MORE NEWS/RUMORS
NOV 8-14, 2004





    News and Rumors from November 14, 2004

  • Johnson wins the FINAL Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Southern 500, his first win of the famed race, the 31st driver to win the Southern 500 in 55 races. It is Johnson's 8th win of the season and 14th of his career. Johnson has swept both races a three tracks in 2004: Lowe's Motor Speedway, Pocono and Darlington. Johnson led 124 laps, only #24-Jeff Gordon, who finished 3rd, had more with 155. #6-Mark Martin finished 2nd, the rest of the top five were #42-Jamie McMurray [who locks up 11th position and a milion bucks] and #9-Kasey Kahne finished 5th in a backup car. Both McMurray and Kahne didn't change tires during the 8th caution pit stops. #0-Mike Bliss, in his first race with the #0 NetZero team finished 10th. #97-Kurt Busch finished 6th and holds on to the points lead, but it is down to 18, in fact the top five in points are only separated by 82 points. Only the top five in the chase can win the championship. The only way #20-Stewart, who is 6th in points, can win, is if the top five don't race at Homestead and he wins the race....not bloody likely.
    For my race rundown, laps led, narrative, lucky dogs, etc at my The Final Southern 500 Race Info/Rundown Page
    Race results at:
    ThatsRacin.com
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(11-14-2004)

  • Flagman waves last checkered flag at Darlington: NASCAR Nextel Cup flagman, Jimmy Howell, waved the flags for the last time at Darlington Raceway's Final Southern 500. Howell will be taking a job with Bass Pro Shop's Motorsports department. Bass Pro Shops will be Martin Truex Jr.'s full-time Busch car and limited Cup schedule in 2005 and full-time in Nexte Cup in 2006.(MRN Radio race coverage)
    UPDATE: Jimmy Howell, who has served as one of the two Nextel Cup Series flagmen for the past seven years, made Sunday's final Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway his final race in that as well. Howell will attend next weekend's season finale at Homestead, Fla., but will not be on teh flag stand. He has accepted a job as director of motorsports for Bass Pro Shops, which will sponsor the 2004 Busch Series champion, Martin Truex Jr., next season. During Sunday's race, the Motor Racing Network radio crew announced Howell's retirement from the position and fans responded with a standing ovation. "It's been a lot of races and a lot of years, a lot of great memories. NASCAR has been great to me and I have nothing but admiration for them," he said. "I'll always be a NASCAR guy," said Howell, who hails from Winston-Salem, NC. "It’s a real good opportunity in my life that at this point I didn't feel like I could pass up. I'll still be involved in NASCAR in many ways. I'll have the best of both worlds."(ThatsRacin.com)(11-14-2004)

  • New Qualifying format in 2005? UPDATE 2: 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)
    UPDATE: New qualifying procedures will likely be in place at more than half the races on the 2005 Nextel Cup schedule, including a guarantee that the top 35 teams in the car owners' points would get a starting spot in each week's event. Nextel Cup Series director John Darby confirmed Friday that Nextel Cup is heading toward a process used several times this year in the Busch Series, where cars are impounded by NASCAR after qualifying and would then start the race with the same set-up they had for the time trials. "That would allow the teams to have one focus per weekend," Darby said. "They would leave the shop in race set-up, then unload at the track and qualify and race with the car in race trim." Currently, Nextel Cup teams practice and then make two-lap qualifying runs on Fridays in a typical race weekend. They then change their cars dramatically before a running a pair of Saturday morning practices the way their cars will be for Sunday's race. Darby said the "ideal" schedule for 2005 would be Friday afternoon practices with Cup qualifying at midday Saturday preceding a Busch or Truck series support race. Cup cars would be impounded after qualifying and teams would be able to make only slight adjustments - air pressure in tires, for instance - before the green flag on Sunday.
    There other major change in qualifying rules would be in effect at all tracks, however. The top 35 cars in owner points would be guaranteed a starting spot to protect teams running full schedules from being bumped by part-time teams who show up in qualifying mode to make a race with no regard of how that car would do in the race. There were 50 cars entered in this weekend's Checker 500 at Phoenix. Under the new set-up, the top 35 in points would be guaranteed spots. The other 15 cars would compete for the remaining eight slots [a heat race would be cool]. The field would still be lined up based on speed. But if the eighth fastest car not in the 35 in points had the 29th best speed, positions 30 through 43 would be filled by cars in the top 35, ranked by speed, even if the ninth best car among those not in the top 35 went faster.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-6-2004)
    UPDATE 2: on Speed Channel's NASCAR Live, Bob Dilner said one way qualifying would work, is the top 35 would qualifying for the top 35 spots, any team/driver out of the top 35 in owners points making an attempt could start no better then 36th, not even the pole.[I don't offer opinion's much, but I don't like that scenario, top 35 in for sure is great, after the top 35, then the 8 out of the top 35 start here they qualified](11-14-2004)
  • More on the 'slower' pit stop plans UPDATE Busch/Trucks: There are more twists now in NASCAR's proposed rules to slow pit stops and take good pit crews out of the equation: NASCAR officials are reportedly worried that super-fast pit crews might become organized, bringing sports agents into the negotiating process. A top over-the-wall crewman can make as much as $125,000 a year, considering his base in-shop salary and pit-crew bonuses. If all seven crewmen are in that category, a team's line-item budget would be $875,000.
    Team owners and crew chiefs are also facing another worrisome aspect - dissent within the teams about the disparity in salaries. Some regular crewmen say that some pit crewmen are given full-time jobs in the shop but that those Sunday pit-road specialists take up space on the weekday shop roster that could be filled by more talented people.
    The slower fuel-flow gas cans will likely be used on the Busch and Truck tours in 2005 and then on the Nextel Cup tour in 2006, though the Cup tour could see the new rules too sooner. By slowing the flow of fuel during a pit stop, NASCAR officials figure teams would not need lightning-fast pit crews, and the cost of such top-notch pit crews has gone up considerably.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-13-2004)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials appear to be ready to implement a suggestion from Busch Series crew chief Ricky Pearson, who wants to restrict the flow of gasoline during pit stops. That would lengthen most pit stops and take away the advantage of teams that have full-time tire changers who can perform their tasks much quicker than the part-timers who work for many Busch teams. The changes would start in the Busch and Craftsman Truck series [in 2005], then possibly be expanded to Cup [in 2006].(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(11-14-2004)

  • Wimmer set for 2005: on Speed Channel's Speed News, Scott Wimmer said he is set for 2005 and will be back in the #22 Caterpillar Dodge in 2005.(11-14-2004)

  • The Toyota Showdown: Eric Holmes and Mike Johnson scored the biggest wins of their respective careers on Saturday night. The Southwest Series showed that they are the best of the best when it comes to the Elite Divisions in the NASCAR world with Eric Holmes taking the top spot, followed to the line by Rip Michels and Burney Lamar. MIke Johnson survived a wild Grand National race to win and was followed by Matt Kobyluck and Joey McCarthy.(see 51 Sports for more)(11-14-2004)

  • Darlington News and Notes:

    ---- Jimmie Johnson won the 55th Mountain Dew Southern 500, scoring his 14th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 110th career start. His last victory came at Atlanta October 31, 2004, two races ago.
    ---- It was Johnson's eighth victory in 2004, more than any other driver. He moved into a tie with Dick Hutcherson and LeeRoy Yarbrough for 42nd on NASCAR's all-time win list.
    ---- Johnson scored his second victory and fifth top-10 finish in six races at Darlington Raceway.
    ---- This is the third time in 2004 (Pocono, Charlotte and Darlington) and fifth time in his career Johnson has swept both races at a track in a single season. In 2002, Johnson won both races at Dover and in 2003 he won both at New Hampshire.
    ---- Thirteen of Johnson's 14 victories have occurred on superspeedways.
    ---- Johnson climbed from fourth to second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. It marked his fourth victory in nine races of the Chase.
    ---- Johnson led seven times for 124 laps, including the final nine, in Mountain Dew Southern 500.
    ---- Jeff Gordon led 155 laps, leading the most laps for the seventh time in 2004.
    ---- This was the 22nd victory for Chevrolet. Ford has nine and Dodge has four. Chevrolet clinched the 2004 Manufacturers'Championship at Charlotte, the 28th time in NASCAR history. Notebook Items
    ---- The top-five drivers are separated by just 82 points. This is the closest points race under the current point system since six drivers were separated by 113 points in 1992 with one race remaining. That season Davey Allison had a 30-point lead over second-place Alan Kulwicki. Bill Elliott was 40, Harry Gant was 97, Kyle Petty 98 and Mark Martin was 113.
    ---- Jimmie Johnson ranked ninth in the point standings with six races remaining (after Race No. 30 at Kansas). Johnson was 247 points behind and is now second, 18 points behind, with one race remaining.
    ---- The greatest come-back in NASCAR history occurred in 1992 when Alan Kulwicki came from fourth in points (278 behind) with six races remaining to win the 1992 championship by 10 points over Bill Elliott.
    ---- With one race remaining in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, 404 points separate first to 10th. The Chase began with a 45-point separation between first and 10th at Race No. 27 at New Hampshire. The biggest point margin is 139 points between seventh-place Ryan Newman and eighth-place Matt Kenseth.
    ---- Five drivers in the top-10 in points changed positions at Darlington Raceway.
    ---- Eight of the nine 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), Atlanta (Jimmie Johnson), Phoenix (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and Darlington (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 eight of the nine races in the Chase.
    ---- Entering Darlington, seven drivers: Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman were in the 156-point window which would allow any of the seven to leave Phoenix with the point lead. Leaving Darlington, with one race remaining, five drivers are in the point window in The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and are all within 82 points of the point leader and could possibly overtake Kurt Busch at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship. Tony Stewart (17th) and Ryan Newman (34th) fell out the group as a result of their finishes.
    ---- Mark Martin (second) scored his 15th top-10 finish of the season. It was second 23rd top-10 finish in 38 races at Darlington Raceway.
    ---- Jeff Gordon (third) scored his 24th top-10 finish in 2004, the most of all drivers. It was his 15th top-10 finish in 24 races at Darlington. Gordon is just three points behind second-place Jimmie Johnson and 21 behind point leader Kurt Busch.
    ---- Jamie McMurray (fourth) scored his 22nd top-10 finish of the season. It was his second top-10 finish in four races at Darlington Raceway.
    ---- Kasey Kahne (fifth) scored his 14th top-10 finish of the season. It was his first top-10 finish in two races at Darlington Raceway.
    ---- Carl Edwards (seventh) scored his fifth top-10 finish in his 12th career start.
    ---- Matt Kenseth (20th) has ranked in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 for 70 straight races.. Kenseth moved into a tie with Jimmie Johnson for ninth on NASCAR's Top 10 list for consecutive races in the top-10 under the current point system (since 1975).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-14-2004)

  • Stock Car Fans - Rumblings - Darlington: We're gonna have to start calling him "Mr. Broom" or the "Sweeping Superman"....we'll need to work on it. Jimmie Johnson did it again today, winning the final 500-miler at Darlington Raceway for his fourth win in the last five events. He's graced Victory Lane 8 times this season, and six of those wins were at three Speedways (a tri-sweeper). This was win #14 for Johnson in his career (he's tied with Dick Hutcherson & LeeRoy Yarbrough for 42nd on the all-time win list), and #130 for Hendrick Motorsports. This is the 13th win this season for HMS....they can tie their best year ever next week as they won 14 in 1998. The win was worth $269,675 from the over $5.2M in posted awards.
    Mark Martin was the bridesmaid again tonight.....he was a little less than a second behind at the finish.
    Robby Gordon (15th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Talladega last month.
    Randy LaJoie (36th) had his best finish since he was 31st at Richmond in May of 1998! (only 6 races)
    STREAKIN....Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10's in a row.
    Kurt Busch has 8 Top-10's in the last 9 races.
    Jamie McMurray has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
    Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
    This Week's Elevator....UP: The Operator of the Week is a lonely Mike Bliss (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-27), followed by Dale Jarrett (-25). A slow "shaft" this week, but that Mike Bliss is sure giving a good audition in limited appearances this season.
    The "Chase" has got to be everything the boyz in Daytona Beach wanted (whether we wanted it or not) since we've got three drivers separated by 21 markers and the Top-5 going into next week's race have a chance at the Championship. Engine tuning discussions should be very interesting this week.
    In "Classic" points, Jeff Gordon would have a 52 point lead over his teammate Jimmie Johnson. Still could have found a few columns in that, dontcha think? Bobby Labonte (15th to 12th) made the best move forward, while Dale Jarrett (11th to 14th) and the MIA Ward Burton (29th to 32nd) fell three spots each.(more at Stock Car Fans Newsletter Site)(11-14-2004)


    News and Rumors from November 13, 2004

  • ESPN Classic's Dale Earnhardt Tribute: ESPN Classic celebrates the career of NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt, as they build up to the debut of the EOE movie "3", beginning on Wednesday, December 1, at 9:00pm/et. Every night for six nights ESPN Classic will air a fantastic Dale Earnhardt race at 9:00pm/et. Then Thursday, December 9, to Saturday, December 11, ESPN Classic will televise the "3 Days of Dale" which will feature around-the-clock airings of his greatest NASCAR and IROC races, as well as shows/documentaries that pay tribute to the career of the immortal "Intimidator".(ESPN.com)(11-13-2004)

  • A Possible Twist to the Top 35 Qualifying Rules: The plan to guarantee the top 35 drivers in car owner points starting spots in each race next year includes one provisional spot - for former Cup series champions. With former champions Terry Labonte and Bill Elliott running part-time schedules next year, that could come into play if they're outside the top 35 and don't earn one of the remaining spots on speed.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-13-2004)

  • Sad News: Jessica Renee Hunley, 16, daughter or Roush Racing's Chris Hunley, was killed in a single car accident Thursday night. She went to North Davidson High School in Welcome, NC where she was a junior and a softball player. Family and friend visitation will be Sunday the 14th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Davidson Funeral home located at: 858 Hickory Tree Rd. Winston-Salem, NC 27127. There will be a private Funeral service held on Monday. Memorials may be directed to the North Davidson High School softball team, 7227 Old Highway 52, Lexington, N.C. 27295(11-13-2004)

  • BANG Racing close to announcement? Ward and Dodge? UPDATE 2 NO DEAL: hearing that BANG Racing is close to signing their Cup and Busch deal for next year with Ward as the driver for the NetZero Dodge in Cup and Travis Kvapil in the Busch car [Dodge?] with Line-X as the sponsor. The team expects to announce a new General Manager soon also.(11-8-2004)
    UPDATE: been told that NetZero will STAY with the #0 Haas CNC Chevy anf NOT go to BANG.(11-9-2004)
    UPDATE 2: also been told that BANG Racing will now NOT have a full-time Cup team in 2005 as the NetZero/Ward Burton deal fell thru. NetZero didn't want to be on a team that was out of the top 35 owners points cushion, the likely new qualifying formet for 2005.(11-13-2004)

  • GM head of racing to Hendrick? General Motors' Doug Duchardt, head of the company's world-wide racing operations, is apparently being wooed by car owner Rick Hendrick to move to North Carolina to take a key position at Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick's racing operations were hard-hit by the plane crash three weeks ago that killed 10. Among those killed were John Hendrick, the company's president; Randy Dorton, the legendary engine builder and head of the company's engine department; and general manager Jeff Turner.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-13-2004)

  • Mark Martin in a Reality Show? Garage sources told TFR today that Mark Martin is in final negotiations to participate in the racing reality show, NASCAR 360 [FX]. The show, which will come during the final year of his fulltime commitment to securing a Cup championship, will follow Martin around as he works his daily routine. The details are still very fluid at this stage of the discussions, but Martin apparently is rev’ed up about the proposition to share with his fans some of the behind the scenes stuff he’ll be doing as he winds down what many call a driver’s driver career. (Team Ford Racing)(11-13-2004)

  • Ward out? UPDATE 4 Bliss in; 2005? hearing that Ward Burton and the #0 NetZero team have parted ways? Supposedly Mike Bliss will drive the #0 Chevy at Darlington.(11-8-2004)
    UPDATE: Mike Bliss has replaced Ward Burton in Haas CNC Racing's #0 NetZero Chevrolet for this weekend's Nextel Cup Series Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Owner Gene Haas released Burton after last weekend's Checker Auto Parts 500, a Burton spokesman said, ending negotiations with Haas for Burton to continuing as the team's driver. Bliss has 33 career Cup starts and two top-10s, including a career-best fourth at Richmond in September 2004.(NASCAR.com)(11-9-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Haas CNC Racing announced today that NASCAR veteran Mike Bliss will take over driving duties of the #0 NetZero Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series effective immediately. Bliss will replace Ward Burton and drive the remaining two events on the 2004 schedule for the team.(Haas CNC Racing PR)(11-11-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Claire B. Lang on her "Dialed In" show on XM Satellite NASCAR Radio had a compelling chat with Ward Burton, who after parting ways with NetZero has decided also not to race the #47 Acxiom Chevrolet in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this weekend. He says he's taking some time to figure out his next step. See the full interview at NASCAR.com and see Burton's comments at wardburton.com.(11-11-2004)
    UPDATE 4: Sources close to the team indicate that Haas is leaning toward hiring Brendan Gaughan, if he's released by Penske-Jasper, or Mike Bliss. Tony Raines, who drove the team's Busch Series car at Phoenix, and Mike Wallace are the other drivers under consideration for the ride. A source indicated that if [Travis] Kvapil replaces Gaughan at Penske-Jasper, he'd still run a majority of the Busch races with Bang Racing with other drivers rounding out the schedule.(NASCAR Scene Print vs. BGNRacing.com)(11-13-2004)

  • VOTE NOW for the 4th Quarter 2004 Speed Channel Driver of the Year: Although some driver's titles are decided others are still up for grabs as Speed Channel's Driver of the Year's fan vote is about to take place for the fourth quarter, 2004. The list of nominated drivers includes Sebastien Bourdais(Champ Car), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (NASCAR), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Tony Kanaan (Indy Racing League), Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws), Ryan Newman (NASCAR), Tony Schumacher (NHRA) and Martin Truex, Jr. (NASCAR). In it's 38th year, the Speed Channel DRIVER OF THE YEAR's Award for this quarter will be determined by an independent vote of the 18-member panel of blue ribbon auto racing journalists and broadcasters and one vote based on the cumulative tally of fans' voting at www.speedtv.com. The voting process is unique in the world of auto racing and provides fans a method of sharing their opinion in awarding the honor. At the end of the year a special, separate, vote will be held for the SPEED Channel 2004 DRIVER OF THE YEAR. The panelists will have their quarterly vote on November 24th and the fan vote will close soon thereafter. See more and vote at speedtv.com.(11-13-2004)

  • Can Busch clinch today at Darlington? #97-Kurt Busch is the only drive who can clinch the Nextel Cup today in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. How?
    one scenario: #97-Busch wins and leads the most laps [190 points], the following drivers would have to finish at or worse then the following positions:
    #24-Gordon, 41st
    #8-Earnhardt Jr. 39th
    #48-Johnson, 39th
    #6-Martin, 21st
    If Busch leads the 2nd place driver by 156 or more after Darlington, all he needs to do is start the car at Homestead to clinch, to do the the following drivers would have to finish in the following positions:
    #24-Gordon, 30th
    #8-Earnhardt Jr. 28th
    #48-Johnson, 27th
    #6-Martin, 10th.(11-13-2004)

  • Dale Earnhardt Theme Park? Is a Dale Earnhardt Theme Park in the planning stages for Iredell County, near the DEI shops? Something big like that could be in the works, apparently, with the possibility that the city of Mooresville could annex DEI country. A new interchange off I-77 could help.(Winston Salem Journal). Jayski Note: there are plans for an interchage off I-77 at Langtree, near me, scheduled to open in 2006. DEI is almost straight East of Langtree, but via back roads. There has been talk of a road at the east end of Langtree at 115 to cut accross to 3. Have seen nothing about this in any local papers.(11-13-2004)

  • Diageo Announces Relationship with NASCAR UPDATE: Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks business, today announced one of the company's spirits brands would participate in NASCAR for the first time ever beginning with the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Earlier today, NASCAR announced spirits companies would be allowed to participate as team sponsors and that Diageo would lead the spirits category's entry into the sport. Diageo, which has a history in NASCAR with its flavored malt beverage brand Smirnoff ICE, will utilize its new sponsorship in NASCAR to continue to educate consumers about the importance of responsible drinking. Diageo's sponsorship, which will feature the Crown Royal brand, will be built around the company's existing relationship with Roush Racing, one of the premier racing teams in all of motorsports with over 280 wins and 30 championships. In 2003, Smirnoff ICE partnered with Roush Racing as an associate sponsor of the #17 car, driven by Matt Kenseth, which won the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship. That associate level sponsorship has continued throughout the 2004 season. In addition to the Smirnoff ICE sponsorship in NASCAR, Diageo has a presence in motorsports with the Crown Royal International Race of Champions Series. The Crown Royal IROC Series, which is an invitational series matching 12 championship drivers from different disciplines of auto racing, was captured in 2004 by Matt Kenseth. For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at www.diageo.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR), doesn't say what team they will be with, but #97-Busch gets the Smirnoff Ice sponsorship.(11-11-2004)
    UPDATE to the #99?: Shortly after NASCAR president Mike Helton announced that the sanctioning body was lifting its ban on sponsorships by hard-liquor distillers, Diageo announced that it would sponsor a Roush Racing car next season featuring its Crown Royal brand. The sponsorship likely will go to Roush's #99 Ford, which is driven by Carl Edwards. Crown Royal also sponsors the International Race of Champions (IROC) Series.(Las Vegas Sun)(11-13-2004)

  • Spencer looking at some Cup rides...and an update on legal issues: Jimmy Spencer is back at the track, though in a Busch ride, not a Nextel Cup ride, and looking for a Cup ride for next season. Hanging over him is the legal situation stemming from his arrest three weeks ago for resisting a police officer who had come to arrest his son for painting some cars in the neighborhood. Spencer declined to say much about his legal situation except to say it was on hold for the moment: "When the time comes, I can talk about it, but not right now." Others in a position to know offered more details of what happened that Sunday night in question, Oct. 25: According to these people, two officers came to the Spencer residence. One remained in the police car while the other came to the house. Spencer objected to the officers' presence when they said they didn't have an arrest warrant and he told them they had nothing more to say to them. Spencer then went to talk to the officer in the car, and the first officer objected and pushed Spencer away from the car and threatened to arrest him. When Spencer objected to that, the officer arrested him. "I've got some Cup possibilities for next year, some guys who want to run a limited schedule," Spencer said of his 2005 racing options. "Hopefully we can land something."(Winston Salem Journal)(11-13-2004)

  • Someone shot Herman's Hauler: The Busch Series hauler of Kenny Wallace turned into interstate target practice somewhere on the 34-hour trip from Phoenix to High Point, N.C. "My crew chief called Monday and said 'Who'd you make mad? We've got three bullet holes in our [hauler],'" Wallace said. Scott Weston, the truck driver for the Bill Davis Racing team, discovered the holes on the hauler's left side upon returning. Weston and his co-driver never heard the shots, which didn't harm any of the team's equipment. "It just shows there's some people that don't have anything to do in life," Wallace said.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-13-2004)


    News and Rumors from November 12, 2004

  • Get Well: Teddy Brown, crew chief for GIC-Mixon Busch #24 and Nextel Cup #93 was hospitalized after Pheonix and was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease and is still recovering in Lake Norman Hospital. Car Chief and long time friend Wayne Carroll will call the shots this weekend.(11-12-2004)

  • Dale Jr. wrecks in practice..goes to backup: from a GM PR
    TONY EURY JR., CAR CHIEF, #8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
    - Note - Dale Earnhardt Jr. hit the wall during practice and goes to a back-up car. The crew put the motor from the primary car into the back-up: "We run a support bar on the right side so when they ride the wall during the race, it supports it. It knocked the cage out pretty good. It kind of kinked the main roll cage. Instead of taking a risk of something happening during the race, we decided to change. It really doesn't cost us anything. We don't have to go to the back for no reason. Why take the chance? We got the other car out and we've got another one on the way."
    (IS JUNIOR COMFORTABLE WITH THE BACK-UP CAR?) "That car actually ran about two-tenths faster than the other one. We haven't run the car all year. It's been a back-up all year. Everything we've got is good, so we're looking forward to it."(GM PR)(11-12-2004)

  • Changes at the #22? Stoddard out? UPDATE: hearing that crew chief Frank Stoddard and the #22 Bill Davis Racing team have parted ways??(11-12-2004)
    UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing named Derrick Finley on Friday as interim chief for rookie Scott Wimmer's #22 Caterpillar Dodge, replacing Frank Stoddard. Finley will serve out the remaining two Cup races. Team owner Bill Davis said he has started a search for a permanent replacement. "Things weren't going like we wanted them to, obviously. We weren't running as well as we wanted to and the chemistry just didn't seem to be there," Davis said. "It's a really, really tough decision. Frankie is a great guy and a smart guy and certainly knows how to win these races than Bill Davis Racing's had but we weren't making it work. We just felt we needed to try a different direction."(ThatsRacin.com)(11-12-2004)

  • Kerry Earnhardt coast-to-coast UPDATE just in the Showdown: Kerry Earnhardt has received an invitation to race in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on Saturday at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. Earnhardt, who drove in eight races and finished 17th in the Grand National Division West Series while also participating in Nextel Cup and Busch series races this season, was extended the invite after two of the top 15 drivers were unable to attend. At the Showdown, the top 10 Southwest Series drivers will face off against the top 10 drivers from the other three series (Midwest, Northwest and Southeast) that comprise the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division. The Toyota All-Star Showdown begins Thursday with a full day of practice. On Friday night, each division (AutoZone Elite Division and NASCAR Grand National Division) will hold twin 50-lap preliminary races. The results of those races will establish the starting lineups for Saturday's feature races, with the 50-lap race winners starting up front in the main events. On Saturday, the AutoZone Elite Division all-star field will race for 125 laps, followed by the NASCAR Grand National Division all-stars (from the Busch North Series and West Series) in a 150-lap showdown. Friday's and Saturday's events will be telecast live on SPEED Channel [listed on my TV Listings page or right hand side of this page].(NASCAR.com), Earnhardt is also scheduled to run the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday.(11-11-2004)
    UPDATE: Earnhardt will not run in the Southern 500, will concentrate on the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway.(11-12-2004)

  • Tom Hammonds Chevrolet Joins SCORE Motorsports at Darlington: Tom Hammonds Chevrolet in Darlington, S.C. has joined SCORE Motorsports and driver Hermie Sadler as an associate sponsor for the BI-LO 200 NASCAR Busch Series race and the Mountain Dew Southern 500 NEXTEL Cup Series race this weekend in Darlington, S.C. Tom Hammonds, a three-time All-ACC selection for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, played 12 years in the NBA before retiring in 2001. He has been owner/operator of Tom Hammonds Chevrolet since March 2004 and has a love for racing, being an accomplished drag racer himself. Hammonds has two connections to SCORE Motorsports. In addition to being friends with Sadler, Hammonds played five seasons with SCORE Motorsports co-owner Bryant Stith while they were with the Denver Nuggets. The pair were both honored last March at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. for their accomplishments in the ACC. For more information on Tom Hammonds Chevrolet, visit www.tomhammondschevrolet.com.(Score Motorsports PR)(11-12-2004)

  • Stock Car Fans - Ramblings - Darlington: We found out today the only way to knock Ryan Newman off the Bud Pole is to have Mother Nature take your side, so (after today's rainout) Kurt Busch will lead 'em to the green on Sunday at Darlington Raceway. BTW, Ryan was over 2/10th's quicker than the field in practice. I just can't bring myself to call this the Southern 500....all these stories I'm reading where they say this is the last Southern 500, sorry that was last September. This _is_ the last 500 tho. Next year we'll come here on Mothers Day weekend, but on the bright side we will have something new. Hard liquor sponsors (or as NASCAR likes to call it "distilled spirits"). Let's see, we've downgraded Momma and brought in booze....is that what they meant when they said the "timing was right"?
    For Kurt Busch, this is his best starting spot since he had the pole at Homestead in November of 2002.
    Jeff Gordon (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Loudon in September.
    Mark Martin (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up on the outside pole at Richmond in September.
    Kirk Shelmerdine (36th) has his best starting spot since he started 32nd at Texas World Speedway in June of 1981! (How's that for going deep into the field for a stat?)
    STREAKIN....Ryan Newman has 6 Top-10 starts in a row.(Stock Car Fans)(11-12-2004)


    News and Rumors from November 11, 2004

  • Special Scheme for Wimmer: Scott Wimmer and the #22 will carry a new paint scheme with Acert Technology on the Caterpillar Dodge.(Bill Davis Racing Site)(11-11-2004)

  • Dale Jr.'s Pit Crew wins at Phoenix: The pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. captured the Phoenix competition of the McDonald's Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade. The victory lifted the No. 8 team into first place in the pit crew standings with two races remaining in the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule. It was the fourth McDonald's/POWERade win for the #8 crew and in three of those victories Earnhardt also won the race - Richmond (May 15), Talladega (Oct. 3) and Phoenix (Nov. 7). The McDonald's/POWERade point standings got shuffled following the Phoenix race. Earnhardt's team moved from third to first while Elliott Sadler's team dropped from first to third. Tony Stewart's team remained in second, three points out of the lead. The top four crews heading into Darlington (Nov. 14) are: Earnhardt's (1194 points), Stewart's (1191), Sadler's (1181) and Kurt Busch's (1179). Earnhardt's crew is the reigning McDonald's/POWERade champion. Earnhardt's Budweiser Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on Phoenix International Raceway's pit road with a time of 285.50 seconds. Biffle's National Guard Ford was second at 325.98 and Jeff Burton's AOL Chevy was third at 329.87. "Great team, great car, great pit stops," said Earnhardt following his Phoenix victory. "What else can you say? I'm really proud of these guys for not giving up this year. We had awesome pit stops all day, and Tony (Eury) Sr. did a great job making the calls from the pits. Whether it was the decision to take four (tires), or the decision to stay out when I was hollerin' on the radio to pit, Tony Sr. and Tony Jr. and the whole team earned their stripes." The #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 Comminications PR), see top-10 at Atlanta with time, season standings and more on my Pit Crew page.(11-11-2004)

  • Waltrip to be inducted into Hall of Fame: Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip heads the latest class of inductees into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Waltrip is joined by longtime drag racing stars Joe Amato and Bob Glidden, powerboat champion Chip Hanauer and Formula One and CART champion Nigel Mansell. Waltrip won Winston Cup titles in 1981, 1982 and 1985, driving for Junior Johnson. He also had 84 wins — tied for third all-time with former inductee Bobby Allison — 54 poles, and was named Driver of the Year three times. Amato had 54 NHRA Top Fuel wins and five division championships, both records. He also finished in the top 10 in points in each of his 19 seasons. Glidden captured 10 NHRA Pro Stock titles and another one in the IHRA. When he retired, Glidden was the NHRA's winningest driver in any class with 85 career victories. Hanauer won seven Unlimited Hydroplane national and world titles and 61 national events, including a record 11 Gold Cup races. The five-member class will be inducted on April 28, 2005.(Greensboro News/AP)(11-11-2004)

  • UNC Charlotte Accepting Nominations for Alan Kulwicki Memorial Scholarship: The Lee College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is now accepting applications for the 2005-2006 Alan Kulwicki Memorial Scholarship. Lee College annually awards the Alan Kulwicki Memorial Scholarship to an outstanding high school graduate who has an affiliation with NASCAR and who exemplifies the late Alan Kulwicki's commitment to education and love of auto racing.
    With the financial support of R.J. Reynolds Company, UNC Charlotte established the Kulwicki Scholarship in 1994. The Kulwicki Scholarship is awarded to freshmen entering the motorsports engineering program at UNC Charlotte. It is given in memory of late NASCAR Winston Cup points champion Alan Kulwicki, who lost his life in a plane crash in 1993. Alan was an engineer himself, and a strong supporter of engineering and science education. Kulwicki was the first college graduate to win the NASCAR Winston Cup championship, an honor he deeply cherished.
    As the premier motorsports engineering program in the country, UNC Charlotte attracts top students from throughout the United States. The Lee College of Engineering has strong ties with many of the race teams in the Charlotte area, and UNC Charlotte engineering graduates can be found on numerous NASCAR teams.
    UNC Charlotte's Kulwicki scholars have established a strong tradition of academic and auto racing excellence. Many of the winners are avid racecar drivers, as well as top engineers. UNC Charlotte motorsports engineering students have also built a reputation for racing success in the Inter-Collegiate Auto Racing Association, winning the collegiate National Championship the past five years.
    Scholarship application must be submitted to the Lee College of Engineering no later than February 1, 2005. For more information and an application see the scholarship link under the prospective students page at www.coe.uncc.edu.(UNC-Charlotte)(11-11-2004)

  • Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: Five of the six Gillette Young Guns finished in the top-10 at Phoenix on Sunday. If the Gillette Young Guns sweep the top six positions at the Ford 400 on November 21, 2004 at Homestead-Miami Speedway and a fan correctly predicts the order in which they finish by registering at www.gilletteyoungguns.com, they will be entered into a random drawing for $5 million. Plus, if a fan wins $5 million, Gillette will make a matching $5 million charitable contribution to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC).
    By picking Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 7th, Helen B of Cleveland, GA was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Helen picked Earnhardt Jr. as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline.
    As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Earnhardt Jr. This is the 12th time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Earnhardt Jr.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(11-11-2004)

  • Looks like Dave, Jack and #07.....and Philippe? Richard Childress is expected to announce a Jack Daniel's sponsorship, to replace AOL, for his third team, for which Dave Blaney is expected to drive.(Winston Salem Journal) and the number switced from #30 to #07 and [see next blurb] Philippe Lopez as crew chief.(11-11-2004)

  • Lopez to Gibbs? BDR? RCR? UPDATE 2: Philippe Lopez, a crew chief who has been working in research and development at Joe Gibbs Racing [JGR] since August, was missing in action at Phoenix. Several possible scenarios were presented by garage sources: Lopez was offered the crew chief job on Gibbs' #18 (Bobby Labonte) but turned it down, Lopez has discussed the #22 (Scott Wimmer) crew chief job with Bill Davis Racing, and Lopez could be reunited with Dave Blaney at Richard Childress Racing. "It's a possibility," Richard Childress says.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(11-8-2004)
    UPDATE: been told that Lopez has left JGR, no word on any more info.(11-9-2004)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Lopez is the leading canidate to go to the #22 team, not sure what current crew chief, Frank Stoddard would do, another position with BDR or go to another team.(11-10-2004)
    AND: also hearing that Lopez will be the crew chief for Dave Blaney at RCR in the #07 Jack Daniel's Chevy.(that is one diecast I will buy)(11-11-2004)

  • Martin fastest at Wed. Homestead testing: #6-Mark Martin set the fastest lap Wednesday during the final day of testing in preparation for Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov 18-21. Martin set a fast lap of 176.759 mph (30.55 sec). For more information, or to order tickets to Ford Championship Weekend, call (305) 230-RACE or log on homesteadmiamispeedway.com.
    Unofficial times and speeds for selected drivers during NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Testing November 9-10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
    NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series:
    1. 6- Mark Martin- 30.55 sec, 176.759 mph
    2. 24- Jeff Gordon 30.79 sec, 175.382 mph
    3. 48- Jimmie Johnson- 31.02 sec, 174.081 mph
    4. 8- Dale Earnhardt Jr- 31.10 sec, 173.633 mph
    5. 20- Tony Stewart- 31.10 sec, 173.633 mph
    6. 38- Elliott Sadler- 31.11 sec, 173.576 mph
    7. 15- Michael Waltrip- 31.21 sec, 173.025 mph
    8. 9- Kasey Kahne- 31.23 sec, 172.911 mph
    9. 21- Ricky Rudd- 31.24 sec, 172.855 mph
    10. 06- Travis Kvapil- 31.25 sec, 172.800.(HMS PR)(11-11-2004)

  • Bruton Smith among Charlotte Sports Hall of Fame Inductees: Bruton Smith, founder and chairman of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. is among four area sports legends selected for induction into the Greater Charlotte Sports Hall of Fame. Smith joins basketball legends Bobby Jones [76ers] and David Thompson along with the late Hoyt Wilhelm, an extremely durable and effective baseball relief pitcher, in the hall of fame's class of 2005. Smith grew up on a modest farm near Oakboro, N.C., and parlayed his love for building things into a business empire, focusing on the motorsports and automotive industries. After promoting stock car races at numerous area short tracks, Smith spearheaded the construction of Lowe's Motor Speedway [then Charlotte Motor Speedway] and the inaugural Coca-Cola 600 was run in June of 1960. In 1995, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. became the first auto racing company to trade on the New York Stock Exchange. Today, SMI owns and operates six premier motorsports facilities along with numerous related businesses. The Greater Charlotte Sports Hall of Fame was established in the fall of 2003 to recognize and honor outstanding sports figures from the Charlotte region and to create greater public awareness of the area's rich sports history and heritage. Seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt was among the first four athletes inducted into the hall of fame earlier this year. Smith and the other 2005 Greater Charlotte Sports Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at a dinner celebration and tribute on April 16 at the Panthers Den at Bank of America Stadium.(LMS PR)(11-11-2004)

  • Cops suspended over Elliott Copter ride: Two Georgia State Patrol troopers were suspended without pay for letting NASCAR driver Bill Elliott hop a ride in their helicopter when they were supposed to be reporting about marijuana fields. The troopers spent two hours shuttling Elliott from his home in Dawsonville, where he had dropped off an airplane, back to Blairsville, where Elliott's car was parked. Cpl. Kevin Coalson, the pilot, was suspended for three days last week, and Lt. Eddie Williams began a six-day suspension Monday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. During the June 29 flight over northern Georgia, Elliott, a licensed helicopter pilot, took the controls of the surplus military aircraft intended only for law enforcement. Meanwhile, anti-drug officers on the ground waited for details about the location of the marijuana fields. The newspaper said the troopers could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But according to investigative files, they said they didn't know there was anything wrong with giving Elliott a ride.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP)(11-11-2004)

  • Sad News: Dick King, former president of the U.S. Auto Club, died Monday of a heart attack while vacationing in Mexico. He was 73. King, who was to retire as president of USAC Properties next month, joined the Indianapolis-based sanctioning body as a member of the safety crew in 1967. The native of Niagara Falls, N.Y., served as USAC's president from 1976-97, and was chairman of the board during most of that time. King's tenure was marred by the 1978 plane crash that killed eight USAC employees -- including five department heads, most hand-picked by King -- and the split of Indy-car team owners to form the Championship Auto Racing Teams series that same year. King is survived by his wife, Nancy, and three children. Services are pending.(Indianapolis Star)(11-11-2004)

  • NASCAR Approves Hard Liquor as a sponsor in 2005: After conducting an extended review of its sponsorship policies and researching trends in consumer attitudes, NASCAR announced that distilled spirits products are now a new category for sponsorship in the sport beginning in the 2005 season. "We felt the time was right to allow distilled spirits companies into NASCAR," said Mike Helton, President of NASCAR. "Attitudes have changed, and spirits companies have a long record of responsible advertising. Any spirits company involved in NASCAR will have marketing campaigns strongly grounded in responsibility and will follow advertising and marketing guidelines set by NASCAR that are consistent with the Distilled Spirits Council's advertising code. Spirits companies are recognized as leaders in responsibility and are encouraging adults who choose to drink, to do so responsibly. We are confident that the spirits companies entering our sport will come to apply that same level of responsibility to their involvement in NASCAR, and will communicate the same responsible marketing and messages that beer companies have exhibited in the sport for the past 25 years," Helton said. "Additionally, this will provide numerous new sponsorship opportunities to our teams. While the NASCAR industry will benefit across the board, teams will be the primary beneficiaries of this decision in a way that promotes a responsible drinking message consistent with the practices in other motorsports."
    NASCAR's internal review included outreach to advocacy groups such as the National Commission Against Drunk Driving and other experts in the field of alcohol-related issues. Additionally, NASCAR reached out to industry groups such as the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and The Century Council. NASCAR based its guidelines on the input received from these groups. The distilled spirits companies participating in NASCAR must agree to comply with the Distilled Spirits Council's "Code of Responsible Practices for Beverage Alcohol Advertising and Marketing" and abide by the Code Review Board's decisions. Each company's marketing activities will be grounded in a responsible behavior message. A dedicated portion of advertising by spirits companies in NASCAR will be solely focused on encouraging responsible drinking decisions, with all remaining advertising including a responsible behavior tag.(NASCAR PR), see past rumors about this on my NASCAR-Sponsors page.(11-10-2004)


    News and Rumors from November 10, 2004

  • So....what would the 'Chase for the Nextel Cup' look like with no penalties? If #42-Jamie McMurray [25 points penalized for car failing X-measurement], #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [50, 25 for on purpose spin for a caution at Bristol and 25 for cussing at Talladega on TV - ended up being 30 net off chase total, 25 for the cuss and 5 for dropping a spot in the points position at Richmond], #9-Kasey Kahne -25 points] and #20-Tony Stewart [25 points - no effect]. The standings if no points penalties:

    pos car#-driver points NO
    penalties
    points
    behind
    real chase
    start pos
    current chase
    points pos
    1 97-Busch 6191 x 7 1
    2 8-Earnhardt Jr. 6174 17 3 3(-47)
    3 24-Gordon 6150 41 1 2
    4 48-Johnson 6138 53 2 4(-48)
    5 42-McMurray 6125 66 out/11 out/11
    6 6-Martin 6089 102 8 5
    7 20-Stewart 6049 142 4 6
    8 38-Sadler 5869 322 6 8
    9 17-Kenseth 5855 336 5 9
    10 19-Mayfield 5831 360 10 10(-355)
    The race for 11th
    11 12-Newman 4222 x 9 7
    12 9-Kahne 4095 127 out/12 out/13
    13 88-Jarrett 4071 151 out/15 out/12
    14 29-Harvick 4027 195 out/14 out/14
    15 18-Labonte 4007 215 out/13 out/15
    (11-10-2004)

  • Earnhardt's Windshield too thin UPDATE 2 Penalty: NASCAR officials confiscated the windshield from Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #8 Budweiser Chevy over the weekend. According to spokesman Mike Zizzo, the windshield was too thin and not approved. A penalty is likely, but to what extent will be determined by Nextel Cup series director John Darby, Zizzo said. The penalty should be announced this week.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-7-2004)
    UPDATE: the windshield was NOT run in the race, it was taken 'over the weekend'. Minimum thickness is 1/4".(11-9-2004)
    UPDATE 2: Tony Eury Sr., crew chief for the #8 Chevrolet of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., was fined $2,500 for violating Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules) for having a windshield on the car that was not an approved part and also did not meet the minimum required thickness of one-quarter inch. The infraction was discovered by NASCAR officials during opening-day inspection.(NASCAR PR)(11-10-2004)

  • NASCAR to investigate Harvick-Kahne clash UPDATE: NASCAR officials said they will investigate an incident between drivers #29-Kevin Harvick and #9-Kasey Kahne to determine if disciplinary action is needed. Kahne tried to pass Harvick on the last lap Sunday as the two cars bumped. When the race ended, Harvick pulled in front of Kahne's car and blocked it before walking over to confront Kahne. Harvick, though, was restrained by crew members. "Kahne started running into me after a caution, so I wanted to stop and ask him what the problem was," Harvick said. "Before that, I got to him a little bit, so I guess he was ticked off. But we were just racing hard."(Dallas Morning News)(11-8-2004)
    UPDATE: Drivers Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne were fined $10,000 each and placed on probation for their actions during an on-track incident that occurred after the conclusion of Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, NASCAR officials announced today. Harvick, driver of the# 29 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, and Kahne, driver of the #9 Dodge for Evernham Motorsports, were penalized for violating Section 12-4-A (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book when the two made deliberate contact with each other following the conclusion of the race. Both drivers’ probation periods will extend to Nov. 30.(NASCAR PR)(11-10-2004)

  • Musgrave's return to Cup UPDATE will not run at Darlington: Ted Musgrave is listed in the #7 Ultra Motorsports Dodge for the Final Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway entry list.(11-9-2004)
    UPDATE: Ted Musgrave told MRN/Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody Tuesday that he will not drive Jim Smith's Ultra Motorsports Nextel Cup Dodge this weekend at Darlington. "We were originally scheduled to do it, but a couple of weeks ago, it looked like we were going to be right in the thick of the Craftsman Truck Series championship hunt, so I decided it would be best to put my full attention there," said Musgrave. Musgrave also dispelled rumors that he will move to the #2 Team ASE Dodge next season, saying, "It was talked about, but I don't think it's going to happen. I'm happy right where I am in the Mopar Dodge, and Ultra Motorsports is going to have some big announcements about the #2 Truck fairly soon."(MRN/Sirius Speedway)(11-10-2004)

  • Dale Jr's teams: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going to be running Mark McFarland out of JR Motorsports in the 2005 Hooters Pro Cup Series. Mark McFarland recently replaced TJ Majors in Dale Jr's #17 late model stock car. Wednesday on NASCAR.com, Leilani sits down with Dale Jr and his new hot shoe, Mark McFarland. Catch "Leilani Reports" every Wednesday on NASCAR.com, her weekly featured video is FREE- no TrackPass subscription required.(11-10-2004)

  • Injured USAC Sprint Car Driver Begins Physical Therapy: Jimmy Weller III, injured in a USAC sprint car event at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, Oct. 13, has been moved from Carolinas Medical Center to the Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation and has begun physical therapy. Weller, 18, of Liberty, Ohio, suffered severe head trauma in the accident along with two cracked vertebrae which required surgery. Weller's father reports his son's condition continues to improve and family members are encouraged by the early results of the physical therapy. After being heavily sedated for several weeks, Weller is now able to sit up and converse. The Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation, part of the Carolinas HealthCare System, is one of the largest and most comprehensive freestanding facilities of its kind in the Southeast.(LMS PR)(11-10-2004)

  • Congrats: Team Cingular crew chief Chris Andrews is now the proud father of a baby girl. He and his wife welcomed their little girl into the world Monday evening. Andrews stayed home last weekend to be with his expectant wife. He will be back to racing this weekend at Darlington.(RCR PR)(11-10-2004)


    News and Rumors from November 9, 2004

  • Phoenix TV Ratings up 4%: NBC got a 4.9 rating for Sunday's race at Phoenix, up 4 percent over last year. NBC and TNT are up 5 percent this year from last year in their ratings for the second half of the season. NBC is also up 5 percent in the eight Chase for the Nextel Cup races it has aired, despite losing a portion of its audience to hurricane coverage and damage in the first two weeks of the 10-week "playoff."(ThatsRacin.com)(11-9-2004)

  • Eury, Sr. Wins WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: Tony Eury, Sr. brought his A-game to Phoenix International Raceway. His racecar dominated the action up front, leading an impressive 118 of 315 laps in the Checker Auto Parts 500. Even when an untimely caution period threatened to keep the #8 Monte Carlo out of Victory Lane, Eury, Sr. made the smart choice not to pit under the yellow. Eury's decision gave Dale Earnhardt, Jr. the track position he needed to get the job done, bringing him a repeat win at Phoenix and his sixth victory of the season. For his combination of savvy strategy and on-track supremacy, Eury Sr. was voted by the FANS the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Ninety percent of the fans who logged onto www.WYPALL.com voted for Eury, Sr., noting his unmatched setup. Tony Eury, Sr. remains in first place with ten wins.(S.M.C. 500 PR)(11-9-2004)

  • ESPN/ABC....NASCAR on Wish List UPDATE CBS/Fox re-up with NFL: 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)
    UPDATE It had been widely speculated that NBC would get back into bidding for the NFL when the league's current television contract came up. The Peacock Network dropped out of the NFL picture during the last round of negotiating and subsequently became a NASCAR partner, with a budget to bid on Nextel Cup racing and a Sunday afternoon programming slot to fill. ABC/ESPN has been lurking to return to the NASCAR world and would have lept at the chance if NBC got back into the NFL business. The logical move would have been for ABC to pick-up NBC's portion if the NFL came back into the fold. But Monday's announcement by the NFL that it had extended its contracts with CBS and FOX threw that scenario completely out the window. CBS will now have football through 2011, so NBC will no doubt be back to pitch for a NASCAR contract extension when the current deal expires after next season. FOX has two additiobal years on its deal, so only the second half package now carried by NBC/TNT will be in play. Several sources report ABC will be a major bidder for those rights and is willing to possibly overpay just to get NASCAR back into the fold.(see full column at RacingOne)(11-9-2004)

  • Cameron leaving West for Cup/Busch/Trucks: Bill McAnally Racing driver, Austin Cameron will be making his last appearance representing the team at the upcoming NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on November 13th. Cameron, who has been a series regular since 1998, is seeking opportunities to race in one of NASCAR’s national premier series. Cameron has made an appearance in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series at the Infineon Speedway in both 2004 and in 2002. He looks forward to joining one of NASCAR national premier series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck, NASCAR Grand National Busch, or the NASCAR Nextel Cup and record another Rookie-of-the-Year title and a series championship title.(RacingWest.com)(11-9-2004)

  • Robby Gordon sponsors? car #'s? UPDATE 4 Harrah's?: hearing that Robby Gordon could have John Deere [Jayski owns one] or/and Red Bull [a long time Robby sponsor], still no word on a manufacturer or car number [he runs #55 in Busch, not used in Cup] for Robby. AND is was reported recently that Jack Daniel's is still in play and RCR along with Gordon are in the mix, so #7 could be the car number also. Not sure if Gordon still plans to run Busch with Fruit of the Loom or if they will move up in some form. And yes, have seen the image of Gordon at Atlanta wearing a John Deere cap [Jayski has one too], see it at teamgordon.com.(11-3-2004)
    UPDATE: Gordon will talk to each of the manufacturers, Ford, Chevy, Dodge about running their brand, but expects it to be a Ford or Dodge as Chevy is loaded with teams (NASCAR Scene Print). So guess no RCR engines?
    UPDATE 2: being told that the car will be the #7 Ford and Larry Wallace will build the engines.(11-5-2004)
    UPDATE 3: Robby Gordon said he's teaming with [#7 Ultra Motorsports] car owner Jim Smith next season, setting up a Nextel Cup team. "The only sponsors I can confirm are Harrah's - which just bought Caesars, to become the largest gaming company - and Fruit of the Loom," Gordon said. Gordon declined to announce his crew chief or any of the key men he had signed.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-6-2004)
    UPDATE 4: Robby Gordon, who is leaving Richard Childress Racing to start his own Nextel Cup team, said this weekend that Harrah's Entertainment will sponsor his car next season. "Harrah's is definitely part of our Cup sponsorship," Gordon said. "I've had a relationship with Harrah's for a long time. I've got really good friends there ... and they've been a supporter of ours throughout the years."(Las Vegas Sun)
    UPDATE 4a: BGNRacing.com has been told that the #55 team owned by Robby Gordon will continue to run in the Busch Series in '05 for 24 races with Fruit of the Loom returning as the sponsor. The schedule will consist mostly of companion events and also include the Mexico City race in March.(BGNRacing.com)(11-9-2004)

  • World Financial Group returns as Sponsor of the #99: Roush Racing announced that World Financial Group, Inc. (WFG) will sponsor Carl Edwards and the #99 Roush Racing Ford once again this coming weekend at Darlington Raceway for the Southern 500. World Financial Group will appear as the primary sponsor on the #99 Ford for the second time in three weeks. In their first outing with the No. 99 team, Edwards and the #99 team gave WFG the ride of their life including a run for the win, never racing below sixth place in 325 laps. The #99 team's showing at Atlanta Motor Speedway was a successful outing for first time sponsor World Financial Group, one that the company is using to their advantage. To date Edwards has accrued one top-five and four top-10 finishes in the NEXTEL Cup series in just 12 starts. World Financial Group, Inc. (WFG) is an independent marketing company whose affiliates offer life insurance and a broad array of financial products and services. Through its thousands of independent associates in the United States and Canada, World Financial Group strives to help individuals and families who are often overlooked by the financial services industry to plan for their financial futures and work toward their goals no matter what their income. For more information on World Financial Group log on to www.worldfinancialgroup.com.(Roush Racing PR)(11-9-2004)

  • BANG Racing close to announcement? Ward and Dodge? UPDATE: hearing that BANG Racing is close to signing their Cup and Busch deal for next year with Ward as the driver for the NetZero Dodge in Cup and Travis Kvapil in the Busch car [Dodge?] with Line-X as the sponsor. The team expects to announce a new General Manager soon also. See past news/ rumors on this team at my BANG Team News and Links page [fixed - until they have a car#](11-8-2004)
    UPDATE: been told that NetZero will STAY with the #0 Haas CNC Chevy anf NOT go to BANG.(11-9-2004)

  • Homestead testing Today: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing continues at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a two-day session on Tuesday, November 9 and Wednesday, November 10 featuring seven out of the top-10 drivers competing in the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. A total of 28 drivers are scheduled to test in preparation for the upcoming Ford Championship Weekend, the season-finales for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, Nov. 18-21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The test sessions are open and free to the public each day from 9 am - 5 pm with seating in the Speedway Club level. Driver participation is subject to change. For more information or to order tickets to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, please call (305) 230-RACE or log on homesteadmiamispeedway.com
    Homestead-Miami Speedway NASCAR Testing Schedule
    (Driver Participation Subject to Change)
    Tuesday, November 9 - Wednesday, November 10
    NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Drivers:
    #6-Mark Martin; #99-Carl Edwards; #38-Elliott Sadler;
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.; #15-Michael Waltrip; #24-Jeff Gordon;
    #48-Jimmie Johnson; #19-Jeremy Mayfield; #21-Ricky Rudd;
    #30-Jeff Burton; #49-Ken Schrader; #59-Klaus Graf;
    #70-Larry Foyt (3rd BAM Racing Dodge); #01-Joe Nemechek;
    #36-Boris Said; #42-Jamie McMurray; #41-Casey Mears;
    #11-J.J. Yeley; #18-Bobby Labonte; #20-Tony Stewart;
    #06-Travis Kvapil.(HMS PR)(11-9-2004)

  • Kahne to test at Kentucky next week: #9-Kasey Kahne is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Monday, November 15. Test sessions begin at approximately 9:00am. Fans can view testing from the designated area outside the speedway Fan Center in Turn 3.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(11-9-2004)

  • Sunoco Planning NASCAR Holiday Toy Sales: Richard and Kyle Petty, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte and Robby Gordon will be featured on Sunoco's holiday toy trucks this year, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports. The petroleum company, which is in the first year of a 10-year deal to be NASCAR's official fuel supplier, will put 150,000 of the toy trucks on sale at $19.99 on Nov. 23, and some proceeds will go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp for children with life-threatening illnesses. Sunoco, Equity Marketing, Petty Enterprises, Richard Childress Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and NASCAR will together contribute $250,000 to the camp through royalties or as outright donations. The trucks are scheduled to be sold at Sunoco stations and A-Plus Stores.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-9-2004)


    News and Rumors from November 8, 2004

  • Boris to run at Homestead: Boris Said will enter the final Nextel Cup race of the season, Nov. 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, driving the #36 USG Durock Brand Chevrolet for MB2 Motorsports. Contrary to his reputation as a NASCAR road-racing specialist, the Homestead race will be Said’s third oval appearance of the season. His first two oval races were at the season-opening Bud Shootout in Daytona and the September Cup event at California Speedway in Fontana. He finished 10th in Daytona and 30th in Fontana. Said also competed in the June road race in Sonoma, Calif. where he posted a sixth-place result. He was scheduled to drive the USG Durock Chevy in the August road race at Watkins Glen, N.Y., but did not make the starting field after rain forced NASCAR to cancel the qualifying session and set the lineup based on car owner’s points. In each of the above races, Said was entered under the MB2 Motorsports banner. “Every time I get to drive in a Cup race I get pumped because this is where I want to be,” offered Said. “It was a major disappointment not to be part of the Watkins Glen race and I am thankful to both USG and MB2 for having another opportunity to compete against the best drivers in the world.” One of Said’s 12 career NASCAR Cup races was at the 1999 Homestead event when he drove an Ernie Irvan-owned car. He qualified 27th and finished 34th. “The track has been reconfigured since then and I am looking forward to going there and testing with (MB2 teammate/U.S. Army driver) Joe Nemechek,” offered Said. Said and Nemechek will test in Homestead Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 9 & 10). Said’s sponsor for the Homestead race -- USG Durock Brand Cement Board -- is a high-strength ceramic tile backer that provides superior tile adhesion.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(11-8-2004)

  • Crew Chief's son wins: Brandon Hylton, the son of Busch Series [#33 KHI] crew chief Butch Hylton, scored a big win at the prestigious North-South Shoot Out Thunder Roadster race at Concord Motorsports Park on Saturday. The weekend started out great for Brandon when he won his qualifying race on Friday night, giving him the pole for the 50 lap main on Saturday. Brandon led the first 5 laps then was punted back to 4th because of contact from the 2nd place car Adam Welch, after gathering up his car he settled in and worked back to the front, after a huge battle with Welch were they swapped the lead 4 times in 8 laps, Brandon took the lead for good with 12 laps to go and went on to score the biggest win of his young career.(BKB2 Motorsports PR)(11-8-2004)

  • Victory Junction Gang Receives Donation From Timken Foundation: The Victory Junction Gang Camp, which provides year-round camp sessions for children aged 7-15 with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, today announced a donation of $80,000 from the Timken Foundation of Canton, OH. Victory Junction will use the donation to fund the tunnel located near the Welcome Center of the camp. It will be called the Timken Tunnel. Each child will experience the thrill of entering the camp just as a race car driver would when entering the race track. At the presentation on November 8, Michael Karaman, Kurt Sullivan, and Tracey Graham from The Timken Asheboro Plant, Located in Randleman, NC, presented a check to the camp's founder, Richard Petty on behalf of the Timken Foundation. The Timken Foundation of Canton was established in 1934 by members of the Timken Family using a portion of their personal income from Timken Roller Bearing Company stock (now The Timken Company). It was their desire that a charitable institution be established to allow some of their personal wealth to flow back into the plant communities in which the company's earnings were generated. This concept of a charitable foundation supported by a share of the family's personal income from company stock has been preserved and expanded by subsequent generations of the Timken Family. The Timken Foundation generally makes grants for capital projects in the specific communities in which The Timken Company has a significant presence.(VJGC PR)(11-8-2004)



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