OCT 4-10, 2004
October 10, 2004
- Arnold Motorsports Picks up an Assoc sponsor: U.S. Micro Corporation joins the #50 Arnold Motorsports team as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup season beginning this weekend in Kansas City. U.S. Micro Corporation will also be the official computer provider to Arnolds Motorsports, supplying laptops, desktop PSc, monitors, servers and printers. The equipment will be used in every phase of the team's operation, from administration functions to car engineering and testing. "The relationship with this fine company will allow us to upgrade our computer equipment in every phase of our operation," said team owner, Don Arnold. "We look forward to having them on board for the remainder of the season and look forward to a long-lasting relationship."
"U.S. Micro was involved in NASCAR Nextel Cup racing in 2002 and 2003 as a sponsor with Brett Bodine Racing and found that this sport offers us opportunities in all parts of the country; increased local and national exposure for our company, customer and prospect entertainment opportunities and incentives and rewards to offer our employees. We are excited about rejoining the sport ," stated Jim Kegley, president of U.S. Micro Corp. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. Micro Corporation is a national computer disposal, refurbish leasing and sales company. The company purchases and securely removes entire PC systems from major corporations, refurbishes and resells them, and has an array of computer-related services, from asset removal and liquidation to hardware redeployment to custom configurations.(Arnold Motorsports PR)(10-10-2004)
- Martin Tests In-Car Caution Lights: A question about NASCAR's failure to implement the in-car caution-light system. Martin just tested a similar system in an ASA car he'll run at Charlotte this month, an audible system. "It goes right through your radio and goes 'Beep-beep-beep' every time the yellow flag comes out," Martin said. "That's nice. I've been very critical of NASCAR for not going with that system. I've heard that they're concerned people could tamper with that system, because there are smarter people with more money here than in ASA, and if someone could make yours go beep-beep-beep, they could change the outcome. That sounds about ridiculous. Now there are a lot of smart people in this garage, but I don't see people being that underhanded. That would be pretty mean. That radio caution system is really good, because then everybody knows when there's an accident. When you see an accident you can't let off; you have to wait for the caution, and that's not great. We see accidents from time to time and have to look around to see if everybody else is backing off. Because you can't see a yellow light (on the track wall) when you're racing and you've got 30 cars around you." The cost of such an in-car caution light system is cheap at $400, for the safety edge it could provide.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-10-2004)
- Jarrett talks to NASCAR about chase changes: #88-Dale Jarrett has been talking with NASCAR executives about possible changes to the championship points system for next season. "After the first race at Loudon, where Tony (Stewart) and Jeremy (Mayfield) had their problems, I would propose that you would take those 10 teams and, even though they're still racing against everybody, that their point structure would only be for those 10 cars," Jarrett said. "Say Jeff Gordon finished fifth and he was the first one of those 10 drivers; he would get the 180 points for being the highest finisher of those, and then the next guy might be Elliott, who might finish 10th, but he would be the second-highest and he would get 170. "The most anybody could lose would be somewhere between 50 and 55 points, so you're going to keep everybody closer for an extended period of time."(Winston Salem Journal)(10-10-2004)
October 9, 2004
- 2005 Tire Testing at Lowe's: A pair of cars tested at Lowe’s Motor Speedway this past week as Goodyear continues finding a tire package for the new inch-shorter spoiler that will be run in NEXTEL Cup in 2005. The drivers who accepted the challenge were #01-Joe Nemechek and #18-Bobby Labonte. The test took place Tuesday evening at LMS and began with cars set to 2004 specification. Once Goodyear engineers were comfortable with the 2004 spec car the files came out, chewing an inch off the rear spoilers of both cars. With the car in 2005 trim the drivers took turns making runs, under Goodyear’s leadership. One driver worked construction variant tires will the other handled various compound tires. According to the Goodyear men the drivers found comfort in similar tires that brought peace to Greg Biffle and the rest that tested at Las Vegas several weeks ago. After further adjustments on the cars both drivers seemed to like what they had under them. Mark Martin was scheduled to do the Goodyear tests at Charlotte but as one of the Chase for the Championship drivers he was precluded from the session. When Goodyear picked Martin for the test he was 14th in the points. One Goodyear engineer joked of Martin’s scrubbed involvement, “Geez, He gave up the opportunity to test for us for a shot for the 2004 Cup championship and the riches that come with it? I don’t know about that guy anymore.”(Team Ford Racing)(10-9-2004)
- Another RCR Swap in the works? AND II: hearing that Richard Childress Racing could swap entrie teams again, with the current #30 driver, Jeff Burton and crew going to the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy, currently driven by Robby Gordon. Cingular Wireless can stay in the sport, only if they stay on the #31 Chevy with RCR. The crew of the #31 could go to the #30 with either Gordon [unlikely] or another driver [Ricky Craven? Dave Blaney?], have hear that AOL may or may not be back in 2005, but Richard Childress has said before, if AOL opts not to to return, he has another option for a sponsor.
AND Richard Childress said that he would be making announcements soon, possibly by the end of October. In the Nextel Cup Series, RCR has Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton signed with multi-year deals, but Childress will have to make the decision whether to retain Robby Gordon. Childress is also working to make sure AOL returns as Burton's sponsor in 2005. "We're probably going to make those announcements around Atlanta or a little after," Childress said. "We pretty much have everything in place. You know, we are going to make adjustments all throughout or organization. We're going to make a few adjustments, everything from Cup to Busch."(NASCAR.com)(10-8-2004)
AND II: hearing if AOL doesn't come back to the #30 car, the sponsor could be Motorola.(10-9-2004)
- Ford Taurus in 2005, Fusion in 2006: Ford is expected to continue racing the Taurus in NASCAR for 2005, though that car will be relegated largely to fleets, as the 2005 Ford Five Hundred sedan becomes the company's focus for the passenger-car market. Ford will not race the Five Hundred, but is expected to race the 2006 Ford Fusion, a Taurus-sized sedan based on the Mazda6 platform. That car was originally called the Ford Futura, but Pep Boys, the parts supplier, used the Futura name for its line of tires, and Ford and Pep Boys could not come to an agreement, even though the Futura name was used by Ford for a Falcon model. Ford already uses the name "Fusion" in Europe.(Orlando Sentinel). The change to Fusion will go hand-in-hand with the 'car of tomorrow' being designed and tested by NASCAR.(10-9-2004)
- Keeping, buidling motorsports industry in Mooresville is now a high priority: Following Gov. Mike Easley’s assertion here this week that the $5 billion generated by the motorsports industry in North Carolina each year could be grown despite other states’ bids to strip it away, area leaders say Mooresville is at the forefront in keeping – and building -- racing businesses. “We were the first Chamber to go to PRI,” Melanie O’Connell Underwood said, referring about the Mooresville-South Iredell (MSI) Chamber of Commerce’s visit to the world’s largest motorsports trade show, Performance Racing Industries, in Indianapolis. As the MSI economic developer, she helps lure businesses here, and a major component of those are motorsports-related, like race teams, marketing firms, and parts suppliers. That warranted a trip to PRI. “After we went, Texas, Virginia and other states started going,” she said. Now, MSI has a booth at the show. But that’s not all that the area is doing to preserve and grow racing jobs, she said. “We were the first to offer incentives to race teams,” she said. Mooresville, for example, recently gave tax incentives to Penske Racing South for buying and retrofitting the former Matsushita building in Mooresville Business Park. But other states are getting wise to North Carolina’s 30th largest industry. Underwood said South Carolina offered free land and no employment taxes for 10 years to a motorsports-related company looking to make a $40 million investment in a facility. “Where could I go to give people free land?” Underwood said. “I can’t give land to them or any other industry.” Despite that, racing has been growing in this state for years.
“The industry has asked for nothing, NASCAR has asked for nothing,” said N.C. Rep. Karen Ray of Mooresville, who is also head of the motorsports caucus in the General Assembly. “What has happened is the state now recognized the investment that the NASCAR and racing has put in North Carolina.”
And Easley spoke about that on Tuesday at the Mooresville Citizens Center during the North Carolina Motorsports Association’s (NCMA) annual meeting. A study funded by the Rural Economic Development Center, the Golden LEAF Foundation, and the NCMA showed that motorsports brings big money to the state. In all, motorsports accounts for more than 24,000 jobs in N.C. with an average pay (wage and benefits) of $61,017. Easley plans cater to that industry’s needs by forming a task force to see what it wants for an ideal business environment. Composed primarily of people in racing, that group will make recommendations on where to put efforts. “What I think is critical for North Carolina as we move forward to enhance this industry for the state is that we be methodical, have a business plan, and do it right,” Ray said. “We’re crawling before we walk, and that plays a big part for how you do it correctly. When you leave North Carolina and you ask somebody what North Carolina is famous for, they’ll tell you, ‘Racing,’ ” Ray said.
- GM Goodwrench Unveils 2005 Daytona 500 Paint Scheme: GM Goodwrench unveiled at Kansas Speedway, the 2005 Daytona 500 paint scheme that will help kick off their 20th anniversary with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in NASCAR. The multi-colored #29 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, a combination of the different looks that GM Goodwrench has been a part of over the
years, is only the beginning of a yearlong celebration planned to commemorate the great partnership that has brought so much to stock car racing. As a sponsor, GM Goodwrench has enjoyed unparalleled success during its relationship with RCR, accumulating six NASCAR Winston Cup Series championships, a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, 68 race wins, the biggest Daytona 500 victory in the modern era, and two stunning Brickyard 400 wins. The special paint scheme, designed by famed NASCAR illustrator Sam Bass, unites old with new by combining the original black #3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet driven by Earnhardt in 1988 with the white #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet first driven by Harvick in 2001. The 20th anniversary logo commemorating the 20 years with RCR sits on the silver hood that adorned the GM Goodwrench paint scheme run throughout the 2002 season. GM Goodwrench plans for next year's 20th anniversary celebration are going to be widespread, with several unique special paint schemes in store, a number of parties, special guests from the past, innovative promotions, and even a few surprises. Being the longest continuous team sponsor in the sport allows for some excitement to be had throughout the year. (Champion Sports Group/RCR PR), added an image of the car on the 2005 Paint Schemes page.(10-9-2004)
- No Yellow at Talladega, some drivers wonder why? NASCAR's decision not to issue a yellow flag despite Greg Biffle's last-lap crash at Talladega Superspeedway caused rumblings in the Nextel Cup garage at Kansas Speedway yesterday. Elliott Sadler said he was confused and concerned by the call, which allowed the race to end under green. "If I was in a wreck, especially at Talladega, I'd want the safety guys to roll as fast as they can," Sadler said. "We need to figure out if that happens again, are we just going to race back and then worry about the guy who wrecked or throw the caution? We want a consistent pattern. It's frustrating they didn't throw it when Greg could have been hurt. We want to make sure our safety workers can get to us."(Roanoke Times)
AND Sadler admits the spring Talladega finish could have influenced NASCAR officials. During that race, series officials allowed the race to end under caution, angering fans who littered the track with debris. A NASCAR official said a caution was not thrown because the pack was by the accident and because of the size of the track. Drivers had plenty of time to slow after crossing the finish line before getting back to the crash scene on the 2.66-mile speedway.(Roanoke Times)(10-9-2004)
- Bleep doesn't mean no penalty: Five-second delay or not, it’s still not OK to use profanity on TV. That’s what NASCAR president Mike Helton said Friday. A bleeped-out oath will not excuse the offending driver from disciplinary action from NASCAR. “That delay doesn’t protect them,” said Helton. “First of all, the delay doesn’t necessarily mean the word won’t get through, and even if it doesn’t get through, it will still be obvious that an offensive word was used, even if the actual word doesn’t get out.” Helton conceded, however, that NASCAR officials will not likely take away points from a driver or owner whose profanity is bleeped out by TV censors. Radio will join the rush to delay, by the way. Motor Racing Network president David Hyatt announced on Friday that a seven-second audio delay would be implemented beginning with Sunday’s Banquet 400. Performance Racing Network, the Speedway Motorsports entity that broadcasts most of the races not assigned to MRN, began using a delay earlier this year.(Gaston Gazette)(10-9-2004)
October 8, 2004
- Race Elliott Sadler: Gamers who think that they can race like a pro will finally have a chance to race one, when NASCAR Nextel Cup Series "Chase for the Cup" contender Elliott Sadler takes on all comers on Xbox Live. Sadler will fire up Electronic Arts' groundbreaking racing game, NASCAR 2005: Chase for the Cup, in the latest Xbox Live "Game with Fame" event. For 90 minutes gamers will get to tear up the track with Sadler, currently eighth in the series point standings. The event will take place on Wednesday, October 13, 2004 from 3:00 - 4:30pm/et. Gamers will be allowed to race side by side with Sadler by logging onto Xbox Live and challenging Gamertag: Candyman38. For more details on how gamers can trade paint with one of NASCAR's elite, visit the official "Game with Fame" site, prior to Wednesday's event. Xbox Live's "Game with Fame" gives game fans the opportunity to play on Xbox Live against some of today's hottest stars. Past "Game with Fame" celebrity players include The Strokes, Hoobastank and Big Boi from OutKast. For further information on other Xbox Live events, be sure to visit the "Game with Fame" Web site at www.xbox.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(10-8-2004)
- Weber back in the booth at Kansas: NASCAR on NBC & TNT play-by-play commentator Allen Bestwick underwent surgery one week ago to repair the broken left leg he suffered last week in a hockey game near his home in Coventry, R.I. Bestwick missed last Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Talladega, Ala. and will miss this Sunday's Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods from Kansas Speedway. Pre-race host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber will again fill-in for Bestwick calling the race from the booth with analysts Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach. Weber will host the pre-race show from a specially designed desk on
the roof of the broadcast booth instead of his usual perch atop the NASCAR on NBC & TNT Wagon on pit road. Following the pre-race show, he will move to the booth to call the race with Parsons and Dallenbach. Pit reporters Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum will handle reporting duties on all 43 teams from the pits.(NBC PR), get well Allen.(10-8-2004)
- Final Talladega TV Ratings down 1.8%: Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show NBC's broadcast of last Sunday's EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway drew a 5.4 rating, down 1.8 percent from the 5.5 of 2003.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-8-2004)
- MRN goes to a 7-second Delay: the Motor Racing Network (MRN), the nation's largest independent sports radio network, announced today that it will institute a seven-second audio delay in its NASCAR coverage, beginning with Sunday's Banquet 400 Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway. "The millions of fans that tune in each week can still expect the quality programming from MRN which they are accustomed to," said MRN President David Hyatt. 'However, given the recent scrutiny in the broadcasting industry, we feel this is the right thing to do to protect our hundreds of local affiliates across the county." MRN Radio is the primary source for NASCAR stock car racing and related radio programming in the United States.(MRN Radio Site)(10-8-2004)
- Fisher to focus on NASCAR: Three-time Indy Racing League Most Popular Driver Sarah Fisher told MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody Thursday that she is turning her focus to a NASCAR career. Fisher, who turned her first stock car laps in a NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race last weekend, said Nextel Cup team owner Richard Childress was instrumental in getting her the ride, and that there may be other opportunities
with Childress in her future. “I met Mr. Childress at a Chevrolet function, and he told me that if I ever wanted to take a ride in a stock car, to give him a call,” said Fisher. “ I waited awhile, and when it started to look like there was nothing happening in IndyCar, I called him. He put me together with Bill McAnally, whose car I drove in Phoenix last weekend, and I had a great time. It’s something I’d like to do more of.” Fisher confirmed that she tested a Childress car at Caraway Speedway recently, saying, “I think I did better than they expected to do.” She would not speculate on whether there might be another RCR-backed ride in her future, but said she has “lots more work to do” before climbing into a Busch or Nextel Cup car. “It’s different than anything I’ve done up until now, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” she said. “But wherever Mr. Childress thinks I should go, that’s where I’ll go.”(MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway)(10-8-2004)
- FCC Looking at Dale Jr.'s slip: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s use of a four-letter expletive Sunday in a live post-race interview on NBC after his win at Talladega Superspeedway is being reviewed by the Federal Communications Commission, Bloomberg News reported Thursday. An FCC spokesman was quoted in the news service report, which moved on general news wires Thursday evening. That report came several hours after NBC announced it would begin using a delay in such interviews, beginning with this weekend's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway. "We've gotten a few dozen e-mail letters of concern," FCC spokesman David Fiske said in an interview with Bloomberg News. "We'll subject them to the normal review procedures, in which we look at the law, the precedent, the facts, and the context."(ThatsRacin.com)(10-8-2004)
- Stewart's Benefit Concert a Success: Friends of Tony Stewart help to raise $276,235.00 at a benefit concert held in the newly constructed Luther F. Carson Four Rivers center in Paducah, Ky. Head liner was Diamond Rio, along with Trace Adkins. Drivers that particapated in the event were Tony Stewart, Kyle Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Danny Lasoski. The event was Presented By: Bass Pro Shops & Hultman Inc.(10-8-2004)
Tony Stewart being presented a check from Greg Hultman Owner of Hultman Inc. of Paducah, Ky.(Photo by Tim Parks)
- Petty switches Engines? UPDATE 2: hearing that Petty Enterprises [PE], with drivers #45-Kyle Petty and #43-Jeff Green, will run Arrington Engines the rest of 2004 after Talladega and will supposedly have Evernham engines in 2005. Currently PE uses Mike Ege engines.(10-1-2004)
UPDATE: Petty Enterprises will have a new engine supplier for 2005, Kyle Petty confirmed Saturday, but it is unclear who will build engines for Petty and Jeff Green next season. Mike Ege Racing Engines, which has built engines for the Pettys since 2002, will not return next year. "We're at that time in the season where we need to be making a change," Petty said. "We've talked about it for the last three or four months with Mike Ege Racing Engines, and it's come to a point where it's time to make a move. Next year, we'll do something different." The Dodges of Petty and Green will use Ege engines in this weekend's EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, and Ege has the option of staying with Petty Enterprises the rest of this year. "We've left that option up to him, if he chose to continue it or if he chose not to," Petty said. "We'll go from there. We have his stuff in down here." But who will be in the #43 and #45 in 2005? Petty said rumors about a switch to Evernham Engines or Arrington Engines are simply rumors. "There are rumors about everything, man," Petty said. "There are rumors I'm going to retire. What are you gonna do? That's why they're called rumors." The team won't return to building its own engines, as it did from 1949-2001. "We talked about it three or four months ago, whether we wanted to open our stuff back up," Petty said. "We made a decision at this point in time not to go down that road. If we were two or three years further down the road, then, yeah, we'd probably look at it. But right now, no."(NASCAR.com)(10-3-2004)
UPDATE 2a: been told Petty Enterprises #43-Jeff Green and #45-Kyle Petty will NOT run Mike Ege Racing Engines at Kansas even though PE is supposed contracted with Ege thru 2005, Arrington engines will be used the rest of 2004, in 2005....? [Evernham?]. No word on what kind of legal action Ege may take.
UPDATE 2b: Ray Evernham says he hasn't signed any agreements with Petty Enterprises, but he is talking with them and some other teams about providing engines in 2005.(NASCAR Scene print)(10-8-2004)
- Beam leaves PPI? UPDATE: hearing team Manager/crew chief Mike Beam has left the #32 Tide Chevy / PPI Motorsports (Cal Wells' team) and will be the new crew chief for Michael Waltrip's #99 Aaron's Dream machine Busch team.(10-7-2004)
UPDATE: Cal Wells says Beam wants to work in one of the other more time-friendly series so that he can spend more time at home. Beam is already mulling over offers in both the Busch and Truck Series.(FoxSports/Totally NASCAR)(10-8-2004)
- It's Front Row Joe again, this time at Kansas: #01-Joe Nemechek won the Budweiser pole at Kansas Speedway for the Banquet 400 with a speed of 180.156mph. The rest of the top five: #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #18-Bobby Labonte. Best Ford qualifier is #16-Greg Biffle at 6th. For qualifying results, practice vs. qualifying speeds, pole progression, where the rookies qualified on Jayski's Kansas Qualifying Results/Starting Lineup page.
Talladega Qualifying Results/Starting Lineup Links at:
- Kansas Qualifying Notes:
---- Joe Nemechek won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods, lapping Kansas Speedway in 29.974 seconds at 180.156 mph. Jimmie Johnson holds the track-qualifying record of 29.938 seconds, 180.373 mph - set Oct. 3, 2003.
---- This is Nemechek's eighth career Bud Pole in 352 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. His most recent Bud Pole came at Talladega, one race ago.
---- It is Nemechek's first start better than 12th in four races at Kansas.
---- There have been four different Bud Pole winners in the four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Kansas Speedway: Jason Leffler (2001), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2002), Jimmie Johnson (2003) and Nemechek.
---- Nemechek became the seventh multiple Bud Pole winner in 2004. Jeff Gordon (six), Ryan Newman (five), Kasey Kahne (four), Casey Mears (two), Brian Vickers (two) and Jeremy Mayfield (two) are the other drivers with more than one Bud Pole this season. Qualifying was canceled at Watkins Glen, second Michigan and second New Hampshire due to weather.
---- This is the fifth time in 2004, that a driver has posted back-to-back Bud Poles, including four straight by Jeff Gordon (Michigan through Chicago). Casey Mears posted back-to-back Bud Poles at second Pocono and Indianapolis.
---- This is 12th Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2004. Dodge has 13 Bud Poles and Ford has two.
---- Kasey Kahne had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 30.125 seconds at 179.253 mph and will join Nemechek on the front row. It is his first race at Kansas. This is Kahne's 12th top-10 start in 2004, including seven on the front row.
---- Jeremy Mayfield (third) posted his 16th top-10 start in 2004. It is his first start better than 14th in four races at Kansas.
---- Jimmie Johnson (fourth) posted his 18th top-10 start in 2004. It is his third consecutive start of fourth or better in as many races at Kansas. He started second in his rookie season (2002) and won the Bud Pole here in 2003.
---- Bobby Labonte (fifth) posted his ninth top-10 start in 2004. It is his third top-10 start in four races at Kansas Speedway.
---- Only four of the 10 drivers involved in The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualified in the top-10: Mayfield, Johnson, Ryan Newman (seventh) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (eighth). All three of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Kansas have been won from a
starting position of 11th or better.
---- Jeff Gordon (30th) failed to qualify in the top-10 for the first time in his four races at Kansas Speedway. He and Bill Elliott were the only drivers to start in the top-10 in the first three Kansas races.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-8-2004)
- Stock Car Fans Ramblings: Front Row Joe makes it two in a row! Joe Nemechek grabbed the Bud Pole today at Kansas Speedway for Sunday's Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods, and he was the only car under 30 seconds (29.974 to be exact, a speed of 180.156 mph). After taking last week's top-spot at Talladega Superspeedway, this becomes pole #2 for the season and #8 in his Cup career. Joe will be joined on the front-row by Kasey Kahne, the 7th time the Rookie has started in either of the top two-spots.
Bobby Labonte (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Texas in April.
Greg Biffle (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Chicagoland in July.
Brendan Gaughan (13th....and you gotta love that hair!) has his best starting spot since he started 10th at Pocono in July.
Todd Bodine (20th) has his best starting spot since he started 7th at Atlanta last October!
Jimmy Spencer (33rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 33rd at the Brickyard in August.
STREAKIN....Jeremy Mayfield has 8 Top-10 starts in a row.
Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-5 starts in the last 5 races.(Stock Car Fans Nextel Cup Newsletter)(10-8-2004)
- Burton tests at Caraway: Jeff Burton and the #30 AOL Race Team tested Caraway Speedway (Asheboro, N.C.) Tuesday, Oct. 5 in preparation for the upcoming Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway.(RCR PR)(10-8-2004)
- Ford Donates $5000: Dale Jarrett's third-place finish in the EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday results in another $5,000 donation from Ford Credit to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to help in its mission to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease. Ford Credit, a sponsor of Jarrett's No. 88 UPS NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
Series Taurus, now has donated $706,300 to the Komen Foundation based on Jarrett's on-track performance and end-of-season bonuses since 1998 - including $37,500 in 2004. Ford Credit gives the Komen Foundation $10,000 for each of Jarrett's victories, $7,500 for each second-place finish, $5,000 for each third-place finish and $5,000 for each pole position won (as fastest qualifier). Earlier this year, Jarrett won the non-points Bud Shootout at Daytona, finished second at Indianapolis, and finished third at Chicago and both Michigan races.(Ford Racing PR)(10-8-2004)
- Blaney and FitzBradshaw? UPDATE: new news posted there but the FitzBradshaw Racing site [Busch #12, #14 and #82], HAD the #82 is listed as a 'Winston Cup' team with Dave Blaney driving [it has since been changed back to a Busch team and driver removed]. Have heard that former #49 Cup crew chief, Scott Eggleston, has been hired by FitzBradsahw and the #82 could be a Cup team AND heard it is the part-time Busch team that Randy LaJoie has run some races in. No idea on any more or a schedule if this is true.(10-8-2004)
UPDATE: being told that the #82 with Bleney will be a Busch team only, could race as soon as Lowe's Motor Speedway next weekend.(10-8-2004)
- Leffler out at Kansas, Feese in; UPDATE Leffler back in OOPS - UPDATE 2...Leffler back out: Blake Feese, who is part of Hendrick Motorsports' driver development program, was named to drive Gene Haas' Busch Series car this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Feese replaces Jason Leffler, who has driven Haas' #00 Haas Automation Chevry into third in the Busch standings on the strength of a Bud Pole, a victory and 17 top-10 finishes in 27 starts. "Jason is still under contract and has not been released," Haas CNC Racing's marketing director Carl Cline said. "Jason has simply been removed from the car for this weekend's event and we'll evaluate things on Monday. "We're happy to help Hendrick Motorsports with their development program." Feese drove a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to victory last Saturday in the ARCA Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, his second ARCA victory this season for HMS in four starts, all of which have been top-10 finishes.
Of late, Leffler's name has been active in the rumor mill as a possible driver for Joe Gibbs Racing's third fulltime team for 2005 in the Nextel Cup Series, a #11 Federal Express Chevy. Tuesday, Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs was unavailable to comment on his organization's plans for the 11 car, which used Ricky Craven as its driver at Talladega in its second race this season. Joe Gibbs Racing and Federal Express have scheduled a news conference for Oct. 13 at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in North Carolina to announce their 2005 plans.(NASCAR.com/FoxSports Totally NASCAR)(10-5-2004)
UPDATE - Leffler back in: Haas CNC Racing's efforts to put newcomer Blake Feese in its #00 Chevrolet for Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway has apparently hit a last-minute snag. Jason Leffler, who has driven the #00 all season, obtained a temporary restraining order Late Thursday, preventing Haas from putting any other driver in the car, ThatsRacin.com has learned. The court order remains in effect until a hearing Friday morning, when Leffler's attorneys are expected to argue for a permanent injunction. That would allow Leffler to remain in the #00 car this weekend and for the remainder of the season, sources confirmed Thursday night. Leffler has a contract to drive for Hass' Busch program for the 2004 season. He is expected to be named to drive Joe Gibbs Racing's third Nextel Cup entry, which is to debut next season. An formal announcement about Gibbs' third team is planned for Wednesday. It has been widely reported that Federal Express will sponsor the new team and Wednesday's announcement is scheduled at the FedEx ramp at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Earlier this week, Haas officials announced they were putting Feese, who has two Automobile Racing Club of America victories this season, in their #00 Chevrolet. The move would effectively end Leffler's opportunity to compete for the 2004 Busch Series title, unless he could find another team for the remainder of the season. He is currently third in the standings.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-8-2004)
UPDATE 2 - Leffler back out and Feese back in: Haas CNC Racing has prevailed in its legal face-off with driver Jason leffler and will have newcomer Blake Feese in its No. 00 Chevrolet for Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway.
Jason Leffler, who has driven the #00 all season, obtained a temporary restraining order late Thursday, preventing Haas from putting any other driver in the car. A Wyandotte County (Kans.) judge dismissed that order Friday morning after Leffler's attorneys argued for a permanent injunction. That would have allowed Leffler to remain in the #00 car this weekend and for the remainder of the season. Feese was practicing the car Friday morning at Kansas Speedway while attorneys for the two sides made their respective cases. Leffler, meanwhile, waited it out in his motorhome at the track. Leffler had a contract to drive for Haas' Busch program for the 2004 season. He is expected to be named to drive Joe Gibbs Racing's third Nextel Cup entry, which is to debut next season. An formal announcement about Gibbs' third team is planned for Wednesday. It has been widely reported that Federal Express will sponsor the new team and Wednesday's announcement is scheduled at the FedEx ramp at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. Earlier this week, Haas officials announced they were putting Feese, who has two ARCA victories this season, in their #00 Chevrolet. The team's move and the subsequent legal ruling jeopardizes Leffler's opportunity to compete for the 2004 Busch Series title, unless he is able to find another team for the remainder of the season. He is currently third in the standings, behind leader Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch, the second-place driver. It was not known if Leffler planned to appeal Friday's Wyandotte County court ruling.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-8-2004)
October 7, 2004
- Can you say 'Hemi'? Sweeet: Jeremy Mayfield's No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge will carry a special orange HEMI paint scheme for this weekend's NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event at Kansas Speedway. The paint scheme is running to promote the success of the new HEMI engine available in many of Chrysler Group's vehicles including the 2004 Dodge Ram, Dodge Durango, Dodge Magnum and Chrysler 300C. The special paint scheme will mark the first return of the HEMI brand to NASCAR Cup Series racing since the early 70s.(ClearBlue/Evernham Motorsports PR), see images of the scheme on my #19 Team Paint Schemes page or the 2004 Cup Paint Scheme page.(10-7-2004)
- NBC to use a 5-second delay: NBC Sports will institute a five-second delay in NASCAR coverage beginning Sunday from Kansas Speedway during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Banquet 400. "We're disappointed for our viewers to have to do this, but the delay provides a level of protection against anything inappropriate going out over the air," said Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. "We thought we could rely upon the precedent of NASCAR's disciplinary action taken earlier this year when two Busch Series drivers uttered profanities during radio interviews."
"Our initial hope would have been to broadcast on delay only during pre- and post-race coverage, but by using the delay during
competition, our pit reporters won't be limited in interviewing drivers, crew chiefs and team owners as compelling stories inevitably
unfold under the pressure and intensity of the moment."
"For more than a half century, most major American sporting events have aired live. While broadcasting on delay is extremely unfortunate, we've come to the conclusion that taking this step provides the additional safeguard needed in today's climate."
The radio communication between teams and drivers during actual racing has always been heard on delay during NASCAR telecasts on NBC. Coverage on NBC of Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods begins at 1:30pm/et with the "Discover Card Countdown to Green" pre-race show, followed by green flag racing at 2:00pm/et.(NBC PR)(10-7-2004)
- Lots of Penalties, fines for infractions at Talladega:
Roush Racing and Evernham Motorsports were issued the most severe penalties among the 12 overall for rules violations that occurred during this past weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Talladega Superspeedway.
Roush Racing received four of the penalties for an unapproved spoiler adjustment on the #16 National Guard Ford that occurred after pre-race inspection had been completed. Driver Greg Biffle was penalized 25 driver championship points; car owner Geoff Smith lost 25 championship owner points; crew chief Doug Richert was fined $25,000; and crew member Michael Hillman Jr. was suspended from NASCAR until Oct. 20 including the next two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, beginning with Kansas Speedway’s race this weekend. Hillman Jr. also was placed on probation until Dec. 31. The team was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book.
Evernham Racing received three penalties for an unapproved spoiler modification to the #9 Dodge that occurred after pre-event inspection and was discovered by NASCAR officials during pre-qualifying inspection. Driver Kasey Kahne was penalized 25 driver championship points; car owner Ray Evernham lost 25 championship owner points; and crew chief Tommy Baldwin was fined $25,000. The team was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book.
Pat Tryson, crew chief of the No. 6 Ford driven by Mark Martin, was issued a pair of fines for separate infractions that totaled $15,000. He was fined $10,000 for an unapproved air directional device and $5,000 for an unapproved windshield mounting. He was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book. Both infractions were found by NASCAR officials during pre-qualifying inspection.
Peter Rondeau, crew chief of the No. 1 Chevrolet driven by Kenny Wallace, was fined $10,000 for violating Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book/Technical Bulletin for unapproved spring mounting plates and bolts. The infraction was found during opening-day inspection.
Michael McSwain, crew chief of the No. 21 Ford driven by Ricky Rudd, was fined $1,000 for violating Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that parts and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book for unapproved windshield clips. The infraction was discovered during pre-qualifying inspection.
Doug Randolph, crew chief of the No. 10 Chevrolet driven by Scott Riggs, was fined $500 for violating Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 17.2-C (Seat belts) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book for seat belts with an expired manufacturer’s date. The infraction was discovered during opening-day inspection.(NASCAR PR)(10-7-2004)
- Dale Jr.'s Pit Crew Takes Over Points Lead After Talladega Win: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s pit crew not only captured Sunday's McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade at Talladega Superspeedway, but the No. 8 crew also took over the competition's points lead which will pay the season champion a $200,000 bonus.
It was the third time this season that Earnhardt's crew won the $20,000 weekly prize - the other wins were at Rockingham and Richmond in May. The No. 8 crew, which played a vital role in Earnhardt's victory in the restrictor-plate race, overcame a 19-point deficit to Elliott Sadler's crew going into Talladega. Earnhardt's crew earned 43 points for the win while Sadler's crew picked up 22 points for finishing 22nd.
With seven Nextel Cup races remaining, the McDonald's/POWERade points race is shaping up to be a tightly-contested battle. The top-five crews are: Earnhardt Jr. (1031 points), Sadler (1029), Kurt Busch (1020), Kevin Harvick (1013) and Tony Stewart (997).
Earnhardt's Budweiser Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on Talladega's pit road - 203.341 seconds. Busch's Sharpie Ford was second at 211.299. Joe Nemechek's No. 01 U.S. Army Chevy came in third with a time of 213.680.
"Great pit stops all day," said Earnhardt. "I believe every time we made a pit stop, we picked up positions. Tony Jr. made a great call there when we were coming in for a quick gas-and-go with about 12 or 11 to go. The caution came out just as we had entered pit road, so he was yelling 'Put on two tires! Put on two tires!' That was a split-second decision, and I think it was the difference in us winning and losing. Those two right-side tires made the car turn so much better, and I had 'em and nobody else did."
Tony Eury Sr., crew chief for the No. 8 team, said, "We've finally got our pit crew going the way we need it to. We made a few changes not too long ago, because we felt like if we're going to make a serious run at this championship, we need to get our act together in the pits. Our pit stops have been really good last month, and it just so happens we've won two races and added a few more top-fives to go with them. Dale Jr. has done a great job driving the car, and the guys in the pits have done a great job getting him in and out."
The No. 8 over-the-wall crew consists of: Jeff Clarke (gasman), Kevin Pennell (jackman), Phil Drye (front tire changer), Danny Earnhardt (front tire carrier), Greg Burkhart (rear tire changer), Troy Prince (rear tire carrier), Craig Lund (catch can). Tony Eury Sr. is the crew chief and the car chief is Tony Eury Jr. The pit crew coach is Walt Smith.(DMF Communications PR and see top-10 from Talladega and season standings on my Pit Crew Page.(10-7-2004)
- Speeds faster at Wed Martinsville test: Five NEXTEL Cup teams tested Wednesday at Martinsville Speedway for the upcoming Subway 500 on Oct. 24th [tickets available, see martinsvillespeedway.com - link fixed or call 877.RACE.TIX]. Only speedw reported, #40-Sterling Marlin and #48-Jimmie Johnson each ran a lap of 96.612mph, the qualifying record is held by Tony Stewart at 95.252. Other drivers testing Wednesday included #21-Ricky Rudd, #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #22-Scott Wimmer.(Martinsville Speedway PR), also, with the repaving and new concrete, the curbs were redone and are still there, no longer 6" high and at an angle instead if straight.(10-7-2004)
- Kyle Busch adds two Cup races to 2004 schedule: Hendrick Motorsports has added two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series dates to the schedule of 19-year-old Kyle Busch, team owner Rick Hendrick announced Wednesday. Driving the #84 CARQUEST Chevrolets, Busch will compete Oct. 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Oct. 31 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, marking his fifth and sixth career races in NASCAR’s most elite division. Busch, who has made Cup-level starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway and California Speedway in 2004, will also enter Sunday’s 400-mile event at Kansas Speedway as announced in May.(Hendrick Motorsports PR/Site)(10-7-2004)
October 6, 2004
- Joe Gibbs Racing Announcement Oct. 13th: Officials from Joe Gibbs Racing and FedEx Corp. will make a major announcement about the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season at 12:00pm/et Oct. 13 at the FedEx Express Ramp at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, N.C.(JGR PR), for news and rumors on the team, see my #11 Team News and Links page and images on my #11 Team Paint Schemes page.(10-6-2004)
- Next win for Roush is #300: Roush Racing is going after its 300th victory this weekend in Kansas City. Founded in 1984, Roush Racing has 299 victories in NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series, and road
course events (IMSA, SCCA)(Roush Racing PR)(10-6-2004)
- Eury Sr. Back on Top at Talladega Wins WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: Tony Eury Sr. reasserted his team's
dominance at Talladega Superspeedway. The #8 Chevrolet collected its fifth win of the season at the famed track, thanks in part to a gutsy call by Eury Sr. to take two tires on the final pit stop of the race. Eury's pit strategy might have left Dale Earnhardt Jr. a ten-position deficit to overcome, but the fresh rubber gave him exactly what he needed to lead the charge to the checkered flag. The FANS awarded Eury's gamble, voting him the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Over 70% of the fans who logged onto
www.WYPALL.com agreed that Eury Sr.'s decision was the savviest move of the race. Tony Eury, Sr. remains in first place in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge with nine wins. Chad Knaus and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with four wins. Tommy Baldwin is in third place with three wins. Robbie Reiser and Matt Borland stand in fourth place with two wins. Pat Tryson, Larry Carter, Lee McCall, Donnie Wingo, Phillipe Lopez, and Pete Rondeau are tied for fifth place, each with one win. The crew chief with the most weekly wins at the end of the season will be named WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and receive $10,000.00. For more information, visit www.wypall.com.(WYPALL PR)(10-6-2004)
- Waltrip to Make 600th Career NASCAR Cup Start at Kansas Speedway: #15-Michael Waltrip will make his 600th career Nextel Cup start at Kansas Speedway in Sunday's Banquet 400. "When I left Kentucky, I knew I wanted to be a Cup Series driver. With a lot of help from a lot of people and a never quit attitude, I was able to start my Cup career. Since that point, it has been a fun ride. Winning is what it is all about. Being able to win several (NASCAR) Busch Series races and a couple of Daytona 500s has given me a sense of accomplishment and gives me the drive to continue being a winning racecar driver."(Falgren PR)(10-6-2004)
- Dale Jarrett Named 3rd Qtr NASCAR USG Person of the Year: Using his love of golf, Dale Jarrett recently hosted two golf outings to raise approximately $100,000 for the Dale Jarrett Foundation. In addition, the Dale Jarrett Foundation co-hosted a benefit concert in Hickory, N.C. for the new C.O. Miller Teen Center at the Hickory Foundation YMCA. Jarrett and his wife, Kelley founded the Dale Jarrett Foundation, which supports the Victory Junction Gang Camp, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Brenner Children’s Hospital, Hospice and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, in 2002. For his efforts, Jarrett has been named the third quarter NASCAR USG Person of the Year winner. USG (United States Gypsum), an Official Promotional Partner of NASCAR, is in its second year as sponsor of the NASCAR USG Person of the Year program. The award is designed to honor drivers not only for their accomplishments on the track, but for their community service contributions and charitable efforts.
To determine the NASCAR USG Person of the Year Award winner, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season is divided into four quarters. Drivers are nominated for their off-track efforts during each quarter, and a select group of panelists will choose one of the four quarterly finalists as the NASCAR USG Person of the Year. This award will be presented the week of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony in New York City in early December, along with a prize of $100,000. The prize will be divided evenly between the driver and the charity of his/her choice. Other notable nominees are Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Burton. Gordon was the first quarter nominee, while Elliott Sadler was named the second quarter nominee.
In addition to the NASCAR USG Person of the Year, USG also sponsors the Driver of the Race Award, which goes to the eligible winning driver of each of the 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship events. Each USG Driver of the Race Award winner receives $2,500 with an additional $2,500 going to the charity of his/her choice.(NASCAR PR)(10-6-2004)
- So why can ppc have a tobacco as a sponsor? The VB sponsorship is interesting, being the first tobacco brand the set up a full-time effort in Cup after the departure of R.J. Reynolds as series sponsor after last season. Cigarette brands had been tacitly prohibited from advertising in NASCAR due to the primacy of RJR, although so-called "smokeless" modes were allowed. Moreover, VB is one of the smaller producers not covered by the 1997 Tobacco Settlement Agreement with state attorneys general. The TSA prohibited the top tobacco companies, such as RJR and Phillip Morris, from all sports advertising as of 2007 and required payment over time of a settlement in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The TSA hastened RJR's exit from NASCAR. Smaller companies, however, are not included in the settlement, and various regional producers such as Bailey's and Tucson have appeared at times as car sponsors.(Ben Blake Speed Channel)(10-6-2004)
October 5, 2004
- No Delay? Dale Jr. should had said 'poop' UPDATE fined and docked points TO APPEAL: been asked by readers if Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be fine/penalized for his on-air curse during his post-race-win interview at Talladega on NBC. That is up to NASCAR, but here are a few tidbits found accross the Internet on the situation:
1) During the interview in Victory Lane with NBC's Matt Yocum, Earnhardt Jr. was asked what it meant to win for the fifth time at Talladega. Earnhardt Jr. replied, "It don't mean s--- right now. Daddy's won here 10 times." NBC later issued an apology for the inappropriate language. After several media requests, NASCAR is reviewing the post-race videotape, according to spokesman Mike Zizzo. Any penalty would be handed down Tuesday at the earliest, Zizzo said.(NASCAR.com)
2) ......off-color words he uttered on NBC during a postrace interview, which NASCAR is reviewing before deciding any disciplinary action. Earlier this season Johnny Sauter and Ron Hornaday Jr. each were fined $10,000 and docked 25 championship points for talking 'dirty' [using the same word...but in anger] during Busch Series broadcasts. If precedence holds, Earnhardt could go from 13 points ahead of second-place Kurt Busch to 12 points down with seven races left in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. "If anybody was offended by that, I can't imagine why they'd tune in to a race in the first place," Earnhardt said, later joking that he needed some Dale Carnegie classes. "There were a lot of hand gestures going on through the race, and that was weak compared to what you go through on the racetrack. But I hope they understand it was in jubilation. ... When you're happy and joyous about something, it's different from being angry and cursing in anger."(USA Today)
3) Asked about the matter, NASCAR vp/communications Jim Hunter said, "We're looking into it," adding that a decision would be made by Monday or Tuesday. Earnhardt seemed strangely subdued after the race, apparently aware that his slip of the tongue could prove to be costly. "I'm worried about losing the points lead, because I don't know what kind of deal will come out of it," he said. "If you guys [press] push the issue, in three or four days it could be a big problem. I just hope everybody understands it came out of jubilation."(Speed Channel)(10-4-2004)
UPDATE - Fined and Docked 25 points: Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was penalized with a loss of 25 championship driver points and a $10,000 fine for an inappropriate post-race comment during the live national television broadcast of Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR officials announced today. Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Budwesier Chevrolet, was in violation of Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book for using inappropriate language. The penalty also will extend to the team as Dale Earnhardt Inc. will lose 25 championship owner points for the actions of its driver. Earnhardt Jr.’s championship points total will be adjusted from 5,543 points to 5,518 as a result of the penalty, and will drop him from first to second in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Kurt Busch and Roush Racing will assume the lead with 5,530 points, 12 ahead of Earnhardt Jr. and DEI, respectively.(NASCAR PR)
TO APPEAL: XM Radio - NASCAR Channel 144 reports that DEI will appeal the penalty.
DEI Statement/Appeal: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. announced today that the #8 Budweiser eam that fields Chevrolet Monte Carlos for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the Nextel Cup Series, will appeal the NASCAR-imposed post-race penalty that cost the team 25 championship points and $10,000. Richie Gilmore, DEI Director of Competition, cites that the 25- point penalty under the new 10-race “Chase for the Nextel Cup” format could be devastating with only seven races remaining. “This is a huge setback for the entire company,” Gilmore said. “We’re in a sport that focuses its primary attention on the final 10 races of the season and we’re racing against formidable teams for a championship. We’re facing a setback from a competition standpoint for something that should be considered a personal foul. We have no choice but to appeal the points portion of the penalty. I think we’re the only sport that takes points off of the board after they’ve been scored. The popularity of this sport is based on colorful personalities and the fact that everyone can relate to these drivers and their emotions. Now, it seems like that’s a detriment. Dale Jr.’s comment was made in the excitement of the moment, seconds after he climbed out of the car. It wasn’t made in anger or hostility directed at anyone. This whole incident is going to force everyone in the sport to rethink showing any excitement in what should be a jubilant moment. We’ve had hundreds of calls from fans that support us. Our sponsors have vowed their support, as well. If nothing else, we can look back at this race and always remember it as one where we were reminded of the loyalty everyone has toward Dale Jr., the No. 8 team and our company.”(DEI Site)(10-5-2004)
- NASCAR's appeal process
1. A written request for an appeal must be made to the National Stock Car Racing Commission within 10 calendar days of the notice of the penalty.
2. The Chairman of the National Stock Car Racing Commission will set a date and location.
3. From the pool of 31 commission members, the chairman will be joined by a minimum of two to constitute a quorum. Commission members are selected based on their knowledge and experience. They include men and women from a variety of motorsports backgrounds, some active in the sport and some retired. They include promoters, industry leaders, and dignitaries from other forms of professional motorsports.
4. Appeal would be heard; decision handed down.
5. If the team is not satisfied with the decision, they could make a final appeal to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner Charles D. Strang. All decisions by the commissioner are final.
- Busch's Reaction to the penalty: Taking time out from testing at Martinsville, new Nextel Cup point leader Kurt Busch reacted to the penalties against Dale Earnhardt Jr. following his victory lane slip of a curse word at Talladega. Busch told PRN's Mark Garrow "I wanna say we want to beat the 8 car out on the race track and not with the penalty.What he (Dale Jr) said is true emotion in victory lane and it wasn't quite appropriate and so it was good to see they (NASCAR) handled it consistently. NASCAR's always in that box of are they consistent with their decisions....do they hold somebody to different standards. It was a decision they had to make and now we go on." If the championship came down to Busch and Earnhardt Jr. Kurt said, "I want to go into the last race with a 155 point edge and that we don't have to worry about that last race."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(10-5-2004)
- So....does Dale Earnhardt Jr. still get awarded the NASCAR Nextel Cup Leader Bonus for winning the race and leading the points? It was $90,000 at Talladega.
Been told that Dale Jr. gets to keep the award and money as it was post-race penalty - he had the win and the lead in the points following the race.(10-5-2004)
- Sad News: Henry Lowery, Steve Lowery’s father, passed away on Monday morning, October 4. Steve Lowery is the chief scorer for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Services for his father is as follows:
Visitation: Brooks Funeral Home, 115 Main Street South Boston, VA 24592 on Tuesday, October 5, 2004 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm Service: Brooks Funeral Home Chapel, Wednesday, October 6, 2004 at 4:00 pm
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the Florence Avenue Baptist Church Building Fund.(10-5-2004)
- Testing at Kentucky: #88-Dale Jarrett is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway, Tuesday, Oct 5th; on Oct 6th, #77-Brendan Gaughan [wonder if Kvapil will run?] and #25-Brian Vickers will test. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(10-5-2004)
- Martin to do a triple at Atlanta: As if competing for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship wasn't enough, Mark Martin announced today that he will compete in three races during the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Martin will return to his roots on Friday, Oct. 29, competing in the ASA 150 for Atlanta-based World Financial Group, with associate sponsorship from longtime AMS sponsor Gresham & Associates. Martin, 45, began his racing career in the American Speed Association (ASA), logging 143 starts, which produced 22 race wins and four titles. Martin will continue logging miles during the Oct. 30 Aaron's 312 Busch Series race in his #9 Roush Racing Ford sponsored by Cottman Transmissions. First on the all-time Busch Series win list, Martin already has three victories and two pole positions in Atlanta Busch Series events. On Sunday, Oct. 31, Martin will return to his #6 Viagra Ford for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, the seventh of 10 races in the Chase for
the NEXTEL Cup. The only race that Martin will miss all weekend at Atlanta is the Crown Royal IROC season championship. "But I'll be working on my champion's invite for next year," Martin said with an impish grin. Martin is scheduled to test at Atlanta on Monday, Oct. 18.(AMS PR)(10-5-2004)
- #8 too low? been getting unsubstantiated reports all day Monday that #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Budwesier Chevy was found too low in post race inspection, but sources tell me the car was not too low, that a rumor broke put before the car even made it to inspection and that NASCAR reported to the media that all cars inspected, had passsed. Saw no columns/articles about the #8 being too low at all.(10-5-2004)
- Fisher qualifies 14th in first NASCAR race UPDATE 2 RCR? Hendrick?: Mike Duncan from Bakersfield, CA won the pole position for Sunday's NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Subway 150 with a fast time of 28.391 seconds, 126.801 mph. The mark was well off the track record of 27.822 seconds, 129.394 mph set by Steve Portenga in March of 2000, but considering the temperature was in the low '90s it was still a pretty fast lap. IRL IndyCar Series veteran Sarah Fisher qualified 14th in her NASCAR debut. The rookie driver ran a respectable 29.625 seconds, 121.519 mph in her first attempt in West Series racecar.
Eric Holmes drove his KENCO/Paul Oil Co./Taco Bell Chevy to a fast time of 27.656 seconds, 130.171 mph to win the pole for Sunday's J.C.'s Glass 100 for the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series race. Sunday's NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series J.C.'s Glass 100 gets the green flag at 1:00 p.m. PST, with the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Subway 150 scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. Raceday tickets are available at the track or by phone at 602-252-2227, or online at phoenixraceway.com.(PIR PR)(10-3-2004)
UPDATE: Scott Lynch won his second consecutive Subway 150 at Phoenix International Raceway's NASCAR DoubleHeader. Last year's NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Rookie of the Year led mid-race and then had to climb back through the field to re-take the point at lap 103 of 150, beating second place Scott Gaylord and Johnny Borneman. IRL veteran Sarah Fisher, making her first NASCAR start, qualified 14th and ran in the top ten until she retired with electrical problems, finishing 21st.(PIR Site)
AND Sarah Fisher got her first taste of NASCAR racing yesterday in Phoenix, and Richard Childress will be doing a post-race analysis this week. Fisher, a 24-year-old racer and an Indy-car veteran with a sponsor that wants to take her NASCAR racing, is a top General Motors project, and Childress is helping. "We're just trying to further her career in stock-car racing, to let her go out and do it and see how she likes it," Childress said. "If you don't try it and race against those guys, you won't know if you like it. Bill McAnally (the car owner supplying the equipment) is a good friend of mine and I worked it out with him. He may run her some more. This is just a test to see if she likes it."(Winston Salem Journal)
AND II Childress says Fisher, 24, could be in a Busch car later this year. Testing Fisher in a Cup ride also is possible.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(10-4-2004)
UPDATE 2: Fisher is to tour Hendrick Motorsports this week to learn more about the financial side of a NASCAR operation.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-5-2004)
October 4, 2004
- The New Dodge Charger will be in NASCAR: Fresh off a big product year, DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group is preparing for what could be another hit, a resurrected version of its classic muscle car, the Dodge Charger. The new Charger, which debuts at the Detroit auto show in January, arrives as other Detroit automakers are trotting out modern updates of old road kings like the Ford Mustang and Pontiac GTO in hopes of winning back the hearts of U.S. car buyers. The new Charger is crucial to the Dodge brand’s attempt to revive its passenger car lineup and the Chrysler Group’s nascent turnaround. But the car’s return is generating nearly as much debate as enthusiasm. Fans of the original street rocket say a four-door sedan does not deserve the Charger name. Others are happy just to see the badge back in the lineup after disappearing in the late 1980s. One unknown, however, is the boost Dodge could experience from reintroducing Charger to NASCAR racing next year. The Hemi-powered Charger of the 1960s was once the car to beat on the circuit and helped drive consumer demand. The new Charger debuts at the Daytona 500 in February, one of the biggest sporting events of the year, and could attract notice.(In part from the Detroit News)(10-3-2004)
UPDATE: Dodge Motorsports officials are expected to formally unveil the manufacturer's new entry to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series on Monday. News and an illustration of the new Dodge Charger appeared in Sunday editions of both the New York Times and Detroit Free Press. Dodge, which had been utilizing the Intrepid model since its return to NASCAR in 2001, has a strong track record with the Charger. Dodge racked up 124 wins with the Charger between 1966 and 1977, with 37 of those coming from seven-time Cup champion Richard Petty. The most recent Charger win came on Nov. 20, 1977, at Ontario (Calif.) Motor Speedway. Three drivers won Cup championships using the Charger - David Pearson (1966), Bobby Isaac (1970) and Petty (1972, 1974 and 1975).(ThatsRacin.com)
UPDATE 2 - It's Official: got a PR today, which says "The Dodge Charger returns to Dodge showrooms and NASCAR race tracks around the country in 2005. Stay tuned..."(ClearBlue/Dodge PR)
see past news on my Dodge News Page and other images of the car on my 2005 Cup Paint Scheme page.(10-4-2004)
- Overnight TV Ratings for Talladega slip: NBC's coverage of Sunday’s EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway drew a 4.6 overnight rating and a 9 share from Nielsen Media Research, today's Sports Business Daily reports. The overnight rating represents a 2.1 percent drop from last year's overnight 4.7. The 2003 race went on to earn a final 5.5/12, which NASCAR said was the highest rating any auto race had ever earned against professional football broadcasts.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-4-2004)
- Crewmen OK: The first round of pit stops was rough on a couple of crew members Sunday at Talladega. Mike Sceace, the jack man for Kevin Harvick, made like a gymnast when Harvick overshot his pits. Sceace, who was carrying the jack, tried to leap over the hood but caught his foot and turned a flip. He recovered and got the jack in place for the tires to be changed. He was not injured. A crewman for Kyle Petty was hit by Petty's car during the stop. He was taken to the infield hospital but eventually returned to the pits.(Alabama Live)(10-4-2004)
- New Crew Chief for the #49:BAM Racing announced today the addition of David Hyder as the new crew chief of the #49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge of driver Ken Schrader. Hyder, 37, a High Point, N.C. native, now living in Trinity, N.C., comes to BAM Racing after a four-and-a-half year stint with Petty Enterprises, where he held several positions, most recently, car chief of the #43. Accompanying Hyder in the transition is shock specialist, Dean Johnson. Spending most of his adult life in auto racing, Hyder drove late models for 17 years in various series including the Hooters Pro Cup and Slim Jim All Pro Series. Hyder then worked as a crew chief in the Hooters Pro Cup before moving to Petty Enterprises. At Petty Enterprises he spent the majority of his tenure working as car chief on both the #45 and the #43.(Williams Company PR)(10-4-2004)
- Mopar Scheme at Lowe's for Kahne: This October, at the UAW-GM 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the Mopar logo will adorn a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series entry for the first time in the brand's history. During the event, the familiar #9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne will boast a new hue that features the blue, black, and silver colors representative of Mopar. This momentous occasion in Mopar's history is one that signifies Mopar's dedication to the sport of racing. "We are proud to have Kasey Kahne carry the Mopar logo for the UAW-GM 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway," said Kevin Miller, Senior Brand, Performance Parts Portfolio and Brand Strategy for Mopar. "The race drivers who compete under the Mopar banner are among the best in the business, and Kasey Kahne is indicative of what the Mopar brand stands for. Having the Mopar logo showcased in a premier event such as the UAW-GM 500 represents what Mopar's racing endeavors encompass - the longevity and staying power of the sport." The Mopar "bling-bling" paint scheme that Kahne will carry was designed by Competition Graphics of Farmington Hills, Mich. Featuring the Mopar "M" logo, as well as the barbed wire paint scheme utilized by Team Mopar throughout the 2004 season, Kahne's car will carry on the brand's unique and authentic motorsports influence. Mopar is based in Center Line, Mich., and is the exclusive original equipment supplier of parts and accessories for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles.(Kasey Kahne site)(10-4-2004)
- Four of Ten...no mulligans yet: so far six of ten drivers in the Chase for the Nextel Cup have used their 'mulligans', meaning they have had trouble and fallen back in 'the chase':
#48-Jimmie Johnson, #12-Ryan Newman [but won a race], #19-Jeremy Mayfield [2 accidents], #38-Elliott Sadler, #20-Tony Stewart and #17-Matt Kenseth have all had at least one bad finish in the three 'chase' races.
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [won], #97-Kurt Busch [won], #6-Mark Martin and #24-Jeff Gordon have stayed out of trouble so far, average finish of the 'Chasers':
#8-Earnhardt Jr., 4.3
- No more Happy Hour? NASCAR is considering reorganizing some Nextel Cup weekends for 2005, including cutting out Happy Hour. Many teams have complained there is too much idle time on the weekends and that the schedule should be more efficient. Under the usual schedule, teams show up, get inspected, practice and qualify on Friday, then have Happy Hour practice on Saturday afternoon. Dale Jarrett suggests teams could arrive and go through inspections on Friday but have practice and qualifying on Saturday. "We could definitely cut at least one day out of this," Jarrett says. Nextel Cup director John Darby says cutting a day would be difficult. But eliminating Happy Hour, which would save money and time, is a possibility. Because teams have Happy Hour to find the right race setups, they use qualifying practice to work on qualifying setups. Without Happy Hour, many teams wouldn't bother with the expense of qualifying setups. They'd practice and qualify in race setups. Eliminating Happy Hour also would give teams more down time on Saturday.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(10-4-2004)
- Whoops...protest cancelled UPDATE on Sunday's Press Conference: The National Association for Minority Race Fans canceled a protest planned for Sunday's EA Sports 500 NASCAR race after track officials and police expressed concerns about security. "Our whole focus is to make NASCAR races a safer environment for minority fans," Jirard Brown, director of the minority fans group, said Saturday. Instead of protesting, Brown said the organization's leaders would hold a news conference at 11 a.m. Sunday on the grounds of the state-owned International Motor Sports Hall of Fame adjacent to Talladega Superspeedway to outline its plans.(ThatsRacin.com/AP), the 'on-hold' website has not been updated [as of 3am] or allow anyone but members to access it. Past news on the protest, see PAGE 2 - Oct 2.
AND NASCAR said that the group has had a film crew traveling the country trying to interview various NASCAR sponsors about their corporate minority programs, and NASCAR said that the group appears to be well financed. Fox TV officials say that the group has sent slickly produced commercials and tried to buy airtime. But Fox said that the commercials were in such bad taste that they were sent straight to the company's legal department.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-3-2004)
UPDATE: on the press conference at Talladega: Saying his organization wants to "force NASCAR to create a safer race for all races," National Association of Minority Race Fans director Jirard Brown spoke publicly to the media for the first time on Sunday.
Brown, who identified himself as the group's director, spoke to reporters in front of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, which sits near the main entrance to Talladega Superspeedway, the site of Sunday's EA Sports 500 Nextel Cup race. Brown said NAMRF "isn't impressed or satisfied with progress" in NASCAR's diversity initiatives. "Let's see NASCAR put its money where its mouth is," he said. "Consider this NAMRF's official invitation for a publicly televised debate on diversity and safety for its minority race fans." Brown was joined by Shawn Griffith, who said he has spent three years documenting what he called "shocking, provocative" evidence to support the group's claims that minorities and women face an unsafe environment at NASCAR events. The media gathering was held in place of a protest the group had told Alabama officials it planned for this weekend. Word that the protest had been called off was posted late Saturday evening on the group's web site at www.namrf.com.
Maj. Patrick Manning of the Alabama state police said law enforcement and speedway officials tried to work with the NAMRF officials to ensure security for up to as many as 450 protesters they planned to bring to Sunday's race. The track set aside an area for the group to gather, but Manning said NAMRF wanted to break up into smaller groups and stage their protests along Speedway Boulevard in front of the 2.66-mile track. "My statement to them was if they wanted to get out onto Speedway Boulevard it was a traffic safety issue," Manning said. "I think they twisted my remarks to make it sound like I said they would be in danger."
Brown said NAMRF had been told that NASCAR officials "told their people to avoid the infield." He then asked, "If it's not even safe for their own people in the infield, how can we be safe?" Ramsey Poston, director of corporate communications for NASCAR, said that NASCAR president Mike Helton did advise members of the teams at Talladega this weekend to be aware that there might be people in the infield with cameras looking for incidents that might reflect on the sport's treatment of minority fans. Manning said he knew of no incidents of violence with racial implications that had been reported during this weekend's events or in any race at Talladega in the five years he has been in charge of Alabama's state police.
Neither Brown nor Griffith would take questions. Brown said the group's password-protected web site would open to the public at 1 p.m. Wednesday. It had originally been scheduled to open at midnight on Thursday before a countdown clock was stopped just more than two hours before reaching zero. Griffith said his film "documenting the life and times of NASCAR fans" will be released in February. "I think the results are shocking, provocative, to say the least," he said. "I will leave it at that. We truly hope that our documentary will help NAMRF with their cause and find a way to seek their goals." Poston, who was one of several NASCAR officials standing around the periphery as Brown and Griffith spoke, said the event was "the first time I've ever seen activists show up in stretch limos. The actions that these individuals continue to take raise questions about the group's intentions and credibility," Poston said. "It seems to me these individuals are aiming for a great deal of shock value, but they have continued to be very vague and generalized in almost everything they've said."(in part from ThatsRacin.com)(10-4-2004)