AUG 30-SEPT 5, 2004
September 5, 2004
- Sadler wins at California: #38-Elliott Sadler won the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway, his 2nd win of 2004 and 3rd of his career. Sadler is 6th in Drivers Points and just needs to start the race at Richmond to clinch a spot on the Chase for the Nextel Cup, the top five have clinched. #9-Kasey Kahne finished 2nd, for the 5th time in 2004 [Rockingham, Las Vegas, Texas, Michigan in June and now California]. The rest of the top five were #6-Mark Martin, #42-Jamie McMurray and #12-Ryan Newman. Points leader coming into the race, #24-Jeff Gordon lost and engine and #48-Jimmie Johnson takes over the points lead with his 14th place finish.
For the race rundown, top 10, lap leaders, cautions, narrative and notes on my California Race Info/Rundown Page
Race Results at:
- Martin to test 2005 tires at Lowe's: #6-Mark Martin has the early part of his week scoped out doing work for the industry. That work will come in the form of a Goodyear tire test on Tuesday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The test won’t do Martin or the rest of the Ford teams a lot of good for this year’s car configuration as the tires that Martin will test are for the 2005 season, done in a car built to 2005 specification—the test Taurus will have a spoiler that’s an inch shorter than what he’ll be running tomorrow evening. There was no word on who besides Martin will be at the test, but given his ability to dial in a car and maximize tire use it’d be difficult to think of a better candidate for the mission.(Team Ford Racing), good chance this will get rained out and postponed.(9-5-2004)
- Herbie the Love Bug on the track: Matt Dillon spent hours in the NASCAR Nextel Cup garage on Friday morning, dressed in a black driving suit with orange flames which was pulled down to his waist. Walt Disney Pictures was filming scenes plus cameos of Casey Mears, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rusty Wallace, Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray for the new "HERBIE" movie. Herbie was in the garage, with his handler and hauler. The picture stars Lindsey Lohan and Michael Keaton, and filming continued throughout the garage on Friday.(Insider Racing News)
AND Yes, that was a Volkswagen at the tail end of the Busch Series field during the parade laps for Saturday's Target House 300. No, NASCAR hasn't changed its rules. No, the #53 car didn't compete in the race won by Greg Biffle. Actually, it was Hollywood. In conjunction with NASCAR, Walt Disney Pictures used the California Speedway background to film part of the movie "Herbie; Fully Loaded.' It will be the fifth movie in the Herbie saga, which started in 1969 with "The Lovebug.' The latest Herbie movie will start Lindsay Lohan, Justin Long, Breckin Meyer, Matt Dillon and Michael Keaton. The film, scheduled for release next summer, will also feature cameos from Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Kevin Harvick and Rusty Wallace. Director Angela Robinson and her crew filmed scenes in the track's garage and scoring tower. Robinson visited the Speedway in May during the Auto Club 500 to learn about NASCAR and determine what scenes could be shot. The production crew will return later this month and in October to complete physical and visual effect shots.(Los Angeles Daily News)
AND II Now wouldn't it be cool to see Herbie go thru inspection - Taken At Fontana 9-4-03. The car actually went out and took laps with the Busch cars on the Pace laps, and was dicing it up with the guys that had to go to the back. The #55 Chevy, part of the movie, was supposedly driven by Andy Hillenburg. Thanks to Greg Kammerman and Robert Binns for the images, click on any of the images to see larger versions.(9-5-2004)
at Califonia Saturday for the move Herbie: Full Loaded
(click on image to see larger versions and more)
- Not NASCAR but Sad News - since many are into motorcycles: Indian Larry, Larry Desmedt, a master motorcycle mechanic and stunt man, passed away August 30th following an accident while performing last Saturday at the Liquid Steel Classic and Custom Bike Series show at Cabarrus Arena and Events Center in Concord, NC. He was best known for his appearances on Discovery Channel's "Great Biker Build-Off" show. "He was riding and standing up on his seat," said Mike Downs, Cabarrus County deputy county manager. "The bike started to wobble and he was not able to regain control." Indian Larry fell off the bike before a crowd of about 8,000. He was not wearing a helmet. Paramedics were standing by and aided him until he could be airlifted to CMC, Downs said. "Cabarrus County along with the staff at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center sends its sincere condolences to the family of Indian Larry," said Robert M. Freeman, chairman of the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners. "Indian Larry was a man with great skill and talent as a mechanic and metal sculptor. He will be truly missed by his fans here in Cabarrus County and throughout the nation." Indian Larry was best known for his eccentric nature, according to his official Web site. His résumé includes movie, video and television.(Charlotte Observer)(9-5-2004)
- Schrader not retiring anytime soon: #49-Ken Schrader, at 49 the oldest [full time driver] on the tour, is making no retirement plans. Schrader, from St. Louis, as is Wallace, grew up racing against Wallace. "And I could tell you some stories," Schrader said with a laugh. "We raced with each other until we went separate ways, Rusty to ASA, me to open-wheel dirt. Rusty has always been full-speed-ahead. Very much so. From the get-go." The retirement issue, Schrader said, "is nothing new. It happens all the time." But it appears that NASCAR is on the verge of watching an entire generation of stars hang it up. And it's unclear if NASCAR has any marketing plans for this generation, or even cares. "The sport's in good shape with all them kids, there are some really good ones, on and off the track," Schrader said. "And if all the guys 45 and over were to quit, the sport would move right along. It's just part of the deal that you're not going to do it forever. I didn't think I'd do it this long when I came in (in 1988). Didn't have a clue. You just don't know how things are going to work out." Schrader not only has his own race shop with cars and trucks, but he owns a short track in St. Louis and has part ownership in a racing association.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-5-2004)
- Victory Junction Kicks Off Fall Family Weekend Program: Victory Junction is kicking-off the fall family weekend programs on Friday, September 17th with a special weekend geared toward foster families. Campers and their families will enjoy the camp experience free of charge and participate in activities such as boating and fishing, horse back riding, and arts and crafts. The Victory Junction Foster Families weekend will allow these special children and families to share a weekend of relaxation and fun, a time to be normal kids, and time to bond as a family. Any family with foster children can apply, including foster children with medical needs and foster children who are healthy. Interested families should call the camp at 336-495-2017 for an application or to request more information. There are plenty of spaces available. Campers and their families would arrive September 17, and depart on September 19. Parents interested in learning more about the camp or how to apply can visit www.victoryjunction.org.(Victory Junction Gang Camp PR)(9-5-2004)
- Glick to be honored at California Speedway: Shav Glick one of the most distinguished motorsports journalists in the United States will be honored by the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Award panel, for his lifetime of service to the award, at California Speedway on Sunday, September 5th. Glick has been the motor sports reporter for the Los Angeles Times since 1963 and a member of the Expert Panel since 1969 - the second longest tenure on the panel. A California native, Glick can trace his journalistic roots to covering baseball legend, Jackie Robinson, in Junior College. Just like his native state being a microcosm of racing; Glick, an octogenarian, has covered just about every form of big league motor sports. Earlier this year he became the first daily print journalist and the second media member to be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame, in Novi, MI. As a token of esteem of the panel Glick will be presented a Maurice Lacroix Swiss wristwatch and a plaque in pre-race ceremonies for the Pop Secret 500 in the Nextel Cup Series.(DOTY PR)(9-5-2004)
- Ganassi signes Lagasse Jr. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today the signing of 22-year-old Scott Lagasse Jr. to its Talent Development Program. The St. Augustine, Fla. native joins the program with impressive credentials as a driver and a person. Lagasse Jr. becomes the fourth driver on the Talent Development roster at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, which includes David Stremme, Reed Sorenson and Ryan Hemphill. Lagasse Jr. began running in the ASA series in 2003 where he
earned an impressive four top-10 finishes in just six starts. This year, Lagasse Jr. captured his first win in the series at Kentucky
Speedway and his first pole at Indianapolis Raceway Park. As impressive as his on-track performance is, Lagasse Jr. is also committed to his education. He attends Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. on a full academic scholarship where he is on track to
earn a Business/Marketing degree.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-5-2004)
- 1,900 people respond to promotion for Bud One Night Stand: Fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. lined up in droves to donate blood and receive free tickets to Thursday's Budweiser One Night Stand event in San Bernandino, Calif. The Blood Bank of San Bernandino and Riverside Counties reports the number of area blood doners in August far exceeded the target mark, thanks to Earnhardt and the mass of fans that want to see him Thursday night. The promotion, a joint effort between Budweiser, Los Angeles rock station KCAL 96.7-FM, and the Blood Bank, promised two free tickets to Budweiser One Night Stand for anyone who donated a pint of blood in any of the five San Bernandino or Riverside County doner centers.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR)(9-5-2004)
- New Time for Race Day on Fox Sports Radio: Motorsports news-talk radio show, Race Day, will have a new time slot beginning on September 12th. Race Day is moving to a 6am - 9am (eastern) live time slot --- just during football season, and will switch back to 9am to noon next year before the Daytona 500. However, Fox Sports Radio will also re-broadcast Race Day every Sunday from 9am to noon eastern time, so local stations can chose to carry it live from 6 to 9 am eastern, or can carry the entire rebroadcast from 9am to noon. Either time slot, it's the complete Race Day program, with all the news, interviews and insiders information from the world of racing! www.RaceDayOnFox.com.(9-5-2004)
- Driver to be inducted into Dirt Track Walk of Fame at LMS: Dirt late model racing veteran Freddy Smith will be inducted into The Dirt Track Walk of Fame prior to the Golden Corral Dirt Late Model Championship Saturday night, Sept. 18, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway. Smith will join 18-time World of Outlaws sprint car champion Steve Kinser, DIRT modified legend Bob McCreadie, longtime sprint car ace Sammy Swindell, DIRT founder Glenn Donnelly, late model legend Mike Duvall and the late AMA motorcycle star Will Davis in the Walk of Fame. To purchase tickets, call 1-800-455-FANS or visit www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(9-5-2004)
- StockCarFans.com - Rumblings - California: I won't say it was a snoozer, but when the highlight of the first-half of
a race is watching guys pick up paper on the frontstretch it's not going to take much to see some improvement in the second half. After the sun went down and the lights took hold, the racing got better. And after a 10 lap sprint to the finish it was Elliott Sadler who took home the spoils. Sadler captured the Pop Secret 500 tonight at California Speedway for his second win of the season (he grabbed the 500 at Texas in April) and the 3rd of his Cup career. He's now in a 9-way tie for 81st on the all-time win list. His win was the 66th for Robert Yates Racing and was worth a healthy $279,398 from the over $6M in posted awards.
Kasey Kahne (2nd) was the bridesmaid again for the 5th time this season. His last runner-up spot was at Michigan in June.
Carl Edwards (6th) had his career-best (albeit only three races) finish tonight. His previous best was 10th at Michigan last month.
Scott Riggs (7th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Dover in June.
Rusty Wallace (10th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Lowe's in May.
Joe Nemechek (12th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Chicagoland in July.
Brian Vickers (13th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Daytona in July.
Kyle Busch (24th) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 32nd at Lowe's in May (only 3 races).
STREAKIN....Jamie McMurray has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
Dale Jarrett has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is a lonely Robby Gordon (+26). DOWN: The Big Dropper is a tie between Greg Biffle (-29) and Jeff Gordon (-29), followed by Casey Mears (-23), Bill Elliott (-22), Dale Earnhardt Jr (-22), and Brendan Gaughan (-20). Lots more downers than ups this week....and this is BD #4 for Jeff Gordon on the season.
Shane Hmiel led today (once for 4 laps) in his Nextel Cup debut. He becomes the 47th different driver to lead a lap this season....last
year we had 48 different leaders.
Jimmie Johnson takes over the point from Jeff Gordon tonight. He's up by 50 markers (like that means anything).
The race for the "Chase" is alive from 8th to 15th. Those spots are separated by 76 points with Kevin Harvick taking the biggest hit tonight. He runs good at Richmond, so he's not out of it yet but his back is certainly against the wall. Robby Gordon (22nd to 18th) made the best move forward tonight, while the aformentioned Mr. Harvick (8th to 15th) threw it in reverse.(StockCarFans.com (Nextel Cup) Newsletter)(9-5-2004)
September 4, 2004
- Congrats! Kip Childress (operations manager, southern division of Racing Electronics - Jayski sponsor) and wife Jenny are proud parents of a new baby girl. Brianna was born on Sept.1st at 7:42 pm. Everyone is doing fine. Kip and Jenny also have a 5 year old daughter, Sarah.(9-4-2004)
- Dr Phil and Gordon: In an episode entitled "Dr. Phil - Trading Places II" scheduled to air on Sept. 7, popular syndicated talk show host Dr. Phil will share his experience of riding shotgun alongside four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon around Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet two-seater. Taped earlier this year, Dr. Phil took a brief Richard Petty Driving Experience course around the 1.5-mile speedway before turning the wheel over to Gordon. Check local listings for time and channel.(HMS Site)(9-4-2004)
- Robby looking at options for 2005: #31-Robby Gordon is a free agent. His contract with Childress expires at the end of the season, and he doesn't know who he will be working for when the 2005 season opens at Daytona in February. He might end up being his own boss again. He would like to continue working for Childress; however, he said he has been talking to three other "well-established, elite teams" in the series. "My time with Richard has been great. I think we have had some good success together," said Gordon. Since he began driving for Richard Childress Racing in September 2001, Gordon has won three races and finished in the top five eight times. "I have had a great relationship with him. Don't get me wrong," Gordon said. "We have been talking. But my contract is up, and it is what it is." On Wednesday, Gordon spent most of the day hanging out at Harrah's in Las Vegas. The hotel and casino used to sponsor A.J. Foyt's Cup team, but now Gordon does endorsements for Harrah's. Gordon even had a stock car painted in Harrah's colors that is used for promotional purposes. Harrah's isn't on the side of his Childress-owned Chevy Monte Carlo in the Cup series, but Gordon said if you look hard enough at the side of his Busch Series car, which he owns, you will see a Harrah's logo. He said his "deal" with Harrah's could "very easily be taken to the Cup level." For the past couple of days, Gordon has been talking with a few potential sponsors, and he said he is close to some sort of a deal for next season. "The next few days could get pretty interesting," Gordon said. "I have learned so much from Richard when it comes to owning your own team, like where to spend the money. If I do end up owning my own team in Cup, I will be so much smarter than when I did this the last time."
"Don't forget I own my own Busch car this year, and I have had some pretty good results," said Gordon, who opened the season with five top-10 finishes in the first eight Busch Series races. If he does end up driving for someone else next year, which he said still is a "very real possibility," Gordon said he might add another car to his Busch team. One of the cars would be for him, and he would drive it on a part-time basis. The other he would like to give to a young driver, possibly Brandon Miller, 23, from Bakersfield, CA. But if he can land the right kind of sponsorship deals, he said he might be able to fund two Cup cars and one Busch car. The Busch car would be driven off-and-on by Gordon. Childress said he wants to announce his lineup of drivers in October.(Orange County Register)(9-4-2004)
- Hurricane affecting Sacks team: Hurricane affects NASCAR team which fields the #13 Arc Dehooker/Vita Coca Dodge NASCAR Nextel cup car of driver/owner Greg Sacks - is the only team based in Daytona Beach, FL., home of the stock car racing sanctioning body. That also makes it the only team based in the imminent path of
Hurricance Frances, expected to slam into Florida late Saturday. The team has been in its Daytona Beach shops all week preparing for Richmond next week - and preparing for Hurricane Frances. It is Running a partial schedule this year in preparations for a full 2005 Cup run. Owner/driver Greg Sacks: "What can you do? We're not in an evacuation area, so we boarded up the windows and got everything inside that was outside - the same things everybody is doing at home. After that, all you can do is wait and hope and pray - for ourselves, and for everybody else who is being affected by the hurricane. "So we've been working on our race cars and getting ready for Richmond and the races we have the rest of the season. By the first of the week, this thing should be out of here and we're still going to need to be ready to race. So everybody is doing their jobs. "Racers are racers, man. They don't think about anything else. If Dorothy had been a racer, instead of holding Toto in the tornado in 'Wizard of Oz' she would have been yelling at somebody to check the camber one more time. "So we're just going to check the camber one more time, and be ready to go at Richmond next week. We can't do anything about the storm, so we're concentrating on the things we can control."(Williams Company PR)(9-4-2004)
- Elliott looking to race more in 2005: Knowing what he now knows about being "partially retired," Bill Elliott [#98 Dodge this week] said he'd like to increase the number of races on his 2005 calendar. "Ten to 12 races is still what my goal is," he said. "I don't know that I want to do any more than that. For this year, I've not really done enough. We've tested a good bit the last few weeks and I've got comfortable with the car."(NASCAR.com)(9-4-2004)
- Tire Problems Addressed UPDATE: Tire problems at Indianapolis during the Brickyard 400 drew the wrath of NASCAR's Bill France Jr., who has told Goodyear he plans to enforce minimum tire air-pressure standards. NASCAR inspectors are to roam the pits checking tires, and France is threatening to park for two laps any team found with low air pressure. Crews drop tire pressure to make cars handle better.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-1-2004)
UPDATE: NASCAR officials have apparently backed off from plans to monitor tire air pressure on pit road. NASCAR's Bill France Jr. and Goodyear executives talked about just such a move, according to NASCAR sources, following major left-side tire problems at Indianapolis that marred the Brickyard 400.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-4-2004)
- Wallace downplays Earnhardt influence: #2-Rusty Wallace sought to downplay remarks he made during his retirement announcement this week at Daytona Beach, Fla., in which he claimed he "didn't want to get hurt" and that the death of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt in 2001 "kind of got to me."
"It got misconstrued a little bit," Wallace said Friday at California Speedway. "That didn't cause my decision to retire. It influenced it a little bit. His death hasn't caused me to retire. His death hasn't caused me to get scared. His death hasn't caused me to do anything different. I just thought it was an unbelievable shame that the guy did that much in his life and – boom – he couldn't enjoy any of it." Wallace said his decision to retire at the end of the 2005 season has been a slow coming one. "I started thinking about it about two years ago. Then I kind of made the decision about eight months ago," he said. "I wanted to retire at the top of my game. I think I've still got enough in me that I can go out there and still kick all these guys' butts if I can."(ThatsRacin.com)(9-4-2004)
- President Bush at RIR? UPDATE - No?: hearing President Bush will attend the Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway on 9/11/2004 and that security for the race will be heightened even more since the race falls on 9/11, the three year anniversary of the attacks.(7-5-2004)
UPDATE - No? Denied: Rumors persist inside the NASCAR traveling show that President George W. Bush will be at Richmond for the 9/11 race, going there straight from Ground Zero in New York. Officials keep denying it or hedging, but the grapevine has it that the denials are all to keep the Secret Service happy by stifling advance notice.(Orlando Sentinel)
AND Flat out No: Contrary to previous reports from other news outlets, President George Bush will not visit the Richmond International Speedway next weekend on September 11th.(Motorsport.com)(9-4-2004)
- Championship Scenarios... If a driver is more than 190 points ahead of 11th-place after California he cannot fall out of the top 10 and will be assured a spot in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
If a driver is less than 190 points ahead of 11th-place after California, but is more than 156 ahead of 11th, all he must do is start at Richmond to insure a spot in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
Any driver that is less than 156 points behind 10th after California will have an opportunity to race his way into the top 10 or remaining positions at Richmond if the 400 points come into play.(Tiebreakers are wins, seconds, thirds etc., if needed)(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-4-2004)
- DEI and Hendrick teams test at NHIS: Hendrick Motorsports teammates #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson tested at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS) on Wednesday, September 1 in preparation for the SYLVANIA 300 on Sunday, September 19. Both teams have clinched spots in the 2004 "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup". Martin Truex, Jr. tested on Tuesday, August 31 and Wednesday, September 1 in the #1 Dale Earnhardt Incorporated Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Truex, Jr. will be attempting to qualify for the upcoming SYLVANIA 300 at NHIS. For ticket and race information, please visit the Speedway online at www.nhis.com or call Speedway Guest Services at (603) 783-4931.(NHIS PR)(9-4-2004)
September 3, 2004
- Hurricane Francis Stuff: Lowe's is also helping consumers stock up on information before the storm [Hurricane Francis - see www.storm2004.com or www.weather.com]. Homeowners can dial 1-877-3PREPARE (1-877-377-3727) toll-free for hurricane preparedness and safety tips in both English and Spanish. Informational flyers are available in stores, and the Lowe's Severe Weather Guide is in stores and at Lowes.com/hurricane.
AND Atlanta Motor Speedway will open its campgrounds this weekend to evacuees of Hurricane Frances. The speedway, which is equipped to handles thousands of campers during its two annual NASCAR race weekends, will open its two largest gravel campgrounds to evacuees free of charge. AMS will also open its camper shower facilities, allowing evacuees free access to hot showers and restroom facilities. "It's just the thing to do," Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark said. "These are our neighbors, and they're in need. It's just the right thing to do." Already a million people in Florida have been ordered to leave their homes, and states of emergency have been declared in both Georgia and Florida. With Hurricane Frances' path projected to continue up the eastern seaboard, more evacuations are expected. With Atlanta area hotels already filling up, and state officials wondering where to put all of the hurricane evacuees, opening up the AMS campgrounds just seemed a natural, Clark said.
"We had all of this space, and it was going to go unused this weekend," Clark said. "It's the least we can do to open it up for someone who really needs it." Atlanta Motor Speedway is located approximately 25 miles south of Atlanta on Hwy 19/41 and approximately eight miles west of I-75. For more information, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway offices at (770) 707-7904 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com. Those interested in camping at Atlanta Motor Speedway should enter the speedway grounds at Entrance E off Hwy 19/41 or Entrance G off Richard Petty Boulevard and park in the large gravel lot located adjacent to these entrances. For on-site assistance or directions, visit the ticket office/gift store building.(AMS PR)(9-3-2004)
- Designated Drivers Available: Designated Drivers Inc., Miller Brewing Co. and Gate City Beverage will offer a "Partners in Prevention" program during this weekend's NASCAR events at California Speedway. Booths at Gates 12 and 14 will offer fans information about impaired-driving and also will arrange to have a trained, licensed, insured driver transport them home in their own vehicle free of charge.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-3-2004)
- 3rd-Qtr Driver of the Year Voting Begins: Jeff Gordon heads a list of Championship contenders as Speed Channel's Driver of the Year's fan vote goes public for the third time this year. This is a unique process where a poll of experts and fans determine the outcome. Besides NASCAR's Gordon, drivers nominated for the fan vote include Greg Anderson (NHRA), Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car), Carl Edwards (NASCAR), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Tommy Kendall (Trans-Am), Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws), and Dan Wheldon (Indy Racing League). In its 38th year, the Speed Channel DRIVER OF THE YEAR's award for this quarter will be determined by an independent vote of the 18-member panel of blue ribbon auto racing journalists and broadcasters and one vote based on the cumulative tally of fans' voting at www.speedtv.com. At the end of the year a special separate vote will be held for the SPEED Channel 2004 DRIVER OF THE YEAR. The panelists will have their quarterly vote on September 15th and the fan vote will close soon thereafter.(DOTY PR)(9-3-2004)
- Race of Champions to Announce 2004 Team USA UPDATE: The 2004 Race of Champions (ROC) Nations Cup - the motorsports equivalent of soccer's World Cup - will announce its two Team USA drivers [Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon] on Friday, Sept 3rd for the Dec. 4, 2004 race in Paris, France. This year's competitors include seven-time Formula One Champion Michael Schumacher and current World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Loeb. Countries are represented by two-driver teams. At the ROC Nations Cup race, teams compete based on the number of heat wins and combined times (in the event of a draw). In every match, racers go head-to-head against their counterparts, resulting in extremely close action and finishes often separated by only fractions of a second. The team emerging from Saturday's final earns "the World's Fastest Nation" title.(Golin Harris PR)(9-3-2004)
UPDATE: The 2004 Race of Champions (ROC) Nations Cup - the motorsports equivalent of soccer's World Cup - is set to draw the attention of fans from every major racing series in the world to Paris, France on December 4th, 2004 [the day after the Nextel Cup Banquet]. This year's competition marks the first year that the points leaders from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Formula One and the World Rally Championship will come together to battle for their country's right to claim they are "the World's Fastest Nation." Friday [Sept 3rd], at California Speedway, NEXTEL Cup points leader Jeff Gordon and second place driver Jimmie Johnson, running just 24 points behind Gordon, announced that they will lead Team USA's effort to reclaim the Nations Cup.
Gordon and Johnson are intimately familiar with the challenge the ROC Nations Cup presents, having both been on the 2002 winning team that claimed the first Cup ever for the U.S. The ROC Nations Cup offers the ultimate test of a driver's skills, and is the only opportunity for racers from different countries and disciplines of motorsports to compete in equal machinery and on an equal track. Four-time NASCAR Champion Gordon and 10-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner Johnson are attempting to capture the United States' second Nations Cup title, but it will not be an easy task considering the stiff competition that includes seven-time Formula One Champ Michael Schumacher driving for Germany and current World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Loeb behind the wheel for France.
Immediately following this year's NASCAR banquet, Gordon and Johnson will board a plane provided by Learjet, Inc, a subsidiary of
Bombardier, Inc. and travel to Paris, France for the competition. "We are very proud to be playing a role in these great athletes' effort to
recapture the title they first won for the United States in 2002," said Dana Arnold of Learjet. At the ROC Nations Cup, teams are eliminated based on the number of heat wins and combined time (in the event of a draw). In every match, racers go head-to-head against their counterparts, resulting in extremely close action and finishes often separated by only fractions of a second. The team emerging from Saturday's final lays claim to "the World's Fastest Nation" title.
For more information on the ROC - Nations Cup, please visit: www.raceofchampions.com.
For ticket information to the 2004 Race of Champions, please visit: www.stadefrance.com.
The 2004 Race of Champions - Nations Cup supports ICM (The institute for Brain and Spinal cord Disorders) and ADREC (The Association for the Development of Research on the Brain and Spinal cord Disorders) www.icm-institute.org.(Golin Harris PR)(9-4-2004)
- 2005 Dodge Approved: NASCAR and Dodge officials confirmed Friday the new 2005 model Dodge car submitted this season has been approved for competition. NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said the body of the 2005 version Dodge had been approved, but there remained a few “minor issues” to be completed. Dodge had made all of NASCAR’s deadlines, Zizzo said. John Fernandez, senior manager for Dodge Motorsports Operations released a brief statement Friday: “Dodge has received approval from NASCAR for the 2005 Dodge race car body. We’re pleased with NASCAR’s decision, and look forward to racing in 2005.” Dodge has so far declined to name the model name the car will carry. It will have an official unveiling of the new model in the coming weeks. The Nextel Cup Series rulebook provides for a Sept. 1 deadline for new final approval of new manufacturer submissions for the next season. Dodge has used the Intrepid model since its return to Cup racing in 2001.(ThatsRacn.com), all rumors and talk point to the 2005 Dodge being the 'Charger', see past Dodge news on my Dodge Past News page.(9-3-2004)
- Ganassi Extends Mears: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that they have exercised their option to extend Casey Mears' driver agreement into the future. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed per company policy. "We are excited about having Casey (Mears) as part of the team into the future," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "Casey's been a team player and has worked hard. The #41 Target team has become a contender this year and we're looking forward to Casey and the team winning races soon."(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(9-3-2004)
- Hmiel to run more races for Davis: Bill Davis Racing, has hired Shane Hmiel to run five Cup races this season beginning with Sunday's Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway and hopes to sign him to a full-year deal for next year.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
AND one of the races will be at Richmond International Speedway.(BDR Site)(9-3-2004)
- Vickers wins the pole at California, ALMOST a new track record: Rookie of the Year candidate #25-Brian Vickers won the Budweiser Pole with a near track record of 187.417mph [the track record was set by Ryan Newman in April 2002, 187.432mph], knocking #98-Bill Elliott off the pole. Elliott will start 3rd after running a lap of 186.306. #19-Jeremy Mayfield ran a fast late lap and will start 2nd, #97-Kurt Busch will start 4th and #9-Kasey Kahne rounds out the top five. Some part-timers making the race include: #84-Kurt Busch [18th], #23-Shane Hmiel [29th], #11-J.J. Yeley [32nd] and #36-Boris Said [36th]. #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr., in his first race in the Tide Chevy will start 24th.
See my Jayski's Pop Secret 500 Qualifying/Starting Lineup Page for qualifying results, pole progression, provisionals, who DNQ'd, rookie results.
For qualifying results/starting lineup, see:
- California Qulaifying Notes:
Brian Vickers won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Pop Secret 500, lapping California Speedway in 38.417 seconds at 187.417 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 38.414 seconds, 187.432 mph, set April 26, 2002.
This is Vickers's second career Bud Pole in 30 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. His other Bud Pole came at Richmond on May 14, 2004, 14 races ago.
It is Vickers's second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Fontana.
There have been eight different Bud Pole winners in nine races at California. Qualifying was canceled in 1999.
Vickers became the fifth multiple Bud Pole winner in 2004. Jeff Gordon (six), Kasey Kahne (four), Ryan Newman (four) and Casey Mears (two) are the other drivers with more than one Bud Pole this season. Qualifying was canceled at Watkins Glen and second Michigan due to weather.
Jeremy Mayfield had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 38.634 seconds at 186.364 mph and will join Vickers on the front row. It is his 11th top-10 start in 2004 and third top-10 start in his nine races at California.
This is 10th Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2004. Dodge has 11 Bud Poles and Ford has two.
Bill Elliott (third) posted his third top-10 start in his fifth race this season. He came up just shy of his 101st front-row start. Elliott has 55 Bud Poles and 45 second-place starts.
Kurt Busch (fourth) posted his ninth top-10 start in 2004 and his second in five races at California.
Kasey Kahne (fifth) posted his 11th top-10 start in 2004. He started on the Bud Pole in his only other NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at California.
Shane Hmeil (29th) and J.J. Yeley (32nd) both qualified for their first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. It was the second attempt for Hmeil.
He failed to qualify at Daytona in July 2003 driving for Richard Petty. It was the first actual attempt for Yeley. He was present at Michigan two races ago but qualifying was canceled.
Ward Burton, Ken Schrader, Jimmy Spencer, Jeff Fuller and Derrike Cope used provisionals to complete the 43-car field. Five drivers failed to qualify for the Pop Secret 500: Kevin Lepage, Hermie Sadler, Mike Wallace, Morgan Shepherd and Kirk Shelmerdine. This will be Fuller's ninth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start and his first since October 2000.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-3-2004)
- Stock Car Fans - Ramblings - California: Brian Vickers grabbed the Bud Pole today at California Speedway for our first visit here at this time of the year with a speed of 187.417 mph (38.417 sec)....and that was a ton ahead of Jeremy Mayfield. He was over 2/10ths quicker than Jeremy, and when you consider positions 2-11 were separated by about the same margin you could say that Vickers was in another league today. This is Brian's second pole of the season (and career)....he had the top-spot at Richmond when we were there in May.
Something to ponder....Anybody see the TV ratings for last week's race? When the PR piece is slugged "Bristol race second most watched cable program for the weekend" you figure they were okay.....but the numbers were down more than 20% over last year's ratings. That's a MONSTER drop when you consider that Bristol is one of our marquee events. You can try to spin it any way you want, but the people at TNT must be scratching their heads and getting ready to do some make-goods. Troubling indeed....
If we don't see a significant spike in this week's numbers, you've gotta start asking some tough questions. With a prime-time Sunday Night race on the East Coast (compared to that horrible Darlington they keep telling us about), anything less than a 15% increase in numbers should be considered disappointing.
Jeremy Mayfield (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Dover in June.
Bill Elliott (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Texas in April (only 3 races).
Scott Riggs (9th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Daytona in July.
Jeff Green (13th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th at Lowe's in May.
Ricky Rudd (20th) has his best starting spot since he started 20th at Daytona in July.
Bobby Hamilton Jr (24th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 18th at Kansas last October (only 8 races).
Welcome.....and Welcome Back: Shane Hmeil (29th in Bill Davis' #23 this week) makes his first career Nextel Cup start. He dnq'ed in the Petty #43 at Daytona in July of 2003. J. J. Yeley (32nd) makes his first career start this weekend in Joe Gibb's #11. He was washed out at Michigan a couple weeks ago. Boris Said (36th) makes only his second oval-track start....he started 27th and finished 34th at Homestead in November of 1999. Jeff Fuller (42nd) gets the start in the Arnold #50 this week.....only the second Cup start of his career. He started 29th and finished 30th at Richmond in March of 1992 [Jayski NOTE: Fuller has made 8 [this will be 9] career Cup starts, last in Oct 2000].
STREAKIN....Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.(Stock Car Fans Nextel Cup Newsletter)(9-3-2004)
- Bristol TV Ratings: The Sharpie 500, televised this past Saturday night from Bristol by TNT, was the 2nd most watched cable program, behind the 2004 Video Music Awards on MTV. The ratings was 3.4 with 5,743,000 viewers, down from 2003 which had a 4.3 Nielsen Media Research rating and 5,958,000 viewers.(Nielsen Media Research Site)(9-3-2004)
- Gillette Young Guns - Pop Secret 500 Notes: By picking Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 28th, Barbara M. of Manville, NJ was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Barbara picked Earnhardt Jr. 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 Earnhardt Jr. This is the ninth time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Earnhardt Jr.
The Gillette Young Guns are 13 for 24 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. have
four victories, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch who each have two victories, and Ryan Newman who has one victory.
Out of 6,838 laps run so far in 2004, the Gillette Young Guns have led 3,064 laps (45%). Through 24 races, the six members of the Gillette Young Guns have combined to lead 161 times for a total of 3,874.98 miles.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(9-3-2004)
- Camo Scheme for Biffle in California: This weekend at the California Speedway, the #16 Ford of Greg Biffle will be make laps in what the Army refers to as “urban camo.” Urban camo is a black, white and gray camo that the Army uses when engaged in urban combat. Urban camo is primarily worn by military police and SWAT teams involved in such combat situations. The National Guard Ford will be primarily white with a black and gray camo pattern. Under the urban camo paint scheme is that same car the team took to victory lane at Michigan just two weeks ago. The National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and one of the nation’s longest enduring institutions. The National Guard operates in all 50 states, three territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit the National Guard website at www.1-800-GO-GUARD.com.(Roush Racing site), see an image of the scheme on my #16 Team Paint Scheme page.(9-3-2004)
- NASCAR Teams Finding Milwaukee Mile Ideal For Testing: Joe Gibbs Racing elected to bring their two team NASCAR NEXTEL Cup effort to The Milwaukee Mile for a test session, as they are squarely in the hunt to win a third NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship. Drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte tested Monday and Tuesday, and were joined by Richard Childress Racing
(RCR) and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teams, all in an effort to prepare for tracks similar to The ‘Mile they’ll compete on yet this
season. Stewart, Labonte, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, and Scott Pruett (for Ganassi) spent time dialing-in their race car’s flat track set-ups at The ‘Mile. Their test in Milwaukee does not count against their team’s test allotment. Teams testing at The ‘Mile can apply suspension set-ups to both the ¾-mile fairgrounds oval in Richmond, VA, and at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS), a flat one-mile track patterned in a lot of ways after The Milwaukee Mile in banking, shape and design. Burton, a new teammate to Harvick with RCR, shared the #29 Chevy on Monday, while Pruett spent two full days of testing to provide set-up information for Ganassi’s three full-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, with drivers Jamie McMurray (currently 14th in points), Casey Mears (16th) and Sterling Marlin (19th). Defending NASCAR champion and Cambridge, WI native Matt Kenseth, tested with his Roush Racing team at America’s Legendary Oval in July. A return trip for Kenseth (5th in points) or any of the NASCAR teams in contention for the Cup is a possibility.(The Milwaukee Mile PR)(9-3-2004)
September 2, 2004
- Hamilton Jr. takes over the #32 Tide car starting at California / UPDATE 6: It was reported on Fox Sports Net's Totally NASCAR show that PPI Motorsports is building cars for 2005 #32 Tide Chevy driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr. and Hamilton Jr. may be in one of those PPI Motorsports Chevy's by Martinsville on Oct 24th. No word on if it will be in the #32 Tide Chevy [and Craven out?] or if he will run PPI Motorsports 2nd car, #96, that Johnny Benson tested in May.
MORE Sources close to Bobby Jr.'s future Cup team, the 32 Tide Chevrolet, say that cars are already being built for Bobby Jr. and that he could be in that car some time this year. Perhaps as early as Martinsville.(FoxSports)(8-26-2004)
UPDATE: during Speed Channel's NASCAR Live on Friday afternnon, Bob Dilner said he was told Ricky Craven will be in the #32 Tide Chevy for the rest of the 2004 season.
AND Car owner Cal Wells was noncommittal about reports that Bobby Hamilton Jr. might replace Ricky Craven in his cars before the end of the season, but Wells said he would like to have Hamilton in his car for the last four or five races. "But we're committed to finishing the season the way we are.... but anything can happen," Wells said. That indicates it could be up to Craven what happens next.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-28-2004)
UPDATE 2: Cal Wells will keep Ricky Craven in the #32 Tide Ford the until season's end, even though his '05 driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr., was recently released from his Busch Series ride. If Craven were to find an opening, Wells says he would not be opposed to plugging Hamilton into the spot early to gain familiarity with the team.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-30-2004)
UPDATE 3: hearing that Ricky Craven is out of the #32 Tide Chevy immediately and Hamilton Jr. will run the car at California and test at Hickory this week to get acquainted.(8-30-2004)
UPDATE 4: Despite recent pronouncements that such a deal would be unlikely, it now appears NASCAR Busch Series driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. will get an early start in his Nextel Cup ride with PPI Motorsports for next season. Barring last minute disapproval from PPI's sponsor, Procter & Gamble [Tide], Hamilton Jr. should take over the driving duties for the #32 Tide Chevrolets beginning this weekend at California Speedway.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-31-2004)
UPDATE 5: Bobby Hamilton Jr.'s Nextel Cup career could begin sooner than expected. Fox Sports Net's Sean Pragano has learned that Hamilton has asked to be in California on standby to drive the #32 Tide Chevrolet contingent upon contract negotiations between current driver Ricky Craven, owner Cal Wells and sponsor Procter and Gamble. Hamilton Jr.'s former Busch Series crew chief Harold Holly is expected to take over crew chief duties for Mike Beam on the #32 as soon as Hamilton takes over that ride, again, as early as this weekend.(FoxSports)(9-2-2004)
UPDATE 6 - Hamilton Jr. In; Craven will run at NHIS: PPI Motorsports announced today that Bobby Hamilton, Jr. will assume driving duties for its #32 entry in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starting with this weekend's event at California Speedway. Ricky Craven will return to the #32 entry for one more race, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at New Hampshire International Speedway held on September 19, 2004. Owner Cal Wells III said, "We are very grateful Ricky Craven chose to allow us the opportunity to get a head start on the 2005 season and let us put Bobby Hamilton, Jr. behind the wheel of the #32 car. This will give Bobby Jr. and the team a chance to work together for the remaining events to build a foundation for next season. We are also very excited to be taking Ricky back to New Hampshire this fall." Mike Beam will continue to serve as crew chief for the remainder of the 2004 season. Harold Holly, who was hired to serve as crew chief for Hamilton, Jr. in 2005 for the #32 team, will also play a role in Hamilton, Jr.'s transition with PPI Motorsports this season.
"Harold has already made considerable contributions to next year's program," said Wells. "We had announced previously that Harold and Bobby Jr. would start testing under the PPI Motorsports banner, and Harold has been working on building cars for Bobby Jr. in preparation. We understand Harold has obligations to his current employer and do not want to distract him from his duties. However, Harold will be atop the pit box on race day to acclimate both himself and Bobby Jr. to the organization." Bobby Hamilton, Jr. has 20 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup starts to date, including six in the #09 car during the 2004 season.(PPI Motorsports PR)(9-2-2004)
- NASCAR Museum in the works: An official NASCAR museum and hall of fame could be roaring into downtown Atlanta. After Atlanta officials pitched the idea earlier this year, NASCAR decided to request bids from at least three cities — Atlanta, Daytona Beach, Fla., and Charlotte — for a NASCAR hall of fame and museum, said Atlanta business and civic leaders familiar with NASCAR's plans. NASCAR is still working on the details of the attraction, but it may be comparable in size and scale to the new 85,000-square-foot World of Coca-Cola, expected to open by 2007. Herb Branham, a NASCAR spokesman at its headquarters in Daytona Beach, said it's "basically way too premature to speculate on any sort of project like that right now." George Pyne, NASCAR's chief operating officer, was not available for comment Wednesday. Pyne is a former Atlantan who once worked at developer John Portman & Associates with Sam Williams, head of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Though several tracks, such as Daytona and Talledega, Ala., have museums nearby, NASCAR has no official attraction besides its cafes in cities including Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach, S.C. Georgia has its own state racing hall of fame, Thunder Road USA, in Dawsonville. [links on my Hall of Fame page](Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(9-2-2004)
- Ward's car to show No Fear: Haas CNC Racing’s #0 NetZero Chevrolet will have a new look this weekend for the Labor Day weekend running of the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway in Fontana, CA. Evidently fear, or more precisely fear of change, is not a factor for Ward Burton and the NetZero Racing team, and the normally all black Chevrolet Monte Carlo will feature a special Fear Factor paint scheme to showcase NBC’s popular action-packed Monday night reality series. Sporting flames to match its new orange, black and yellow paint job, the car gives NetZero the chance to spotlight their involvement with the show as the sponsor of the timeclock used for stunts and challenges. Now in production on a fifth season with Joe Rogan ("NewsRadio") as host, the Top 20 series "Fear Factor" will celebrate it's landmark 100th episode -- which has enabled the enduring program to become the first reality show to be sold into syndication -- on Monday, Nov. 8 (8-9 p.m. ET).(Motorsports Marketing Solutions/NetZero Racing PR)(9-2-2004)
- DW to be honored: Darrell Waltrip will be honored at the 16th annual MS Dinner of Champions on Sept. 28 at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel [TN]. The Mid South Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society chose Waltrip to receive the MS Hope Award ''for his outstanding civic and community dedication.'' The retired three-time NASCAR champion is active in a number of Middle Tennessee charities.(Tennessean)(9-2-2004)
- Gordon's Pit Crew Wins At Bristol: The pit crew for Robby Gordon won the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Saturday night's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was the fourth victory of the season for the No. 31 Cingular Wireless crew, which has amassed $80,000 in season prize money. The record of four McDonald's/POWERade victories ties Elliott Sadler's crew for most pit crew wins in 2004. The victory also lifted Gordon's crew from eighth to sixth in the season point standings. The crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to lead in the title chase that will pay $200,000 to the season pit crew champion. Earnhardt's crew has a 12-point lead over Sadler's crew - 868 to 856. Gordon's Cingular Chevrolet spent 207.043 seconds on pit road in Bristol. Greg Biffle's National Guard Ford was second with a time of 211.289 and Earnhardt's Budweiser Chevy was third at 264.916.
"Saturday night was tough," said Chris Andrews, crew chief for the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Team. "The long green-flag run was brutal on the drivers and pitting the car without losing too much ground is always a challenge at Bristol because of the track's short distance. "Robby and the guys really worked hard all night to get the job done. I knew they were doing pretty good when we actually gained two positions after everyone was forced to make green-flag pit stops approaching the midway point of the race. We were 12th and then we were 10th. That doesn't seem like much, but Bristol is one place it is not easy to gain position when you come down pit road." Gordon's over-the-wall crew consists of: Ira-Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Kevin Nervegna (front-tire carrier), Timmy Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Matt Kreuter (rear-tire carrier), Ron Liddell (gas man), Mike Moore (jackman) and Coy Hedrick (catch can).(DMF Communications PR), see the top 10 and season standings on my Pit Crew page.(9-2-2004)
September 1, 2004
- Crown Royal allowed to sponsor #99 in 2005? Jack Roush will likely get that $15 million a year Crown Royal sponsorship for [#99] Carl Edwards, according to NASCAR sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-1-2004)
- Speedway, fans and sponsors raise over $40,000: This year's Sharon Speedway Victory Junction Gang Camp (VJGC) Benefit Night was twice as good as last year's. On Saturday, Aug. 21, Sharon Speedway, with tremendous help from its fans, sponsors and a few NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers, raised more than $40,000 - double last year's gift - for Victory Junction, the retreat
for seriously ill children and their families in Randleman, N.C., that was founded by NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, his wife Pattie and actor
Paul Newman. The event raised money in various ways, including an autograph session with NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Ken Schrader, Kyle Petty and Dave Blaney and a raffle for Bristol race tickets provided by Goody's Headache Powders and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. The track also donated the proceeds from its merchandise and ticket sales that night. Fans gave generously, too, stuffing VJGC collection containers with coins and bills. Sharon's Sunburst Environmental Sprints division driver Ed Lynch Jr. contributed half of his nightly winnings, and D.A. Holt, Inc. of Berlin Center, Ohio, presented speedway officials with a $1,000 check for the camp. Fans that are part of the Employee Activities Association at BP Amoco Whiting Refinery donated $750 for VJGC, which will be matched by their employer for a total donation of $1,500. Donations also included non-monetary gifts. Tom's Sewer and Septic Service provided the colorful fireworks that entertained the fans during the VJGC event, and children taking part in Sharon Speedway's Kids Crew donated materials for and made five blankets for the campers at VJGC which they presented to Petty. Also, the Niles, Ohio Toys R Us store donated two large baskets of toys, a case of crayons and a case of markers for the campers. As of June more than 11,000 people have helped to raise over $24 million in cash and pledges for Victory Junction Gang Camp. The camp operates solely on donations, and it will cost an estimated $2.5 million to run the camp each year.(VJGC PR)(9-1-2004)
- NASCAR Teams Using Facilities at ORNL to Increase Performance: More and more, NASCAR teams seeking a racing edge are making pit stops at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's High Temperature Materials Laboratory [ornl.gov / Oak Ridge, TN] for high-tech tips to better performance. "ORNL facilities that are used to test and develop transportation and materials technologies are gaining popularity among the NASCAR set," HTML Director Arvid Pasto said. "HTML provides a means for racing teams to study ways to enhance a car's ability to race at high speeds." Pasto said the HTML helps solve problems in advanced energy conversion systems -- such as race cars -- to make them more efficient and reliable. Engineers with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) of Welcome, N.C., which includes three cars [#'s 29,30,31] on the Nextel Cup circuit and two more in the Busch series, said they have been able to improve performances of their cars during the first half of the 2004 season based in part on research conducted last fall at the HTML.(more at azom.com.(9-1-2004)
- What's Up with Terry Labonte? UPDATE NOT Retiring: What's in store for Terry Labonte, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch? Hendrick Motorsports expects to have the #5 and #25 Nextel Cup teams under one roof next season, copying the successful model shared by Jeff Gordon's #24 and Jimmie Johnson's #48 crews. Vickers will be in the #25 car next season, but a Hendrick source says a final decision has not been made on whether Labonte, 47, will run the full 2005 season in the #5 car. He could retire or semiretire, allowing Busch, 19, to step into that ride. The source says the choice is up to Labonte, who has won two Cup championships.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-31-2004)
UPDATE: #5-Terry Labonte, testing at Richmond on Tuesday, hinted at big news. The two-time champion, who reportedly is mulling a limited schedule similar to Bill Elliott's this year, said he will be revealing his future plans later this season. "We're probably going to announce something not too far off, and I'm very excited about it," said Labonte, 47. "I can't tell you what it is. I can tell you I'm not retiring."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-1-2004)
- Biffle to have different sponsor(s) in 2005? #16-Greg Biffle's Ford, which carries sponsorship from the National Guard and Subway, will have 'things' different next year , some of the changes could be in form of associates. Speculation has the National Guard not returning. Some of Biffle's sponsors may migrate over to the #99 and Carl Edwards.(Last Weeks NASCAR Scene)(9-1-2004)
- Hermie to skip Calif. Busch race but will run rest of the Cup sched: #02 SCORE Motorsports and driver Hermie Sadler will not enter the NASCAR Busch Series race this Saturday at California Speedway, but will return to the Busch Series next weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Sponsorship and performance are the two main reasons for the decision, according to co-owner and driver Hermie Sadler. "When we started the season, we were only planning about 15 races," Sadler said. "Then we wanted to try and run all of the races, which has really stretched our people and equipment very thin. It has gotten to the point where our schedule to make all of the races was affecting our preparation and performance, so we made the decision to cut back on the number of races we will run in the Busch Series for the remainder of 2004 and put more emphasis on trying to be more competitive in the races we enter." Sadler says he has fielded some offers from some driver/sponsor combinations, and that the team may look at putting another driver in the car for selected races. "We are interested in putting a competitive product on the track, regardless of who drives the car," Sadler said. "If involving some other drivers and sponsors helps us be more competitive, then we will do that." The team will announce its remaining Busch Series schedule in the next few weeks. The team also plans to compete in all remaining NASCAR
NEXTEL Cup races in 2004, beginning with the Pop Secret 500 this weekend in California.(Score Motorsports PR)(9-1-2004)
- House of Blues for Sterling: The #40 Coors Light Dodge will be highlighting Coors Light's partnership with House of Blues by showcasing them on the lower rear quarter panels and the decklid for this weekend's race in California.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-1-2004)
- Special Scheme for Mears at California: Casey Mears will run a special Target House paint scheme on the #41 Dodge this weekend for the Pop Secret 500. Target House, funded by Target Stores and vendor and celebrity partner contributions, is an innovative approach to long-term housing for families whose children are receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Mears will also be wearing a special helmet designed by Josh Oehl, a current resident of Target House.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-1-2004)
- #100 for Johnson: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to start his 100th Nextel Cup race on Sunday at California Speedway.(Lowe's Racing)(9-1-2004)
- MTV to film Mears and McMurray's Cribs: #41-Casey Mears and his home will be featured on MTV Cribs. MTV will film at his home next week and his segment will be aired later this year.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)
AND #42-Jamie McMurray will open up his house in Statesville, N.C. next week to MTV to film an episode of MTV Cribs that will air later this year. The television show showcases celebrity's homes and lifestyles.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-1-2004)
- Tire Problems Addressed: Tire problems at Indianapolis during the Brickyard 400 drew the wrath of NASCAR's Bill France Jr., who has told Goodyear he plans to enforce minimum tire air-pressure standards. NASCAR inspectors are to roam the pits checking tires, and France is threatening to park for two laps any team found with low air pressure. Crews drop tire pressure to make cars handle better.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-1-2004)
- Johnson to run a special tool scheme at California: #48-Jimmie Johnson will drive a special Tool World paint scheme this weekend at California Speedway. The new Tool World is a remodeled section of 500 bits, blades, and power tool accessories in over 700 Lowe's stores across America. The new Tool World is designed for speed and convenience so customers can get what they need fast. Tool World sports the largest selection of America's best tool brands like DeWalt, Hitachi, Bosch, Shop Vac, Irwin and many more. Johnson's car will feature Hitachi power tools and Black & Decker Firestorm power tools.(Lowe's Racing)(9-1-2004)
- McMurray to anchor the news: #42-Jamie McMurray will tape a segment as guest anchor on Channel One News. Channel One News is a daily, televised, 12-minute newscast that is beamed via satellite to 12,000 middle, junior and high schools representing over 8 million students and 400,000 educators.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-1-2004)
- Drivers to film cameos in new Herbie movie: Casey Mears, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick and Rusty Wallace will be filming cameo appearances in the Walt Disney Picture Herbie: Fully Loaded at California Speedway on Friday. The picture stars Lindsey Lohan, Matt Dillon and Michael Keaton. See past news on this movie and other NASCAR Themed movies on my Movies News page.(9-1-2004)
- PRESS RELEASE: see the official Tom Roberts press release - Wallace Announces 2005 Will be his final Driving Season.
AND see images of the press conference and one of the schemes Wallace will run at the Rusty Wallace site.(9-1-2004)
- NASCAR Family Feud; Ward, Sterling, Mears, Salder - Nov 8th airdate: 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, Jimmy Elledge and some of the team members.(8-28-2004)
AND III: Elliott Sadler, Carolyn Yates and spotter Brett Griffin along with other members of the #38 team will be taping an episode of the Family Feud on Wednesday, Sept. 1st. Sadler and his team members will play against Sterling Marlin and the #40 team. The teams will compete for $20,000 for their charity of choice – Sadler’s is the Autism Society of America. The show is slated to air the week of November 8th.(Elevation Group PR)
AND IV: Add David Green and Bill Lester to the list drivers and teams flying to Hollywood earlier than most this week, to tape an episode of the game show "Family Feud".(Frontstretch)
Jeremy Mayfield vs Kevin Harvick
Ward Burton vs Kenny Wallace
Scott Wimmer vs Casey Mears
Sterling Marlin vs Elliott Sadler
Bill Lester vs David Green.(9-1-2004)
- Shelmerdine gets sponsorship for California: 2nd Chance Race Parts and RacingUnderdog.com are once again teaming up with NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Kirk Shelmerdine, and will be on board the Freddie B's #72 Ford Taurus as associate sponsors for this weekend's Pop Secret 500 at the California Speedway. The two companies were also associate sponsors for Shelmerdine for several events earlier this year. Rick Russell, owner of 2nd Chance Race Parts, has just launched a website, 2ndchanceraceparts.com. 2nd Chance, based in Mooresville, NC, buys and resells used race cars, parts, and accessories from top-tier Nextel Cup teams. Russell will be directly involved with the team's effort - he's driving Kirk's hauler out to California for the Pop Secret 500. 2nd Chance Race Parts supplies race teams in all levels of competition from Canada to Australia, and includes several NASCAR independents among its clients. RacingUnderdog.com is a NASCAR commentary and opinion site which focuses on the drivers who are generally out of the media spotlight. This weekend, the site will combine fantasy with reality as it sponsors the two main events for ESCORS, the European Online Stock Car Racing Series. ESCORS is the top simulated racing league in Europe. Kirk Shelmerdine is the only independent driver who has attempted to qualify for every Nextel Cup event in 2004. He is currently 42nd in the NASCAR Nextel Cup driver point standings, and 41st in the Nextel Cup owner point standings. In his only prior career start at Fontana, Kirk finished 42nd in the Auto Club 500 in May.(Racingunderdog.com PR)(9-1-2004)
- Not NASCAR but could be BIG Auto Racing News UNTRUE: As rumour of a shock Michael Schumacher retirement gains momentum, Ferrari's racing German has called a press conference. Speculation is doing the rounds that with seven titles now in the bag, the 35-year-old feels he has nothing left to prove in F1. See full story at f1racing.net.
UPDATE - UNTRUE see Speed Channel article -
Michael Schumacher Laughs Off Retirement Rumors.(9-1-2004)
August 31, 2004
- Rusty Fact: since Rusty Wallace started running the Cup tour in 1984 full time, the worst he has finished in the Drivers Points Standings is 19th  and 14th [1984 and 2003], currently 21st.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-31-2004)
- So who replaces Rusty? Several names have come up as consideration veers to who will drive the No. 2 car in 2006. Jamie McMurray has been mentioned, although Wallace denies he would try to pry McMurray from Chip Ganassi, and Ganassi recently exercized a contract option on McMurray. Also in the distance is young Indy Racing League star Sam Hornish, who drive for Penske in Indy Car. There have been indications that Hornish might like to try NASCAR, at least a Daytona 500, but no speculation about long-term NASCAR plans for Hornish.(Speed Channel)(8-31-2004)
- Rusty on the tube...after? Word on the street is that Rusty Wallace, who Monday announced his retirement from driving, effective end of 2005, may take up television broadcasting when NASCAR renegotiates its network situations for 2007. Sources indicate that Wallace, 48, could have a spot in the booth for one of the networks, although details are not yet clear. NASCAR's current contracts with Fox (through 2008) and NBC/TNT (through 2006) are due for renegotiation.(Speed Channel)(8-31-2004)
- NASCAR Announces 2005 Preseason Thunder Dates: The 2005 NASCAR Preseason Thunder test schedule at Daytona International Speedway will kick off with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, which, along with its usual newsworthiness, also will enjoy the distinction of being the first event housed at the Speedway’s newly renovated infield and garages. Leading off next season’s edition of NASCAR Preseason Thunder will be the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams that finished in odd-number positions in the final 2004 car owner point standings. They will begin testing Tuesday, Jan. 11 and conclude Thursday, Jan. 13. The rain date is Friday, Jan. 14. All NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series teams will test Saturday, Jan. 15 and Sunday, Jan. 16. The rain date is Monday, Jan. 17.
All NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams that finished in even-number positions in the final 2004 car owner point standings will be on track Tuesday, Jan. 18 through Thursday, Jan. 20. The rain date is Friday, Jan. 21.
All NASCAR Busch Series teams will be on track Saturday, Jan. 22 through Monday, Jan. 24. The rain date is Tuesday, Jan. 25.
Fans, too, have their chance to participate in NASCAR Preseason Thunder. The Speedway’s Oldfield Tower grandstands, located just outside Daytona USA, will open free of charge to fans to watch the NASCAR preseason action. Also, four Fan Fests – whose proceeds will benefit the Speedway and NASCAR-designated charities – are scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 12, Saturday, Jan. 15, Wednesday, Jan. 19 and Saturday, Jan. 22. Adding to the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Thunder anticipation will be the Speedway’s new multi-million dollar infield renovation, which includes new garages for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series, a new Victory Lane and a new Fan Zone.(NASCAR PR)(8-31-2004)
- $$ Fact: Only six drivers [and only three with more then two starts] have won more then $100,000 in every race run in 2004: #12-Ryan Newman, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #17-Matt Kenseth, #1-Ron Fellows, #60-Jason Leffler and #36-Boris Said.(NASCAR.com)(8-31-2004)
- Rusty Fact: since Rusty Wallace started running the Cup tour in 1984 full time, the worst he has finished in the Drivers Points Standings is 19th  and 14th [1984 and 2003], currently 21st.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-31-2004)
- Fuller in the #50 UPDATE:: Jeff Fuller will be in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge this weekend for the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway. Fuller will attempt to make his first Nextel Cup race of the season. Fuller will also be doing his normal driving duties in the Busch Series piloting the #88 Nemco Motorsports Chevrolet.(Jeff Fuller Site)
AND been told that Jeff Fuller will be driving in California and will drive the #50 Cup Dodge when there is a truck race at another track. Todd Bodine will drive the #30 Toyota truck on a full time basis and when the Truck and Cup teams are at the same track, he will drive the #50 as well. Since the trucks will not be in California, Fuller will be the driver.(8-31-2004)
UPDATE: Arnold Motorsports would like to welcome Jeff Fuller to our team. Fuller will assist in their continued advancement in NASCAR racing by allowing them the flexibilty to field the #50 Dodge Nextel Cup team as well as the #30 Craftsman Truck Series team [Toyota]. Due to the joining of forces of Germain Motorsports and Arnold Motorsports to form the Craftsman Truck Series team, they will need Fuller to help with the obligations of fielding two teams. Todd Bodine will continue to be a vital part of the growth of both Arnold Motorsports and Germain-Arnold Motorsports.(Arnold Motorsports PR)(8-31-2004)
- Kangaroo TV? what is it? NASCAR Digital Entertainment and Kangaroo Capital, in cooperation with SPEED Channel and seven NASCAR tracks, announce the testing of Kangaroo.TV, a new and unique at-track, hand-held, multi-media experience for fans. At seven NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events during the remainder of the 2004 season, the Kangaroo.TV device will carry SPEED Channel’s live television coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, live in-truck video feeds, live team audio communications, an electronic version of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series media guide, and live timing and scoring data. Fans may also activate a “favorite driver” function that coordinates live timing and scoring data and in-car communication for a specific team. The first test of Kangaroo.TV at a NASCAR event will take place on Thursday, Sept. 9 during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series 200 at Richmond International Raceway, in Richmond, Va.(more at Speed Channel)(8-31-2004)
August 30, 2004
- It's Official - Rusty Wallace to retire, from driving Nextel Cup, after 2005; Rusty Wallace will retire at the end of the 2005 season, Wallace made he announcement at the opening of a press conference at Daytona USA, among those speaking included: Bill Weber [hosting], Rusty Wallace, Bill France Jr., Mike Helton, Roger Penske, Steve Lauletta [Miller], Fred Wagenhals [Action], Bobby Allison, NHRA's Don Prudhomme, Speed Channel had many transmission problems with the press conference and lost the press conference feed around 11:25am/et or so and it never came back, wonder if anyone bought a bowflex while waiting for the press conference to come back on?
Explanation of technical difficulties during this morning's Rusty Wallace press conference on Speed Channel from Daytona Beach: The initial loss of audio was due to the failure of a "mult-box" (single source of audio distributed to multiple outlets) provided by the facility. The total loss of signal was due to a loss of shore power at the venue and the failure of a backup generator. With the loss of signal from Daytona, the network returned to scheduled programming.(SC PR)
AND Rusty Wallace announced plans for his final full season of competition Monday at Daytona USA, plans that include an elaborate merchandising effort featuring a number of different paint schemes at various events. Beyond that, however, Wallace said he's not going to walk completely away from the sport he's been around since his father won a trio of track championships in the St. Louis area. He'll continue on as a spokesman for Miller beer, his longtime sponsor, and maintain his ownership position in Penske Racing South, the team for which he has driven since 1991 and scored 37 of his 55 career Cup victories. Wallace also owns a team that competes in the Busch Series. He also has several auto dealerships and several other businesses that could occupy his time after he hangs up his helmet for good. Another thing that will keep Wallace around racing for a while is his son, Stephen, who wants to carry the family name into a third generation in the sport. See full column at ThatsRacing.com
and see past news/rumors on my #2 Team News and Links page.
and other sites with columns/announcement:
Fox Sports: Wallace announces plans to retire after next season and DW: Rusty's right to walk away while he can still win.
NASCAR.com: It's official: Rusty to retire after 2005 season.(8-30-2004)
- Sad News: Mother of NASCAR driver, Dick Trickle, Lauretta (nee Passineau) Trickle, age 84, formerly of Rudolph, Wisconsin passed away Sunday, August 29, 2004 at River Hills Health Center in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Funeral Services are 12 noon Wednesday at Ritchay Funeral Home in Wisconsin Rapids. Rev. Kenneth Hanson will officiated. Burial in Forest Hill Cemetery. Lauretta was born June 17, 1920 to Charles and Martha (nee Daly) Passineau of Rudolph. She married Leo Trickle of Rudolph on December 27, 1938. She was a homemaker and was proud of all her 5 children. She was known as "Ma" Trickle to many. She had a love for gardening, canning, quilting and racing. Survivors include children Duiane (Margaret) Trickle of Plover, Dick (Darlene) Trickle of Iron Station, NC, Chuck (Barbara) Trickle of Las Vegas, Delores (Dennis) Iwanski of Waukesha, Sue Trickle of Waukesha; Sister of Bernice Bucholz of California; 12 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. Friends may call Ritchay Funeral Home in Wisconsin Rapids from 4-7PM Tuesday and Wednesday at the funeral home from 10:30AM until the time of services.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(8-30-2004)
- DHL to sponsor a team? UPDATE 2 Truex Jr. has a Cup sponsor: hearing rumors that DHL could sponsor a Cup team in 2005, one rumored is the #1 DEI team. DHL would join UPS and Fed-Ex as delivery service companies joining NASCAR.(7-21-2004)
UPDATE: DHL, the air-express company that has stepped into the NASCAR arena with a race sponsorship at Michigan International Speedway, wants to step up to a full car sponsorship, but its on-again, off-again negotiations to put together a package still appear up in the air. DHL has been speculated as a potential sponsor for a third Dale Earnhardt Inc. team, but other teams may also be in the bidding. And the driver situation is still murky.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-28-2004)
UPDATE 2: during Speed Channel's Victory Lane program, DEI's Richie Gilmore was interviewed and asked about the #1 car team sponsoship update. Gilmore said the deal is close to done, just not signed for a sponsor in 2005 to run Martin Truex Jr. in seven Cup races and Ron Fellows in the two road courses and full time for Truex Jr. in 2006-2007. Gilmore said no sponsor has been found for John Andretti and doesn't sond like on will be.(8-30-2004)
- Nemechek OK after hard wreck: #01-Joe Nemechek found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and unfortunately for the U.S. Army driver he was the first victim in Saturday night's accident-plagued Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. On Lap 33 of 500 Nemechek's Chevrolet got tagged in Turn 1, sending the black and gold Army car crashing into the wall. The damage to the car was not repairable and the result was a 42nd-place finish for Nemechek, who suffered a bruised left foot in the incident. "I saw the No. 22 (Scott Wimmer) spinning high so I went low," explained Nemechek. "I thought I had him cleared. I needed another six inches -- it was that close. I got hit in the right rear and started spinning. There wasn't anything I could do. The car hit driver's-side first but luckily it wasn't flush. I took a good hit, I felt it." Nemechek was brought to the infield medical center and was released after a short stay. He will undergo further evaluation on his foot Sunday in Charlotte. "I feel fine, just a bruise," said Nemechek, who walked out of the infield care center without any assistance. "I think my pride is hurt more than anything. But this Army team will bounce back in California next week."(MB2 PR)(8-30-2004)
- JGR wants more seat time for Yeley: Joe Gibbs Racing G.M. J.D. Gibbs hasn't decided who will race the #11 Fed-Ex Chevrolet in 2005. Gibbs says he'd like to see J.J. Yeley "get more seat time" before coming to the Nextel Cup Series. Gibbs: "Nowadays it's hard to see who is ready and who is not. A few years ago it was easier to have a plan, but now there are so many drivers that pop out of (the Busch Series) hauling the mail right out of the box, it's hard to tell." Gibbs says it wouldn't be fair to judge Yeley based on the caliber of the team's Busch equipment earlier in the season, but now he feels the Busch Series and Cup programs are more "in sync." Yeley finished 15th in the Busch race at Bristol and is 29th in points, running in only 12 of 24 races so far.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-30-2004)
- Newman testing tire at RIR: Ryan Newman will perform a two-day tire test for Goodyear this week at Bristol. There were no problems with tires in Saturday's race at Bristol, but there was concern with the same compound at Indy, and it is scheduled to be used next week at Richmond.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-30-2004)
- Charpentier to the #0? AND: Dave Charpentier, a former engineer at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and most recently crew chief for Cal Wells and Ricky Craven, appears likely to take a new job with the Ward Burton [#0 NetZero] team.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-28-2004)
AND #32 team owner, Cal Wells also gave former PPI Motorsports crew chief/ team engineer Dave Charpentier clearance to seek employment elsewhere.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-30-2004)