SEPT 13-19, 2004
September 19, 2004
- Age of the Chase Drivers:
#24-Jeff Gordon, 33 years old [current]
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 29
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 29
#20-Tony Stewart, 33
#17-Matt Kenseth, 32
#38-Elliott Sadler, 29
#97-Kurt Busch, 26
#6-Mark Martin, 45
#19-Jeremy Mayfield, 35
#12-Ryan Newman, 26
The oldest Nextel Cup Champion? Bobby Allison at 45 years, 11 months, 28 days in 1983
The youngest Next Cup Champ? Bill Rexford at 23 years, 8 months, 17 days.
So both of these records are safe.(9-19-2004)
- Busch wins at Loudon: #97-Kurt Busch dominated and won the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway after leading 155 of 300 laps, his 3rd win of the season and 11th of his career. #17-Matt Kesneth was 2nd and co-points leader, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 3rd, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne and #42-Jamie McMurray. Earnhardt Jr. and Busch are tid in the new Chase for the Nextel Cup points system with 5210 points, but Earnhardt Jr. is considered the leader as the tiebreaker is wins and Dale Jr. has 4 to Busch's 3. #31-Robby Gordon was penalized 2 laps early in the race for punting Greg Biffle, who got togehter a tad earlier in the race. The problem was, when Gordon hit Biffle, Biffle went into #19-Mayfield and #20-Stewart had no place to go and hit Biffle. Stewart finished 39th and Mayfield 35th. For my unofficial race rundown, cautions, lap leaders, lucky dogs [not mentioned at all during the telecast], and some narrative, see my Loudon NH Race Info/Rundown Page and a good race report at ThatsRacin.com: Busch dominates at Loudon.
For race results, see:
Jayski's Loudon Race Results/Awards Page
- New Spring Rule for Talladega AND: On Fox Sports Net's NASCAR This Morning, Bob Dillner reported that the Cup teams were given news that they would be handed springs [front and rear?] in the 375-400lbs range that they would have to use at Talladega Superspeedway in the EA Sports 500.
AND NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo confirmed Sunday the sanctioning body is contemplating a rule change for the Oct. 3 EA Sports 500 race at Talladega. NASCAR already mandates rear shocks and a restrictor-plate for all superspeedway races and beginning at Talladega this fall, NASCAR is also expected to mandate the rear springs teams can use. If adapted, the rule will require NASCAR to issue rear springs to teams at the start of the weekend and will maintain control over them as they do rear shocks and the plates. The rear springs issued by NASCAR are expected to rate between 375 and 400 pounds, likely to fall on the lower end of the scale, Zizzo said.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-19-2004)
- BAM Racing to expand to 2 teams in 2005 UPDATE team with Evernham?: BAM Racing is planning to run a two-car Nextel Cup operation next season, but the schedule for the second team has yet to be determined, said team manager, Eddie Jones. "At this point, we plan to run a second car in some form or another. It could be 12 races, it could be all 36, we have laid the groundwork for that and have the people to make it a reality," Jones said. Veteran Ken Schrader will again drive BAM's #49 Schwan's Food Service Dodges next season, while Klaus Graf [#59?] is the likely candidate for the second team. Graf, 32, a sports car driver from Germany, has driven a limited schedule in Cup and the Automobile Racing Club of America series for BAM this season. Graf is going to run the ARCA race at Talladega this season as well as Cup races at Martinsville, Va., Homestead, Fla. Charlotte is also a possibility. "He is very adaptable," Jones said. "I think that's one of his strongest points is his adaptability." Jones, who named Donnie Richeson as interim crew chief for Schrader's team this week, hopes to have a permanent replacement in place by the end of the season. "We have conducted several interviews and the names will not be unrecognizable by anybody," Jones said. "They're very highly regarded and it will be the next step in the evolution of BAM Racing."(ThatsRacin.com)(9-17-2004)
UPDATE: hearing that BAM Racing could end up working with Evernham Motorsports somehow, engines? bodies? alliance?
- Teams/Drivers not happy with 2005 aero rules: The hottest topic in the garage [at NHIS] isn't the championship race but Goodyear's Las Vegas tire test four days ago. Stock-car crews studying test results from Las Vegas are ticked off more than ever about NASCAR's new aerodynamic rules. "They're just going to make the racing worse, just like those rules did back in 1998," one crew man said, after asking not to be named. "When Greg Biffle and Casey Mears are yelling 'loose!' what do you think the rest of these cats in here are going to say, because Greg and Casey can drive a loose race car better than just about anybody." The new rules cut an inch off the rear spoiler. In turn, Goodyear is to come up with a slightly softer tire. "The shorter spoiler is only going to make the cars faster and harder to drive," one crew chief said. "And you can't fix lack of downforce just by adding tire grip."<Winston Salem Journal)(9-19-2004)
- Tests Left? UPDATE number of: 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.
#97-Kurt Busch plans to test at: Kansas, Lowe's, Martinsville and Homestead.
#38-Elliott Sadler, has two sessions left. The team has not decided where it will go.(Roanoke Times)(9-12/19-2004)
LEFT:[adjusted after Dover]
#24-Gordon, 4 [3 after Dover's test]
#48-Johnson, 4 [3 after Talladega]
#8-Earnhardt Jr. [3 after Dover's test]
#17-Kenseth, 7 [6 after Dover's test]
#12-Newman, 2.(NASCAR Scene Print)(9-17/19-2004)
- New Hampshire Race Notes:
---- Kurt Busch won the 2004 Sylvania 300, scoring his 11th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 141st career start. His last victory
came at New Hampshire in July, eight races ago.
---- Busch swept both
races at New Hampshire this season and posted his fourth top-10 finish
in eight races here. This is his third victory in 2004.
became the second driver in two years to score a sweep at New
Hampshire International Speedway. He joins Jimmie Johnson who swept
both races at New Hampshire in 2003.
---- Busch is one of the 10
drivers competing in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and
climbed from seventh to second in the point standings.
---- Busch led
three times for 155 laps including the final 36, leading the most laps
for the third time in 2004.
---- This was the ninth victory for Ford
in 2004. Chevrolet has won 15 and Dodge has three. 2004 Sylvania
300-Notebook Items The Race for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
nine races remaining, first to 10th in the standings are separated by
142 points with the biggest margin occurring between eighth-place Tony
Stewart and seventh-place Mark Martin who are separated by 53 points.
---- Nine of the 10 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
changed positions at New Hampshire International Speedway.
of the 10 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup posted top-15
finishes in the Sylvania 300.
---- Six drivers in the Chase for the
Nextel Cup led at least one lap in the Sylvania 300, earning the
additional five bonus points. Kurt Busch earned the extra five points
for leading the most laps.
---- All 10 drivers competing in the Chase
for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup scored at least one victory in the
first 26 races of the 2004 season.
---- Approximately $1 million will
be paid to the driver who finishes 11th in the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
point standings â€“ 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. 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. Currently, Jamie McMurray holds the
11th-place position by just eight points over 12th-place Kasey Kahne.
Drivers ranked 11th to 15th are all separated by just 149 points,
which means they can all change positions at Dover.
---- Matt Kenseth
(second) scored his 16th top-10 finish in 2004. It was his sixth
top-10 finish in 10 races at New Hampshire International Speedway. â€¢
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) scored his 16th top-10 finish in 2004.
This was his third top-five finish in the last four races. This was
his fourth top-10 finish in 11 races at New Hampshire International
Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. moved from third to first in the Chase for the
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. He holds the position because he has one more
victory than Busch who also has 5,210 points.
---- Kasey Kahne
(fourth) scored his third top-five finish in the last five races. This
was his second top-10 finish in two races at New Hampshire
---- Jamie McMurray (fifth) scored his 16th
top-10 finish in 2004. It was his third top-10 finish in four races at
New Hampshire International Speedway.
---- Matt Kenseth has ranked
among the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 in 62 straight races.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader bonus will be worth $80,000 at Dover
---- Jeremy Mayfield (35th) dropped from
ninth to 10th in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.
---- Tony Stewart
(39th) dropped from fourth to eighth in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.
It is Stewart's second DNF in 12 races at New Hampshire, tying his
worst finish there set in July 2002. This also is Stewart's second
DNF in 2004 and his worst finish since he finished 40th in the
Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May 2003.
---- Heading to Dover - Tony
Stewart has scored top-five finishes in nine of his 11 races at Dover
International Speedway, including the last four races there. He has
had only one finish outside the top 10 in those 11 races (11th-June
2002).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-19-2004)
- StockCarFans.com (Nextel Cup) Newsletter - Rumblings - New Hampshire:
At a track that has never lent itself to side-by-side racing, we were treated to another snoozefest today. Does it look like most of the
"Chasers" are just gonna ride around for the first nine races or was the winner just that dominant? Kurt Busch led 155 laps today at New Hampshire International Speedway to take the Sylvania 300 and make it a sweep of both events here in New England. He led 110 laps when we were here in July, so thats 265 of the 600 circuits. This was the 3rd win of 2004 for Busch and the 11th of his Cup
career. Win #73 for Roush Racing was worth $237,225 from the over $5.1M in posted awards.
Todays race brings up a question: Would NASCAR have penalized Robby Gordon if the two "Chase" combatants had not been involved? Are we seeing the first steps to a "contrived" Championship? Yeah, I know, that's two questions.....
12 leaders.....but if we hadn't had a round of green-flag pit stops with about 40 to go we would have had no more than 7.
Matt Kenseth (2nd....and a Roush sweep of the top-two spots), had his best finish since he won at Las Vegas in March.
Joe Nemechek (6th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Daytona in February.
Michael Waltrip (9th) had his best finish since he was 6th here in July.
Ken Schrader (16th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Bristol in March.
Ricky Craven (17th in his swan song in the Tide Ride) had his best finish since he was 16th at Infineon in June.
Hermie Sadler (31st) had his best finish since he was 26th at Martinsville in April (only 8 races).
STREAKIN....Jamie McMurray has 5 Top-10's in a row.
The Rookie Report: Kasey Kahne (5th) is the top finishing rookie for the 15th time this season, and he's got Brian Vickers dormie (15-6 with nine to go). Kasey was followed by: Brian Vickers (22nd), Scott Riggs (26th), Brendan Gaughan (30th), and Scott Wimmer (36th).
This Week's Elevator....UP: NOBODY! It takes a 20 position move to grab this esteemed honor, but honorable mention goes to Joe Nemechek (+19). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Tony Stewart (-35), followed by Jeremy Mayfield (-26), and Ryan Newman (-23). The back end of the "Shaft" is not the place the "Chasers" want to be.....
We had 7 of the 10 "Chasers" lead a lap today.....
Kurt Busch (7th to 1st) made the best move forward in "Chase" points today, while Tony Stewart (4th to 8th) fell the most spots.
In "Classic" Points, I betcha Jamie McMurray & Kasey Kahne are wondering why "10" was the magic number! They would both be in the hunt after this race instead of in the race for the 10th loser (11th place). The best move forward was made by Kevin Harvick (14th to 11th), while Jeremy Mayfield (9th to 13th) would have reversed last weeks advance. For the record, Jamie now has an 8 marker lead over Kasey for that "all- important" 11th spot (sarcasm intended).(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(9-19-2004)
September 18, 2004
- Labonte #7 Now: With Terry Labonte's 18th-place finish Saturday at Richmond International Raceway, he earned $89,230, which lifted him past Bill Elliott into seventh place on NASCAR's list of all-time money winners. Now at $36,924,624.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-19-2004)
- Did ya know? No driver in the last five years who won at New Hampshire went on to win the title.(Roanoke Times)(9-18-2004)
- Crew Chief for the #11: Jimmy Makar has hired the new crew chief for Joe Gibbs Racing' new third [#11 Fed-Ex] Cup team, and it's a familiar face - Dave Rogers, chief engineer for Tony Stewart and Greg Zipadelli.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-18-2004)
- Whelen's to sponsor series: NASCAR's Modified Series has gained Whelen Engineering, a Connecticut-based manufacturer of emergency lighting and signaling devices, as a title sponsor for next year.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-18-2004)
- More on Hard Liquior to NASCAR AND 21 the new age?: With both NBC and Fox having apparently approved hard-liquor sponsorship of a Nextel Cup car, the ball is in NASCAR's court in the debate over whether to allow Diageo, makers of Crown Royal and other alcoholic beverages, to sponsor a car on the Nextel Cup tour next season, and sources say NASCAR has decided to allow the company to sponsor a Cup car. NASCAR vetoed Jack Roush's [#99] sponsorship plans earlier this season. For much of the year the debate has been in the network offices of Fox and NBC, where executives have been against allowing TV ads for products like Crown Royal, even while allowing their cable subsidiaries to accept such ads. The Fox Speed channel is carrying the Crown Royal-sponsored IROC series. But ABC's decision to allow Jim Beam sponsorship during the Indianapolis 500 apparently broke the long-time network ban, and Fox and NBC are willing to let Nextel Cup teams carry such sponsorships too - once NASCAR executives work out their own details - according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)
AND rumors are circulating that if NASCAR allows hard liquior as a sponsor in the Cup Series, they may raise the minimum age requirement to 21. If so, would that stop Kyle Busch's possible move to the Cup Series in 2005? Brian Vickers couldn't race in the Crown Royal IROC Series and the Bud Pole stickers on the #25 [and Busch's #84 Cup car] says 'Pole Awards' with an Anheuser-Busch logo, NOT "Budweiser Pole Award".(9-18-2004)
The normal Budweiser Pole sticker
The Pole Award sticker with the Anheuser-Busch logo, from the #25 car
Taken at Las Vegas by Jayski
- NASCAR on TV in Canada cut short: TSN has the Canadian broadcast rights for the TNT production of Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway – the first race in the historic new Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship. However, they won’t see it live because TSN has chased the Chase to show the Ryder Cup from Oakland Hills – the same broadcast that’s on NBC. TSN will show the replay of the race from 6-8:30 p.m. – a bumper to keep the Ryder Cup and the Dolphins-Bengals game from running into each other.(Chatham Daily)(9-18-2004)
- Jeff Gordon wins 3rd Qtr Speed Channel Driver of the Year Vote: Jeff Gordon, who leads the Chase for the Cup, was nearly the unanimous winner in the third quarter voting for Speed Channel's Driver of the Year 2004 third quarter. He started the quarter with a bang, winning the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Speedway from the pole. He went on to take a total of four poles, three wins (including the Brickyard 400), and ended on the top of the series points standings. The driver of the #24 Hendricks Motorsports Chevrolet took 15 out of the 17 first-place votes cast in the media ballot. He was picked by all voting professionals and scored no lower than third on any ballot as a result he totaled 151 points.
Second place went to France's Sebastien Bourdais, who drives the McDonalds Lola/Ford. In the quarter he racked up three wins and six poles while starting no lower than third. He had five top-five finishes to lead the Bridgestone presents Champ Car World Series powered by Ford standings. Driving for the venerable Newman/Haas team, which has produced four Drivers of the Year, he tallied 71 points including two first-place votes. Greg Anderson, who is looking to repeat as winner of the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Championship driving the Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am, padded his points lead with four-straight National wins in the five events this quarter. He totaled 46 points. Twenty-one drivers earned points in the third quarter voting, including fourth place Dan Wheldon - runner-up in the Indy Racing League, in fifth place was NASCAR's Mark Martin who also took one first-place vote, and IRL's Buddy Rice was sixth. Noteworthy; Boudais won the fan vote by a narrow margin over Gordon, Carl Edwards, who is now dividing his time between Cup cars and Trucks in NASCAR, was third with the fans and seventh overall.
In its 38th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 96,4,3,2,1 basis. Gordon will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch to be presented on Speed TV. A separate vote will determine the 2004 Driver of the Year at season's end.(Speed Channel PR)(9-18-2004)
September 17, 2004
- BAM Racing to expand to 2 teams in 2005: BAM Racing is planning to run a two-car Nextel Cup operation next season, but the schedule for the second team has yet to be determined, said team manager, Eddie Jones. "At this point, we plan to run a second car in some form or another. It could be 12 races, it could be all 36, we have laid the groundwork for that and have the people to make it a reality," Jones said. Veteran Ken Schrader will again drive BAM's #49 Schwan's Food Service Dodges next season, while Klaus Graf [#59?] is the likely candidate for the second team. Graf, 32, a sports car driver from Germany, has driven a limited schedule in Cup and the Automobile Racing Club of America series for BAM this season. Graf is going to run the ARCA race at Talladega this season as well as Cup races at Martinsville, Va., Homestead, Fla. Charlotte is also a possibility. "He is very adaptable," Jones said. "I think that's one of his strongest points is his adaptability." Jones, who named Donnie Richeson as interim crew chief for Schrader's team this week, hopes to have a permanent replacement in place by the end of the season. "We have conducted several interviews and the names will not be unrecognizable by anybody," Jones said. "They're very highly regarded and it will be the next step in the evolution of BAM Racing."(ThatsRacin.com)(9-17-2004)
- Blaney to drive the #99 in 3 races UPDATE 2 now a stand-by: Roush Racing announced today that Dave Blaney will drive the #99 Roush Racing Ford in the upcoming Dover, Talladega and Charlotte NEXTEL Cup races due to scheduling conflicts with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Meanwhile, Carl Edwards will pilot the #99 Superchips F-150 at Las Vegas, Fontana and Texas in his quest to win the Truck Series Championship. "I am honored to drive for Roush Racing,” said Blaney. “Roush Racing is a high visibility race team and has had success at all types of tracks. I will do my best to run up front at all three of these races
for Roush Racing and the #99 team. I’m hopeful that by doing this, other car owners will take note and see that I am available to drive for them.”
Of the 10 remaining NEXTEL Cup races Edwards will race the other seven. However, just 76 points out of first, his commitment to winning a Truck Championship remains strong. “I would love to be able to drive both the #99 Truck and #99 Cup car those three weekends,” said Edwards. “However, I need to also focus on winning the Truck Series Championship with the #99 Superchips team and right now that has to be the priority. We weighed all our options and looked at both schedules and the travel demands placed on me were a lot. Dave is a great race car driver and I know he’ll do a good job in the #99 Ford in my absence for those three races.” Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said, "This is a good addition to the #99 team, it will keep the team working and help progress the program"(Roush Racing PR)
UPDATE: not sure what is up but the Press Release has been retracted by Roush Racing, but I don't like to remove stuff once it is posted, so this is the UPDATE.(9-16-2004)
UPDATE 2: After some initial confusion, it appears Carl Edwards will attempt to run the remainder of the Nextel Cup season in Roush Racing's #99 Ford. A statement released late Thursday, then retracted, by Roush Racing said driver Dave Blaney would drive the No. 99 in three of the races. However, Roush officials said Friday that instead Blaney would serve as a backup driver in those races, in case Edwards had conflicts with practice or the races. Edwards' remaining Craftsman Truck Series schedule has conflicts with Cup weekends at Dover, Del.; Talladega, Ala.; and Charlotte. Edwards is expected to move full-time to Cup in 2005.
Blaney has driven a limited Cup schedule this season with several teams including [#23] Bill Davis Racing and [#30] Richard Childress Racing.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-17-2004)
- Blaney to Gibbs...to the #11 Fed-Ex car? UPDATE: 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)
UPDATE: Blaney was hired by JGR as a driver coach for J.J. Yeley [Busch] and Denny Hamlin for the races at Richmond. JGR says they have no plans to put Blaney in a car. Whether Blaney coaches the drivers in the future is undetermined.(NASCAR Scene Print)(9-17-2004)
- Qualifying at NHIS for the Sylvania 300 was rained out. 16 drivers made attempts. 8 drivers missed the race, including #1-Martin Truex Jr. who was fast in practice and #46-Carl Long, who ran a very good lap in the rain-out qualifying session [16 cars ran]. The field was set by the NASCAR Nextel Cup Rules Book, 1-35 by owners points, the rest by race attempts [ties broken by owners points pos.
For the lineup and some notes until qualifying got rained out, see:
Jayski's Loudon Qualifying/Starting Grid Page or/and
- StockCarFans.Com - Ramblings - New Hampshire: We got 16 cars in on time, then that nasty old Ivan (and I've had quite enough of him, thank you) made an appearance and we had another wash out today at New Hampshire International Speedway for Sunday's Sylvania 300. Since we didn't finish qualifying, we'll line 'em up by points for the event, and that means the Top-10 in the "Chase" will start up front....and you won't hear any complaints from the guys in Daytona Beach, I'd bet. This was the third time this season we've lost quals to the weather, and they've all occured in the last 6 weeks.
You'll notice I've spent little time talking about the "Chase" in my twice weekly missives....and with good reason. I didn't like it when
they announced it and my opinion hasn't changed. Seems like most everybody else's has tho.... Saw one column this week that said the "Chase" winner would be a "True Champion". Well, to paraphrase a somewhat infamous former President....that depends on what your definition of "True" is. If a True Champion is a driver that accumulates the most points in the final 10 events of the season, then you're happy with that. If it's the standard our sport has used for 50+ years, then you're gonna hear a lot of arguing....or a lot of the old time fans will just start paying less and less attention. And, I'm afraid it'll be the latter. They're just gonna have a tough sell if somebody who would have been 400+ points behind ends up atop the "Chase" come Homestead. Course, with their willing "media partners", they can sell almost anything. Since you asked....
Mr. Lead Lap is not in the "Chase" (now you're learning the real reason why I don't like it....our hero is not in the hunt!). He's mired in
22nd place in the standings with an average finish of only 19.9. That "Lucky Dog" thang ain't helping him either.
No Best Sinces this week....
STREAKIN....Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-10 starts in a row.
Jeremy Mayfield has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.
We had a healty car count of 51 this weekend, and it's a shame some of these guys didn't get a chance to at least make an attempt. A couple of the drivers who were among the first 16 seemed to be fast enough to make the Top-38 (Carl Long and Johnny Sauter) and with the kind of equipment you get from DEI (Martin Truex Jr)....but it was all for naught. Forecast for Sunday is better, but after what I've seen this week I'm not believing any of those weather guys anymore. I'm gonna look out the window instead.( StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter.(9-17-2004)
September 16, 2004
- Nextel Cup Trophy Unveiled: NASCAR and Nextel Communications Inc. today unveiled the highly anticipated NASCAR Nextel Cup Trophy, a 27-pound trophy crafted in sterling silver, by world-renowned jeweler and silversmith Tiffany & Co. The inaugural NASCAR Nextel Cup Trophy will be awarded to the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion at the sport's annual awards ceremony on December 3 at The Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The trophy, which is up for grabs among the 10 drivers competing in the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup, will be put on display at each of the final 10 races of the 2004 season. Bruce Newman, an accomplished businessman, financial manager and design director, designed the new trophy. In conjunction with NASCAR, Newman began designing the trophy in 2003. Featuring flowing checkered flags, rendered entirely in sterling silver, the NASCAR Nextel Cup Trophy will sit on top a perpetual base listing the names of every NASCAR NextelCup Series Champion since 1948. Using age-old techniques - spinning, etching, silversmithing and polishing - Tiffany's master artisans spent nearly four months crafting the Nextel Cup Trophy at the company's silver shop in Parsippany, N.J. The checkered pattern alone required approximately 80 hours of etching. In addition to the Nextel Cup Trophy, Tiffany & Co. crafts the National Football League's Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy, the National Basketball Association's Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, the World Series Trophy for Major League Baseball, and the U.S. Open Tennis Championship Trophies.
The NASCAR Nextel Cup Trophy Fast Facts
Height: 24 inches
Weight: 27 pounds
Materials: Sterling silver and wood (base)
Created by: Tiffany & Co.
Designed by: Bruce Newman
Production time: Four months
(quotes and images at RacingOne.com)(9-16-2004)
- New Race Track Wall Barrier: Safety Innovation Technology Company, Safety Systems, Inc., (SSI) released test results that demonstrate the company's RACE WALL impact barrier offers significantly more impact protection than current products installed on most NASCAR racetracks. The R.A.C.E. Wall ™ (Restricted Air Controls Energy) was conceived out of the need to save lives and subsequently lessen vehicle damage at the same time, "in following with NASCAR'S efforts to control the costs for teams competing in this ultimate sport". The RACE Wall uses proprietary technology in conjunction with specific materials, construction methods and "outside the box" thinking to produce the second-generation softwall.
SSI developed the patented technology, and used the expert skills of Dr. Ajit Kelkar to evaluate the technology through FEA testing and computer-simulation. Dr. Kelkar, a professor at North Carolina A&T University's Mechanical Engineering Dept., stated that the initial crash results far exceeded our expectations.
The physical crash tests were performed at MGA Research Corporation in Burlington, Wisconsin and revealed at 90 mph, using NASCAR vehicles, the RACE Wall produced 40% less G forces than current technology used at most NASCAR tracks, in side-by-side comparison tests.
Tests at speeds over 140 mph are scheduled as the last testing phase and SSI researchers expect the benefits to increase with the added speed. "Our RACE Wall technology lets track owners install a more practical mechanism to primarily protect drivers, who are so important to NASCAR and their fans, "said Tim Smith, Chairman of SSI. "I can't imagine any track owner not wanting the safest track available". Video of the crash test is available for media outlets only.(SSI PR) For video information or more information on the system [phone numbers and email] see my Softwalls page and an article at: Driving Today: New System Could Improve Track Safety.(9-16-2004)
- OK NASCAR Plates up for Auction: From September 15 to October 15, 2004 the Oklahoma Tax Commission will be auctioning plate numbers 0-100 for most of the current NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers along with Richard Petty and Dale Earnahrdt. More info at www.oktax.state.ok.us.(9-16-2004)
- Sad News: Joanne Naman, the wife of Don Naman, the original Director of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, lost her ten year battle with cancer early Tuesday morning in Talladega, AL. Visitation will be at Usrey Funeral Home on North Street in Talladega, on Friday, Sept 17th from 5-7pm. A Rosary service will follow, also at Usrey. Funeral Services will be on Saturday at 10:00 am, at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Pell City. Father Pat Sullivan will officiate.
Joanne had personally requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a project that was very dear to her, Kyle Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp. Donations should be sent to Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317.(9-16-2004)
- Testing at the Monster UPDATE 3: On Tuesday, Sept. 14th Nextel Cup regulars #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #25-Brian Vickers, #17-Matt Kenseth, #42-Jamie McMurray and #45-Kyle Petty are scheduled to test at Dover International Speedway along with the Busch Series teams of Blake Feese, Aaron Fike and Dion Ciccarelli. McMurray and Kenseth will test again on Wednesday. Busch North Series points leader Andy Santerre and Busch Series driver [#29 RCR Busch] Kerry Earnhardt tested at Dover this week. The teams are preparing for Dover's upcoming race weekend, which will culminate with the MBNA America 400 Nextel Cup Series race Sept. 26.(Delaware News Journal)(9-9-2004)
UPDATE: been told it has been raining in Dover off-and-on today so far, supposedly the drivers got some laps in.(9-14-2004)
UPDATE 2: Jeff Gordon was among six Nextel Cup Series drivers testing at Dover International Speedway today, hoping to find that little something extra that might translate into a fraction of a second and increase his speed at the high-banked, one-mile oval. Gordon said preparation will be key among the 10 drivers remaining in the new Chase for the Nextel Cup, a 10-race “playoff” that will decide this year’s champion. Defending Cup champion Matt Kenseth, who was also testing at Dover, said Gordon’s team rates as the favorite in the title chase. “I think the last 10 is definitely a Jeff Gordon 10,” Kenseth said.”There’s a lot of tracks where he’s ran really good at. “Right now Mark Martin has a lot of momentum, Jeff Gordon has a lot of momentum, and when you get teams like that rolling, it’s hard to stop them.”(Delaware News Journal)(9-15-2004)
UPDATE 3: drivers at Dover testing: Nextel Cup drivers #24-Jeff Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #17-Matt Kenseth, #25-Brian Vickers, #42-Jamie McMurray, #45-Kyle Petty and Busch Series Johnny Benson (for driver Aaron Fike) and Dion Ciccarelli.(Delaware News Journal), heard it rained in Dover most of the day and may had not been any testing on Wednesday.(9-16-2004)
September 15, 2004
- Tire Testing at Las Vegas UPDATE 2005 Dodge Image: #16-Greg Biffle, #41-Casey Mears and #12-Ryan Newman were at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday, Sept 14th testing for Goodyear with the 2005 package on the cars. Mears even had a 2005 Dodge doing the test, while the other drivers were in 2004 bodies. Mears and Biffle will test on Wednesday as well, but Newman has to go to New York for a Chase media deal for NASCAR, so Brendan Gaughan will test the #12 car in Newman's place on Wednesday.
AND have an image of the 2005 Dodge that Casey Mears tested at Las Vegas, see my 2005 Cup Paint Schemes page for the image.(9-15-2004)
- Ultra Motorsports Crew Shave Heads in Support: Ken Bainbridge Sr. is a man who fears little. Decades of building competitive race cars out of raw metal, steel and sweat have toughened the Amherst, NY native's constitution. Obstacles and impediments that derail the mortal man hold no sway over the veteran racer. Even when diagnosed with extreme small cell cancer at the beginning of this year and faced with what could be his ultimate demise, Bainbridge Sr. did not blink. He forged ahead with his business and went on with his life, teaching others his craft and contributing so much to the sport he loves. However for a man who fears little there was one thing he feared most. "My dad went through some radiation over the past few weeks and his hair started falling out," recounts Kenny Bainbridge Jr., the gears and transmission specialist for Ultra Motorsports. "He was pretty upset about it. I made a promise to him when he was diagnosed with cancer that if he ever lost his hair then I would shave my head. He didn't believe me. When Jeff Miles found out that I was going to shave my head then he agreed to do it and he recruited others on the team to do the same to show support."
When the smoke from the clippers cleared and the follicles were settled a courageous group of seven Ultra Motorsports crew members were transformed into a stylish band of onion heads. Bainbridge, Jr. was joined by Kyle Lewis, Scott Crispin, and Mike McCarville from the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge crew and by Miles, Bobby Koski and Geofrado "Fonzie" Alfonzo of the Mopar Dodge. What started as one man's fear ended up as a fashion statement and a strong show of support and concern from a loving son and caring teammates. Bainbridge Jr. also had a deep respect for his father's accomplishments both on and off the track. Lessons learned are not always about racing but about a deeper and more meaningful complex subject, life itself. See full story at the Ultra Motorsports site.(9-15-2004)
- Waltrip's Crew Wins in Richmond; Sadler's Crew Extends Points Lead: Michael Waltrip's crew captured the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Saturday night's Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. It was the third time the No. 15 crew claimed the $20,000 weekly prize. The team's other wins were at Texas and the Daytona race in July. Waltrip's crew edged Elliott Sadler's crew for the Richmond victory. But coming in second for Sadler's No. 38 crew earned them enough points to enjoy their biggest lead in the McDonald's/POWERade standings. With 10 Nextel Cup races remaining, Sadler's crew has a 27-point lead over Dale Earnhardt's crew - 941 to 914. The season champion will receive a $200,000 bonus.
Waltrip's crew, which finished second overall in last year's McDonald's/POWERade competition, moved into seventh place with 855 points.
Waltrip's No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet spent 121.762 seconds on Richmond's pit road. The pit road time for Sadler's No. 38 M&M's Ford was 123.926. Jeff Burton's No. 30 AOL Chevy came in third at 124.054.
"It's always very cool to win the McDonald's/POWERade pit crew competition," said crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe. "The guys were awesome in Richmond, averaging 13.20 seconds a stop.
"We didn't make the Chase for the Nextel Cup, but there's one championship we can still win and that's the McDonald's/POWERade championship. There are 10 races remaining and we're still in the hunt for the title. We need to pick up eight to nine points a race - that's doable. We finished second in the championship last year and would love to come back and win it this year."
The over-the-wall pit crew for Waltrip's team consists of: Brian Chase (jackman), Jeff Opal (gasman), Chris Crumley (front tire changer), Greg Osborne (rear tire changer), Shawn Ward (front tire carrier), Chad Walter (rear tire carrier) and Tom Vigue (catch can). The team's pit crew coach is Walt Smith.(DMF Communications PR), for top 10 from Richmond, who won each week and the season standings...see my Pit Crew News page.(9-15-2004)
- Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: By picking Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Chevy Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 11th, Cherie J. of Independence, KY was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Cherie picked Earnhardt Jr. as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com 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 10th time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Earnhardt.
The Gillette Young Guns are 13 for 26 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.
Five members of the Gillette Young Guns have made the top-10 and been awarded a chance to battle for the Chase for the 2004 NEXTEL Cup. They are Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Clinched at Bristol), Matt Kenseth (Clinched at California), Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman (Clinch at Richmond). Kevin Harvick currently occupies the 14th position in the standings.
Though Kevin Harvick did not make the top-10, there is still a lot of prestige on the line for 11th place in the standings. 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. 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.
There have been nine different winners in the last 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at New Hampshire. Jimmy Johnson is the only driver
with multiple victories at New Hampshire since September 1999, posting back-to-back victories there in 2003.(Alan Taylor PR)(9-15-2004)
- #49 Crew Chief Out? UPDATE 2: hearing that #49 BAM Racing crew chief Scott Eggleston and the team parted ways, hearing Donnie Richeson could be the new crew chief.
UPDATE: BAM Racing has announced a new interim crew chief for Ken Schrader and the 49 team. Donnie Richeson replaces Scott Eggleston. Eggleston had been with the team since 2003. Owner Beth Ann Morgenthau said "a change was in order". Schrader is 32nd in points with one top-10 finish this year.(FoxSports/Totally NASCAR - missed it, not used to the new time yet)(9-14-2004)
UPDATE 2: Donnie Richeson has been named interim crew chief for BAM Racing, which fields the #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge for driver Ken Schrader in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Richeson replaces Scott Eggleston, who had been with the team since the start of the 2003 season. “With everything else in place for the rest of the year and for 2005 – Schwan’s Home Service on board with us and Ken Schrader as our driver – we felt a change was in order,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, owner of BAM Racing. “Tough decisions are part of this sport, and this was certainly a tough decision for everyone. We wish Scott nothing but the best in his career.” BAM has already begun discussions with several potential crew chiefs. Richeson will maintain those duties at least until a full-time replacement is named.(Williams Company PR)(9-15-2004)
- Carrier back at the #4 car: Noticed in Morgan-McClure's post Richmond race press release, that Chris Carrier is listed as the crew chief of the #4 Morgan McClure Chevy for the Richmond race. No idea if Tim Brewer was just away from the track that race or has left the team or moved to a different position with the team.(9-15-2004)
- Diving Schools Questioned after Deaths: Two driver fatalities in three weeks in amateur race-driving programs — one at Talladega and one at Nashville Superspeedway — raises questions about allowing unskilled drivers to run on tracks where their speeds reach 130 mph. But veteran driving instructor Ricky Haynes believes the timing of the two fatal crashes is purely coincidental and cites the ''impeccable'' 10-year safety record of his local Monster Racing program. ''This program has been running for six years at Dover and we're in our fourth year here, and during all of that time we've never had a serious accident,'' Haynes said. ''We have an impeccable record. We constantly emphasize safety, and we carefully monitor our drivers.'' Jack Walter Irwin, 56, of Hendersonville, TN died while driving a car in the Richard Petty Racing Experience last Friday at the Superspeedway. The car hit the retaining wall but an investigator said the driver ''might have had a medical problem.'' The investigation is continuing. Haynes, whose Monster Racing program is not connected to the Richard Petty Driving Experience, said he would not advise anyone with medical problems — especially heart-related — to participate in such racing programs. Although the two recent fatalities are sure to raise concerns, Haynes said the programs ''are well-supervised and completely safe. I don't know what happened in these two instances but I'm sure it wasn't safety-related. It could have been something that could have happened to them if they had been driving to work.'' Haynes said the fatalities will not disrupt his program's schedule.(in part from the Tennessean)(9-15-2004)
- Dale Earnhardt Licence Plate in New York: Gov. George Pataki announced Tuesday that New York would begin offering the first custom license plate in the nation honoring Earnhardt. The new red, white, black and gray "legacy" plate features a silhouette of NASCAR Legend Dale Earnhardt with arms stretched out in victory in front of the trademark "E" against a black background. Earnhardt's signature and the logo of NASCAR are just below the image. The new plate is officially licensed by Dale Earnhardt Inc. The initial cost is $43, and the plates may be purchased for passenger and commercial vehicles registered in New York state. The state began producing NASCAR plates in 1999, and today 1,366 vehicles are registered with the No. 3 Dale Earnhardt plate, followed by 880 featuring the #8 of his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. In all, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles offers 25 NASCAR plates.(USA Today/AP)(9-15-2004)
- Craven's Last Start in the #32: Ricky Craven will make his final appearance in the #32 Tide Chevrolet this weekend at his home track, New Hampshire International Speedway. Craven will also take his first turn behind the wheel of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series truck in the companion race this weekend at NHIS. He will drive the #47 ACXIOM Chevrolet. The #32 Tide Chevrolet will feature a special paint scheme at New Hampshire this weekend for a new product, "Tide with a touch of Downy." Tide with a touch of Downy is a combination of the cleaning technologies of Tide and the softness and freshness technologies of "Downy Through-the-Wash". "Downy Through-the-Wash" is a new formula of Downy that contains detergent-compatible softness technologies to deliver softening even when it's added to the wash cycle. Look for Tide with a touch of Downy in these three scents - Clean Breeze, April Fresh and Soft Ocean Mist - and experience a touch of softness you never imagined from Tide! The #32 team debuted this paint scheme last month at Bristol and will also run this paint scheme at Martinsville this fall [with Bobby Hamilton Jr. driving](PPI Motorsports PR)(9-15-2004)
- No More Indy 500-Coca Cola 600 doubles? The Indianapolis 500, which in 2005 will be held for the 89th time, will begin at 12:00noon/ct [1:00pm/et] on May 29 after starting at 11:00am/ct [12:00noon/et] the past 41 years. Track officials said the switch is seen as a way to improve television ratings that have sagged in recent years. Other changes include a new four-day qualifying formet with bumping each day, less practice time and moving Carburetion Day to the Friday before the race.(Indianapolis Star/IMS Site), with the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway starting around 5:30pm/et the smae day, it may be near impossible for a driver [such as Robby Gordon or Tony Stewart] do the Indy 500/Coke 600 double, running both races in the same day.(9-15-2004)
- Companies join forces: The Sponsor Agency is pleased to announce a recent agreement between itself and New Century Marketing Concepts, a motorsports marketing agency based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The two companies have joined forces and are now combining their unique services in an effort to provide turnkey solutions for race teams and sponsors alike.(more info at PRweb.com)(9-15-2004)
September 14, 2004
- Congrats: MRN Radio co-anchor and host of Raceline Joe Moore and Tiffany Ricardo were married in ceremonies held in Big Sur, California on Sept. 1st. The couple was surrounded by friends in the racing industry, including MRN President David Hyatt and Producer Ryan Horn serving as groomsmen. MRN Pit Reporter Danielle Frye was matron of honor and Nextel Vision Producer Debbie Ray was maid of honor. The ceremony was conducted by Dr. C.J. Bordeaux of Monroe, N.C., Moore's first cousin. FOX TV's Dick Bergren was photographer. The couple will reside in Norfolk, Va.(9-14-2004)
- Body Dynamics Making Some Changes: Scott Davis of Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. is currently looking for a position as a Marketing/Media Director or Publicist with a NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch Series or Truck Series team or with a driver. Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. is currently undergoing some changes and they have come to a mutual agreement that Davis has outgrown their organization. “Scott has been a tremendous asset to our organization, “Stated Tim Suggs, President and CEO of Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc., “We do not want to let Scott go, but we have changed direction with Body Dynamics and with Scott’s
talents and drive we feel that we would be selfish by keeping him here as well as holding him back from future successes.”
“He has made Body Dynamics Racing a household name.” continued Suggs, “He created a media frenzy that encompassed creation of our website, making us the first NASCAR type entity to host live web cams, he introduced us to the America’s Most Wanted Motorsports Platform which he will continue to manage, which has garnered mentions and features on national television, on the Today Show, Larry King Live and had us featured on America’s Most Wanted (via John Walsh and his publicist) as well as an audience with President George W. Bush. We have been seen on a weeklybasis and featured on NASCAR This Morning, Totally NASCAR and
FOXSPORTS.com going on three years now. He has great relationships and a great reputation with the media in and out of our industry, as I said we hate to see him go!, but we know with our new direction we would hinder his success if he stayed. He would be great addition to any existing team and a valuable asset to any new teams that are starting up.” For more information on Davis please see www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(9-14-2004)
- Big TV Ratings for Richmond....NOT up from 2003 but up 13%: the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond Inernational Raceway on Saturday night televised on TNT, had a rating of 3.5 and total households watching at 3,829,000.(Zap2it.com), however, compared to 2003, the ratings viership was up 500,000 [last year had 3.3 million households, which was down from 2002, which was 3.611 million households]. The Chief's-Bronco's NFL game on Sunday [ESPN] was double the race in both rating [6.9] and households [7,527,000]. Some had predicted over an 8.0 rating for the race.
AND TNT says its airing of Saturday night's Chevy Rock and Roll 400 from Richmond International Raceway earned a 4.3 national cable rating/3.5 U.S. rating, a 13.2% increase over last year's 3.8/3.1. This year's race reached 3.8 million households, compared to 3.4 million in 2003. TNT noted that Saturday's race was the final event in the contest to determine the field of 10 drivers who will take part in the Chase For The Nextel Cup.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-14-2004)
- Eury Sr. wins Wiper Award for RIR: Internet voters have selected Tony Eury Sr. as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second in Saturday night's Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Eury and his Dale Earnhardt Inc. crew helped Earnhardt Jr. fight back from two wrecks to finish behind Jeremy Mayfield in Evernham Motorsports' #19 Dodge. Eury leads the contest for the $10,000 prize at the end of the year with seven victories to date.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-14-2004)
- Gaughan Being Pressed? Rookie #77 Brendan Gaughan is being pressed quietly to pick up his performance in the final 10 Nextel Cup races by his Penske Racing South team. The first-year Cup driver and veteran of the Truck series apparently is being held to the same standard as Ryan Newman, who has 10 wins, 41 top fives, 23 poles and a rookie of the year award in his third full Cup season for Penske. Gaughan has denied there is a performance clause in his contract.(St Petersburg Times)(9-14-2004)
- Nadeau on hold until May 2005..at least UPDATE: Former MB2 Motorsports driver Jerry Nadeau met with team G.M. Jay Frye last week to discuss his Cup future. Initially, Nadeau was going to run an A-B-C (ARCA-Busch-Cup) program in 2005, but Frye says doctors want to wait until May -- two years after Nadeau's crash at Richmond -- to determine Nadeau's condition. If Nadeau checks out OK, he could run ARCA and Busch races in 2006.(FoxSports/Sporting)(9-13-2004)
UPDATE: been told that Jerry Nadeau is not on hold until May, which will mark the two-year anniversary of his accident in Richmond. Doctors have said that Nadeau could fully recover from his head injury before then and start a recovery driving program in the ABC series -- ARCA, Busch and Cup. However, if Nadeau does not fully heal, doctors have said they would need to wait approximately two years from the time of sustaining the injury before having a clearer understanding on a recovery prognosis.(9-14-2004)
- JGR Looking for #11 Crew Chief - Slugger? UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing still is looking for a crew chief to lead the #11 FedEx car in 2005. Sources say Slugger Labbe, crew chief for #15-Michael Waltrip, is a candidate. Labbe is one of the best crew chiefs in the garage and would be great for a start-up team. Finding a driver is another matter. Although JGR is expected to run J.J. Yeley in additional races this season, sources say FedEx is looking for a more experienced driver. Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon and Dave Blaney have been mentioned as prospects.(FoxSports/Sporting)(9-13-2004)
AND MORE: speculation continues about owner Joe Gibbs' planned third Nextel Cup team. #20 Crew Chief Greg Zipadelli declined to talk about the possibility that Dave Blaney might be hired to drive Gibbs' new third team. Blaney - a sprint-car veteran like Stewart and a good buddy of Stewart's - has been hired to coach rookie J. J. Yeley, who Gibbs hopes to hone into a Cup driver, though that project could take a few years longer than expected. And the latest rumor is that Gibbs would like to hire Richard "Slugger" Labbe, a two-time Daytona 500 winning crew chief, to run that third team. "Dave is just to help J.J.," Zipadelli said. "He's got three more Cup races this year and some Busch races, and Dave is a good driver, with a good, level head on his shoulders, knows what's going on. He knows what you should do and shouldn't do. He should help accelerate J.J.'s learning curve. He won't have to go through everything, because Dave has already been there and can explain why you don't do this or that. It's different if it comes from a driver than if it comes from us." But what about the story that Gibbs has hired Blaney to drive the third car? "Good story, huh?" Zipadelli said with a grin. "You ain't going to find anything out here. Don't try to read anything more into this."(Winston Salem Journal)(9-14-2004)
- Motorcycle Racer Offered NASCAR Contract? Speedfreaks is reporting....it broke on HBO’s ‘Real Sports w/Bryant Gumbel’ a few weeks ago and was made true (to the Freak Nation at least) on Friday night at the AMA Motocross autograph session in SoCal. One certain Cup/Busch team owner would like to sign 125cc Motocross Champion, James “Bubba” Stewart, to a TEN year NASCAR contract. Now, the kid definitely has talent and just may be the best rider to hit the Motocross/Supercross scene EVER… yep, better than McGrath, better than Carmichael (maybe – we’ll see next season though), better than Rick Johnson, Jeff Ward, Marty Smith and the like. He will make the jump to the top class, 250cc, next year and the reality of Bubba’s talent will be seen… can he indeed run with the big boys? Based on test sessions so far, YES! (SpeedFreaks.tv)(9-14-2004)
- Testing at Talladega, Hermie Sadler to run a Yates car: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series drivers Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex, Jr., Hermie Sadler and ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Blake Feese took turns zipping along the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway Monday after early morning rain finally gave way to clear skies. Johnson, who slipped to second in the points standings after a wreck at Richmond Saturday, said clinching a position to contend for the championship brought “a small amount of relief,” but knows the real pressure has only begun. In his five starts at Talladega, he’s qualified higher than ninth every time. However, this spring was the first time he was able to break into the top 5 here, finishing fourth. Johnson said he hasn’t had the best of luck at Talladega, but is more confident with a solid run here earlier this year. Sadler said he is excited to be returning to Talladega in October, particularly because he will be running in the EA SPORTS 500 in a Robert Yates machine. He decided to run the Talladega event primarily because of being able to reach an agreement to lease a car with Yates. “It’s a good opportunity for my team, not running all the races and not having some of the stuff a lot of the other teams have, to come here and drive one of their cars. We’re excited about that,” Sadler said. “They’ve got a great program. The timing worked out so we could do it, and it will give us a chance to come here and be a lot more competitive than we would be had we tried to do a superspeedway car of our own. We don’t have access to the wind tunnel and all those types of things and they have got a good reputation for a good superspeedway program. So hopefully it will be a good opportunity for us.”(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(9-14-2004)
- Kim Labonte Attends DOD Conference: Kim Labonte, wife of two-time Nextel Cup Series champion #5-Terry Labonte
and mother of NASCAR Busch Series driver #44-Justin Labonte, has accepted an invitation from Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld to participate in the Defense Department's Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC 68). Rumsfeld attended the Nextel Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway Saturday. The program, which will be held September 11 - September 17, will give participants an opportunity to learn first-hand about U. S. military personnel, their equipment and capabilities, and national defense strategies. As a JCOC 68 participant, Kim will visit military bases of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Locations will include Hawaii, Korea, Japan and Guam among others. Very few people, even those employed by the Department of Defense, get the opportunity to interact with such an encompassing cross-section of military leaders and service members of all ranks. Participants will fly on military aircraft; experience aircraft landings and launches from Navy ships; observe amphibious landings, urban area combat techniques, special operations assaults, and other warfare demonstrations. Justin Labonte is sponsored by the United States Coast Guard in the Busch Series and won his first series race at Chicagoland Speedway July 10. The Coast Guard announced last week that they would be partnering with Justin for the full Busch Series schedule for 2005 after running a partial season this year. Kim's trip will begin in Honolulu, Hawaii where the Coast Guard has a large base.
After an initial orientation, the JCOC team will travel by military aircraft throughout the Pacific theater. Due to a refocusing of military resources in the United States on Operation Iraqi Freedom, the conference adjusted what has been a U.S.-based agenda to one
focused on the key command centers engaged in winning the global war on terrorism. This conference was initiated in 1948 by Secretary Forestal and is the Department's premier civic leader program. Only fifty U.S. citizens are selected from hundreds of candidates nominated by military commands worldwide. JCOC 68 participants pay all of their own expenses, including travel to and from the conference, lodging and meals.(PR)(9-14-2004)
September 13, 2004
- Testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway's calendar shows three Nextel Cup drivers planning tests this week. Dale Jarrett is scheduled for Tuesday in Robert Yates Racing's #88 UPS Ford, while Robby Gordon is scheduled Wednesday in Richard Childress Racing's #31 Cingular Chevrolet along with Bobby Hamilton Jr. in PPI Motorsports' #32 Tide Chevrolet. The track says spectators may watch from its Fan Center but caution that the schedule is subject to change.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-13-2004)
- Andretti and ppc Racing team up? UPDATE 2: 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)
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)
UPDATE: hearing lead mechanic for the #32 Braun Racing Busch Series team, Derek White, left to take a similar job with the new ppcRacing Nextel Cup team that John Andretti will drive for. Still no word on a car number [#57? - only because it is available and they used it for years in Busch - nothing to do with a sponsor] or sponsor.(9-13-2004)
- NASCAR tests scoring computers: NASCAR made sure its scoring computers were in top shape for Saturday night's run at Richmond International Raceway, the crucial 26th race of the Nextel Cup season which would determine the field for the "Chase for the Championship." To get a trial run of potential scoring situations, simulated models were run through the computer system, using the results of last weekend's race at California as if those were the results at Richmond. Statisticians even altered the order of finish several times to see what might occur around the critical 10th-place cutoff ranking in the standings. In one scenario, the results produced a tie for 10th between Mark Martin and Jamie McMurray. If that were the actual case, Martin would have been in the Chase and McMurray left out. The tie, as per NASCAR rules, would be broken by Martin having one victory and McMurray none.(Alabama Live)(9-13-2004)
- Terry Labonte working on 2005 deal, part-time UPDATE #44?: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said Saturday veteran Terry Labonte has agreed to drive in the Nextel Cup Series for two more years, but will not run a full-time schedule. "I know he'll run at least 15 races, if not more," Hendrick said. "Beyond that, that's all we know right now. We're waiting to talk to sponsors and they're going to tell us the number and the color (of the car). Right now, I don't know who's going to be doing what. I just know we're going to be there." Hendrick said he would like to wait until the Chase for the Nextel Cup is well under way before making any more announcements, so to not distract his teams that are participating. Labonte had indicated earlier this season that he was contemplating several options – including retirement, running a limited schedule or running for another team – for next season. Should Labonte move to a partial schedule, it will likely open the seat in his current ride, Hendrick's #5 Chevrolets.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-11-2004)
UPDATE: Terry Labonte, met with owner Rick Hendrick last week to discuss his future. Labonte is expected to run a limited schedule over the next two seasons, possibly reviving the #44, the number he won his first title with, while Kyle Busch moves into the #5 Chevrolet.(FoxSports/Sporting)(9-13-2004)
- AARWBA Members to Select Newsmaker of the Half-Century: Selection of the "Newsmaker of the Half-Century" will be the headline event of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2005. AARWBA, founded in August 1955, is the country's oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals. Fifty of racing's most famous names from the last half-century will be considered by AARWBA's Board of Directors, who may also nominate people not on the original list. Each director will choose 12 prospective finalists and the top dozen newsmakers will be put to the full membership for a vote. The 12 nominees will be announced by AARWBA President Dusty Brandel and 50th Anniversary Celebration Chairman Michael Knight at the AARWBA All-America Team awards banquet, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2005 in Pomona, Calif. Champion drivers from 2004 will be honored at the 35th annual dinner, which is open to the media, racing officials and sponsors, as well as the public. Ticket information is available at the AARWBA.org web site. The Newsmaker of the Half-Century will be named, and presented with a specially-commissioned painting, at a major race during the 2005 season.
List of 50 -- AARWBA "Newsmaker of the Half-Century" (in alphabetical order):
Bobby Allison, Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, Kenny Bernstein, George Bignotti
Craig Breedlove, Richard Childress, Mark Donohue, Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott
John Force, A.J. Foyt, The France family, Don Garlits, Jeff Gordon
Andy Granatelli, Dan Gurney, Carl Haas, Jim Hall, Hurley Haywood
Rick Hendrick, Phil Hill, Al Holbert, The Hulman-George family, Jim Hurtubise
Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Ted Johnson, Parnelli Jones, Steve Kinser
Rick Mears, Shirley Muldowney, Wally Parks, David Pearson, Roger Penske
Richard Petty, Don Prudhomme, Fireball Roberts, Johnny Rutherford, Carroll Shelby
Danny Sullivan, Mickey Thompson, Al Unser, Al Unser Jr., Bobby Unser
Darrell Waltrip, Rodger Ward, The Wood Brothers, Cale Yarborough, Smokey Yunick
- Lots of Work/Inspections UPDATE: NASCAR officials were expected to tear down as many as 20 cars in a postrace inspection after tonight's race. Typically, series officials examine about five cars after a race. "We're going to try to remove any doubt from everybody's mind," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president for corporate communication, of the increased inspection process.(Roanoke Times)(9-12-2004)
UPDATE: NASCAR inspected 11 cars after the Richmond race to ensure there was no impropriety with the drivers who qualified for the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Although inspections lasted well into Sunday morning, no issues were found.(FoxSports/Sporting)(9-13-2004)
- #09 has parts confiscated: NASCAR inspectors confiscated unapproved fender braces from the #09 Dodge driven by Mike Wallace over the weekend at Richmond.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-13-2004)
- Chase for Nextel Cup only UPDATE well....: NASCAR president Mike Helton said the 10-driver, 10-race Chase to the Championship format now used in the Nextel Cup Series isn't likely to be applied to the Busch or Craftsman Truck Series. He said the drivers who race in more than one series complicate things. "The challenges, in addition to wanting this to be unique to the Nextel Cup Series, is that the Truck and Busch series have so many Cup competitors who participate," Helton said. "When you start running the models, it gets pretty skewed."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(9-12-2004)
UPDATE: Expect NASCAR to scrutinize the new points format closely before deciding whether to use it in the Busch Series and Craftsman Trucks Series. NASCAR vice president of corporate communications Jim Hunter says adapting the system in the two lower series is a possibility, but the issue would have to be "debated internally" first.(FoxSports/Sporting)(9-13-2004)