AUG 23-29, 2004
YESTERDAY and BEYOND..
August 29, 2004
- Martin to retire after 2005 season? UPDATE: 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)
UPDATE: #6-Mark Martin, 45, has told team owner Jack Roush he would like next year to be his last. “I’m trying to talk him out of it,” Roush said. “The way he’s driving and the way the team is I’d like to have two more years after next year. I’d like to go to ’07.”(The State)(8-29-2004)
- No Changes Expected in Points System in 2005: NASCAR chairman Brian France doesn’t expect to make major changes for next season in the new points system introduced in January to determine the Nextel Cup champion. “We’ll make them if we have to, but I can’t imagine anything significant,” he said before Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. France said the system, which calls for a playoff among the top 10 drivers and anybody within 400 points of the lead during the final 10 races, has surpassed expectations. “I love it,” he said. “I hope everybody else does as much as I do. I’m a little biased, but it’s been everything we could have ever hoped for and maybe a little more.” France said the biggest surprise is the attention being focused on drivers battling for the final few spots spot in the 10-race playoff with only two races remaining in the regular season. France said he has received no complaints from sponsors, which has been a concern of some drivers that might not make the playoffs.(The State)(8-29-2004)
- So What Happened to Harvick? During the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, #29-Kevin Harvick's left arm began to go numb, prompting a search by his team for a relief driver. Team officials eventually located Kyle Petty, whose day ended on Lap 150, in his motorcoach. He returned to the track infield with his uniform. A caution on Lap 328 for debris allowed Harvick to rest a bit and he remained in his No. 29 Chevrolet. But when another caution came out on 359, he radioed crew chief Todd Berrier that, "I have to get out. I can't feel my arm." After a lengthy pit stop, Harvick got out of the car and Petty got in. Petty drove the remainder of the race and finished 24th. "My arm just fell asleep during that long green-flag run. My seat was pinching a nerve under my left bicep and it just went numb," Harvick said after the race. "I tried to bring it back to life after that pit stop, but once we went racing again it fell right back asleep. I knew the only thing to do was have someone replace me because I knew I couldn't drive the car with one arm."(ThatsRacin.com)(8-29-2004)
- Andretti Being Picky, Wants to Win: Despite being limited to five Nextel Cup starts this season, John Andretti still is being picky as he roams the garage looking for a full-time job for 2005. "I want to be out here competing. I don't want to just be out here racing," Andretti said at Bristol Motor Speedway, site of Saturday night's Sharpie 500. "If I just wanted to be out here racing, I could be doing that right now." Andretti, 41, began the season with high hopes of being in a third Dale Earnhardt Inc. car as a teammate to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip. But sponsorship failed to materialize after he drove it to finishes of 13th and 29th in the first two races, and he has driven only three times since, most recently July 11 at Chicago. Andretti said DEI's search for a sponsor was put on hold when Earnhardt was injured in a sports-car crash. As for his prospects there or elsewhere for 2005, Andretti said he "doesn't talk about anything till it's all done." That includes his efforts to return to the Indianapolis 500, which he was close to pulling off this year. He vows not to race anywhere without at least some hope of winning. He has two NASCAR wins, the most recent in 1999. "To come and know you have no shot, I'm not going to do that," he said. "I've played that game and that's what put me in the situation I'm in now. I'd rather go to my son's soccer game."(Indianapolis Star)(8-29-2004)
- What Happened to Gordon [Jeff]?: Prior to a restart from a caution on Lap 400 of 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, #24-Gordon moved to the rear of the field after receiving a lap back virtue of NASCAR's "free pass" [Lucky Dog] to the first car not on the lead lap. However, on the restart, NASCAR officials black-flagged Gordon, claiming he did not restart from the end of the longest line, as the rule requires. Gordon and crew chief Robbie Loomis argued that drivers in some cars waved Gordon by, but NASCAR officials said replays showed "at least 10" cars starting behind Gordon, including two on the lead lap. "I think they really made a big mistake on the call there for black-flagging me because I knew I was supposed to go to the tail end of the longest line. I waited for cars to go by me," Gordon explained. "The inspector in the pits told Robbie to tell me if they wave you by or they're wrecked then you're OK. And so I'm waiting and I look up and there's nothing but wrecked cars behind me that won't pass me. Dale Jarrett "went by me, and then I think he was at the tail end of the longest line, so he let me go by and then Kyle Petty waved me by him. And I got in front of him, we took off and NASCAR black-flagged me. Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said each week drivers are reminded in the drivers' meeting that if they receive the free pass, they must restart at the end of the longest line. "The 24 car (Gordon) was obviously eight, 10, 12 – I don't know the whole number – but it was a huge number of cars that he failed to drop behind," Darby said. "That's the black and the white and the cut and the dry of it." Gordon finished 14th, two laps down from race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr.(ThatsRacin.com)
AND After meeting with NASCAR officials, Gordon stormed off without further comment. NASCAR officials explained the situation this way: Gordon was told he was the 'lucky dog,' the first man a lap down and thus entitled to get a lap back. And Gordon was told to pass the pace car and drive to the rear of the field. When he didn't do all that, he was blackflagged.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-29-2004)
- Notes on the Changes for 2005: As promised after last week’s NASCAR announcement to trim one-inch from the rear spoilers for 2005, the teams got to work to see what that inch meant to the cars. It didn’t take long for the results to come in. The news is that the cars will be lighter in the rear than they are this year. According to several team engineers the first results after the trim showed about a 200-pound reduction in rear downforce – a number that represents about a third of the total rear down. Last year’s trim of the rear spoiler, three-quarters of an inch, provided about the same reduction in rear down, but the teams have worked to regain all that was lost. Some teams, the ones who were pumping their rear shocks up to 900 PSI, were actually making a good bit more rear down now than they were in 2003, even with the reduced spoiler. Rear down is important to a driver as it helps the car bite when applying the throttle. However, as important as rear down is to the formula, a balanced car trumps it all. NASCAR hopes that the teams are forced to start pushing the front fenders in to balance their cars so that the total downforce starts heading downward, breaking a several year escalation of increased total downforce.(Team Ford Racing)(8-29-2004)
- Driver Killed: Legendary local [VA] racer Dale Lemonds died Saturday night from injuries suffered when his car crashed headfirst into the back straightaway wall during a race at Langley Speedway. Lemonds, 54, died of a broken neck and massive trauma to his chest, track promoter Debbie Case said. Lemonds' car veered into the wall after his left front wheel touched the right rear wheel of Cameron Patrick's car on lap six of a Legends division race, several track officials said. They said neither driver was at fault. Lemonds was transported to Sentara CarePlex Hospital in Hampton by ambulance, though Case thought that he died instantly. Lemonds' wreck occurred at 8:35 p.m. Track officials halted the race and canceled the Late Model Sportsman and Super Street races scheduled to follow. Lemonds, a York County native, raced at Langley for 35 years and won the Legends division title in 1997 and '99. He entered Saturday's race second in the division standings, 36 points behind Patrick. Lemonds said last week that he was negotiating to lease the track for next season. Lassiter said the Lemondses, like all competitors at Langley, signed a waiver releasing the track of liability in the event of injury during a race. It's unclear whether Lemonds was wearing a head-and-neck restraint. Neither Langley nor 600 Racing - the Legends Cars governing body - require the device. Lemonds was a retired auto parts dealer. He's survived by his wife, Sandy; son, Chris; daughter, Brandy; and three grandchildren.(Daily Press)(8-29-2004)
- Latest on McMurray: #42-Jamie McMurray may be on the rebound after a hard summer, but he's still not talking about his contract. Car owner Chip Ganassi said last month he was picking up the option for 2005 on McMurray, after rumors that McMurray was planning to move on. McMurray, if he can either buy out his contract or just get out of it somehow, is high on the list to join either Roger Penske or Joe Gibbs[#11].(Winston Salem Journal)(8-29-2004)
- Home Depot to donate $200 a lap UPDATE: Saturday night's Sharpie 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway marks the 200th Nextel Cup start for Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart's 199 previous starts have all come while driving for the #20 team, and in honor of the team's 200th start, The Home Depot is pledging $200 for every lap Stewart leads in the Sharpie 500. And regardless of how the race unfolds, The Home Depot will donate a minimum of $20,000 to the Tony Stewart Foundation. Established in August of 2003, the Tony Stewart Foundation was created to raise funds for future donation to groups caring for chronically ill children and drivers injured in motorsports activities, as well as to support other charitable organizations in the protection of various animal species. Charities actively supported by the Foundation include the Ronald McDonald House, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Indiana Special Olympics, Greyrescue (Greyhound Rescue Organization), the Charlotte (N.C.) Metropolitan Zoo, and Kyle & Pattie Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp, where last October the Foundation announced a $1 million pledge. For more information, visit
www.tonystewart.com.(JGR PR/True Speed Communication)(8-27-2004)
AND no laps led, so it'll be $20,000....thanks.(8-29-2004)
August 28, 2004
- Dale Jr wins at Bristol, sweeps Busch and Cup race: On the fifth anniversary of one of his legendary father's most infamous victories, Dale Earnhardt Jr. mostly stayed out of trouble Saturday night to win the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Earnhardt Jr. completed a sweep of the weekend's races at this .533-mile track, adding his first Nextel Cup victory since Richmond in early May to his win in Friday night's Busch Series race. It was the first Cup-Busch weekend sweep ever at Bristol. Earnhardt Jr. took the lead by passing Jeff Burton on Lap 415 and took off from there, winning by 4.4 seconds over Ryan Newman. Earnhardt Jr. led 295 laps in winning for the fourth time this year [and 13th of his career]. It was on Aug. 28, 1999, that seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt bumped Terry Labonte off Turn 2 on the final lap and went on to win for the ninth and final time in his career at this track amid a shower of boos from the grandstands. As important as the victory was to Earnhardt Jr., Newman's runner-up finish was big for him, too. It vaulted him from 13th in the standings to 10th, the final spot guaranteed to qualify for the 10-race championship chase that commences after the next two races at California and Richmond. Newman is now 26 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne. Only 45 total points separates Newman from 15th-place Dale Jarrett. Jimmie Johnson, meanwhile, also steadied his ship with a third-place finish after coming home 36th or worse in the past three races and losing what had been a 232-lead in the standings before that slide. He did it in a backup Chevrolet after crashing his primary car in practice here on Friday. Burton, in just his second race after switching rides, held on for fourth in the #30 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Elliott Sadler, seventh in the standings coming in, rebounding from his worst finish of the season last weekend at Michigan to get fifth and further secure his status for the championship chase. Jeff Gordon had the pole and led through a trio of early yellow flags before making his first pit stop. That put Rusty Wallace and Earnhardt Jr., who'd both come in for stops on the earlier yellows, in front when the green flew on Lap 62.(ThatsRacin.com)
For results see:
Jayski's Bristol Race Results/Awards page
- 'COT - 'Car of Tomorrow' info: on Thursday's Totally NASCAR [Fox Sports Net], a chart was posted with dome specs on the COT or Car of the Future:
Greenhouse 2" higher and window opening 4" wider
Center point of driver moved 4 1/2" to the right.
Bumpers - front, raised; rear, lowered
and one that is quite cool:
LED Scoing on the car - shown in the side/rear window behind the driver.(8-28-2004)
- #21 Hires Chassis Specialist too: Things keep getting better and better for the #21 Motorcraft Ford team. This week’s good news comes in another new hire for the team. This time it’s Hoyt Overbach’s acquisition that raised the stakes at the famed Wood Brothers Racing team. The Woods hired Overbach, one of the best chassis specialists in the business, yesterday and he reported to duty at Bristol, today, ready to go. Hoyt has been somewhat joined at the hip to Michael "Fatback" McSwain for the past number of years and has been practically as close to Ricky Rudd for nearly as long. Overbach worked with Fatback and Rudd starting at the driver’s self-owned team, Rudd Performance Motorsports. Overbach then followed the pair to Robert Yates Racing. Ultimately, the chassis guru followed McSwain to Joe Gibbs Racing. Overbach took a bit of a vacation after McSwain left JGR several weeks ago before deciding to join the old gang in the Motorcraft shops. The Wood’s new chassis man is rather quiet, and would rather have folks notice him by his work. But he did tell www.teamfordracing.com, “I started yesterday and I’m loving it!”
Len Wood piped up saying, “We told him that he had to start before California and he agreed.” Showing his dry sense of humor Overbach started shaking his head as he worked on a shock and muttered, “That was almost the deal breaker right there.” The comment cracked-up both Wood and Overbach, obviously happy to be in each other’s company. Solid results will take several weeks to show as McSwain works to get the 14 or so Motorcraft Ford Tauruses into fighting trim. However, Hoyt will only shorten that timeframe since Fatback won’t have to worry about taking care of the chassis, Overbach knows what Rudd looks for in his cars due to the years the three have spent together.(Team Ford Racing)(8-28-2004)
- Three Inductees to the NMPA Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame: H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler is one of three new inductees to the National Motorsports Press Association’s Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame. The Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Speedway Motorsports Inc. president was cited by the Hall as “perhaps the best-known racing promoter of his generation.” The induction ceremony will be held on Nov. 13 in Darlington, S.C. Wheeler has run Lowe’s (formerly Charlotte) Motor Speedway since 1975, and his partnership with O. Bruton Smith changed the face of stock-car racing. Wheeler has staged circuses on pit road, military “invasions” of the track’s tri-oval area, thrill shows and almost every other manner of stunt designed to draw fans to the track. He began his career at Robinwood Speedway in Gastonia. Also to be inducted are Tim Richmond and Harry Hyde, who enjoyed great success when paired together. Richmond, who died in 1989, won 13 races in his all-too-brief career. With Hyde as his crew chief, Richmond won seven of the final 17 races in 1986. Hyde, who died in 1996, won a championship in 1970 with Bobby Isaac and also worked with Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett and others.(Gaston Gazette)(8-28-2004)
- 'COT - 'Car of Tomorrow' info: on Thursday's Totally NASCAR [Fox Sports Net], a chart was posted with dome specs on the COT or Car of the Future:
Greenhouse 2" higher and window opening 4" wider
Center point of driver moved 4 1/2" to the right.
Bumpers - front, raised; rear, lowered
and one that is quite cool:
LED Scoing on the car - shown in the side/rear window behind the driver.(8-28-2004)
- Sad News: been told that David Chobat, a photographer on the NASCAR circuit for years, had a fatal heart attack on August 25th. No more details. Thoughts go out to family and friends.(8-26-2004)
AND the Charlotte Observer Obit has: Mr. David Benjamin Chobat, 59, died August 25, 2004. Memorial service was Saturday at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witnesses, Salisbury.
David left a wife and two daughters, any help can be directed to:
240 Deerfield Dr
Mooresville, NC 28115.(8-28-2004)
- Budweiser One Night Stand Benefits San Bernardino Blood Bank: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will appear at the Budweiser One Night Stand the evening of September 2 at the National Orange Event Center in San Bernardino to benefit the San Bernardino Blood Bank. The event will feature an on-stage question-and-answer session with the NASCAR Nextel Cup superstar as well as live music from Fate's Union, a Budweiser True Music band. Fans can secure free tickets to the event via on-air promotions with KCAL radio, an event co-sponsor, or by donating a pint of blood to the San Bernardino Blood Bank. The event begins at 7:00 pm.(fingerprint inc. PR)(8-28-2004)
- Racing School Driver/Instructor injured at Talladega UPDATE fan dies: Two individuals were involved in an on-track incident Tuesday [Aug 24] at Talladega Superspeedway during The Racing Experience Driving School. One individual was airlifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham and one was transported via ground to Regional Medical Center in Anniston.(TSS) no word on their conditions.
AND Two men were injured when the race car they were riding in at the Talladega Superspeedway crashed, officials said.
Kristi King, director of public relations for the Superspeedway, said the men were participating in a class offered by the Racing Experience Driving School on Tuesday when the crash occurred. The Daily Home reported that one man was flown by helicopter to UAB Hospital in Birmingham. King said the other was taken by ambulance to the Regional Hospital in Anniston. The identities of the two men and details about the crash had not been released late Thursday night. The driving school is based in Mooresville, N.C. According to its web site, each car has an on-board instructor to guide the drivers and the company has a solid safety record. "We have been conducting aggressive racing schools for over 12 years, logged hundreds of thousands of laps and have safely graduated over 20,000 drivers with a perfect safety record. Having said that, racing is a dangerous sport and anything can happen at anytime," a statement on the site reads. Corporate officials referred questions to Kelly Bussey, CEO and president of Racing Experience. Bussey could not immediately be reached for comment.(Alabama Live/AP)
UPDATE: A NASCAR fan who was injured in a crash today at the Talladega Speedway has died. The fan had been riding around the track in a race car with a driving instructor when the crash occurred. Details of the crash have not been released. Both the instructor and the fan were injured in the crash. The passenger was airlifted to U-A-B hospital with severe injuries and was later taken off of life support. The instructor was from a company called -- Racing Experience -- which is based out of Kansas City. Racing Experience and two other instructional companies have been leasing time on the Talladega track since 2000. For a fee, the companies take customers out on the track, giving them a taste of how it feels to be in a race.(wkrn.com)(8-27-2004)
UPDATE 2: An on-track thrill ride that is supposed to give participants the feel of NASCAR racing turned tragic this week when a Fayetteville man died from injuries received in a crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Tony Davis, a loss-prevention manager for Bruno's, was participating in an on-track program run by Racing Experience of Shawnee, Kan., when the accident occurred on Tuesday. He died late Thursday at a Birmingham hospital. Davis apparently was at the wheel with an instructor when the car veered into a concrete wall. Davis is survived by his wife and three children. His funeral is set for 2 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Church in Jonesboro. Racing Experience's website emphasizes the aggressive nature of its driving course compared to others that offer similar programs. Racing Experience says it has been offering schools for more than 12 years and had graduated more than 20,000 drivers with a perfect safety record.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-28-2004)
- Valvoline Official at Bristol: The Valvoline Company announced it has been named Official Motor Oil of Bristol Motor
Speedway. The announcement on the eve of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Sharpie 500 was made by Bristol officials and by Valvoline President Sam Mitchell. The deal at Bristol includes "official status" for Valvoline Motor Oil at the track and for all events and includes rights for Valvoline to promote its entire family of brands. In 2001 Valvoline made history, becoming the first consumer products company to own a NASCAR team. Valvoline, along with partner Nelson Bowers, owns the #10 Valvoline Chevy driven by rookie-of-the-year candidate Scott Riggs.(MBV Motorsports PR)(8-28-2004)
- Triplett to speak at Republican Convention: Kevin Triplett, the GOP challenger in the Ninth District [VA] congressional race, has been asked to speak at the Republican National Convention next week in New York. He doesn’t have a prime spot on the agenda. The former NASCAR executive is set to address the party faithful between 11:36 a.m. and noon on Monday, the convention’s first day.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-28-2004)
- NASCAR Family Feud; Ward, Sterling, Mears...so far: Ward Burton,crew chief Bill Ingle, and three additional members of the NetZero Racing team (Derick Jennings, Robby Maschhaupt and Ken Anderson) will take part in the taping of an episode of NASCAR Family Feud next Wednesday.(NetZero Racing PR), there will be two tapings of shows on Wed. Sept 1st in Hollywood CA, for more info if you are out in CA for the race next week at Fontana, see www.familyfeud.com, have not seen yet when the show will air or what other drivers/teams will be part of it.(8-25-2004)
AND Sterling Marlin will be taping at the "Family Feud" daytime game show on Wednesday, September 1, 2004. The rest of his "family" will include Lee McCall, Tony Glover and a couple of other teammates.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-27-2004)
AND II add Casey Mears and some of the team members.(8-28-2004)
- Gillette Young Guns - Sharpie 500 Notes: By picking Kurt Busch as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 22nd, Laura W. of Radcliff, KY was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Laura picked Busch 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 Busch. This is the third time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Busch.
The Gillette Young Guns are 12 for 23 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Johnson 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 23rd race of the season, Johnson dropped to second-place in the point standings, 68-points behind new point leader
Jeff Gordon. The other Gillette Young Guns are as follows - Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Kenseth (Fifth), Busch (Sixth), Harvick (Eighth) and
Newman (13th). The top-13 drivers are now separated by 506-points.
Out of 6,338 laps run so far in 2004, the Gillette Young Guns have led 2,749 laps (43%).
Out of a combined total of 55,754.40 possible miles that could have been completed through twenty-three races by the six
members of the Gillette Young Guns, they have failed to finish 2,828.85 (5%) of those miles. Out of the six Young Guns, Earnhardt Jr.
has failed to finish only 130.12 miles out of a possible 9,292.40 miles. Through 23 races, the six members of the Gillette Young Guns have combined to lead 154 times for a total of 3,707.09 miles.
For 22 of the 23 races so far in 2004, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings have been led by four members of the Gillette Young Guns. Former [Jeff Gordon now leads] point leader Jimmie Johnson led for eight 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)(8-28-2004)
August 27, 2004
- Andy Petree joins Michael Waltrip Racing: Andy Petree, former car owner and championship crew chief, joins Michael Waltrip Racing, Inc. (MWR) effective in Bristol, Tenn., this weekend. "In an effort to continuously improve our race cars," car owner Michael Waltrip explained, "we've turned to a man whose knowledge of NASCAR has carried him to the pinnacle of stock car racing. Andy's experience will help us assess and grow our existing Busch and Cup programs. Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership is a great sponsor and we have to win for them."
"In general, Andy has become a part of Michael Waltrip Racing to help move us forward. Performance has been respectable overall, but we are not up to par with the teams consistently winning races. While spending time at the race shop, evaluating our equipment and getting to know the team members, Andy will also serve as the acting crew chief on the weekends."
"Michael needs help and I am available," Petree said. "I am going to hang out with these guys for a while and see what we can accomplish. Michael has a great organization in place, so I am here to simply give my opinion and see where I can be beneficial to his teams."(Michael Waltrip Racing PR)(8-27-2004)
- Michigan TV Rating Down a Tad: TNT's coverage of last Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 Nextel Cup race earned a 4.8 cable rating from Nielsen Media Research, today's Sports Business Daily reports. The figure represents a 2 percent decline from last year's 4.9 cable rating. The Daily also reports that the Aug. 15 Sirius at The Glen from Watkins Glen International earned a 4.4 cable rating and a 3.6 national rating for TNT; the 2003 race aired on NBC.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-27-2004)
- Nextel Announces Donation to Victory Junction: Nextel Communications Inc. announced plans today to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sales of Nextel Cup merchandise and phone accessories to the Victory Junction Gang Camp through the end of the year. Nextel says it will donate a portion of the funds generated from NASCAR-themed accessories, including vehicle power chargers, ear buds, handset cases and phone covers. It will also donate a portion of the proceeds on every purchase totaling more than $25 from www.nextelracegear.com.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-27-2004)
- One Transmission Rule coming? NASCAR is considering moving to a "one transmission rule" next season in its top three series, spokesman Mike Zizzo confirmed Friday. The rule would work similarly to that of the "one engine rule" adopted at the start of the 2002 season. Teams are allowed one engine per race weekend – except for the season-opening Speedweeks at Daytona. Should a team change engines over the weekend, the driver must start the race at the rear of the field. Teams, especially in the Nextel Cup Series, typically use a different transmission in qualifying than in the race. For one, lighter parts are used for qualifying, several team engineers said. If implemented, it has not been decided whether the "one transmission rule" would be used on the Cup series’ two road courses. The Busch Series will also have two road course events in 2005.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-27-2004)
- #4 Team gets a sponsor for Bristol: Food City has formed a partnership with Morgan-McClure Motorsports and driver Jimmy Spencer for a one-race deal at Bristol Motorspeedway. Food City is taking advantage of this one-race deal to launch a new product in their Supreme Clean line. The Supreme Clean laundry detergent is a premium formula developed to match Tide and is manufactured exclusively for Food City. The product was extensively tested by 3rd-party labs to ensure ultimate quality. The Supreme Clean laundry detergent is available in Regular, with Bleach Alternative, Mountain Scent and Free & Clear. The Food City logos will adorn the quarter panels while the Food City Supreme Clean logo will appear on the hood. (Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-27-2004)
August 26, 2004
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. Featured on Season Premiere of 60 Minutes: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, will be featured in the season premiere of the weeknight edition of 60 Minutes. Dale Jr. is the first NASCAR driver to be profiled on the legendary news magazine show in 18 years. (Seven-time NASCAR champ Richard Petty was featured in 1988.) The show will air on CBS-TV, September 29 at 8:00pm/et. Mike Wallace, the legendary 86-year-old correspondent and co-editor of 60 Minutes since its debut in 1968, conducted a series of in-depth interviews with Dale Jr., beginning at the Daytona International Speedway in July. The 60 Minutes video crews also followed NASCAR's most popular driver through a tour of the No. 8 Budweiser shop at Dale Earnhardt Inc., his new home and office, and Budweiser public appearances.(fingerprint inc. PR)(8-26-2004)
- #200 for Stewart: #20-Tony Stewart will make his 200th career NASCAR Nextel Cup start when he runs the race this weekend at Bristol. In 199 starts, Stewart has 19 wins [9.6%], 75 top 5's, 118 top 10's and 7 poles.(8-26-2004)
- Rusty's son hospitalized after wreck at Bristol UPDATE: Stephen Wallace, the 17-year-old son of NASCAR star Rusty Wallace, was taken to Bristol Regional Medical Center after his Ford slammed head-on into the Turn 3 wall in a Hooters Pro Cup race. Wallace was able to walk away from the wreck with the help of safety workers.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
AND Following his vicious turn three accident in Wednesday night's Food City 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Stephen Wallace, 17 year-old son of NASCAR Champion, Rusty Wallace, was airlifted from the speedway to Bristol Regional Medical Center. Currently, Wallace is in stable condition and is awake and alert. He will be held overnight for observation and further evaluation of possible injuries. Wallace started an impressive 10th in what was his Hooters ProCup Series debut and ran solidly in the top-five and top-ten, on the lead lap, until his accident with less than ten laps remaining in the race. The Wallace family greatly appreciates the outpouring of support they have received. An updated statement on Stephen's condition will be released Thursday afternoon.
UPDATE - good news: Stephen Wallace, the 17-year old son of NASCAR star, Rusty Wallace, has been treated and released
from Bristol Regional Medical Center following overnight observation. Extensive testing on Stephen revealed only minor injuries. Wallace is currently in the process of being transported to his family's home in the Charlotte, NC area. Stephen Wallace was airlifted to Bristol Regional Medical Center following a severe accident in the final ten laps of Wednesday night's Food City 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway, in which his car made head-on contact with the turn three wall. Wallace was on the lead lap, in the top-ten, at the time of the accident. Wallace plans on returning to action next Saturday, September 4, with the UARA-STARS series at the site of his first career late model victory, Friendship Motor Speedway, in Elkin, NC.(RWI PR)(8-26-2004)
- Biffle to scale down Busch Series plans in 2005: Greg Biffle told www.teamfordracing.com at MIS that he’s not going to be quite so gung-ho in 2005 with his Busch Series endeavors. Biffle says that a 15-race program would better fit his plans than trying to keep two full-time rides going. Biffle’s travels this year have been very impressive, and if not for a slew of mechanical issues earlier this year would likely be the Busch Series points leader, rather than holding down fourth spot, as he does now.(Team Ford Racing)(8-26-2004)
- Mark Melling at MIS: Mark Melling, son of long-time died-in-Blue car owner Harry Melling, was seen hanging out at MIS. Melling, too, was a car owner, taking the reins for his dad after he’d had enough of the Cup car owner experience. The name Melling is synonymous with Ford performance as the pairing of Melling and Bill Elliott provided magic that was untouchable. There are records that will not be broken, including Elliott’s qualifying records at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedwa, which were done in Melling’s famous No. 9 car. Mark told www.teamfordracing.com that his family business, Melling Engine Parts, is doing quite well. Mark also says that he’s branched out into other conveyance store business, with a number of stores in the Jackson, Mich. area. Mark immediately dismissed the tour, noting time with his wife and family are more important to him, now, that tearing back and forth across the country.(Team Ford Racing)(8-26-2004)
August 25, 2004
- Biffle's Crew Takes Michigan Honors: While Greg Biffle celebrated victory Sunday at Michigan International Speedway so did his pit crew, which finished first in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. It was the third time this season the #16 National Guard crew took home the $20,000 weekly prize. The other No. 1 finishes were at Darlington and the August Pocono race. After 23 races, the reigning McDonald's/POWERade championship crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the chase for the $200,000 season-ending bonus with 827 points. Elliott Sadler's crew is second with 817 points and lurking in third is Tony Stewart's crew with 811 points. Biffle's National Guard/The Flash Ford spent 228.417 seconds on pit road - edging Robby Gordon's No. 31 Cingular Chevrolet's time of 229.287. Joe Nemechek's No. 01 U.S. Army Chevy was third at 235.513. Biffle's over-the-wall crew consists of Adam Emmert (front-tire changer), Jeff Silver (front-tire carrier), Mike Hillman (rear-tire changer), TJ Hamilton (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Merkel (jackman), Donnie Ratledge (gasman), John Eicher (catch can). "I think it's deserving for the day they all had," said crew chief Doug Richert. "It made for a perfect day. Not only were they rewarded with the race win, they got the McDonalds / POWERade pit crew challenge award to go with it. They averaged under 14 seconds per stop, which is a pretty good day."(DMF Communications PR), for the top 10 and season standings, see my Pit Crew News page.(8-25-2004)
- A few more years for Rusty....McMurray not Rusty's Replacement - Aug 30th announcement? UPDATE 2 "Rusty's Last Call"?: #2 Miiler Lite driver Rusty Wallace told Claire B. Lang from XM Satellite Radio Channel 144 Tuesday: "There is no source. I'll make it real clear today I'm glad I'm doing this. Felix Sabates and Chip Ganassi are one of my personal friends. Those guys are great people. I would never do anything like that even if anybody on my team would want me to do that. I'm honored enough that Chip was able to let Jamie drive for me and no way would I go back down the road and be trying to steal Jamie from Chip or Felix. And that's just the way it is so all the internet reports everybody can go ahead and update your stuff from what I just said. Jamie's got a contract with Felix for the next two to three years at least. Now once his contract runs out yea maybe we'd be interested then but no way in the world I'm gonna get in no bidding match to try to steal Jamie away from those guys I just wouldn't do that. Felix and Chip are just too doggone good of friends of mine." Rusty also confirmed today on a Dodge News Conference Call that right now his plans are to drive the #2 car for a couple of years and says their stable of drivers are safe right now.(XM Satellite Radio Channel 144).
From the Dodge Teleconference Transcript:
COMMENT ON REPORT THAT NEXT YEAR WILL BE YOUR LAST
"I'll tell you this. Right now, my mind is 100 percent on racing. If I do make that call, one of these days, you guys will be the first to know because I want to celebrate it in a proper way and have a good time. Right now, I'm not prepared to talk about retirement."
See my #2 Team News and Links page for past new/rumors on the retirement / McMurray.(8-17-2004)
AND: expect some sort of announcement on August 30th....maybe in Daytona?(8-18-2004)
UPDATE: On Tuesday, Rusty Wallace said he's not ready to talk about retiring as a Nextel Cup driver. By Aug. 30, though, he apparently will be. The media has been invited to a news conference on Monday, Aug. 30, at Daytona USA for a "special announcement," at which Wallace is expected to announce that the 2005 season will be his "farewell tour." The e-mail invitation to the event at Daytona was sent by NASCAR Images and says the press conference will be hosted by Wallace and NASCAR.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-20-2004)
UPDATE 2: hearing the 'farewell tour' could be called "Rusty's Last Call". However, Speed Channel reports: Sources say the "tour", leading to Rusty's retirement end of 2005, will be called "Rusty's Last Ride".(8-22-2004)
TV Live: Speed Channel will cover the Rusty Wallace press conference from Daytona Beach LIVE beginning at 11:00am/et on Aug. 30.(Speed Channel PR) and XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 144 will also air the press conference live.(8-25-2004)
- Hermie Sadler gets a sponsor for Bristol Cup race: East Tennessee Trailers, the value leader for enclosed trailers located in Oneida, Tennessee, announced they will sponsor Score Motorsports and #02-Hermie Sadler in the Sharpie 500 this Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Regarded as one of the most exciting races on the schedule, Sadler is optimistic about this weekend. "This is one of my favorite places to race and the atmosphere for the night race is incredible," stated Sadler. "I appreciate East Tennessee Trailers stepping up for us this weekend and hope to have some good results for them." East Tennessee Trailers builds trailers for many purposes, including auto racing, horses, lawn care, construction, and basic cargo trailers. For more information on East Tennesee Trailers, visit www.ettrailers.com.(PR)(8-25-2004)
- Four Crew Chief's Fined: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs Pat Tryson and Marc Reno were fined $5,000 each for fuel cell bladder infractions that occurred during last weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Tryson, crew chief for the #6 Viagra Ford of driver Mark Martin, and Reno, crew chief for the #09 Dodge of driver Bobby Hamilton Jr., both violated 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 for an unapproved modification to the fuel cell bladder nut ring. Both infractions were discovered by NASCAR officials during Friday’s opening-day inspection.
NASCAR also announced $500 fines to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup crew chiefs Todd Berrier and Lee McCall for rule violations that occurred the previous week at Watkins Glen. Berrier, crew chief for the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet of driver Kevin Harvick, 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 for an unapproved fuel cell spacer.
McCall, crew chief for the #40 Coor's Light Dodge of driver Sterling Marling, 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 for driver shoulder harness belts in which the manufacturer’s date had expired. Both infractions were discovered by NASCAR officials during opening-day inspection.(NASCAR PR)(8-25-2004)
- #99 Sponsor at California? and 2005? UPDATE 3: 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)
UPDATE 3: Roush Racing announced that Shop Rat Associates will sponsor the #99 Roush Racing Ford and rookie Carl Edwards Labor Day Weekend at California Speedway for the Pop Secret 500. The sponsorship is a one race deal that will be used
to promote the new Shop Rat Foundation, a non-profit organization established this year. The primary goal of Shop Rat Associates is to focus attention on the past and future generations of skilled professionals. Chris Salow, CEO of Shop Rat Associates, has created a company that will recognize and encourage creative and innovative thinking among current and future "shop rats". "It's time to give 'shop rats' the honor and respect they deserve by recognizing the contributions they have made to our country." Salow continued, "The Pop Secret 500 is the first of many races and opportunities Shop Rat Associates will provide its members. Together Shop Rats can join
together and create a unified voice to promote American workers and support a foundation that promotes 'shop rats' of all ages."(Roush Racing PR)(8-25-2004)
- Said to run more races; and 10-15 in 2005 UPDATE: 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)
UPDATE - at California: Centrix Financial, the Official Auto Finance Company of NASCAR, announced it will be making
its second appearance in this year's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule when it sponsors Boris Said and the #36 Chevrolet of MB2 Motorsports in the Sept. 5 Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway. Centrix, Said and MB2 first came together at Infineon Raceway in June and produced a strong sixth-place result at the Sonoma, Calif. road course. Centrix and MB2 began their relationship in April, shortly after the financial services company announced its position as the Official Auto Finance Company of NASCAR. In addition to the sponsorship of Said's car at Sonoma and Fontana, Centrix serves as an associate sponsor on the #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet of Joe Nemechek and the #10 Valvoline Chevrolet of Scott Riggs.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(8-25-2004)
- Roundup to sponsor the #99 at Bristol: Roush Racing announced that Roundup FastAct weed and grass control, will team up once again with Roush Racing when they sponsor rookie Carl Edwards and the #99 Roush Racing Ford. Roundup will appear as the primary sponsor on the car this weekend under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway marking the sixth race in 2004 that Roundup has sponsored the team. Both Roundup and Scotts appeared on the #99 Roush Racing Ford earlier this year at Talladega, California, Richmond and Lowe's Motor Speedway. It was a successful test run for the brands that ultimately led them to sponsor the #99 Ford once again at Bristol. For more information on Roundup or any of the Scotts products visit www.roundup.com, or www.scotts.com.(Roush Racing PR)(8-25-2004)
- Energizer Scheme for the #41: The #41 Dodge will sport a new paint scheme for the Sharpie 500 this weekend, and will feature the one and only Energizer Bunny! Energizer, a major associate sponsor of the #41 Target Dodge, will become the primary
sponsor for one of the most exiting races of the season. The familiar red and white Target car will now carry the black, orange and silver colors of Energizer.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-25-2004)
- Last Week for Summer Sales Driver Scheme: The #9 and #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge's will run its "Dodge Summer
Sales Drive" paint scheme for the final week in Bristol. #9-Kasey Kahne's and #!9-Jeremy Mayfield's Dodge's has run this paint scheme since racing at Chicago in July.(ClearBlue PR)(8-25-2004)
- More Downy for Craven at Bristol:The #32 Tide Chevrolet that Ricky Craven drives will debut a new paint scheme at Bristol this weekend for a new product, "Tide with a touch of Downy." Tide with a touch of Downy is a combination of the cleaning technologies of Tide and the softness and freshness technologies of "Downy Through-the-Wash". "Downy Through-the-Wash" is a new formula of Downy that contains detergent-compatible softness technologies to deliver softening even when it's added to the wash cycle. Look for Tide with a touch of Downy in these three scents - Clean Breeze, April Fresh and Soft Ocean Mist - and experience a touch of softness you never imagined from Tide! The No. 32 team will also run this paint scheme at New Hampshire International Speedway and Martinsville this fall.(PPI Motorsports PR)(8-25-2004)
- Dew Crew Roster Change: Nick O'Dell has replaced Jim Pohlman as front tire changer for the #9 Dew Crew. O'Dell worked as the front tire changer on the #91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge team earlier this year. O'Dell also served as front tire changer for the #9 Dew Crew at Michigan and Watkins Glen. Jim Pohlman remains lead mechanic on the team.(ClearBlue PR)(8-25-2004)
- NASCAR Family Feud: Ward Burton,crew chief Bill Ingle, and three additional members of the NetZero Racing team (Derick Jennings, Robby Maschhaupt and Ken Anderson) will take part in the taping of an episode of NASCAR Family Feud next Wednesday.(NetZero Racing PR), there will be two tapings of shows on Wed. Sept 1st in Hollywood CA, for more info if you are out in CA for the race next week at Fontana, see www.familyfeud.com, have not seen yet when the show will air or what other drivers/teams will be part of it.(8-25-2004)
- Free Saws: - As the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to the most brutal arena on the circuit this weekend, otherwise known as Bristol Motor Speedway, DEWALT Tools is set to hand out some gifts that may come in handy during the race. As part of their new product launch, DEWALT will be gifting each and every Nextel Cup crew chief with their brand new 18-Volt XRP Reciprocating Saw. The saws will be delivered via UPS Trackside on Friday morning at Bristol. This newer version is the most powerful reciprocating saw on the market, capable of turning 2,900 strokes per minute in a one-inch stroke length. According to Pete Morris, the Cordless Product Manager of DEWALT, the saws have an applicable duty on pit road.(Roush Racing PR)(8-25-2004)
- Harvick gets Real[tree] for Bristol: Team Realtree Racing (TRR) announces that GM Goodwrench and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will provide TRR the primary sponsor location on the hood of the #29 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the Aug. 28 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Sharpie 500 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Team Realtree was the primary sponsor of NASCAR legend Dave Marcis’ No. 71 team until his retirement in 2002. The company has also been a longtime associate sponsor of RCR.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #29 Team Paint Scheme page.(8-25-2004)
August 24, 2004
- NASCAR community shows support for Baldwin: In light of the passing last week of Tom Baldwin Sr., many of those in the racing community who were close to Tom flew to New York on Monday night to pay their respects. Car owner Ray Evernham provided one of his planes and joined Mike Joy, Matt Yocum, Pat and Jimmy Spencer, Mike Calinoff, Kasey Kahne and Dodge executives for the viewing on Long Island. Over 1000 people were in attendance.(8-24-2004)
- Tracy to RCR rumors surface....again UPDATE denied: 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)
UPDATE: One of the hot rumors in the NASCAR paddock over the weekend at Michigan was that Paul Tracy had the inside line on a seat at Richard Childress Racing if Robby Gordon leaves to start his own team. But it sounds like the only time Champ Car's biggest star will be going south in 2005 is for spring training at Sebring, Fla. "I don't know who started that rumor but I'll give them 10-1 odds," said Gerald Forsythe, who fields a car and pays the 2003 CART champion out of his own pocket. "I had a nice meeting with Paul and his agent recently and he's excited about the future. Paul has been one of our most vocal supporters and I appreciate his position." Tracy, who had been approached by Childress to run the Nextel Cup show at Sonoma, Calif. earlier this season, admitted Monday that he's staying put. "We've come to an agreement but we just don't have it on paper yet," said the 35-year-old Canadian. "I'd like to get this deal together and I should know for sure within the next couple races." Asked if he still had aspirations of NASCAR, especially if the stock car set goes to Montreal, Tracy replied: "Maybe, if the right deal came along but I'd like to stay in Champ Car. It's always been my home and I like the direction our new owners are taking it." Forsythe was asked why he wouldn't let Tracy run some select NASCAR races. "I don't see any connection between Champ Car and NASCAR so I can't see how it would benefit Paul or Champ Car," he replied. "Those people aren't going to let Paul do good anyway." As a parting shot, Forsythe added: "I just wish next time that Richard would call me instead of my driver."(Speed Channel/Robin Miller)(8-24-2004)
- Harvick gets a new spotter: Now that Kevin Harvick is in the thick of the battle for a top-10 spot, he has asked [former CTS driver/winner] Rick Carelli to serve as his spotter for the rest of the season and to also work in a driver-coach capacity.(Rocky Mountain News)(8-24-2004)
- Hmiel to run at California for Davis: Bill Davis Racing will run a second Cup [#23] car September 5 at California. Shane Hmiel will be the driver. "Everybody has an eye on Shane," Bill Davis says. "He's fast. He's a racer. He has proven that." Davis hopes to find sponsorship to run the car for the entire 2005 season.(FoxSports.com)(8-24-2004)
- Rusty and team go sky diving: Rusty Wallace took team building to the extreme last week when he and his crew went sky diving at Fort Bragg, N.C., with an Army parachute team. "I never thought I would jump out of an airplane before, but when the opportunity came up with the Golden Knights, I was glad I did," says Wallace, the 1989 Cup champion. "I wasn't the most comfortable when I was looking down at 13,000 feet of sky getting ready to jump out of that sucker, but I did it, and I would go back. I had a semicrash landing. I'd like it to be smoother when I get back." Wallace's last full season in Nextel Cup could be 2005. He is expected to make an announcement regarding "The Last Call" tour on August 30 in Daytona.(FoxSports.com)(8-24-2004)
August 23, 2004
- Arnold Motorsports to field Toyota Truck team: Arnold Motorsports and Germain Motor Co. have announced creation of Germain/Arnold Racing and said that veteran Todd Bodine will drive the team's #30 Toyota in the final nine Craftsman Truck Series races of the year. The team says it is joining Toyota Racing Development's engine lease program. Mike Hillman, who is currently the crew chief for Arnold Motorsports' #50 Nextel Cup entry, will be the crew chief for the truck team.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-23-2004)
- Chase Promotion Rejected: NASCAR has rejected a marketing proposal that would have promoted the contenders in this year’s Chase For The Nextel Cup, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. Reporter Scott Warfield says Action Performance Cos. had proposed special paint schemes for drivers in the Chase and says NASCAR's rejection of the plan will cost the company $10 million in die-cast car sales. Company Chairman Fred Wagenhals said the idea was rejected for fear of alienating sponsors and teams that didn't make the Chase field, which will determine the 2004 Nextel Cup champion.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-23-2004)
- More on McMurray and Gibbs, for a year..then to Penske: Jamie McMurray is still in play, according to sources close to the driver, who is being wooed by both Roger Penske and Joe Gibbs - if he can resolve his contract with car owner Chip Ganassi. Gibbs wants him for his new third Nextel Cup team, to be sponsored by FedEx; McMurray would be a teammate of Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte. Penske wants him to take over Rusty Wallace's ride when Wallace retires, apparently at the end of 2005. Also in the running for the Gibbs ride is sprint start J. J. Yeley, who was to race here but who didn't make the field because qualifying was rained out. However, FedEx, according to sources, wants a top-10 team out of the box, and that would be a tall order for a rookie.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2004)
- 9 Cars Dyno'd: NASCAR tested nine cars on the chassis dynamometer after the race, measuring horsepower to the rear wheels. The cars tested were the Fords of #16-Greg Biffle, #6-Mark Martin and #88-Dale Jarrett; the Dodges of #42-Jamie McMurray, #9-Kasey Kahne and #12-Ryan Newman, and the Chevrolets of #24-Jeff Gordon, #20-Tony Stewart and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-23-2004)
- Wells to shut down engine dept, signs with RCR: Cal Wells, owner of the #32 Tide Chevy, just signed a 2-year engine contract with Childress to supply all his engines and will shut down his own engine department. "I just couldn't keep up," Wells said.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2004)
- Lopez leaves BDR? UPDATE: hearing #23 Crew Chief, Philippe Lopez, and Bill Davis Racing has parted ways and Lopez may be heard to Joe Gibbs Racing or RCR.(8-14-2004)
UPDATE: Philippe Lopez, the veteran crew chief just hired by car owner Joe Gibbs to help Jimmy Makar and Zipadelli in testing.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2004)
- Henrikson and Donlavey to team up at Lowe's and maybe Homestead: ARCA veteran A.J. Henriksen said he will attempt to qualify Junie Donlavey's Ford for the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Oct. 16 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He also might attempt the #90 for the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Richmond Times Dispatch), and whatever happened to Kevin Ray and the Buttpaste #90 Ford?(8-23-2004)
- RC Mum on 2005 plans, but says RCR is set: #29, #30, #31 Team Owner Richad Childress says "everything is set" for next season with his three teams "but I'm not announcing anything on my sponsors until late October or December, later this year." There has been intense speculation that AOL may not return as sponsor for the team Jeff Burton drives for, and there is also speculation that the future of the Cingular sponsorship depends on Robby Gordon being firmly in the top 20 by some unspecified September deadline. However, there is also speculation that Gordon may be leaving Childress.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2004)