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    JAN 3-9, 2005

      News and Rumors from January 9, 2005

    • Chili Bowl UPDATE: More than 250 drivers including 2002 NASCAR champion Tony Stewart hit the track this weekend in 19th annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl Midget Nationals [chilibowl.com] at the indoor Tulsa Expo Center. Stewart heads a group of three NASCAR drivers — 2004 Rookie of the Year Kasey Khane and J.J. Yeley are also entered — along with Steve Kinser and Danny Lasoski, the top two World of Outlaws sprint-cart drivers. Open wheel driver PJ Jones and drag racing star Cruz Pedregon also plan to race. Qualifying begins Friday night [Jan 7th] and the finals are Saturday. Cory Kruseman is back to defend his title.(USA Today), NOTE: no TV Coverage info found.(1-5-2005)
      UPDATE: Tracy Hines won the 19th annual O'Reilly Chili Bowl over Cory Kruseman. Some NASCAR drivers: P.J. Jones finished 7th, Tyler Walker finished 15th and on lap 12 of 50 Tony Stewart got together with another car and spun ans was out of the race on lap 15. See the full night rundown at whowon.com.(1-9-2005)

    • Glick Honored: Shav Glick, 83, one of the most distinguished motor sports journalists in the U.S. [Los Angeles Times], was honored by the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Award panel for his lifetime of service to the award. Glick has been the motor sports reporter for the Los Angeles Times since 1963 and a member of the award panel since 1969—second longest tenure on the panel. Earlier this year, he became the first daily print journalist and the second media member to be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Novi, Mich. Glick was friends with the late Jim Murray, another LA Times legend.(Rock River Times)(1-9-2005)

    • NASCAR Fiction Book AND: In another example of NASCAR stock car racing moving into the mainstream of the American public, the first novel completely based on the sport's lifestyle and fans will be published within the next few weeks and distributed nationally. Sharyn McCrumb, a Virginia writer best known for her Appalachian "Ballad" novels, including New York Times Best Sellers She Walks These Hills and The Rosewood Casket, has based her new novel on another Southern tradition: stock car racing. St. Dale, the story of a modern-day group of racing fans on a " Earnhardt pilgrimage" to the Southeast speedways from Tennessee to Florida., will be published in February, 2005, by Kensington Publishing Corporation of New York. In St. Dale Harley Claymore, a down-and-out ex-Cup driver, takes what he thinks is a job leading a tour of Southern speedways, only to be told that the tour is a memorial pilgrimage, and that the passengers intend to lay a wreath in honor of Earnhardt on every Southern speedway from Bristol, Tenn., to Daytona Beach, Fla. The horrified tour guide, who raced against Earnhardt, did not think the Intimidator was a saint, but from Bristol's 2002 Sharpie 500 through the Labor Day Race at Darlington, and at all the empty speedways they visit in-between, he has to keep his opinions to himself. McCrumb calls the novel The Canterbury Tales set on the NASCAR circuit. The bus is filled with a diverse group of characters, all there for various reasons. For Harley and his passengers, the trip soon becomes one of self-discovery as all of their lives are altered forever. Miracles begin, prayers are answered, secrets are revealed and bonds are forged as the bus rolls onward.(Williams Company PR)(1-5-2005)
      AND all copies sold through ballowax.com will be autographed by Sharyn McCrumb and Ward Burton! Profits from books sold through ballowax.com go to the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation.(1-9-2005)

      News and Rumors from January 8, 2005

    • Edwards doing double duty in 2005, #99 Sponsor announcement next week UPDATE: Roush Racing driver Carl Edwards will compete for championships in two of NASCAR's national touring series this season. In addition to a full, 36-race Nextel Cup season in owner Jack Roush's #99 Ford Taurus, Edwards will also run the 35-race Busch Series schedule in Roush's #60 Charter Communications Ford. Roush plans to announce a sponsorship program [Office Depot?] for Edwards' Cup program next week, a team spokesman said.(NASCAR.com)(1-7-2005)
      UPDATE - #99 Has a Sponsor: On Tuesday, January 11, 2005 in Daytona Beach, FL at Daytona International Raceway, Roush Racing will make an announcement regarding a new primary sponsor for the #99 Roush Racing Ford in 2005. The announcement will be made following the completion of Cup practice on Tuesday afternoon at approximately 5:20pm/et in the media center. There will also be an unveiling of the new paint scheme.(Roush Racing PR)....Office Depot?(1-8-2005)

    • Bliss to keep #0 Gig? UPDATE 2 Best Buy?: hearing that Mike Bliss will shed the interim driver tag and be the full-time #0 NetZero Chevy driver in 2005, supposedly the team will have a new major associate sponsor also.(12-2-2004)
      UPDATE: Former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Mike Bliss will return to the Nextel Cup Series in 2005 with Haas CNC Racing. Bliss announced his three-year deal to drive the #0 NetZero Chevrolet for owner Gene Haas during the Busch Series Award Ceremony on Friday. The deal with Haas marks Bliss' first full-time ride in the Cup series since 2000, when the 1993 USAC Silver Crown champion had a rough go of it after posting five consecutive top-10 points finishes in the Craftsman Truck Series. After starting the season for A.J. Foyt, making the Daytona 500 but then hitting a dry spell that led to his release, Bliss made 25 Cup starts in 2000, with one top-10 finish. Bliss' career best Cup finish, fourth, came in a Gibbs Racing car in September at Richmond. He said he has three tests planned with Haas CNC before Christmas.(NASCAR.com)(12-11-2004)
      UPDATE 2: hearing the major asscoiate will actually be the co-sponsor of the car and will be Best Buy. Look for an announcement on Jan 12th at Daytona.(1-8-2005)

    • Cope and Hollenbeck to team up at Daytona: Derrike Cope's site quotes Cope as saying that "Quest Motor Racing [was to run #37 a few years back] is working together with S.W.A.T. Racing [was the #62 Larry Hollenbeck Team] to take a Nextel Cup car and a Busch Series car to the Daytona tests in the coming weeks. We are currently searching for sponsorship for these events but are planning to field a pair of Chevrolets at Daytona. I am really excited about the Cup car we have and look forward to getting started. Hopefully we can provide more information to you with regard to the number we will be running and sponsorship shortly."(Derrikecope.com)(1-8-2005)

    • Ferrari and NASCAR? The latest word from Italy is that the NASCAR teams are sitting up and taking notice of some of the engine technology which is available now in Modena, Italy, and that High Performance Engineering, a company run by Piero Ferrari (Enzo's son) is to be developing engines for one of the NASCAR teams in 2005. It is not clear which teams is involved but with engine development largely in the hands of the automobile manufacturers Dodge, Chevrolet and Ford it is likely that the work will be done for one of them. The most likely connection is with Chevrolet as there are links between General Motors and Fiat. HPE is independent of FIAT but works for both Ferrari and Maserati, doing high-performance engine development work.(grandprix.com)(1-8-2005)

    • #37 Team Looking for help: The #37 R & J Racing team is enlarging their workforce. They are looking for fabricators and mechanics - both with experience. They need people that have worked on race cars in the past. They can call (704) 875-0271, fax a resume (704) 875-2997 or stop in the office/shop at 107 Parr Drive, Huntersville, NC 28078.(1-8-2005)

    • Kenny all over the tube in 2005: Kenny Wallace has signed a 2 year contract with SpeedTV to be in the following shows:
      NASCAR Drivers 360: Wallace will be filmed and shown in six out of the eight episodes starting in Speed weeks in Daytona.
      Inside Nextel Cup: Wallace will play a more active role in the show in 2005 and 2006 and be seen in many more shows.
      NASCAR This Morning - NASCAR Victory Lane: Wallace will be seen on both shows every NC race day as long as he is able to be at the show in person.
      NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Wallace will be the Craftsman Truck color commentator for Speed on weekends in which the Truck Series and Wallace are in the same location.(Kenny Wallace Racing site)(1-8-2005)

      News and Rumors from January 7, 2005

    • More on the possible 'new' provisional system: NASCAR's controversial provisional system could be getting a major overhaul. Spokesman Mike Zizzo said NASCAR officials are finalizing a plan in which the top 35 drivers in the points standings would be guaranteed starting spots in races. The remaining eight starting spots would go to the fastest qualifiers not in the top 35 in points.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(1-7-2005)

    • Hermie will run #66 UPDATE: Hermie Sadler's new ride will be the #66 Peak Fitness Clubs Ford, it is yellow and lavander, see images of the car on my new #66 Team Paint Schemes page. And see the #66[#02] Team News and Links page for the past news on Hermie's new full-time Cup ride and owner that was announced a few weeks ago.(1-6-2005)
      UPDATE: Driver/owner Hermie Sadler and crew chief James Ince will try to rebuild their NASCAR Nextel Cup careers in 2005 using Roush/Yates horsepower. Sadler, who ran nearly all of both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series in 2004 as either an owner or a driver, announced a plan to run #66 Peak Fitness Fords this season, using factory-backed Roush/Yates engines. Sadler made the announcement in conjunction with Peak Performance Motorsports primary owner Jeff Stec, the CEO of Peak Fitness, who purchased a controlling stake in Sadler's SCORE Motorsports' Cup team last month and immediately began an aggressive plan.(NASCAR.com)(1-7-2004)

    • Kenny back with Mikey: Kenny Wallace has signed a contract with Michael Waltrip Racing to compete in at least four Nextel Cup races in 2005. Driving the #00 Chevy Aarons Rent Car at both Daytona and Talladega Races. The car being used is the ex-Dale Jr Bud Shootout car from 2004, in which Dale came in 2nd. Wallace will have no provisionals available in any of the races so will have to race into each, but he can't wait to show everyone his speed in that car.(Kenny Wallace Racing site)(1-7-2005)

    • Jarrett and Herbie: #88-Dale Jarrett will help promote the movie "Herbie: Fully Loaded" with a special paint scheme at Richmond in May. This is the same movie, which features Lindsay Lohan, Matt Dillon and Michael Keaton, that was filmed during the 2004 Pop Secret 500 weekend Sept. 3-5 at California Speedway.(RacingOne)(1-7-2005)

    • Dodson to work with another Wallace: Barry Dodson, noted veteran crew chief who helped lead Rusty Wallace to the 1989 NASCAR premier series championship title, has been selected to lead promising young racing star Steve Wallace with his team's efforts in USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series competition during the 2005 season. "Barry was so instrumental in helping one kid named Wallace make it all the way to the top and now he's been given the challenge to take another capable young driver named Wallace up the ladder of success," said Rusty Wallace, owner of Steve Wallace Racing, in making the official announcement on Wednesday morning. "Barry was watching me when I was just a rookie on the Cup series and he helped get me the Blue Max ride. We've been like brothers ever since. There's nobody I'd trust my kid with more than Barry Dodson and we're so pleased that he's agreed to take the reins and lead Steve's team."
      "Steve is the real deal and I can guarantee you that," said Dodson, a winner of more than 75 NASCAR events during his career. "They always talk about the apple falling near the tree when sports reporters draw comparisons with father and son athletes. Well, this is a case where the apple didn't fall near the tree - it hit it. Steve's shown that he can drive ever since he climbed behind the wheel of that little Bandelero car over at the (Lowe's Motor) speedway. He's known how to drive, but now he's really learning how to race and that's where we think we can be the most help - teaching the patience and bridling the great aggressiveness that Steve has. We're going to be really busy this season, but it'll be so much fun and so rewarding to see Steve mature into a great young racer," said Dodson, who also served as a television analyst for Fox Sports Net and Speed Channel for a five-year period before his appointment last season as general manager of RWI Racing. "The schedule calls for us to run the 13 regular season southern division races, up to five northern division races and then the five races in the championship series. Rusty and I have already been talking about possibly putting Steve in a Busch car at Memphis and at Phoenix late in the season. But the biggest focus will be getting Steve the seat time in these heavier cars and our big goal is to win the 2005 rookie title." The younger Wallace and his Dodson-led team will compete in a familiar #27 Dodge in the Southern Division of the Hooters Pro Cup Series competition. They will be competing in Steve Levitt-built chassis Dodge racecars that will be powered by Maurice Petty-prepared power plants. Wallace will be a candidate in the $90,000 Miller Lite Rookie of the Year Program this season.(Tom Roberts PR)(1-7-2005)

      News and Rumors from January 6, 2005

    • Petty Crew Chief Leaves, other changes: Petty Enterprises announced today a change in the leadership of the #45 Georgia Pacific/Brawny Dodge driven by Kyle Petty. The move was sparked by the departure of team engineer Adam Stevens to Joe Gibbs Racing, after which the team elected to part company with crew chief Bill Henderson. "When we made the change to put Adam and Bill in charge of the 45 team in August of last year, we looked at it as a combination effort," said Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. "When Adam came back from the Christmas holiday and told us of his intention to take an offer with Gibbs, we decided to reevaluate the leadership of the team." Petty is currently exploring options. "We have made a number of significant moves forward since the end of the season. Our relationship with Evernham Motorsports supplying our engines is the most public of those moves. We intend to have an experienced crew chief and team engineer in place when we leave for the first race in Daytona," Petty said. "I have a lot of faith in the 45 team, our engineering group and the rest of the team in Level Cross that we will be competitive right out of the box in 2005."(Williams Company PR)(1-6-2005)

    • HANS Device is it, no Hutchen's Device in NASCAR UPDATE 2 another device?: NASCAR will require drivers in the Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series to wear the HANS (Head and Neck Support) device during practice, qualifying and race competition. Drivers will no longer be able to use the Hutchens device to meet NASCAR's requirement to use a head-and-neck restraint. The story says the Hutchens device failed to meet minimum standards in tests conducted by SFI Foundation Inc. The Hutchens device, which was developed by Richard Childress Racing team manager Bobby Hutchens, has been used by some drivers who have said it gives them more freedom of movement inside their cars.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-3-2005)
      UPDATE: NASCAR will only allow its competitors to use the HANS device in 2005 because the other head-and-neck restraint system did not meet performance standards. Drivers have had a choice of restraint systems since 2001, when NASCAR began requiring all competitors to use either the HANS or Hutchens devices following an investigation of Dale Earnhardt's death. NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said Monday that the Hutchens failed to meet minimum standards from testing by SFI Foundation Inc. The HANS device was approved by SFI, a California-based nonprofit organization that sets standards for specialty/performance automotive and racing equipment. The HANS (Head and Neck Support) resembles a collar and slides on like a football players' shoulder pads, then hooks onto the helmet. The Hutchens device is a series of straps that connect across the chest and at the waist. Most drivers preferred the HANS, but Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart [and Rusty Wallace] have been known to race with the Hutchens. NASCAR mandated use of a restraint system in October 2001, after an investigation of Earnhardt's death the previous February. Earnhardt died of a skull fracture, the same injury that killed NASCAR drivers Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin and Blaise Alexander in a one-year span. Many experts believed the fractures could have been prevented with use of a restraint system. But with drivers reluctant to use restraint systems and lingering questions about their effectiveness, NASCAR did not require their use until Earnhardt's death made the issue a top priority. After numerous studies, the sanctioning body required the use of a restraint and allowed drivers to choose. Last season, NASCAR evaluated several different systems, hoping to approve new ones before the 2005 season.(ESPN.com/AP)(1-4-2005)
      UPDATE 2: The following is a statement from Trevor Ashline, President, Safety Solutions, regarding NASCAR's ban of Hutchens Device: "I have spent the last three years working closely with NASCAR officials to successfully develop and distribute head and neck restraint systems that provide life-saving protection to its drivers. While one of my systems, the Hutchens Device, consistently met NASCAR's testing requirements during those three years, I applaud their recent decision to raise the bar and mandate the use of only those head and neck restraint systems that meet or exceed the stringent testing criteria recently developed by NASCAR for the SFI Foundation. The Hutchens Device was among those systems tested last November that has not yet met the SFI specification. The Hutchens Device will be submitted to SFI at the end of January 2005. Over the past three years, we have developed and introduced the next generation of head and neck restraint systems, called the R3 (LFTTech.com). As one of the products that were submitted to NASCAR last November, the R3 was the first head and neck restraint system to exceed the SFI 38.1 specification after it was written. Yet, to date, the only restraint system selected by NASCAR has been the HANS Device. If there were additional criteria beyond the SFI specs that NASCAR used to make their selection, I am unaware of it. The R3 has been providing superior head and neck protection to drivers in other auto racing sanctioning bodies such as Local Tracks, SCCA, IMCA, NHRA, IHRA, APBA, HSR, Porsche Club and USAC. As the first to pass the SFI specification test last November, I am anxious to learn what additional NASCAR criteria the R3 needs to meet in order to provide the same level of superior protection to NASCAR drivers." For more information on the R3 restraint please go to www.lfttech.com.(Safety Solutions PR)(1-6-2005)

    • Spencer to the #50? NASCAR.com's Team List has Jimmy Spencer in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge.(1-6-2005)
      AND Jimmy Spencer will pilot Ultra Motorsports’ #1 Dodge in the Craftsman Truck Series this season and also plans a partial Nextel Cup campaign, NASCAR.com reports. Ted Musgrave, who has driven the #1 truck for the past four years, will take over as driver of the team's #2 Dodge. The story says Spencer, 47, expects to drive for Arnold Motorsports in a Nextel Cup schedule that will depend on sponsorship. He will run some Busch Series events for Michael Waltrip and hopes to field his own entry in others. Spencer says he may also have an unspecified television deal for the year. Also the #50 team will skip Speedweeks [Daytona] due to budget constraints.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-6-2005)

    • Office Depot and NASCAR UPDATE: Takin' Care of Business is back for a third stint as Office Depot Inc.'s advertising jingle. Starting today, the Delray Beach[FL]-based office supply giant will launch a series of radio and television ads geared toward business customers, who account for more than 80% of the company's sales. Takin' Care of Business is part of a new marketing strategy that also includes a promotional partnership with NASCAR. Office Depot in February will begin touting its multiyear NASCAR deal, which will be the company's primary national sponsorship platform in 2005. Sponsorship activities include NASCAR displays in Office Depot's 900 stores nationwide and advertising during NASCAR race telecasts on NBC, Fox and TNT. Office Depot plans to unveil a NASCAR Nextel Cup sponsorship later this month. A recent survey of fans found that nearly three-quarters consciously buy products because of a company's relationship with NASCAR and that 44% of those who shop at other office supply stores would switch to Office Depot because of its affiliation with NASCAR.(Palm Beach Post) Additionally, Office Depot plans to unveil a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team sponsorship later this month. The company will also support an upcoming NASCAR diversity initiative.(1-3-2005)
      UPDATE: hearing Office Depot will be on a Roush Racing Ford, not sure which series, the #99 in Cup is still open.(1-6-2005)

    • Petree Racing Auctions: saw this in this weeks NASCAR Scene: As Andy [Petree] has closed his Cup and Busch Shops - sold the building and will be moving, he has chosen the Auction way to liquidate all his personal property. This will be the first of two sales. Charlie Sentman Auction's will sell at Public Sale to the Highest Bidder Sale Days with no Minimums or Reserves. Sale will be inside with air conditioning, seating, food, etc. The first sale is January, 6, 7, 8, 2005, the second sale is January 26, 27, 28, 29, 2005 at the Andy Petree Racing location in Flat Rock, NC. For additional info go to: www.sentmanauctions.com.(1-6-2005)

    • Not NASCAR but a Safety Thing so: ASA Late Model Officials announced that starting in 2005, the series and its competitors' will utilize the RaceSafe System. The RaceSafe System is a dash mounted light that will alert the driver instantaneously when the yellow flag is displayed. The signal is controlled by the series race director, which means that as soon as the decision to put out the yellow is given each and every driver will immediately know. For information regarding the RaceSafe System please visit their website site www.race-safe.com or call 1-800-910-8089. RaceSafe System is owned by Racing Electronics - www.racingelectronics.com, long time sponsor of the Jayski site and presenting sponsor of my Scanner Links page. Racing Electronics also signed with the ASA Late Model Series to a three-year deal to become the Official radio supplier to the series. As part of the deal ASA Late Model teams and fans will have the opportunity to visit the R.E. trailer at most of the ASA Late Model races.(RE PR)(1-6-2005)

    • Steele Back full-time in ARCA: Three-time ARCA Champ Tim Steele and crew chief Lee Leslie have united for what they are determined to be a full season in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2005 with Steele at the helm of the #44 all black Ford and Leslie turning the wrenches. Leslie, the brother of '88 RE/MAX Series driving champion Tracy Leslie and veteran Cup crew chief Ben Leslie [now working for Ford], crew-chiefed Brent Sherman [now in Busch] to a runner-up RE/MAX Series points finish in 2004. Steele suffered head injuries in an accident at Atlanta testing a Cup car for Bud Moore in 1997.(ARCARacing.com)(1-6-2005)

      News and Rumors from January 5, 2005

    • Robby Gordon looking for some crew members: hearing Robby Gordon Motorsports is still looking for a few over the wall pit crew members to run the full Nextel Cup Series in 2005 and selected Busch races. The team says it is only interested in crew members with previous Cup or Busch Series experience, and would prefer crewmen that also can fill a roll in the shop as mechanics or fabricators. Anyone interested can fax or e-mail bio and contact information to 704-949-1259 or see Robbygordon.com.(1-5-2005)

    • France is #2: The Sporting News Power 100 lists NASCAR chairman and CEO, Brian France #2, with only NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue ahead of him. France ranked #17 last year. 3rd is Bud Selig, MLB commissioner. 1st in 2003, George Bodenheimer of ESPN/ABC is 5th this year. NASCAR's vice chairman, Bill France Jr. is 23rd. Also listed: Bruton Smith, chairman, Speedway Motorsports Inc.; Lesa France Kennedy, president, International Speedway Corp. See the story and links to the list at: FoxSports/Sporting News.(1-5-2005)

    • NASCAR Photo Display: Photographs of NASCAR Events by Jason Smith, through Feb, 26th from 10:00 to 4:00pm/et, Monday-Friday and 12noon-4:00pm/et on Sat-Sun at the Art Institute of Charlotte (more info).(Charlotte Observer print)(1-5-2005)

    • NASCAR on the 'West Wing': Taking a page out of President Bush's campaign playbook, the fictional administration of "The West Wing" will visit the NASCAR Nation. Last February, Bush visited Daytona for the start of the racing season. On the Jan. 19 episode of "The West Wing," the First Lady (Stockard Channing) visits a racetrack where she congratulates real-life driver Jamie McMurray in Victory Lane. Martin Sheen's President Bartlet can't make the trip because of a flareup of his multiple sclerosis.(New York Post)(1-5-2005)

    • Allison wins up a notch: hadn't heard this..so.....When Darrell Waltrip quit Cup racing four years ago, he was tied with fellow retiree Bobby Allison at third in all-time wins. According to the NASCAR record book, both had 84 victories (behind Richard Petty's 200 and David Pearson's 105). At the start of the 2004 season, however, those records were altered. Allison was awarded an 85th win, leaving him alone in third and dropping Waltrip to fourth. Allison had long argued that decades ago he won a race for which he was never credited. There was a dispute over whether the race Allison won was, at the time, part of NASCAR's official premier series [he won in a Mustang]. Last year NASCAR finally decided in Allison's favor. Waltrip still holds the distinction as the winningest driver in NASCAR's modern era (1972-present), during which time all of his 84 victories came. Second is Dale Earnhardt (76) followed by Jeff Gordon and Cale Yarborough (69 each), Petty (60) and Allison (55). Waltrip is preparing for his fifth season as a Fox Sports racing commentator. He begins his duties during next month's Daytona SpeedWeeks.(Tennessean), see my adjusted All-Time Winners page for the full list.(1-5-2005)

    • New Hires: Alan Taylor Communications (ATC) announced that Nealie (Hamilton) Stufflet and Jenna Gruhala have joined the agency as senior account executives, in the firm's Charlotte, North Carolina office. Responsibilities for the two executives will include strategic planning and media relations for key client partners NASCAR, Diageo, Sara Lee Branded Apparel (Duofold Brand) and Soap Box Derby. Stufflet joins ATC after three years at Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) where she played a key role in the organization's media relations and licensing departments. Gruhala comes to ATC from St. Louis where she held several key account service positions at The Vandiver Group, a full-service independent strategic communications firm, and Adamson Advertising.(ATC PR)(1-5-2005)

    • NEMCO Motorsports puts coach behind the wheel: In an era where most rookie drivers in the top NASCAR series are young enough to still be in school, NEMCO Motorsports opted for a different approach by entering a teacher instead of a student for four NASCAR races in 2005. Chris Cook, a driving instructor for NASCAR drivers including NEXTEL Cup champion Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney, Kenny Wallace and Tim Fedewa for more than a decade, will enter the road-course events at Mexico City (Busch Series), Watkins Glen (Nextel Cup and Busch Series) and Infineon Raceway (Nextel Cup) with the NEMCO Motorsports team. Cook, 33, who owns the driver coaching and testing company Shift Into Gear, has more than 20 years of racing experience. He has raced everything from late-model stocks at the Nashville Fairgrounds (Rookie of the Year in 1992), to less traditional categories like the Alaska Ice Racing Series, Grand-Am Racing Series and the Formula Drift Series. Cook has one previous start in a NASCAR Busch Series event at Watkins Glen in 1999. He ran as high as second place until a mechanical failure ended his race. Cook earned the new opportunity through the financial backing of Western Pennsylvanian entrepreneur and racing enthusiast Chris Evans, one of Cook's students. With a testing schedule in place, the search for primary sponsorship has begun. Cook's support from Stewart has generated interest from companies focused on the Hispanic market for the Mexico City event, as well as companies located near his birthplace of Sonoma, Calif., also home of Infineon Raceway. Chris and his fiance Tabitha Meready are relocating to North Carolina from Phoenix and will continue to operate the Shift into Gear business.(NEMCO PR)(1-5-2005)

    • Engine Contest Starts: RCR will be hosting the first round of the 2005 Clevite Engine Builders Contest this Wednesday, Jan. 5, and Thursday, Jan. 6, at RCR. There will be four builds each day, at noon, 2:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. RCR's Lanny Barnes and Todd Hamm took top honors in last year's final round. They will begin the defense of their title Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Everything kicks off Wednesday at noon when RCR's Ron Liddell and Freddie Turza go up against RCR's Wes Adams and John Goodwin. 2002 runners-up Danny Lawrence and Greg Gunnell step into the ring Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. The six quickest competitors will move on to the second round. No word on if the public is allowed to attend.(RCR PR)(1-5-2005)

    • Kyle to retire...after 2006? Rumors continue to grow that #45-Kyle Petty will announce his retirement after the 2006 campaign to devote all of his energies to running the team.(Yahoo Sports)(1-5-2005)

    • Schumacher Pledges help: Formula One champion Michael Schumacher plans to donate $13.60 million — or 10 million euros — to aid efforts for tsunami victims in Asia.(MSNBC)(1-5-2005)

    • More Cup drivers in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, up to 11: Chip Ganassi Racing's [#42] Jamie McMurray will this weekend join regular CGR Cup team-mate [#41] Casey Mears and sometimes CGR road-racer Scott Pruett in one of the three Lexus-Riley Daytona Prototypes the team is looking to field for the Feb. 5-6 Rolex 24 At Daytona. That makes for nine fulltime and one part-time Nextel Cup drivers who will participate in Grand American's annual Test Days at Daytona International Speedway and, presumably, go on to the Rolex 24 race itself. In all, there are five past or present NASCAR Cup champions - [#97] Kurt Busch, [#17] Matt Kenseth, #44]Terry Labonte, [#18] Bobby Labonte and [#20] Tony Stewart - actually representing six championships, who are going to be on hand for the first race in Grand American Road Racing Association's 2005 season. At least three of the above-named drivers have additionally stated their intentions to run in at least one other 2005 Rolex Series race. Champ Car's Paul Tracy, the last driver to wear a CART crown, will be teaming with defending Rolex 24 champ Bell Motorsports. Again along for the ride this year are Forest Barber, Terry Borcheller and Christian Fittipaldi.(Crash.net), another Cup drivers running include [#16] Greg Biffle
      AND been told that Krohn-TRG signed Boris Said for the Rolex 24 and he'll be at the DIS test this weekend. Boris will be in the No. 67 DP, with Krohn, Nic Jönsson of Buford, Ga., and 2004 Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice, whose IndyCar Series ride is with Letterman-Rahal Racing.(1-4-2005)
      AND: add Jimmie Johnson to the entry list in the Howard - Boss Motorsports Pontiac with Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Butch Leitzinger. Stewart will not be testing this weekend at DIS as he will be in Phoenix at the Chili Bowl. And NBC Broadcaster/driver, Wally Dallenbach is on a team with brother Paul, who did some ASA Racing in 2004 running the #74 Robinson Racing Lexus Riley 74 Ranch Resort with George Robinson and Johnnie Unser.(DBNJ)(1-5-2005)

    • Charlotte Interested in a NASCAR Museum UPDATE: Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory's arts task force is nearing the finish line, and he's waving the checkered flag -- literally -- as he calls for adding a NASCAR museum to the list of possible new projects. In early 2005, when the Charlotte City Council starts talking about public money for new museums and theaters, it should discuss the NASCAR idea, too, McCrory said. Since late summer, NASCAR reportedly has been shopping the proposal around to several cities, including Atlanta and Daytona Beach, Fla. McCrory said an uptown NASCAR museum could be the hub of what he's been calling NASCAR Valley, racing's version of the California wine country. "You come to Charlotte, spend a couple days, go to the NASCAR museum and other cultural facilities and from there, go visit the incredible racing team exhibits throughout the museum," McCrory said. NASCAR will tell cities more about the project in early 2005, said Tim Newman, president of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. That includes details about its size, cost and location. "Whatever process they design, we'll make it a highest priority to respond and make the case for why Charlotte ought to be the home of an officially sanctioned NASCAR hall of fame," Newman said. NASCAR officials could not be reached for comment.(ThatsRacin)(12-29-2004)
      UPDATE: NASCAR wants to build a hall of fame in one of four cities, and Charlotte leaders want to land it to cement the city's claim as the center of the stock-car racing world. Charlotte, Atlanta, Kansas City and Daytona Beach, Fla. will get letters from NASCAR this week asking them to pursue the chance to host it, NASCAR vice president of licensing Mark Dyer said. They will have five months to respond. NASCAR, the private corporation that owns and operates the most popular U.S. auto-racing league, could select a site by the end of the year. "We want to feel good about it 10 years from now, rather than just have a big flashy opening and make headlines for a short time," said Dyer, who is based in NASCAR's Charlotte office. NASCAR's proposal will not include requirements about size and funding sources, Dyer said. But NASCAR wants something as large and as attractive as the baseball, basketball and football halls of fame, all in smaller Northern cities. The motor sports sanctioning body will probably want the cities or local groups to build and operate the facility, Dyer said. Auto racing already has several halls of fame adjacent to NASCAR tracks, including one in Talladega, Ala., and another in Darlington, S.C. The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville, about 20 miles north of Charlotte, draws 250,000 visitors per year. Many race teams have their headquarters near Charlotte, and their shops attract thousands of visitors. One racing team, Hendrick Motorsports, has 150,000 visitors a year Since last spring, arts leaders have been lobbying the city for at least $88 million worth of downtown cultural projects, including a new art museum. Later this month, a mayoral task force on cultural facilities is scheduled to suggest revenue sources, including a higher rental car tax, a targeted uptown property tax hike and a parking surcharge.(Wilmington Star-News/AP)(1-5-2004)

    • Schumacher donates big to tsunami victims: Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher plans to donate $10 million to aid efforts for tsunami victims in Asia, making the Ferrari driver the leader among a growing number of sports stars providing help. Schumacher's manager Willi Weber made the pledge Tuesday during a telephone call to a fund-raiser on German television, organized in collaboration with the German Red Cross, the U.N. Children's Fund and other organizations.(ESPN.com/AP)(1-5-2005)

      News and Rumors from January 4, 2005

    • Larkin leaves BAM for FBR: Hearing that BAM Racing [#49] Business Manager, Gus Larkin has left the team and accepted a similar position at FitzBradshaw Racing [#12,#14, #40,#82](1-4-2004)

    • Crew Chef Challenge Helps the Tsunami Relief Effort: RACE Motorsports Marketing LLC announced today they will join the Tsunami Relief efforts by donating $10 from the sale of their 'Taste of Victory' Cookbook to the American Red Cross Tsunami Relief Fund. Within its covers, "Taste of Victory", contains 300 recipes that are sure to become some of your family's favorites. This edition has a true sense of what fans love to eat. Your taste buds will dance in delight over such entries as Bacon Wrapped Grilled Shrimp, Smoke's Chili or Coconut Colada Tart. The 3-ring binder contains 5 unique categories which include Gas and Go; We can make that pit stop in 13.8 seconds and Ahh! Victory is so Sweet. Each category divider features original artwork designed by Lori Munro. "Taste of Victory", part of the NASCAR Library Collection, makes a great gift for any occasion. To order your copy for $20 plus shipping visit www.racesports.net.(RACE Motorsports Marketing PR)(1-4-2005)

    • NASCAR on Animal Planet: To help NASCAR launch its 2005 season, Animal Planet will broadcast a one-hour programming special on NASCAR drivers and their family pets the week of the Daytona 500. NASCAR: ANIMAL CREW answers the question -- "What's with all the pets?" -- by bringing fans behind-the-scenes with NASCAR's tough competitors to reveal their soft sides. NASCAR: ANIMAL CREW debuts on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 8:00pm/et only on Animal Planet.
      Produced by Tomwil Entertainment for Animal Planet, NASCAR: ANIMAL CREW features footage shot at NASCAR events in Rockingham, North Carolina, Atlanta and Charlotte, as well as on location with drivers at home. The family pets featured are big and little, ordinary and unusual, two- and four-legged, but all similar in that they provide comfort in a career of tough competition and normalcy to a life led on the road.
      In addition, NASCAR and Animal Planet have teamed with Halifax Humane Society in Volusia County to offer NASCAR fans attending the 2005 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 20) with a sneak peek at the special, and the opportunity to bid on unique, autographed NASCAR items. The Halifax Humane Society will hold the benefit auction on February 16 at the Daytona International Speedway [see my Racing Charities page for more info]. NASCAR: ANIMAL CREW was created for NASCAR fans and animal lovers alike. The special chronicles how families and drivers navigate the NASCAR circuit with their cats and dogs in tow, where NASCAR pets such as "Mr. Bigfoot," "Shortrack," "Vegas," "Chuck," "Ragdoll" and "Pluto" play a starring role alongside their famous owners.
      NASCAR: ANIMAL CREW takes the viewer away from the track and onto family farms treasured by NASCAR's Todd Bodine, Jeff Burton, Richard Petty, all of which look forward to spending quiet time in the country with horse, cattle, goats, rabbits and more. NASCAR: ANIMAL CREW also shares the stories of animal rescue and adoption as told by the drivers and their families, such as Ryan and Krissy Newman, who support causes such as "Friends in Need" and "Paws with a Cause." More info on Animal Plant at their website.(PRN Newswire)(1-4-2005)

    • Brazilian to attempt two Cup and two Busch races: Brazilian driver Carlos Bueno, the current runner-up in the Stock Car V8 championship - the country’s version of NASCAR, tested one of Richard Childress’ NASCAR cars at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC. Bueno’s characteristic #0 was emblazoned in an orange Monte Carlo with his name and the Brazilian flag plastered on its skin. Two days and 520 laps around Caraway Speedway, the second Brazilian to ever steer a NASCAR car was ecstatic: his quickest time of 17.0 seconds topped 2004 team regular Ron Hornaday’s best, who also tested on the same days, by 0.2sec. The Brazilian is committed to another season of Stock Car racing this year, but intends to attempt four NASCAR races in 2005: two Busch starts, “preferably on short ovals,” and a step-up as a hired gun for the Nextel Cup’s two road races [Sonoma and Watkins Glen]. His ambitious planning stretches way ahead, though: “My target is to be a full-time Cup driver in four years.”(full column at Speed Channel)(1-4-2005)

    • Triplett back in Motorsports: Kevin Triplett, former NASCAR executive and a veteran of the sport since 1987, has joined Corporate Racing Group, LLC, a motorsports media/public relations firm headquartered in Bristol, TN. Triplett left NASCAR in June 2003 to pursue a U.S. Congressional seat. Corporate Racing Group is a subsidiary of The Corporate Image, a media and public relations firm headquartered in Bristol, Tenn., with offices in Asheville, N.C., and Washington, D.C. Triplett began his NASCAR career in 1987 covering motorsports part-time for the Bristol Herald Courier in Bristol, Va., and in 1989 he became the full-time racing writer for the Gaston Gazette in Gastonia, N.C. In 1992, General Motors hired Triplett to direct media relations and marketing for GM Parts, Richard Childress Racing, Ken Schrader Racing and drivers Dale Earnhardt and Ken Schrader among many others. Triplett joined NASCAR's public relations department in 1994 and was promoted to manager of communications in 1996. During that time, NASCAR was featured in a number of "non-traditional" mainstream publications such as Sports Illustrated, Forbes and Fortune. In 1997, Triplett was named director of operations for NASCAR's competition department. Triplett was elevated to NASCAR's managing director of business operations in 2001, overseeing the operation and administration aspects of what is now the NASCAR Nextel Cup, NASCAR Busch and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Triplett resides in Abingdon, Va., with his wife, Jill, and their four-year-old son, Lucas, and two-year old daughter, Sarah Grace.(Corporate Racing Group PR), see full PR with quotes on my Press Release Links page.(1-4-2005)

    • DEI Sends Young Drivers for road testing: Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) is trying to stay a step ahead of the competition. With the 2005 racing season rapidly approaching and a new road race in Mexico City slated for the NASCAR Busch Series schedule, DEI recently enrolled members of its driver development program into the Advanced Road Racing two-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving near Phoenix. The goal was to sharpen the drivers’ road-race skills under the supervision of some serious road-course masters. The students included Shane Hmiel, who has shown great promise since joining the Busch Series at the end of 2001, and Ryan Moore, a 21-year-old upstart who only recently signed with DEI after earning Busch North Series rookie-of-the-year honors in 2003. Driver Paul Menard, another DEI hopeful, was also on hand for a day of instruction. To help accelerate the learning curve, GM Racing called upon veteran Corvette driver Ron Fellows. Fellows’ role was to assist Bondurant’s expert team in teaching advanced road-racing skills to the DEI drivers in both the classroom and on the track. Hmiel will run a full Busch schedule this year, and to be successful he will have to apply what he learned from Fellows and the Bondurant instructors. Moore will again compete in the Busch North Series and is standing by for the rest of his upcoming duties for DEI. Fellows, who will be back behind the wheel of a Corvette in the American Le Mans Series this year, says he will be “very surprised” if he doesn’t compete in the Busch Series race in Mexico City.(Autoweek)(1-4-2005)

    • Dale Jr. Special on CMT, the 60 Minutes Interview: CMT presents a night of NASCAR with two thrilling premieres including CMT 40 Greatest NASCAR Moments on Friday, Jan. 28 at 8:00-10:00pm/et/pt, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Uncut: 60 Minutes Special at 10:00-11:00pm/et/pt. A new two-hour original special, CMT 40 Greatest NASCAR Moments when CMT counts down 40 of the most memorable wins, wrecks and rivalries in NASCAR history. Narrated by veteran race announcer Ken Squier, CMT 40 GREATEST NASCAR MOMENTS drives fans through more than 50 years of their favorite moments, from the first “Strictly Stock” race in 1949 to Dale Earnhardt’s first Daytona 500 win, and features new interviews with Robert “Junior” Johnson, Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Richard Childress, Jeff Gordon, Donnie Allison, Darrell Waltrip, NASCAR President Mike Helton and more.
      Dale Earnhardt Jr. Uncut: 60 Minutes Special with Mike Wallace premieres exclusively on CMT with never-before-seen footage of one of NASCAR’s elite, Dale Earnhardt Jr. In the in-depth special, Earnhardt Jr. discusses everything from his fiery crash in Sonoma, Calif. to his legendary father, Dale, to Dating for Dummies. Champion driver and friend Tony Stewart guests.(Arizona Racing Times)(1-4-2005)

      News and Rumors from January 3, 2005

    • Spencer and Shelmerdine? Jimmy Spencer still has not been picked up by another Cup team – nor by a Busch or Trucks program – for a full-time ride in 2005. With few opportunities, Spencer may be relegated to driving for a second- or third-tier team, or may have to be content with occasional fill-in stints in Cup, Busch or Trucks. There have been rumors about Spencer driving on an occasional basis for #72 Kirk Shelmerdine, but those do not appear to have much substance behind them.(Yahoo Sports)(1-3-2005)

    • Stoddard Looking Full-time at MB2/MBV? Although #36 Boris Said's deal is for just a minimum of 10 races in 2005, the phone wasn't ringing off the hook with job offers after [crew chief] Frank Stoddard was released from Bill Davis Racing [#22]. Expect Stoddard's trial period at MB/Sutton Motorsports to be just that. My guess is Stoddard has his eye on the #10 Valvoline Chevrolet, which is in need of an overhaul after finishing 29th in points. Scott Riggs is the driver for the #10, with Doug Randolph as the crew chief.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(1-3-2005)

    • Top 10 Prospects from NASCAR.com: since I am a list freak, thought this was an intersting top-10 of driver prospects:
      1. Martin Truex Jr.[DEI]
      2. Shane Hmiel
      3. Reed Sorenson [Ganassi]
      4. J.J. Yeley [Gibbs]
      5. Brendan Gaughan
      6. Erin Crocker [Evernham]
      7. Kraig Kinser
      8. Bobby East
      9. Blake Feese [Hendrick]
      10. Clint Bowyer [RCR]
      See the reasons why these drivers were chosen at NASCAR.com, Speedwaymedia.com also has a similar column today.(1-3-2005)

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