MORE NEWS/RUMORS
OCT 25-31, 2004






    October 31, 2004

  • Johnson wins at Atlanta: in an emotional race, #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, winning and dedicating the win to the 10 people lost in the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash a week ago. With #97-Busch losing an engine early, Johnson was one of the few in the Chase for the Nextel Cup to make up any points on Busch. #6-Martin, who led the most lap and was the dominate carall day, ended up 6th, with #99-Carl Edwards, #01-Joe Nemechek and #9-Kahne rounding out the top five. It is the 7th win of the season for Johnson, his 3rd in a rwo and 13th of his career. The last time a driver won three straight races, was Jeff Gordon, who won the last two race of 1998 [Rockingham and Atlanta] and the 1999 Daytona 500. It was a bad bad for the Busch's with Kurt losing an engine and finishing 42nd, his brother Kyle went out first with a blown engine, finishing 43rd.
    See my Atlanta Race Info/Rundown Page for top-10, lap leaders, DNFs, caution info, lucky dogs and some notes.
    See results at:
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(10-31-2004)

  • Rusty to be fined? NASCAR officials confirmed Sunday they plan to penalize Nextel Cup driver #2-Rusty Wallace for an incident following last Sunday’s race at Martinsville. Wallace is expected to receive a monetary penalty as early as Monday, sources said. Fines for similar incidents in the past have ranged from $5,000 to $10,000. Penske Racing South teammates Ryan Newman and Wallace traded bumps while battling for second place, which sent Wallace to the outside lane, on Lap 494 of 500 of last Sunday’s Subway 500. After the "cool down" lap, Newman, who finished third, drove onto pit road where the top-five cars are required to stop. Wallace followed Newman down and appeared to hit the rear of Newman's #12 Altell Dodge.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-31-2004)

  • Evernham Tribute UPDATE / IMAGE: Hearing that in remembrance and tribute to Hendrick family and Motorsports, all Evernham Motorsports cars will run the remaining races of the year with black numbers, including this weekend's special Mad Magazine schemes.(10-27-2004)
    UPDATE: Evernham Motorsports Dodges driven by Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne will carry black numbers #19 and #9, respectively, the remainder of the season in memory of the victims in the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash last Sunday. Also, the tail number of the plane, 501RH, will be in front of the rear wheel well on the Evernham Motorsports Dodges.(Clear!Blue PR)(10-29-2004)
    IMAGE see an image of the car with the black number #9 and the plane number [circled in the image] on my #9 Team Paint Schemes page.(10-31-2004)

  • Kenseth wins IROC race and Championship: Matt Kenseth won the final event of the 2004 Crown Royal IROC series and a million dollars as he was crowned series champion for the first time. Ryan Newman finished second in the race and in the championship while Danny Lasoski finished the race third. For results, news and standings, see IROCracing.com.(10-31-2004)

  • No Morgan-McClure team in 2005? Jimmy Spencer's temper has cost him his job with car owner Larry McClure, and McClure's problems couldn't come at a worse moment, just as he's trying to land a sponsor for 2005. McClure has put Mike Wallace in his car for today's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, but beyond that McClure said everything is up in the air. "If we get a sponsor, we'll be racing next year. If we don't get a sponsor ... I don't see how anyone can run without a sponsor," McClure said.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-31-2004)

  • No announcement on RCR 3rd team until Homestead: Richard Childress said he would field three cars for the fourth consecutive season. An announcement on the third car's sponsor and driver could come at the season finale in Homestead, Fla. AOL isn't expected to remain with the {#30 to be #7?] team.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-31-2004)

  • Racing Stripes at Atlanta Jeff Gordon joined actor Steve Harvey to unveil a special showcar at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 30 to promote the movie "Racing Stripes." The animated movie hits theaters in January 2005 and features the voices of Snoop Dogg, Mandy Moore, Dustin Hoffman, and Frankie Muniz. The plot centers around an abandoned baby zebra that grows up believing he's a racehorse. With the help of barnyard friends and teenage girl who dreams of being a jockey, he overcomes prejudice and self-doubt to pursue his dream of running with thoroughbreds. In addition to unveiling the car, Gordon named an honorary 'pit crew' consisting of children afflicted with chronic and life-threatening illnesses to support the mission of the Jeff Gordon Foundation, which will receive a portion of the proceeds from the premiere of the movie.(Gordonline.com)(10-31-2004)

  • Truex Jr. gets Cup sponsor for limited sched in 2005: Martin Truex Jr., leading in the race for this year's Busch Series championship with three races to go, will return to that series next year and move to Nextel Cup full time in 2006 with Bass Pro Shops as primary sponsor. Truex will run with that company's backing in all 35 Busch races and seven Cup races in 2005. His tentative Cup schedule next year is to run both Daytona and Talladega races as well as events at Michigan, Indianapolis and Homestead. Bass Pro Shops will then sponsor the #1 Chevy owned by Dale Earnahrdt Inc. in Cup in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-31-2004)

  • Tire Shortage at Atlanta? Teams were grumbling yesterday about Goodyear's tire shortage at Atlanta Motor Speedway, something they say they expected, with the end of the season looming and Goodyear switching to a different Atlanta tire next season. Crews had the Goodyear compound surrounded yesterday afternoon, begging for more tires and trying to make deals with rivals for tires. And the situation was becoming increasingly angry. Some team tire men said things will get better as the weekend goes on, with tire wear improving during the race. Neither NASCAR nor Goodyear had any plans to ration tires. Teams are free to buy and sell tires at will after they've gotten their allotment from Goodyear, so multi-car teams, such as the Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush operations, should be in much better shape than smaller operations.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-31-2004)

  • Key Dates in Goodyear History: Highlighting the accomplishments of Goodyear engineers and Goodyear-equipped racers:
    Nov. 6, 1988 - Alan Kulwicki, racing on Goodyear tires, wins the first race in what is now the NASCAR Nextel Cup ever held at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Nov. 9, 1974 - Gerard Larrousse and Henri Pescarolo co-drive their Goodyear-shod Matra-Simca 670B to victory in the six-hour race at Kyalami, the final race of the World Manufacturers Championship season. Larrousse is crowned the driving champion and Matra wins the manufacturers title.
    Nov. 15, 1965 - Craig Breedlove's rocket-powered car rides tires prepared by Goodyear and becomes the first land-based vehicle to surpass 600 mph. Breedlove's record speed was 600.601 mph.
    Nov. 15, 1987 - Gerhard Berger collects Goodyear's 200th Formula One victory when he wins the Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide.(PR)(10-31-2004)

  • Atlanta Race Notes:
    ---- Jimmie Johnson won the 2004 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, scoring his 13th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 108th career start. His last victory came one race ago at Martinsville.
    ---- This is Johnson's third straight victory in as many races. Jeff Gordon was the last driver to win three straight races winning the final two races of 1998 and the first race in 1999. Gordon was also the last driver to win three straight in the same season, winning four consecutive races (Pocono, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen and Michigan) in 1998.
    ---- It was Johnson's seventh victory in 2004 and his first victory in seven races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It is his fourth top-10 finish at the Georgia superspeedway.
    ---- Twelve of his 13 of his victories have occurred on superspeedways.
    ---- Johnson has climbed from ninth to second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings in the last three races.
    ---- Johnson led four times for 17 laps including the final 10 of the 325 laps raced. Mark Martin led 227 laps, leading the most laps for the second time in 2004.
    ---- This was the 20th victory for Chevrolet in 2004. Ford has nine and Dodge has four. Notebook Items The Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
    ---- With three races remaining in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, 316 points separate first to 10th. The largest point margin is between first-place Kurt Busch and second-place Jimmie Johnson, who are separated by 59 points, and Matt Kenseth (ninth) and 10th-place Jeremy Mayfield, also separated by 59. ---- Seven drivers in the top-10 in points changed positions at Atlanta Motor Speedway. ---- Six of the seven Chase races have been won by drivers competing in The Chase: New Hampshire (Kurt Busch), Dover (Ryan Newman), Talladega (Dale Earnhardt Jr.), Charlotte (Jimmie Johnson), Martinsville (Jimmie Johnson) and Atlanta (Jimmie Johnson). Kansas (Joe Nemechek) is the only race that was won by a non-Chase driver. ---- Kurt Busch is the only driver to score a top-10 finish in six of the seven races in the Chase.
    ---- With three races remaining, six drivers are now within the 156-point window that could allow a change in the leader at Phoenix. Seventh through 10th all trail by more than 156 points and cannot overtake Kurt Busch at Phoenix No one has been mathematically eliminated from the championship. ---- Jimmie Johnson gained 148 points on leader Kurt Busch, the biggest points gain in the standings among the top-10 at Atlanta. Johnson climbed from fourth to second in the standings and is now 59 points behind. ---- Six of the Chase drivers finished 26th or worse and only three posted top-10 finishes today.
    ---- Mark Martin (second) scored his 14th top-10 finish of the season. It was his 18th top-10 finish in 38 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    ---- Carl Edwards (third) scored his fourth top-10 finish and the first top-five finish of his 10-race career. Edwards also led for the first time in his career.
    ---- Joe Nemechek (fourth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2004, including five of the last seven races. It was his sixth top-10 finish in 22 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    ---- Kasey Kahne (fifth) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2004. It was his second top-five finish in two races at Atlanta.
    ---- Matt Kenseth (41st) has ranked among the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 68 straight races. Kenseth moved into sole possession of 10th on NASCAR's Top 10 list for consecutive races in the top-10 in the modern era (since 1972).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-31-2004)

  • Stock Car Fans - Rumblings - Atlanta: In an exciting finish today at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson beat the dominant car of Mark Martin and took the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 for his 7th victory of the season. In what had to be the most emotional and quietest Victory Lane we've ever seen, Johnson proved it doesn't matter what's under the hood if you've got 10 angels on the hood! Ending an emotional roller-coaster of a week with a cell call from the boss, Jimmie Johnson grabbed his third victory in a row and 13th of his career. He's now in a three-way tie for 44th on the all-time list with Dick Rathman and Tim Richmond (another Hendrick driver). Win #129 for Hendrick Motorsports was worth $298,250 from the over $5.8M in posted awards.
    Carl Edwards (3rd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 6th twice...at Fontana and at Richmond last month. His Top-5 gives us 31 drivers to score a T-5 this season....last year's number was 30.
    Jeff Burton (6th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol in August.
    Brian Vickers (7th) had his career-best finish today as well. His previous best was 8th at Richmond in May.
    Shane Hmiel (24th) tied his career-best finish today. He was also 24th at Kansas three races ago.
    J. J. Yeley (27th) had his career-best finish today....he was 41st at California in September in his only other Cup start.
    Kevin Lepage (28th) had his best finish since he was 28th at Darlington in March (only 11 races).
    STREAKIN....Jamie McMurray has 10 Top-10's in the last 11 races.
    Joe Nemechek has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
    This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Ricky Rudd (+31), followed by Kasey Kahne (+27), Michael Waltrip (+26), Sterling Marlin (+22), and Jamie McMurray (+21).
    DOWN: The Big Dropper was Elliott Sadler (-33), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (-27), Kevin Harvick (-26), Jeff Gordon (-24), and Kurt Busch (-20). Both Rudd & Sadler make their first appearances at the top of their respective heaps this season....and notice that four of the five on the down side of the "Shaft" are "Chasers".(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(10-31-2004)


    October 30, 2004

  • Where would McMurray be if......? #42-Jamie McMurray missed the Sept. 11 cut at Richmond by 15 points. Now the second guessing can really begin, because if NASCAR hadn't fined McMurray 25 points for a car body that failed to meet templates at Bristol back in March, McMurray and crew chief Donnie Wingo would have made the cut and would be fourth in the chase, 128 points behind leader Kurt Busch and three points behind Dale Earnhardt Jr.(Winston Salem Journal)..before the Atlanta race.
    Post-Atlanta update: With another strong top-10 finish at Atlanta and, Jamie McMurray would now be 2nd in points, 48 points behind Kurt Busch in The Chase.(Motorsports One)(10-31-2004)

  • New Qualifying format in 2005? Bob Dilner reported on Speed Channel that qualifying in 2005 for the Cup Series could have a different look in 2005, with the top 35 teams [owners points? drivers points?] be assured to make the top 35 no matter how fast or slow they are. From 36 on back could not get the pole and would be set by speed. No word on if provisionals would still be used. This is supposedly one of a few scenarios NASCAR is thinking about regarding qualifying in 2005.(10-30-2004)

  • RC to announce most of 2005 plans at AMS UPDATE 3 Surprise...Burton to the #31: Richard Childress said he'll lay out most of his 2005 season plans on Friday in a press conference in Atlanta, and yesterday he declined to confirm - but wouldn't deny - widespread speculation that he would name Dave Blaney as his new driver, replacing Robby Gordon, and Jack Daniels as a new sponsor, replacing AOL. Childress also had little to say, either way, about rampant rumors he planned to swap crews among his teams [see below or my #30 Team page or #31 Team page for the past news/rumors/links]. "All those announcements are in the coming," Childress said. Jack Daniels is owned by the Louisville, Ky., business Brown-Forman, which did $578 million in sales last year.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-25-2004)
    UPDATE: An announcement on who will be the driver of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet in 2005 will be made this Friday, Oct. 29, at 2:00pm/et in the infield media center of Atlanta Motor Speedway.(RCR PR)(10-26-2004)
    UPDATE 2: the RCR press conference is now listed at 8:45am/et on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Been told Blaney will be named driver, not sure if the 'team swap' will be announced or anything on the sponsor [AOL? Motorola? Jack Daniel's]..yet.(10-28-2004)
    UPDATE 3, It's Official Burton to the #31: Jeff Burton will finish the season behind the wheel of Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #30 AOL Chevy and then move to its #31 Cingular Wireless team for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. Cingular Wireless has also extended it contract with RCR through 2007. The Atlanta-based telecommunications leader has sponsored the team since 2002. “I’m excited about driving for Cingular Wireless and continuing on with RCR,” Burton said. “In the short time I’ve driven for Richard, it’s already been proven that we can be successful. I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun and I am looking forward to greater things. It is my intention to get RCR and Cingular Wireless in position to contend for a championship. Cingular Wireless is a household name and it’s an honor to represent a company that has such a quality product and is so supportive of motorsports.” Burton will replace Robby Gordon in the #31 Chevrolet. It was announced earlier this week that Gordon and RCR were parting ways at the end of the season, with Gordon stepping up to the ranks of NASCAR Cup Series ownership in 2005. RCR will announce the remainder of its 2005 plans in upcoming weeks [like the #30 team, driver and sponsor](RCR Site)(10-30-2004)

  • Hendrick Motorsports update: Ken Howes, Hendrick Motorsports’ director of competition, played a major role in “talking the team through” the aftermath of the plane crash that killed seven employees of the team on Oct. 24. “He just took responsibility for taking us through that,” said Jimmie Johnson. A team spokesman, Patrick Perkins, said that Bobby Rice, a close business associate of Rick Hendrick, would oversee the operation for the time being while Hendrick recovers from the loss of his brother John, son Ricky and nieces Kymberly and Jennifer. Also lost in the crash were general manager Jeff Turner and head engine builder Randy Dorton. Jeff Gordon’s stepfather, John Bickford, will take on a more prominent role in the business side, and controller Scott Lampey will oversee financial operations. Jeff Andrews and Jim Wall will combine in directing the engine department.(Gaston Gazette)(10-30-2004)

  • Martin finished 5th in ASA race: Mark Martin, a former ASA champion making his first series start since 1996, had to start in the rear because qualifying was rained out and the race was started by owner points. But he raced his way to the front of the pack and ran as high as third late in the 150 and finished 5th in the World Financial Group. 150 ASA race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday. Mike Garvey [who has made a few Cup attempts this year] overcame an early flat to win the race. Former CTS driver, Bryan Reffner finished second ahead of Butch Miller, Wade Day and Mark Martin. Defending series champion Kevin Cywinski finished ninth and claimed his third title by 10 points over Reffner.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), there was NO TV coverage, also see more about the race at 51sportsracing.com.(10-30-2004)

  • Top 10 NASCAR Drivers from the Fox Sports Net show, Sports List:
    10: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    9: Sterling Marlin
    8: Tony Stewart
    7: Mark Martin
    6: Dale Jarrett
    5: Darrell Waltrip
    4: Rusty Wallace
    3: Jeff Gordon
    2: Richard Petty
    1: Dale Earnhardt.(10-30-2004)

  • PowerAde and Coca-Cola leaving NASCAR? NASCAR sources indicate that Coca-Cola / PowerAde may drop its NASCAR sponsorship at the end of the season. NASCAR signed PowerAde to a victory-lane sponsorship that has proven too hot to handle, according to NASCAR sources, who said the brand would like to get out of NASCAR because of the disputes and because business hasn't been that good lately.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-30-2004)

  • Petty to be honored: Seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty will receive the Lombardi Symbol of Courage Award Saturday night in Washington. He will be honored at the 19th annual Lombardi Gala to benefit cancer research at Georgetown University Medical Center's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-30-2004)

  • More on the RCR announcement; Burton to the #31? Jack Daniels to BDR? Robby Gordon? Richard Childress has a news conference set for this morning to announce that Jeff Burton will drive his #31 Cingular-sponsored cars next season, taking Robby Gordon's place. It is unclear what Burton's crew might look like; there has been speculation Childress has a major crew swap in the works. But in a major twist, it appears Childress doesn't have Jack Daniels locked up as a sponsor for his third team. It was expected he would also announce that sponsor today along with driver Dave Blaney for his third team, the one for whom Burton drives. But the Jack Daniels sponsorship is still in play, according to team sources, with both car owners Bill Davis and Robby Gordon in the running. As of Thursday, a Jack Daniels deal hadn't been signed by any party. There are major questions now being raised about the American On Line sponsorship that Childress has had the past two years. If Childress dumps AOL and if NASCAR executives are unable to keep the Time-Warner division sponsorship in play, it would be a major blow to the sport. Time-Warner is a company with a $76 billion capitalization.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-30-2004)


    October 29, 2004

  • NASCAR movie to be released in Feb '05? hearing that the NASCAR on IMAX movie will be released in Video/DVD in conjunction with the start of the 2005 NASCAR season next February.(10-29-2004)

  • UPDATE II on driver injured at LMS: Jimmy Weller III, injured in a USAC sprint car event at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Oct. 13, remains in the Intensive Care Unit of Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, but his condition continues to improve. Weller, 18, of Liberty, Ohio, suffered severe head trauma in the accident along with two cracked vertebrae. He underwent successful surgery on Thursday, Oct. 28, to repair the damaged vertebrae. The ventilator, which was assisting Weller's breathing, has been removed and he is now breathing on his own. According to family members, Weller is beginning to talk and has been moving his arms and legs.(LMS PR)(10-29-2004)

  • Final Martinsville TV Ratings up 10%: NBC's broadcast of last Sunday's Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway drew a 4.4 final rating and a 10 share from Nielsen Media Resarch, the Sports Business Daily reports. The figures represent a 10 percent increase from last year's 4.0/10 and is even with the same race in 2002. NBC's four Chase For The Nextel Cup races are averaging a 4.7/10, up 4 percent from a 4.5/9 for the same four races last year, the Daily says.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-26-2004)

  • Andretti, A.J. Foyt and the #14? looks like he new #14 ppc Racing team is listed as being owned by A.J. Foyt, who ran the #14 for a few races in 2004 after running it fulltime for a few years. Driver John Andretti asked Foyt, his Godfather, if the team could use the number and got permission as Foyt had no plans to run any more races in 2004. So Andretti can use a provisional, but the #14 is 52nd in Owners Points standings and with 59 teams/drivers/cars in the Atlanta Entry list, it is unlikely the provisionals will fall that far down the list.(10-29-2004)

  • Four drivers go for IROC Title: Four Nextel Cup championship contenders will have a little something extra on their minds Saturday. The final IROC race of the season will end with the series champion winning $1 million. Ryan Newman currently leads the points, just four ahead of fellow Chase of the Championship contenders Matt Kenseth and Johnson. Busch is 11 points back. Kevin Harvick is out of the running for the inaugural Nextel Cup, but is just seven points out of the IROC lead. Of the remaining seven drivers in the IROC series, only World of Outlaws driver Danny Lasoski is within striking distance of Newman at 13 back. Saturday's race begins at approximately 3:45pm/et, assuming the Busch Series race is completed on time. The race will be shown on tape delay on Speed Channel at 8:00pm/et.(Macon Telegraph), note, race results will be posted on my 2004 IROC Page once found and more info on the series at the irocracing.com.(10-29-2004)

  • Dale Jr. takes crew and Wrangler for a ride: On Tuesday night, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was the “chauffeur” at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as members of his crew, five grand-prize contest winners from the “Wrangler Take a Test Drive” promotion, top-executives from Wrangler and members of their Public Relations and Marketing firms got the thrill of a lifetime. Also helping out with driving duties was Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #8 Chance 2 Motorsports. By season’s end, Martin will have carried the Wrangler name on his car twice. From VF Corporation, parent company of Wrangler, was Mackey McDonald, President, CEO and Chairman. Joining him were John Schamberger, VP and Chairman, Cross Coalition Management of Retail Partnerships and Terry Lay, Executive VP and Chairman of Global Jeanswear Coalition for VF Corporation. "We had a tremendous response to our new Wrangler Jeans Co. ad campaign that features Dale Jr., but we wanted to do something above and beyond just the campaign - - something that would really bring the Wrangler-Earnhardt partnership to life,” said Craig Errington, Director of Marketing Communications of VF Jeanswear -Mass Market brands. “Our ‘Take a Test Drive With Dale Jr.’ national promotion allowed us to do that. We wanted to highlight our relationship with Dale Jr. by offering this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Our five national sweepstakes winners got that chance when they climbed in the seat next to Dale Jr. and flew around Lowe’s Motor Speedway at 185 mph." Tony Eury, Jr. is the car chief for Dale Jr. and has set-up many a race car in his tenure at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Instead of hearing how the car handled, he got to experience it real time. “That was the first time I’ve ridden around a track of that size with Dale Jr.” Tony Jr. said. “He wanted me to get the feel of just how rough the surface is at Charlotte with the bumps and all. It was pretty cool to feel all that stuff with the way he drives. I’ll understand him a bit better the next time he describes something to me. It was cool; he took me right up against the wall. He did a fast lap, just like he’s supposed to.” (Laughs) For some of the crew members, this was their first experience ever riding around a race track. Such was the case for Troy Prince, rear-tire carrier for the No. 8 Chevrolet of Dale Jr. when he rode with Martin. “It was weird,” Troy said. “First off, you’re on the wrong side of the car riding in the passenger seat while Martin drives. You’re mind is telling you ‘No, No, No, this car won’t make it through the turns’ and you want to abort.“ Joining in the fun were correspondents from TV shows Totally NASCAR, TV Guide Channel, Entertainment Tonight and the Tony Danza Show.(DEI Site)(10-29-2004)

  • Atlanta Qualifying Notes: Ryan Newman won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, lapping Atlanta Motor Speedway in 28.939 seconds at 191.575 mph. Geoffrey Bodine holds the track-qualifying record of 28.074 seconds, 197.478 mph, set Nov. 15, 1997 in the first qualifying session on the 1.54-mile configuration.
    * This is Newman's 26th career Bud Pole in 113 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. His most recent Bud Pole came at Martinsville, one race ago. Newman moved into a tie with Bobby Labonte for 24th on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup all-time Bud Pole winner list.
    * It is Newman's eighth Bud Pole and 23rd top-10 start in 2004, both more than any other driver. • It is Newman's fourth consecutive Bud Pole and his fifth front row start in six races at Atlanta. He started second in his first attempt at Atlanta in March 2002 and sixth in the fall that year. Prior to Newman, the most recent driver to post four consecutive Bud Poles at any track was Mark Martin at Bristol (1995-1996).
    * There have been 11 different Bud Pole winners in 2004. Ryan Newman (eight), Jeff Gordon (six), Kasey Kahne (four), Casey Mears (two), Brian Vickers (two), Jeremy Mayfield (two) and Joe Nemechek (two) are the drivers with more than one Bud Pole this season.
    * This is the third quickest Bud Pole speed of the season. Only Bobby Labonte (Texas, 193.903 mph) and Newman (first Atlanta, 193.375 mph) have posted faster Bud Pole speeds in 2004.
    * Joe Nemechek had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 28.978 seconds at 191.318 mph and will join Newman on the front row. It is his 16th top-10 start in 2004, including four of the past five races. It is his eighth top-10 start in his 22 races at Atlanta.
    * This is the 16th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2004. Chevrolet has 12 Bud Poles and Ford has two. Qualifying was canceled at Watkins Glen, second Michigan and second New Hampshire.
    * Elliott Sadler (third) posted his 17th top-10 start in 2004 and his fourth in 12 races at Atlanta, all in the past four races.
    * Carl Edwards (fourth) posted the first top-10 qualifying effort of his 10-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career. His previous best start was 13th at Richmond in September. Edwards has posted three top-10 finishes in his nine races.
    * Greg Biffle (fifth) posted his 16th top-10 start in 2004 and his first in four races at Atlanta.
    * Martin Truex Jr. (33rd) qualified for his first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
    * Six of the 10 drivers involved in The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualified in the top-10: Newman (first), Sadler (third), Dale Earnhardt Jr., (sixth), Mark Martin (seventh), Jimmie Johnson (eighth) and Jeff Gordon (10th). * Matt Kenseth, Michael Waltrip, Sterling Marlin, Terry Labonte and Ricky Rudd used provisionals to complete the 43-car field. Rudd came within one position of having his all-time streak of consecutive starts ended by a DNQ. Fifteen drivers failed to qualify for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500: Scott Riggs, Scott Wimmer, Kerry Earnhardt, Johnny Sauter, Hermie Sadler, Hermie Sadler, Mike Wallace, Derrike Cope, Randy Lajoie, Greg Sacks, Larry Foyt, Kirk Shelmerdine, Morgan Shepherd, Andy Belmont, Larry Hollenbeck and Kenny Wallace.
    * The 58 drivers that attempted to qualify for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 was the most since 59 drivers made qualifying attempts for the 1999 Daytona 500.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-29-2004)

  • StockCarFans.com (Nextel Cup) Newsletter - Ramblings - Atlanta: Another Friday, another Pole.....things are really hum-drum in the world of Ryan Newman. Newman took his 3rd Bud Pole in a row (and 26th of his career) tonight at Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500....and it was his 4th consecutive at AMS to boot! This is the 8th top-spot of the season for the Rocket, and he'll be joined on the front row by Joe Nemechek. Gonna be a hard weekend to get through....but racers do what they hafta do. You don't forget, but you pick up the pieces and you go on.....
    Elliott Sadler (3rd) has his best starting spot since he was 3rd at The Brickyard in August.
    Carl Edwards (4th) has his career-best starting spot for Sunday's race. His previous best was 13th at Richmond in September.
    Greg Biffle (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Chicagoland in July.
    Mark Martin (7th) has his best starting spot since he qualified on the outside pole at Richmond in September.
    Robby Gordon (14th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Michigan in June.
    John Andretti (17th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 11th when we were here last October. (only 10 races)
    Kyle Petty (18th) has his best starting spot since he started 10th at Richmond in September of 2003!
    Kevin Lepage (23rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 22nd at Lowe's in May. (only 9 races)
    Welcome (well, sort of) to Martin Truex, Jr (33rd). This will be his first Nextel Cup start, but he did fill in for Dale Earnhardt Jr at NHIS earlier in the year.
    STREAKIN....Ryan Newman has 7 Top-10 starts in the last 8 races.
    Joe Nemechek has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(StockCarFans.Com)(10-29-2004)

  • ASA at Atlanta: Word circulating around the garage in Atlanta on Thursday is that ASA President Steve Dale has made good on the Lowe's Motor Speedway purse and recovered his equipment which was confiscated by track officials at Lowe's Motor Speedway two weeks ago.(10-29-2004)


    October 28, 2004

  • A Craven Update: The wait continues for Newburgh [ME] native and former NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Ricky Craven, who parted ways with the PPI Motorsports and the Tide No. 32 Chevy team in August after 3 1/2 seasons. He said he has had discussions with Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series teams, but that's as far as things have progressed. "There will be an opportunity but it hasn't materialized yet," said the 38-year-old Craven. "I'm optimistic because I understand the business and it has always been that things happen when you least expect it. There will be an opportunity around the corner." Craven reiterated that he wants to drive full time for a competitive Nextel Cup team next season. And he didn't rule out another single-car team if it's a "solid program. I'm not limiting my opportunities to just a multi-car team. He also hasn't ruled out driving for a Busch or Craftsman Truck series team. "If I felt like that would somehow lead me back to [landing] a competitive Nextel Cup ride, sooner than later, I would take it," said Craven. "There's one out there right now that has interested me. It has a lot of potential." He wouldn't specify whether it was a Busch or Craftsman Truck series ride. There has been speculation about Craven replacing Robby Gordon in the #31 car for Richard Childress Racing. Gordon announced Tuesday that he's starting his own team next season. But Craven said, "I haven't talked to Richard about driving for him." Dave Blaney is a leading candidate to be Gordon's replacement.(Bangor Daily News - need to register)(10-28-2004)

  • Robby Gordon will NOT be back with RCR in 2005 UPDATE 2 pushed back to Saturday, Blaney: #31-Robby Gordon has confirmed that he and car owner Richard Childress will split at the end of 2004. Gordon told PRN's Garagepass, "The process is we've made the determination that our Busch car runs so competitive every weekend that we're gonna go ahead and make the step and move that to a Nextel Cup car in 2005. Obviously we'll have other announcements in the near future but our plan is to take our exisiting Busch car and roll that up to a cup program." When asked...so you won't be with RCR next year? Gordon said, "that's what it sounds like right now, so that looks like our direction...looks like the direction we're trying to head."(PRN's Garagepass Radio show)(10-22-2004)
    UPDATE it's official: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Robby Gordon will part ways at the conclusion of the 2004 season, with Gordon stepping up to the ranks of NASCAR Cup Series ownership in 2005. "Several months ago Robby told me that his goals included running his own NASCAR Cup Series team," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "He has won three points races, a qualifying race at Daytona and has had a lot of good runs for RCR since 2001, but sometimes change is good. Robby is a true racer and I will always be grateful to him for what we've been able to accomplish together and for the positive things he brought to our organization. I've always said that Robby is one of the most talented drivers out there and he has always gone above and beyond for our sponsors. I'm sure Robby will do just fine on his own. His Busch cars run good every week and I'm sure he can translate some of that success to the Cup Series. I wish him only the best."
    "Driving for RCR has been an incredible honor and is an opportunity most drivers could only wish for," Gordon said. "I've learned as much outside the car as I have in it with RCR, and Richard has taught me a great deal about the business of NASCAR. He's a man of his word and someone I will always respect immensely. But I think everyone knows what my long-term goals are, both as a driver and a car owner, and now is the time for me to start my future as an owner at NASCAR's highest level. If I can be half as successful as Richard has been, I'll be very happy. We have been putting the pieces in place for our own team for most of the past year, and although we don't have anything to announce yet for next season, we hope to make some announcements soon."
    "Cingular Wireless is glad to have had Robby Gordon behind the wheel of the #31 Chevrolet for the past three seasons," said Daryl Evans, Vice President of Advertising and Marketing Communications for Cingular Wireless. "He and the RCR team were able to take Cingular to the winner's circle three times last year and we know we still have a great shot at getting back there before the conclusion of the 2004 season. Robby is a very talented driver and we wish him continued success in the future."
    An announcement on who will be the driver of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet in 2005 will be made this Friday, Oct. 29, at 2:00pm/et in the infield media center of Atlanta Motor Speedway.(RCR PR)(10-26-2004)
    AND Meanwhile, the business of NASCAR went on yesterday, when car owner Richard Childress made official what has been long expected, that he and driver Robby Gordon will be splitting at the end of the season after a three-year run. Gordon says that he wants to run his own Nextel Cup team. Dave Blaney is expected to be named his replacement on Friday.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2004)
    UPDATE 2: the RCR press conference is now listed at 8:45am/et on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Been told Blaney will be named driver, not sure if the 'team swap' will be announced or anything on the sponsor [AOL? Motorola? Jack Daniel's]..yet.(10-28-2004)

  • ESPN/ABC....NASCAR on Wish List: Wishes sometimes do come true, and at the top of ESPN/ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer's wish list is NASCAR. Participating in a roundtable on the future of sports TV that ESPN/ABC Sports hosted Wednesday for about 1,000 ad buyers, sports TV executives were asked by moderator Robin Roberts what events they would like to have. After Bodenheimer drew laughter for responding, "We want it all," he said, "I would like to get NASCAR." He added he also would be interested in The Masters. With CBS and cable's USA Network entrenched in long-running one-year deals with The Masters, Bodenheimer's second wish might be just wishful thinking. But NASCAR is different. ABC/ESPN were left with NASCAR memories when Fox and NBC/TNT quadrupled the stock car racing circuit's rights fees to $400 million a year starting in 2001— Fox for eight years and NBC/TNT for six. Ratings for NASCAR have soared in the last four years, making the racing circuit the second-highest-rated sport to the NFL. Despite the ratings, the high rights fees have hampered Fox's and NBC/TNT's ability to make a profit. With ESPN/ABC missing NASCAR, the Disney networks can be expected to follow Bodenheimer's wish and compete with NBC/TNT for the rights in the future.(in part from a Rudy Martzke on USA Today)(10-28-2004)

  • Spencer Released from #4 Ride UPDATE 2 Wallace in at Atlanta: Morgan McClure Motorsports announced today the release of driver Jimmy Spencer, effective immediately. He began driving for the team earlier this year at the Samsung Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. "Over the past several weeks there has been a steady and gradual improvement in the Morgan McClure racecar and Spencer has been an integral part of this drive for success. While his part has been greatly appreciated by everyone here at Morgan McClure Motorsports, it has been decided, by mutual agreement, that it would be beneficial to both the team and to Jimmy Spencer to release him so that he may pursue other driving opportunities within the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series," Larry McClure, team owner, stated. An announcement for his replacement in the #4 Chevrolet will be made before the BASS PRO SHOPS MBNA 500 race in Atlanta, Georgia this weekend.(Morgan McClure Motorsports PR)(10-27-2004)
    UPDATE: hearing Mike Wallace will be the driver of the #4 Morgan-McClure Chevy at Atlanta.(10-28-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announces Mike Wallace will drive the #4 Lucas Oil Chevrolet in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 race in Atlanta this weekend. Wallace, a St. Louis, Mo.-native, has 149 starts in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with two top-fives and 12 top-10 finishes. In 221 NASCAR Busch Series starts, Wallace has four wins, 17 top-fives and 47 top-10s. Having shown much success in the NASCAR Truck Series, he has 101 starts resulting in four wins, 31 top-fives, 52 top-10s and three pole positions.(Morgan McClure Motorsports PR)(10-28-2004)

  • Bickford could had been on the Hendrick Plane too: If not for a lingering cold, John Bickford, Jeff Gordon's stepfather, might have been on the ill-fated Hendrick Motorsports plane Sunday that crashed near Martinsville, Va., killing all 10 passengers. In an interview Thursday, Bickford, Gordon's business manager, was talking about some of the benefits of working in the Hendrick complex. His office is in the building that houses Gordon's race team, which is owned by Rick Hendrick. "I get to a few more races [now]," Bickford said. "I get to ride on the Hendrick team plane. I have a little easier access to the races. When his mom and I would want to go [in years past] we'd have to buy airplane tickets or drive; it's a little bit more money than we could afford to spend every weekend. "So by being a part of the Hendrick organization, there's a seat there that I can jump in and a lot of times I get to go in on Sunday morning. I can fly in on Sunday morning and watch the race and say hi to Jeff and be there to support him. I think there's a certain comfort level that he has knowing that the people that he's close to are close by." On Sunday, Bickford was feeling poorly and stayed home to watch the race on TV.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-28-2004)

  • Sad News: Jerry Howard, the "Voice of Greenville Pickens Speedway" and a long-time disc jockey at WESC-FM, died Wednesday at his home in Greenville. Howard, who was 65, had fought a seven-month battle with cancer, his wife Teresa Howard said. Howard worked off and on at WESC for around four decades and spent 10 years with Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Teresa Howard said. Tom Blackwell, a former owner and current general manager at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, said, "He'll really be missed at the race track. All the regular fans know Jerry Howard." Keith Cochran, marketing director at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, described Howard's announcing style as folksy but supported by a wealth of racing knowledge. Howard always came prepared to the races and had an important skill for announcers in any sport: knowing when to say something and when to let the action speak for itself. Howard recently was selected one of the top play-by-play announcers at short tracks in the nation, Cochran said. "It takes somebody who knows the sport, and he got to know the drivers. He worked the Shrine race on Sept. 18, but he was really sick by then," Blackwell said. "It took everything he had to do it, but he was determined," Mrs. Howard said of that last race her husband worked at Greenville-Pickens. Howard attended Northgate Baptist Church. He also is survived by two daughters, Joni Howard and Chrissie Hildebrand, and a grandson, Aedan Humphreys. Memorial service arrangements are incomplete.(Greensville News)(10-28-2004)

  • Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24th, Skip D. of Bradenton, FL was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Skip picked Johnson as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the 10th time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson.
    The Gillette Young Guns are 18 for 32 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Jimmie Johnson now has six victories, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has five victories, followed by Kurt Busch with three victories, and Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman, who each have two victories. Through the 32nd race of the season, Busch now leads the NEXTEL Cup point standings over second-place Jeff Gordon by 96 points. Four other Gillette Young Guns are also in the top-10 and rank as follows - Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Johnson (Fourth), Kenseth (Eighth) and Newman (Ninth). Kevin Harvick, who is not in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, is currently in the 13th position in the standings.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(10-28-2004)

  • Smirnoff Ice to the #97 in 2005 UPDATE why leaving #17?: been told that Smirnoff Ice will be the primary sponsor for eight races on the #97 Roush Racing Ford and driver Kurt Busch in 2005, moving over from the #17 Ford of Matt Kenseth. See an image of the car on the 2005 #97 Paint Schemes page.(10-25-2004)
    MORE: The #97 Sharpie/IRWIN race team has a new, powerhouse partner. Diageo, the $16 billion spirits maker best known for its Smirnoff and Crown Royal brands, has announced it has struck a deal with Newell Rubbermaid to sponsor the company's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Kurt Busch and the #97 car for eight races over the next two years. The addition of a new team sponsor opens the door to a number of opportunities for Newell Rubbermaid's IRWIN and Sharpie brands including incremental high-profile exposure. Kicking off this program November 14 at Darlington Motor Speedway, the #97 car will feature a special Smirnoff ICE paint scheme, flanked by the Sharpie brand. The remaining seven Diageo races are planned for the 2005 and 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series schedule.(10-26-2004)
    UPDATE: Smirnoff will move from Matt Kenseth's car to Kurt Busch's car effective in November at Darlington Raceway. The deal simply shifts Smirnoff off Kenseth's car since DeWalt, which "owns" the #17 financially, has found a new partner in USG products. The more natural pairing of a construction materials maker, USG, with toolmaker DeWalt should work well.(Team Ford Racing)(10-28-2004)


    October 27, 2004

  • Jason rooting for Ricky: One lucky fan will win a million dollars this weekend if Ricky Rudd goes to Victory Lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Rudd's #21 Wood Brothers Racing Taurus will run the Rent-A-Center colors on Sunday, and the associate sponsor has posted a $1 million dollar payout if Rudd wins the race. Jason Sigmon of Alpharetta, Ga., won a drawing from entries collected from Rent-A-Center locations in the Atlanta area.(Team Ford Racing)(10-27-2004)

  • This Should go over well - Trade in your Confederate flag for a new USA one, FREE: The National Association of Minority Race Fans says it will approach NASCAR fans at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend and ask them to exchange their Confederate flags for a new American flag, a NASCAR flag or a flag for selected drivers. "Since NASCAR won't take the flags down, NAMRF will do it for them," said Steve Parker, director of operations for the group that says it believes NASCAR tracks provide unsafe environments for women and minorities who are racing fans. NAMRF's statement also said it plans to hold another protest at the Atlanta track, anticipating more than 100 picketers. The group did stage a demonstration at Charlotte two weeks ago, but issued a statement Sunday saying its protest at Martinsville was canceled because of poor weather. In the statement announcing the flag exchange program, however, NAMRF now says it "first delayed its 50-member demonstration because of weather concerns, and then ultimately canceled it in light of the tragic news surrounding Hendrick Motorsports." NAMRF officials suggested that NASCAR institute a flag-exchange program as a "first step" toward such improvements, but says it has received no response. "NASCAR can ignore it if it wants, but the Confederate flag is a sign of hatred, not heritage," Parker said. "The first step in making NASCAR races more attractive is making those distasteful, disgusting flags disappear."(ThatsRacin.com)(10-27-2004)

  • Martinsville Performance Gives Harvick's Pit Crew First Win of Season: The pit crew for Kevin Harvick scored its first victory in the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade by taking top honors in Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The No. 29 crew earned $20,000 for the win. With four races remaining, only 13 points separate the top three crews in the McDonald's/POWERade standings. Elliott Sadler's crew leads with 1140 points. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew is second with 1129 and Kurt Busch's crew is third with 1127. The championship pit crew will earn a $200,000 bonus. Harvick's GM Goodwrench Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on Martinsville's pit road with a time of 323.762 seconds. Jeff Burton's AOL Chevy was second at 340.342 and Busch's IRWIN Ford was third at 349.652. "Kevin does everything he can on the track so we have to do everything we can for him when he comes into the pits," said Todd Berrier, crew chief for the No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet team. "Track position is critical at Martinsville because of how difficult it is to pass so winning the McDonald's/POWERade award there shows how good our Goodwrench crew is. All the pit stop practice and time in the weight room the guys do at the shop during the week really pay off." Harvick's over-the-wall crew consists of: Mike Scearce (jackman), Brian Englehart (gasman), Scott Naset (catch can), Jason Pulver (front-tire changer), Josh Mick (front-tire carrier), Clint Pittman (rear tire changer) and Kenny Barber (rear-tire carrier).(DMF Comminications), for the top-10 and seasonso standings, see my Pit Crew News page.(10-27-2004)

  • Rusty clarifies airport comments: Rusty responds to comments made on Sunday regarding the Martinsville and Talladega airports: "My intentions certainly weren't to infuriate the folks running the local airports at Martinsville and at Talladega and I definitely didn't mean for it to sound as if I was putting any direct blame on anyone," Wallace said on Tuesday evening. "But when you have just found out that you lost some great friends in an accident like that and they stick a camera and microphone in your face, you certainly should understand the emotion I had building up inside when I made those comments. What I was attempting to do was point out that we have several airports where we fly in that desperately need upgrading."(much more on this in release at Tom Roberts PR)(10-27-2004)

  • Elliott back at Atlanta: The last time Bill Elliott was at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) for a NASCAR Nextel Cup race he was perched in the media complex serving as a radio commentator. That was back in March when the Dawsonville, Ga. native snapped a driving streak of 49 consecutive Cup races at the track he calls home. Elliott, who is running a limited schedule in 2004, returns to AMS this weekend in a more comfortable surrounding as the driver of the #98 McDonald's Dodge, operated by Bill Elliott Racing with support from Evernham Motorsports. Elliott finished fourth in his last outing at AMS in October, 2003. Elliott's appearance in Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 will be his sixth Cup race of the season and the second with the Golden Arch sponsorship. His most recent Cup race was in the McDonald's car in September at California Speedway where he qualified third and finished 25th. Along with the Southern California race in Fontana, Elliott's other Cup races this season were at Las Vegas, Texas, Daytona (July) and Indianapolis. His best finish was ninth at Indy's Brickyard 400.(DMF Communications PR)(10-27-2004)

  • Rusty talks about altercation with Newman: Rusty gives update concerning Sunday's altercation with teammate Ryan Newman: "It's an issue that I'm sure we will work out internally, but as of now (late Tuesday afternoon) I haven't had the opportunity to discuss it with Ryan personally," Wallace said just before boarding his plane after a sponsor appearance in Farmingdale, N.Y. "We'll learn from this and work a lot closer in the future - and the future begins in this weekend's race at Atlanta."(more on this in release at Tom Roberts PR)(10-27-2004)

  • Kerry Earnhardt back in the #33 at Atlanta: Kerry Earnhardt will drive the #33 Bass Pro Shops Chevy at Atlanta Motor Speedway for Richard Childress Racing. This is the same car Kevin Harvick raced last spring at AMS. Earnhardt tested at AMS Tuesday, Oct. 19 and Wednesday, Oct. 20 in preparation for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Bobby Hutchens and Bobby Leslie will serve as co-crew chiefs of Earnhardt's #33 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet this weekend. Former crew chief Gil Martin has taken over the reigns of the #2 ACDelco Busch Series entry replacing Butch Hylton. Martin will continue in that role with driver Clint Bowyer in 2005. Earnhardt will sport a special paint scheme this weekend highlighting Bass Pro Shops' support of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The #33 also showcased the NWTF during the NEXTEL Open at Charlotte. Earnhardt won the 2001 Pork the Other White Meat 400 ARCA Re/Max Series race at AMS. Additionally, he made one other ARCA start at the Hampton, Ga., track (11/18/00), where he finished sixth. In addition to his driving duties with RCR, Earnhardt has been wheeling the #20 NAPA Chevrolet for Bill McAnally Racing (BMR) in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. In eight starts for BMR, Earnhardt boasts two top-five and four top-10 finishes. In just eight West Series races with BMR on a 13 race tour, Earnhardt finished 18th in the final championship standings.(RCR PR)(10-27-2004)

  • Retro Look back for Riggs: Scott Riggs will pilot the same specially designed Valvoline Chevrolet in this weekend's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway as he did two weeks ago in Charlotte. This time, however, he hopes it will produce a different result. While Riggs qualified fourth for the Charlotte Nextel Cup race, a first-lap glitch cost him the chance to capitalize on the starting spot, and the Team Owners Select Chevrolet retired from the event after just 30 laps. As part of a special Valvoline promotion, the decidedly popular design was chosen by thousands of Valvoline team "owners" in a recent vote to decide which scheme would be driven in Charlotte. After its short life on the track, Riggs and the Valvoline team decided to give the car another shot, this time at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Valvoline is the only consumer products company to own a NASCAR team. The Owners Program is one way Valvoline brings fans closer to their favorite sport in a way no other team can. There are nearly 5,000 Valvoline owners who have signed up for the program that gives them souvenir pieces of the racecar, invitations to special events, letters from Riggs, chances to win racing merchandise -- and the opportunity to vote on special paint schemes.(DMF Communications PR), See an image of the car on my #10 Team Schemes page or 2004 Cup Schemes page.(10-27-2004)

    (10-27-2004)

  • Dale Jr. fan takes it up a notch: NASCAR knew Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans would be upset by the 25 point penalty levied against him for cursing, and one has even started his own protest. Steve Robyor, a 44-year-old Boca Raton, Fla., has made T-shirts displaying the same phrase Earnhardt Jr. used when he cursed in his Victory Lane interview at Talladega last month. Robyor is encouraging all Earnhardt Jr. fans to wear his T-shirts as a sign of support for Earnhardt Jr. over the final four races of the season. He's also hopeful that the shirts might send a message to NASCAR to stop taking points for non-racing related infractions. For the link to the site, see my Collectible/Apparel links page.(AP Report) Would be nice if the shirts were sold and the proceeds donated to charity.(10-27-2004)

  • SMI Named in Forbes List: Speedway Motorsports, Inc., a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States, is among the 200 Best Small Companies in America according to an annual ranking by Forbes magazine. The annual feature, which appears in the Nov. 1 issue of the prestigious magazine, includes companies with revenues from $5 million to $750 million (small by Forbes standards), net profits greater than 5 percent and share prices above $5 as of Oct. 1. Speedway Motorsports became the first company in motorsports history to go public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1995. In addition, the Company announced it has completed the exchange of all outstanding unregistered 6¾% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2013, that were issued in a private transaction on July 7, for new registered 6¾% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2013.(LMS PR)(10-27-2004)

  • New NASCAR Team? not quite sure what this is about, but the site shows the #05 car and listed veteran driver, Rich Bickle as the team driver: The VFW Department of North Carolina and Veterans Racing, Inc. are joining forces and using the Veterans Racing NASCAR race teams to energize a recruiting blitz of the past and present eligible military personnel to join the prestigious ranks of the VFW, which they have earned through their service. The blitz will include merchandise to be sold in the 9,700 plus VFW Posts, on the website and in various retail outlets, at the tracks in both NEXTEL Cup and the Busch Series for selected races during the remaining of the 2004 season and then into the 2005 NEXTEL Cup season. The team will be taking cars, crew and VFW personnel to various military bases for direct recruiting purposes. VFW members, military members, NASCAR fans and their family and friends are asked to support all other sponsors of this race team, because they are helping make this happen. See more at veteransracing.com (10-27-2004)

  • Earnhardt #16: Forbe's List - Dead Celebrities - The Top Earners For 2004, Dale Earnhardt is listed s #16 of 20 on the list. The excerpt - NASCAR's merchandise sales hit $2 billion in the last year, and in large part the sport has Dale Earnhardt Sr. to thank for that. Earnhardt is credited with having elevated racing from cult status to nationwide craze, and even in death he remains one of the sport's three most popular drivers, along with son Dale Jr. His estate's income, though significant, hasn't had the same staying power. Still, the teams that bear the name of the seven-time Winston Cup champion remain winners on the track; last year the three teams racing for Dale Earnhardt Inc. had over $15 million in winnings.(Forbes)(10-27-2004)

  • Junie tours Daytona renovations; unsure of team plans: Legendary NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team owner Junie Donlavey made a surprise visit to historic Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday and took a tour of the infield renovation site with Speedway President Robin Braig. Donlavey toured the multi-million dollar, multi-faceted infield renovation site that includes a new state-of-the-art tunnel, waterfront specialty vehicle parking, new NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series garages, new Gatorade Victory Lane and a uniquely-designed Fan Zone with prime viewing of the garages and inspection bays.
    "Nobody will ever believe what you're doing here," Donlavey said. "This is unbelievable because it's laid out so good and it's for the benefit of the fans and car owners and crews. It's perfect. You had somebody with a lot of knowledge to be able to layout something like this." Donlavey, who still enters a car in races from time to time, has one NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victory to his credit with driver Jody Ridley back in 1981 at Dover, Del. At Daytona International Speedway, Donlavey won three consecutive Hershey's 300s between 1972-74 with driver Bill Dennis and captured a Gatorade 125-mile qualifier with Schrader in 1987. Standing inside the new NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garages, Donlavey said he was unsure if he will attempt to qualify a car in next year's Daytona 500. But after touring the new Daytona infield, he says he'll definitely consider it. "I hadn't thought much about it, but I'm hoping that we can get something together and do it," Donlavey said Race fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the massive construction project can visit DAYTONA USA and take the Speedway Tour, which costs $7.50 plus tax. The Oldfield Grandstand is also open and free to the public. The Speedway's Web site, www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com, will also have weekly updates on the infield renovation project. Tickets for Speedweeks 2005 events, including the 47th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20, are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(10-27-2004)


    October 26, 2004

  • Early TV Ratings for Martinsville up 14%: NBC's broadcast of Sunday’s Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway drew a 4.0 overnight rating from the nation’s largest television markets, thatsracin.com reports. The figure represents a 14.3% increase from last year's 3.5 overnight figure.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter), in 2002 the ratings were 3.9 overnight rating.(10-26-2004)

  • Glover Wins WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: The newly reunited duo of Sterling Marlin and Tony Glover hit the ground running at last weekend's Subway 500 in Martinsville, VA. Despite it being only the second race since reprising his role as crew chief, Glover led Marlin to a top-five finish at one of NASCAR's most demanding tracks. The duo's performance didn't go unrecognized by the race fans, as they voted Glover the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
    The majority of fans who voted on www.WYPALL.com thought Glover deserved top honors for making a seamless transition back into the crew chief's seat. Glover called a nearly perfect race, rallying back after his driver got turned around on lap 16. Marlin came back to lead 51 laps of the event, before finishing the afternoon in 4th place. "It's like they (Glover and Marlin) never missed a beat," said race fan Sarah Bass. "They worked together so well, especially considering it was only their second race back together. Not too many teams could do that."
    "Tony (Glover) and Sterling (Marlin) have worked together a long time," said WYPALL Wipers spokesman Robbie Reiser. "They understand each other. They may not have worked directly as a driver/crew chief combination for a while, but they've built up a team chemistry through the years that hasn't died. When you've got that kind of relationship, you're going to be successful. This weekend at Martinsville proved that." Tony Eury, Sr. remains in first place in the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief Challenge with nine wins. Chad Knaus, Tommy Baldwin and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with four wins. Robbie Reiser and Matt Borland stand in fourth place with two wins. Pat Tryson, Larry Carter, Lee McCall, Donnie Wingo, Phillipe Lopez, Ryan Pemberton, Tony Glover 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.(S.M.C. 500 PR)(10-26-2004)

  • Dale Jr. to take in a baseball game; Kenny too: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will attend Wednesday night's game four of the 2004 Major League Baseball World Series. Game four will take place at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, the hometown of Anheuser-Busch. Dale Jr. finished in third place in the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway Oct. 16, carrying a special paint scheme featuring the World Series and MLB logos. Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of Major League Baseball, has sponsorship deals with both teams represented in the World Series: the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. This is the fourth season Bud and MLB have teamed up with a special paint scheme for the #8 Budweiser car.(fingerprint inc./Anheuser-Busch PR), Kenny Wallace also plans to attend a few World Series games in St. Louis, he from that area.(10-26-2004)

  • Wimmer testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway says Scott Wimmer was scheduled to test Bill Davis Racing's #22 Dodge at the facility today. Spectators may watch from the track's fan center, but schedules are subject to change..(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-26-2004)

  • Bugles for Jeff Green at Atlanta: This weekend Jeff Green and the #43 Bugles Dodge team head into the 1.54-mile Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway for Sunday's Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Green started the race back in March in the 18th spot and finished 19th. This is one of the final four races of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup season on one of the fastest tracks on the circuit. Green will be driving a #43 Bugles-schemed Dodge this weekend. Some thoughts of #43 Bulges Dodge driver Jeff Green heading into Atlanta: "We've got Bugles on the hood and sides of the car this weekend. We're going pretty fast, but you won't be able to miss the bright colors of this Bugles car. It stands out and it's a cool car just to look at. I'll just be fortunate enough to drive it this weekend. We're hoping we have a good run with this #43 Bugles Dodge."(Williams Company PR) see an image of the scheme on my #43 Team Paint Schemes page or 2004 Cup Schemes Gallery.(10-26-2004)

  • Bobby Labonte's car to be at D-Day memorial: The National D-Day Memorial will host NASCAR star Bobby Labonte’s #18 D-Day show car on Friday and Saturday [Oct 29, 30]. The car’s appearance comes following a D-Day-themed NASCAR race in Delaware in June during the Normandy invasion’s 60th anniversary. The car will be on display from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Regular admission fees to the memorial will apply. Miniature replicas of the car will be on sale, with a portion of sales benefiting the memorial. A drawing will be held for a replica signed by Labonte.(Lynchbug NewsAdvance), see images of the car on my #18 Team Paint Scheme page.(10-26-2004)

  • Sabates almost on the Hendrick flight: With his helicopter grounded by bad weather, Felix Sabates, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing, decided he did not want to take the chance of having the plane diverted and then having to drive to the Martinsville, Va., track in race traffic. Sabates said his helicopter pilot called to say he could have a seat on the plane and he was preparing to leave for the Concord, N.C., airport when Ganassi phoned. Ganassi told Sabates his plane had been diverted from the airport near the track to Danville, Va., 30 miles away. ''Chip said his plane missed its approach in Martinsville because of the weather and he was thinking about going home,'' Sabates said. ''I didn't feel like going to Danville and then having to drive to the track in traffic. If Chip hadn't called me, I would have been on that plane. He saved my life.'' After deciding to pass up the race, Sabates was at his home in Charlotte when he got a telephone call from NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr., telling him the plane was missing and asking Sabates to go to the home of fellow team owner Rick Hendrick. ''When I got to the house, I'm the one that told Rick about the accident,'' Sabates said. ''Then Bill France called to tell me that they had found the wreckage and everybody was dead. I still get chills thinking about it. It's just horrible for everyone.''(USA Today/Associated Press)(10-26-2004)

  • Martin to do a triple at Atlanta UPDATE: 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)
    UPDATE: Mark Martin will make a return to the series where he won four championships from 1978-86. Martin cut his teeth in the American Speed Association Series, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1978, before moving on to multiple championships in the series and eventually making a name for himself as one of NASCAR’s all-time elite drivers. Martin will take a break from his hectic NASCAR schedule and make a return to his roots when he drives the World Financial #6 Ford in ASA at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Oct. 29. It will mark Martin’s first time in an ASA race since 1996. “We are all excited and pumped up about running the ASA car in Atlanta. We will be doing the triple that weekend with the ASA race on Friday, the Busch race Saturday and the Cup race on Sunday. That will be a busy weekend for sure. I have a great affinity for this series. It’s a world-class series with world-class drivers that put on an extremely competitive show and I think they’ll really put a show on at both Lowe’s and Atlanta.” Martin’s last run in ASA came on Sept. 2, 1996 where he ran to a top-10 finish at the Minnesota State Fair. Martin has finished inside the top 10 in 66 percent of the 143 ASA races he has started. Martin’s sponsor for the race will be World Financial Group, Inc. (WFG). World Financial Group is an independent marketing company whose affiliates offer life insurance and a broad array of financial products and services.(Roush Racing PR)(10-26-2004)

  • #50 Arnold Motorsports gets a sponsor for Atlanta: Arnold Motorsports announced Monday that Atlanta-based U.S. Micro Corporation will be stepping up as the primary sponsor of the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge for the Bass Pro Shops/MBNA 500 in Atlanta this week with Todd Bodine behind the wheel. U.S. Micro Corporation, a national computer and technology asset disposal company, became an associate sponsor and "official computer provider" for the #50 Dodge team for the remainder of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season three weeks ago beginning with the Kansas City race.(Arnold Motorsports PR)(10-26-2004)

  • So...some on Rusty...Ryan UPDATE NASCAR Investigating: #2-Rusty Wallace bumped teammate #12-Ryan Newman after the race to show his displeasure over a lap 493 incident between the two that dropped Wallace from second place to 10th while Newman took third. "I told [Newman] to stay out of my way and I could win the race, but he didn't do it," Wallace said. Newman's reply: "I don't guess Rusty and I are on speaking terms right now. I was underneath him, and I know he came down on me. I wasn't going to give him anything, so he got loose and lost a bunch of spots. Our car was faster than his at the end. I'm not sure he's aware of that, but he will be."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-25-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR is investigating a post-race incident involving Penske Racing South drivers Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace, spokesman Mike Zizzo confirmed Monday. NASCAR is still gathering information on the incident and looking at video and it is not clear as yet what - if any - penalties will be assessed, Zizzo said. Newman and Wallace traded bumps while battling for second place, which sent Wallace to the outside lane, on Lap 494 of 500 in Sunday's Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. After the "cool down" lap, Newman, who finished third, drove on to pit road where the top-five cars are required to stop. Wallace followed Newman down and appear to hit the rear of Newman's #12 Dodge.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-26-2004)


    October 25, 2004

  • BANG Racing closing shop? UPDATE, NO..to Cup and Busch? Ward? during the Nextel Cup qualifying coverage on Speed Channel, former BANG Racing owner Larry McReynolds mentioned when Travis Kvapil [#24 BANG Racing's driver] was qualifying for his first Nextel Cup race at Martinsville in the #06 Penske Dodge, that it is likely that BANG Racing will close its doors at the end of the 2004 season.(10-22-2004)
    BUT another source says BANG Racing has secured a sponsor for a full-time cup ride for next year and will make the announcement at Phoenix or Homestead.(10-23-2004)
    UPDATE: still hearing Travis Kvapil will run BANG Racing full-time Busch team in a Ford with Linex as the sport.
    AND a WILD one: hearing that BANG Racing will field a full time cup team next year with NetZero as the sponsor and Ward Burton as the driver.(10-25-2004)

  • Darlington Testing Schedule for This Week: The testing schedule for next Tuesday, October 26, includes confirmed teams and drivers of:
    DEI (team confirmed, driver or drivers unspecified); #18-Bobby Labonte; #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr.; #0-Ward Burton; #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth and #30-Jeff Burton, along with Biffle's #60 Busch team.(Darlington Raceway PR)(10-19/25-2004)

  • Sadler's DNF streak goes Poof: #38-Elliott Sadler had his first DNF [did not finish] of the season at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday when he hit #01-Joe Nemechek in a cloud of smoke. So all drivers who have made all 32 Cup races in 2004 now have at least one DNF. #31-Robby Gordon now owns the longest active streak of races running at the finish with 30 races, his last DNF came at North Carolina Speedway in February. After Gordon, #6-Mark Martin and #88-Dale Jarrett have the next longest streak at 18 races. Who leads the DNF's? #72-Shelmerdine has DNF'd in all 17 races he has run in 2004. Of the drivers who have ran all 32 races, #43-Jeff Green has the most with 10.(10-25-2004)

  • Average Finish of the Chasers in the 6 races run for the Chase so far:
    Car#, Driver, Ave Finish (best finish/worse finish), Points Pos
    #97-Busch, 4.3 (1/6), 1
    #24-Gordon, 8.8 (2/19), 2
    #8-Earnhardt Jr., 9.7 (1/33), 3
    #6-Martin, 12.5 (2/20), 5
    #20-Stewart, 15.0 (6/39), 6
    #48-Johsnon, 15.3 (1/37), 4
    #38-Sadler, 15.5 (4/32), 7
    #17-Kenseth, 15.7 (2/32), 8
    #12-Newman, 16.7 (1/33), 9
    #19-Mayfield, 20.2 (5/38), 10
    Only #97-Busch has had a top 10 in a 6 races
    All but Busch have had at least one race of 19th or worse
    Only one of the 'Chasers' do not have a top-5, #20-Stewart.(10-25-2004)

  • Inspections passed; Johnson's delayed: All cars that underwent postrace inspection at Martinsville Speedway Sunday passed. Because of the plane crash involving Hendrick Motorsports personnel, Jimmie Johnson's car was loaded up upon his departure and not immediately inspected. It is scheduled to be inspected today.(Roanoke Times)(10-25-2004)

  • Pit Bull to be put down? NASCAR executives love the new television package that has boosted national coverage of their sport the past three years, but it's no secret they're not fond of one of the newest pre-game shows, Saturday night's Pit Bulls [usually 6:30pm/et, also known as Pit Hogs by Jimmy Spencer], on Speed, the Fox cable subsidiary. Pit Bulls is Fox' specialized version of The Sports Reporters, and its irreverent, politically-incorrect stance on many NASCAR racing issues has drawn a surprising following among stock-car crews [I never miss it], who sometimes express amazement that NASCAR officials have allowed the show to continue. Pit Bulls follows a distinctly different line from the typical NASCAR pre-game and post-game racing shows, which are frequently little more than public-relations showcases for NASCAR-approved themes, promoted by a bevy of drivers, some of whom, like Michael Waltrip [on Inside Nextel Cup, see next blurb], have lately increased their criticism of the show. Now it appears that the Pit Bulls show may be ripe for Brian France's axe at the end of the season, according to TV sources, who say the show could be sacrificed in post-season NASCAR-TV negotiations to appease Daytona executives.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-25-2004)

  • Real troopers...too wet to protest: The National Association of Minority Race Fans said it had 75 protestors in place at Martinsville Speedway to continue its demonstrations against what it sees as unsafe conditions for minorities and women at NASCAR tracks. The protest was, however, canceled due to "wet, soggy conditions." NAMRF "decided its message would be muted given the dreary weather," it said in a statement.(ThatsRacin.com), probably didn't want to get mud in the limo.(10-25-2004)



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