Biffle wins at Michigan: #16-Greg Biffle won the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway, his 2nd career NASCAR Nextel Cup win [he won at Daytona in July 2003]. No Powerade controversy in Victory Lane this week [Biffle is a Coca-Cola driver]. The rest of the top five were: #6-Martin [after a pit stop miscue concerning a lugnut put him back to 28th midway in the race], #88-Jarrett, #42-McMuuray and #9-Kahne. #99-Carl Edwards made quite a debut, finishing 10th. Jeff Burton, in his first run in the #30 AOL Chevy, came home 12th. #48-Jimmie Johnson lost an engine...again, third race in a row, to finish 40th and lost the points lead to #24-Jeff Gordon, who now leads Johnson by 68 points. #9-Kahne moves into 10th in points, 6 points ahead of his teammate, #19-Jeremy Mayfield. The race was slowed by a record tying 9 cautions [for 33 laps]. All five of Roush's cars ended up in the Top 10. Biffle started 24th, which ties a record for the farthest back a winner has started the August race at Michigan, 24th, also done by Harry Gant in 1992.
For my race rundown with lap leaders, caution info, notes and some narritive, the lucky dogs, see my Michigan Race Info/Rundown Page
Race results at: ThatsRacin.com Motorsports One NASCAR.com.(8-22-2004)
Testing at Richmond Tues and Wed: testing continues at Richmond International Raceway in preparation for the quadruple header weekend September 9-11 at Richmond International Raceway. Four Cup teams/drivers are scheduled to test on Tuesday, August 24th and Wednesday August 25th:
#9-Kasey Kahne [probably will NOT test]
#33-Johnny Sauter [4th RCR team]
Also testing Busch cars will be #32-David Stremme, #87-Boston Reid, #8-Martin Truex, Jr. and #43-Aaron Fike.(RIR PR)(8-22-204)
Not NASCAR but... With the Summer Shootout at Lowe's Motor Speedway over, it was time to get back to "grassroots"
racing at Concord Motorsports Park. The 1/4 mile track welcomed the #19 Hardees team back with open arms as driver Jason Haynes dominated the 15 lap Bandolero Outlaws feature, leading every lap. Congrats Jason, Jason's folks, Pat and Lauren], along with 600racing.com helped me [Jayski] quite a bit in my short ill-fated Bandalero Racing career [just had no time to do it]...Congrats Jason, owe ya a big old dinner at Lancasters.(8-22-2004)
GIC-Mixon Motorsports Sets Rumors To Rest, and to run the California Cup race: GIC-Mixon Motorsports co-owner Denise Mixon spoke with Catchfence.com Saturday morning and clearly stated that the #24 Busch Series team does not have any affiliation with FitzBradshaw Racing. GIC and FitzBradshaw did unite for the Pepsi 250 in July, but that was it. "We don't have any affiliation with the FitzBradshaw team," said Mixon. "They are great friends of ours, but that was a one race deal. Our team has improved greatly this season, but it's been our team not anyone else that has made that happen." Mixon also told Catchfence.com that the team will march into the Nextel Cup Series next month at California. In addition to running the Busch event, the team will also run the Nextel Cup event sporting the #93 Chevy, Steve Grissom will be the driver.(Catchfence.com)(8-22-2004)
Did ya know? yesterday's Busch race at Michigan was the the first time that all three Wallace brother's ran in a Busch Series race at the same time. #66-Rusty finished 6th, #23-Kenny 16th and #4-Mike finished 9th.(8-22-2004)
Martin to retire after 2005 season also? Sources told the Observer that Mark Martin, driver of the #6 Viagra/Pfizer Ford, may also make 2005 his final season, at least on a full-time basis.(ThatsRacin.com), hearing that if it is, good chance Martin will run in the Truck Series in 2006. AND Mark Martin and crew chief Pat Tryson are cranking up for a championship run in 2005, which will be the last year of his current contract with Pfizer. "I've been talking to every crewman to make sure he's going to be with us next season," Martin said. And 2006? Martin, 45, could run a limited schedule.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-22-2004)
No more Souvenir Rigs? We [Speed Channel] hear the days of the old souvenir rigs at the race tracks could be numbered, to be replaced by track stores operated by ISC and SMI.(Speed Channel)(8-22-2004)
Teague to attempt Cup race at Bristol:New Peoples Bank, with the home office located in Honaker, Va., is teaming up with veteran NASCAR driver Brad Teague of Johnson City, TN, for the running of the NEXTEL Cup Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 28. Teague will be driving the #92 New Peoples Bank Ford, out of the Means-Jenkins Motorsports racing operation, for his first attempt at making the starting lineup for a NEXTEL Cup event in 2004. The car is a former Robert Yates Racing car and the engine will be a RYR engine. Teague and the #92 New Peoples Bank Ford Taurus show-car will be present on Wednesday, Aug. 25 for the grand opening of the Abingdon, Va. branch. Along with the show-car, Teague will also make an appearance in downtown Bristol at the annual Food City Family Race Night on Thursday, Aug. 26, held on State Street. New Peoples Bank is a locally owned bank with offices located in Southwest Virginia, East Tennessee and Southern West Virginia.(PR)(8-22-2004)
Confiscated Parts UPDATE: NASCAR Officials confiscated several parts on Friday morning at Michigan International Speedway. The fuel cell badder was taken from the #6 Viagra Ford of Mark Martin. The lock ring had been tampered with and several other parts were confiscated marked as illegal spacer bars. Also the #09 Dodge of Boby Hamilton, Jr. had the fuel cell badder confiscated for the same reason, tampering with the lock ring.(Insider Racing News)(8-21-2004) UPDATE: Kerry Earnhardt #33 Nextel Cup, Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, had a Coil Spring confiscated by NASCAR as the "outside diameter did not maintain the minimum of 5.25 inches". Strangely the team had borrowed a spring from NASCAR on Friday, as a comparison attempting to be sure theirs would be legal. The team did not qualify for the GFS Marketplace 400[ due to rainout].
Mark Martin #6 Viagra/Batman Ford, had a Fuel Cell Bladder confiscate because of "Tampering with the Lock Ring". It was an ATL Super cell 300, and the part may also be called a nut-ring. This is the exact item Geoffrey Bodine was fined $10,000, when his was confiscated at the Brickyard 400.
Mark Martin #6 also had Space Bars pulled by NASCAR. These four pieces, 2 of which were 1/2" x 2" and the other 2 were 1/2" x 17" in length were just marked illegal.(Insider Racing News)(8-22-2004)
Unleaed Fuel in 2005? UPDATE: There is word, not confirmed, that NASCAR may be required by the EPA to change to unleaded fuel as soon as next year. Cup garage chief John Darby could not be found for comment, but top engine men say they also have heard talk. Randy Dorton, engine chief for Hendrick Motorsports, said he "would not be surprised" by such an edict, but that he has heard nothing directly from NASCAR. He noted that he and other teams had done a significant amount of work, in cooperation with NASCAR, on unleaded fuel four or five years ago, and that a Busch race at Richmond was run using unleaded, but that the project faded shortly afterward. One issue apparently is the fact that NASCAR now has three races in California, where air-quality regulations are much more stringent than in the nation in general. Sources say NASCAR has both kinds of fuel, leaded and unleaded, at its R&D Center in Concord, N.C. There was no word from series supplier Sunoco as to what it would take to convert to the "clean" fuel.(Speed Channel)(8-21-2004) UPDATE: NASCAR's John Darby addressed the subject of unleaded fuel Saturday morning, the matter again coming up in garage conversations after a five-year lull. "It's something we have to be prepared for," he said, "but it's not like somebody has got the vise turned up on us imminently. There has been talk that govenment and environmental agencies would require NASCAR to phase in unleaded fuel as early as next year, but Darby did not indicate that was the case. Such a move would require significant changes in engine construction, especially in the valve train, and Darby noted that he'd rather see the change in fuel come at a time of some other major engine change -- perhaps a change to fuel injection? Darby did, however, say the newly-announced gear rule for 2005, intended to reduce skyrocketing rpm, would be of benefit if and when unleaded is adopted, in that, with rpm reduced, vulnerable valves and valve seats would be under less stress. He also said Sunoco, which signed on last year for 10 years as fuel supplier for NASCAR, is "light-years ahead" of street and racing technology when it comes to producing suitable unleaded products, even in the 112-octane range used by NASCAR.(Speed Channel)(8-22-2004)
August 21, 2004
Tommy Badwin's Father Passes Away after Racing Accident: NASCAR Modified racer Tom Baldwin Sr., father to Nextel Cup Series [#9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne] crew chief Tommy Baldwin Jr., passed away as a result of an accident in Thursday night's NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series race at Thompson Motor Speedway (CT). Following the accident, the race was called while Connecticut State Police investigated the accident site. Baldwin had to be cut from the car and was taken to the Hubbard Regional Hospital, in Webster, MA.(Speed51.com), Thoughts and prayers to family and friends.
From NASCAR.com: Baldwin's plans for MIS weekend unclear.(8-20-2004)
Tommy Baldwin Jr. remained at the Michigan track Friday, working with Kahne's team. "I've got an airplane standing by," car owner Ray Evernham said. "I'm going to leave it totally up to him if he feels comfortable here working and doesn't want to be sitting alone somewhere." Evernham and team competition director Sammy Johns will be at the track this weekend to help with Kahne's team.
The family will receive friends Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. and Tuesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Lucia & Orlando Funeral Home in Patchogue, N.Y. The funeral will be there at 10 a.m. Wednesday.(8-21-2004)
From a Dodge /Clearblue PR - Question to Tommy Baldwin Jr.:
ANYTHING YOU'D LIKE TO ASK OF THE FANS?
"We appreciate all the support. In lieu of all the donations and flowers, if they could just put it in my father's memory and send it to the Victory Junction Gang and let those kids enjoy their lives. My dad enjoyed his life thoroughly. Those kids, going to that camp through the week and having a blast, maybe my dad with this tragedy can touch some more hearts."(8-21-2004)
Yeley to attempt California Cup race: #11-J.J. Yeley, who posted the 11th best time in the rain-abbreviated session at
Michigan International Speedway, missed the GFS Marketplace 400 when qualifying was rained out. JGR president J.D. Gibbs didn't have to wait long to make a decision on a replacement event, as he said Saturday that Yeley would race in the Pop Secret 500 in two weeks at California Speedway.(NASCAR.com)(8-21-2004)
Craven's 2005 Plans? Not Telling, to the #31?: Ricky Craven, current driver of the #32 Tide Chevy, who announced last month that he was leaving PPI-Motorsports/Tide Chevy team after this season with two years left on his contract, doesn't want to talk about his plans beyond this season. "I've had discussions [with other teams] but I'm still a month away from talking about that," said Craven Friday morning. It is important for me to continue to focus on this program. I'm 100 percent committed to finishing the year out the right way and all the team members know that. I want to finish what I started with Cal [PPI Motorsports owner Cal Wells III]. It's absolutely critical for me to run well in the next couple of months and for the team to finish strong," said Craven. He pointed out that he has raced with "a lot of these people for four years. I've gone to Victory Lane [twice] with them. It's a fabulous group of people. There's concern, speculation and uncertainty from their standpoint [about their futures] and I'm trying to help with all that. We may not be in the middle of a playoff run but there's still a lot to race for." The latest speculation has Craven taking over Robby Gordon's ride in the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Gordon is considering starting his own Nextel Cup team if he and Childress decide to part ways. Childress has a three-car team with #29-Kevin Harvick, Gordon and recent addition #30-Jeff Burton, who left Roush Racing to hook up with Childress. Burton will debut for RCR this weekend at the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Scott Miller, Craven's crew chief last season, has recently been named team manager for Harvick's team. Craven will make his debut in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sept. 18, the Sylvania 200.(Bangor Daily News)(8-21-2004)
#99 Sponsor at California? UPDATE 2 and for 2005? Shop Rat Associates will be sponsoring Carl Edward's #99 Ford in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Pop Secret 500 on September 5, 2004 at California Speedway.(Shop Rat Site)(8-20-2004) UPDATE: You will soon be able to become a member of the Shop Rat Tough Race Team by signing up online. If [Shop Rat] can build a strong Shop Rat member base, it is [Shop Rat's] goal to have Team Shop Rat sponsor an entire race season, and, for each race, to give two members and a guest the opportunity to become honorary sponsors.(Shop Rat Site), see an image of the car on my #99 Team Paint Scheme page. UPDATE 2: Carl Edwards will compete for the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series championship in a fully sponsored Roush Racing car, team president Geoff Smith said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. Smith declined to name the company. For 14 of 23 races in 2004, the No. 99 has had 10 different sponsors' decals on it. Nine times it has been sponsorless. There is no question the car will compete in the final 14 Cup races, Smith said.(NASCAR.com)(8-21-2004)
Martin to run Burton's planned Busch races: Mark Martin, who made his return to the NASCAR Busch Series this weekend at Michigan International Speedway after four years away from the series, has picked up three additional races. Martin originally was scheduled to drive a limited Busch schedule this season in conjunction with Roush Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Jeff Burton. But when Burton signed a contract with Richard Childress Racing for 2005 little more than a week ago, his participation in Roush's Busch program was curtailed. Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said at MIS, that Martin would run races at Dover, Atlanta and Phoenix.(NASCAR.com)(8-21-2004)
McDonalds and Elliott back together...for two races: Bill Elliott will return at California and Atlanta driving the #98 Dodge with the familiar McDonald's colors. The special paint scheme will feature the McDonald's logo and colors as well as their "I'm Lovin' It" logo. Elliott owned and drove a McDonalds sponsored Ford (#94) in the late 90's for several seasons before moving to Evernham Motorsports.(RacingOne), why the #98? same as in Daytona in July, when Coca Cola's C2 was the sponsor, Coca Cola supplies McDonalds with it's drinks, one Evernham Motorsports sponsors is Mountain Dew [owned by Pepsi], so Elliott can't drive the #91 Evernham third car, but his own #98 Dodge.(8-19-2004) IMAGE see an image of the scheme on my 2004 Cup Paint Schemes page.(8-21-2004)
Roush helps the Boy Scouts: Multi-team owner, Jack Roush, is the latest in a long line of NASCAR dignitaries to grace the 14th annual MIS/NASCAR Boy Scout Benefit dinner that raises funds for the Great Sauk Trail of the Boy Scouts. The Great Sauk Trail covers six counties, Jackson [MI] included, and has benefited to the tune of $994,000 in the 13 previous events at MIS. The events raise much of the money through an auction of items donated by NASCAR and other organizations and auctioned off by racing legend Benny Parsons. Richard Petty, Bobby Allison and Roger Penske have also been featured guests at the event, which typically attracts a number of NASCAR drivers. The benefit dinner also will contribute funds to Kyle and Pattie Petty Victory Junction Gang Camp, and the Women's Auxiliary of Motorsports. But the big winners of the night were the Boy Scouts, especially the two Eagle Scouts who were awarded $10,000 scholarships. Sixteen high school graduates have been awarded scholarships since 1997, and Christopher Zavicar of Onsted and Mark Spencer of Ypsilanti were the latest recipients.(Jackson Citizen Patriot)(8-21-2004)
Kenny at Bristol in the #00: on Speed Channel's Trackside show from Michigan, Michael Waltrip, owner of the #00 Aaron's Rent's/Dream Machine Chevy that runs a limited Cup schedule with Kenny Wallace driving, mentioned that Wallace would attempt the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway next week. Wallace never got a shot to qualify the #00 at Michigan as qualifying was rained out.(8-21-2004)
Charger Ugly? The new 2005 Dodge was shown to teams this week, and the reaction was, well, a shock. It apparently is not a pretty car. One man described it like the ungainly station wagon that Chevy Chase drove cross-country in the movie National Lampoon's Vacation. Dodge men certainly won't be complaining about NASCAR's common templates. One reason for Chevrolet's domination of the Nextel Cup tour is the Monte Carlo nose, which actually gains downforce as the car goes through the corner, giving it a decided edge against Ford and Dodge.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-21-2004)
Waltrip commercial to debut: Two-time Daytona 500 Winner Michael Waltrip prepares for his close-up during recent filming for a Best Western television commercial on Los Angeles' Sunset Blvd. As the first Official Hotel of NASCAR, Best Western also serves as an associate sponsor of Waltrip and the Dale Earnhardt, Inc.-owned #5 NAPA Chevrolet on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. This fall, Best Western will be the primary sponsor of Waltrip's #99 NASCAR Busch Series Car for the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 in Phoenix, AZ. Waltrip's Best Western commercial is scheduled to debut nationwide Saturday, August 21.
AND: Best Western is offering its guests a new way to show their excitement for stock car racing with the introduction of the Racing Edition Travel Card. The first in a special series, the card captures the spirit of the sport while offering guests a convenient method of payment wherever their travels may take them. It also makes a perfect gift for any occasion. The Racing Edition Travel Card can be used by guests to pay for both accommodations and related incidentals, such as room service and phone charges*, at more than 4,100 Best Western hotels worldwide. Available for purchase in U.S. and Canadian dollars, along with a variety of other currencies, it is offered in any denomination between $25 and $1,000 USD (or equivalent in other currencies).(Alan Taylor PR)(8-21-2004)
"Race With Ryan" sweepstakes' winners announced: ALLTEL announced the 12 grand prize winners in the "Race With Ryan" sweepstakes. Each individual will receive a trip for two to Charlotte, N.C., to participate in the Buck Baker Driving School, featuring special instruction and coaching by ALLTEL driver Ryan Newman. Grand prize winners are:
David Combs, Portales, N.M.
Chrystal Davis, Reidsville, N.C.
Heather Gragg, Lenoir, N.C.
Bob Holmes, Goldsboro, N.C.
Rickey Hotchkiss, Cleveland, Ohio
Margaret Kempfer, Pensacola, Fla.
Susan Ladd, Milton, Fla.
Richard Renner, North Ridgeville, Ohio
Amanda Reynolds, Newark, Ohio
Drew Stanley, Nashville, N.C.
James Warrington, Orrville, Ohio
Lorie Wells, Macclesfield, N.C.
The "Race With Ryan" sweepstakes was held Feb. 9 through June 30. The winners were selected in a random drawing.(Penske Racing PR)(8-21-2004)
August 20, 2004
What's Up with Fittipaldi? Former Champ Car driver Christian Fittipaldi, whose move to NASCAR with #44 Petty Enterprises stalled this year due to a lack of sponsorship, will compete in the final four races of the Grand American Rolex Series with reigning Daytona Prototype champion Terry Borcheller. Team owner and driver Forest Barber said Fittipaldi would co-drive with Borcheller in Bell Motorsports' Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac. Fittipaldi was one of the team's four drivers when it won the 2004 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in February. "I'm really excited -- especially because I have a chance to go back to the Daytona 24 Hour-winning car," Fittipaldi said. "Hopefully the team, Terry and myself can put four good finishes together so Bell Motorsports will be in a very good position for 2005." Although still under contract with Petty Enterprises, Fittipaldi is scheduled to compete in four Busch Series races later this season for Innovative Motorsports.(Las Vegas Sun)(8-20-2004)
Team 48 Is "Racing For Relief": In response to Hurricane Charley, #48 Lowe's Monte Carlo driver and American Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet member Jimmie Johnson and his team are "Racing for Relief" to generate funds for disaster relief efforts. Last weekend, Johnson announced the implementation of an in-store customer donation program at Lowe's stores along the Gulf and East Coasts to assist the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Lowe's announced it will match donations up to $1 million. In addition, for every lap that Johnson completes in the 200-lap NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, Lowe's will donate $48 (Johnson's car number - 200 laps = $9600). Racing for Relief is a program Lowe's first introduced in April of 2000. The program has helped disaster relief efforts for hurricanes, tornados and floods, raising more than $350,000 to date. In addition, Johnson's No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet will carry a special decal on the rear deck lid (trunk) supporting the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Anyone interested in making donations to the fund may go to any Lowe's store along the Gulf or East Coasts or make online donation at www.redcross.org. All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish).(Golin Harris PR)(8-20-2004)
President Bush Salutes NASCAR Day: President George Bush has written a letter praising today's observance of NASCAR Day, which is designed to raise funds to support the Victory Junction Gang Camp created by driver Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie. "This year's NASCAR Day is an opportunity for drivers, crews, officials and fans to help enrich the lives of children at Victory Junction Gang Camp," the president said. "These selfless acts of kindness make the world a better place and reflect the great compassion of our nation.” NASCAR says an estimated 200,000 people are taking part in the program that encouraged fans to donate $5 in order to wear NASCAR clothing to participating businesses.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-20-2004)
Vickers wants to build a better reputation: #25 Rookie Brian Vickers has come under fire for his role in crashes during the last three races. The most notable was a Watkins Glen crash involving Dale Jarrett that may prove costly to Jarrett in his bid to get in the top 10 of the Nextel Cup points standings and qualify for the 10-race playoffs that begin in four weeks. “I’m embarrassed about what’s gone on during the last three races,” said Vickers. “Some were just racing incidents, and some were solely my fault. What happened at Watkins Glen with Dale (Jarrett) was a huge mistake on my (part) It was a case of me being way too impatient at that point in the race. It’s been a learning year for us. I’ve tried to build a reputation as a patient driver that’s around at the end of races. It seems like all the boneheaded moves I’ve avoided over the years have been dumped into the last three weeks. We’re going to move on, and I’m looking forward to getting things turned around this weekend in Michigan.”(Gaston Gazette)(8-20-2004)
NASCAR Drivers Play golf for Charity: Six three-player teams, each consisting of a stock car driver, a Champions Tour pro and a local VIP, competed in a five-hole captain's choice format at the Dale Jarrett Shootout at Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Hickory, NC, with the winning team earning the right to donate $25,000 to the charity of its choice. The drivers included Dale Jarrett, Elliott Sadler, Kurt Busch, Rusty Wallace, Benny Parsons.(PGATour.com)(8-20-2004)
Gillette Young Guns - Sirius at the Glen Notes: As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun at Watkins Glen International, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Dale Earnhardt Jr. This is the eighth time this year that a donation in Earnhardt's name has been made to the NPCC.
As the second-place finisher and highest finishing eligible driver in the contingency program, road-racing expert Ron Fellows
picked up the $4,800 Gillette Mach3 Turbo Award.
Finishing results for the Gillette Young Guns were as follows: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Fifth), Kevin Harvick (Sixth), Matt
Kenseth (Ninth), Kurt Busch (10th), Ryan Newman (26th) and Jimmie Johnson (40th).
Through the 22nd race of the season, Johnson 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 in the last eight races. The other Gillette Young Guns are as follows - Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Kenseth (Fifth), Busch (Seventh), Harvick (Eighth) and Newman (12th). The top-12 drivers are now separated by 516-points. Four members of the Young Guns (Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson) led one lap each in the race.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(8-19-2004) AND By picking Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Sirius at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 15th, Devin F. of Garner, NC was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Devin picked Earnhardt Jr. as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR) or see my Racing Contests page for the info and many more contests(8-20-2004)
#79 and Amber Alert at MIS: #79 Conely Motor Sports and the Michigan Amber Alert program announce joint program promoting Amber Alert at the upcoming Gordon Foods 400 at MIS.(Conely Motor Sports site), Stan Boyd is listed on the qualifying order as the driver.(8-20-2004)
August 19, 2004
Dale Jr. to race Busch race at Bristol: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be driving a #81 Menards Chevrolet in the upcoming Busch race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday night, Aug. 27. This will be his last Busch race of the season (DEI Site)(8-19-2004)
NASCAR's Jim Hunter Honored: Longtime motorsports publicist, track promoter and NASCAR executive Jim Hunter will receive the 2004 Smokey Yunick Award recognizing lifetime achievement in auto racing during pre-race ceremonies for the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event Saturday night, Oct. 16, at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The award, instituted several years ago by legendary car owner and mechanic Smokey Yunick who passed away May 11, 2001, annually recognizes an individual whose lifelong efforts have had a major impact on the motorsports industry.
"Fortunately, Jim Hunter found a way to combine his flair for promotion with his love for the sport," said H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway. "From his days as a journalist in the Darlington press box to the guidance he is now giving our sport's next generation of leaders, Jim's tireless dedication has played a very important role in creating the tremendous popularity NASCAR racing enjoys on today's world stage."
After working as a sports writer and editor, Hunter started his motorsports career in 1968 as public relations director for Darlington
Raceway. He joined the editorial staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution two years later, but was called back to his motorsports roots in 1975 by Talladega Superspeedway to serve as the track's public relations director.
In 1981, Hunter was named public relations director for NASCAR and was soon promoted to vice president of administration. He returned to his native South Carolina in 1993 as president of Darlington Raceway and later became a corporate vice president of International Speedway Corporation, serving as regional director for the company's Atlantic Division which included race tracks in Darlington, S.C., Rockingham, N.C., and Richmond, Va. Hunter returned to NASCAR in 2001 as vice president of corporate communications and earlier this year earned the added responsibility of overseeing the sanctioning body's regional touring series and the Dodge Weekly Racing Series. Previous winners of the Smokey Yunick Award include Ken Squier, Bill Simpson, Ralph Moody, Banjo Matthews, Bud Moore, Cotton Owens and Junie Donlavey. Tickets for the Oct. 16 UAW-GM Quality 500 start at just $29 and can be obtained online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS PR), more info on Smokey Yunick and his awesome books, see smokeyyunick.com.(8-19-2004)
Tracy to RCR rumors surface....again: One NASCAR Nextel Cup door closed on Toronto's [CART driver] Paul Tracy on Friday but another one opened yesterday at Watkins Glen International. It appeared that after a surprise announcement by Richard Childress Racing that it had signed veteran Jeff Burton to drive the #30 AOL Chevrolet for the remainder of this season and all of next year that Tracy's hopes for a career in stock cars might be over. But recently former CART driver Robby Gordon hinted strongly that he might not be back with RCR in 2005, leaving the #31 Chevrolet without a driver. Rumours have been floating around the NASCAR garage area that Gordon's performance this season -- he sits 23rd in the points race with no wins -- places him in a precarious position at RCR. Childress would not talk about the possibility of Tracy coming aboard in the #31 Chevrolet, saying that any more team announcements would be made at the end of this season [actually in October at Charlotte]. Childress had offered Tracy a chance to drive the #30 Chevrolet a number of times over the past two seasons but each time Tracy opted to stay in Champ Car where he is the defending series champion.(Toronto Sun)(8-19-2004)
Benson Beats Labonte and wins at Berlin: Johnny Benson Jr. outran the field in Wednesday night's The Chet Late Model Invitational, a 125-lap feature race at the Berlin Raceway in Marne. Benson held off the T.A. Gentry cars of Joe Bush and Lee Anderson, just as he did in June when his NASCAR buddy, Michael Waltrip, made the trek up to Marne. Bobby Labonte finished 14th after qualifying 26th in the No. 1 Late Model he borrowed from former track champion Randy Sweet of Kalamazoo. It was Labonte's first Berlin appearance, and he was never in the hunt for the $5,000 first-place cash prize. Labonte arrived on the Berlin Fairgrounds around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, and fans were already waiting to meet the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup champion. Labonte, who is ninth in Nextel Cup points, signed autographs and posed for pictures throughout the afternoon and early evening while acclimating himself to the car and race track. He said he hadn't raced a Late Model since 1989. Wednesday's program drew 6,277 spectators, and he signed the usual items, from caps, T-shirts, diecast cars and photos. He headed to his souvenir hauler outside the track after the race and continued to sign. Labonte's race was nearly cut short when he was tapped from behind on lap 97. Labonte bobbled, drifted up and pushed Billy Shannon of Kalamazoo around and hard into the frontstretch wall. Shannon was transported to the hospital to treat his injured arm, while Labonte was able to continue.(Michigan Live)(8-19-2004)
Stewart's Pit Crew Scores Big At Watkins Glen: It was a double win for the #20 Home Depot/Joe Gibbs Racing Team Sunday at Watkins Glen International. Not only did driver Tony Stewart capture the win on the 2.45-mile road course, but his pit crew also came away with a victory -- taking top honors and $20,000 in the weekly McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. It was the third victory of the season for Stewart's crew, which has claimed $60,000 in prize money and is in position to contend for the $200,000 season champion's bonus. In the McDonald's/POWERade pit crew standings -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew regained the #1 spot with 800 points, six more than the second place crew for Elliott Sadler. Stewart's crew sits in third with 774 points.
Earnhardt's crew placed sixth at Watkins Glen and earned 38 standing points. Sadler's crew, which held the points lead the past two weeks, picked up 27 points with a 17th-place finish. Stewart's Home Depot Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on the Watkins Glen pit road -- 77.743 seconds. Coming in second was Kurt Busch's #97 IRWIN Ford with a time of 89.704 seconds. Third was Casey Mears' #41 Target Dodge at 90.476. "These guys have never given up on me no matter what has happened. I'm never giving up on them," said Stewart, who battled severe stomach cramps for much of the 90-lap race. "With a car like we had at Watkins Glen and the pit stops my guys gave me, I wasn't going to take a win away from those guys knowing we had a car capable of winning the race."
Stewart's over-the-wall crew consists of: Chuck White (jackman), Tom Dean (front-tire carrier), Mike Lingerfelt (front-tire changer), Jay Barry (rear-tire carrier), Todd Foster (rear-tire changer), Jeff "Gooch" Patterson (gas man) and Brian Larson (catch can). The team's crew chief is Greg Zipadelli and the pit stop coordinator is Paul Alepa.(DMF Communications PR), for the top 10 at Watkins Glen and season standings, see my Pit Crew Page, past results on my Pit Crew 2004 past news page.(8-19-2004)
Dale Earnhardt Foundation helps out: The Dale Earnhardt Foundation sponsored a delivery on Thursday, Aug. 19, of a Feed The Children tractor-trailer load of disaster relief supplies for victims of Hurricane Charley in S. Daytona Beach, Fla. Supplies included food, personal care items and shelf -stable liquid milk with deliverly at the Children's Home Society, 2400 S. Ridgeway Ave. "My thoughts and prayers are with the thousands of people whose lives have been turned upside down by this catastrophic storm," said Teresa Earnhardt, CEO and president of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and founder of The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. "All of us at DEI and the foundation hope this shipment of relief supplies will help in some small way." During the 2004 racing season, The Dale Earnhardt Foundation is sponsoring Feed The Children food distributions at feeding agencies in or near communities where Dale Earnhardt raced during his illustrious career. The Foundation has already sponsored the distribution of more than 192,000 pounds of food and personal care items thus far in the racing season.(Feed The Children)(8-19-2004)
Rudd's Comments: Ricky Rudd told PRN’s Pitreporters Show: “It’s kinda odd the way things turn out where Fatback becomes available. It’s rare that you get an opportunity to grab a crew chief with a winning, proven record in the middle of the season.” As for their sometimes rocky relationship Rudd said, “I think we’ve both have grown quite a bit. We’ve always had a relationship were we could fuss at each other and yell at each other and close the doors and we could wrestle with each other if it came to that, but we would always iron our differences out. It got a little sticky with that final year with car owner Robert Yates but I think we’ve patched those differences up and we both agree that in this situation we’ve got proven results, so I’m looking forward to picking up where we left off.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-19-2004)
August 18, 2004
Leslie replaces Pemberton: Ben Leslie has been hired on an interim basis to replace Robin Pemberton as the manufacturer’s NASCAR field manager, it was announced today by Greg Specht, Racing Operations manager, Ford Racing Technology. Leslie, who served as crew chief for Ricky Rudd on the #21 Ford Genuine Parts and Service Taurus for the past year, has a great deal of experience in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, most notably at Roush Racing as crew chief for both Mark Martin and Kurt Busch. Leslie will start his new position during the week of Aug. 23, after fulfilling his duties as Rudd’s crew chief this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.(Team Ford Racing )(8-18-2004)
Rear Spoilers Reduced by an inch starting in 2005: NASCAR announced that it will reduce the rear spoilers in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series by an inch at all non-restrictor plate tracks beginning with the 2005 season. NASCAR, which decreased the spoilers by three-quarters of an inch entering this season, will require spoilers in 2005 to be 4½ inches in height. The reduction in the spoiler height is expected to further reduce aero-push while enhancing the competitive aspect in terms of racing and passing ability. It is a continuation of a multi-year plan that began in 2002 to return more drive-ability to the cars through their aerodynamics, engines and tires.(NASCAR PR)(8-18-2004)
Another rules change, Gear Ratio's? UPDATE Gear Ratio Rule: NASCAR officials are considering a new rule in its top three series next season – Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Trucks – that would limit the number of different gear ratios teams could use each weekend, spokesman Mike Zizzo confirmed Sunday. A formal announcement could come within the next few weeks. Under the new rule, teams would likely be able to choose from only two different gears at each track, sources said. The move would force many engine and transmission providers to re-tool their products. NASCAR officials hope the move would prove a cost-saver in the long run. As is usually the case, reaction was mixed among Nextel Cup participants.(for quotes see ThatsRacin.com)(8-8-2004) UPDATE: In an effort to contain team costs and further enhance competition, NASCAR will implement a gear rule for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series beginning with the 2005 season, NASCAR officials announced today.
"We conferred with our team owners at length on this issue and the decision was brought about by a combination of our initial ideas and their input. In the end, we had to put individual agendas aside and formulate a rule that was in the best interest of the industry,"
NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France said. "RPMs have been on a continual rise since the 1970s and the associated costs to gain an edge in that area have escalated substantially during that time as well. We have also noticed a substantial decrease in the number of engine builders over the past several seasons and this new rule should help reverse that trend."
The new rule for NASCAR's three national series will restrict teams to NASCAR-determined gear ratios at each event that will limit the
maximum RPMs (Revolutions Per Minute) that all engines will be able to produce in competition. The move is expected to reduce team costs associated with engine research and development to gain additional RPM. It also is expected to enhance the competitive balance with all makes in each series. The rule will be in effect at every track in all three national series with the exception of the two restrictor-plate tracks, Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, where limits already exist due to the carburetor plates.
NASCAR will regulate the new rule by inspecting the number of teeth on the pinion and number of teeth on the ring gear during its race
weekend inspection process. NASCAR also will equip each vehicle with a data logger, which measures the RPMs during all on-track activity, which will be located near the ignition system.(NASCAR PR)(8-18-2004)
It's Official - Fatback and Rudd back together..at the #21: After an 18-month separation, Rudd and McSwain are officially back together as driver and crew chief. With Ben Leslie's move to Ford field manager — replacing Robin Pemberton who accepted a position with NASCAR — it opens the door for Rudd and McSwain to pick up where they left off after the end of the 2002 season.
Michael "Fatback" McSwain and Ricky Rudd won three races in three years together. (Jonathan Ferrey / GettyImages)
The car number has changed from the 28 to the 21, but the pair is hoping to rekindle the magic that sparked when Rudd had his own team and caught fire once the dynamic duo encountered the resources at Robert Yates Racing. The pairing was successful as Rudd won three races, posted 34 top fives and finished in the top 10 all three seasons at Yates, but the relationship turned tumultuous towards the end of the 2002 season — the final year that Rudd and McSwain were together. "Our first year we finished fifth at Yates, and the second year, we were challenging for the championship," Rudd says. "We were second in points — close to Gordon — until we got to Martinsville, and the engine broke. We really did some backsliding and fell from second to fourth in points. The next year, we finished 10th, but that's when things were really falling apart at the seams. It clicked. It did work well together. When you've been together with people that long, you're going to have your spats — and we had ours. But most of the time we were able to get it under control. There was a lot of tension on that team in the last year at Yates. It wasn't necessary all Fatback's fault. Things were falling apart. It just wasn't working."
Michael "Fatback" McSwain and Bobby Labonte talk in the Chicagoland Speedway garage in July. McSwain was released by Joe Gibbs Racing three days after the Tropicana 400. McSwain, 37, left Yates after the 2002 season and joined Joe Gibbs Racing to crew chief the #18 car and Bobby Labonte. He was released from his duties on July 14. Rudd feels that he and McSwain are both older and wiser and committed to racing. He also feels they can but past differences behind them. Rudd currently has one year left on his contract with the Wood Brothers and has not decided on an exact retirement date at this point. Certainly, the results the team expected going into the relationship have not come to fruition. And as successful as 47-year-old Chesapeake, Va.-native has been throughout his 30 seasons on the tour, Rudd won't leave the sport without a fight.(FoxSports/Sporting News and see the Wood Brothers Racing site)(8-18-2004)
Special M&M's for Elliott Sadler: To commemorate Elliott Sadler’s 200th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career start, Masterfoods USA, maker of M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies stopped the factory presses to create a personalized batch just for their favorite driver. As it stands, Sadler has brought the world’s most recognizable candy to victory lane twice this season and is currently sixth in the championship point standings. The workers at the Hackettstown, NJ plant decided to separate 100 pounds of Yellow and Blue M&M’S and print “Elliott Sadler, 200th Start” included with the signature “m”. “Elliott Sadler has become an integral part of the M&M’S family and as a company we felt there was no better way for a sponsor to honor their driver than to personalize the product he represents with his name,” said William Clements, National Sponsorship Manager. “We wish Elliott luck on his 200th start and recognize his efforts in the NASCAR community both on the track and off of it.”(M&M's PR) As far as I know these will NOT be made available to the public.(8-18-2004)
Stewart to run Olympics scheme at MIS: This year the 2004 summer Olympics will be held in Athens, Greece, the birthplace of the modern and ancient Olympic games. Excited to support the U.S. Olympic athletes, Home Depot has renewed its sponsorship of the U.S. Olympics and Paralympics Teams through 2008. For the second time on the NASCAR circuit Tony Stewart will be racing his #20 The Home Depot Chevrolet to support this legendary athletic competition. To commemorate the 2004 Athens Olympics, Stewart's special paint scheme will feature the Olympic logo and graphics at the August 22nd race in Michigan.(Sunday Hauler) and see an image on my #20 Team Paint Schemes pages.(6-18-2004) UPDATE: The #20 Home Depot Chevrolet of Tony Stewart will sport an Olympic paint scheme at this weekend's GFS Marketplace 400 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The car will feature images of athletes participating in the Olympic Job Opportunities Program (OJOP) who are currently representing the United States and Canada at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The athletes featured on the car are weightlifter Tara Cunningham, javelin thrower Erica
Wheeler, Paralympic swimmer Kirby Cote, volleyball player Jeff Nygaard and track & field participants Melissa Morrison and Mark Crear. Of the current athletes on the United States, Canadian and Puerto Rican Olympic and Paralympic Teams, 71 of them are associates of The Home Depot. And through OJOP, The Home Depot allows Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls to work part time to accommodate their busy training and competition schedules while receiving full-time compensation and benefits to help offset their expenses. "It's an honor to have these athletes on our Home Depot Chevrolet this weekend at Michigan," said Stewart, winner of the series' most recent race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.). "They are the embodiment of hard work and perseverance. They've made a ton of sacrifices to get to the Olympics, and this entire race team is behind them 100 percent. While they're going for the gold in Athens, we'll be going for another checkered flag in Michigan."(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(8-18-2004)
Testing at Kentucky: Four Cup teams / Five Drivers / One Busch team - with Busch driving, will test at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday, August 18th and Thursday, August 19th. On the 18th the following are scheduled to test: #30-Jeff Burton [does that look odd?], #29-Kevin Harvick and #91-Bill Elliott. On the 19th, the following drivers are scheduled: #91-Bill Elliott and #01-Joe Nemechek/Boris Said. #5-Kyle Busch will test his Busch car both days. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-18-2004)
Benson to finish out the year in the #23 Truck: Johnny Benson and Bill Davis Racing have finalized plans for Benson to compete in the #23 Toyota Tundra Truck for the remainder of the year.(Johnny Benson site)(8-18-2004)
Edwards tests the #99 at Kentucky: Carl Edwards is testing the #99 Roush Racing Ford at the Kentucky Speedway today in prepartation of his first Nextel Cup start at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. The #99 seat opened last week when driver Jeff Burton ended a nine-year relationship with Roush Racing. Burton joined Richard Childress Racing where he will pilot the #30 AOL Chevrolet.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-17-2004) UPDATE: Carl Edwards frequently displayed a smile at Kentucky Speedway Tuesday during his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series (NNCS) test. The 24-year-old manned the controls of the #99 Roush Racing Ford for the first time in preparation for his NNCS debut at Michigan International Speedway on August 22. Edwards takes over for Jeff Burton, who terminated a nine-year relationship with Roush Racing last week when he joined the #30 AOL Chevrolet NEXTEL Cup team fielded by Richard Childress Racing. Edwards will complete the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) schedule in his current #99 Superchips Ford and compete in at least
10 of the remaining 13 NEXTEL Cup Series races following Michigan. Edwards was not certain about his plans for conflicting NNCS races on September 26 at Dover International Speedway, October 3 at Talladega Superspeedway, and October 16 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"Truck is the primary focus," Edwards said. "There are three races that conflict and we'll run the truck for those races. I don't know
what we'll do with the Cup schedule at that point." Edwards, who was originally chosen to replace Mark Martin in the #6 Roush Ford upon retirement [after 2005?], first learned of the NNCS move last Tuesday. Edwards noticed a few subtleties between his truck and Cup car while turning his initial NNCS laps on the track where he captured his first NCTS win in 2003. "Until today, I didn't know what to think," Edwards said. "I hadn't really driven one of these (Cup car). After driving it a little bit, I think it's going to be awesome. It feels a lot like the truck. There are little differences in the aerodynamic stuff. The Cup car is a little faster because it’s more streamlined. You have to slow it down a little more because it has less down force than a truck. It's a little different, but it's all real close. That’s fortunate for me.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-18-2004)
#1 Crew Chief takes Wiper Award: Internet voters have selected Pete Rondeau as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after Ron Fellows brought Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s #1 Chevrolet home second in Sunday's Sirius at The Glen at Watkins Glen International. Fellows started the race in 43rd position after the field was set by owners' points when qualifying was wiped out because of moisture on the track. Tony Eury Sr., crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s #8 Chevrolet, continues to lead the competition for the $10,000 prize that will be given to the crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the year.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-18-2004)
Cope back in the #98 with AMW again at MIS AND: Mach 1, Inc. Racing as they did at the Brickyard will carry 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 has 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 full time sponsor and they have donated space on their car to elevate exposure for these children and offer a sponsor a unique cause marketing platform. Currently for
this event portions of the car are available for sponsors that would like to associate themselves with this cause. The upper hood, lower
TV Panel, and Upper C-Post are all available, and this offers such a great opportunity for sponsors or individuals that would like to get
involved. 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 for email and phone.(8-17-2004) AND Body Dynamics Racing, Inc. is doing some late spring cleaning and there are making available in part or whole their back inventory of sheetmetal, noses and tails. With Body Dynamics Racing’s history they have accumulated numerous pieces of sheet metal dating from 1998 to 2003. These pieces cover everything from hoods, roofs, roof flaps, deck lids, noses and tails and span from Chevy, Dodge to Ford. Some of the pieces are built and ready for use, others are skins and are ready for final fabrication. These are great items for new teams or other series teams out of NASCAR’s NBS and NCS series they are also great for NBNS teams as well. In additon, for that ultimate fan, themed restaurant, or a race car restorer or showcar builder these are great pieces as well. More info at www.bodydynamicsracing.com for email and phone. ALSO, Cope shaved off his long time moutache, check out the picture at Derrikecope.com.(8-18-2004)
Fans Vote Kyle Petty and Fonty Flock in Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame: Kyle Petty, son of seven-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion Richard Petty and Fonty Flock, a legendary NASCAR driver whose three siblings also competed, have been chosen by the fans to be enshrined in the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in nearby Davey Allison Memorial Park on the eve of the Oct. 3 EA SPORTS 500. Petty will be inducted into the Walk of Fame as the active driver and Flock will be enshrined into the Walk of Fame as the inactive driver of 2004. The 2004 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Davey Allison Memorial Park in uptown Talladega, a block south of the town square. This year’s induction ceremony will be emceed by Benny Parsons and begins at 7 p.m. The event is free to the general public.
Petty is an eight-time series race winner and eight-time series pole winner. He made his series debut in 1979, with his first start coming at Talladega Superspeedway on August 5. In 2000, NASCAR Illustrated named Petty along with his father Richard and the entire Petty family, “persons of the year” for their charitable work. The Petty family opened Victory Junction Gang Camp, a medical camp for children and their families living with chronic and/or life- threatening illnesses, in honor of their late son Adam earlier this year. Flock, a native of Decatur, GA began his racing career in 1949. In 154 races, he posted 19 wins and 33 poles. Yet he is most noted for the fact that in nine of his 19 victories, he started from the pole position. He came from a racing family as younger brother Tim, older brother Bob and sister Ethel also raced. Flock passed away in 1972 at the age of 51. Fans can find out more about the Talladega/Texaco Walk of Fame on www.talladegawalk.com. The Talladega/Texaco Walk of Fame was created in 1994 after the death of Davey Allison. Since 1995, one active driver and two inactive drivers have been inducted into the Walk of Fame based on the fans’ vote. Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Neil Bonnett, Red Farmer and Davey Allison were inducted as the inaugural class in 1994 by decree of the board of directors. Past active driver inductees have included Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Hamilton, Ricky Rudd, Mark Martin and Darrell Waltrip. Richard Petty and Benny Parsons were the first inactive drivers to be inducted. Alan Kulwicki, Cale Yarborough, Ned Jarrett, Buddy Baker, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, Harry Gant, Lee Petty, Tim Flock, Fireball Roberts, Buck Baker, Joe Weatherly. Red Byron, Bill Rexford, Jim Paschal, Rex White, Bobby Isaac and Herb Thomas have been inducted as inactive drivers.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(8-18-2004)
Chase for the Cup Ad Campaign Set: NASCAR is planning an advertising campaign to promote the Chase For The Nextel Cup that will include 50 million newspaper inserts and two television ads, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports. The inserts will go into such Sept. 12 newspapers as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. The television ad campaign will start next month. The 10-race Chase to determine this year's Nextel Cup champion begins Sept. 19 with the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-18-2004)
Dirt Series Merge, Schrader part owner: Officials from NVE Pharmaceuticals announced a merger between the Stacker 2® Xtreme Dirt Car Series and the United Midwest Promoters (UMP). Doug Bland, president of the Stacker 2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series, will join Ken Schrader, Bob Sargent, Robert Lawton and Howie Comander of UMP as the new ownership of the improved Stacker 2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series. The new series will retain the Stacker 2 Xtreme Dirt Car Series name and will feature events at premier race venues across the country to conclude the 2004 season. The basic elements and structure of the original series will remain intact with the exception of some adjustments to the existing tire rule. With the removal of the tire conflict, the new series stands to pick up several big name drivers and several high profile events.(xtremedirtcars.com)(8-18-2004)
TNT gets a sponsor for the race: TNT has signed Principal Financial Group to be the presenting sponsor of the Sept. 26 MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway, according to Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal. Financial terms of the six 30-second commercials and other aspects of the agreement weren't reported, but reporter Andy Bernstein says the deal represents a breakthrough for television race sponsorship by a financial services company.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-18-2004)
Hardee's Summer Shootout Ends, Green, McReynolds among the Champs: Tyler Green, the 15-year-old son of NASCAR Busch Series veteran Mark Green, was among the eight drivers claiming championships as the curtain fell on the 10-week Hardee's Summer Shootout Tuesday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Green entered the 20-lap feature for the Cabarrus Family Medicine Bandolero Young Guns with a 28-point advantage over Jake Crum and cruised to a third-place finish to capture the division title after Crum suffered engine problems. Bret Hylton, son of NASCAR Busch Series crew chief Butch Hylton, recorded his second feature victory of the season. Brandon McReynolds, son of FOX commentator and former NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds,
made it a clean sweep for the "NASCAR Kids" with his runner-up finish.
Lug Nut, the world's fastest mascot, stormed to victory in the wild-and-wacky School Bus Race, holding off NHRA Top Fuel drag racing
star Doug Herbert and Air National Guard representative Jeff Marshall in an eight-lap slobberknocker during NAPA Championship Night.
FOX Charlotte weatherman Mark Mathis finished fourth to earn the 2004 Media World School Bus Racing Championship. Mathis claimed the crown after his title rival, Mr. Bill of Charlotte radio station WRFX, rolled his bus onto its side late in the race after contact with Herbert.
Jason Reisman of Mooresville, N.C., added his name to the list of feature winners in the Tom Johnson Camping Center Legends Car Pro division while Josh Waring of Concord, N.C., claimed the division championship. Reisman started from the pole and was never seriously challenged in the 20-lap finale as he beat Waring and NASCAR Busch Series title contender Kyle Busch to the checkered flag.
Michael Van Wingerden of Huntersville, N.C., outfought Andrew Rogers to record his third feature victory of the season in the 20-lap finale for the Quaker Steak & Lube Thunder Roadster division, while second-generation racer John Freeman of Huntersville, N.C., walked off with the championship trophy.
John Sossoman recovered from two early spins to win the 20-lap finale for the Holiday Inn University Legends Car Masters division.
Sossoman's amazing charge from the rear of the field earned him his sixth victory of the season, but saw him fall two points short of the
championship chase as Clay Hair of Mt. Pleasant, N.C., earned the title.
Chris Rogers of Kannapolis, N.C., won his second consecutive 20-lap feature in the Raceape.com Legends Car Semi-Pro division, while
incoming point leader Scott Knox cruised to his first Legends Car division championship.
Cole Miktuk held a 19-point lead entering the 20-lap feature for the TopChoice for Fire Ants Bandolero Bandits, but Zachary Stroupe of Iron Station, N.C., claimed the title after Miktuk's hopes ended against the turn-two wall on lap three.
Bruce Benson II of Lexington, N.C., clinched the division title by simply taking the green flag while Ryan Jernigan of Hickory, N.C.,
romped to his sixth victory of the season in the 20-lap feature for the Premise Termite Elimination Bandolero Outlaws. Jason Haynes finished 4th.
Carlos Moore of Concord, N.C., received the 2004 Spirit of a Legend Award during pre-race festivities. The honor is presented annually to the Hardee's Summer Shootout driver who best exemplifies the spirit of Legends Car competition.
Highlights from each round of the Hardee's Summer Shootout will be televised by SPEED Channel with coverage tentatively scheduled to begin Friday, Dec. 3. The one-hour programs are slated to air on 10 consecutive Friday nights at 7:00pm/et.(results and images at the Lowe's Motor Speedway Site)(8-18-2004)
August 17, 2004
Changes at Petty Enterprises UPDATE #45 Crew Chief named: 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) UPDATE: Veteran mechanic Bill Henderson has been named crew chief of the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge of NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Kyle Petty. Henderson, 37, a native of Brookfield, Mass., now living in Mooresville, N.C., has been involved in NASCAR's highest levels of competition since 1999. Henderson joins Petty Enterprises from MBV Motorsports where he served as car chief for the #10 car of driver Scott Riggs. Henderson is familiar with the crew chief role. Henderson served as crew chief for the #12 FitzBradshaw NASCAR Busch Series team in 2003 for drivers Kerry Earnhardt and Tim Fedewa. Henderson also has past
experience working at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, serving as the car chief for Jason Leffler. "In the short time that I've been here I have been very impressed," said Henderson. "Petty Enterprises is very organized and one of the most professional organizations in Nextel Cup racing. I am excited to work for this Georgia-Pacific/Brawny team, not only for the rest of this season, but in the future as well."(Williams Company PR)(8-17-2004)
Conley Motor Sports to attempt MIS: The #79 Conley Motor Sports team will hold a press conference on Augusy 19th to announce and unveil the Amber Alert logo that will be featured on car #79 in the NASCAR-Nextel Cup GFS Marketplace 400 race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). The team tested at MIS Tuesday, August 10 in which the setup and vehicle response exceeded our expectations.(Conley Motor Sports site), the site doesn't mention a driver, except for Stan [?Boyd?], and the MIS Entry List has a TBA.(8-17-2004)
Ward in Minnesota Sat: #0-Ward Burton, in association with the Minnesota Waterfowl Association and on behalf of the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, will participate in a Youth Wood Duck Project event in Lakeville, Minnesota on Saturday evening [Aug 21]. This is the third year Burton has been invited to be the guest speaker at the event.(NetZero Racing PR)(8-17-2004)
Kenseth's Father no longer promotor at Madison track: For the most part, Roy Kenseth and Terry Kunes have patched up their differences and have agreed to disagree. But that doesn't change the fact that Kenseth is out as promoter at Madison International Speedway -- a position track owner Kunes will take over for the remainder of the season. Kenseth, who is the father of defending NASCAR Cup champion Matt Kenseth, was hired shortly after Kunes purchased the track in November of 2002. Kenseth was instrumental in organizing several successful events at MIS, and brought Matt in on four occasions to participate in races which drew thousands of spectators in 2003 and 2004. Kenseth said he will promote two to three races next year which will feature Matt, and he is in discussions with organizers at The Milwaukee Mile, Dells Motor Speedway, Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna and La Crosse Motor Speedway about their interest in hosting a late-model event.(Capital Times)(8-17-2004)
Two RCR sponsor's contract up at end of 2004; Cingular stays with RCR or is out of NASCAR: it's not a lock that the team [RCR - Richard Childress Racing] will have three primary sponsors next season; RCR's contract with the #30 car's sponsor, America Online, is up for renegotiation. Cingular sponsors the #31 car currently being driven by Robby Gordon. And if they want to stay in NASCAR as a sponsor, the 31 car is their only option. NASCAR's sponsorship contract with Nextel prohibits competing telecommunications companies from sponsoring cars. Previously existing sponsorships such as Cingular's were grandfathered in, but the sponsor may not leave to sponsor another car. Cingular has been extremely supportive of Gordon — but if AOL leaves, will Childress try to get Cingular to take Burton instead?(USA Today)(8-17-2004)
Penske Chooses Construction Company: Penske Racing South has hired Choate Construction Co. to renovate a former industrial plant in Mooresville Business Park. Penske's NASCAR teams, which comprise drivers Rusty Wallace, Ryan Newman and Brendan Gaughan, will be consolidated into about half of the vacant, 440,000-square-foot Matsushita Compressor Corp. building. The $10 million renovation is slated for completion in December.(Charlotte Business Journal)(8-17-2004)
August 16, 2004
Congrats: Jenson Joel Brown, 10-pounds, one ounce, arrived into the world Thursday afternoon in Mooresville North Carolina. Mother and son are fine and should go home Saturday. Jenson is the is son of Drew and Karen Brown, Drew is a long-time NASCAR publicist, currently working for Golin Harris out of Charlotte doing Jimmie Johnson's PR.(8-16-2004)
Nice Gesture: The #77 Kodak-sponsored Dodge driven by Brendan Gaughan had a different look for this week at Watkins Glen, featuring two pink ribbons with the words “Kodak Mammography Film” on the hood. The company's Health Imaging Group decided that its effort to promote better breast health for women could reach a large audience through NASCAR. NASCAR claims that more than 30 million women in the United States are fans of the sport. Kodak teamed with The Women's Auxiliary of Motorsports to send out its message. For more information, log on to www.waminc.org or www.komen.org.or call WAM at (704) 455-9299. Gaughan's grandmother Margot Crow is a survivor of breast cancer. His Penske-Jasper team pledged 10 percent of its winnings to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The team's pit crew promised to donate the bonuses paid to them for their performances. Car owner Doug Bawel and Gaughan pledged to match the amount earned by the crew.(Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)(8-16-2004)
Testing at Bristol: Testing for the upcoming August race weekend will take place at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 16 and 17. The following list of drivers testing is tentative and subject to change:
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. Open to the public and free of charge. Fans may enter through Gate 15.(BMS PR)(8-16-2004)
Daytona based team ok after Hurricane: Daytona Speed, Inc., which fields the #13 ARC Dehooker/Vita Coca Dodge of driver Greg Sacks, appeared to have avoided major damage caused in the Daytona Beach area Friday by Hurricane Charley. The team is the only NASCAR Nextel Cup team based in the same city as the sanctioning body headquarters. "There are a lot of trees down and a lot of people without power. We got hit pretty hard but the Daytona area was luckier than a lot in Florida," Sacks said. "While there is a lot of cleanup work to do here, out thoughts are with those in other parts of the state who were hit much harder, and those in the path of the storm." The team still plans on competing in next week's Michigan 200 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at the two-mile Michigan Speedway. It was not entered at Watkins Glen, N.Y., this week.(Williams Company PR)(8-16-2004)
McMurray unhappy? sit out a year? to Penske? UPDATE 2: While some close to Jamie McMurray insist that he is unhappy enough to want to leave Ganassi - or sit out the 2005 Cup season - others say he will bite the bullet and remain another year. However, some close to McMurray say he may battle the legal enforceability of the Ganassi contract. If McMurray were to sit out the 2005 Cup season, that might well be a first. McMurray is signing a deal to drive Busch #66 cars for Rusty Wallace next season, and it is unclear if Ganassi's contract covers McMurray's Cup efforts or Busch options, too.(Winston Salem Journal), could McMurray end up in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge if Wallace retires after 2005? see below for the news on the Ganassi PR that McMurray is signed for 2005....(8-9-2004) UPDATE: Jamie McMurray appears to be Roger Penske's top pick to join Penske South, according to team sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-14-2004) UPDATE 2: If and when Rusty Wallace retires, his personal pick to take his seat, according to those close to him, is Jamie McMurray. And 2005 could be Wallace's final season on the NASCAR tour. However, McMurray is also being heavily wooed by Joe Gibbs to take the [#11 Fed-Ex] ride as Tony Stewart's teammate next season, depending on how McMurray fares in his contract dealings with current car owner Chip Ganassi. Ganassi has exercised an option to retain McMurray for next season. However, sources close to McMurray indicate questions about that contract remain.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-16-2004)
Red Sox Owner to team up with Roush and the #99? Red Sox owner John Henry is a huge NASCAR fan and would relish the opportunity to go racing for the Nextel Cup. He isn't known for doing anything halfway, and even if his foray into racing starts as a sponsorship deal on a car, his long-term goal appears to be owning a team. Henry's involvement with Roush could be one reason behind Jeff Burton's departure from the #99 Ford, which has been without a full-time sponsor since the season started. It has been 98 races since Burton, 37, last won. Bringing in a young, gregarious talent would marry well with a baseball sponsorship, and Carl Edwards, 25, certainly fits. Edwards, currently fourth in points with two victories this season in the Craftsman Truck Series, will make his Cup debut in the #99 Sunday at Michigan.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-16-2004)
No Victory Lane Requirements Announced: Contrary to recent media reports, NASCAR has elected not to issue any new victory lane requirements as a result of Jeff Gordon's skipping the ceremony following his win last weekend at Indianapolis. No mention of the ongoing differences over promotions in victory lane was made during Sunday's drivers' meeting at Watkins Glen International. NASCAR officials said Sunday that victory lane procedures would remain as described by NASCAR president Mike Helton at New Hampshire, when he told participants "not to touch" the sponsor products.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-16-2004)
More on where Fatback may end up; #21? RCR?: from FSN's NASCAR This Morning:
Winston Kelley: The rumor mill has started to stir around with (crew chief) Michael "Fatback" McSwain being available. You guys have worked together. Is there anything going on there that you can talk about?
Ricky Rudd: Well, the only thing I can say is that this team needs to get better. It has a lot of the tools it needs to get better. There's no secret about it. (Crew chief) Ben Leslie and I get along very great. I've got a lot of respect for him. The chemistry... I'm speaking in English, and he's listening in Spanish. It just doesn't seem to click no matter how hard he's been trying. It's just not working out so I don't think it's any big secret that we need to do better together, and it's not, again, from lack of trying on anybody's part. It just doesn't seem like the communication is there. "Fatback" McSwain is a guy that we have worked with in the past, and the communication wasn't an issue. We had a lot of good success together. He's a pretty popular guy right now. I don't know if he'll come on board right now or not, but we have talked to him. I'm not going to beat around the bush. But, again, it's not meant out of any disrespect to the guys we've got. It just isn't clicking right now."(FSN's NASCAR This Morning) AND Crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain could, according to sources, be moving to the Richard Childress camp. Mike Dillon, the general manager for Childress, insists he hasn't talked with McSwain. However, team sources say McSwain has been to Childress' shop within the past week.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-16-2004)
New team manager for the #29: Scott Miller, who served as Ricky Craven's crew chief last season and returned to RCR for 2004, will serve as the team manager for Kevin Harvick and the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet. Miller replaces Gil Martin, currently heading up special projects for RCR.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-16-2004)
More Crew Changes at the #8: Dale Earnhardt Inc. is still hoping to upgrade its over-the-wall crew on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #8 Budwesier Chevrolet. Greg Burkhart, currently the rear tire changer on the #10 Valvoine team, will join the #8 car at Bristol. Jay Guarneri holds the position, but DEI wants to see how Burkhart works with the team.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-16-2004)
Pemberton Replacement still unknown: Ford officials still haven't picked a man to replace Robin Pemberton as their NASCAR field director, but sources close to the situation indicate a current Ford crew chief is under consideration for the post.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-16-2004)
Some Parts confiscated: Over the weekend, NASCAR inspectors confiscated an expired shoulder harness from the No. 40 Dodge of Sterling Marlin and an unapproved filler board from the No. 29 Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-16-2004)
Driver Killed: Maynard Davis III, 36, died at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Saturday after his modified car, #43d, collided with one driven by David Groenhoff Jr. of Des Moines about 12:45 p.m. Groenhoff walked away from the crash without serious injuries. Davis' car spun and was hit broadside in a cloud of dust in front of the Grandstand. The crowd quickly became quiet once it was clear that the race was being stopped. Davis is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, 34, and two daughters, Kirstin, 12, and Taurie, 7. He co-owned Complete Exterior Design with his father, Maynard Davis Jr.(Des Moines Register)(8-16-2004)