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    DEC 20-26, 2004

      News and Rumors from December 26, 2004

    • Electronic Timing for Pit Road in 2005? Instead of [NASCAR] Mike Helton & Company using a stopwatch to determine if a driver is speeding on pit road, NASCAR is finally joining the 20th century in 2005. Electronic scoring sensors will be installed at all NASCAR tracks for '05 which should eliminate any doubts or "favoritism" from this equation.(Speed Channel)(12-26-2004)

    • IRL to follow NASCAR? In the wake of several incidents in the pits last year, the Indy Racing League is seriously considering only allowing two tire changers, instead of four, over the wall in 2005. IRL tire changers and fuelers were endangered species in 2004 and IRL boss Brian Barnhart may follow NASCAR's lead and go with two men changing all four tires. Besides putting two less people over the wall, this tactic could eliminate the fuelers being hit since it only takes approximately eight seconds to fuel the cars and it would take at least twice that time frame to change four tires.(Speed Channel)(12-26-2004)

    • Truex Jr. and France to be honored: NASCAR Busch Series Champion Martin Truex, Jr. dominated the action in 2004 and for that he has earned the Al Holbert Memorial Eastern Motorsport Press Association [EMPA] Driver of the Year honors. The Mayetta, NJ second generation racer, who gained much of his experience at Northeastern speedways, will receive his award during the 33rd Annual Eastern Motorsport Press Association Convention at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA. The three day convention, which will attract more than 125 media that cover the sport on a regular basis plus a variety of key figures in the sport, opens on Friday, January 21st and continues through Sunday, January 23rd. Another driver that dominated the competition in 2004 was Fred Rahmer. The veteran sprint car racer earned 34 sprint car racing victories and earned championships at Williams Grove, Lincoln, Susquehanna and Selinsgrove Speedways along with the Thunder on the Hill and Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speed Week Series titles. Rahmer, who will be returning from racing in Australia, will accept the Richie Evans Memorial EMPA Northeast Driver of the Year award. This will be the second such award for Rahmer.
      The T.Wayne Robertson Memorial EMPA Newsmaker of the Year Award will be presented to NASCAR CEO Brian France who established his authority and plotted a bold new course for the country's premier sanctioning organization.
      Junie Donlavey will present his "Spirit" Award to "low buck" racer Butch Tittle. The veteran driver has competed successfully in the dirt modified events throughout the area but has been able to do it while operating on a low budget. He has won more than 80 feature victories and seven track titles. The late Chuck Lamb will be honored for his outstanding efforts with his PhillyRacing.com website and Todd and Rhonda Fisher will receive a special President's Award for his outstanding promotional efforts at Susquehanna Speedway Park.
      The 33rd Annual EMPA Convention will include presentations to the media by NHRA, IRL, NASCAR, Pocono Raceway, Richmond International Raceway, Dover International, United Racing Club, ARDC and others.(EMPA PR)(12-26-2004)

    • Victory Junction Gang Camp Accepts Donation from Sara Lee Corporation: 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 $10,000 from the Sara Lee Corporation. The donation will sponsor camperships for children from the Triad attending camp in Summer 2005. Of the over 500 campers served in 2004, Victory Junction served fifty-six children from the Triad area. The Victory Junction Gang Camp charges no fees to parents and children to attend camp. The Sara Lee Corporation will make it possible for six children to experience what it is to laugh, play and explore the full range of fun and pleasure that "healthy" kids might experience at camp. "We are so grateful for the Sara Lee Corporation's generosity to Victory Junction," says co-founder Pattie Petty. "With their support, more children will be able to experience the magic of camp!"(Victory Junction Gang Camp site/pr)(12-26-2004)

      News and Rumors from December 25, 2004

    • Martin to run retro schemes in 2005: #6-Mark Martin, running his final Cup season in 2005, will run some retro schemes in 2005, the 'Folgers red' at Michigan in June, the 'Strohs blue' at Las Vegas and 'Valvoline colors' at the 2nd California race, all with Viagra as the sponsor, and also a Kraft scheme at the 2005 Budweiser Shootout, see the schemes on my #6 Team Paint Schemes page.(12-25-2004)

    • Todd Bodine has truck ride: While Todd Bodine won't be back with the [#30 with Chad Chaffin] Germain/Arnold Racing Craftsman Truck Series team next year, he will return to the series in a Toyota with a different team. "He's got a Toyota truck deal," Geoffrey Bodine, Todd's older brother, said Wednesday. "So, he's happy." Todd joined the newly formed Germain/Arnold team in September and won back-to back races, but Geoffrey said his brother couldn't come to an agreement with them for 2005. "He tried to make it work with them, but they just wouldn't do the things that he thought needed to be done, so he's doing something else," Geoffrey said. Germain/Arnold Racing announced Monday it has signed Chad Chaffin to drive the #30 truck that Bodine drove so successfully this year. Todd Bodine could not be reached for comment Wednesday. "Toyota wants him. He's their No. 1 driver right now," Geoffrey said. Geoffrey didn't want Todd's new team [Fiddleback?] to be made public until an official announcement. He did say the team has competed in the Truck Series and will be rebuilding its operation to run the Toyota. Toyota, a big player in many forms of motorsports around the world, entered NASCAR's Truck Series for the first time in 2004.(Elmira Star Gazette)(12-25-2004)

    • Geoffrey's trip cancelled; on TV...and possible Cup ride? Geoffrey Bodine was disappointed to learn his planned visit to Iraq in January was canceled Wednesday, one day after an explosion in a mess tent at an American military base near Mosul killed 22 people. The Armed Forces Entertainment Group appearance was set to be part of a busy holiday schedule for the Chemung native, who is also trying to line up a ride in NASCAR's Nextel Cup series in 2005. Bodine and five other celebrities were scheduled to tour Kuwait, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates from Jan. 4 to 14. He said he was informed of the cancellation from a member of the Armed Forces Entertainment group Wednesday morning. "We're still on the list to do it again," Bodine said. "When things get better over there, we'll go."
      On Christmas Day, Bodine will appear on Speed Channel's coverage of the 2004-05 U.S. Bobsled team's world cup competition coverage. Through his fund-raising efforts, Bodine has played an integral part in the success of the American bobsled team, which uses Bo-Dyn sleds, designed and built in Connecticut by longtime friend Bob Cuneo. Bodine said the new sled incorporates a different design frame to let the athletes climb in with less difficulty, plus it features a new aerodynamic outer body. Speed Channel will show taped coverage at 3:00pm/et. Saturday of the men's second World Cup win Dec. 5 in Altenberg, Germany. Bodine will be featured in lead-in segments throughout Speed Channel's winter bobsledding coverage. Among the segments will be comparisons between Bobsledding and NASCAR.
      As for his driving plans, Bodine said he has a few Nextel Cup deals in the works. "We're working on some things, but nothing is definite," he said. "I'm cautiously optimistic about anything happening. We're going to know something right after the first of the year." Bodine said he's talking to new groups of people, with better deals than the two teams he ran with on a part-time basis in 2004. "One team wants to race full time and then there are a couple of other potential deals that might be a little part time," he said..(Elmira Star Gazette)(12-25-2004)

      News and Rumors from December 24, 2004

    • New Isaac Website: The Bobby Isaac Motorsports Program has formally launched its new website: www.bobbyisaacmotorsports.com. The website provides information, class schedules, and enrollment details for Catawba Valley Community College's highly-respected continuing education program, which prepares students for careers in the motorsports industry.(12-24-2004)

    • RJ Motorsports and Lepage plans for 2005: #37 RJ Motorsports and driver Kevin Lepage are keeping busy and maintaining their focus on the 2005 Nascar Nextel Cup Series. Based in Huntersville, NC the #37 team hosts driver Kevin Lepage who has two Nascar Busch Series victories and one career Nextel Cup pole. "After the end of the past season and after having strong qualifying efforts in the last eight races, I feel like we can be a top ten, top fifteen race team in 2005 with the support of Billy and the crew surrounding him, along with Dodge's support and our strong engine program by Ernie Elliott." The crew chief, Billy Poindexter, with his amassed knowledge of the cars and the series, leads the efforts of this race team and provides the vision to win races and be competitive. "We have talented, dedicated guys on the crew and with all rule changes in 2005 I feel it will be an interesting year and with Kevin's experience we have an advantage using his knowledge and using his finesse on the track to win races." With a total of eight Dodge racecars, all in different stages of production, the shop is full of activity as the team makes preparations for the Daytona 500 in February. An aggressive effort is in place and a full season competing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series is anticipated, along with the needed support of a primary sponsor and or individual race sponsor. Full scale marketing opportunities and tailored exclusive programs are available.(RJ Motorsports PR)(12-24-2004)

    • Ward Burton, USSA team to make dreams a reality: A.J. Benson and Jordy Kudrna got quite an early Christmas present this week. The two teen-age boys spent three days hunting with Ward Burton as part of a joint effort between the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation and the United Special Sportsman Alliance. The USSA is a Chistian non-profit agency that is sort of a Make-A-Wish for outdoorsmen. A.J., 16, and Jordy, 13, are battling cancer, and the USSA hoped to provide the two boys an outdoors adventure of their dreams. The Outdoor Channel was there to film much of the activity, which will be shown on their Outdoor World program.(See full story at NASCAR.com)(12-24-2004)

    • Dewalt Crowns Pit Crew Champions: DEWALT, a leading manufacturer of power tools, recently announced the results of its 1st annual Pit Crew Challenge Championship, Wayne Laliberte from San Jose, California and his son, Tommy Laliberte from San Jose, California, took a page from the Tortoise and Hair fable to successfully change the front and rear tires on a modified DEWALT racecar to beat their competitors Brian Timmins and Tim Christ both from Millersvale, PA, with a time of 26.29 second and 10 tight lug nuts. Timmons and Christ posted a 21.00 second time, but one of the 10 lugnuts was not tightend to the required minimum of 20 foot pounds of torque. The Laliberte team each took home a $55,000 Roush Stage 3 Mustang, $2,000 in DEWALT tools and a trip to the 2005 Daytona 500 in yesterday's competition.
      The nine teams were chosen from previous Pit Crew competitions held at eight locations across the country, begining in August 2004. Contestants signed up to compete in the challenge at the DEWALT Rolling Thunder trackside display. Teams of two raced to change the front and rear tires on a modified DEWALT racecar using a DEWALT Heavy-Duty ½" 18V Cordless Impact Wrench (DW059K-2). The team that completed the event in the fastest time with 10 tight lug nuts at each location was declared the Preliminary Event Winner of that competition. Each preliminary event winning team member received an 18V Cordless XRP 4 Tool Combination Kit (DC4KITA), a 18V Cordless Impact Wrench (DW059K-2), a DEWALT Protective Gear package (valued at $75) and a $100 DEWALT Footwear voucher.
      On Sunday, prior to the last race in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Chase for the Championship, the Lalibertes took the DEWALT Pit Crew Challenge for one last time. This time they competed against two of the best in the business, Justin Nottestad, front tire changer for the #17 DEWALT Racing team, and Jeremy West, rear tire changer for the #17 DEWALT Racing team. While they gave it their best shot, it's safe to say that the team of Nottstead and West have had a fair share of experience when it comes to performing under pressure. With a winning time of 23.76 seconds, Nottestad and West won $25,000 in DEWALT tools for their teammates back at the #17 team garage.(Dewalt PR)(12-24-2004)

      News and Rumors from December 23, 2004

    • Racing museum in Winston-Salem to honor Reynolds/Winston: Another stock-car racing museum is moving closer to reality. This one, to be located in Winston-Salem [NC], will chronicle R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s 33-year Winston cigarette sponsorship of NASCAR's premier series. The run ended at the end of 2003 when Reynolds withdrew and was replaced by Nextel. The museum is the undertaking of Winston-Salem businessman Will Spencer, whose company produced show cars, banners and other Winston Cup promotional material for RJR and now is doing the same for Cup sponsor Nextel. Spencer has been working on the project for two years. He originally hoped to have the museum open this year but is now shooting for a debut in May just before the all-star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The museum is to be housed in a 12,000-square foot building that Spencer said he bought from the city of Winston-Salem and originally housed an auto dealership. Displays will feature 24 cars from among a collection Spencer acquired while producing show cars for Reynolds and race teams. In addition to Winston show cars, the collection includes one Dale Earnhardt car from Richard Childress Racing, cars driven by Michael Waltrip for the Wood Brothers, one car driven by Darrell Waltrip, Camel and Winston sponsored cars driven by Jimmy Spencer and the car driven by Matt Kenseth on his victory lap after winning the 2003 championship. One wall will be covered by a mural 250-feet long by 50-feet high that recounts the history of Winston's involvement in the sport. Also displayed will be banners and other Winston Cup materials, a tribute to Winston Cup champions and driver's uniforms. A glimpse at the collection will be offered when Spencer puts 15 of the cars on display at the Fitness 500, a fitness competition and autograph session featuring Cup drivers Jan. 8 at the Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem.(High Point Enterprise)(12-23-2004)

    • MB2/MBV Motorsports to move? hearing that the MB2 Motorsports #01 U.S. Army and MBV Motorsports #10 Valvoline teams [and #36 tean of Boris Said] will move the team from their Concord, NC shop to Mooresville, NC in the Eaton building on Rt 115. Per the Mooresville Tribune, the Mooresville Commission voted to extend an economic grant for $16,512 a year for five years to Team Property Partners LLC, a race team relocating from Concord to the Eaton Corp. building on NC 115 in Mooresville.(12-23-2004)

    • Harvick and Schrader to run Copper Classic: The Copper World Classic will make its triumphant return as the nation's best four-races-in-one day event, and the first 'major' race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway January 29-30, 2005. The NASCAR Grand National, West Series and NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series events will not only be the first race of the season for NASCAR fans, but it will also feature some of the most skilled drivers from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the INDY Racing League. Racing from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will be Ken Schrader and Kevin Harvick, while former Indy Racing League standout Sarah Fisher, is expected to be in the starting lineup for the West series race. Other NEXTEL Cup or Busch Series drivers could join the field in the weeks ahead.(FoxSports)(12-23-2004)

      News and Rumors from December 22, 2004

    • NASCAR has final say in Cup name: NASCAR has a right to approve any name change for its top series that might result from a merger between Nextel and Sprint, and the 10-year deal Nextel signed also limits the number of times such a change could happen, a senior Nextel official said Tuesday. Mark Schweitzer, senior vice president of marketing for Nextel and one of the architects of the deal that changed the name of the top series to Nextel Cup, said "veto" would be "too strong of a word" to describe NASCAR's ability to stop another change. "There have to be reasonable reasons for us to request a change and the same for them not to agree," Schweitzer said. "But it would be hard for me to imagine a circumstance where we could not all get comfortable." Schweitzer reiterated that nothing will change for 2005. Approval of the "merger of equals" between Nextel and Sprint is expected to take several months, and until that process is complete, he said, no discussions about marketing and branding decisions will be held. "While the deal anticipated that the name might need to change, there is a restriction on the number of times and on NASCAR's flexibility in doing so," Schweitzer said. "As we look at what the right thing to do for 2006 and beyond, it will come after research with the fans and in the garage."(ThatsRacin.com)(12-22-2004)

    • Bliss tests at Lakeland: hearing Mike Bliss tested the #0 NetZero Chevy at Lakeland, FL on Tuesday.(12-22-2004)

    • Rusty to run Busch race at Gateway: Gateway International Raceway announced that St. Louis native Rusty Wallace [#64 Dodge] would be driving in their annual NASCAR Busch Series event on Saturday night, July 30, 2005. Rusty will join brothers Kenny and Mike as the track will salute the First Family of racing in St. Louis and will dedicate the name of the event to the “Wallace Family Tribute 250”. It marks the first time ever that Rusty will drive in a major NASCAR event in his hometown and is part of the “Rusty’s Last Call” farewell tour. For his farewell tour Rusty decided to return home and run his first race ever at Gateway International Raceway. “This is going to be a monumental event and I couldn’t think of a better place to do it,” stated Rusty Wallace. “I haven’t driven in the St. Louis area since the late 1970’s. It’s going to be an exciting homecoming for me and I know many of my friends will be there.” When Rusty returns to Gateway he will be running against some familiar faces in his younger brothers Mike and Kenny. It will be the first time ever that all three Wallace Brothers will be running against each other in a major NASCAR event in their hometown. Their parents, Russ and Judy Wallace, will also be present and a part of the pre-race ceremonies which will include tributes and dedications. “This is going to be pretty incredible,” stated Kenny Wallace [#22 Stacker 2 Ford]. “Rusty’s career is coming full circle and at the same time we have a chance to celebrate it in our home town of St. Louis. It is always extra special when you can run against your brothers, but this gives us a chance to say thank you to St. Louis for coming out to Gateway to support us. It would be a dream for me if Rusty, Mike and I were fighting it out on the last few laps for the win.” Mike Wallace [no current ride in any series] is the middle brother of the Wallace Family racers and has won on almost every kind of track you can drive on. He has over 300 short track wins and has Busch Series wins at IRP, Dover, Martinsville and Milwaukee. He added to that list in 2004 when he took the checkered flag in the Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2. Mike Wallace commented on running at Gateway for the special occasion. “I would just like to thank Gateway for doing this and honoring our family,” stated Wallace. “I know this is a big tribute year for my brother Rusty and I think it is very unique in the sense that this is probably the last time all three of us will get a chance to race together.” The “Wallace Family Tribute 250” will highlight Gateway’s “Year of The Tributes” in 2005. Oval season tickets are on sale now and start at just $125. There will be plenty of activities added including concerts, post-race fireworks and more to be announced. To order your tickets call 1-866-35-SPEED, or log onto www.gatewayraceway.com.(Gateway Intl Speedway site)(12-22-2004)

    • Victory Junction Gang Announces $5000 Gift from Jessica Lynch Foundation: When Jessica Lynch visited the Victory Junction Gang Camp site in Spring 2004, she was overwhelmed by what she saw. Even though the camp was still under construction, she could see the potential for helping kids with chronic illnesses in a unique and magical setting. But, her interest was heightened when she saw that the camp's schedule included a Fall Military Families Weekend. Now that the $25 million facility is complete, Miss Lynch has formalized her commitment by announcing a $5000 gift to help fund a portion of the weekend sessions held November 19-21, 2004.
      "When I established the Jessica Lynch Foundation my goal -- both in memory and honor of my friend Lori Piestewa and the two small children she left behind -- was to assist the children of my fellow soldiers any way I could," said Jessica Lynch. "I was so impressed with the Victory Junction Gang Camp and very happy to hear the camp was reaching out to the military with a special weekend for military families. I knew that helping my fellow men and women in the Armed Forces and giving children with chronic illnesses a chance to visit the Victory Junction Gang camp was a perfect fit."
      "To have Miss Lynch's support is a great honor for Victory Junction," stated Brian Collier, Victory Junction's Executive Director. "I've come to know pretty quickly when people "get" what the camp is all about and the impact we can make on the lives of our special kids. You could see in her eyes that she deeply cares about children and especially the children of the parents serving in our armed forces."
      "We are the first camp in the Hole in the Wall Association to hold a Military Family Weekend. Based on our location in central North Carolina, the number of NASCAR fans in the military and the sacrifices military families are making, we felt that it was the right thing to do. We've already had a wonderful response to the weekend and we look forward to doing more things for these families in the future."(Victory Junction Gang Camp PR)(12-22-2004)

    • NASCAR and Nextel - Nextel talks about first year: The first year of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series built the foundation for a powerful partnership between one of the nation's largest telecommunications companies and NASCAR, the sanctioning body of racing's premier series. While paying tribute to the sport's history, Nextel launched a strategic marketing and public relations plan, which resulted in increased awareness and acceptance of Nextel Communications Inc. within the NASCAR industry and among its fans. More than 90 percent of avid fans are now aware of Nextel as the title sponsor. This was accomplished through at-track branding, national promotions, advertising campaigns and proactive media relations, which resulted in a conservative return of $100 million of earned media value.
      "Entering into our partnership with NASCAR was one of the best decisions we ever made," said Tim Donahue, president and chief executive officer of Nextel. "We are grateful to the NASCAR community and the fans for their acceptance. The Nextel team has worked tirelessly to earn the trust of the people who not only run the sport, but more importantly, support the sport."
      As a result of Nextel's integrated business marketing plan, the company increased its customer base of NASCAR fans. These customers have proven to be extremely valuable to the company, bringing in average revenues 20 percent higher than the average Nextel subscriber. Nextel also has seen a 400 percent increase in its customer base within the NASCAR industry - including teams, tracks and other related vendors.
      Nextel's efforts to enhance the fan experience have extended far beyond traditional marketing tactics. To improve wireless phone service at the track, the company increased the capacity of the Nextel at-track wireless network through NASCOWS, portable "cell on wheels" towers that traveled to every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event. The four NASCOWs are the combined equivalent to 15 traditional cell sites. This improved service resulted in more than 500,000 customers using their Nextel phones at-track a total of 50 million times, through cellular calls, Nextel Direct Connect (R), the instant, nationwide push to talk walkie-service, and wireless data uses.
      "We've found that the NASCAR fan is a very high-value customer," Donahue continued. "The NASCAR fan who is a Nextel customer uses 300 more minutes for calls and 150 more minutes for Direct Connect on a monthly basis in comparison to our traditional customer. Our goal is for Nextel to be the provider of choice when people make a move among wireless phone carriers."
      One example of Nextel's technology development of NASCAR-based products and applications is Nextel FanScan. This service provides access to in-car audio of drivers and teams talking during the race, which allows fans at home to be a part of the at-track action. The subscription-based application, which is available on the i736 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and driver phones, sold out more than four times since its introduction this summer, causing Nextel to increase its capacity at several races.
      In July, Nextel launched a national consumer sweepstakes. Fans selected the driver they thought would win the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship. Of the more than 370,000 entries, 40,000 of which were entered through their Nextel phones, 10 first place finalists representing each of the 10 qualifying drivers were selected at random. Each finalist enjoyed an incredible fan weekend, complete with airline tickets for the finalist and three friends, accommodations in a luxury motorcoach, a meet and greet with his/her selected driver and VIP tours. Patrick Beall, from Sweetwater, Texas, was the finalist aligned with Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship, who received a grand prize of $250,000.
      NASCAR has been integrated into all facets of Nextel's business, including employee relations, community relations and public affairs. The more than 18,000 employees of Nextel have embraced the value of the sponsorship, and worked to integrate corporate-wide community initiatives trackside. Programs such as DONATE A PHONE(R) encouraged fans to bring their used cell phones to the track to recycle and donate the proceeds to the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services. Nextel also assisted the Department of Homeland Security by educating NASCAR fans about the importance of personal preparedness through the America Prepared program. Both of these initiatives were executed at-track inside The Nextel Experience, Nextel's 6,400-square-foot interactive fan destination that traveled to all 36 races in 2004. The Nextel Experience attracted more than 400,000 visitors during the year and more than 100,000 fans tried Nextel's Direct Connect(TM) service.
      In addition, Nextel donated $1 million to the Victory Junction Gang, a sleep-away camp for children with chronic and terminal illnesses. Nextel continues to develop programs to further assist the camp. In October and November of 2004, a portion of the proceeds from sales of NASCAR-themed accessories was donated to Victory Junction Gang resulting in an additional gift of $100,000. In 2005, Nextel will continue to look for ways to enhance the sport and the fan experience through its technology, bringing fans closer to the sport.(Nextel PR)(12-22-2004)

      News and Rumors from December 21, 2004

    • Hermie gets a partner and sponsor for Cup team, Ince the crew chief: Peak Fitness has announced that the corporation has acquired the assets of the SCORE Motorsports NEXTEL Cup Team and will be the primary sponsor of a NEXTEL Cup car for the full 2005 and 2006 NEXTEL Cup seasons, with the car to be driven by Hermie Sadler. James Ince has been hired as the crew chief. Jeff Stec, CEO of Peak Fitness is excited at the prospect of building a competitive NEXTEL Cup team to form the nucleus of a national marketing strategy to offer franchise opportunities worldwide.
      “We have been searching for the right vehicle in order to move our corporation into a multi-national franchise and I believe that the powerful branding associated with NASCAR marketing affords us that opportunity. It makes a lot of sense to partner with a talented, professional driver, top engine builder, championship car manufacturer and NEXTEL Cup crew chief James Ince. We find ourselves in rather a unique position as both NEXTEL Cup team owner and primary sponsor and we are actively seeking strong partners that want to reap the benefits of a national marketing program,” Stec said.
      For Hermie Sadler, the 1993 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year, this will mark his first full-time NEXTEL Cup ride, a welcome change for Sadler who has struggled to run limited schedules the past few seasons. "This is very exciting for me and my family. To partner with a strong corporation like Peak Fitness, CEO Jeff Stec, and a proven winner like James Ince as crew chief is my best opportunity to make it in NEXTEL Cup racing. I will retain an interest in the new corporation, Peak Performance Motorsports, and will continue to be involved in the daily operations. I feel confident this team will surprise many people. Nobody knows what to expect from us, but Jeff Stec has a great vision for the future of the team and the upcoming announcement about our choice of car manufacturer and engine program will be a clear indication of the level of commitment Jeff has made to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series,” said Sadler. Peak Fitness is the number one health club in the Charlotte area and will launch its National Franchise Campaign in January 2005.
      There will be a news conference on Thursday, January 6, 2005 at a 12:00 noon luncheon at Peak Fitness, 10404 Independence Blvd, Matthews (Matthews Festival) to unveil the paint scheme, announce the car manufacturer and engine program.(PR), more info on Peak Fitness at peakfitnessclubs.com
      NOTE: hearing it will be a Ford with Roush-Yates engines....car # 02???(12-21-2004)

    • Davis-Dodge Lawsuit pushed back to June: The start date for the trial in the Daimler-Chrysler/Bill Davis Racing lawsuit has been postponed once again. The trial, which was set to begin May 3, will now start June 21 at 9 a.m. in federal district court in Detroit. Judge George Steeh granted the delay Friday after attorneys for both sides requested it. The deadline for filing depositions is now Feb. 1. Final pre-trial orders are to be filed by June 6 with the final pre-trial conference slated June 13. The new trial date is 25 months after Daimler-Chrysler sued BDR in Michigan district court in May 2003. The suit alleges BDR breached its contract for Dodge support for its Cup team for helping Toyota with development work as it prepared for entry in the NASCAR truck series this year. Daimler-Chrysler terminated its Dodge support of BDR's Cup team and is requesting return of over $1 million in factory support for the balance of 2003. BDR succeeded in moving the trial to federal court in June 2003 and later that month counter-sued, alleging Daimler-Chrysler had no basis to terminate the contract because Toyota is not a rival of Dodge in the Cup series. Toyota is a rival of Dodge in the truck series. The trial was first scheduled for August 17 of this year, originally delayed to Dec. 20 and then moved to May 3 of 2005.(High Point Enterprise)(12-21-2004)

    • Boyer Named Crew Chief for Marlin: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that race engineer Steve Boyer will take over crew chief duties on the #40 Coors Light Dodge for the 2005 season. "It is a top priority for both Felix and myself to get the Coors Light 40 team back into championship form," team owner Chip Ganassi said. "Over the last six races of the 2004 season we asked Steve to assume a leadership role with team manager Tony Glover and the 40 team and he proved he could get the job done. Steve has the confidence of Team management, Sterling and the 40 crew and we look forward to seeing the 40 car up front in 2005."
      "I greatly appreciate the opportunity from Chip and Felix to become the crew chief of the No. 40 Coors Light Dodge for the 2005 season," Boyer said. "After working with Sterling and the #40 team for the last three seasons, I believe that I can help this team return to the forefront of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competition. We hope to continue the quality races that we had over the last six races of 2004 into the beginning of 2005, and get Sterling back to the form he has shown in years' past." Boyer has been a member of the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team since 2001. He started as Jason Leffler's race engineer and won his first pole at Kansas in 2001. Boyer began working with Sterling Marlin in 2002. Befrore joining Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Boyer worked for 10 years for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in tire design. Boyer has a BS in Engineering from the University of Nebraska and a Masters from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland Ohio.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(12-21-2004)

    • Ford Racing enters the Daytona Rolex 24 with Busch, Kenseth, Biffle: The new Crown Royal Special Reserve/Multimatic Ford entry in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the twice-around-the-clock road racing classic Feb. 5-6, 2005, will feature three NASCAR champion drivers from Ford and Roush Racing: 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch, 2003 NASCAR Cup Champion Matt Kenseth, and NASCAR Busch (2002) and Craftsman Truck (2000) Champion Greg Biffle. The three Roush Racing Ford pilots will be joined by Multimatic Ford driver Scott Maxwell, who has won six professional road racing championships in his career, but may be best known for his victories in both the 24 Hours of LeMans and the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The potent foursome will look to capture an overall victory in the 2005 season-opener of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, it was announced today. "It's a dream team, that's for sure," said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. "We started talking last summer about getting a chance to put this type of team together for the Rolex 24, and because of the cooperation of Roush Racing, Multimatic, and Crown Royal Special Reserve, we have an effort and a class of drivers that will be able to make a run for the overall win." The Crown Royal Special Reserve Multimatic Ford is an updated version of the race car that won the Daytona Prototype class at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2003. A Ford Modular Cammer V-8 motor prepared by Roush-Yates Engines will power it. (Ford Racing PR)(12-21-2004)

    • Two different perspectives on Saturday qualifying: Today on Rowdy - www.rowdy.com, Dale Jarrett talks about Saturday qualifying-he likes it-while Clay Campbell of Martinsville Speedway explains why he prefers Friday. Also on the show, Rusty Wallace talks about getting ready for next year, and former Cup driver Rick Mast tell us why rule changes benefit multi-car teams. Rowdy is like a daily racing radio show you get on your phone, with the latest news, driver interviews, and expert commentary. To check it out during our free trial, call 1-800-95-ROWDY (1-800-957-6939)-and while you're listening make sure you hit the # key and tell us what you think.(Rowdy PR)(12-21-2004)

      News and Rumors from December 20, 2004

    • Wind Tunnel to Sunday night only: SPEED Channel is making several changes to its popular call-in show Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain for the 2005 race season. Beginning in February, Wind Tunnel will be expanded to two hours, anchoring the Sunday night Prime Time lineup at 9:00pm/et. "We want to hear from the fans when they're still excited, still angry and still eager to talk about what they've just watched," said Rick Miner, SPEED Channel's Sr. VP of Programming/Production and Executive Producer. "It's no secret that the only thing more passionate than a race fan is a race fan on race day. "In addition, we'd like to get Dave out from behind the desk during the week, letting him expand on opportunities to do exclusive SPEED Channel interviews with some of the biggest names in racing," Miner added. "Wind Tunnel originally was designed as a show for the fans and we believe this new format will allow us to be even more aggressive in that mission." The new format will include the show's traditional long-form interviews, along with multiple short-form interviews via phone, satellite and in-studio guest appearances. "I really like the idea of a Sunday night show," said Despain, who recently inked a three-year contract extension with SPEED Channel. "We'll talk to the fans while they're still fired up from the racing weekend, and talk to the newsmakers while the news is still hot. Add the fact that the two-hour format will enable us to do a lot of things we simply didn't have time for in the past, and I think it will be a lot of fun." Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain will hit original episode #250 early next season.(SPEED Channel PR), the show will NOT air Mon-Thurs nights in 2005 as it did the past two years, only 2 hours on Sunday nights.[my rare opinion......boooooo](12-20-2004)

    • Shelmerdine plans to run full 2005 Cup schedule: Kirk Shelmerdine has announced that his independent NASCAR Nextel Cup team, #72 Kirk Shelmerdine Racing, will attempt to run the full NASCAR Nextel up Schedule in 2005. Currently, the team is looking for primary and associate sponsors to offset the escalating costs of running in the Nextel Cup series. Kirk Shelmerdine earned his reputation powering Dale Earnhardt to four Winston Cup titles from 1984-1992, before retiring to form his own team in 1993. With the rising operating costs in NASCAR, it is imperative for Kirk Shelmerdine Racing to have sponsors to compete. Full sponsorship and associate sponsorship packages are available and very affordable. Any interested parties should visit the website at: www.ShelmerdineRacing.com.(Kirk Shelmerdine Racing)(12-20-2004)

    • Special Mother's Day Scheme for Jarrett: #88-Dale Jarrett is scheduled to drive a car with a childhood image of Dale driving Ned Jarrett's race car at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, May 7th in honor of his mother for Mother's Day which is May 8th.(12-20-2004)

    • Kvapil tests at Lakeland: New Penske Racing rookie Travis Kvapil tested with the #77 Kodak team at Lakeland, FL.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(12-20-2004)

    • Close Votes Decide 2004 Auto Racing All-America: In some of the closest voting ever for the annual Auto Racing All-America Team, 15 have been chosen in seven categories by members of the motorsports press. With two drivers selected First Team in each category, it was not the winner but the driver in second place who made it by the thinnest of margins -– one vote – in two categories and by just three in a third. The driver on the short end of that vote, plus the person in fourth place, make up the Second Team with all drivers receiving at least five percent of the vote receiving Honorable Mention. So intent were the voting members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association on the top candidates that in two categories no Honorable Mention was named, which has not happened in more than 30 years. Vote totals are not released until after the AARWBA banquet Jan. 15 in Pomona, Calif., on Jan. 15. At that time the driver receiving the most votes, regardless of category, will be announced as the 35th winner of the Jerry Titus Award -- on an All-America team it is racing’s Heisman Trophy. [skip to the stock car part] The Stock Car category was no surprise this year, with NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch and runner-up Jimmie Johnson miles ahead of everyone else after they finished the year just eight points apart in the championship. That also ended up the margin separating them in the All-America vote, Busch ahead as they virtually lapped the field. It is Busch’s second selection as an All-America, and the third for Johnson, but the first time either had been chosen First Team. With less than half their vote total, Jeff Gordon and rookie of the year Kasey Kahne made the Second Team. The Touring Series category is led by two NASCAR drivers who both won their first championships and their first All-America votes. Martin Truex Jr. won the Busch Series title while veteran Bobby Hamilton took the Craftsman Truck Series crown. Behind them, yet another tie -- ARCA champ Frank Kimmel and Busch series runner-up Kyle Busch -- received identical votes for Second Team. Earning Honorable Mention were Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin from Nextel Cup, the pairing of JJ Lehto/Marco Werner from American LeMans, USAC Silver Crown king Dave Steele, Busch North champ Andy Santerre, Toyota Atlantic champion Jon Fogarty, and SCCA ProRally champ Patrick Richard. No honorable mentions were awarded in Open Wheel or Drag Racing.(see full article/results at Speed Channel)(12-20-2004)

    • Testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway was host to 10 teams, including Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart and Jason Leffler. Evernham Motorsports was testing its new Chargers at Kentucky with Bill Elliott, Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne. Evernham was instrumental in the development of the new Charger, which is expected to have less drag and be considerably stronger on superspeedways.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(12-20-2004)

    • Winner of a new Ford F150 and....: Combos Snacks “The Cheese Filled Snack of NASCAR” awarded Raleigh, NC, resident Charity Smith a NASCAR Garage on December 15, culminating a year-long NASCAR promotion. Smith will claim her prizes at Capital Ford located at 4900 Capital Boulevard in Raleigh. Combos Snacks, which sponsors driver Elliott Sadler in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series, offered fans a chance to win what most race fans only dream of -- a NASCAR Themed Garage. The promotion ran throughout the 2004 season and awarded Smith a prize package valued at more than $35,000 including $10,000 worth of tools and a new Ford F-150. The on-line promotion, housed at www.combos.com, encouraged participants to enter unique codes found on the back of each bag of Combos. A daily winner was drawn at random from the entry list and received $75 in tools. Each daily winner was then placed in a drawing for the grand prize -- The Combos Snacks NASCAR Themed Garage.(PR)(12-20-2004)

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