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    DEC 13-19, 2004

      News and Rumors from December 19, 2004

    • 2005 Clevite Engine Builder Showdown, Dorton honored: Clevite Engine Parts will once again shine the spotlight on NASCAR’s hidden heroes of racing by sponsoring the 2005 Clevite Engine Builder Showdown. This year, Clevite will be making one significant change to the Showdown program. 2004 marked the passing of one of the world’s greatest engine builders — Randy Dorton of Hendrick Motorsports. In memoriam, Clevite has commissioned a new perennial trophy named the Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy. Every year, the winner and his build partner will have their names engraved on the trophy, as well as receive a smaller version to add to their trophy case.
      In keeping with previous competitions, 16 of NASCAR’s top engine builders will participate in the first round of the Showdown. The competing engine builders will assemble 357 cubic inch Ford engines – similar in design to those used by NASCAR’s Ford race teams. As with last year, the first round of the Showdown will serve as a qualifying round, with the eight fastest times advancing to Round 2. Engine builders from NASCAR’s top race teams will be vying for the title of Clevite Engine Builder Showdown Champion. In addition to last year's Champion Lanny Barnes of Richard Childress Racing and Runner-Up Mike Maiwald of Hendrick Motorsports (they receive an automatic bid) the field will include the following teams:
      Arrington Engines
      DEI Engines
      Ernie Elliot Engines
      Evernham Engines
      Joe Gibbs Racing
      Hendrick Engines
      Penske Engine Company
      RCR Engines
      Yates/Roush Racing Engines
      Round 1 of the 2005 Clevite Engine Builder Showdown will kick off on January 5 and 6 at Richard Childress Racing in Welcome, N.C. Each participating engine builder will receive a commemorative plaque and $300. The eight fastest times will also receive a cash award of $1,000 and will advance to the second round of competition.
      Clevite is hosting Round 2 in Daytona during Preseason Thunder, January 19 and 22. The winners of Round 2 will receive cash awards of $1,500 and will proceed to Round 3, which awards $2,000 to each winning engine builder. The location of Round 3 is yet to be determined.
      The fourth and final round will be held in May 2005 and will take place at the NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) in Mooresvile, N.C. The final round’s first runner-up will receive a cash award of $5,000. The first-place winner will receive a cash award of $20,000 and will be dubbed the 2005 Clevite Engine Builder Showdown 2005 Champion.
      Race fans and engine building enthusiasts will be able to check the results of the various rounds by going to the Clevite Engine Parts web site at www.engineparts.com. For the last two years, Showdown fans have also been able to view highlights of the Showdown on the Speed Channel. Since 1990, Clevite Engine Parts has presented the Clevite Engine Builder Challenge Series in which NASCAR’s top engine builders compete to see who can assemble and run an engine the fastest. In 2000, the series developed into a structured and tiered competition with a total prize package worth over $50,000 and has become a huge hit with both engine builders and racing fans across the country.(Speed Channel)(12-19-2004)

    • PA to get NASCAR Plates: Pennsylvania NASCAR fans will soon have license to support their favorite drivers in a brand new way. PennDOT's Specialty Plate Program will make available Pennsylvania license plates featuring as many as 33 NASCAR drivers, according to a news release from Rep. Keith McCall (D-Carbon). "Not only are (NASCAR races) a favorite spectator sport for many Pennsylvanians, but they also play an important part in the region's economy," stated McCall, the minority chariman of the House Transportation Committee. Each plate features a NASCAR driver's number, signature and team logo on the left side, with the NASCAR logo across the bottom. According to a sample plate released by PennDOT, a Dale Earnhardt Sr. plate will be available. Plates will cost $54 each. Of that, $34 will go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a charitable organization that enriches the lives of children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. The camp was founded, in part, by driver Kyle Petty as a way to honor his son Adam, who died in a 2000 crash. The plates will be available for purchase in January. At that time, customers may fill out a plate application form (form MV913) online at www.dmv.state.pa.us.(York Daily News)(12-19-2004)

      News and Rumors from December 18, 2004

    • Foyt to the Truck Series? A.J. Foyt said his son, Larry, is working to assemble a ride in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series.(Indianapolis Star)(12-18-2004)

    • Super 8 re-ups with PPI: Super 8 Motels has announced the renewal of its associate sponsorship of PPI Motorsports' #32 Chevrolet for Bobby Hamilton Jr. in the Nextel Cup Series. Financial terms of the deal were not announced.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-18-2004)

    • Dale Jr. Donates Most Popular Winnings: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has donated the $10,000 he won in the Pillsbury Grands! Biscuits Most Popular Driver contest to two animal welfare organizations. The Animal Adoption League and the Lake Norman Lucky Cats organization in North Carolina received the money Earnhardt Jr. won from the contest run by the National Motorsports Press Association.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-18-2004)

    • Morgan Shepherd Ride Raises Over $22,500: The Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund donated over $22,500 to needy families in the Galax, Va., area as part of its 18th annual Charity Ride last week. "It was a blessing to be part of it and a blessing to help some of these families," said Shepherd, the three-time NASCAR Nextel Cup race winner who drives the #89 Racing With Jesus Dodge. "The nice thing was the bulk of the money came from people who gave $10 to $25," Shepherd said. "We did have a few folks who gave some pretty large amounts, and we are very grateful to them, but we are also grateful to those who gave what they could. Lives were touched and people were saved because of that. Beside the financial help, 17 people surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ and are guaranteed a spot in heaven's eternity," he added. "That's a lot more important than anything we did." The Fund donated $20,000 to the PARC Workshop to continue support of providing life skills and job training for special needs individuals in the Stuart, Va., area. In addition, $2,500 went to low-income families in the area to buy shoes and warm clothing, with additional funds that will go for food. The Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund is still accepting tax-deductible donations at P.O. Box 623, Conover, N.C. 28613. "We are so grateful for all those who gave and who continue to support us," Shepherd said.(Williams Company PR)(12-18-2004)

    • Wimmer drops appeal of DWI: Nextel Cup driver [#22] Scott Wimmer, convicted of driving while impaired in June, has given up efforts to appeal that conviction less than a month after the conclusion of racing season. Wimmer appeared in Guilford County Superior Court in High Point on Thursday for a brief appearance that was hastily scheduled. "I just got a phone call that they were interested in remanding it. I said fine. I didn't have any objection," said Assistant District Attorney Brandon Goldsborough, who handled the case. Wimmer's court appearance was sudden enough that the NASCAR driver's name didn't appear on that day's docket of cases. "It was about a five-minute session," Goldsborough said. Now, the original decision by District Court Judge William K. Hunter will stand. Wimmer, who drives for High Point-based Bill Davis Racing, was charged with driving while impaired and failure to stop at the scene of an accident in connection with the Jan. 31 crash of a pickup truck owned by his employer. Hunter found Wimmer guilty during the June trial and sentenced the then-28-year-old to 60 days behind bars, but suspended that sentence for one year -- a period during which Wimmer will remain on unsupervised probation.(Greensboro News-Record)(12-18-2004)

      News and Rumors from December 17, 2004

    • Bye-bye Twin 125's, Hello Gatorade Duel at Daytona: Qualifying races that help set the field for the Daytona 500 will be 25 miles longer and have a new name in 2005. The races, formerly called the Gatorade 125s, will now be known as the Gatorade Duel at Daytona. Each race will now go for 150 miles, a move that could force teams to adjust their pit-stop strategies at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway. There also will be a longer break between the races, which will be held on Thursday, Feb. 17, during Speedweeks in 2005. Qualifying for the 2005 Daytona 500 will begin on Sunday, Feb. 13. Only the two fastest cars secure starting spots for the 500 on that day, the front-row spots on the starting grid. Speeds from that qualifying session are used to determine the lineup for the Gatorade Duel, with drivers in odd-numbered positions in the qualifying results in the first 150-miler and those in the even-numbered slots going into the second qualifying race. The top-14 finishers - aside from the driver already assured of a front-row spot in the 500 - in each qualifier will line up in order of finish starting with Row 2 for the 500. Finishers from the first Duel race will get the inside spots on each row, with finishers from the second getting the outside spots. The remaining spots in the 43-car field are awarded based on qualifying speeds and provisionals [which supposedly in 2005 will only be a past champ](ThatsRacin.com)(12-17-2004)
      AND more at the Daytona International Speedway site: Gatorade Duel At Daytona: The Daytona 500 uses a different qualifying procedure than any other race in the world. On Budweiser Pole Day, Sunday Feb. 13, only the fastest two cars solidify their starting spots for the Daytona 500. The fastest qualifier will earn the pole for both the Daytona 500 and the first 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying race. The second fastest qualifier earns the outside pole for the Daytona 500 and will start on the pole for the second 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying race, held on Thursday, Feb. 17. Drivers qualifying in odd-number positions will compete in the first Gatorade Duel race while drivers that qualify in even-number positions duke it out in the second Gatorade Duel race. The top-14 finishers, not including the pole sitter in the first 150-mile qualifying race, will line up behind the Daytona 500 pole sitter; while the top-14 finishers, not including the outside pole sitter in the second 150-mile Gatorade Duel qualifying race, will line up behind the outside Daytona 500 pole sitter. The next eight Daytona 500 starting positions (31-38) are awarded to the drivers with the fastest speed after pole qualifying. The final five positions (39-43) are given to teams that are entitled to a provisional [supposedly no provisionals except a Champ Prov will be used in 2005, so it may end up as drivers with teams in the top 35 get places then buy speed].(DIS Site)(12-17-2004)

    • Labonte's buy a sports car for the Rolex 24 at Daytona...and more: hearing that Bobby and Terry Labonte bought themselves a Doran JE4 Daytona Prototype and will be running in the Feb. 5-6 Rolex 24 At Daytona and will additionally run two other races in the Rolex Series: the Thursday-night June 30 Paul Revere 250 at Daytona and at the Friday Aug. 12 Watkins Glen Cup race weekend. I'm hearing they MIGHT also run July 31 at Birmingham's Barber Motor Sports Park, which is a free date between Cup's Pocono and Brickyard dates. Their Pontiac-powered Doran JE4, built by Doran Designs, will be maintained by the car's constructor, Kevin Doran, through another company, Doran Racing. The Brothers Labonte have actually tried to get a Rolex 24 team together for the last two or three years. So it's something they've wanted to do but, for one of any of the myriad reasons that racing deals can fall apart, just weren't able to get an effort off the ground until this year.(12-17-2004)

    • Spotters Father to be Honored at Atlantic City Race: OpenWheelRacing.com founder, Len Calinoff, will be remembered by Rich “Toby” Tobias, Jr. during the upcoming Atlantic City Indoor Race. Calinoff, a former ARDC Midget driver, unexpectedly passed away on December 1. Tobias will be fielding two “house” cars for the Slingshot portion of the event. One of which will carry sponsorship from OpenWheelRacing.com, in memory of Len Calinoff. Lenny Boyd, a previous Atlantic City race winner and ARDC Champion, has been named as the driver. “It’s a fitting tribute to Mr. Calinoff. I never met him personally, but he has supported my (USAC) team and the Slingshot Division through his website”, stated Tobias. “He shared my passion for open wheel racing.” Boyd’s winnings will be donated to a charity yet to be determined.
      Len Calinoff’s love for racing has been passed to his son, Mike Calinoff. Mike is currently Matt Kenseth’s spotter on the Roush Racing/Dewalt Power Tools Nextel Cup Racing Team. Mike and OpenWheelRacing.com Editor, John LeVan, will continue OpenWheelRacing.com. Mike Calinoff also founded StockCarCity.com for “fendered racing” enthusiasts and recently assumed the role of C.E.O and Co-owner of TrackTime Driving Schools, Inc.
      The second Speedway Entertainment house car will be driven by ABC-TV Motorsports Commentator, Jack Arute. Arute will be sponsored by the National Fragile X Foundation. “Jack’s share of the purse will benefit the National Fragile X Foundation”, explained Tobias. “My son (Andrew) has Fragile X Syndrome and we are hoping to give the non-profit organization some additional exposure.” Information about Fragile X Syndrome can be found at www.fragilex.org.
      Racing is scheduled for January 21 and 22. The Slingshots will compete on Friday, with the “Dirty Dozen” twin twelve-lap preliminary races. Saturday’s Slingshot schedule will include the “Young Lions” Race (age 14 – 16), a semi, and the 20-lap Briggs & Stratton Power Products 20-lap feature.
      Tickets are available through Ticketmaster (at outlets, by phone or on the internet). Tickets will also be available with no service fee included at the Boardwalk Hall Box Office. General admission and select reserved tickets are available at the Area Auto Racing News office in Trenton, N.J. For more information call 609-888-3618 or visit www.aarn.com. Jayski will sadly miss the event for the first time since it restarted, but Dad, Uncle Bud and Jimmy Bailey will pick up the slack.(12-17-2004)

    • Gibbs announces own oil: on Dec 9th at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, Joe Gibbs Performance announced the introduction of Joe Gibbs Performance Brand Racing Oil, the same synthetic racing oil used by Joe Gibbs Racing and two time Champion engine builder Mark Cronquist. "Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil delivers un-compromised power, protection and performance for our race cars at every level of competition," said J.D. Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Over the past five years we have invested substantial resources in developing our own racing oil and now racers at every level can use the oil we use in all our race engines." Used in every Joe Gibbs Racing engine since 1999, Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil puts five years of R&D and championship proven performance in the hands of professional engine builders and local racers throughout the United States. "We looked for a product that could provide the wear protection we needed without sacrificing horsepower," said Mark Cronquist. "We were not pleased with the performance of the racing oils that were on the market, so we contracted a world leader in lubrication technology to custom blend synthetic oils to meet our extreme needs. We designed Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil to control valve train wear in our flat tappet Nextel Cup engines. Before we developed Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil, we were seeing wear in the valve train that kept us from being as aggressive as we wanted to be. Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil solved our valve train wear problems, and we've seen significant horsepower and torque gains when we've tested Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil against other race oils." Now, engine builders and racers across the United States can now use the same racing oil that Cronquist himself relies on to power Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart's NASCAR Nextel Cup race cars. Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil will be available for shipment in mid December and can be purchased direct from Joe Gibbs Racing or through CV Products. For more information or to place an order, visit www.joegibbsracingoil.com. Orders can also be placed by calling 866-611-1820 or contact CV Products.(JGR PR)(12-17-2004)

    • Stoddard named Said's crew chief:Frank Stoddard has joined MB/Sutton Motorsports as crew chief for the team's #36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet to be driven by Boris Said in a minimum of 10 races during the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. The newly-created team is part of the MB2 Motorsports umbrella. Stoddard, 36, has enjoyed success as a crew chief in NASCAR's premier division with a career record 14 wins, 64 top fives and 98 top 10s. He started his crew chief career in 1998 with the #99 Roush Racing team and driver Jeff Burton. After nearly five full seasons at Roush Racing, Stoddard became crew chief for the #22 team at Bill Davis Racing (BDR) in the fall of 2002. While at BDR he worked with drivers Ward Burton and Scott Wimmer. He ended his affiliation at BDR near at the end of the 2004 season.(MB/Sutton Motorsports PR)(12-17-2004)

    • Gibbs announces own oil: on Dec 9th at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, Joe Gibbs Performance announced the introduction of Joe Gibbs Performance Brand Racing Oil, the same synthetic racing oil used by Joe Gibbs Racing and two time Champion engine builder Mark Cronquist. "Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil delivers un-compromised power, protection and performance for our race cars at every level of competition," said J.D. Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Over the past five years we have invested substantial resources in developing our own racing oil and now racers at every level can use the oil we use in all our race engines." Used in every Joe Gibbs Racing engine since 1999, Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil puts five years of R&D and championship proven performance in the hands of professional engine builders and local racers throughout the United States. "We looked for a product that could provide the wear protection we needed without sacrificing horsepower," said Mark Cronquist. "We were not pleased with the performance of the racing oils that were on the market, so we contracted a world leader in lubrication technology to custom blend synthetic oils to meet our extreme needs. We designed Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil to control valve train wear in our flat tappet Nextel Cup engines. Before we developed Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil, we were seeing wear in the valve train that kept us from being as aggressive as we wanted to be. Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil solved our valve train wear problems, and we've seen significant horsepower and torque gains when we've tested Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil against other race oils." Now, engine builders and racers across the United States can now use the same racing oil that Cronquist himself relies on to power Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart's NASCAR Nextel Cup race cars. Joe Gibbs Performance Racing Oil will be available for shipment in mid December and can be purchased direct from Joe Gibbs Racing or through CV Products. For more information or to place an order, visit www.joegibbsracingoil.com. Orders can also be placed by calling 866-611-1820 or contact CV Products.(JGR PR)(12-17-2004)

    • Long's and McGlynn's 2005 plans: Carl Long's tentative 2005 season plans are as followed: Long once again will team up with Raynard McGlynn and McGlynn Racing to run an undefined number of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races in 2005. This year the duo will focus further on combining resources to strengthen both parties involved. Carl Long will be the primary driver for the mega-team, running the majority of the races. While Ryan McGlynn, son of team owner Raynard McGlynn, will run selected short track races on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit. A two-car team for some events is possible. The team will utilize Chevrolet Monte Carlos and Dodge Chargers under the numbers #00 and #46. Both McGlynn Racing and Carl Long Racing are in search for primary sponsorship. There are no plans to run the season opening race at Daytona. The team hopes to head out to California Speedway on February 27th to mark the Auto Club 500 as their season-opening race.(Carl Long site)(12-17-2004)

    • The Underbird to have a new home: Ownership of Alan Kulwicki's 1992 Ford Thunderbird racecar, known as the UNDERBIRD, has recently transferred from Larry & Pam Bean of Daytona Beach to the original founders of Hooters restaurants in Clearwater, FL. (www.originalhooters.com). The Beans had purchased the chassis from Geoff Bodine Racing in 1993, after Kulwicki's untimely death in a plane crash. They restored the racecar to its former glory, as authentic in every way to how it looked at the 1992 Atlanta 500 race when Alan clinched the 1992 Winston Cup Championship.
      Finding a permanent home for the UNDERBIRD, where it would be displayed in a way that honors Alan's championship spirit and which gives wide access to race fans, was the Beans' goal once the restoration project was completed. (www.underbird.com) This famous race car has been on display in museums in Daytona Beach, and most recently in Mooresville, North Carolina for race fans to enjoy and as a poignant reminder of Kulwicki's racing accomplishments.
      The new owners are constructing a Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas which will be open to the public sometime in late 2005. In its new setting, and with the greater resources available to the Hooters Casino Hotel, the UNDERBIRD will be the centerpiece of a spectacular interactive motor sports display. The UNDERBIRD will be a part of the tribute to Alan Kulwicki's racing career and his connection with Hooters' own successful history. These new owners have their hearts in the right place and they can ensure that the car will be preserved in its current state of restoration, so that a greater number of race fans will be able to enjoy it for many years to come.
      Fans on the East Coast are still able to see Alan's UNDERBIRD at the North Carolina Automobile Racing Hall of Fame (www.ncarhof.com) for a little while longer though. The UNDERBIRD is slated to move to its new home in Las Vegas in late 2005.(12-17-2004)

    • See the Bo-Dyn on Speed: NASCAR season is over but race fans can see USA Bobsled athletes competing in sleds designed by NASCAR veteran driver Geoff Bodine on Christmas Day at 3:00pm/et. It will be the first of 21 International Bobsleigh and Skeleton (FIBT) programs to air on SPEED Channel this winter and will also include coverage of the USA Women’s Bobsled team along with the USA Men and Women’s Skeleton teams. NASCAR driver Bodine created the Bo-Dyn project in 1992 when he saw USA Bobsledders competing in hand me down European equipment at the Albertville Olympic Games. He set out on a mission to build a “Made in America” USA Bobsled and enticed his long time friend and designer Bob Cuneo of Chasis Dynamics to construct a prototype. Together they created the Bo-Dyn project, combining Bodine and Dynamics. At the 1998 Games in Nagano, the USA was poised to win their first Olympc medal in Bobsledding since 1956, but Shimer missed a bronze by two hundredths of a second. At the 2002 Games, though, current USA1 pilot Todd Hays and Shimer made the podium, winning silver and bronze medals in the four-man competition. The USA drought at the Olympic Games had finally ended. Geoff Bodine was at the race and his “Made in America” dream had finally come to fruition. “It was a moment I will remember forever,” says Bodine. Now as the USA teams enters the season before the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, the Bo-Dyn project has rolled out a new sled and it has paid immediate dividends. At the first 4man race of the season Todd Hays and team had just 2 practice trips with their new Bo-Dyn and posted the fastest time in the second run and won the Gold medal beating Russia by the slimmest of margins, just a hundredths of a second.(Speed Channel)(12-17-2004)

    • Gaughan the epitome of class: You may think Brendan Gaughan has a reason to be bitter, but today on Rowdy - www.rowdy.com you can hear his comments on his departure from the 77 car-and he's nothing but class. Also on the show today: drivers Jason Leffler, Matt Kenseth, and Rusty Wallace. Plus former crew chief Barry Dodson discusses the shake up at DEI and whether Brendan may join him for a few races with RWI in the Busch Series in 2005. Last, but not least, get a jump on our Jeff Gordon weekend with a funny story from the 4-time champ. Rowdy is daily racing news, driver interviews, and commentary you get on your cell phone-like a daily racing radio show you can hear whenever you want. Call 1-800-95-ROWDY (1-800-957-6939) to sign up for a free trial-and while you're listening make sure you hit the # key and tell us what you think.(Rowdy PR)(12-17-2004)

      News and Rumors from December 16, 2004

    • Mooresville Police cars get a race look: The Mooresville [NC] Police Department rolled out six of its new patrol cars Tuesday, unveiling a new design that complements the community’s focus on motorsports. The new Ford Crown Victorias have a checkered flag pattern running the length of the cars, red, white and blue stripes along the side and a “Race City USA” decal next to the rear window. Police Chief John Crone said the new design helps promote Mooresville as “Race City USA,” shows patriotic colors, and has reflective decals, which are highly visible at night. “Visibility deters people from committing crimes,” he said. Crone said he plans to have 16 patrol cars and two Chevy Tahoes on the road within the next two weeks. He said it would take about three years for the entire department’s fleet of 45 vehicles to be replaced with new cars bearing the new design. Mayor Al Jones praised Crone for involving the entire police force in choosing a design. The final decision, Jones said, was the chief’s. “Crone did an excellent job, Jones said. “We came out with a very, very good car, something police officers and citizens can be proud of. It sets us apart just a little bit, and that’s good.”
      Wendy Shuping, executive director of the Mooresville Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, said the new cars could be an attraction for race fans to see when they visit the area. “It’s good that the people that protect the community reflect the community,” she said. “It is the race teams that make us the community we are.”
      Greg Nantz, of Mastersign Company of Mooresville, said the designing and modification phase of the new police cars took about 2 ˝ months. “I’m pleased,” he said. “They seem to be very sleek looking. It’s an attractive look.” The new patrol car design isn’t the first time Mooresville sought to incorporate motorsports into its police vehicles. Several years ago, a private company unsuccessfully tried to convince racing sponsors to buy space on patrol cars. Under that plan, the police cruisers would have closely resembled race cars. (Mooresville Tribune)(12-16-2004)

    • Dirt Driver out of rehab: 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 released from the Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation and is continuing physical therapy on an out-patient basis at a facility near his home in Liberty, Ohio. Weller, 19, suffered severe head trauma in the accident along with two cracked vertebrae which required surgery. "I am thrilled to be home in Ohio and reunited with my family and friends," said Weller, who is expected to continue undergoing physical therapy three times a week for at least two months. "He is doing great," said Weller's father, Jim Weller Jr. "If you walked into the room with him and didn't know he had the accident, I doubt if you would notice anything different about him. After reading his hospital report, his physical therapist here is amazed how well he is doing."(LMS PR)(12-16-2004)

    • ESPN and NASCAR? There's a real feeling that ESPN and ABC will go after the NASCAR TV contract that NBC and TNT have now, which ends in 2006. Fox's half of the contract has an option through 2008. ESPN especially was bitter when it lost NASCAR rights, but there are multiple signs that ESPN wants to be a player again in auto-racing broadcasting, NASCAR in particular. One sign? ESPN just signed a deal to host and sponsor the top unofficial NASCAR Web site, jayski.com.(in part from a story at Orlando Sentinel on the PRI show)(12-16-2004)

    • Bodine not back with Arnold? UPDATE: hearing that Todd Bodine will not return to the #50 Arnold Motorsports team OR the #30 Germain Motorsports Toyota truck team. Bodine is looking for a ride in the Cup, Busch or Truck series.(12-13-2004)
      UPDATE Bodine back in the mix? a 2nd truck team?: couldn't get any info out of the team myself about the situation, sources tell me that Bodine is now talking to Arnold since the above post....and found this update today:
      It looks as if Todd Bodine may have found a new home in NASCAR. The Chemung native is in line to compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on a full-time basis in 2005 with the Germain/Arnold Racing #30 Toyota, a member of the team said Wednesday. Bodine, 42, turned to the Truck Series for the first time since 1995 when he joined Germain/Arnold Racing in September. They proved to be a successful combination right out of the box, scoring a fourth-place finish in the Kroger 200 at Richmond International Raceway. He followed that with four more top-10 finishes, including two wins and a runner-up finish in 10 starts. Patty Markin, an office staff person [cool title] for the Concord, N.C.-based team, said its sister NASCAR Nextel Cup team Arnold Motorsports is also planning on having Bodine return to do a limited schedule next year in the #50 Dodge. "As it is right now, it looks like it's going to be a 10-race deal in the Cup series," said Markin, who hinted it could be more if sponsorship is found. Markin said the Cup team, currently run out of the same shop as the truck team, will move to a new shop just a block away. She said Bodine is in negotiations with both teams and that an announcement of a deal could come by the end of the month. "They've been talking numbers, but until it is in writing and the contracts are signed we aren't going to release any official statements," Markin said. Bodine could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
      The news from Markin comes in stark contrast to a rumor that appeared on the Web site www.jayski.com [OOPS] on Monday that said Bodine may be leaving one or both teams and that Toyota may not be back with the the Germain/Arnold truck team. "I think somebody just wants to cause havoc in the camp," Markin said. "Todd and (crew chief) Mike Hillman were just here in the shop (on Tuesday) and everything was fine and dandy. We are happy with Todd and Toyota is very happy with Hillman and the way we run our truck team." Markin said Toyota is expected to expand its commitment to the team's Truck Series effort by adding a second truck team for 2005. She said an announcement on the Toyota deal could come as soon as Monday. No driver has been selected for the proposed second team, but Markin said they've been inundated with inquiries from prospective drivers. "I've got everybody and their brother calling me, including Cup drivers that are out of rides," Markin said. Markin ruled out any chance of Geoffrey Bodine being considered for the potential open truck ride.(Elmira Star Gazette)(12-16-2004)

    • Kulwicki Movie Wraps Up: Filming has been completed on Dare to Dream: The Alan Kulwicki Story, but no release date has been announced. The movie is based on the life of Kulwicki, who won the 1992 NASCAR championship and died the following year in a plane crash.(Tennessean)(12-16-2004)

    • Testing Cold at Kentucky: Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte, Jason Leffler, Jeff Burton, Dave Blaney, Mike Bliss and Justin Labonte braved morning temperatures in the teens to gain a feel for their 2005 NEXTEL Cup Series race packages at Kentucky Speedway today. Former NEXTEL Cup Series Champions Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte worked with new Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Jason Leffler to test six 2005 cars. Bliss, who earned his full-time ride in the No. 0 NetZero Chevrolet for 2005 with a 10th-place finish in the car at Darlington Raceway last season, tested with new Crew Chief Robert "Bootie" Barker to prepare for his first run at the full NEXTEL Cup Series schedule since 2000. Bliss said the reduction in spoiler height made a difference when his car ran in traffic. Testing continues tomorrow at Kentucky Speedway when Roush Racing driver Greg Biffle joins the Gibbs teams.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(12-16-2004)

      News and Rumors from December 15, 2004

    • '3' does well in the TV Ratings: ESPN's original movie, "3", was a huge success delivering a 5.0 HH rating, a record for an ESPN original movie.
      * "3" was the highest rated ESPN movie among M18-34, M18-49, and M25-54.
      * "3" was the most-viewed cable program for the entire day among M18-34, M18-49 and M25-54.
      * From 9pm-11pm on Saturday, "3" was the most-viewed program on television among M18-34, M18-49, and M25-54.
      * "3" was the second highest rated movie on ad-supported cable this year, only behind "Librarian" which delivered a 5.1 HH rating on TNT (12/5).
      With the exception of the NFL, it is a special feat for an ESPN program to deliver a 5.0 rating. This is ESPN's highest rated EOE program and puts it in an elite class. Programs like the MLB Divisional Playoffs and premiere bowl games achieve this level of performance.(ESPN PR)(12-15-2004)
      AND Saturday's presentation of ESPN's fourth original made-for-television movie, "3", was the network's highest-rated movie ever, seen in an average of more than four million households, based on a rating of 5.0, according to the official data released today by Nielsen Media Research. The two-hour portrayal of the late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt was the second-highest rated movie of 2004 on ad-supported cable. It posted ESPN's highest movie rating ever among all key male demographics (M18-34, M18-49 and M25-54). In addition, "3" was the most-viewed program on all of TV from 9-11 p.m. that day among men 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. "We at ESPN know well the passion of NASCAR fans, and their approval of '3' is the most gratifying endorsement we could receive," said Mark Shapiro, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production. "3," presented by Kay Jewelers, an ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) production, stars Barry Pepper ("We Were Soldiers", "Saving Private Ryan", "61*") as NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. Spanning from the red dirt tracks of his native Kannapolis, North Carolina to the NASCAR speedways where he won nationwide acclaim and the devotion of millions of fans, "3" tells "The Intimidator's" incredible life story. Available today on DVD, ESPN Original Entertainment and Buena Vista Home Entertainment present "3." Packed with five hours of exclusive bonus footage and interviews from the ESPN archives, this two-disc Collector's Edition DVD is the ultimate account of racing's legendary hero. Suggested retail price is $29.99.(Sports Business News)(12-15-2004)
      Buy "3" the Book
      Buy "3" the DVD.
      RE-AIR dates/times: listed on my TV Listings page

    • Jar for Stewart's pilot stolen: When the wait staff at Anapa's Country House learned that one of their favorite customers, an Army reservist, was killed in a plane crash in October, they decided to put out a collection jug to raise money for the man's wife and three teenage children. However, the good deed was ruined this week when a thief took off with the jug and the hundreds of dollars in it. According to Patricia Napa, co-owner of the restaurant on South Pemberton Road, someone stole the collection jug Tuesday morning between 7:30 and 8, shortly after the restaurant opened. The jug had been sitting by the cash register for weeks after the wait staff learned Scott Lathram, 38, an Apache helicopter pilot with the Army Reserve, had been killed in an airplane crash in late October. Lathram, along with other soldiers, had eaten at Anapa's almost every night for weeks this fall while stationed at Fort Dix and had befriended the wait staff. The wait staff originally collected about $110 in change in the jug, which they sent to the family in Kentucky about a month ago. Over the past few weeks, the jug had been refilled and contained several ten and twenty-dollar bills and a lot of change. Napa said police were never contacted about the theft because they felt, with no suspects, there was little police could do to solve the crime. In civilian life, Lathram was the helicopter pilot for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Tony Stewart. Lathram was killed Oct. 24 when an airplane in which he was a passenger crashed into a foggy mountainside in Virginia. The plane, owned by Hendrick Motorsports, was carrying 10 people to the NASCAR Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Stewart was not aboard. Another collection jug for Lathram's family would be set up at the restaurant in a matter of days. A trust fund has been set up for Lathram's wife, Tracey, and their three children. Contributions can be sent to Scott Lathram Memorial Fund, c/o Heritage Bank, P.O. Box 525, Benton, KY, 42025.(Burlington County Times)(12-15-2004)

    • Labbe turned down #8 crew chief gig: Richard "Slugger" Labbe told Sirius Speedway - Sirius Satellite Radio/MRN Radio host Dave Moody (Sirius Satellite Radio/MRN) that he was offered the crew chief position with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s Budweiser Chevrolet Team, but turned it down. "They offered me five or six different things, including the crewchief job on the 8 car," he said. "But I didn't like some of the things that were happening there. I've been in this business for 18 years, and I'm in it because I love it. I want to go to work, have fun and be challenged. I didn't see myself being happy in any of the jobs they offered me."(Sirius Speedway - Sirius Satellite Radio/MRN Radio)(12-15-2004)

    • Kerry's response to "3": In an interview with Brandon Mudd and Tony Hubert from The SpeedZone on 590 The Fan, KFNS, in St. Louis (www.kfns.com), Kerry Earnhardt said he watched about 20 minutes of the movie "3," the ESPN-produced bio pic on the life of his father, Dale Earnhardt. Kerry said he was disappointed with the way the movie portrayed his father and said most of the scenes he saw were factually inaccurate. "Maybe if you're a race fan who doesn't know much about the history of the sport or know much about my dad, they would like it. My dad, and anyone who knew him knows this, was a very happy man and loved to play jokes on people and have a good time. He wasn't the person the movie said he was. And there were a lot of things in that movie that didn't happen or didn't happen the way (the movie depicted it)." Earnhardt went on to say he was never personally contacted by the movie's producers and said that if ESPN would have contacted him or other members of the Earnhardt family, then perhaps the movie would have been more true to life.(KFNS.com)(12-15-2004)

    • #4 ride? UPDATE: hearing the #4 Morgan McClure team will run in 2005, unsure if full-time, supposedly the driver is choice is between Mike Wallace and Ward Burton. No word on a sponsor, but supposedly Lucas Oil will be back in some capacity.(12-13-2004)
      UPDATE: hearing that the #4 will not go to Daytona for the Daytona 500 unless a sponsor is secured and at this time, the team has no sponsors.(12-15-2004)

      News and Rumors from December 14, 2004

    • Davis shuts down Busch team; Dodge lawsuit update: Bill Davis Racing has shut down the #23 Busch Series [the article incorrectly refers to the series as Grand National, which it hasn't been since 2002] team in the wake of driver Kenny Wallace leaving and taking sponsor Stacker2 with him. Wallace is expected to become the new driver at ppc Racing. The plate includes one full-time effort in the Cup series with the #22 Dodges driven by Scott Wimmer, a possible part-time effort with the #Dodges in the Cup series, and three full-time Toyota entries driven by #22-Bill Lester, #5-Mike Skinner and #23-Johnny Benson in the NASCAR truck series. Wile said fielding the #23 team in the Cup series is dependent on sponsorship and it is unlikely Davis would do it out of his pocket as he did this year. Davis' plate also includes fighting an on-going legal action brought by Dodge parent Daimler-Chrysler in May of 2003. The case, once set for trial next Monday, is now scheduled to be heard in federal district court in Detroit beginning May 3. A pre-trial conference is scheduled April 26. The delay, according to court documents, was granted because both sides had trouble getting depositions during the racing season. Daimler-Chrysler alleges Davis violated his contract for Dodge factory support for his Cup teams by aiding a competitor when he helped Toyota with development work as it prepared for entry into the truck series this year. Daimler-Chrysler is asking that Davis return over $1 million dollars in factory support for the balance of 2003 after the lawsuit was filed. Daimler-Chrysler terminated its contract with Davis when it filed the suit. Davis filed a counter-suit in late June 2003 claiming Daimler-Chrysler had no grounds to terminate the contract because Toyota is not a competitor of Dodge in the Cup series. Wallace replaces Jason Keller at ppc Racing, which won the 2000 Busch Series title with Jeff Green. Wallace joined Davis when he brought Stacker2 as sponsor of the #23 Cup team in 2003. He dropped down to replace Wimmer in the Busch Series car this year when Stacker2 decreased its sponsorship. Wallace finished this season ninth in points with no top-five finishes. Davis leaves the Busch Series tour after fielding a team for the past seven years and a total of 12 seasons since beginning his operation with Mark Martin in 1988. Davis' drivers won a total of 11 Busch Series races. Wimmer won five times, and Martin and Gordon won three times each. Wimmer produced Davis best Busch Series season with four wins and a third-place in points in 2002. He added another victory in 2003. Martin had single victories in selected races in 1988, 1989 and 1990. He was replaced in 1991 by Gordon, who won three times in 1992. Davis moved to the Cup level the next season and disbanded the Busch Series team until reviving it in 1998.(High Point Enterprise)(12-14-2004)

    • Slugger leaves DEI UPDATE 2 #19 Crew Chief: Richard "Slugger" Labbe -- who served as #15-Michael Waltrip's crew chief earlier this season and also worked with Earnhardt Jr. Truex's teams, has left DEI and joined Evernham Motorsports. Evernham officials confirmed Labbe has been named director of speedway development, over Evernham's #9 and #19 Dodges, driven by Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield, respectively.(ThatsRacin.com)(12-1-2004)
      UPDATE: Richard "Slugger" Labbe, former crew chief for Michael Waltrip at DEI, has been hired to oversee Evernham Motorsports' speedway development program for drivers Kasey Kahne's and Jeremy Mayfield's restrictor-plate efforts. Labbe has already started work in Evernham's Statesville, N.C., shop in preparation for the 2005 season, which opens with the Daytona 500 -- a restrictor-plate race.(NASCAR.com)(12-4-2004)
      UPDATE 2: Effective immediately, Richard "Slugger" Labbe, who joined Evernham Motorsports to lead Speedway Development, adds responsibilities as Crew Chief for the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge race team with driver Jeremy Mayfield. Kenny Francis remains Team Director for the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, focusing on engineering and technological innovation for the team. In a related move, Josh Browne, Race Engineer for the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge, was promoted to Director of Vehicle Dynamics for Evernham Motorsports.(Evernham Motorsports/ClearBlue PR)(12-14-2004)

    • Andrews leaves RCR UPDATE: hearing that #31 Crew Chief Chris Andrews has left Richard Childress Racing.(12-1-2004)
      UPDATE: hearing Andrews is now at Evernham Motorsports and will serve as the crew chief for Bill Elliott in the #91 Dodge.(12-3-2004)
      UPDATE 2: Effective today, Chris Andrews joins Evernham Motorsports as Team Director [crew chief] of the #91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge team. Andrews brings a wealth of experience to the position and will work with veteran driver Bill Elliott in 2005. Sammy Johns, who had served as interim Team Director for the #91 Dodge team, remains Director of Competition at Evernham Motorsports.(Evernham Motorsports/ClearBlue PR)(12-14-2004)

    • Mario on A&E: There's never been a race driver [actually Richard Petty was] on A&E's popular Biography series but that's all going to change Wednesday. Mario Andretti's amazing life has been documented by award-winning producer Adam Friedman and is debuting at 10:00am/et and 4:00pm/et on Wednesday. It will be shown later this month at night in the standard time slot.(Speed Channel)(12-14-2004)

    • Testing at Kentucky: quite a few Nextel Cup teams are scheduled to test at the Ketucky Speedway from Dec 15th thru 17th.Fans are able to view testing from the area outside the speedway Fan Center in Turn 3 at no charge. Scheduled Teams and Drivers:
      #11-Jason Leffler, Dec 15-16
      #18-Bobby Labonte, Dec 15-16
      #20-Tony Stewart, Dec 15-16
      #91-Bill Elliott, Dec 15th
      #9-Kasey Kahne, Dec 15th
      #19-Jeremy Mayfield, Dec 15th
      #31-Jeff Burton, Dec 15th
      #0-Mike Bliss / Justin Labonte, Dec 15th
      #14-John Andretti, Dec 15th
      #16-Greg Biffle. Dec 16-17
      (Kentucky Speedway PR)(12-14-2004)

    • The King to serve as judge for Christmas essay contest: The Victory Junction Gang Camp, which provides year-round camp sessions for children aged 7-15 with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, announced that co-founder Richard Petty will serve as a national essay contest judge this Christmas. The "Help Santa Find the Perfect Real Tree" contest is sponsored by the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) and asks children ages 6-16 to send a photo of their family or loved ones next to their fresh, farm-grown Christmas Tree and write a short essay on why the tree is special or "perfect" to them. Contest prizes include all-expense paid trips for four and $5,000-$10,000 scholarships.
      Contest deadline is January 1, 2005. For complete contest entry information, please visit NCTA's website, www.realchristmastrees.org. As part of the cooperative effort, NCTA has arranged for one of its members, Hudler's Carolina Tree Farm, to have 300 fresh Christmas Trees delivered and available for the campers who will attend the Victory Junction Holiday Party. The National Christmas Tree Association strives to be one voice representing Christmas Tree Professionals and promoting the proper use of Real Christmas Trees.(Victory Junction Gang PR)(12-14-2004)

    • Ford Racing to sponsor AARWBA: Ford Racing has become an official sponsor of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2005. AARWBA is the country’s oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals. Several special activities are planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary, starting with the 35th annual All-America Team dinner, Jan. 15, in Pomona, Calif. Information on tickets for media, sponsors and the general public is available from the AARWBA website. The headline event of the 50th Anniversary Celebration will be selection of the Newsmaker of the Half-Century by AARWBA members. The 12 nominees, chosen by the AARWBA Board of Directors from an original list of 50 names, will be announced at the All-America Team dinner.(Ford Racing Site)(12-14-2004)

    • Congrats: The wedding of Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson and model Chandra Lynn Janway was announced in Sunday's Charlotte Observer. The ceremony was Saturday at St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church in Gustavia on the island of St. Barthelemy in the French West Indes.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-14-2004)

    • Petty Running on Sunday UPDATE Results...no Petty: Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge, is entered in Sunday's Gulf Beaches Halfathon [half-marathon] in Clearwater, FL, aiming for a time in the 1:45 to 1:55 range. "I'm running it as a training run for the Jan. 30 Las Vegas Marathon where Michael Waltrip has pledged a million dollars in support of the Victory Junction Gang Camp," said Petty of the camp for children with chronic illnesses in North Carolina. "Naturally, I should run 26.2 miles to support Michael." Race director Chris Lauber has assigned the 44-year-old Petty #45, his race car number.(St Petersburg Times), more info on the halfmarathon at: www.floridahalf.com.(12-11-2004)
      mini-update: Prerace favorite Keith Sawayda and last-minute entry Vicki Jetton won the Gulf Beaches Halfathon Sunday. Sawayda took the early lead from Jeremy Rogers of London and built on it, winning by more than four minutes. The 41-year-old from Clearwater ran a 5-minute, 45-second first mile, then maintained that pace, winning in 1:15:41. Race director Chris Lauber was pleased with the final registration figure of 804, though only 673 started the race from Madeira Beach to Taylor Park despite ideal running conditions, temperature in the high 40s and low humidity, at 7 a.m. NASCAR's Kyle Petty was registered but did not pick up his bib, No.45.(St Petersburg Times)(12-14-2004)

      News and Rumors from December 13, 2004

    • Bestwick and Weber switch? UPDATE 2 YEP: hearing that NBC play-by-play broadcaster, Allen Bestwick will switch spots with War-Wagon Pre-race host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber in 2005 for the NBC/TNT televised races. Bestwick would act as a host and handle the War-Wagon and interviews and Weber would handle the play-by-play/anchor of the race. Weber subbed for an injured Bestwick at Kansas and Talladega, when Bestwick broke his leg. No idea if Bestwick would handle pit road reporting, of if NBC/TNT would hire a 4th person or just go with three as they did when Bestwick was out.(12-2-2004)
      UPDATE: being told by a few TV sources that this is true and will happen.(12-6-2004)
      UPDATE 2: NASCAR on NBC announces Bill Weber and Allen Bestwick will switch roles next season, with Weber serving as the lead anchor in the both and Bestwick hosting the pre-race show.(NASCAR Scene)(12-13-2004)

    • Gordon stays in a Chevy with #7: Robby Gordon will race the #7 Chevrolet in Nextel Cup next season with support from Fruit of the Loom, Harrah's and Menards. Engineer Bob Temple will serve as crew chief, and IRL owner John Menard will provide the engines. Gordon will participate in the second Daytona test session when he returns from Senegal after the Dakar rally, which starts December 31 in Barcelona.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(12-13-2004)

    • Condolences to PRN's Steve Richards on the death of his grandfather last week.(12-13-2004)

    • Wallace wins Snow Ball Derby: Steve Wallace survived an accident-marred race and a series of challenges from 2004 ASA Champion, Kevin Cywinski, this evening to claim victory in the 37th annual running of the Snowball Derby, the crown jewel of southern short track racing. The 17 year-old Wallace started from the third position and first took the lead on lap five of the 300-lap event. Despite challenges from Cywinski and run-ins with several lapped cars, Wallace was able to persevere and capture victory. The win in tonight's event was the first for the Wallace family. Wallace's father, NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace, was never able to find his way into Pensacola's victory lane, despite a series of runner up finishes in the all-star event. The younger Wallace's uncle, Kenny, made several unsuccessful starts in the event as well.(RWI PR) more info at snowballderby and trpr.com or at stevewallaceracing.com.(12-13-2004)

    • So What Happens to Gaughan? UPDATE 3: a few rumors have been floating:
      Gaughan supposedly talked to the #0 Haas-CNC team, but hearing Mike Bliss will end up in the car.
      Gaughan could go back to the Truck Series as a teammate to Steve Park for the team owned by hi father, Park is signed thru 2005 in the #62 truck.
      And one that is a tad 'out there' is Gaughan teaming up with Robby Gordon and Jim Smith [kiss my what?], but not sure if it would a full time deal, Truck team, run in Gordon's Busch car or a 2nd Cup team.(12-9-2004)
      UPDATE: hearing that Gaughan will drive the #77 Jasper Penske Dodge Truck with Jasper Engines as the sponsor in the Truck Series?(12-10-2004)
      UPDATE 2: Brendan Gaughan tells Sirius Speedway (Sirius Satellite Radio) that he will run a heavy schedule of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events next season, after being released by Penske-Jasper Racing earlier in the week. “Steve Park will run the full season in the #62 Orleans Dodge, and I will be in a second truck – the #61 – in a bunch of truck races, maybe even the full schedule. Rusty Wallace has also asked me to run his Busch car in a handful of races that Jeremy (Mayfield) and Jamie (McMurray) don’t run. That’s not official yet, but the offer is there.” Gaughan said he is relieved to have his future decided, adding, “The decision was more theirs than mine. It’s their team, and if they didn’t want me there, I didn’t want to be there. I’m happy to be where I am now. I beat Brian Vickers in the Rookie of the Year chase this season, but you never heard anything about him being replaced. There were no rumblings coming out of Hendrick Motorsports. You need to know you have the support of your team.” Gaughan said he expects to make major sponsor announcements for both himself and Park within the next 2-3 weeks.(12-11-2004)
      UPDATE 3: Steve Park will return to the No. 62 Orleans Dodge full time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2005, Orleans Racing officials confirmed Dec. 13. The team also announced that Brendan Gaughan will drive a second Dodge fielded by Orleans Racing in at least the 16 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events that are companion races to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events. More details will be released at a later date.(Orleans Racing site/PR)(12-13-2004)

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