News from February 6, 2005
- Rolex 24 At Daytona: many NASCAR drivers will be running the Rolex 24 At Daytona [International Speedway]. Scott Pruett won the pole on Thursday in a Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley. NASCAR drivers scheduled to race include Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Tony Stewart, Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, Boris Said and NBC Broadcaster Wally Dallenbach Jr.
Speed Channel begins its coverage at 12:00noon/et on February 5 and will carry all of the action through the first seven hours of the race. After a one-hour break, the telecast resumes at 8:00pm/et, with coverage continuing until 11:00pm/et. The third and final segment of the telecast hits the airwaves at 8:00am/et on February 6, running through the race’s conclusion and including the post-race victory celebrations. More news and info on the Rolex 24 At Daytona at the Daytona Intl Speedway site, Daytona Beach News Journal or the grand-am.com site.(2-4/6-2005)
RESULTS The #10 Pontiac Riley, driven by Max Angelelli, Wayne Taylor and Emmanuel Collard, captured the Rolex 24 at Daytona this afternoon. Despite a competitive field of 29 Daytona Prototypes, the #10, which started second in the 62-car field, beat the #4 Pontiac Crawford entry by a whopping 11 laps. The #20 Pontiac Crawford, of Andy Wallace, Jan Lammers and Tony Stewart was third. The #20 was on the lead lap through the 23rd hour before a gearbox failure sent them to the garage for late repairs. The winning car covered 710 laps over the 3.56-mile road course. The #71 Porsche GT3, wheeled by Wolf Henzler, Dominik Farnbacher, Shawn Price and Pierre Ehret, captured GT class. They finished 10th overall.(Daytona Beach News Journal)
where the Cup drivers [and one broadcaster] finished - overall:
#4-Jimmie Johnson, 2nd
#20-Tony Stewart, 3rd
#02-Jamie McMurray, 4th
#03-Casey Mears, 6th
#01-Scott Pruett, 7th - pole sitter
#44-Bobby and Terry Labonte, 9th
#67-Boris Said, 18th
#74-Wally Dallenbach, 19th
#49-Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, 27th
from the grand-am.com site.(2-6-2005)
- Sad News: A former beautician, business owner and homemaker, Mary Lou Roberts died at her home in Guntersville on Friday after a brief illness. She had been a dialysis patient for several years and had recently been hospitalized for surgery. She celebrated her 85 th birthday last Saturday (Jan. 29) and had her daughter, son and son-in-law by her side when she died. Mrs. Roberts is the mother of Tom Roberts, who handles Rusty Wallace's public relations. Wallace is the driver of the #2 Miller Lite Penske South Racing Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series.
Mrs. Roberts is survived by a daughter, Mary Emmenegger (Jim), and a son, Tom (T. Ray) Roberts (Joni), along with three grandsons (Chris, Zach and Seth Emmenegger) and special family friend, Sylvia Peppers, all of Guntersville. She was preceded in death by her husband and a son, Billy Hugh. The family requests that any memorial donations be made to the Guntersville First United Methodist Church, the National Kidney Foundation or God’s Love Account (for animal humane services) c/o GAS, 1609 Henry Street, Guntersville, AL 35976. Funeral services were held at the Chapel In The Pines at Carr Funeral Home on Sunday with interment at Crestview Cemetery. Pallbearers were Buddy Bunch, Keith Clines, Phillip Collie, Al G. Henry, Wade Sampson and Dan Warnes. (more at trpr.com)(2-6-2005)
- Wanna buy a Auto Racing Series....on eBay: The beleaguered IPOWER Dash Series is for sale -- on eBay.
IPOWER owner Buck Parker, who lives here, put the sanctioning body on the chopping block Friday night. The starting bid for item No. 3872240288 is $100,000. For those who want to cut to the chase, you can "buy it now" for $650,000. As of Sunday morning [11am/et], there were no bids posted for IPOWER and its assets. Parker purchased the Dash Series from NASCAR at the end of 2003. In its first outing as an independent sanctioning body, one of IPOWER's drivers struck and killed Daytona International Speedway track worker Roy Weaver. IPOWER sanctioned six more races after its tragic Daytona debut, then suspended operations in 2004. Two weeks ago, Parker was forced to cancel IPOWER's premier race at Daytona due to insufficient funding. Among IPOWER's assets are the rulebook, membership list, technical equipment, a Featherlite trailer, two race cars (minus engines), track contacts, Web site, track agreements and historical material. Parker said he doesn't expect to vend his series on the Web site but sees it as the first step toward attracting some interest.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-6-2005)
- Tickets for Life Winners: David and Margaret Hemsath, of St. Charles, Mo., paid $31,500 for “tickets for life” to all events at Bristol Motor Speedway and Bristol Dragway. The Hemsaths won an auction, and the money they pledged will go to the American Red Cross for tsunami relief.(Gaston Gazette)(2-6-2005)
News from February 5, 2005
- Childress and Blaney visit JD: Nestled in the tiny town of Lynchburg (POP. 361), Tenn., sits an American icon. Lynchburg is home to the world-renowned Jack Daniel Distillery and is the primary sponsor of Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #07 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Dave Blaney. On Jan. 24, Childress, Blaney and members of the RCR staff made the pilgrimage to Lynchburg to see how Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is made and what makes it one of the most popular brands of whiskey in the world. The answer is simple, time. Much like RCR hand-crafts every one of its race cars in Welcome, N.C., every drop of Jack Daniel’s is charcoal-mellowed, aged and bottled in Lynchburg today in the same time-honored tradition as it was when Jack Daniel himself registered his distillery with U.S. Government in 1866. Childress, Blaney and company were treated to a guided tour by Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jimmy Bedford himself. At the end of the tour, Bedford presented Childress with a hand-selected barrel of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey.(RCR Site) - Jayski has been there three times, the last in Oct 2001 for the World Championship Barbecue, great little town and a lot of fun.(2-5-2005)
- Harvick to Penske? The biggest question facing #2 [and #12, #77] owner Roger Penske this season is signing someone to take Rusty Wallace's place [after he retires at the end of 2005]. The most obvious answer, of course, is Jamie McMurray, who is already in the Dodge camp and driving Wallace's Busch cars. But McMurray is still under contract to Chip Ganassi [supposedly thru 2007], whose rivalry with Penske is well-known and who is not going to give up his own No. 1 driver easily. Penske shies away from even talking about McMurray. "I will tell you at this point I have not even had one conversation with Jamie McMurray about driving on this race team," Penske insisted. "Yes, he would be a great driver, but he's already under contract with Chip." One name that has just come up on Penske's tentative list, according to sources, is Kevin Harvick, who has been driving for Richard Childress since Dale Earnhardt's death in 2001. Miller Brewing, a longtime Penske-Wallace sponsor, has been pressuring the team for more results, in light of the impressive performance by Bud-sponsored rival Dale Earnhardt Jr. In fact, Miller execs, according to sources, have wanted Penske to bring Ryan Newman, Wallace's teammate - sometimes estranged teammate, as at the moment - into the Miller sponsorship fold.(in part from the Winston Salem Journal)(2-5-2005)
- RCR signs driver for Drive for Diversity: NASCAR driver Allison Duncan will participate in the Drive for Diversity initiative for a second season, joining the Bill McAnally Racing/Richard Childress Racing Development Program for the 2005 season in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series (NDWS). With a top-five finish in the Hickory Motor Speedway year-end points standings under her belt, Duncan will drive the #20 Bill McAnally Racing/Richard Childress Racing Driver Development Program (BMR/RCR) Chevrolet Monte Carlo in NDMS events at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, California. Sponsors for the #20 car will be announced in the coming weeks. The San Rafael, California native was chosen by BMR/RCR team representatives at the 2005 Drive for Diversity Combine Testing and Evaluation, held last fall at the Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia. Duncan will be a teammate if open wheel star Sarah Fisher on the BMR/RCR team, as Fisher will also participate in Drive for Diversity in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series.(PR)(2-5-2005)
- Penske Teams up with Howard-Boss: Penske Technology Group, formerly Auto Research Center of Mooresville, N.C., announced today it is re-branding its industry leading wind tunnel and vehicle dynamics facility in Mooresville, N.C. To launch the name change, Penske Technology Group will join Howard-Boss Motorsports during its 2005 Grand American Rolex season. The relationship with Howard-Boss Motorsports is a program developed in conjunction with Crawford Race Cars, LLC that centers on the
continuing development of the Crawford Daytona Prototype chassis that competes in the Grand American Rolex Series. Penske Technology Group will continue to focus its highly specialized workforce on growth industries, while maintaining its focus in motorsports. Their customer's make up the majority of the top ten chase contenders in last year's Nextel Chase for the championship. As well as the title contenders in the IRL racing league and Grand American Sports car Series; they also plan to expand their clientele within the racing industry. The Penske Technology Group is available to all manufacturers and teams in professional motorsports. Additional focus will be directed towards expanding business within the automotive and defense industries, along with various consumer products. The No. 4 Howard Boss / Penske Technology Group car has a great driver lineup with NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson and sports car aces Butch Leitzinger and Elliot Forbes-Robinson. Operating in Mooresville, N.C., Penske Technology Group offers a rolling road wind tunnel and seven-post vehicle dynamics rig. Available engineering services include: aerodynamic and vehicle
dynamic testing; scanning and surfacing of three-dimensional objects and full-size vehicles, CAD modeling, rapid prototyping, custom
instrumentation, engineering and design.(Penske Technology Group PR)(2-5-2005)
- Labonte's to run Watkins Glen road race: Kevin Doran, president of Doran Racing, and Bobby Labonte announced yesterday that they will join forces and plan to field a car in three Grand American Rolex Series races in 2005, including the race at The Glen during the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen August 11-14. This weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona International Raceway will be Doran Labonte's first event. They will also participate in the Paul Revere 250 at Daytona June 29-30 and will run a third time at Watkins Glen International on Friday during the Grand American Rolex Series race on August 12. The two races will be held in conjunction with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events. Bobby Labonte drives the Interstate Batteries Chevy for Joe Gibbs Racing in NASCAR. His older brother, Terry Labonte, a two-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, is doing a limited NASCAR schedule in 2005 and 2006 with Hendrick Motorsports in the Kelloggs Chevy. The Labonte brothers along with endurance sports car superstar Jan Magnussen, will comprise the driver roster for the two races this summer. The Rolex Series Daytona Prototype will be registered as a Doran Labonte Racing entry. It is a bright red DORAN JE4 powered by a Pontiac engine, and carries #44. Doran Racing also fields the gold Crown Royal Special Reserve DORAN JE4 Lexus #77 of Didier Theys, Matteo Bobbi and Fabrizio Gollin. All of the Grand American Rolex Series races will be televised on Speed. For more information, please see www.doranracing.com and www.bobbylabonte.com. For tickets and additional information, including pricing, please contact the Watkins Glen ticket office at 866-461-RACE, log on to the official Watkins Glen website at
www.TheGlen.com(Watkins Glen PR)(2-5-2005)
News from February 4, 2005
- TV Stuff: #42-Jamie McMurray is having a big time as NASCAR's newest Hollywood star. He just filmed an a bit in "E! True Hollywood Story" Wednesday, while testing at the California Speedway. And McMurray and teammate Casey Mears will appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Feb. 22, for airing Feb. 23.(Winston Salem Journal)
AND: Casey Mears is scheduled to be on Animal Planet's NASCAR Animal Crew on Feb 17th and MTV Cribs on Nov. 21st.(2-4-2005)
- California Testing - Day 2 - over, no speeds: Thursday marked the final day of NASCAR Preseason Thunder, the annual preseason test sessions that began Jan. 11 at Daytona. Both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and the NASCAR Busch Series have spent the week engaged in the West Coast portion; on Monday and Tuesday, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tested at Las Vegas while the NASCAR Busch Series tested at California Speedway. The series switched tracks for Wednesday’s and Thursday’s sessions. Still California breezin’ ... Strong Santa Ana winds continued to blast California Speedway on Thursday, frustrating teams and playing havoc with testing data. “This is by far the windiest I have ever tested anywhere, anytime,” said Mark Martin (No. 6 Viagra Ford), who’s retiring from fulltime competition after the 2005 season and has his share of tests under his belt. Turns three and four took the brunt of gusty northeast winds, and high wind warnings were posted for inland areas through mid-Thursday afternoon.
“(Turns) one and two are where you’re doing most of your testing,” Kevin Harvick said. “(Turns) three and four, there’s a lot of wind blowing, and it’s hard to get anything done. But you can still get a lot accomplished and get your car handling well.”
Teammates and admirers … Roush Racing teammates Mark Martin and Kurt Busch (No. 97 IRWIN Industrial Tools/Sharpie Ford) both visited the California media center during Thursday’s lunch break and both waxed eloquent about teammates and chemistry. Martin is anticipating his final fulltime season while Busch will try to defend his 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title. Busch paid tribute to Martin. “With Mark creating the identity for Roush Racing, it enabled me to jump into a competitive car and win races right away,” said the 27-year-old Busch. “The same thing for Matt Kenseth (No. 17 DeWalt Tools Ford). Mark is the essential ingredient that built Roush Racing. To look at Mark and see what he’s done. He’s a true competitor. He inspires us to look at him and want to be like him.”
And Martin doesn’t want the commitment of his No. 6 crew to be lost in the hubbub of his final season.
"We're focused pretty intensely on 2005, the whole team,” Martin said. “They paid me a great compliment and honor. It will be the first time that I've had such a successful season, that I can remember and not lost team members to other races teams, and it wasn't because people didn't try to get them. It was because they knew that we had a championship caliber team and they wanted to give me a shot."(NASCAR PR) No official speeds were kept during the test sessions on the West Coast.(2-4-2005)
News from February 3, 2005
- MRN Honored: Motor Racing Network (MRN) Reporter Steve Blevins, was honored by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) with three awards including co-winner of the prestigious "Barney Hall Award" at the NMPA Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C. earlier this week. For their outstanding radio coverage of NASCAR races in 2004, the NMPA also recognized three other MRN reporters for their exceptional work. Those honorees include:
Radio Spot News:
2nd place: Steve Blevins, NASCAR Today: The Daytona 500
2nd Place: Steve Blevins, Chase for the NEXTEL Cup
3rd Place: Ryan Horn, Pepsi 400: A Salute to the King
Long Form Feature:
2nd Place: Chris Symeon, Road to The NEXTEL Cup
3rd Place: Dave Moody, Sirius Speedway, Don Garlits Legends segment
Barney Hall Award:
Steve Blevins (co-winner) presented to the top award winner in the radio category.
"To be honored by our peers is such a great accomplishment by our entire staff," said network President David Hyatt. "As NASCAR's fan base continues to grow, we're excited to provide award-winning coverage to millions of fans around the world."(DIS PR)(2-3-2005)
- Earthquake in California: A California 3.2 earthquake that occurred Wednesday evening did not go unnoticed by several members of the NASCAR community who aren’t used to such events. Ricky Rudd was in his hotel room when...“I heard a bang…like someone took a baseball bat and hit your bed with it. It wasn’t shaking…it was one time, like one big boom. It was kind of odd…didn’t know exactly what it was and didn’t think too much about it then. When I woke up this morning (Thursday) I found out it was an earthquake 15 miles away.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(2-3-2005)
- Two Thursday Fontana testing notes: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #8 car blew a motor about two hours prior to the end of the session. Eariler in the day #31-Jeff Burton scrubbed the wall in turn four after his car got too tight.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(2-3-2005)
- Stewart wins Poker Tournament: #20-Tony Stewart defeated Penske Racing South's Ryan Newman to capture the Michael Waltrip Celebrity Poker Tournament at the Palms Casino, according to a Dodge press release. Twelve participants began playing Monday night in the Texas Hold 'Em event in which each driver played on behalf of his favorite charity, and the field was cut to six for last night's final session. Chip Ganassi Racing driver Casey Mears finished third after going all in against Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s Dale Earnhardt Jr.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-3-2005)
TV SPEED Channel taped the Michael Waltrip Celebrity Poker Tournament at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas this week for a special to be broadcast at a date to be determined ... will get you more information as dates and times are set. Players in the popular Texas Hold'em tournament included NASCAR's Michael Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Benny Parsons, Casey Mears, Brian Vickers, Ryan Newman, Kyle Petty, Elliott & Hermie Sadler. Speed Channel put up the $100,000 prize money, with half going to Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp through Waltrip's "Operation Marathon" and the other half going to the charity of the winner's choice.(Speed Channel), see images of the drivers at the tourney at RacingWest.com.(2-3-2005)
- Some California Notes: #9-Kasey Kahne ran over some debris and crashed between turns three and four. He was able to drive back to the garage. He was not injured. Kahne resumed testing in a back up car. "I was going into turn one and ran over a chuck of something. I thought I had the car saved about four times, but I finally lost it and the right rear went into the wall. It's not hurt too bad considering. There was a little hole in the tire, but I'm not sure what I ran over. It was our B car, and the A car was better at our test in Las Vegas.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(2-3-2005)
- Newman in the game: Electronic Arts announced that the latest game from its NASCAR videogame franchise from the EA SPORTS brand, NASCAR SimRacing, will feature NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Ryan Newman, driver of the #12 ALLTEL Dodge. In addition to being both cover athlete and spokesperson for the franchise, Newman also worked extensively with the game development team to produce the most realistic NASCAR PC simulation to date. The combination of Newman's engineering background, Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup participation, and strong gaming experience make him uniquely qualified to be part of the development team for the new PC title.(Businesswire.com)(2-3-2005)
- No Donlavey entry at Daytona..but he'll be there: Junie Donlavey is making his annual February pilgrimage to Daytona Beach, Fla., but for the first time in 50 years, his #90 Ford won't be in tow. The Richmond-based car owner, who will turn 81 on April 8, will skip Daytona 500 qualifying after attempting to make the Great American Race every season since the 1959 opening of Daytona International Speedway. Before the 2.5-mile track was built, Donlavey raced on the beach course. He campaigned cars for more than 100 drivers on NASCAR's premier circuit but hasn't competed full time in the Nextel Cup Series since losing a sponsor at the midpoint of the 2002 season. Donlavey Racing attempted only the season opener in each of the past two years, and its cars haven't stayed abreast of rule changes in NASCAR. "I just don't have anything to take down there," said Donlavey, who attended yesterday's news conference at Richmond International Raceway as a proponent of bringing a NASCAR Hall of Fame to the track. Though the team isn't operational, Donlavey still keeps occasional hours at his Southside shop. He spends much of his time at a new house on Lake Shawnee in Powhatan County and said he hasn't missed the grind of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-3-2005)
- California Testing: Test sessions are for shaking down new cars, adjusting to new rules and building season-long data bases. Battling Mother Nature usually doesn’t make the to-do list, but Wednesday at California Speedway, many NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams had to figure wind resistance into their test plans. Strong Santa Ana winds – seasonal gusts that whip thru West Coast mountains and desert – sent garbage cans flying in the garage. They also played havoc with spoilers, bumpers and handling as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series embarked on the next-to-last day of NASCAR Preseason Thunder.
The annual preseason test sessions that began Jan. 11 at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR Preseason Thunder moved west this week for the final four days. On Monday and Tuesday, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tested at Las Vegas while the NASCAR Busch Series tested at California Speedway. The series switched tracks for Wednesday’s and Thursday’s sessions, and what was the occasional nuisance gust in Las Vegas became a steady gale in Fontana. “The wind’s very tough today,” said Elliott Sadler (#38 M&M’s Ford), who visited the California media center during Wednesday’s lunch break. “How much are we going to learn? Because chances are it’s not going to be like that when we come back.” Wind or not, California native – El Cajon, to be exact – Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) was just happy to be back in the Golden State. As far as he’s concerned, the Santa Ana blew a welcome his way. “What I like most is being in my home state,” Johnson said. “I like coming home. I’m excited NASCAR is in California and excited that it has come to west coast.”
When the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series does comes back to California, it will do so Sunday, Feb. 27 for the second race of the season. The Auto Club 500 is one week after the season-opening Daytona 500. The defending race champion is Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevrolet), another Wednesday visitor to the media center, and although he’d love to repeat – plus win a third career Daytona 500 – he admitted his immediate attention is on the on-track knowledge he and his team are accumulating this week. “Right now we’re just focused on here and Las Vegas and seeing what we have at the downforce tracks,” said Gordon, referring to Las Vegas’ 1.5-mile and California’s 2-mile lengths. And he acknowledged Mother Nature’s challenge. “We are really struggling right now with the wind,” Gordon said. “I don’t know how much valuable information we are going to get out of this test if the wind keeps up like this and I think it is supposed to.” Still, the #24 team has a considerable bank of knowledge it can withdraw from should the wind skew test results. Gordon is a three-time winner at California, and comfort factors can’t be overestimated.
“I don’t know why we have had such good success here,” he said Wednesday. “I mean I think it is like anywhere else. I think it is a combination of just really well prepared race cars, good horsepower and giving me a comfort. On the first lap on the track today, I did, I felt really comfortable. Is that the cars or me? It’s hard to say. We are always looking for good results and we continue to get them out here and we want to keep that going.” So does Sadler, who won last year’s Labor Day weekend event at California and would like a second consecutive victory at the track – wind or not. “It’s great to come back to a track you won at because your confidence is unbelievable,” Sadler said. “We’re kind of picking up where we left off. We’re comfortable. I feel like I could pack it up, come back here and have a good shot at winning.”(NASCAR PR), no speeds reported.(2-3-2005)
- Yeley to run Daytona ARCA Race: Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Shaver Motorsports will field an ARCA Remax Series entry at Daytona International Speedway for J.J. Yeley, driver of the #18 Vigoro / Home Depot Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series. The Daytona ARCA event will mark the second time Shaver Motorsports has fielded a car for a Joe Gibbs Racing developmental driver. Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series, piloted his Shaver Motorsports ride to an impressive third place finish in the 2004 ARCA Remax Series finale at Talladega. "Shaver Motorsports did a great job working with Denny Hamlin at Talladega, and we wanted to give J.J. Yeley the same opportunity to get some more seat time at a restrictor plate track," said Steve DeSouza, Vice President of Busch Operations for Joe Gibbs Racing. Yeley will drive the #2 Shaver Motorsports entry, and the car will be adorned with the insignia of the new Joe Gibbs Performance Synthetic Racing Oil. Joe Gibbs Performance Vehicles will also be displayed on the #2 Shaver Motorsports entry.(JGR PR)(2-3-2005)
- Drive for Diversity Forum today: The Drive for Diversity program, recognized as NASCAR's leading on-track diversity initiative, will present "The Drive for Diversity Motorsports Forum," in conjunction with North Carolina A&T State University, on Thursday, February 3, 2005 at the university's New Classroom Building Auditorium. "The Drive for Diversity Motorsports Forum" is a symposium that will acquaint students with career paths in motorsports and bring them up to speed with many diversity efforts within motorsports, and more specifically, NASCAR. Representatives from the racing industry, including NASCAR, will be on hand to discuss both on-track and off-track initiatives. The first session, "Off-Track Initiatives: NASCAR's Driving Force," will discuss opportunities that include roles in event management, licensing, marketing, sponsorship, public relations, business, law, sales and related fields. The second session, "On-Track Initiatives: The Drive for Diversity," will include discussions about how aspiring drivers and crew members get involved in the sport. Additionally, information will be provided to those seeking opportunities in engineering, manufacturing systems, technology, team management/ownership, and related fields. Students from North Carolina A&T State University, along with other regional universities, have been invited to build awareness about the motorsports industry and to provide a setting for future motorsports professionals to network and practically apply their classroom curriculum toward a successful career.
Drive for Diversity is also excited to announce that the Army National Guard will be a partner in Thursday's forum. For more information about North Carolina A&T State University, please visit www.ncat.edu.(Drive for Diversity PR)(2-3-2005)
News from February 2, 2005
- So..what is up with Sterling? #40-Sterling Marlin, a regular on the circuit since 1987, wants to drive for a couple of more years and wants to remain with Chip Ganassi so he can close his career with a team that was owned by Felix Sabates when Marlin joined it in 1998. That scenario is far from a lock. Marlin is in the last year of his contract with Ganassi and is winless since 2002. He knows to be asked back he will have to show improvement over the three top-fives and a 21st-place points finish of 2004. Ganassi bluntly called the performance of Marlin's team disappointing in prepared remarks to the press during last week's media tour stop at a mammoth new building that houses the cars of Marlin and teammates Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears. "I don't know if we're going to renew," Marlin said. "I talked to Chip about re-upping a month ago to see what we're going to do and Coors is going to do." Marlin indicated that Ganassi didn't close the door. "Chip was open to extending," Marlin said. "I'd like to stay here. I've got a lot of friends here and they've built a really nice shop. I've driven for Felix a long time. So I'd like to retire here if I can."(High Point Enterprise)(2-2-2005)
- PRN Staffers Sweep 1st Honors during NMPA Awards Banquet: Members of the Performance Racing Network [PRN] broadcast team swept first-place honors in the three radio categories during the recent National Motorsports Press Association
Kent Bernhardt, production coordinator for the radio network, earned first-place in the Long Feature category for a story chronicling the
life of veteran NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Morgan Shepherd. Bernhardt also earned third-place in the Spot News category and was named co-winner of the prestigious Barney Hall Award, presented annually by the NMPA to the top award winner in the radio category.
Mark Garrow, host of PRN's daily racing news show "Garage Pass" and co-anchor of the network's race broadcasts, took home the first-place trophy in the Spot News category for his reporting of the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash. This was the 30th NMPA award Garrow has earned during his distinguished broadcasting career.
Veteran PRN announcer Steve Richards completed the sweep, earning first-place in the Spot Feature category for a report focusing on the triumph and tragedy of Jimmie Johnson's 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season.
"These awards exemplify the dedication to excellence to which the entire PRN staff subscribes," said Doug Rice, vice president and
general manager of PRN. "I'm extremely proud of their accomplishments." PRN broadcasts 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races, eight NASCAR Busch Series events and produces "Fast Talk with Benny Parsons," "The Pit Reporters," "PRN's Sunday Drive" and "zMAX Racing Country." The network's first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race broadcast of the year will be the March 13 UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(LMS PR)(2-2-2005)
- Craven Snowmobile Ride a Success: The eighth annual Ricky Craven Snowmobile Ride for Charity raised $185,225 last weekend which put the overall, eight-year total over the $1 million mark. As an added highlight, Maine’s Gov. John E. Baldacci joined the group of over 400 riders on the 60-mile course through the Moosehead Lake region of Greenville, Maine. “When I think of how we started and where we are today, I’m totally amazed,” said Craven, driver of the #99 Superchips Ford F-150. “Our goal for this event was to break the $1 million mark and we accomplished that. We had good weather, great trails, many generous contributors and over 400 riders which made this event a huge success.” Checks for $35,000 each were presented to representatives from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Give Kids the World, the Marrow Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network and the Travis Roy Foundation. In addition, Craven presented checks for $2,500 each to the Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club and the town of Greenville’s groomer fund, and $5,000 to the Greenville school system. “I have to thank everyone who worked so hard on this event,” Craven said. “My Mom (Nancy Craven) heads up this event and there are so many volunteers who make it all happen. We could never achieve the success we have without their dedication.”(Roush Racing PR)(2-2-2005)
- Some testing notes from Las Vegas: Racecars testing at Las Vegas are not equipped with timing transponders, however it's clear to many which cars are the quickest. Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Jeremy Mayfield, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch are the top cars according to garage insiders. During Tuesday's lunch break Kahne said, "Las Vegas is a good track to test
at because it changes and you need to figure out what your car does. We're way different than the 19 (Mayfield) and the 48 (Johnson) is probably the dominate car here that I've seen so far...maybe the 19 is up there...but...the 48 is defiantly better that we are. My car feels good...I tested this package at Atlanta and it was a really loose package but here it feels real good...we'll see how it feels at
California the next two days."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(2-2-2005)
- Elliott to run three Busch races? for Rusty? and Gaughan? been told that Bill Elliott will race three Busch Series races for Rusty Wallace Inc., including Nashville Superspeedway, Pikes Peak and Milwaukee.(1-28-2005)
AND Rusty Wallace said on Tuesday that he has some unresolved slots on his Busch Series roster this year, and he hopes Brendan Gaughan can fill the gaps. Gaughan was Wallace's teammate at Penske Racing last year. Wallace, who fielded Busch cars under the Rusty Wallace Inc. banner in 2004, says he is trying to add Gaughan to a long list of drivers of the #64, including Jamie McMurray, Jeremy Mayfield and himself. "I've got some races I've got to get filled in yet and I plan on calling Brendan and ask him to do it. I've got that much confidence in him," Wallace said.(NASCAR.com)(2-2-2005)
- Las Vegas Testing - Day 2 - no speeds: Kurt and Kyle Busch have won races all over the United States, but the Las Vegas natives have one major void in their trophy case - a trophy from Las Vegas Motor Speedway. While the two have won many times at the speedway's Bullring, the big prize would be a win in the March 13 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400. "We raced here last year together in our first Cup start ever for Kyle in Vegas," said Kurt Busch, the reigning Nextel Cup Series champion. "It was reminiscent of what we used to do at the Bullring for so many years. It's a good time. I know that this time around we can be more competitive. I know that Kyle is going to have more experience under his belt and there is a chance for us to run side by side for position. That's something that we're always looking forward to and we know that there are 41 other competitors out there so we can't get too wrapped up in it but yet it is fun because it's Vegas." Kurt and Kyle were among 43 NASCAR Nextel Cup teams and eight NASCAR Busch Series teams who participated in Tuesday's Preseason Thunder Las Vegas.
"Yeah it's definitely going to be great," said Kyle, who will compete for rookie of the year honors in the Kellogg's Chevrolet. "I mean obviously coming out here to race in Las Vegas again; I mean we've grown up here. Just over there at the Bullring but now to race
on the big speedway. It's only my fourth start on a big track so it's going to be a lot of fun. Just trying to basically get the feel for
the cars for myself and gain the experience that I need to in order to get the comfort level up to run up front. If there is just a slight
chance that I can keep up with the 97 car, then that would be great." Kurt has had moderate success at LVMS recording just one
top-10 finish in four Nextel Cup starts. Kyle completed only 11 laps in last year's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, but had strong runs in the
Sam's Town 300 Busch race as well as a Craftsman Truck Series event in 2001. Despite the comforts of home that Las Vegas brings, there is pressure to perform for the hometown fans as well. "I have noticed we've been out here every year testing," Kurt said. "Every year we come out to Vegas to kick off right after Daytona. It's a great place to come and test, to get things back into motion and that always gets me pumped up for Vegas. It is a race that I put a bit more emphasis on. This is an equivalent race to me such as the Daytona 500 or the Brickyard 400. I rank it in my top five races that I want to win throughout my career. But this is large. What our dad helped us do in our early stages of our careers, to understand race cars from the ground up whether it was setting them up or knowing how to buy specific parts. It's just the management that our dad taught us about race cars and the fun that we're going to be able to have."
The Nextel Cup teams completed their two-day test Tuesday, while 20 Busch Series teams are expected to arrive for Wednesday and
Thursday. The only incidents in Tuesday's test was a spin late in the session by #17-Matt Kenseth, a blown engine in the morning session by #07-Dave Blaney and slight contact with the wall by Busch Series driver #38-Tyler Walker.(LVMS.com)(2-2-2005)
AND John Andretti brought about an early end to Monday's test session when he spun and hit the wall in Turn 3 with approximately 10 minutes remaining. Andretti, who is driving the #14 Ford for ppc Racing, was not injured in the incident. NASCAR did not bring its timing equipment to Las Vegas, so no official times or speeds were available Monday.(Las Vegas Sun)(2-2-2005)
- Richmond goes for Hall of Fame: The Richmond area has entered the race to become the site of a NASCAR Hall of Fame that could generate an unprecedented amount of fan foot traffic for an athletic shrine. Joining Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Daytona Beach, Fla.; and Kansas City, Kan., in the bidding, the Henrico County Economic Development Authority is spearheading a proposal to be submitted by May 31. The organization will have support from the state, the Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Retail Merchants Association of Greater Richmond, Greater Richmond Partnership and Richmond International Raceway, which will hold a news conference this afternoon to discuss the project. NASCAR, which announced intentions last month to start its first sanctioned Hall of Fame, could choose a location by the end of the year. RIR President Doug Fritz has offered his track as a location for the Hall. Fritz said the Richmond area would qualify as a prime contender because of its location -- within 500 miles of 50 percent of the U.S. population -- and stock-car history. RIR has been playing host to NASCAR's premier circuit at the Fairgrounds since 1953, making it the second-oldest stop on the Nextel Cup Series.(Richmond Times-Dispatch and a story at the Daily Press)(2-2-2005)
- Barrett gets a sponsor for Daytona Cup and Busch races: First Trust Portfolios, L.P., a Chicagoland firm specializing in Asset Management, Financial Advisory and Defined Portfolio supervision, will be primary sponsor for Stanton Barrett's #92 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car in the season-opening Daytona 500. Master Spas will serve as associate sponsor. The car is fielded by Front Row Motorsports, owned by restaurant entrepreneur Bob Jenkins. For Barrett's NASCAR Busch Series car, the #36 Chevrolet fielded by DCT Motorsports, will have primary sponsorship divided between Master Spas and First Trust Portfolios.(Williams Company PR)(2-2-2005)
News from February 1, 2005
- DW at the Super Bowl: DW will be attending Super Bowl 39 in Jacksonville between New England and the EAGLES. DW and MLB on FOX analyst Tim McCarver will be hosting a charity golf event which will be part of FOX's pre-game coverage. Also, DW will be on the set of the NFL on FOX Post Game show as FOX begins the transitition from NFL on FOX to NASCAR on FOX.(2-1-2005)
- Shepherd runs good at Daytona, catches NASCAR's eye: How do you know when your testing at Daytona International Speedway has gotten some attention? When NASCAR walks over to your car and asks if you have the right restrictor plate on the engine. While some might think that would happen with speedsters such as Penske Racing or Chip Ganassi Racing, that wasn’t the case this year at the 2.5-mile speedway. Instead, it was asked of Morgan Shepherd, driver and owner of the #89 Racing With Jesus Dodge. As for Penske and Ganassi . . . uh . . . they were slower than Shepherd on the overall time charts for single-car runs during Speed Weeks testing. “First, they wanted to look at my restrictor plate. Then, when that checked out OK, they asked to look at the carburetor,” Shepherd laughed. “When that checked out, they just looked up and smiled and said, ‘Hey! Good run!’” Shepherd’s own Dodge Charger was the one he ran so well with. A Joey Arrington engine made much of the difference, he said. “We were fast right off the bat but we learned some things as we moved along and got even better,” said Shepherd. “We worked some with Bill Davis (racing, which also fields Dodges) and I think we helped them a little too.(Williams Company)(2-1-2005)
- Chex Most Popular Driver Voting Begins Tuesday: Voting for the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award will being online Tuesday, Feb. 1, at www.mostpopulardriver.com. More than 40 drivers are eligible for the only fan-based award in motorsports. Fans may vote once each day at the site through 11:59am/ct, Monday, Nov. 21.(Williams Company PR)(2-1-2005)
- Fuel Comapny Plans NASCAR Promotions: Sunoco is planning two new campaigns this year that take advantage of its status as NASCAR's official fuel sponsor and supplier, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports. Writer Scott Warfield says the Sunoco Spot-A-Winner Sweepstakes will begin in May and have a top prize that will include a lunch with five NASCAR drivers and driving tips from them. As part of the campaign, Sunoco will give away authentic contingency decals at its 4,600 retail sites. The company will also have a second campaign in the fall offering merchandise tied to the Chase For The Nextel Cup.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-1-2005)
- Martin may start a Truck Series team: Mark Martin hinted on Monday that he is leaning towards fielding his own trucks in the Craftsman Truck Series, a decision that would keep him closer to home in 2006. Martin has long said that he plans on making the Craftsman Truck Series a part of his post-Nextel Cup life. His current employer, Roush Racing, fields two full-time trucks and could easily make room for whatever schedule Martin plans to run in 2006. "I am looking very hard at the Craftsman Truck Series next year," Martin said. "Initially, the talks were to be a part of Roush." Martin stressed that if he starts a team, it would be for his own family's use.(NASCAR.com)(2-1-2005)
- Ad rates go up at Fox: Advertisers will be paying 9 to 10 percent more to buy time on the Fox network during its broadcasts of 2005 NASCAR races, according to Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal . Media columnist Andy Bernstein says Fox had sought increases of more than 15 percent but settled for hikes that were similar to those for other top sports events. The story also says Fox has compelled advertisers to buy into additional races to secure choice spots and pricing during its coverage of the season- opening Daytona 500 on Feb. 20. That sounds like the NASCAR Nextel Cup ticket deals that require fans to buy tickets to the support events. It's all because NASCAR's TV ratings took a jump last year due to The Chase To The Nextel Cup.(TV Times at the Stock Car Gazette)(2-1-2005)
- Las Vegas Testing - Day 1 - no speeds: As soon as NASCAR announced it would reduce the size of rear spoilers and soften tire compounds, many race teams were complaining about how hard the cars would be to drive. After one full day of testing the new rules at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, most drivers feel the concerns were overblown. “There has been a lot of hysteria around the changes this year,” said Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Ford. “It was a year ago since I was here, and my car feels just like it did a year ago.” Martin was one of 43 NASCAR Nextel Cup teams who took part in NASCAR Preseason Thunder Las Vegas. The drivers tested Monday and will return to LVMS on Tuesday to prepare for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 13. While Martin noticed no difference in his car, some drivers felt their cars were a little looser than in the past. “There is a lot of movement in the car, but I think with my background and driving style, it’s not going to hurt me as much as some of the other guys,” said Jimmie Johnson, driver of the Lowe’s Chevrolet. “The car has been great though. I haven’t had a chance to race with anyone else to see what the car will act like in traffic though.” Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon was surprised at how well his car handled. “We are noticing that there is not as big a difference as what we expected,” Gordon said. “We expected the cars to be a lot looser, so we came here really tight. I’m pretty happy so far.” No official testing times were recorded, but most teams felt their lap times were comparable to past years. Testing resumes Tuesday, and the speedway’s grandstands will be open to the public free of charge. The stars of the NASCAR Busch Series will arrive Wednesday for a two-day test.(LVMS.com)(2-1-2005)
News from January 31, 2005
- ISC and IMS's George set to make announcement? There is a long-standing rumor that there will soon be a joint announcement involving the International Speedway Corporation and Tony George. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation (IMSC) and ISC are already partners in The Motorsports Alliance, which ensures that their activities in circuit ownership do not conflict with one another. NASCAR uses Indianapolis Motor Speedway for one of its biggest events of the year and the IMSC-owned Indy Racing League regularly race on ISC circuits across the United States. Thus is in the interest of the ISC that the IRL remains healthy. The problem is that no-one is quite sure what is going to be announced although logically ISC must see open-wheeler racing as a good way to develop in the future now that NASCAR is reaching saturation point and international expansion is being considered. It may be that the parties consider that to be too big a step and want to increase their hold on the racing scene across the United States. ISC has already made a foray into sports car racing with the GrandAm championship, which it established in 1999 to bring stability to professional endurance road racing in America. This has been a big success and there has been speculation that ISC may now try to do the same thing with IRL, in league with George. It should be remembered that GrandAm was one of the companies that showed interest when CART's assets were up for sale at the start of 2004. Whatever the case, something is brewing that could have an effect on the popularity of open-wheeler racing in the United States - which would be a good thing for F1 which remains the exotic but respected cousin of Champ Car and IRL and the place where ambitious young drivers in both series want to end up.(Grandprix.com)(1-31-2005)
- Nextel Raised Nearly $600,000 in 2004 to Benefit Military Families via the American Red Cross: Nextel Communications collected nearly 80,000 wireless phones and raised nearly $600,000 in 2004 to benefit the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services (AFES) program through the DONATE A PHONE program, as well as other fundraising efforts. With more than $900,000 raised since the campaign's inception in May 2003, Nextel, along with assistance from Nextel Partners Inc. and the American Red Cross, anticipates reaching the $1 million mark by the program's two-year anniversary this May.(TMC)(1-31-2005)
- Mikey finishes LV Marathon under 4 hours, Petty just over: #15-Michael Waltrip and #45-Kyle Petty competed in the Las Vegas International Marathon in Las Vegas on Sunday with Waltrip finishing 747th [of 2189] with a time of 3:59.23 [4 hoursd was Mikey's goal] and Petty finished 1112 with a time of 4:18.34. Poker Game with drivers tonight. Full results at tri-a-run.com.(1-31-2005)
- Gilliland wins at Phoenix: David Gilliland used lap traffic to slip by [#29 Cup driver] Kevin Harvick and pull away to win the United Rentals 100 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. Defending series champion Mike Duncan finished the race in second, with series rookie Jason Jefferson taking third. Mike David finished fourth, followed by Brandon Ash in fifth. #10 ppc Racing's Busch driver ended up 6th, Kevin Harvick ended up 13th, Sarah Fisher finished 21st, Ken Schrader ended up 31st.(Phoenix International Raceway PR)(1-31-2005)
- Rusty Kicks off 'Last Call" with Charity News: #2-Rusty Wallace has claimed that his 2005 retirement tour, dubbed "Rusty's Last Call," is all about giving back to the fans. After some of his recent charity initiatives, he has more than enough evidence to lend credibility to such a claim. Wallace and NASCAR Team Owner, Felix Sabates, recently made a trip to Boca Raton, FL, for a January 15 fundraiser. The event, held at the Boca Raton Airport, featured an auction to benefit the Cancer Center at Boca Raton Community Hospital. During the event, attended by nearly 1500 guests, Wallace auctioned one of his Miller Lite driving uniforms. The uniform brought $22,000 in proceeds for the hospital. Sabates personally matched this amount, bringing the grand total for
the uniform to approximately $44,000. Additionally, Wallace and Sabates teamed up to offer a one of a kind opportunity to witness, up-close and personal, Wallace's final attempt at the famed Daytona 500. The package included 2 pit passes to this year's race, team uniforms, accommodations on Sabates's private yacht and more. The audience responded with a winning bid of approximately $27,000. Overall, Wallace and Sabates together raised nearly $71,000 to benefit the Cancer Center.
Following this event, Wallace headed to Kansas City, Kansas, where he, along with various celebrities such as baseball legend, George Brett, participated in a fundraiser to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. During the event, held at the Fairmont Hotel, Wallace auctioned a set of his driving shoes and gloves. Together, the items brought approximately $1800 for the fight against blood cancers.
Needless to say, Wallace was thrilled with the events' results. "Over the years, the fans have been so great to me. Their support is really wonderful and what better way to show my appreciation than to lend help to these two wonderful causes. Both the Cancer Center and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society do very noble work; Felix and I are both really proud to be able to have lent them some support. Additionally, my son Greg recently started a company, located on the web at www.blueflameauthentics.com, which will help support the Victory Junction Gang Camp. This is just the very beginning of the things we're doing this year to give back to the fans," noted Wallace.(RWI PR)(1-31-2005)