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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    FEB 7-13, 2005


      News from February 13, 2005

    • Jarrett wins the Daytona 500 pole: #88-Dale Jarrett won the Budweiser Pole for the Daytona 500 with a speed of 188.312mph, his 3rd Daytona 500 pole, 4th ever at Daytona and first in 93 races [Michigan 6/2002]. The last time Jarrett won the Daytona 500 pole [2000] he won the race. #48-Jimmie Johnson will start 2nd with a speed of 188.170mph. Four drivers who are not in the top 35 in 2005 Owners Points made the race being faster then the other 22 drivers not in the top 35: #11-Leffler, #36-Said, #23-Skinner and #14-Andretti. For qualifying results and some notes, see my Jayski's Semi-Live Daytona 500 Qualifying Page.(2-13-2005)

    • Biffle's car catches fire on pit road, but is OK: The car #16 National Guard Ford of Greg Biffle, last year's Daytona 500 pole-sitter, caught fire on pit road while it was on the line waiting to qualifying on Sunday. Speed Channel's Ralph Sheheen reported that a heater that was warming the oil tank in the car shorted out and caused a fire behind Biffle's seat. Biffle, who is scheduled to qualify sixth, was OK, but the team rolled the car back to the garage to see whether oil lines and the battery were affected by the fire. "It looks like everything is OK. We wanted to make sure it wasn't an oil line," Biffle's crew chief Doug Richert told Speed. "It was concentrated under the oil tank with a lot of insulation. I don't think we'll jeopardize anything." Biffle led the most laps in the season-opening Budweiser Shootout before finishing fifth. He was 10th- and 15th-fastest in Saturday's pre-qualifying practices.(FoxSports/Speed)
      AND Richert was interviewed by Steve Byrnes, he said the team has been excused from it's scheduled 6th place in the qualifying order and NASCAR will have them go thru the templates before going back on the grid.(2-13-2005)

    • #21 to honor fallen soldier: Wood Brothers Racing will place a decal on Ricky Rudd's #21 Motorcraft Ford during Speedweeks in honor of U.S. Marine Corp. Jonathan W. Bowling. The 23-year-old native of Stuart, Va., was killed Jan. 26 with three others from a Lynchburg-based unit in Iraq during an ambush. The Martinsville police officer attended Patrick County High School with the sons and daughter of team co-owners Eddie and Len Wood.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-13-2005)

    • Robby Gordon's car had illegal intake: #7-Robby Gordon's #7 Jim Beam Chevy was fitted with an illegal intake manifold that NASCAR discovered during inspection late Friday night. The part was removed and put on display in the NASCAR hauler, and Gordon was scrambling to get the situation fixed. His engines are built by Menard Engineering in Indianapolis. The only other manifold the team had at Daytona International Speedway did not fit Gordon's Chevrolet, so they were waiting for Menard to mail them a new one in time for Sunday's qualifying. Menard builds engines for Indy cars, but this is its first year in NASCAR racing. There will likely draw a substantial penalty from NASCAR, which has a precedence of handing out stiff fines and docking points for illegal engine parts at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway. Forced to practice Saturday with a manifold that didn't correctly fit, Gordon was at the bottom of the speed charts and almost a second slower than what the team projected it would be.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-13-2005)

    • Bodine gets a sponsor for Daytona: GIC-24 Racing and GIC Mixon Motorsports today announced Golf Closeout Warehouse as a sponsor for the NASCAR Nextel Cup #93 and the NASCAR Busch Series #24 cars for Daytona Speedweeks activities. Founded in 1995, Golf Closeout Warehouse is America's largest liquidator of golf merchandise, including apparel, clubs, balls and accessories. The company has marketed merchandise in 52 different locations during the past 18 months, using a unique format in which it spends from as little as 30 days to as long as ten months in each market. Golf Closeout Warehouse is currently operating in four Florida locations--Clearwater, Sarasota, Fort Myers and Naples--and in Brownsville, TX. The Daytona Beach store is next to Ruby Tuesday in the Volusia Point Shopping Center directly across from Daytona U.S.A. on International Speedway Boulevard. "We're excited to join the GIC team," said company founder and president Greg Hayes. "We're launching our website store, www.GCWE.com, and we like the idea of linking with cars driven by Geoff Bodine and Kim Crosby during Daytona Speedweeks." The #93 GIC Mixon Motorsports Chevrolet will compete in the Budweiser Shootout and qualifying activities for the Daytona 500 with Geoffrey Bodine driving. The #24 GIC-24 Racing Chevrolet will compete for a spot in the Hershey's Take 5 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on February 19.(PSE-3 PR)(2-13-2005)

    • So...who is Eric McClure...the untalked about Rookie of the Year candidate: Raybestos Rookie Contender Eric McClure plans a full NEXTEL Cup season for Raabe Racing. The team is owned by Ed Raabe and is based in Daytona Beach, FL.
      ERIC MCCLURE, No. 73 ARC DEHOOKER CHEVROLET: "The cars that we're using now we purchased from Morgan McClure Motorsports while we're getting our new cars and everything ready. It's exciting. We tested very well preseason and we feel like we can get in these shows and do well. Now, conventional wisdom says we're not going to come out and be successful and success to a lot of people is defined as winning races and top-fives. Now granted, we're not going to come out of the box running top-five right off the bat but like anything we firmly believe if we're dedicated and focused and we do this the correct way, over time we're going to get a lot better and I'm going to get a lot better. I'm a new driver and they're a new team so there's nowhere to go but up. We're real excited about that and we feel like we're going to make some noise and we have goals that we've set. We feel like Raabe Racing is going to be a force to be reckoned with over the coming months. Granted that might be top-20s, that might be top-15s, but if we do that we can get in races and we can run mid-pack or better, then we've accomplished a whole lot. It's definitely an uphill battle but we feel like we can overcome it."
      HOW DIFFICULT IS IT GOING TO BE TO QUALIFY FOR THE DAYTONA 500? "It will be difficult. The rule package is definitely interesting but then again the teams that make it are going to say that it's a great package. The teams that don't will say that it's not. The way that we tested, we should not have any problem making it under the old rules, but at the same time I feel like we're good enough to make it under the new rules. You definitely come into the race knowing what you have to do to get in and that makes it a little easier so we feel pretty good about it. It's definitely going to be difficult but any race at the top level is difficult to make. We found that out last year in the Busch Series. These guys put their pants on the same way we do. We'll go out and give it 100 percent and see where we stack up."
      WHAT IS YOUR SPONSORSHIP SITUATION? "Sponsorship situation is good right now. We're running for Raabe Racing Enterprises and we have sponsorship from Arc Dehooker and the Recreational Fishing Alliance. We're really excited about that. Arc Dehooker is a mandated device in all the fisheries in the world. We're set there. We could always use extra sponsorship if it ever presents itself, anybody can. We're excited that we're going to be able to run the entire season. It's going to be a first for me and a first for them so we're really excited about it. We're going to go full blown at it and see where we stack up and progress from there."
      TIM BREWER IS WORKING WITH YOUR TEAM. "We have Tim Brewer working with us right now and he brings a wealth of knowledge and it' s exciting for me to work with somebody that has a lot of knowledge. He's from the old school but he's also kept up to date on what you need to do to be successful and he has a history of working well with drivers. I couldn't be more excited about this. This is a great opportunity."(Camp and Assoc/Raybestos PR)(2-13-2005)

    • More parts conficated: NASCAR found several illegal parts and pieces during its inspection process at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR inspectors confiscated the transmission from Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Chevrolet because it had the wrong gear ratio. That will likely lead to a monetary fine for the #8 Budweiser team. #33-Kerry Earnhardt and #23-Mike Skinner both had unapproved window nets, #80-Andy Belmont and #52-Larry Gunselman both had unapproved fire extinguishers and #5-Kyle Busch's car had unapproved spacers. #24-Jeff Gordon and #7-Robby Gordon were both found to have unapproved under-pans on their cars.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-13-2005)

    • Major NASCAR Announcement - NASCAR Members Club: Hearing there will be an announcement at Daytona today about a new program designed to recognize and reward NASCAR's fans.
      UPDATE: guess this is it......NASCAR today announced the launching of the Official NASCAR Members Club and named seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Richard Petty to be its membership chairman. Stoneacre Partners LLC, a developer of affinity and customer loyalty programs, will operate the program under a long-term license. The $40 annual membership will entitle those who join to receive a magazine featuring lifestyle stories from top drivers, teams, NASCAR legends and other Club members and opportunities to participate in behind-the-scenes events and parties. Information is available on the Internet at NASCAR.com.(NASCAR Scene)(2-10-2005)
      AND The Official NASCAR Members Club has been created as a member organization that will enable the fans to more closely connect with the sport and the sport to more accurately and efficiently connect with the fans. The Official NASCAR Members Club is the only official membership organization licensed by NASCAR where fans can enjoy VIP insider access to exclusive experiences, information and benefits. The NASCAR Members Club aggregates rewards and assets from the entire sport for the benefit of its members. Fans will be rewarded with special privileges and earn elite status advantages, allowing them to get closer to the sport, their favorite drivers and teams.
      How To Join: Annual membership dues for the Club are $40. Race fans can join the NASCAR Members Club through one of the following methods:
      By calling 1-877-MY NASCAR (1-877-696-2722), Monday through Friday from 7:00 to 11:00pm/ct and Saturday and Sundays from 8:00am to 9:00pm/ct
      Via the Internet at: www.nascar.com.(2-13-2005)

    • Martin the best man: Mark Martin will be looking to get into victory lane on a number of occasions during this year’s Daytona Speedweeks, but he is assured of a least one trip to Gatorade Victory Lane. Martin, who kicks off his “Salute To You” Tour this weekend, will serve as the honorary Best Man at the wedding of Survivor Vanuatu Islands winner Chris Daugherty to Lorie Groves. The wedding is being held in Gatorade Victory lane on Sunday morning at Daytona International Speedway. “Now those are some real NASCAR fans,” said Martin. “They wanted to get married at Daytona and I was asked if I could attend. We figured why not, so we are going to go over there and help them out a little. It’s a good way to kind of dive into the “Salute” Tour. I understand they are pretty big fans of mine, so hopefully this will be a good way to say thanks. It takes a lot of desire to win on that show and I can sure appreciate that,” added Martin. “Nobody understands sacrifice and commitment more than the people in this NASCAR garage, so it’s a fitting combination.” Survivor is one of the top reality series on television and Daugherty, a highway construction worker from South Vienna, Ohio, was the winner of the ninth installment of the show.(Roush Racing PR)(2-13-2005)


      News from February 12, 2005

    • Johnson wins the Budweiser Shootout: #48-Johnson got a great pitstop by his creww and was the first car out that took 4 tires, #12-Newman took 2, and after 4 laps, Johnson and the pack caught Newman. Johnson held on to lead the final 16 laps and win his first Budweiser Shootout with Newman finishing 2nd, followed by #24-Gordon, #20-Stewart and #16-Biffle [who led 44 laps]. Pole sitter, #88-Jarrett led the first lap and fell off early and finished 15th. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to fall to the rear after making a transmission change [new rule this year] and in the first segment [20 laps] he car ran poorly. During the 10 minute break, the crew changed igintion boxes and spark plugs and Dale Jr. was able to finish 7th and was up into the top-5 for a bit. For the full finish, winnings, segment 1 finish, laps led on my Budweiser Shootout 2005 page.(2-12-2005)

    • Nextel Cup named may stay: The merger of Nextel and Sprint will produce a company called Sprint-Nextel, but that doesn't necessarily mean the name of the Nextel Cup series will change. "No decision on that will be made probably until the August time frame,'' Mark Schweitzer, senior vice president of Nextel, said Thursday. "We're going to be careful and cautious about that. We spent a lot of money building it out in the first year. The industry and fans have embraced it. So we'll study that decision carefully. The Nextel brand assets are a really important part of the merger.'' The $35 billion merger was announced in December and still has to receive approval through the regulatory process. That could take several more months. Schweitzer said decisions haven't been made on whether any Nextel and Sprint products and services will retain their current identities or receive a combination name. He pointed out that after the Exxon and Mobil oil companies merged, they kept separate brand identities for their service stations. "We're in that process of evaluating the brand equities of the two companies, and we're being open-minded and letting the research and the discussions manage the process vs. going in with an agenda.'' Schweitzer said the new company will remain committed to NASCAR and that spending on marketing should increase. "They [Sprint] spend three times what Nextel spends in advertising, so in helping build the awareness of the sport - the sponsorship certainly, but the sport more generally - that should translate into more positive investment.'' If the sponsorship name does change for 2006, it would be the second change in three years. Nextel Cup replaced Winston Cup at the start of the 2004 season.(Tampa Tribune)(2-12-2005)

    • Dale Jr. says he is staying at DEI: Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced Friday he is forming a lower-level race team, but the big news was a statement about his status at Dale Earnhardt Inc. "I'm never going to sever ties with DEI," Earnhardt said. "I'm always going to be a part of that organization." For more than a year, there has been speculation that Earnhardt might leave DEI when his contract expires in 2007. Rumors persisted of him possibly joining Richard Childress Racing, where his legendary father won six of his seven NASCAR driving championships. Earnhardt's words Friday might put those rumors to rest, at least for a while. His statement came when he was asked if he might eventually leave DEI to race for his own team.(Dallas Morning News)(2-12-2005)

    • Cope gets a sponsor for Daytona: “We were obviously pleased with our overall performance during the recent Daytona test sessions. We have made several changes to our car that we are confident will make us even more competitive. We will be running Morgan McClure engines in the #55 at Daytona. Their engines performed well at Daytona testing and I have had previous opportunities to work with both Larry McClure and Ron Puyureur, their engine builder. Our car is ready and all that we needed was sponsorship. That has now been remedied. I am pleased and excited to announce that Year One Corporation will be sponsoring us for the Daytona 500 and will be an associate sponsor for the balance of the season. Our Daytona car decal layout will feature both Year One Corp and Muscle Performance. In addition, they will be an associate sponsor for Larry’s [Hollenbeck] #62 Busch ride at Daytona. Year One is a Georgia based company that serves as the Restoration and Performance Headquarters for the automobile enthusiast. I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to get to know Kevin King, Year One CEO. I appreciate his enthusiasm and believe that ours will be a mutually rewarding relationship,"...Derrike Cope
      Said Kevin King: “This is our initial involvement as a racing sponsor at the Nextel Cup level. Clearly, it is an unusual opportunity for a company of our size to be a sponsor in Nextel Cup. It presents an exciting opportunity for us as virtually all of our customers are NASCAR fans. Furthermore, it allows us even greater visibility with race fans. We are particularly glad to be affiliated with Derrike Cope as a previous Daytona 500 winner.” More info at www.yearone.com.(Derrike Cope site)(2-12-2005)

    • Braun Racing to Cup with Hmiel: Winfuel, is proud to announce its multi-year primary sponsorship of Braun Racing’s #32 Chevrolet in the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series and the #08 Chevrolet NASCAR Nextel Cup Series car for seven races. Shane Hmiel will be the driver in both NASCAR series. Braun Racing announced that Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will be providing the power plants under the hood of all Braun Racing’s Chevrolets. Winfuel will soon be available at fine retail locations, at every race in the Winfuel merchandise trailer, and at www.winfuel.com. The product launch will be supported by national television advertising campaign.(Braun Racing via BGNRacing.com)(2-12-2005)

    • Congrats to the Craven's: Before Ricky Craven could leave for Daytona there was just one more thing he had to do at home – be there for the birth of his third child. Ricky and his wife, Cathleen, welcomed Lydia Cathleen Craven into the world at 8:47pm/et on Thursday, February 10. Lydia weighed in at 6 pounds, 13 ounces and was just under 20 inches long. “She is absolutely beautiful,” Craven said. “Everybody should get to come home from the hospital on Friday so I can spend a few days with her before I leave for Daytona next week. This is the best start to SpeedWeeks I’ve ever had.” Lydia will not be in Daytona to cheer her father on while he drives the #99 Superchips Ford F-150 in next Friday’s Craftsman Truck race, but she intends to watch live coverage on Speed Channel between feedings.(Roush Racing PR)(2-12-2005)

    • Rusty back with VISA: Officials of Rusty Wallace Inc. and Visa USA announced the continued partnership between #2-Rusty Wallace and the world’s number one payment brand. Under the agreement, Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR Champion and 55-race winner, will continue to be a featured driver in the Visa Ultimate NASCAR Experience marketing campaign for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Now in its third year, Visa’sUltimate NASCAR Experience offers Visa cardholders VIP access to behind-the-scenes action at one of the final 10 chase races of the Nextel Cup season and the 2006 Daytona 500. Winners enjoy plush accommodations in the Visa luxury motor coach, situated in a prime infield location, tours of the garage and pit row, official team uniform to wear on race day, and a hot lap in the official pace car with Wallace or another driver.(Tom Roberts PR)(2-12-2005)

    • RaceWraps Demonstration at Daytona: See the #97 Crown Royal and the #6 Kraft graphics used in the Bud Shootout changed to the new #97 Sharpie and #6 Viagra graphics for the Daytona 500 in the Nextel Cup Garage at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 13th. Motorsports Designs, the company that revolutionized the world of race graphics with the introduction of vinyl graphics to NASCAR, will showcase its latest innovation, RaceWraps, during Speedweeks 2005 at Daytona International Speedway. RaceWraps is a new, innovative system that combines sheets of printed adhesive-backed vinyl with an application process that completely changes a race car’s appearance in less than 3 hours. The RaceWraps system enables Motorsports Designs’ 3M Certified Installers to change race cars from one graphic scheme to another without ever entering the paint booth. The quick turnaround time is ideal for specialty and back-up race cars and trucks. RaceWraps is completely removable with no damage to the original paint and/or original decals. RaceWraps by Motorsports Designs is now being used regularly by many of the top Nextel, Busch, and Craftsman race teams in NASCAR. The first completely wrapped race car in NASCAR was done by Motorsports Designs in 1997. The company wrapped several complete chrome race cars that year for Darrell Waltrip to celebrate his 25th Anniversary in racing. Motorsports Designs also wrapped a complete gold chrome race car for the NASCAR Winston Cup Banquet in New York in 1998 to commemorate NASCAR’s 50th Anniversary. Thus, the beginning for what is now known as the company’s RaceWraps. Motorports Designs is the leading manufacturer of printed graphics for the motorsports industry. The company also operates a commercial graphics division and offers design, printing and installation services. Founded in 1982, the company is located in High Point, N.C. For more information about Motorsports Designs and RaceWraps please visit motorsportsdesigns.com.
      RaceWraps by Motorsports Designs Schedule and Lineup for Speedweeks 2005
      Sunday, February 13th (All Media with Proper Credentials Invited)
      . Nextel Cup #97 Crown Royal to #97 Sharpie for Kurt Busch/Roush Racing
      . Nextel Cup #6 Kraft to #6 Viagra for Mark Martin/Roush Racing
      RaceWraps in Bud Shootout, Saturday, February 12th:
      #2 Miller Lite/Rusty Wallace/Penske Racing
      #6 Viagra/Mark Martin/Roush Racing
      #39 Coors/Bill Elliott/Ganassi Racing
      #41 Target/Casey Mears/Ganassi Racing
      #97 Crown Royal/Kurt Busch/Roush Racing
      RaceWraps in the Daytona 500, Sunday, February 20th:
      #6 Viagra/Mark Martin/Roush Racing
      #32 Tide/Bobby Hamilton, Jr./Cal Wells Racing
      #40 Coors Light/Sterling Marlin/Ganassi Racing
      #41Target/Casey Mears/Ganassi Racing
      #42 Havoline/Jamie McMurray/Ganassi Racing
      #97 Sharpie/Kurt Busch/Roush Racing
      #99 Office Depot/Carl Edwards/Roush Racing.(PR)(2-12-2005)

    • Dale Jr.'s Late Model Team: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is continuing to grow his JR Motorsports operation and will field a car for Mark McFarland in the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series. McFarland will also drive a limited late model schedule for the team. "It's a fun effort, yet it's a serious effort,'' said Earnhardt, who is using it as a springboard for even more opportunities. "As far as moving on into other series, the sky's the limit." The late Dale Earnhardt began his empire with a Busch Series team before expanding it to three Nextel Cup cars. Junior called his father's start his "blueprint.'' In a company called Chance 2 Motorsports, co-owned with his stepmother, Teresa, Earnhardt fields a car in the Busch Series for reigning series champion Martin Truex Jr. The McFarland entry is his first sole ownership venture. "For JR Motorsports, there's no limit or reins, except for the budget side of it. As it is successful, we will proceed and my roots with DEI will continue to grow. Who says you can't have it all?'' he said. "I'm definitely determined to build a team that could compete full-time in the Busch Series or, God willing, the Cup series, some day. It's just an egg we've hatched and, hopefully, it will grow and be successful.''(ESPN.com/AP)
      AND Winfuel announced its full season primary sponsorship of JR Motorsports #32 Chevrolet, with driver Mark McFarland in the Southern Division of the USAR Hooters’ Pro Cup Series. Everything is in place for JR Motorsports to be contending for wins at every event, with driver Mark McFarland and crew chief Jefferson Hodges having over 100 wins combined. The most notable of Mark’s many racing accomplishments is his 2003 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series national championship. Winfuel will soon be available at fine retail locations, at every race in the WINFUEL merchandise trailer, and at www.winfuel.com. The product launch will be supported by national television advertising campaign.(Winfuel site)(2-12-2005)

    • Rudd and Mears tangle in practice: #21-Ricky Rudd and #41-Casey Mears made contact during last night's final Budweiser Shootout practice. Mears' Dodge spun without incident, and both cars avoided significant damage. Mears visited Rudd's garage stall to apologize and drew angry words from Michael McSwain, Rudd's burly crew chief. "I thought I was clear, and I wasn't," Mears said. "It was my fault. Ricky was cool, but [McSwain] needs to calm down a little bit. Stuff happens." Rudd said a minor wrinkle to his "super sensitive" right-front fender could affect his Ford's handling tonight but accepted Mears' apology. "It's very easy to make a mistake when you're running three wide like that," Rudd said. "It's intense."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-12-2005)

    • Lasoski wants to try NASCAR: World of Outlaws star Danny "the Dude" Lasoski told MRN Radio's Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody he would like to have a shot at NASCAR. "I love World of Outlaws racing but I might have to talk to Tony (Stewart) and see if he can do something for us here next year. These things are challenging to drive and I love a challenge." Lasoski is in Daytona practicing for the Crown Royal International Race Of Champions event February 18th. He also is running Tony Stewart's World of Outlaws sprint car at Volusia Speedway Park, East of Daytona, Friday and Saturday night.(MRN Radio/Sirius Speedway)(2-12-2005)

    • Top Banana and Go ManGo! Chargers Unveiled: As part of its introduction of the new limited production 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T, Dodge unveiled two new Bud Shootout paint schemes on the #9 and #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Chargers, celebrating the modern rear-wheel-drive muscle car. Jeremy Mayfield will pilot the #19 Top Banana Dodge Charger, and Kasey Kahne will drive the #9 Go ManGo! Dodge Charger in Saturday night's race at Daytona International Speedway. The paint schemes are replica versions of the two classic 1960s color schemes available on the Dodge Charger Daytona R/T production vehicles available starting this summer.(Clear!Blue PR), see images on my #19 Team Schemes page and #9 Team Schemes page.(2-12-2005)


      News from February 11, 2005

    • Fox Surprise: The NASCAR on FOX production team has a big surprise in store for the Daytona 500 on FOX, Sunday, Feb. 20 at 1:00pm/et [green flag around 2:00pm/et]. It's a camera shot that has been flirted with before, but past attempts haven't even scratched the surface of what our coordinating director Artie Kempner and coordinating producer Richie Zyontz are going to do.(FoxSports/Larry Mac)(2-11-2005)

    • Robby announcement: XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio's Clarie B. Lang mentioned that #7-Robby Gordon has some sort of announcement during Speedweeks at Daytona, probably another sponsor.(2-11-2005)

    • #23, Skinner, Benson and Lester? possible sponsors: Mike Skinner said Davis is trying to convince two companies to sponsor the #23 Dodge. He said three scenarios for filling the seat are under consideration. "He's thinking about splitting the races between me and one of our other truck drivers, Johnny Benson, and maybe even Bill Lester from the truck team," Skinner said. "He's thinking about hiring an up-and-coming youngster, and he's thinking about letting me and Johnny do most of the races and then let the new driver get some seat time."(High Point Enterprise)(2-11-2005)

    • Theaters to air Daytona 500 in High-Definition Format: NASCAR has announced plans to show the Daytona 500 in the high-definition format in two movie theaters. The event is scheduled to air at the Regal Union Square Stadium 14 in New York and the Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21 in Irvine, Calif. Plans call for show-car displays at the theaters and the opportunity to win passes to NASCAR events and other prizes.. Ticket details are to be announced in media promotions in New York and Los Angeles.(NASCAR Scene)(2-11-2005)

    • Why no Terry Labonte in the Shootout? Terry Labonte, who is eligible for Saturday night's pole winner's Shootout and is running a limited schedule of 10 races, has decided not to participate. He instead will spend the weekend in the Florida Keys before returning next week to help his son Justin in the Grand National race. Labonte was upset after last year's Shootout when teams were allowed to pit near the end of the race, after NASCAR officials announced no pit stops would be allowed. Labonte, who did not pit and wound finishing eighth, said the switch cost him a chance at winning. "What happened last year is the reason I'm not in it this year," he said.(High Point Enterprise)(2-11-2005)

    • Nextel NASCAR Strategy for 2005: Nextel Communications unveiled its strategy to support the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, with the wireless communications giant entering its second as sponsor. Nextel will launch three TV spots, via TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, which support the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series sponsorship and "demonstrate how Nextel products and technology help fans, businesses and teams get things done," per the company. The spots feature a NASCAR family, NASCAR vendors and a NASCAR team. Nextel also produced an overall sponsorship spot to spotlight top on-track moments of its inaugural season. Nextel said it also will introduce a state-of-the-art NASCAR Nextel Cup Series "2-Way Communication Headset," which will be available for purchase for the first time at the 2005 Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach on Feb. 20, when the season officially opens. The yellow NASCAR Nextel Cup Series branded headset features two input jacks, allowing race fans to plug in their radio scanner and mobile phone concurrently. This two-way headset has a built-in noise-canceling microphone that allows fans to talk, on any cell phone, to family and friends from the grandstands of a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event.
      In addition, NASCAR fans will have the opportunity to use their Nextel handsets or visit Nextel retail locations to register for a multiple national sweepstakes that will run throughout the course of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season. The first sweeps will launch in April in support of the NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge. Race fans will be able to vote an eligible driver into the marquee event. More details about each sweepstakes will be released prior to the start of the activity. Nextel also will create a sweepstakes to support the last 10 races of the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup.(Brandweek.com)(2-11-2005)

    • Martin may race Cup in 2006..if Mark Martin, who drives the #6 Viagra Ford and is retiring from Nextel Cup racing after the 2005 season, said he may run the 2006 Budweiser Shootout and/or the 2006 Nextel Challenge All-Star race...if eligible.(Speed Channel's NASCAR Live show)(2-11-2005)

    • Marcis announcement? per the Dave Marcis Racing site: Significant announcement regarding the future plans for Marcis Auto Racing coming soon.(2-11-2005)

    • Johnson voted oval racer of the year: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the choice of RACER magazine readers as the overall Racer of the Year for 2004, but when it came to choosing the top oval driver for the season past, the Daytona 500 champ was eclipsed by Nextel Cup’s most successful driver of the season, Jimmie Johnson. The Hendrick Motorsports star, who led the Nextel Cup ranks with eight wins, bested IRL IndyCar champ Tony Kanaan in the voting, as tabulated via an online ballot here at SpeedTV.com. “Jimmie has always understood racing very well,” noted his crew chief, Chad Knaus, who offers his impressions of how his driver hit his stride so quickly in the feature article revealing all of this year’s Racers of the Year, in the March issue of RACER that goes on sale Feb. 22. In fact, RACER readers gave credit to Knaus, too, for Johnson’s outstanding season, by selecting him as the Crew Chief/Team Manager of the Year. Ferrari chief Jean Todt was a distant second in voting for this category. The Most Promising Oval Racer of the Year category was the biggest runaway of the nine categories, as Nextel Cup rookie Kasey Kahne gathered no less than 55 percent of the vote. No surprise to his boss, Ray Evernham: “How can you not be impressed with him,” asked Evernham, who compares his new phenom’s progress with that of his former charge, Jeff Gordon, elsewhere in the issue.(Speed Chanel)(2-11-2005)

    • TV Stuff: Despite NASCAR's [ratings] rise, though, Fox/FX, which televise the first half of the season, and NBC/TNT, which carry the second half, have yet to show a profit. The rights fees quadrupled to $200 million a year after the networks outbid ABC/ESPN and CBS. NASCAR likely will extend Fox's two-year option through the 2008 season. But the NBC/TNT deal expires after the 2006 season, and ESPN/ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer said at his company's marketing seminar Oct. 27 that NASCAR topped the list of additional properties he would want. Coincidentally, ESPN has stepped up its coverage of NASCAR for SportsCenter this year.(USA Today)(2-11-2005)

    • Schrader to the Trucks after 2006: Longtime NASCAR driver Ken Schrader [#49 BAM Racing Dodge] expects to move to the Craftsman Truck series after his Cup contract ends following the 2006 season.(ESPN.com/AP)
      AND There wasn't a lot of hoopla, not a lot of fireworks. Nonchalantly, during NASCAR's Media Day at Daytona International Speedway, Schrader let it be known that he will not race in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series past the year 2006. That's when his #49 BAM Racing Dodge's sponsorship agreement with Schwann's Home Service runs out. "That deal is pretty simple actually. You do that when no one will hire you," Schrader said. "We did a three-year deal with Schwann's, with last year being the first year. You never know what's going to happen, but I won't go past next year for sure, I know. Our deal is a little different than some of those other guys, though. After that time, we're just not going to come back (to Daytona) for one race (the Daytona 500). We'll come back, but we'll just bring the truck instead." Once he's done with the Nextel Cup Series, he plans to start racing full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. He's driven in 58 NCTS events between 1995 and 2004 -- including 12 last season -- with his own team. "We're going to gear up to run a full truck deal when we're done (with Cup)," Schrader said. That's the plan. We just bough a new shop, and we'll run one full-time truck next year. We'll still do a limited schedule this year with Federated Auto Parts as our sponsor, but we're going to go full out next year, whether I'm the driver or I get another one in."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-11-2005)

    • Mike Wallace OK after plane mishap: A corporate aircraft traveling Thursday from Concord, N.C., to Daytona Beach with NASCAR driver Mike Wallace [#4 Morgan McClure driver] and his wife, Carla, aboard made an emergency landing after being diverted to Lakeland, FL. There was believed to be a problem with the landing gear, but emergency equipment standing by was not needed when the plane landed without incident. Wallace, who plans to compete in the Daytona 500 and the Busch and truck series races next week, said an inspection revealed a $3 plastic penlight flashlight had rolled up under the dashboard and jammed under the gear release. "The nice part about it is nothing happened,'' Wallace said. "Everything ended up perfect.''(ESPN.com/AP)(2-11-2005)

    • Gordon to run a reverse scheme: #24-Jeff Gordon will drive a special reverse DuPont paint scheme in the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(RacingOne)(2-11-2005)

    • Kyle Busch as Darth: #5-Kyle Busch will sport a Star Wars Episode III paint scheme at Richmond in May that will feature Darth Vader.(RacingOne)(2-11-2005)

    • Air Force is back with the #21: The Air Force begins its fifth year as a NASCAR sponsor when the 2005 Nextel Cup season kicks off with the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20. After recruiting one of the most accomplished crew chiefs [Michael McSwain] in the sport and making numerous off-season changes, the Air Force-sponsored Wood Brothers Racing #21 NASCAR team is focused on success, officials said. The driver of the car #21 is Ricky Rudd.(Air Force Link)(2-11-2005)

    • Born on Date Scheme returns at Daytona for Dale Jr.: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a special paint scheme for Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, as well as next Sunday's Daytona 500. The candy-apple red and white paint scheme was unveiled at Daytona before the starting line-up was drawn for the Budweiser Shootout. The "Born on Date" will read "12 FEB 2005" for the Shootout and "20 FEB 2005" for the Daytona 500. To see an image of the car before it hits the race track for practice Friday, click to the Budweiser Shootout site. Two of Earnhardt Jr.'s most memorable victories at the Daytona International Speedway have come in specially-painted versions of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet. The first took place in July 2001, when Dale Jr. won the Pepsi 400 in a white-and-red Bud car commemorating baseball's all-star game. The second was last February, when Dale Jr. won the Daytona 500 in a paint scheme promoting Budweiser's "Born on Date" theme.(fingerprintinc/Budweiser PR), for an image of the scheme, see my #8 Team Schemes page.(2-11-2005)

    • Young Guns back: After a highly successful 2004 season, the Gillette Young Guns are kicking the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series into high gear with new sweepstakes and consumer promotions that will give fans and the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) the chance to win prizes ranging from $1,000 to $1 million. The Gillette Young Guns - #97-Kurt Busch, #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #29-Kevin Harvick, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #17-Matt Kenseth and #12-Ryan Newman - dominated their inaugural 2004 season, winning over 50 percent of the 36 Cup races. Busch won the 2004 championship, followed by fellow Young Guns Johnson and Earnhardt Jr., who finished second and fifth in the final points standings, respectively. Newman and Kenseth finished in seventh and eighth place, respectively, and Harvick finished 14th overall for the season. Collectively the Young Guns won 22 of the 36 races in 2004, claimed 70 top-fives and 109 top-10 finishes along the way. Gillette will again leverage these drivers and its NASCAR sponsorship with a comprehensive marketing communications program on several levels throughout the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. The program includes consumer promotions and retail events, a national "Watch & Win" consumer sweepstakes, dedicated NASCAR print and broadcasting advertising, licensing, interactive on-line consumer promotions, charitable contributions and hospitality. Consumers can celebrate the beginning of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season with the Gillette Young Guns $1 Million Watch & Win Sweepstakes. If the year end Chase for the NEXTEL Cup isn't exciting enough, consumers will have the opportunity to win big by following the Gillette Young Guns over six of the last seven races of the season. By correctly predicting the finishing order of the six Young Guns for each race, fans will automatically be entered into a points race of their own. One lucky fan that wins this unique points race will win a trip for two to the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami and the chance to win up to $1 million. Cnsumers also will be able to register online to predict the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun prior to each of this season's 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events. Each week, all correct entrants will be automatically entered in a drawing for a $5,000 prize. More info on my Racing Contests page or at www.gilletteyoungguns.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(2-11-2005)

    • Hammond Book released: Real Men Work In the Pits ($24.95 Rodale Books) Jeff Hammond provides a behind-the-scenes look at the sport from his perspective as a long-time crew chief. His glory years came with Darrell Waltrip, and many of the stories and anecdotes involve the Franklin resident. Hammond and Waltrip are now members of the Fox broadcast team on NASCAR races.(2-11-2004)

    • Sad News: Ken Bainbridge Sr. passed away last night at 10:55pm/et at his home in Amherst, N.Y. (a suburb of Buffalo). Ken was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2004. Ken owned and operated Old Man Engineering for more than 20 years and he built racing transmissions for many Cup teams, including Ken Schrader, Jeremy Mayfield and the Bodine brothers. He also built cars and transmissions for many asphalt Modified teams (including Tom Druar and Roger Treichler). His work, including an economical asphalt Modified (Bill Bitterman's #3/III), was featured in a 1980 Stock Car Racing Magazine cover story. There are no arrangements available at this time. His sons Kenny Jr. works at Ultra Motorsports and Keith works at ppc Racing. Condolences to the family.(2-10-2005)
      AND Public Service 2-4pm and 7-9pm Saturday, Feb 12th at Amigone Funeral Home 5200 Sheridan Dr, Amherst, NY 14221. In lieu of flowers, Please make donations in Ken Bainbridge's name to Roswell Park Cancer Institute or the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Online register book at www.amigone.com.(2-11-2005)


      News from February 10, 2005

    • Tim Richmond Book out: Tim Richmond. The Fast Life and Remarkable Times of NASCAR's Top Gun. ($19.95 Sports Publishing LLC). by David Poole, one of the most prolific motorsports writers, takes a candid look at the talented but troubled young driver who reportedly died of AIDS at the peak of his career.(2-10-2005)

    • Major NASCAR Announcement: Hearing there will be an announcement at Daytona today about a new program designed to recognize and reward NASCAR's fans.
      UPDATE: guess this is it......NASCAR today announced the launching of the Official NASCAR Members Club and named seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Richard Petty to be its membership chairman. Stoneacre Partners LLC, a developer of affinity and customer loyalty programs, will operate the program under a long-term license. The $40 annual membership will entitle those who join to receive a magazine featuring lifestyle stories from top drivers, teams, NASCAR legends and other Club members and opportunities to participate in behind-the-scenes events and parties. Information is available on the Internet at NASCAR.com.(NASCAR Scene)(2-10-2005)

    • Crown Royal to debut in the Bud Shootout: When NASCAR announced last November it was lifting its longstanding ban on spirits sponsors, Crown Royal was the first to join in, announcing a sponsorship with Roush Racing and the #97 team led by 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch. Others have since followed, but now Crown Royal is looking forward to leading another series of firsts as the 2005 season gets ready to kick into high gear:
      -- At this Saturday night's Bud Shootout, Busch will become the first NASCAR driver to race in the paint scheme of a spirits brand since NASCAR made its landmark announcement in November. Crown Royal Championship Racing will utilize its new association with NASCAR to promote responsible drinking with millions of NASCAR's adult fans. They will allocate a multi-million dollar marketing budget to support the sponsorship of Kurt Busch and his #97 team, which will include dedicated social responsibility messaging under the tagline "Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly."
      -- Later this week, the first NASCAR-themed spirits TV commercial will be unveiled. It stars the #97 Crown Royal car and encourages viewers that "pacing is everything....especially when drinking." Crown Royal's sponsorship of Kurt Busch and the #97 car is built around Diageo's existing relationship with Roush Racing, which started in 2003 with a primary sponsorship of Matt Kenseth and the #17 Roush Racing car for Diageo's flavored malt beverage Smirnoff ICE. In addition to the Bud Shootout, Crown Royal's integrated motorsports marketing plan will include primary sponsorship of the #97 car at additional races during the 2005 season, including the Brickyard 400. When Crown Royal is not a primary sponsor, the brand will support Kurt as an associate sponsor of the #97 car throughout the 2005 season. For more information on Crown Royal, visit www.crownroyal.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(2-10-2005)

    • NASCAR's Zizzo leaves to work at Texas Motor Speedway: Mike Zizzo has been named Director of Public Relations for Texas Motor Speedway. Zizzo is leaving the position of Senior Manager of Communications for NASCAR for the Texas post. Prior to Zizzo's NASCAR and CART experience, he worked for 12 years as a sportswriter for The Orlando Sentinel, covering a variety of major beats, including motorsports, the NFL and NHL. Zizzo, a graduate of Florida Southern College, shifted to public relations in 1996 and received the Jim Chapman Award as the most outstanding public relations representative in the CART racing series. He became the first public relations representative from the sanctioning body to ever receive the prestigious award. As Director of Public Relations for Texas Motor Speedway, Zizzo will work with local, regional and national media covering racing events at Texas Motor Speedway. He will begin his duties in early March.(TMS PR)(2-10-2005)

    • Brian Vickers & Carolinas Pizza Hut Stores Partner to Benefit VJGC: Representatives of North and South Carolina Pizza Huts announced they have entered a personal services partnership with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Brian Vickers, driver of the #25 GMAC Financial Services Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, which will specifically focus on their mutual support of the Victory Junction Gang Camp.   The partnership will include Vickers endorsing and representing 325 participating Pizza Hut stores located in North Carolina and South Carolina, which will include their efforts to help raise funds in support of the Victory Junction Gang Camp, a designated charity of both Pizza Hut in the Carolina’s and Vickers. The Carolinas Pizza Hut Stores previously committed support to Victory Junction and hope to raise funds and awareness through in-store promotions. Vickers supports the Camp as one of his designated charities and is a friend of the Petty family and fellow NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and wife Pattie, who founded the Victory Junction Gang Camp in honor of their late son, Adam Petty.   In-store promotions at participating Pizza Hut stores will include the opportunity for customers to win one of two special VIP Race Experiences awarded on behalf of Victory Junction. The VIP Race experience will give a customer a birds-eye view of what the pit area is like during a Nextel Cup Race. The winner will get two tickets, two pit passes and a “meet and greet” with Brian Vickers. For more information, visit www.victoryjunction.org, www.pizzahut.com or www.brianvickers.com.(Brian Vickers, LLC PR)(2-10-2005)

    • McMurray to run Mexico UPDATE: Jamie McMurray will be driving a #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge entry [owned by Chip Ganassi] in the Mexico City Busch race.(JamieMcMurray.com via BGNRacing.com)(2-8-2005)
      UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will venture south-of-the-border this season when Jamie McMurray pilots the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge at the Telcel-Motorola 200 in Mexico City on March 6. The 80-lap event heralds not only the historic return of road course racing for the NASCAR Busch Series but a notable event for team and sponsor as well: the inaugural Busch Series entry for the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(2-10-2005)

    • Hermie gets an assoc. sponor: Midas Spring Water, based in Huntersville, N.C., has become an associate sponsor of the # 66 Peak Fitness Ford Taurus that Hermie Sadler drives in NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series. Midas Spring Water is one of the healthiest waters in the world because of its natural purity and low mineral content. It rivals some of the finest European waters. Midas Spring Water is pure with no artificial purifications; it also contains a perfect 4 to 1 calcium/magnesium ratio and has a balance of 7.2 alkalinity.(Peak Fitness Racing/PE3 PR)(2-10-2005)


      News from February 9, 2005

    • Harvick to Penske? UPDATE: 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)
      AND .......McMurray is Wallace's first choice to replace him in the #2, but word is McMurray's Ganassi Racing contract spreads through 2007. Now, the name I [Marty Smith] continue to hear being associated with the No. 2 ride is Kevin Harvick, but Harvick told me Monday he's never been contacted by Penske Racing. He has heard the same rumors we have, but says that's the extent of his association with Penske.(NASCAR.com)(2-9-2005)

    • Curtis Turner Book Available: The Life and Fast Times of NASCAR Legend Curtis Turner by Robert Edelstein, is the unremitting, over-the-top biography of stock car racer Curtis Turner, the most dynamic stock car racer of all time, who wrote the book on living fast and dying young. Curtis Turner was a racing legend in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, a peer of Lee Petty (father of Richard Petty) and Junior Johnson; he was the Dale Earnhardt of his time. A fellow NASCAR racer summarized Turner's legacy with the words: "There never would have been a Dale Earnhardt without Curtis Turner."
      Born in 1924 in Virginia, Curtis Turner was the true pioneer of NASCAR racing; his life embodied everything that today makes NASCAR the biggest spectator sport in American history: the adrenaline rush of the races, the potential for danger at every turn, and the charismatic, outrageous personality of a born winner who possessed an uncanny business savvy. From his mountain country beginnings to running moonshine as a teenager and executing dangerous 180-degree spins on a single-lane bridge to elude the police to being the first NASCAR driver ever put on the cover of Sports Illustrated-and the only one so honored after having had his license revoked in two states-Turner created drama. Both at the racetrack and in his personal life-with constant partying and a no-holds-barred, good-times lifestyle-Curtis Turner lived the American Dream several times over-including the co-building of the Charlotte Motor Speedway against all odds and in the face of great controversy-before he died a violent and mysterious death in 1970 at the young age of forty-six in a plane crash that is still considered a great mystery.
      In gripping prose, and with full access to the files of Turner's widow, Bunny Hall, biographer Robert Edelstein, the exclusive motorsports writer for TV Guide and the author of NASCAR Generations, thrillingly recreates the life of this American legend. FULL THROTTLE is the first ever full-scale chronicle of Turner's legendary life, from his 357 racing wins to his millions earned and just as quickly spent in fearless finance deals, to his incredible comeback after four years of being banned from the NASCAR circuit for trying to start a union among his fellow racers. (He was reinstated partly due to the thousands of rabid fans who demanded his return.) Motorsports, momentum and mayhem, the non-stop pursuit of outrageous dreams, high-speed thrills and a really good time…these are the raw materials of FULL THROTTLE.(2-9-2005)

    • Shelmerdine Racing auctions UPDATE assoc. sponsor for Daytona: Kirk Shelmerdine/Shelmerdine Racing auctions: In support of small independent businesses, Kirk Shelmerdine Racing has taken an innovate marketing approach and has opened up bids on Ebay for sponsorship of his [#27 Ford] NASCAR vehicle for various races. Check out the auctions at: ebay.com #5953201975, thru Feb-11-05.
      UPDATE: #27-Kirk Shelmerdine would like to welcome Wabash Motorsports of Fairfield, Illinois, and; JCMECI of Newark, DE as associate sponsors for the 2005 Speed Weeks at Daytona. Founded in 1990 by James C. McCulley IV, JCMECI Environmental Consultants, Inc., of Newark, DE, provides high quality environmental consulting for Delaware and the tri-state area. This encompasses all types of environmental consulting, such as; investigations, audits, wetlands permits, and underground storage unit removal. More info on JCMECI, see www.JCMECI.com.(Kirk Shelmerdine Racing PR)(2-7-2005)
      AND see an article at RacingUnderdog: Poker Promoter Deals Shelmerdine In about a small company pledging money to Shelmerdine with fans involvement.(2-9-2005)

    • Office Depot Promo: Office Depot, 9-race primary sponsor of the #99 with driver Carl Edwards, is launching a unique promotion offering customers the chance to become the "Official Small Business of NASCAR" courtesy of Office Depot. This new promotion, showcased in Office Depot's first NASCAR television advertising campaign, breaks new ground by using NASCAR to reach small businesses -- the core customer base for Office Depot. The "Official Small Business of NASCAR" promotion and accompanying ad campaign are central components in Office Depot's multi-faceted Taking Care of Business marketing and brand positioning program. Last month, Office Depot introduced NASCAR as its new sports sponsorship platform, entering into a multi-year agreement with NASCAR to become the sport's first-ever Official Office Products Partner. In addition, beginning with the Daytona 500 (Feb. 20, FOX, 1 p.m.). Office Depot's new NASCAR-themed ad campaign debuts on February 12 with a television spot titled "Bumper." The "Bumper" spot, created by BBDO New York, focuses on one of the most unique national promotions in the sports world: small business owners getting the chance to become the "Official Small Business of NASCAR" courtesy of Office Depot. As part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, the winning business will have its company name featured on the #99 Office Depot Ford Taurus that will be driven by Carl Edwards on May 7 at Darlington Raceway. Customers can enter the "Official Small Business of NASCAR" courtesy of Office Depot sweepstakes by filling out a form at computer workstations in any one of Office Depot's more than 900 stores nationwide, or online at www.officedepot.com/racing. The promotion is open to small businesses with no more than 99 employees, and runs through April 10, 2005. No purchase is necessary. A complete set of rules and restrictions can be found at www.officedepot.com/racing.(Businesswire.com)(2-9-2005)

    • Short Trackin': been getting questions about the ASA and other short track series and why I don't cover them, easy, not what I am into, I follow and have followed NASCAR Cup Series for a few decades and this site is up over eight years now. I don't know enough about those other series to cover and don't have time to do so. Plus there are a few sites who cover these series pretty darn good, such as:
      51sports.com [Bob and Matt Dilner and Jeremy]
      ASA Series
      USAR Hooters ProCup Series
      and many others can be found on my Racing Links page under Other Series.(2-9-2005)

    • The Budweiser Shootout: Beginning with the 2003 Budweiser Shootout the race was formatted into two segments. The first segment is 20 laps after which a 10 minute intermission is held. During the intermission teams may change tires or perform any other action that would be part of a normal pit stop. The second segment is 50 laps that must end in a green-white-checkered finish. Caution laps will count toward the total in both segments so the second segment may extend beyond the scheduled 70-lap total.
      In the event of a red flag, crews will be permitted to work on the cars; however, all work must be performed on pit road or Garage Area only. When the race is resumed, all cars must immediately be ready to return to competition.
      All re-starts will be double-file re-starts. All lapped cars will re-start at the rear of the field.
      The starting positions for the 2005 Budweiser Shootout will be drawn at random.
      A $1,087,300 purse is offered for the 2005 Budweiser Shootout. The winner will receive at least $211,500.
      Eligibility: A total of 21 drivers are eligible for the 2005 Budweiser Shootout, one less than the 2002 record (22) for the largest field in the history of the event. Twelve gained eligibility based on winning a Bud Pole Award in 2004 while the others are eligible because they are past champions of the Busch Clash/Budweiser Shootout that did not win a Bud Pole Award in 2004 and finished in the top-60 in final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings. Four drivers will be participating in their first Budweiser Shootout: #16-Greg Biffle, #9-Kasey Kahne, #41-Casey Mears and #25-Brian Vickers. Other drivers: #12-Ryan Newman, #24-Jeff Gordon, #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #01-Joe Nemechek, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #21-Ricky Rudd, #18-Bobby Labonte, #97-Kurt Busch.
      Eligible drivers eligible based on being past champions of the Busch Clash/Bud Shootout:
      13. #88-Dale Jarrett (winner - 1996, 2000, 2004)
      14. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (winner - 2003)
      15. #20-Tony Stewart (winner - 2001, 2002*)
      16. #6-Mark Martin - (winner - 1999)
      17. #2-Rusty Wallace (winner - 1998)
      18. #49-Ken Schrader (winner - 1989, 1990)
      19. Bill Elliott (winner - 1987), #39 Coors Dodge
      20. Terry Labonte (winner - 1985)(no plans to run it as far as I have heard)
      21. Geoffrey Bodine (winner - 1992)(entered in the #93 GIC Chevy)(NASCAR Statistical Services), more info at my 2005 Busweiser Shootout page and the entry list a NASCAR.com..(2-9-2005)

    • A Kinser headed to NASCAR? Kraig Kinser is the son of the most famous sprint-car driver in dirt-track racing history. But Steve Kinser's progeny has turned down a different road in his racing career. And not only is it paved, it doesn't come with a large wing mounted on top of his car. The younger Kinser, a 20-year-old Bloomington, Ind., native, debuted in the U.S. Auto Club's Silver Crown division last week in the Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway. The Copper World was Kinser's first race on a pavement track and his second driving a car without a wing. His debut without a wing came last month in the Chili Bowl, an indoor midget race in Tulsa, Okla. Kinser still plans to race his father some this season in a World of Outlaws sprint car, but NASCAR, which the older Kinser tried briefly in 1995, could be in his future. "Let's see where this goes first," Kraig said. Nextel Cup driver #9-Kasey Kahne, a former USAC midget champion who hired Kinser in December, is the owner of this expanding Silver Crown team based in Mooresville, N.C., near many of the NASCAR shops. Much of the team's financial backing comes from Dodge, which is increasing its presence in NASCAR. Kahne's other Silver Crown driver is Erin Crocker, who has a development contract with the same Evernham Motorsports team that employs Kahne in the Nextel Cup division.(in part from the Indy Star)(2-9-2005)

    • #66 Peak Fitness Racing Team Launches Website: Peak Performance Motorsports owner Jeff Stec announced today that his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team has hired PSE-3, a sports and entertainment communications, marketing and sales firm headquartered in Raleigh, NC, to handle media and sponsor relations for the team. The January announcement of the newly formed team introduced NASCAR veterans Hermie Sadler as the driver and James Ince as the crew chief. For more information regarding PSE-3 and sponsorship opportunities with Peak Performance Motorsports, please visit (PPM website) or www.pse-3.com. The online destination for all things associated with the #66 Peak Fitness Ford Taurus in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series is peakfitnessracing.com.(2-9-2005)





      News from February 8, 2005

    • Vickers to run limited Busch schedule, Ore-Ida as an assoc on Cup car: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick announced that 21-year-old Brian Vickers will return to the NASCAR Busch Series for four races in 2005 with support from primary sponsor Ore-Ida and its Extra Crispy French-fry brand. As part of the agreement, Vickers will drive his four Busch Series races in Ore-Ida-wrapped #57 Chevrolets. In addition to its support of Vickers' Busch Series appearances, Ore-Ida will become a major associate partner of the #25 NEXTEL Cup Series team with Vickers as driver. Vickers, the 2003 Busch Series champion is scheduled to make his first Busch Series start of 2005 at Lowe's Motor Speedway May 28, followed by events at Daytona International Speedway in July, Michigan International Speedway in August and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(2-8-2005)

    • Bear Creek Soups To Step Up Sponsorship at ppc Racing: ppc Racing officials announced associate sponsor Bear Creek Soups will return with an expanded 2005 motorsports marketing program. Under the sponsorship agreement, Bear Creek Soups will be the "Official Soup Product" at ppc Racing and have a strong presence on all four race teams with drivers #14-John Andretti [Cup], #22-Kenny Wallace [Busch], #10-Michel Jourdain Jr.[Busch] and #10-Terry Cook [Trucks]. Bear Creek Soups has sponsored ppc Racing since 2001 and was a primary sponsor with the team's NASCAR Busch Series efforts last year at select events. The Bear Creek Soups logos will be displayed in various locations on all four of ppc Racing's race vehicles; the #14 VB / APlus at Sunoco Ford Taurus in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with driver John Andretti; the #22 Stacker 2 Ford Taurus in the NASCAR Busch Series with driver Kenny Wallace; the #10 ppc Racing Ford Taurus with driver Michel Jourdain Jr.; and the #10 Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International race truck in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with driver Terry Cook. For more information, please visit www.bearcreekfoods.com.(ppc Racing PR)(2-8-2005)

    • Daytona 500 Pace Car: Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 2004 Daytona 500 champion, unveiled the all-new 2005 Corvette that will pace the 47th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season opener during the national broadcast of Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning. Earnhardt Jr., who drives the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt Inc., revealed the Corvette coupe that will pace the 43-car field in "The Great American Race" on Sunday, Feb. 20 - NASCAR's richest, biggest and most prestigious event at historic Daytona International Speedway. The design of the Daytona 500 Corvette pace vehicle includes elements that reflect the heritage and attitude of the historic winning Corvette race cars. The Corvette pace vehicle is millennium yellow with a black racing stripe centered across the hood, roof and trunk lid with the Daytona 500 logo on each door and Chevy's "An American Revolution" slogan on the rear spoiler. This will be the 34th consecutive year General Motors has provided the Official Pace Car for the Daytona 500. The Daytona 500 will be one of 60 NASCAR events Chevrolet will pace in 2005, including 28 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, 17 Busch Series and 15 Craftsman Truck Series races.(DIS PR)(2-8-2005)

    • Busch and President Bush..meet Monday: At 2:05 pm [on Monday, 2/7], President George Bush looks forward to a photo opportunity with the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch and other members of his team at the Oval Office.(Talkradionews.com/whitehouse.gov)(2-7-2005)
      IMAGES photos of Champion Busch meets President Bush at FoxSports.com.(2-8-2005)


      2004 Nextel Cup Champ meets
      President George Bush
      (Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images for NASCAR)

    • Larry Foyt to run Daytona ARCA race, BAM Plans still in the works: Fulltiltpoker.com, an interactive poker gaming Web site, has signed with Foyt Racing as the primary sponsor of the #16 Dodge. The car will be driven by Larry Foyt in the Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 at Daytona International Speedway Saturday, Feb. 12th. The ARCA race will be the first foray into motorsports for Fulltiltpoker.com which sees a great opportunity to bring its online poker experience to racing fans."I'm excited to be back behind the wheel at Daytona," said Foyt. "I've only driven in one ARCA race and that was over four years ago. I've learned a lot since then so I'm really looking forward to competing next weekend." Foyt put together the one-time race package for his father A.J. Foyt's team with support from BAM Racing team owners Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau. The Morgenthaus are trying to secure sponsorship to field a car for Foyt in one of NASCAR's divisions this year. Foyt has also signed two associate sponsors for this event: Demons Cycles (www.demonscycles.com), builder of custom motorcycles, and Victory Sportswear (www.victorysportswear.com a full line apparel company that offers screen printing, embroidery and ad specialty items to local race teams across the country.(A.J. Foyt Racing PR)(2-8-2005)

    • Wal-Mart teams up with NASCAR: NASCAR announced "NASCAR Comes to Wal-Mart," a major event at more than 1,100 Wal-Mart stores to draw attention to the start of the 2005 NASCAR season. The promotion will roll into 43 NASCAR race markets throughout the 10-month 2005 NASCAR season.
      To kick off the NASCAR season, more than 1,100 Wal-Mart stores within 50 miles of 36 race markets in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and seven markets in the NASCAR Busch Series will participate in the NASCAR promotion. Wal-Mart stores will feature NASCAR-themed point-of-sale displays for partners such as Duracell, Gillette, Jack Link's, Ice Breakers and Kodak in the NASCAR promotion. The NASCAR Fan Guide will feature NASCAR highlights and milestones, team rosters, the 2005 NASCAR schedules, and shopping lists of items that fans can purchase enhance their racing experience. More than one million NASCAR Fan Guides were developed exclusively for the promotion.
      More than 500 Wal-Mart stores will also feature NASCAR-themed "retailtainment" activities. For example, fans can test their knowledge of the sport in the "NASCAR Comes to Wal-Mart Match Game" — a trivia game tied to visiting NASCAR sponsor displays at Wal-Mart. More than 100 of these stores will feature parking lot sponsor fan fests that will provide an array of fun activities for NASCAR fans and customers. Sponsors featured in the "retailtainment" portion of the promotion include: Coca-Cola, M&M, Kingsford, Pedigree and Kellogg. Fans can enjoy the Coca-Cola wall of Speed, riding in a Kellogg's race car simulator, or getting up close to their favorite sponsor show cars.
      Additionally, starting February 1 through mi-March, Wal-Mart will be the exclusive retailer of the new DVD, NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience from Warner Home Video. The IMAX DVD provides an insider's perspective of NASCAR racing and was the second-highest grossing film documentary of 2004. Wal-Mart currently offers more than 250 NASCAR sponsor products, making it the largest seller of NASCAR licensee and sponsor products in the country.(retail-merchandiser.com)(2-8-2005)

    • The Bud Shootout and the Daytona 500 winners: Five times has the winner of the Budweiser Shootout gone on to win the Daytona 500 the following week: Dale Jarrett (2000 and 1996), Jeff Gordon (1997), Bill Elliott (1987), and Bobby Allison (1982). Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished second in the 2004 Budweiser Shootout, won the Daytona 500 the following week.(Bud Shootout site/PR)(2-8-2005)

    • No Shootout...but still won: Since 1979, seven drivers have won the Daytona 500 who did not compete in the Budweiser Shootout the week before: Michael Waltrip (2001, 2003), Ward Burton (2002), Dale Earnhardt (1998), Sterling Marlin (1994), Dale Jarrett (1993), Derrike Cope (1990) and Richard Petty (1979). Drivers who did not compete in the Bud Shootout the week before won three of the last four Daytona 500s. (Michael Waltrip in 2001 and 2003 and Ward Burton in 2002).(Bud Shootout site/PR)(2-8-2005)

    • Kids NASCAR Furniture: Lexington Home Brands and O’Sullivan have teamed up to create a ready-to-assemble NASCAR youth furniture group, with a big-box retailer now testing three pieces at select stores. If the test goes well, more of the chain’s stores will carry the group and other retailers will have a chance to stock it, said Jim Myers, Lexington’s vice president of product development. Myers is a friend of stock car driver Bobby Labonte, who called one day to talk about a possible Labonte youth group. They pursued the necessary licenses. Labonte’s teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, Tony Stewart, joined the effort, as did Labonte’s brother, Terry, also a racer. Drivers Jeff Gordon and Elliot Sadler were added later. Lexington contacted O’Sullivan, which had been doing suite-in-a-box furniture. Lexington provided the licensing and design and O’Sullivan handled the manufacturing of a twin bed, nightstand and five-drawer chest to retail for $189. Decals for all five NASCAR drivers are included in the box. Lexington and O’Sullivan are working to add a small bench to the group, to go at the footboard or elsewhere in the room.(kidstodayonline.com)(2-8-2005)

    • Lots of special schemes for McMurray in 2005 UPDATE 2: #42-Jamie McMurray will race five different Texaco/Havoline "Shine On" paint schemes in 2005. McMurray will drive the first special paint scheme at Texas on April 17.(RacingOne)(12-7-2004)
      UPDATE: added four schemes that will be run at Texas (Apr), Lowe's (May), Sonoma (June) and Talladega (Oct) to the #42 Team Scheme page. The fifth one, that was posted before, not sure where that will be run, Texas in Nov.?(1-28-2005)
      UPDATE 2: Jamie McMurray, a third-year veteran of the Texaco/Havoline race team, will be charging the competition with four new paint schemes during in 2005. Each unique vehicle leverages Texaco's trademark "Shine On" theme, including a retro paint scheme marrying the Texaco/Havoline logo and "Shine On" graphics. These inspired designs pay tribute to Texaco/Havoline's successful NASCAR history while emphasizing the iconic status of the star. "The star has always symbolized quality and performance," says Danny Roden, vice president of North American marketing for ChevronTexaco. The "Shine On" series is about honoring that heritage and using vibrant new designs to reinforce it". This season marks Texaco/Havoline's 18th consecutive year as sponsor in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. McMurray will drive the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge with a different "Shine On" paint scheme at each of the following Nextel Cup races:
      · Dallas, TX: April 17, 2005
      · Charlotte, NC: May 29, 2005
      · Sonoma, CA: June 26, 2005
      · Talladega, AL: October 2, 2005
      (Ganassi Racing PR), see the new images of the schemes on my #42 Team Scheme page.(2-8-2005)


      News from February 7, 2005

    • Hendrick announces new VP's: Hendrick Motorsports general manager Marshall Carlson announced that competition director Ken Howes and longtime General Motors executive Doug Duchardt have been named vice presidents over the organization's racing operations. Transitioning from his role of competition director, Howes has been tabbed as vice president of competition. The Johannesburg, South Africa, native will oversee Hendrick's day-to-day competition-related activities, now encompassing teams, crew chiefs and pit-crew trainers, along with at-track logistics and execution.
      Duchardt, who most recently managed General Motors' North American motor sports initiatives as director of GM Racing, has been named Hendrick Motorsports' vice president of development, a position in which he will control race-car evolution through design, engineering and production in the chassis and engine areas.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(2-7-2005)

    • Jeff Gordon and Watches: The TAG Heuer watch company says it will use four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon as its new "brand ambassador" in a campaign that will include product development, advertising and public relations. He joins actress Uma Thurman, golfer Tiger Woods, Wimbledon tennis champion Maria Sharapova and Formula 1 driver Juan-Pablo Montoya as company representatives. The company says Gordon will work with its designers on the development of new watch collections specifically engineered for race car drivers and their fans.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-7-2005)

    • Speed partners with Airborne Entertainment: Airborne Entertainment Inc., mobile publisher, announced an exclusive wireless partnership with Speed Channel. The deal will take millions of racing fans along for the ride as it brings the network's high-octane properties to mobile for the first time ever. Fans of Speed Channel will be able to download an ever-expanding array of wallpapers, videos, ringtones, games and applications directly on their phones. Each Speed Channel-inspired product promises to put fans into overdrive with content that's as fast and furious as the network itself. Speed Channel will be joining Airborne's roster of recognizable media and consumer brands. Current partners include MAXIM Magazine, Activision Value, Cosmopolitain and CosmoGirl, Buzztime, Snapple, Family Guy, Fox Filmed Entertainment, TV Guide, The NHL and MTV Europe. An introductory suite of Speed Channel products will be available on North American carriers shortly.(Speed PR)(2-7-2005)

    • Toyota in Busch in 2006? in Cup in 2007? Rumblings in the garage have Toyota testing the Busch Series waters next season before jumping to Cup in 2007, the first year all teams could be running NASCAR's new engines. Those engines will be constructed on common platforms but still will maintain manufacturer identities. Toyota's possible entry into the Busch Series also might accelerate the learning curve for Honda, which could be racing in the truck series as early as 2006. The Big Three U.S. automakers have expressed concern that if Toyota and Honda are given the specifications of this new engine now, the Nextel Cup Series soon could resemble the IndyCar series, meaning Detroit would be severely outspent and unable to compete.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-7-2005)

    • Template Inspection at Vegas to get to California: Cup teams had to roll through template inspection at Las Vegas to receive a voucher to continue testing at California. In the offseason, NASCAR takes its templates to race shops for early comparisons, but in the past teams would go early to Rockingham, previously the second race of the season, to check for accuracy. "We want the crews to know how we're applying the templates and what the procedures are," NASCAR inspector John Drager says. "This gives teams the opportunity to see the entire template package." Changes include Dodge's 14 identity templates, all spoiler templates because spoiler heights have been decreased an inch to 4.5 inches and the Chevrolet taillight template.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-7-2005)

    • Series Managers named for Canada and Mexico: NASCAR has selected tour directors for its Canada and Mexico series. Richard Buck, a former team manager in Winston Cup and CART, will oversee the Canadian operation. Former driver and TV commentator Chad Little will manage the Mexico series.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-7-2005)

    • Dale Jr. wins RACER award: RACER magazine’s 10th annual survey of its readers’ views of the outstanding auto racing performers of the season produced a number of firsts. Chief among them was the selection of Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the overall Racer of the Year for the first time. The Daytona 500 champ, who also topped the “RACER’s Dozen” list of the most powerful and influential people in racing compiled by the editors of the magazine last June, edged Michael Schumacher for the top award by three percentage points, 24-21, in balloting conducted online at SpeedTV.com throughout the month of December.(Speed Magazine)(2-7-2005)

    • Jarrett wins golf contest: In the final round of a pre-Super Bowl charity event, Nextel Cup driver #88-Dale Jarrett was the only player to put a drive onto the celebrated island par-3 17th green at the TPC at Sawgrass, winning $10,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. As part of the FOX Super Bowl XXXIX pregame show, Jarrett, Robert Yates Racing teammate Elliott Sadler and Penske Racing's Rusty Wallace with coach PGA Tour player Fred Funk made up one of three teams of professional athletes to take part in the charity event. An MLB team was made up of Atlanta Braves starting pitcher John Smoltz, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Royce Clayton and Florida Marlins starting pitcher Al Leiter with Senior PGA player Fuzzy Zoeller as coach. And an NFL team was represented by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis and Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher with Senior PGA player Jim Thorpe as coach. In the final round, Jarrett faced off against Green and Smoltz, and the Pro Bowler and All-Star missed the green while the three-time Daytona 500 winner put only the third ball of the 18 struck in the competition on the putting surface.(FoxSports.com)(2-7-2005)

    • Daytona 500 Purse at $17 million: The 47th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20, NASCAR's biggest and most prestigious event of the year, will carry the biggest purse in the history of stock car racing at more than $17 million. The post awards for the "The Great American Race" on Sunday, Feb. 20 will be $17,623,980, an increase of nearly $2 million. The posted awards for the 2004 Daytona 500, which was won by Dale Earnhardt Jr., was $15,972,313. The winner of this year's Daytona 500 will collect a minimum of $1,430,030. The second, third, fourth and fifth-place finishers in the Daytona 500 will receive a minimum of $1,029,425, $736,625, $584,750 and $456,875 respectively. Even the last-place finisher in the Daytona 500 will be rewarded with a minimum of $219,931. "The Daytona 500 is without doubt NASCAR's signature event and the 43-car field in this year's event will be paid handsomely for their efforts," Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. Other purses for Speedweeks 2005 events are: * Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series race: $305,507 * Budweiser Shootout: $1,087,300 * Florida Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race: $807,103 * Hershey's Take 5 300 NASCAR Busch Series race: $2,409,495 Tickets to any of the Speedweeks 2005 events are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. (DIS PR)(2-7-2005)



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