series of license plates will have the NASCAR logo and the car numbers and signatures of at least 28 drivers. The plates will be available by the end of the year. Each plate will cost $30 plus license fees.(LMS PR)(8-12-2004)
Busch to run special "Sharpie RT Click" scheme at Bristol: Kurt Busch and the #97 Sharpie car have been "clicking" at Bristol Motor Speedway since 2002. With team wins four out of the last five races at the track known for its high banked turns and bumper-to-bumper action, it seems fitting that Sharpie is featuring a special paint scheme for the Sharpie 500, August 28 at Bristol. Emblazoned with the words "Just Click," the new look highlights Sharpie's new retractable marker family, an eight-color fine point permanent marker series that require no caps and can be operated by simply using one hand - just click and write.
The new marker's tip is protected from drying out using a leading edge Safety Seal ValveTM system that closes tight when the marker tip is retracted. Sharpie Retractable is the first retractable marker for the brand widely used in collecting autographs, in addition to an almost limitless variety of uses. The markers are nontoxic and approved by the Arts and Crafts Materials Institute. Sharpie Retractable markers are available in 8-colors, including: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime and turquoise. The suggested retail price for 2-, 3-, 4-, and 8-packs are $4.89, $7.33, $9.78, $19.56, respectively. Available at office supply stores and other retailers nationwide in May, Sharpie Retractable joins significant innovations in 2004 that target arts and crafts to home improvement audiences. For more information, go to sharpie.com.(Sanford / Sharpie PR)(8-12-2004)
Earnhardt Foundation to aid Food Program: The Dale Earnhardt Foundation says it will deliver food and personal items to help children and families in the Watkins Glen, N.Y., area on Friday in partnership with Feed The Children. Boxes of food, nonfat dry milk and personal care items will be distributed by Catholic Charities/Schuyler Outreach to about 400 area families.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-12-2004)
Young Guns Stuff: By picking Kevin Harvick as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 8th, Devin F. of Garner, NC was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Devin picked Harvick as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline.
As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Harvick. This is the first time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Harvick.
The Gillette Young Guns remain 12 for 21 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Johnson now has four victories, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. with three victories. Both Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch each have two victories, and Ryan Newman has one victory.
Through the 21st race of the season, Johnson remained first in the point standings for the eighth time in his career. Johnson ranked first in the standings after Kansas City in September 2002 and in the last seven races. He lost 135 points of his point lead and now has a 97-point lead over second-place Jeff Gordon. The other Gillette Young Guns are all still in the top-10 in points - Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Kenseth (Fifth), Busch (Seventh), Harvick (Ninth) and Newman (Tenth). The top-ten drivers are now separated by 553-points.
Through 21 races so far in 2004, the NASCAR NEXTEL point standings have been led by four members of the Gillette Young Guns.
Current point leader Jimmie Johnson has led for seven weeks, Dale Earnhardt Jr. led for nine weeks, Matt Kenseth led for four weeks and Kurt Busch led for one week.
(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(8-12-2004)
August 11, 2004
#38 Crew take the honors at Indy: Elliott Sadler's pit crew took first place honors in Sunday's Brickyard 400, scoring its fourth win of the season in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. The four victories for Sadler's crew, which have come in the last seven races, lifted the team's earnings to $80,000 -- $20,000 for each win. The other victories for the #38 crew were at Michigan, Sonoma and Chicago. Sadler's and Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crews continue to wage a tight points battle that will pay the McDonald's/POWERade season champion $200,000. After 21 Nextel Cup races, Sadler's crew is five points ahead of Earnhardt's crew - 767 to 762. Lurking in third is Tony Stewart's crew with 731 points. Sadler's M&M's Ford spent the least amount of time on Indianapolis Motor Speedway's pit road, beating its Robert Yates Racing teammate -- Dale Jarrett's No. 88 UPS Ford. Sadler's car was clocked at 211.980 seconds while Jarrett's car was nearly six seconds off the pace at 217.693. Earnhardt's No. 8 Budweiser Chevy was third at 234.223. "Both our pit crews are performing well right now," said Eddie D'Hondt, general manager of Robert Yates Racing. "For the #38 M&M's team to win this award for the fourth time in seven weeks, is just incredible. They are hitting their stride at the right time of the season as they build upon their lead in the chase for the McDonald's / POWERade championship. I am very proud of our guys, Elliott and (crew chief) Todd Parrott and I don't see us letting up the rest of the year. It takes track position and the whole package to run in the top 10 in points all year long and the M&M's crew is bringing it, every week. They are awesome." Sadler's over-the-wall crew consists of: Darryl Lockyer (front-tire changer), Kevin Hall (front-tire carrier), Dave Smith (rear-tire changer/car chief), Lance Hanna (rear-tire carrier), Rodney Fetters (jackman), Preston Cordell (gas man) and Jay Thompson (catch can). The team's crew chief is Todd Parrott.(DMF Communications PR), for the top 10 at Indy and the season standings see my Pit Crew News page.(8-11-2004)
SEM to sponsor Graf at Watkins Glen: SEM Products, Inc., will sponsor driver Klaus Graf and the #59 NASCAR Nextel Cup car fielded by BAM Racing this weekend at Watkins Glen. "SEM has done it again. This is the most colorful and exciting car on
the track," said Beth Ann Morgenthau, owner of BAM Racing. "There is no way on earth you could miss this car coming by." The SEM custom paint finish is a one-of-a-kind custom paint scheme painted by Ron Fleenor, Color Horizons Manager at SEM. The design
highlights SEM's latest addition to the Color Horizons family, Hyperbase Concentrates. These concentrates are a creative mixture of
candy colors and pearls that were developed to make candy jobs easier by taking a three-stage process to a basecoat/clearcoat system. Just over a month, ago, SEM excited a lot of fans and racers alike in June when it sponsored Graf's #59 at Infineon Raceway with "California Dreamin'", which included a mix of different oranges, yellows and black, as well as a palm tree. "We love a chance to show off what our paints can do, and the Hyperbase Concentrates will really do that well," said Brian Joyner, SEM Marketing Manager. "You won't have any trouble finding Klaus Graf on the race track at Watkins Glen. This car will really stand out." This will be Graf's second NASCAR Nextel Cup start. He finished a strong 17th in his debut at Infineon Raceway, and proved to quickly adapt to the major leagues of stock car racing.
Hyperbase Concentrates are a part of the Color Horizons Custom Finishes of SEM Products, which create a rainbow of color combinations for almost any look. Color Horizons, which can be applied to metal, aluminum or plastic surfaces, is available in an array of base and candy concentrates, metal flakes, and paste pearls, as well as easy to use aerosols for a show-stopping finish. For more information on SEM and Color Horizons, please visit www.sem.ws.(Williams Company PR)(8-11-2004)
Hendrick. Gordon, NASCAR Statements regarding Indy celebration: The following are statements from Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon regarding Hendrick Motorsports' Brickyard 400 victory Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway: OWNER RICK HENDRICK: "Sunday's Brickyard victory was one of the most special moments I've ever experienced in this sport. I really wanted to win that race and kiss the bricks to honor my father. It was an unbelievable feeling for all of us. Nonetheless, I owe an explanation to the George family, along with everyone at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The celebration was emotional, and it was fun to acknowledge the fans like that, but it became obvious that we had unintentionally disrupted the Speedway's program by not driving to Victory Lane after the checkered flag. Speaking for everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, I personally called Mary Hulman George on Monday to apologize for any actions that may have been perceived as being disrespectful." #24-JEFF GORDON: "I can't adequately describe how emotional Sunday was. When I got out of the car, it was my intention to get back in and drive to Victory Lane after waving to everyone in the stands. Our team certainly would not disrespect any procedures on purpose, and I truly apologize to everyone at the Speedway for any problems we may have caused. It was a classic case of being caught up in the moment. I plan to support NASCAR's Victory Lane protocol going forward."(Hendrick Motorsports PR) NASCAR: released today the following statement from NASCAR President Mike Helton, regarding apologies by Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick for inadvertently altering post-race procedures this past Sunday at the Brickyard 400: "We appreciate the apologies offered today by Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick. We recognize the elation and spontaneity that a win like Sunday's can produce, and we do not want to hinder the 'emotions of the moment.' We want our drivers and teams to show their emotions. It was clear that this victory was a particularly emotional one for Hendrick Motorsports, in light of the recent passing of Rick's father, Papa Joe Hendrick.
We know how important it is for our competitors to celebrate their victories and share their happiness with the fans. But we also want our competitors to be mindful of the importance of protocol involving Victory Lane, which is as much a part of racing as taking the checkered flag. This situation is now behind us. Moving forward, we are confident all our teams will respect and respond appropriately to time-honored post-race protocol during their celebrations."(NASCAR PR)(8-11-2004)
Testing over at MIS: 17 drivers participated in NASCAR Busch Series and NEXTEL Cup Series testing Monday and Tuesday at Michigan International Speedway on Monday and Tuesday (August 9 and 10), the drivers testing included:
Nextel Cup: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr, #33-Kerry Earnhardt, #13-Greg Sacks.
Busch Series: #66-Rusty Wallace [plans to make his first Busch start since 1997 at MIS], #8-Martin Truex Jr., #11-Paul Menard, #22-Jason Keller, #2-Ron Hornaday, #25-Bobby Hamilton Jr., #35-Shelby Howard, #27-Johnny Sauter, #47-Robert Pressley, #88-Joe Nemechek, #7-Todd Szegedy, #38-Shane Hmiel, #36-Travis Geisler, #67-C.W. Smith.
To purchase tickets for the Cabela's 250, log on to www.MISpeedway.com, or call the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010. The MIS ticket hotline is open from 9:00am to 9:00pm, seven days a week through the upcoming race weekend.(MIS PR)(8-11-2004)
Changes at Petty Enterprises: Jeff Green and Kyle Petty will have new crew chiefs, and both teams have seen crew changes which begin immediately. Petty made the announcement today. Three crew members, including crew chief Greg Steadman, will move to the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge of driver Jeff Green this week. The move was precipitated by former crew chief Gary Putman leaving Petty Enterprises by mutual agreement. "I'm very grateful for the opportunity Richard Petty gave me at Petty Enterprises, and I am looking forward to the future too," Putnam said. "We both agreed we needed to try something different, so I am moving on to look for other opportunities."
Steadman, car chief David Hyder and race engineer David Hoelger move from the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge of Petty to Green's #43. While engineer Garth Finley, considered one of the top in his field on road course setup, will handle crew chief responsibilities at the Watkins Glen, N.Y., race this week for the #45, a permanent crew chief will be named next week. Ironically, it is the third straight year Finley has served as an interim crew chief at the Watkins Glen race.
"We really appreciate the effort Gary and all of the guys have given us. These changes will be good for everyone," Petty said. "Greg Steadman has worked with the #43 guys before and has done very well there, and we have some exciting things happening with the #45 too. We are looking forward to the future."(Williams Company PR) AND Crew chief Gary Putnam and car chief Wayne Orme, both from the #43 Cheerios Dodge, were released on Monday. Ten-year Petty Enterprises veteran Greg Steadman returns to lead the #43 along with car chief David Hyder, race engineer David Hoelger and team engineer Adam Stevens. Driver Jeff Green is 34th in the Nextel Cup point standings, which is last among drivers who have competed in all 21 races this year. Team manager Jerry Freeze says that Petty Enterprises was looking for a one-team approach with two race teams that could work constructively with one another. "For us we felt like we had nothing to lose with two cars that were behind 30th in points," Freeze says. "We were nowhere near where we wanted to be, and we didn't feel the people we had were making the best of the resources that were available to the them. We wanted to bring people in that could grow with the program."
Multimatic engineer Garth Finley will assume the crew chief duties for the #45 Georgia Pacific/Brawny Dodge this weekend at Watkins Glen. The 34-year-old Albuquerque, N.M.- native was also interim crew chief during his three-year stint at Robert Yates Racing. Bill Henderson, who is currently car chief on the #10 Nextel Cup team, is expected to be named crew chief next week.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-11-2004)
What's Up With Jerry Nadeau: Although driver Jerry Nadeau is making progress in his recovery from a severe head injury, his return to racing remains indefinite. The MBV team recently announced that Joe Nemechek, who has been filling in since May 2003, would return to drive the #01 car [U.S. Army Chevy] next season. The team is committed to putting Nadeau, 33, back in a car, but not until it and his doctors think he's ready. "He's not ready to do that yet, which doesn't really mean anything," says general manager Jay Frye. "It doesn't mean that he's not recovering or it's a setback." Nadeau's lap times at a short track test in December were good, but he tired as the day went on. Nadeau since has hired a personal trainer and bought a computer racing simulator. He also is an instructor for high-speed go-karting schools and a spotter for a Busch Series team. As for his return to actual racing, Frye says next year is more likely. Nadeau recently wanted to test at Lowe's Motor Speedway, one of NASCAR's fastest tracks, outside Charlotte. The team and his doctors said no. Still, Frye says doctors are encouraged by Nadeau's progress. By the two-year anniversary of his accident, they'll likely have a clear picture of how fully he'll recover.(USA Today)(8-11-2004)
August 10, 2004
Testing at Bristol: Testing for the upcoming August race weekend will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 10, 11, 16 and 17. The following list of drivers testing is tentative and subject to change:
Tuesday Aug. 10: #6-Mark Martin and in Busch, #59-Stacy Compton
Wednesday, Aug. 11: #31-Robby Gordon and in Busch #66-Jamie McMurray
Monday, Aug. 16 & 17: #12-Ryan Newman, JJ Yeley for Joe Gibbs Racing [Busch?] and in Busch #99-Michael Waltrip, #36-Travis Geisler, #75-Jay Sauter
Aug. 16 Only: #37-David Green, #16-John Hadden and Mike Potter
Aug. 17 Only: #43-Jeff Green, #45-Kyle Petty, #4-Jimmy Spencer, Eric McClure - Morgan McClure Racing.(BMS PR)(8-10-2004)
Early Indy TV Ratings same as 2003 UPDATE Ratings up 1.7%: NBC's broadcast of Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway drew a 5.5 overnight rating and 12 share from Nielsen Media Research to match last year's figures, today's Sports Business Daily reports. Last year's race went on to record final figures of 6.0/15.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-9-2004) UPDATE: NBC says final Nielsen Media Research numbers show Sunday's broadcast of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned a 6.1 national rating and 15 share, a 1.7 percent increase from 2003's 6.0/15. The network says it is the fourth consecutive Nextel Cup telecast on NBC and TNT to post a year-over-year ratings increase. The four NBC/TNT races to date – excluding this year's Daytona 500 and last year's Pepsi 400, the two races which NBC alternates with Fox – are averaging 4.9/12, up 6.5 percent over last year's 4.6/12 for the same four races.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-10-2004)
Loomis Votes the Best: Internet voters selected Robbie Loomis as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after his driver, Jeff Gordon, drove Hendrick Motorsports' #24 DuPont Chevrolet to victory in Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Loomis is now tied for second place with Chad Knaus with four victories each, one win behind Tony Eury Sr., in the season-long contest for a $10,000 prize.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-10-2004)
Scott Pruett to driver #39 Coors Light Dodge at Watkins Glen: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that road-racing veteran driver Scott Pruett will compete in the Sirius at the Glen race at Watkins Glen International this weekend. Pruett will pilot a second Coors Light Dodge entry for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race for the race team on the road course. "I am excited to be pulling double duty at the Glen this weekend," Pruett said. "This will be my first time in a Coors Light car. I always have fun racing the road courses and I am glad Chip gives me the chance to run them twice a year in a Cup car." Pruett is currently running the GrandAm Rolex Series for CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Max Papis. Currently, Pruett and Papis are leading the GrandAm Series points standings. The CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing team has had five poles this season and been to victory lane three out of seven times. Pruett has one NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates under his belt during the 2004 season, posting a third-place finish at Infineon Raceway back in June.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-10-2004)
NASCAR confiscates El Paso race car fuel cell for review: The fuel cell from the city of #34 El Paso race car that failed to qualify for the Brickyard 400 last weekend has been confiscated by NASCAR and is under review for penalty. "I'm not sure if a penalty is going to ensue yet, but it's definitely being looked at," NASCAR Nextel Cup Manager of Communications Herb Branham said Monday. "Since there's a possible penalty process under way, we don't discuss it. But NASCAR did take the fuel cell. And there was an issue with it. It was not in accordance with the rule book." According to insiderracingnews.com, the lock ring on the fuel cell, also known as a nut-ring, had been "tampered with." Branham said if there is a penalty assessed, it likely will happen by Wednesday. It could result in a fine for team owner Gary Trout or crew chief Geoff Kaeser. Race El Paso President Gregg Jackson, who pulled together $100,000 in local sponsorships to make the qualification attempt a reality, said NASCAR made the crew change the fuel cell prior to Friday's practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "The only thing I know is (NASCAR) pulled the fuel cell out of the car and wanted to look at it," Jackson said Monday. "I never really knew why. I thought it was a safety issue." Trout said Monday the issue was "safety-related" and had nothing to do with "a performance advantage" for the Race El Paso car, featuring a paint scheme complete with the Franklin Mountains and the city's tourism slogan on the hood. Changing the fuel cell cost driver Geoffrey Bodine 45 minutes of track time during the only pre-qualifying practice. The team never recovered. Bodine got just six laps in Friday. Then the engine began to blow during the first lap of Saturday's qualification run, forcing him to shut the car down after a lap at just 173.03 mph, too slow to make the 43-car field. Jackson is unsure at this point what his next move will be. Trout, who entertained Helen of Troy officials at Indianapolis, is hopeful El Paso's involvement continues with his team. "We're talking to the Helen of Troy folks this week about doing more events this year with Brut and Vitalis," Trout said. "Hopefully we'll have a decision soon."(El Paso Times)(8-10-2004)
Remember Stewart vs. the Photographer? AND the reporter? #20-Tony Stewart's friendship with freelance photographer Gary Mook has continued. The two were involved in an incident following the 2002 Brickyard 400, when Stewart punched Mook. They have met several times since and enjoyed a quiet moment outside Stewart's transporter Sunday morning.(Indianapolis Star)(8-9-2004) AND Remember Stewart vs. the Reporter? Tony Stewart's friendship with reporter Mike Mulhern of the Winston Salem Journal has continued. The two were involved in an incident following the 2001 Pepsi 400, when Stewart slapped a tape recorder out of Mulhern's hand. They have met several times since and are enjoying a quiet trip to the Knoxville Nationals this week.(8-10-2004)
'Bottle' Gate Continues? UPDATE NASCAR To clarify rules after winning the Brickyard 400, #24-Jeff Gordon, stopped at the yard of bricks / start-finish line and his team came out to the car and they celebrated there and not in Victory Lane, even a futile attempt by some NASCAR officials failed to get the team in Victory Lane [IMS Radio did report that later the #24 and the team made it to Victory Lane].
from a Chevy Notes - Gordon Brickyard Transcript with Jeff Gordon... the querstion: I'll open up a can of worms maybe. When three other wins here, did you forget where Victory Lane was?
GORDON: I must have. I think it slipped my mind. I thought Victory Lane was where those bricks are out there. You know, you just react. I went down there, you know, thinking about a burnout or something like that. I stink at burnouts, so I just locked them up on the bricks and, you know, told the team to get out there. You know, your emotions are just going, and you're excited, the adrenaline's flowing. You know, I'm sure I'm going to get in some kind of trouble over it. But, you know what, right now I don't care (laughter). Also - Team owener, Rick Hendrick was called to the NASCAR Trailer afterwards.(GM/Chevy Notes) AND been told that NASCAR said late Sunday that Jeff Gordon likely won't face a $10,000 fine, such as the one doled out to his Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson last week, after he parked his #24 DuPont Chevy on the front stretch instead of driving to victory lane where a rival Powerade bottle would have been placed on top of his car. Supposedly NASCAR felt Gordon's celebration was impromptu but the sanctioning body would address the issue if drivers begin ducking out of traditional victory lane celebrations. AND some MORE: NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said officials would meet with team owner Rick Hendrick after the race. They also planned to meet with Gordon before deciding whether to issue a penalty. "We are exploring it," Hunter said. "I don't think it was preconceived. Hopefully, it was one of those impromptu things, where this is Indy and he won it. When he was finished (celebrating on the track), he went to Victory Lane. So the question is, was that ignoring our protocol?"(FoxSports/AP)(8-9-2004) UPDATE: NASCAR is expected to clarify its victory lane requirements this week after Jeff Gordon skipped the ceremony following his win at the Brickyard 400. Gordon did not drive his car into Victory Lane at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. Instead, he stopped his car on the track and got out, celebrating with his crew as they ran to join him. By doing so, he avoided being seen with a large bottle of sports drink made by a NASCAR sponsor that conflicts with Gordon's sponsors. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said it was undecided Monday if Gordon would be penalized for failing to drive into victory lane. However, Hunter said the sanctioning body would likely issue clarifications this week for what is expected from winning drivers after the race. Although there is nothing in the rule book addressing what drivers are required to do, the entire celebration is a made-for-TV choreographed moment in which a driver is told to sit inside his car until the cameras are live so viewers at home can see their reaction when they climb out.(FoxSports/AP)(8-10-2004)
NAPA supports Waltrip's Operation Marathon: NAPA Auto Part will support Michael Waltrip's "Operation Marathon" fundraising efforts benefiting the Victory Junction Gang Camp by donating $15,000 for every top-5 finish, $10,000 for every top- 10 finish and $5,000 for every top - 15 finish by the NAPA No.15 NEXTEL Cup team beginning August 15 at Watkins Glen International for the final 15 races. The NAPA family has a long history as a primary sponsor in the NASCAR industry and has been known for embracing the sport from all aspects. Today, the 79-year old company announced it will also support one of the sport's proudest charities through a monetary pledge based on Waltrip's finishes. NAPA could be making quite a pledge as Waltrip has 12 top-15 finishes already this season. Though seldom at a loss for words, Michael Waltrip was taken back by the generous support of his primary NEXTEL CUP sponsor. "NAPA uses our sport in so many positive ways with their marketing efforts," Waltrip stated. "In this case, they have stepped out to contribute to an amazing cause. NAPA is going to be a huge part in raising this money and bringing joy to children's lives. It makes me happy to know I have the best sponsor in the sport." Waltrip announced July 3, 2004 he would raise $1 million dollars through "Operation Marathon" that would directly benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp. To learn more about how you can get involved with "Operation Marathon" go to www.michaelwaltrip.com or call 1-866-WALTRIP.(Champion Sports Group PR)(8-10-2004)
#98 at Indy, special cause: Mach 1, Inc. Racing carried the logos of America’s Most Wanted and pictures of a missing Brother and Sister from Independence, MO Sam and Lindsey Porter age 7 and 9. The #98 team with Driver Derrick Cope teamed up with Body Dynamics Racing and their America’s Most Wanted missing children racing effort to assist these children and children like them. Currently MACH 1 is competing without a sponsor and have donated space on their car to elevate exposure for these children. “We are all responsible for children, stated Chris Edwards Co-Owner of Mach 1, “A majority of our team members have children or relatives that are children so we feel an obligation to assist I this case and cases like this.” “We feel that with the NASCAR fan base we should be able to help”, continued Edwards, “With the exposure we can get from the media for these children we are sure someone might see them and call.” Mach 1 would like to continue to offer its generosity and carry a missing child and the AMW Logos for the rest of the season, and combined with the marketing strategy of America’s Most Wanted/Body Dynamics Racing they should be able to offer a corporate sponsor guaranteed exposure opportunities as well as a positive community awareness campaign that can elevate a sponsor within the NASCAR market as well as to the fans, with achieving the most important opportunity and that is to assist in the recovery of a missing child!. If any sponsor has an interest in partnering with Mach 1, Body Dynamics/America’s Most Wanted Racing and this campaign please contact the team at www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(8-10-2004)
August 9, 2004
D.J. to Help Open Park: Dale Jarrett is scheduled to sign autographs as NASCAR SpeedPark at St. Louis Mills celebrates its grand opening Wednesday, August 11th with a benefit for the Victory Junction Gang Charity. Jarrett, the 1999 Cup champion and one of NASCAR SpeedPark's official spokesmen, will sign autographs from 7 to 8 p.m. Winners of a local radio contest will also get the chance to race him. The park will offer a special all-day ride pass for $20 and donate $5 of each pass sold to the organization that provides camp sessions for children with life-threatening illnesses.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-9-2004)
Pole Winner Continues Streak: #41-Casey Mears continued a streak by leading the first two laps of Sunday's race. All 11 Brickyard 400 pole winners have led the first lap.(Indianapolis Star)(8-9-2004)
Testing at Richmond starts today: Busch Series title contender David Green visits Richmond Monday and Tuesday to kick off the busiest stretch of testing leading into a race weekend in the track's history. Green, who will attempt to qualify for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race with backing from Richmond-based Timberwolf, will test Monday, August 9 and Tuesday, August 10. Also part of the testing schedule will be six days of Crown Royal IROC practice, as test drivers Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter and Jay Sauter shake down the cars for the series' inaugural visit to a short track. With the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 being the final race that will set the field for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the event has taken on even more significance than in past seasons. The drivers are preparing for a quadruple header weekend that will include a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Crown Royal IROC doubleheader on Thursday, September 9, the Emerson Radio 250 NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday, September 10 and the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 on Saturday, September 11. All races will be held at night "under the lights."
All sessions are free and open to the public and normal race weekend grandstand rules will apply. In all likelihood, more drivers will participate in the test sessions. Updates will be provided as they occur at www.rir.com.(8-9-2004)
'COT' tested at Richmond: After three wind tunnel tests with the car of the future [of COT - 'car of tomorrow' as it is nicknamed], NASCAR finally track-tested the prototype at Richmond with Brett Bodine, a former Cup driver and current director of cost research. NASCAR was pleased with the early results.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-9-2004)
Gordon the fastest to 4: the 4-time winners at Indy:
Driver' Wins, Races, Laps Led, Years Won
A.J. Foyt, 4, 35, 555, 1961-1964-1967-1977
Al Unser, 4, 27, 644, 1970-1971-1978-1987
Rick Mears, 4, 15, 429, 1979-1984-1988-1991
Jeff Gordon, 4, 11, 433, 1994-1999-2001-2004
also: Wolf Henzler has recorded four victories in Porsche Michelin Supercup series support races to the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 2000. Henzler won once in 2002, 2003 and both races in 2004.(IMS Site)(8-9-2004)