SEPT 6-12, 2004
September 12, 2004
- Tests Left? The NASCAR Nextel Cup championship could be decided by what happens at empty race tracks days before the series races at those places. Some teams saved their test sessions for the final 10 races, while others used most of their tests to assure that they'll make the championship chase. Tests are valuable because teams typically have only two hours of practice before qualifying and 90 minutes of practice the day before the race. Test sessions usually last eight hours, giving teams time to try different setups.
#17-Matt Kenseth has saved all but one test for the final 10 races. He's scheduled to test at Martinsville, Dover, Atlanta, Homestead, Phoenix and a track to be determined.
#48-Jimmie Johnson has four test sessions left. Crew chief Chad Knaus says they plan to test at Martinsville, Talladega, Phoenix and Homestead.
#24-Jeff Gordon has four test sessions left and is planning to test at Martinsville, Dover, Phoenix and Homestead.
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to test at Kansas City, Homestead, Dover and Martinsville.
#20-Tony Stewart has three tests and is expected to test at Darlington and Homestead with another track to be decided.
#38-Elliott Sadler, has two sessions left. The team has not decided where it will go.(Roanoke Times)(9-12-2004)
- Team 48 and Team 5 are "Racing for Relief": In response to Hurricanes Charley and Frances, Lowe's Monte Carlo drivers Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch are "Racing for Relief" at Richmond International Raceway this weekend to generate funds for disaster relief efforts. Last month, Johnson announced the implementation of an in-store customer donation program at Lowe's stores along the Gulf and East Coasts to assist the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Lowe's announced it will match donations up to $1 million. In addition, for every lap that Johnson completes in the 400-lap NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Richmond on Saturday night, Lowe's will donate $48 (Johnson's car number). For every lap that Busch completes Friday night in the 200-lap Busch Series race at Richmond, Lowe's will donate $50 [Busch finished 5th, ran all 250 laps, total is $12,500]. Racing for Relief is a program Lowe's first introduced in April of 2000. The program has helped disaster relief efforts for hurricanes, tornados and floods, raising more than $350,000 to date.
In addition, Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevrolet will carry a special decal on the rear deck lid (trunk) and hood supporting the American Red
Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Anyone interested in donating to the fund may go to any Lowe's store along the Gulf or East Coasts or make an online donation at www.lowes.com or www.redcross.org.
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of the recent hurricanes and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a
financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.(9-11-2004)
THANKS: $12,500 for Busch's 250 laps, and $16,224 for Johnson's 338 laps run.(9-12-2004)
September 11, 2004
- Mayfield wins at Richmond and gets in 'The Chase': #19-Jeremy Mayfield won the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway Saturday night, leading the most laps, and clinching 9th in the 'Chase for the Nextel Cup'. It is Mayfield first win in 142 races, at Pocono on June 19, 2000, the 4th of his career. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 2nd, followed by #24-Jeff Gordon, #80-Mike Bliss [best career finish] and #6-Mark Martin. #99-Carl Edwards was 6th, his 3rd top 10 in his first 4 races. #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. finished 11th, his career finish [best was 14th at Talladega in Oct 2001]. Some great pre-race ceremonies honoring 9-11.
For more on the race, lap leaders, DNFs, cautions, notes, how the top 10 starters did, etc. see my Richmond Race Info/Rundown Page and a good race report see ThatsRacin.com.
For race results, see:
Jayski's Richmond Race Results/Awards page
- Wood Bros and Roush Splitting? The Winston Salem Journal) reports....The Wood brothers [#21 Motorcraft/US Air Force/Rent-A-Center Ford] and Jack Roush are splitting, and it's not clear what's going on behind the scenes. The Wood brothers, who will still be running Roush-Yates engines, shrug off the situation with little comment, saying they've been doing most of their own engineering work for some time now. Roush says the Woods' decision to hire Michael 'Fatback' McSwain has changed the dynamics of the relationship between his five teams and the Wood brothers, who have been allied with Roush on the technological side for several years. The Wood brothers hired McSwain two weeks ago at Ricky Rudd's urging. Rudd and McSwain worked well together in the past, and Rudd hopes the reunion will rekindle that magic. Roush says that he and his drivers were OK with the Wood brothers hiring McSwain but that his crew chiefs are concerned about revealing too many secrets to McSwain.(quotes also at: Winston Salem Journal).(9-11-2004)
- Testing at Phoenix in Oct: #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #88-Dale Jarrett and #42-Jamie McMurray are penciled in for a two-day PIR test scheduled Oct. 18-19. The test is open to the public, and admission is $20 per day. Fans already holding tickets to the Nov. 7 Checker Auto Parts 500 at PIR can attend free. Race-day tickets begin at $35 and can be purchased during the test session by entering Gate 7.(Arizona Republic)(9-11-2004)
- New Spotter for Dale Jr.: Stevie Reeves, Dale Earnhardt, Jr's spotter, was relieved of his spotter duties by Dale Earnhardt, Inc. racing. Reeves will remain with the team in some other capacity. Steve Hmiel will spot for Jr. this weekend. "We want to win, we can go for a win at all costs, and that means everything," said Earnhardt after he qualified the No. 8 DEI Chevrolet. 8 team members deduced that Hmiel may serve as a better umpire between Earnhardt and the Eury's.(Motorsport.com)(9-11-2004)
- More on Robby at RCR..Blaney? Schrader? Onne of the hottest stories in the garage sits inside Childress' head - the future of the team that Robby Gordon drives for. Will Childress sign Gordon to a new contract for 2005 or will Childress sign a new driver? Dave Blaney is the man most prominently mentioned as the candidate for the ride. Ken Schrader is another man also mentioned for the ride. Childress, without saying what his specific options are, expects to make a decision "within the next two weeks."(Winston Salem Journal)
AND Matt Crafton a possible replacement in the #31 Chevy? Matt Crafton, who currently pilots the #6 owned by Kevin Harvick [in the Truck Series] has been mentioned as one of the driver's being considered to inherit the ride of Robby Gordon - IF (and that's a very big IF) Cingular and Richard Childress Racing decide not to renew Gordon's contract.(Motorsports.com)(9-11-2004)
- Biffle to have different sponsor(s) in 2005? UPDATE: #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)
AND - 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)
UPDATE: Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, says he expects National Guard to return to Greg Biffle's #16 team and that he remains hopeful that the team can sign a sponsorship deal with Diageo, which manufactures several brands of hard liquor. Roush Racing still has no sponsor for Carl Edwards' #99 Cup team. NASCAR vetoed the Diageo deal earlier this year because of a policy of not permitting hard liquor advertising. Smith says he's continuing to talk to NASCAR about the sponsorship possibility for a hard liquor brand.(Roanoke Times)(9-11-2004)
- AOL done with NASCAR? Garage insiders indicate that America Online may want to scale back their involvement in the sport next season. Currently, they sponsor the #30 Chevy of Jeff Burton.(Motorsports.com)(9-11-2004)
- Grands! Biscuits Most Popular Voting Keeps Record Pace: Record numbers of voters have pushed total votes for
Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award to the cusp of 3 million, and the award will most likely finish with a record number of total votes by the time voting closes at the end of the 2004 season. Richard Petty, NASCAR's winningest driver and car owner and the man most consider NASCAR's most popular driver of all time, said he isn't surprised.
"Race fans have always been passionate, not just about their sport but about the drivers and the teams they pull for," Petty said. "With more and more race fans being developed because of television and the Cup series running in more of the larger markets, it just seems natural that the votes for Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver would grow too."
More than 2.8 million votes have been cast so far this year for the Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver at the Web site www.mostpopulardriver.com. During the 2003 voting season, 3 million votes were cast. These vote totals are well ahead of the mark reached the second week of September last season, clearly showing the fans' enthusiasm for supporting their favorite drivers.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continues to lead the nationwide balloting, maintaining his first-place position since the start of the 2003 season. Earnhardt Jr. leads second-place Jeff Gordon. Rounding out the top 10 are Kevin Harvick, Michael Waltrip, Tony Stewart, Dale Jarrett,
Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte.
Fans can log onto www.mostpopulardriver.com once each day and vote for
their favorite driver. The Web site, www.mostpopulardriver.com, is available for Internet voting through 11:59 a.m. CST on Monday, Nov.
22. Additional voting guidelines are accessible on the Web site.(Williams, Williams Company)(9-11-2004)
- Poles at RIR: There have been ten different Bud Pole winners in the last ten races at Richmond.
Rusty Wallace and Jeff Burton in 2000; Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon in 2001; Ward Burton and Jimmie Johnson in 2002; Terry Labonte and Mike Skinner in 2003 and Brian Vickers and Ryan Newman in May 2004.(9-11-2004)
- One Team gets their hand slapped, #12? UPDATE denied: When NASCAR announced its new points system in January, some drivers complained. Since then, many have changed their mind, at least publicly, saying NASCAR made the right call. Don't expect to hear a dissenting opinion as at least one team [hearing it was the #12 team] has been told by NASCAR to keep its driver from bashing the system.(News and Record)(9-7-2004)
UPDATE: Ryan Newman remains an opponent of the current championship format, but he said no one in NASCAR had pressured him to temper his remarks. “I think the system that determines the champion ought to be fair to everybody,” said Newman, “and this system isn’t fair. I’m going to leave it at that, but I think everybody knows, as Americans, that we have constitutional rights, and if I have an opinion, I’m going to express it. I would hope NASCAR recognizes the rights we all have as Americans, and, no, they haven’t said anything to me about it.”(Gaston Gazette)(9-11-2004)
September 10, 2004
- Whats Up with Ricky Craven: For the first time in 132 races, Newburgh's Ricky Craven wasn't behind the wheel of the Tide #32 car last weekend. So what was it like to watch a Nextel Cup race rather than participate in it? "Actually, I watched [daughter] Riley and [son] Everett on the Carolina Cyclone. I had promised to take them all summer," said Craven referring to a ride at a local amusement park near their North Carolina home. "To be honest, if I'm not in it, I'm not interested," said Craven. "I don't watch a lot of television." Craven and team owner Cal Wells III originally announced in July that they would part company at the end of the season. But Craven decided to leave the team last week to allow Hamilton Jr. to begin his transition. "I'll bounce back. I'm 38 and I'm feeling good. What I'm doing now is evaluating what I could have done better and where we may have failed as a team. I hope to use that to my advantage. I will also retain the things we did well. We overachieved in 2001, 2002 and the early part of 2003. We were the only single-car team to win in several years when we won [at Martinsville] in 2001 and we did it again two years later [at Darlington]," said Craven, who will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck series debut in the No. 47 ACXIOM Chevy Silverado at the Sylvania 200 in eight days. Craven will make one more appearance in the #32 Tide Chevy for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway in nine days. He said he has had "discussions" with Nextel Cup teams and he has enjoyed the conversations. But there isn't anything to report at this time, he said. "I still have that desire to compete. And that will continue to climb as the season winds down and I have a clearer picture of 2005. I'll come back hungrier and more determined than ever," said Craven whose wife, K.K., is expecting their third child in February. Craven likes the fact he has been able to spend more time with his family but said he would race again this season "if the circumstances are right. I want to go to a program that could either help me for next year or that will lead into next year. I'm not going to race just to race. That's of no interest to me, now. It may have been five or six years ago." He admitted it is a "hard time for me" but he knows rides will become available and he wants to put his best foot forward to land a competitive Nextel Cup ride for 2005.(Bangor Daily News)
AND Asked yesterday if he would be hesitant to join another single-car team down the road, Craven answered quickly. "Absolutely," he said. However, Craven insists he intends on remaining a part of the Nextel Cup series, NASCAR's premier level of stock car racing. He'll race in the Craftsman Truck Series at NHIS later this month as part of a once-a-year program through General Motors, but Craven said the trucks or the Busch Series don't "have my attention right now" in terms of future employment. Instead, he'll watch his Cup colleagues compete in the stretch drive of this season, looking to capitalize on what he characterizes as a lack of patience among team-leading higher-ups.(Concord Monitor)(9-10-2004)
- Replacing Wallace: Hornish or McMurray? Now that Rusty Wallace has announced that 2005 will be his final Nextel Cup season, speculation has begun as to who will replace him in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge [in 2006]. The two names that keep coming up are IRL driver Sam Hornish Jr. and Cup driver Jamie McMurray. Hornish and Wallace have the same team owner in Roger Penske, and Hornish considered moving to NASCAR last year. McMurray is under contract with Chip Ganassi, but contract situations can change. "We've got a year and a half to make that decision," Wallace said. "But I don't think we're in the mood to go through a lot of growing pains. Miller wants a young hot shot. We need a guy who's kicking tail right now."(Dallas Morning News)(9-10-2004)
- Kenseth wins IROC Race at RIR: Matt Kenseth won race three of the Crown Royal International Race of Champions at Richmond International Speedway Thursday night. Starting fourth, Kenseth, the reigning NASCAR Cup champion, took the lead from IndyCar Series driver Scott Sharp on lap six of the 90-lap event and without challenge went on to dominate the remainder of the first short track event for the All-star series. Finishing second was NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver, Ryan Newman placing him in the points lead. Fellow NASCAR drivers Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively. There were two caution periods, including the competition yellow at lap-60. The first caution was for World of Outlaws star, Danny Lasoski who got his car out of shape exiting turn two. Lasoski flat spotted his Goodyear tires and was serviced by the Crown Royal crew before rejoining the field. IndyCar Series star, Scott Sharp bested the open wheel contingent finishing sixth followed by USAC Triple Crown champion J.J. Yeley in seventh. IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Lasoski finished 10 th followed by NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil finishing 11 th after tagging the wall, and rounding out the field, finishing 12th, World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser. Kinser fell out of the race on lap-38 with mechanical problems.
Kenseth, in his first year of Crown Royal IROC competition spoke proudly of his accomplishment at Richmond saying, “I watched a lot of IROC races as a kid and I remember watching Mid-Ohio and Darlington with all the great drivers in it. It’s an honor for me to be invited to the IROC series, and really cool to win a race and get one of the IROC trophies.“ The Crown Royal International Race of Champions will reward one million dollars to the 2004 champion when the series concludes at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 30.(IROC Site), all three races in 2004 were have been won by first time IROC winners, Kenseth at RIchmond Lasoski at Texas and at Newman at Daytona and the last six races have been won by first time IROC winners, in the last three races in 2003 the winners were: Jimmie Johnson at Indy, Mike Bliss at Chicago and Kurt Busch at Talladega.(9-10-2004)
- RaceSafe used in IROC: for the first time, the IROC cars used RaceSafe System, owned by Racing Electronics [Jayski sponsor], at Richmond Thursday night. Race Safe Systems makes the Race Safe Warning Light System uses a radio transmitter and receiver that alerts all drivers of a caution situation simultaneously [using yellow lights].(9-10-2004)
- Gillette Young Guns - Chevy Monte Carlo 400 Notes By picking Ryan Newman. as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway on September 5th, Wendy S. of Deshler, OH was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Wendy picked Newman 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 Newman. This is the second time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Newman.
The Gillette Young Guns are 13 for 25 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.
Through the 25th race of the season, Jimmie Johnson has once again take over the point lead from his teammate Jeff Gordon. Johnson
now leads Gordon by 50 points. Four other Gillette Young Guns are also in the top-10 and rank as follows - Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Kenseth (Fifth), Busch (Seventh), and Newman (Eighth). Kevin Harvick currently occupies the 15th position in the standings. The top-15 drivers are now separated by 480-points. Out of 7,088 laps run so far in 2004, the Gillette Young Guns have led 3,074 laps (43%). Gillette Young Guns Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman are among nine total drivers who have never recorded a DNF (did not finish) at Richmond.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(9-10-2004)
- Sadler gets cool sponsor: Richmonder Floyd Booth has joined the ranks of high-rolling NASCAR sponsors for a week, paying $2,500 to buy a pair of decals on the rear quarterpanels of the car Hermie Sadler will attempt to qualify for tomorrow's Chevy Rock & Roll 400. The decals carry the name of Booth's son, John A. Booth, and support a scholarship Booth endowed in his son's name at J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College. "It's part of the PAVE program, which assists students with what would be called slight mental handicaps," Booth said. "My son was like that, but he also had a heart condition. He died in 1989, just before we got PAVE started in 1990." In addition to the decals, Booth's contribution netted him tickets to the race and a chance to take a place in Sadler's merchandise trailer, where he'll pass out literature and solicit contributions to the scholarship fund. "I think it's worth it," Booth said. "The program at Reynolds is the only one in the state. Once they find out about it, people like to support it."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-10-2004)
September 9, 2004
- Enterprise to sponsor for Truex Jr. in NHIS Cup race? UPDATE: hearing Enterprise Rent-a-car will be the sponsor for Martin Truex Jr.s 'official' Nextel Cup debut next week at New Hampshire where he will drive the #1 DEI Chevy. Truex Jr. subbed for #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at New Hampshire in July when Dale Jr. was recovering from the Sport Car fire in Sonoma where he was injured, suffering burns.
UPDATE; Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Enterprise Rent-A-Car have joined forces to enter Martin Truex Jr. in the Sylvania 300 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race next weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway, the team announced Thursday. The Sylvania 300 will be Truex Jr.'s first start in NASCAR's premier series. The current Busch Series point leader will drive DEI's No. 1 Enterprise Rent-A-Car Chevrolet at New Hampshire , where he is a Busch North Series winner. Truex, competing in his first full season in the Busch Series, leads Kyle Busch by 95 points heading into Friday night's Emerson Radio 250 at Richmond International Raceway, with nine races remaining this season. "It's still sinking in that I'm running my first Cup race," Truex Jr. said. "Enterprise Rent-A-Car and DEI have made strong efforts to give me this opportunity. Everyone at DEI rents cars from Enterprise on the weekends we race, so I'm looking forward to representing them on the track in New Hampshire ." Enterprise Rent-A-Car is also making its debut as a primary sponsor in Nextel Cup racing.(DEI Site)(9-9-2004)
- Robby Gordon out of the #31 at end of 2004? #31 Cingular Chevy driver Robby Gordon seemed to indicate Thursday this would be his final year with Richard Childress Racing, although he left open the possibility of a return. When asked at Richmond International Raceway about the plans for his Busch Series team next year, Gordon replied: "How do you say it in a nice way? Those are the only plans I do have are the Busch plans. We were sitting here in fourth (in points) this season when Richard asked me to slow down the Busch program and focus on the Cup deal." Gordon, who has three Cup wins in his career, said he has had good runs in Cup this season, only to see them turn sour by bad luck. "We've had flat tires, other things have happened and got wrecked. I plan to run the (Busch team) in 24 races next year and if I don't get anything else, we'll fill the rest of the races with another sponsor." Asked later if he was certain he was leaving RCR, Gordon said, "We have been consistently the best car in the camp quite often, so I wouldn't say I won't be there. I've had a good relationship with Richard and we'll see what happens. If I could do my own deal, that's probably what I would do." Gordon ran his own Cup team briefly in 2001, but he never completed the whole season. He started up his own Busch team this season operated out of a new shop and has had good results, with three top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 19 starts. Gordon's Cup team is 19th in points, with two top-five and five top-10 finishes. All three of his career wins have come with RCR.
- Blaney to Gibbs...to the #11 Fed-Ex car? during Busch Series qualifying at Richmond, Speed Channel broadcaster, Larry McReynolds said the Dave Blaney has been hired by Joe Gibbs Racing to help [drive?] J.J. Yeley with his Busch and Cup series rides. Blaney could be paired up with recent Joe Gibbs Racing hire, crew chief Philippe Lopez. Blaney has worked with Lopez with Bill Davis Racing. Blaney could end up in the #11 Fed-Ex Chevy full-time or Blaney and Yeley could split duties.(9-9-2004)
- Wimmer out? UPDATE NO: Rowdy is hearing that Raybestos Rookie of the Year Candidate, Scott Wimmer may be out of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge soon. Word is he will stay in the Bill Davis Racing organization in some capacity. Hear about it on Rowdy at 1-800-95-ROWDY. Rowdy is racing news on your cell phone, with driver talk, trivia, fan commentary, and more. Call 1-800-95-ROWDY to sign up for a free no-obligation trial.(Rowdy), back to the #23 Busch car? Kenny Wallace back up? Maybe new Bill Davis Racing Truck Series driver, Mike Skinner?
UPDATE: been told by sources that this is not the case, Wimmer is safe in the #22 car.
AND Mike Skinner says there is no truth to any rumor floating that he may replace Scott Wimmer in the Caterpillar Dodge. PRN's Mark Garrow asked Skinner about it at Richmond Thursday afternoon and his response was...."No, no...no truth to that."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(9-9-2004)
- Stewart goes fishing: Outdoor Life Network's new show NASCAR Outdoors will feature 2002 NASCAR Premier Series Champion, Tony Stewart, fishing for bass in Birmingham, Ala. He may be fiery on the track, but he knows how to dial it down off the pavement. Fans will experience a different side of "Smoke" as he casts his lines for bass at a friend's exclusive resort in the heart of Alabama. The episode will air on OLN(r) on Saturday, September 18th in the morning at 8:30am/et/pt and in primetime at 7:00pm/et.(Alan Taylor PR)(9-9-2004)
- Sadler's Pit Crew Takes Over Points Lead: Elliott Sadler's pit crew captured its fifth victory of the season by taking top honors in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday's Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway in Fontana. The No. 38 crew, which paced Sadler to victory at California and a spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, has earned $100,000 in McDonald's/POWERade prize money and leads all crews with five season victories. As a result of the California win, Sadler's crew moved into first place in the season standings with 889 points, eight more than the second-place crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. The two teams have been waging a season-long battle for the McDonald's/POWERade lead and the 200,000 champion's bonus that will be paid out at the awards banquet in New York City. Sadler's M&M's Robert Yates Racing Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road at California Speedway - 284.837 seconds. Coming in second was Joe Nemechek's No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet with a time of 290.866. Jamie McMurray's Texaco/Havoline Dodge was third at 292.925.
"Our entire organization is extremely proud of our win in the Pop Secret 500," said Eddie D'Hondt, general manager of Robert Yates Racing. "You have to admire the outstanding effort our M&M's "Chocolate Thunder" pit crew put forth this week to put Elliott in position to drive his way to victory. The McDonald's/POWERade Drive-Thru Pit Championship has been an ongoing battle for these guys and they have responded to the challenge all year long. They are the best and they have played a big part in the success the Robert Yates Racing No. 38 team has enjoyed throughout this year."
Sadler's over-the-wall crew consists of: Darryl Lockyer (front-tire changer), Kevin Hall (front-tire carrier), Dave Smith (rear-tire changer/car chief), Lance Hanna (rear-tire carrier), Rodney Fetters (jackman), Preston Cordell (gas man) and Jay Thompson (catch can). The team's crew chief is Todd Parrott.(DMF Communications PR) and see top-ten, season standings on my Pit Crew Page.(9-9-2004)
- Have you ever wanted to be on a cereal box? Honey Nut Cheerios will be giving someone that opportunity and
encouraging people to live a healthier lifestyle in the process. The "heart healthy" person who can best answer the question, "How I
Lowered My Cholesterol" will appear on a special-edition Honey Nut Cheerios box, which will be unveiled in February at Daytona. Search entrants will submit stories that detail how they have lowered their cholesterol and made a commitment to a healthier lifestyle at www.honeynutcheerios.com. "Making choices to live a healthier lifestyle requires the same gritty determination and strong discipline that you need to compete in NASCAR races," said Bill Lester, the driver of the #22 Bill Davis Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, who will also be supplying heart health tips on the back of a Honey Nut Cheerios box this fall. "I am honored to be part of this program, and to help give one person out there the same thrill that I had."(Alan Taylor PR)(9-9-2004)
- AOL Scheme at RIR: Jeff Burton’s #30 AOL Chevrolet will exchange its normal blue and yellow paint scheme this weekend at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) for a psychedelic blue and black design as part of Chevrolet’s Rock & Roll 400 promotion. Country music band “Big & Rich” will adorn the hood and quarter panels of the car for the Saturday night event. Big & Rich has been nominated for two Country Music Association awards for Best New Group of the Year and Duo of the Year. Their album “Horse of a Different Colour” currently sits atop the Billboard Country Charts.(RCR PR)(9-9-2004)
- Fleetwood Develops NASCAR Products: Fleetwood RV, one of the nation's leading manufacturers of recreational vehicles, announced a new license agreement with the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) that allows Fleetwood to develop custom-designed NASCAR-licensed RV products. "While RVing has become increasingly more popular nationwide, it has always been part of the NASCAR fan experience," said Mark Dyer, vice president of licensing and consumer products for NASCAR. "Additionally, recreational vehicles are seen all over the country, and NASCAR holds races in all corners of the United States." NASCAR fans are known to be strong outdoor enthusiasts. Compared to non-fans, they are more likely to visit campgrounds and travel by recreational vehicles, participate in outdoor activities, and own multiple types of outdoor gear, according to the Simmons National Consumer Survey. When NASCAR fans stay at a private or public campground, they are twice as likely to travel by recreational vehicle, according to the Simmons research. Fleetwood RV will unveil all of its new NASCAR-licensed products during the October 16, 2004, race weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, as well as the California RV Show in Pomona, California, October 15-24, 2004.(Motorhome Magazine)(9-9-2004)
September 8, 2004
- Overnight TV Ratings for California: NBC's broadcast of Sunday night's Pop Secret 500 from California Speedway was the weekend's top sports program on television and drew an overnight rating of 4.5 and an 8 share from Nielsen Media Research, today's Sports Business Daily reports. Because of Hurricane Frances, however, some Florida markets were not included. Last year's Labor Day weekend event, the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, drew a 4.4 overnight rating for NBC and went on to draw final figures of 4.9/13.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-8-2004)
- Tryson takes the Wiper Award at California: Internet voters have selected Pat Tryson as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after his driver, Mark Martin, led the most laps and finished third in Sunday night's Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway. Tony Eury Sr. remains in first place in the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge with six wins in the contest for a $10,000 prize at the end of the season.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-8-2004)
- Sauter returns to Cup with RCR: Mag-Lite Flashlights and Johnny Sauter are teaming together this weekend to light up the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Sauter will be driving the #33 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Mag-Lite Chevrolet with additional support from the GM Card. Sauter will have backing from Mag-Lite and the GM Card for both the Richmond and Phoenix Nextel Cup Series events. Known for its excellent design, the Mag-Lite flashlight was introduced in 1979. Police officers, firefighters, and mechanics quickly spread the word about the rugged, reliable anodized aluminum flashlight, which would change the portable lighting industry forever. Often referred to as the "Work of Art that Works," the Mag-Lite and Mini Maglite flashlights have received many prestigious honors and awards. Mag-Lite is also proud to be a leader in the current renaissance in American manufacturing. All Mag-Lite products are made domestically and bear the "Made In The USA" tagline. Sauter identifies with the "Made In The USA" tagline as the youngest of 12 brothers and sisters from the Midwest, but he might better
identify with the tagline, "Racing at Richmond." Sauter will be a busy man this weekend driving in all three NASCAR events (Trucks, Busch and Cup) at RIR.(Mag-Lite PR/Co-Pilott Motorsports Marketing), Sauter also mentioned on FSN's Totally NASCAR that he may run the #33 in the NHIS Cup race next week if the car comes out of Richmond intact.(9-8-2004)
- Rumsfeld will attend RIR Cup race: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will be attending the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Nextel Cup event and participating in prerace ceremonies at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night. RIR officials confirmed a formal announcement will be made today concerning the race, which is being held on the third anniversary of Sept. 11. Rumsfeld, who is attending his first NASCAR race, will become the second member of the Bush administration welcomed at a Cup race this year. President Bush gave the command to start engines at the season-opening Daytona 500.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-8-2004)
- Jeff Gordon on a lottery ticket? Michigan State officials will call on two unlikely sources to help bail out next year's cash-starved budget: Jeff Gordon and Coca-Cola. The budget deal forged last week projects $11 million for increased lottery receipts from a new series of instant tickets featuring the images of popular NASCAR drivers, such as Gordon ($3 million), and using game tickets and Keno monitors for advertising space ($8 million). "An instant scratch-off featuring NASCAR drivers can be very successful," said Michigan Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters. "There are 13 other states that offer those kinds of tickets, and they're the most popular instant tickets they have."(Lansing State Journal)(9-8-2004)
- Sadler/Score split with FanZCar, have new sponsors for RIR races FanZCar response: #02 SCORE Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler and former NBA Star Bryant Stith, has terminated its sponsorship agreement with SSRacing, Inc. and The FanZCar program for lack of payment. "We worked very hard to make this program work, including re-structuring the contract three different times, but it became evident that they are unable to fulfill their contractual obligations," stated [driver] Hermie Sadler. "It is in our best interest to move forward and find new sponsors and partners for our team." Even though SCORE Motorsports will have no relationship with SSRacing, Inc., they will allow current members of the program to request pit and garage passes on a first come, first serve basis. Members can make their requests through the Sadler Fan Club [www.sadlerfanclub.com]. "We want to try and take care of the Hermie Sadler fans that joined this program," Sadler concluded.
AND SCORE Motorsports and driver Hermie Sadler announced today their sponsors for this weekends races at Richmond International Raceway. Jenkins, Jenkins, & Jenkins, P.A. Attorneys at Law, located in LaPlata, Maryland, will be sponsoring their NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series car and Slip-in Food Marts will be sponsoring their NASCAR Busch Series car. Jenkins, Jenkins, & Jenkins has been involved in sponsorship in all three of NASCAR's top divisions this year, including the SCORE Motorsports Chevrolet that Sadler drove in the spring NEXTEL Cup race at RIR. They are the first law firm to use major NASCAR sponsorship to create awareness for their firm, something that Frank Jenkins says has worked for them. "We know that NASCAR fans are very loyal," Jenkins said. "They pay attention to who sponsors and supports the teams and drivers. We have found NASCAR racing to be a great way to get exposure and entertain guests."
The Busch Series car will be exciting for Sadler, as well as the team, as it puts Sadler back in the familiar yellow paint scheme that both he and brother Elliott Sadler ran successfully on Virginia's Late Model Stock Car tracks in the early to mid 1990s. Both brothers
carried sponsorship for Slip-in Food Marts on their late model cars and the Busch Series paint scheme will be a direct replica of those
cars. Slip-in Food Marts operates 24 convenience stores in Southside Virginia, as well as two truckstops, one in Emporia, Va. and the other in Dunn, N.C. For more information on Jenkins, Jenkins, & Jenkins, visit www.racinglaw.com.(SCORE Motorsports PR)
AND II The FanZCar will release a statement either Tuesday night or Wednesday regarding the announcement in which Hermie Sadler has terminated his contact with SS Racing, Inc. and The FanZCar.(FanZCar PR)(9-7-2004)
UPDATE: SS Racing Inc., founding company of The FanZCar has parted ways with SCORE Motorsports. "I regret the separation between SCORE and The FanZCar. NASCAR is a performance sport and very competitive. The FanZCar believed the level of performance committed to us, while luring our sponsorship, would have provided us with the exposure necessary to continue the strong growth of our members," said Scott Stricker, President and Co-CEO of The FanZCar. "The FanZCar and all of our members have provided SCORE with a great deal of support this year. We will continue to honor any and all agreements with SCORE and wish the team success. Our primary focus will be to ensure the highest level of satisfaction for our current and future members while we continue to execute the goals and strategies of The FanZCar. The FanZCar and our members are bigger than a single driver or team. We are very excited about our future plans that will continue the growth of our organization," added Stricker. Media inquiries should be
directed to Scott Stricker and/or Eric Say. Contact information is available at
September 7, 2004
- Another Maze - Daytona theme this time: Larson's Farm and Maze in Brookfield, CT have cut a 9 acre NASCORN adventure maze into thier corn field that was inspired by true racing fans. A fantastic family day with games, activities, and fun in their Courtyard. Then practice your maze solving skills in their Mini-Mazes, or relax and enjoy a light refreshement. Face Painting, Chez Lenard (Hot Dogs) and other Food/beverages are available all day at the maze. The corn maze is open weekends only from late August through early November, from 10am - 6pm and are also open for holidays during the week from 11am until 6pm. All dates are weather permitting. Please call ahead or check their website: www.larsonsfarmmarket.com for daily availability updates, actual opening dates, and pricing.(PR), see my #15 Team News and Links page for the #15 Corn Maze.(9-7-2004)
- "Drive for Diversity" Crew Application Deadline Extended: Access Marketing & Communications announced that it will continue to accept resumes for the "Drive for Diversity" crew member development program through September 30, 2004. "Drive for Diversity" is seeking talented minorities and women to receive training to go "over-the-wall" as part of the pit crew of a NASCAR Series team in 2005. "Drive for Diversity" will hold its second annual motorsports testing and evaluation combine this fall. Prospective pit crew members will try out before a team of racing professionals and staff from Access, as well as other motorsports organizations. At the "combine," participants will engage in a variety of activities, including physical fitness evaluation, skills test and oral interviews. From the combine, a pool of participants will be selected for the "Drive for Diversity" program. Candidates who are selected for the program and complete training from 5 OFF 5 ON Race Team Performance will have the opportunity to be placed with a NASCAR Series team for the 2005 season. For more information on the program, please visit www.drivefordiversity.com.(Access Marketing & Communications) and more info and an email address on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(9-7-2004)
- One More Race to get in the 'Chase': With one race remaining, there is still time to secure a place in the final top-10 before the race for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup begins in earnest in two weeks at New Hampshire. As much as 156 points can change within one race, based on the difference of a first-place finish leading the most laps (190 points) as opposed to a 43rd-place finish (34 points). All of the top-15 points positions following California are separated by less than 156 points, meaning all of those positions conceivably can change hands at Richmond International Raceway.
As a result of their finishes in the Pop-Secret 500 at California Speedway, two more drivers have clinched a spot in the
Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, They join Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. who clinched at Bristol:
Drivers Locked in the Chase / Points ahead of 11th
Jimmie Johnson 449
Jeff Gordon 399
Dale Earnhardt Jr 333
Tony Stewart 271
Matt Kenseth 220
Elliott Sadler will be assured a spot in the final top-10 if he starts at Richmond because he is more than 156 points ahead of 11th-place Jamie McMurray. The rest of the top-10, Kurt Busch [needs to finish 42nd or better at RIR], Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, and Mark Martin, all could lose their top-10 ranking at Richmond.
The only drivers mathematically still eligible for a spot in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup:
Pos Driver Ahead of 11th
7th Kurt Busch 153
8th Ryan Newman 45
9th Kasey Kahne 34
10th Mark Martin 25
Pos Driver Behind 10th
11th Jamie McMurray 25
12th Bobby Labonte 36
13th Dale Jarrett 43
14th Jeremy Mayfield 55
15th Kevin Harvick 56
Seven drivers in the top-10 in points changed positions at California Speedway.
A total of $970,103 will be paid to the driver who finishes 11th in the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, an increase of more than $400,000 over one year ago. That includes a $250,000 bonus, which will be paid to the 11th-place finisher [at the end of the year]. Additionally, the 11th-place driver will also join the top-10 drivers on the stage at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Awards Banquet in
New York in December.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-6/7-2004)
- Points to be reset...if there are more then 10 then.....: After this week's race at Richmond, those eligible for the championship chase will have their points reset. The points leader after Richmond will have a point total of 5,050 with each position after dropping by five points so that 10th place has 5,005 points. If there are more than 10 drivers, the 11th-place driver will have his total reset to 5000. If there are any other drivers who qualify, they also will be at 5,000 points.(News and Record), what happens to the rest of the drivers? Their points are scored the same, and for the rules and some info on the Chase, see my New Points System News Page.(9-7-2004)
- The King Helps ESPN Celebrate: Richard Petty was invited to help celebrate ESPN'S Silver Anniversary on Tuesday night Sept. 7, and attended the "ESPN 25 Party" at the ESPN Zone in New York City. To commemorate each year ESPN has been on the air, the cable sports network profiled a nationally-prominent athlete by a significant year in his career. Petty represented the
year 1984, the year he captured his record 200th NASCAR Nextel Cup victory at the Daytona International Speedway. Petty was to be joined by other athletes as well as ESPN"s top on-air talent from the past 25 years.(Williams Company PR)(9-7-2004)
- Elliott testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway's calendar shows Bill Elliott scheduled to test Evernham Motorsports' #91 Dodge on Wednesday and Thursday. The track says fans are permitted to watch from its fan center, but it cautions that testing schedules are subject to change.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-7-2004)
- One Team gets their hand slapped: When NASCAR announced its new points system in January, some drivers complained. Since then, many have changed their mind, at least publicly, saying NASCAR made the right call. Don't expect to hear a dissenting opinion as at least one team [hearing it was the #12 team] has been told by NASCAR to keep its driver from bashing the system.(News and Record)(9-7-2004)
- #8 to promote boxing at RIR: Budweiser, sponsor of the #8 NEXTEL Cup car with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., will promote the boxing battle royale for the undisputed middleweight championship of the world between Oscar de la Hoya and Bernard Hopkins with a decal on the Bud Chevrolet this weekend. The decal will ride on the decklid of the Bud car for Saturday night's Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond. Budweiser is presenting the fight, which can be seen on Pay-Per-View Saturday night, September 18.(fingerprint/Busweiser PR)(9-7-2004)
- Four Mo Races in the #00 for Kenny: Kenny Wallace will drive the #00 Michale Waltrip Aarons Dream Machine Chevy in four more Cup races: Talladega, Lowes Motor Speedway, Atlanta and Homestead,(Kenny Wallace Site)(9-7-2004)
- DNF's: #38-Elliott Sadler has the longest current DNF [Did Not Finish] streak at 30 races and is the only driver who has run all 25 races and not had a DNF. #89-Morgan Shepherd has the most DNF's at 13 [in 15 races], the drivers who have ran all 25 races with the most are #43-Jeff Green and #77-Brendan Gaughan with 8. Gaughan also has a streak of six straight races with a DNF.(9-7-2004)
- The Longest Line Rule: NASCAR officials reaffirmed in the drivers meeting that the car that gets its lap back [Lucky Dog] in a restart must start at the tail end of the longest line. That car can move up before the restart only if other cars ahead pull to the bottom of the track in a sign for series officials that they're letting the car by.(News and Record)(9-7-2004)
- Sad News - Driver Killed: The Silver Spring Speedway racing community was greatly saddened Saturday night when one of its longtime competitors was fatally injured in a crash during the super sportsman feature. "Wild" Bill Heckert, 61 years-old, of Carlisle, PA was involved in a lap 27 accident. His car struck the outside wall in turn one and flipped over. Emergency Personnel responded to the scene and Heckert was extricated from the car. He was transported to the Holy Spirit Hospital. It was later reported that Heckert had sustained fatal injuries. Heckert has raced super sportsman at Silver Spring for almost 40 years. He had one career feature win and was a heat race winner Saturday night. He is survived by his wife, Beattie, who was always by his side at the speedway. Further details, including funeral arrangements, will be released by the speedway at the appropriate time.(Silver Spring Speedway)(9-7-2004)
September 6, 2004
- Intake Manifolds Submitted: According to NASCAR sources all three manufacturers have submitted new intake manifolds for consideration of approval by NASCAR for the 2005 season. The deadline for new part submittal was Sept. 1. The Ford piece doesn't represent an earth shattering improvement, and actually the new item was submitted to help the engine builders assemble and seal the intake system. The current intake posses a problem due to the orientation of the bolts used to secure it to the head and the fasteners don't allow a seal to the quality of the other manufactures. The GM types are keeping their cards close to their vest, but cited assembly issues. The Dodge Boys weren’t available to learn their desires for a new intake.(Team Ford Racing)(9-6-2004)
- Andretti and ppc Racing team up? UPDATE: John Andretti could be in a Cup car as early as October's Charlotte race. Although officials from ppc Racing would not "confirm or deny" that a deal has been signed, garage sources say Andretti will race a ppc Ford. Dave Charpentier, who was replaced as Ricky Craven's crew chief in July, signed on with ppc last week and likely will work with Andretti.(FoxSports/Sporting News)
AND hearing the team will run five Cup races in 2004 and a full season in 2005 and has a sponsor signed [haven't heard who...yet](9-6-2004)
- Magic Johnson watches first Cup race: Magic Johnson saw his first Nextel Cup race Sunday, the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway, but the former Laker superstar figured that, in the last few months, he'd made progress in learning the sport. Said Johnson, chairman of the steering committee of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity: "What I've learned the most is that there's a lot of closet minority fans. My office is flooded with calls. I'm saying to myself, 'Wow! And I thought we had a problem.' " The program is NASCAR's attempt to involve minorities, as fans, officials, mechanics, salespeople and, ultimately, drivers. Johnson has been directing the project since February. "I've had about 30 meetings, so far, with minorities who want to be involved in NASCAR," he said. "I've been fielding a lot of phone calls [from NASCAR insiders]. There's a lot of people in the sport who want to be involved. So I'm trying to understand the sport… I'll continue to educate myself, because the more I know, the more I can share…. When I see 120,000 people here, I want 10,000 to 20,000 of those to be minorities. That's the good part of this sport, it's for all people. Yes, I want a driver someday, but the biggest goal to me is more minorities in the sport, fans, crewmen, mechanics, the people selling shirts and caps." Johnson said corporate America had expressed interest. "Minorities love cars and speed," he said. "That's not a hard sell. And we don't want to take over the sport, or anything like that. We just want to be a part of it. If we never get a driver, that's OK, as long as we get [other] people in the sport."(Los Angeles Times)(9-6-2004)
- Robby Gordon In Documentary: Robby Gordon will fly back to Los Angeles, California on Wednesday, September 8, to see the premier of the action documentary, "Dust to Glory" in which he is one of the featured drivers. The film, by Brownwa Pictures, is about the Baja 1000 and is directed by Dana Brown, who also brought us the 2003 surfing documentary, “Stepping into Liquid.” Also featured in the documentary will be racers, Sal Fish, Mario Andretti, Malcolm Smith, Chad McQueen, and Ricky Johnson.(Insider Racing News)(9-6-2004)