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    FEB 14-20, 2005

      News from February 20, 2005

    • Gordon wins the Daytona 500: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, winning his 3rd Daytona 500 and his 70th career Nextel Cup Series race. Gordon now ties Dale Jarrett and Bobby Allison for third on the all time Daytona win list with 3 [Richard Petty had 7, Cale Yarborough had 4]. It was owner Rick Hendrick's fifth Daytona 500 win [he also won with Geoffrey Bodine in 1986 and Darrell Waltrip in 1989]. #20-Tony Stewart dominated the race most of the day, leading 107 laps. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't lead until lap 195, but couldn't hold off Gordon. #48-Johnson and Stewart had some fending banging after the race. #15-Michael Waltrip was strong the first half of the race until he lost an engine on lap 158. #97-Kurt Busch finished 2nd, followed by #-Earnhardt Jr., #10-Scott Riggs, #48-Johnson, #6-Mark Martin, #20-Stewart, #40-Sterling Martin, surprise of Speedweeks #37-Kevin Lepage finished 9th and #2-Rusty Wallace rounded out the top-10.
      See race results at:

    • Biffle close to signing contract extension: Roush Racing officials said they are close to signing Greg Biffle to a contract extension. Biffle's deal is up at the end of this season, and his public criticism of the company last year gave strong indications that he was considering leaving.(

    • Rusty Honored: #2-Rusty Wallace was inducted into the Goodyear Legends of Daytona area inside Daytona International Speedway's FanZone and never took off his sunglasses during the presentation Saturday morning. "I was having a tough time up there on stage," Wallace said. "They were laying out my stats and all the things I've done. I'm glad I had on my sunglasses because my eyes filled up after all that." Wallace said today's Daytona 500 will be business as usual when he starts 36th on the grid and begins to grind his way through the field. This will be his last 500 start as he begins the "Rusty's Last Call" tour before he retires following the 2005 season. Wallace announced his retirement plans last season in a news conference at the Speedway because he says Daytona is the center of the stock car racing universe. The Pepsi Theater in Daytona USA was packed with family, fans, officials and media that day. At the start of Speed Weeks, Wallace gave a television interview and wondered outloud if he had made the right decision. "Yeah, I waffled a little bit and tossed it back and forth, but I don't want to confuse my fans -- I am retiring," he said. "I'm not going to close the door entirely. If I want to come back and help my son practice his car, or test for Penske Racing, I'll do that. I'm not going to actively come back and run the Nextel Cup Series." He does have one race on his 2006 schedule. Wallace plans to run in the Rolex 24 at Daytona sportscar race, the annual Speed Weeks kickoff event.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-20-2005)

    • Fan Injured after being hit by hauler: A race fan was injured late Friday night when a transporter ran over him as it was leaving the track. The truck was leaving the infield after Friday night's race at Daytona International Speedway when a golf cart cut in front of it. The driver of the cart lost control, hit a bump and a passenger was ejected. The truck then ran over the male fan, Matthew Jensen of St. Petersburg, Daytona spokesman David Talley said. Jensen was transported to Halifax Medical Center, where he underwent surgery Friday night and was in intensive care Saturday, Talley said. Also, another unidentified male fan died of a heart attack in an offsite parking lot, Talley said.(

    • #48 to carries special sticker: Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Lowe's Chevy carried a decal that read, “In Memory of Cpl. Jonathan Bowling.” Bowling, 23, of Martinsville, Va., was one of four Marines killed last month during an ambush attack on a convoy in Iraq's Anbar Province. Bowling’s father, Darrell, a Virginia State Trooper, was one of the police officers who responded to the Oct. 24, 2004, crash of a Hendrick Motorsports airplane near Martinsville, that killed 10 people, including team owner Rick Hendrick’s son, Ricky, and brother, John. The elder Bowling responded to the scene of the crash at Bull Mountain, Va., and stayed with the bodies of the victims until they could be brought down from the mountain. Bowling also recovered a ring and a medallion from the crash and returned it to the Hendrick family. “During that time, the day that he was bringing us the ring, he got a phone call that his son was killed in Iraq,” Hendrick said of Bowling. “We were close to them because of what they did for our family, and in the effort of trying to bring something back to us, he found out his son had been killed. So we’re running the sticker to honor him.”(Speed Channel)(2-20-2005)

      News from February 19, 2005

    • Popular PRN Programs Return for 2005 Racing Season: Officials of Performance Racing Network [PRN -] announced that two of the network's most popular radio programs, "The ALLTEL Pit Reporters" and "PRN's Sunday Drive," have been renewed for the 2005 season.
      "The ALLTEL Pit Reporters," hosted by veteran broadcaster Brett McMillan, returns Wednesday, Feb. 23, for its sixth year while "PRN's Sunday Drive" kicks off its sophomore season Sunday, Feb. 20, following the Daytona 500.
      "The ALLTEL Pit Reporters" is the original media round-table program with members of the Fourth Estate tackling motorsports' toughest issues. "We take on all the major issues surrounding racing, but we never let the show become a shouting match," McMillan noted. "PRN's Sunday Drive," co-hosted by John Kernan and Stephanie Durner, wraps up the weekend's motorsports activities each Sunday evening. Kernan and Durner offer fans an outlet to discuss a variety of topics while analyzing the weekend's racing action with a popular NASCAR driver. Last year's guests included John Andretti, David Green and Ron Hornaday. "PRN's Sunday Drive" airs each Sunday from 8:00 to 10:00pm/et and fans can participate by calling 1-800-771-8255.
      "'The ALLTEL Pit Reporters' and 'PRN's Sunday Drive' represent the best in radio motorsports journalism," said Doug Rice, vice president and general manager of PRN. "We are thrilled to have such a strong lineup for race fans across the country." PRN continues to be an industry innovator. It is the only radio network to broadcast a NASCAR race in Spanish and recently earned a National Motorsports Press Association award for its youth broadcast of the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 presented by Lowe's at Lowe's Motor Speedway. PRN broadcasts 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, eight Busch Series events and produces "Fast Talk with Benny Parsons," "The ALLTEL Pit Reporters," "PRN's Sunday Drive" and "zMAX Racing Country." Additional information about PRN and its broadcast lineup can be obtained by visiting PR)(2-19-2005)

    • Goodyear looking to re-up: Goodyear officials confirmed Friday that they are ready to begin negotiating an extension to their current NASCAR contract, which expires in 2007. Goodyear is the only tire supplier for NASCAR’s Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series.(Speed Channel)(2-19-2005)

    • Rusty's hit was 41g's: #2-Rusty Wallace, who was collected in the Harvick-Johnson crash [2nd Gatorade Duel at Daytona on Thursday], said the impact was 41Gs. “That first head-on hit with Harvick is the one that about knocked my lights out,” Wallace said. “That was the very hardest of my life.”(Speed Channel)(2-19-2005)

    • Elliott to run three Busch races? UPDATE 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)
      UPDATE: during Friday's Trackside show on Speed Channel [2/18/2005], Rusty Wallace said Bill Elliott would drive three Busch races in the #64 Dodge.(2-19-2005)

    • More hard liquor: Patron tequila will be the sponsor of Kevin Lepage’s #37 Dodge for the Daytona 500.(Speed Channel)(2-19-2005)

    • Nextel Cup until 2006: Nextel Chief Operating Officer Tom Kelly said his company's pending merger with Sprint could be finalized as early as July. If the deal doesn't close before September, Kelly said the Nextel Cup Series wouldn't face any potential name changes until after 2006. Kelly said the popular Nextel Experience at-track exhibit will be expanded in 2005 along with more national promotions, and Nextel also will focus heavily on promoting its all-star race in Charlotte, NC, working with the city to make it a "multiday event." The '06 schedule hasn't been decided, but Kelly said there have been no discussions about moving the all-star race to Richmond International Raceway, which is about 100 miles from Nextel headquarters in Reston, VA.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-19-2005)

    • Subway Scheme for Biffle: #16-Greg Biffle os scheduled to run a Subway scheme at the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in April and the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway in October. See the scheme on my #16 Team Schemes page.(2-19-2005)

    • Chevrolet Donates $688,300 to The Dale Earnhardt Foundation: Brent Dewar, general manager of Chevrolet, presented a check for $688,300 to Teresa Earnhardt as a donation to The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. The contribution was generated by sales of Signature Series Monte Carlos honoring the late Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. The Dale Earnhardt Foundation is committed to carrying on Dale's legacy and the charitable causes he supported during his lifetime in the areas of education, children, the environment and wildlife preservation. Teresa Earnhardt created the foundation in 2002 and continues to be involved in its overall operations. "We are so pleased to be able to continue Dale's vision of caring for others," said Teresa Earnhardt, president and CEO of Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. "I want to thank Chevrolet for their generous contribution and for playing an instrumental role in carrying on his legacy for years to come." The build of the 2004 Monte Carlo Intimidator SS was limited to 4,000 units as a tribute to seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt. The second model, a 2004 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Signature Series Monte Carlo SS, was a salute to one of the sport's most popular and competitive drivers. A total of 2,883 Dale Earnhardt Jr. units were produced. "We created the Earnhardt-themed Monte Carlos as a way for fans to support the sport's most legendary father-and-son racing duo," said Dewar. "We are delighted that the Signature Series Monte Carlos have also raised significant funds to benefit the charities important to Dale Earnhardt." Both models are based on the Monte Carlo Supercharged SS coupe. Each is powered by GM's 3800 Series II supercharged V-6 engine, delivering 240 horsepower at 5200 rpm and an impressive 280 lb-ft. of torque at 3600 rpm. The vehicles were sold at select dealerships in the U.S. and Canada with a portion of the proceeds of each sale benefiting The Dale Earnhardt Foundation.(GM PR)(2-19-2005)

    • Jim Beam Donates $100,000: Jim Beam bourbon, the "Official Spirit of Racing" and a leader in social responsibility, leverages its sponsorship of Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) and 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Team Owner and Driver Robby Gordon, to continue its support of alcohol education, donating $100,000 to RGM as part of the Jim Beam drink smart ongoing effort to promote responsible choices about alcohol. Throughout the 2005 NASCAR season, RGM will make donations from this fund to local universities in various race markets for the purpose of alcohol education. The $100,000 total will help to fund Alcohol 101 Plus educational programming produced by The Century Council, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to eliminating underage drinking. Gordon presented the first donation in the amount of $10,000 to the University of Central Florida at the Daytona International Speedway today. "We are excited by the dedication shown by Robby Gordon Motorsports, Jim Beam Brands Co., and The Century Council, to educate students on the importance of making responsible decisions regarding alcohol," said Tom Hall, Director of AOD Prevention Programming. "We look forward to using this funding to increase our alcohol education and awareness efforts."
      "I am thrilled that Jim Beam is donating money so that I can help to further a good cause," Gordon said. "Jim Beam is building on an existing platform that's proven great for motorsports and for communicating the drink smart message. As a professional race-car driver I believe I can help to deliver that message with even greater impact and influence." Throughout 2005, Robby Gordon Motorsports will present one local university in various NASCAR markets this season each with a $10,000 check on behalf of his organization and Jim Beam. The donations will help fund each school's implementation of The Century Council's Alcohol 101 Plus education program and alcohol education activities. With the $10,000 donation, schools will be able to facilitate seminars and prevention programs to educate students about the importance of not drinking underage. The Alcohol 101 Plus program will also be made available to student organizations. The universities receiving the donated funds are selected on recommendations given by The Century Council and based on need, as well as active participation in existing alcohol education programs.(Jim Beam Racing PR)(2-19-2005)

    • #23 picks up a sponsor UPDATE: seen on Speed Channel's Daytona 500 practice coverage, the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge with driver Mike Skinner has Argent Mortgage on the hood of the car.(2-16-2005)
      UPDATE: This weekend, Argent Mortgage is teaming up with Mike Skinner and the #23 Bill Davis Racing team in the 47th running of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Daytona 500. “We are all excited and very proud to get to represent Team Argent this weekend. They have such an elite list of accomplished athletes who are already part of their sports sponsorship program and Argent Mortgage is such an innovative company,” said Bill Davis, BDR team owner. “After the strong show Mike Skinner and the entire team have put forth so far this last week, I plan to add on to Team Argent’s past successes this Sunday.” Argent Mortgage is a leading national mortgage lender. The company works exclusively with independent mortgage brokers and bankers across the country, providing lending services in 48 states. “We are very pleased to partner with Bill Davis Racing and Mike Skinner for the Daytona 500,” said Wayne Lee, president of Argent Mortgage Company. “This team shares the same characteristics that have made Argent Mortgage a leading national mortgage lender — speed, teamwork, determination and innovation — and we are proud to have the Argent name associated with such a great organization.” This Sunday will mark Skinner’s ninth consecutive Daytona 500 start. In 14 NASCAR Cup career starts at Daytona International Speedway, Skinner has scored two poles, four top-five, seven top-10 and nine top-15 starts. He also has three top-five, five top-10 and six top-15 finishes at DIS as a NASCAR Cup Series driver.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(2-19-2005)

    • Marlin to race at Nashville: For the first time since the opening of the Nashville Superspeedway, local NEXTEL Cup Driver and two-time winner of the Daytona 500, Sterling Marlin will run in the fifth annual Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, March 26. Marlin, a back to back Daytona 500 Champion, will be driving for Fitz-Bradshaw Cottman Transmission Dodge #40. "I'm excited to be racing in my own back yard," Marlin said, who lives in the Middle Tennessee area. "I've tested many times at the Nashville Superspeedway and I'm looking forward to competing for the first time." Tickets for the PFG Lester 150 ARCA RE/MAX Series race and the Pepsi 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, March 26 are on sale now by calling toll-free 1-866-RACE-TIX or online at All race tickets include two races, all the pre race festivities, and the post race Capitol Concert Series.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(2-19-2005)

    • Cool Camera at the 500: Fox Sports liked the shots it received from "Cablecam" for its NFL coverage so much that it is bringing the camera to NASCAR, including the Daytona 500 Sunday. For football, "Cablecam," a camera riding on a cable high above the field, produced some interesting close-ups. Viewers could get a feel for the quarterback eyeing receivers down the field or returners finding holes to run through. For NASCAR, Fox is hoping it will give a closer look at the drivers, particularly in the pits. "It gets us right over the track with the hands and the eyes," race announcer Mike Joy said in a teleconference Tuesday. "I love it when I hear (analyst) Darrell (Waltrip) say, 'Now look at the guy's hands. Look at what he's doing.' That's what we're trying to bring out." The camera's cable for Fox's Daytona 500 coverage Sunday is three times the length of the one the network used at the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.(Albuquerque Tribune)(2-19-2005)

    • Harvick's backup no stranger to Daytona: #29-Kevin Harvick's back-up Chevy is the car the team ran in all four restrictor plate races in 2003.(GM PR)(2-19-2005)

    • Nemechek's Comments Friday: As a result of Thursday's multi-car accident [in the 2nd Gatorade Duel], #01-Joe Nemechek woke up Friday morning with a sore neck and sore ribs. How do you feel? "I'm a little sore today -- I took a hard hit yesterday. I have to say my backup car is driving good so that's the main thing. We're ready for the Daytona 500."
      How Close is the backup car to the car you ran yesterday? "It's the same car we ran in the Bud Shootout. On paper it's aerodynamically a better racecar -- it makes more downforce, has less drag and does all of the good things. The other car was my favorite piece but it's totaled so this one has to be my favorite piece from now on. The Army Chevy drove good today -- it's been a little snug but they brought it back to the shop (Concord, N.C.) after the Shootout and worked on it and got it a little more free. It feels better than it did Saturday night. The cool thing about our team is that we have eight speedway cars and they are all within a tenth of each other. We're able to reproduce the good stuff and I have all of the confidence in the world that this car will get me to the finish line."(MB2 Motorsports PR)(2-19-2005)

      News from February 18, 2005

    • Martin wins IROC race at Daytona, now all-time wins leader: Four -time Crown Royal IROC champion Mark Martin held off Martin Truex Jr., and Bobby Hamilton to win the 2005 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The win puts Martin at the top of the charts with the most wins in IROC history. For more info and full results, see

    • Leffler, Fedex Donate $500,000 to Victory Junction: #11-Jason Leffler has donated $250,000 to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, and his sponsor, FedEx, has made a matching $250,000 donation to the camp. "This is an incredibly generous show of support for Victory Junction by Jason and FedEx," said camp founder Kyle Petty. The donations will be used to finance construction of a new cabin and to help bring more children to the facility this year. "My wife Alison and I feel very strongly about the camp that Kyle and Pattie have built and want to support this great program," Leffler said.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2005)

    • New Season of 'NASCAR DRIVERS: 360' return: The FX network has placed a second season order of seven episodes for "NASCAR Drivers: 360." The show, which takes a behind-the-scenes look at the everyday lives of NASCAR drivers, premieres May 13 at 10:30 ET. Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray, Kenny Wallace, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace will be featured during the seven-week run.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2005)

    • More Tire Troubles UPDATE fixed: Tire trouble that cropped up in practice for the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway resurfaced again for several drivers in drafting practice Wednesday. Goodyear flew seven tires to its headquarters for further examination after initial assessment showed no common factors among the six tires with problems. In some cases, the tread pulled away from the carcass of the tire, and trouble cropped up as quickly as 15 laps or after as many as 40, said Greg Stucker, a former engineer who now serves as director of race tire sales and marketing. The company's best guess, Stucker said, is that the trouble comes from a combination of a new compound being used this year, which might cause the tires to retain extra heat, and car setups that put extra pressure on either the right front or right rear tire.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(2-17-2005)
      UPDATE: Goodyear seems to be finding a solution to what could have been a tire crisis at Speedweeks. After at least six Goodyear tires blew in practice this week, officials from the tire manufacturer flew samples from several production batches to its facility in Akron, Ohio, on Wednesday, where an overnight examination found a tendency in some tires for the tread to separate from the casing. "There was a slightly lower level of adhesion between the tread and the top fabric ply on the tires that experienced problems," said Goodyear manager Stu Grant. Tire company employees then recalled all the tires from those production runs, but at least 600 of the 900 tires had already been run on the track with no problem, Grant said. Most drivers reported no problems with tires during Thursday's qualifying races.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-18-2005)

    • Harvick, Johnson meeting to clear air: After #29-Kevin Harvick exited the infield care center with an aching chest Thursday, #01-Joe Nemechek nearly hit him with a water bottle. It was a clear display of the anguish Harvick caused during the second of two 150-mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500. Harvick bumped #48-Jimmie Johnson more than halfway through the 60-lap race, starting a seven-car wreck and stirring the emotions of several drivers and their crews. "It's frustrating because I know how much all these guys have put into this, and to have it taken out by someone like him, that's stupid,'' Nemechek said. Johnson, who trailed only three-time Daytona winner Dale Jarrett in pole qualifying last Sunday, was leading the race when he slowed in the second turn and got rear-ended by Harvick. The bump turned Johnson's car sideways and ignited a crash that took out Johnson, Harvick, Nemechek and fellow top contenders Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace. None of them was injured. But some of their cars were badly damaged. Harvick, Nemechek and Wallace were forced to switch to backup cars and will move to the back of the field for NASCAR's biggest race. "It's a shame. He just tore up six or seven good race cars,'' said Johnson, adding that team owner Richard Childress should fire Harvick and NASCAR should penalize him. "This is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.''
      Harvick and Johnson were summoned to the NASCAR trailer after tempers had cooled. Harvick acknowledged fault in the wreck, and NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter warned the drivers that future problems could result in fines or suspensions. "We told them that they need to either work it out for themselves or we'll work it out for them,'' Hunter said. "We just consider it a racing incident. If they get into it again, there could be some severe penalties, like missing a race.'' Hunter added that the drivers shook hands and agreed to meet by themselves Thursday night -- without crew chiefs, car owners or NASCAR officials -- to work through their differences, which began at Phoenix last year. "We want to make absolutely sure that at the start of a new season, there's no carry-over,'' Hunter said. Harvick apologized for his error, but that did little to soothe emotions in the garage area. "I just spun him out, and I feel sorry for the teams and everybody involved,'' Harvick said.(

    • Roush and Red Sox rumor resurfaces: Roush Racing executives have been working with their counterparts in the Boston Red Sox front office on ways to tap into the New England fan market. Possible alliances include a Red Sox paint scheme and Roush-themed television shows on the team's regional cable network. "I'm hoping to find out a way to affiliate our teams more closely with the Red Sox," Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said. Smith said Red Sox majority owner John Henry is a "semiprofessional" computer race car driver, playing the same sophisticated online racing simulator game that drivers such as Earnhardt play when they aren't racing. The Roush team brought Henry to a race at New Hampshire International Speedway last year, leading to rumors Roush would sell a stake in his team to Henry. But Smith said beyond the two teams' marketing plans, "there is nothing on the table." Smith doesn't rule out the team possibly entering a partnership.(USA Today)(2-18-2005)

    • Harvick to Penske? UPDATE 2: 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.(
      UPDATE 2: Kevin Harvick is rumored to be under consideration for a ride with Roger Penske next season, possibly now the driver to take Rusty Wallace's ride. But Harvick's contract with car owner Richard Childress is reported to run through the end of 2006.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-18-2005)

    • Jarrett to Race the Truck: Dale Jarrett, whose #88 Robert Yates Racing Ford is sponsored by UPS, will be featured in a UPS commercial scheduled to run during Sunday's broadcast of the Daytona 500 in which he finally agrees to race the bulky UPS delivery truck. The new commercial is the fifth installment of the popular "Race the Truck" advertising campaign.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-18-2005)

    • Diversity Presentation on Speed: Before tonight's truck race at Daytona International Speedway, two students from Philadelphia's Urban Youth Racing School will be involved in a presentation as part of NASCAR's diversity program. Leon Simmons is a freshman at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, studying engineering, and Jeremy Ortiz is an eighth-grader at the Ethan Allen School. The presentation is scheduled to air on the Speed Channel at 7:30pm/et. Both will be honorary pit-crew members with Darrell Waltrip Motorsports; Simmons with David Reutimann's crew and Ortiz with Robert Huffman's team.(Philadelphia Daily News)(2-18-2005)

      News from February 17, 2005

    • New GM Racing Head Appointed: General Motors has named Mark Kent its new director of racing. Kent will oversee engineering and marketing activities for all of GM's motorsports programs, including NASCAR, NHRA, SCCA, Grand American, American Le Mans and IRL. Kent, 44, replaces Doug Duchardt, who held the position for the last two years. Kent has experience in powertrain development both for production and race vehicles. From 1987 to 1992, he held motorsports engine engineering and program manager positions for winning IMSA GTU and SCCA Trans Am programs. Most recently, he was the GM Powertrain design systems engineer for the Northstar V-8 line-up of engines. "Our racing efforts will benefit from Mark's motorsports engineering and program management experience and his competitive nature," said Steve Shannon, executive director of GM Marketing Services. "He has a strong track record of leading and supporting successful racing programs for the company." Kent takes the reins to GM's extensive motorsports program on March 1, 2005.(GM PR)(2-17-2005)

    • New Chevy Monte Carlo for 2006? A year after re-designing the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, General Motors wants to do it again for the 2006 season. The new production model of the 2006 Monte Carlo was unveiled in January at the Detroit Auto Show. Chevrolet must win support for its changes from NASCAR by a Sept. 1 deadline so teams will have time to build new cars in time for the next season. Since most of the templates in NASCAR are the same for Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge, the only areas open for change are the front and rear bumpers.(Augusta Chronicle)(2-17-2005)

    • More changes at Hendrick? UPDATE: hearing that Eddie Dickerson, Manager of Hendrick Motorsports Chassis Shop, which was responsible for building all of the Chassis, and hanging all of the bodies, has left the organization.(2-16-2005)
      UPDATE: Eddie Dickerson, the director of chassis engineering at Hendrick Motorsports, left the team. Team spokesman Jesse Essex said Dickerson's duties likely will be split among several team members, including Doug Duchardt, who who left his position as director of GM Racing two weeks ago to become Hendrick's vice president of development.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-17-2005)

    • #3 showcars..ONLY: Richard Childress announced a program on Wednesday that will resurrect the No. 3 — at least as a show car — to celebrate RCR's 20th anniversary with General Motors. But Childress added that RCR won't be running the No. 3 any time soon, even though Dale Earnhardt still sell the third-most souvenirs in the garage.(FoxSports)(2-17-2005)

    • Daytona HOF may face some hurdles: Seeking $75 million from the state to try to attract a NASCAR hall of fame, Daytona Beach could become tangled in a political battle over whether Florida should subsidize professional sports franchises. Supporters of the hall of fame, the Florida Marlins baseball team and the Orlando Magic basketball team are asking state lawmakers this spring to commit more than $200 million over the next three decades to help build or renovate sports facilities. That is causing some lawmakers, including Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, to question whether the state should continue using tax dollars to subsidize projects for sports franchises that are typically worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Much of the controversy has centered on a proposal to commit $60 million to a stadium for the Marlins in Miami. But Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville, said he fears the NASCAR hall of fame could get lumped together with the Marlins and Magic in a broader debate about using tax dollars for professional sports. King and other hall-of-fame backers say state subsidies are crucial to Daytona's effort to outbid six other cities for the project. But Sen. Mike Bennett, a Bradenton Republican who is an outspoken critic of giving sports subsidies, dismissed threats that the hall of fame or professional teams could go elsewhere if they don't receive state money. Daytona Beach is lobbying to receive $3 million a year for 25 years to help finance construction of the hall of fame. The proposal, which is similar to an incentives package that brought a golf hall of fame to St. Johns County in the 1990s, calls for the state to provide the money if the stock-car attraction can show it would generate at least $3 million annually in sales taxes.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-17-2005)

    • ARCA injury update 2: ARCA driver Billy Venturini remained hospitalized Sunday with injuries suffered in a late accident during Saturday's race at Daytona International Speedway. Venturini was scheduled for surgery to fix a fractured vertebrae, the disc below his second vertebrae and damaged ligaments. A family spokesperson said the 28-year-old was not suffering any paralysis and is talkative and in good spirits. Venturini was injured in a 13-car accident two laps from the finish.(
      UPDATE: Venturini has undergone a surgical procedure to repair ligament damage in his neck. The surgery was successfully completed late Sunday. Venturini has not sustained any paralysis and has remained alert and in good spirits since the time of his injury. According to a family spokesperson, the 28-year-old, second-generation ARCA driver has been fitted with a head and neck halo to stabilize the C-2 vertebrae in his neck, which has been fused to the C-3 vertebrae. He is expected to be released later this week from a local hospital to begin physical therapy near his home in Concord, NC. Venturini has been transported from Florida to Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina for further observation. Venturini will be under the care of Dr. Jerry M. Petty. Dr. Petty is a highly respected neurological surgeon who has extensive experience dealing with head and neck trauma. Daily updates will continue to be posted on as more information is released.(2-16-2005)
      UPDATE 2: Venturini was moved out of intensive care Wednesday. He was listed in stable condition at the Carolina Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C., and could be released from the hospital later this week. Dr. Jerry Petty ruled out additional surgery for now, but said Venturini should begin rehabilitation soon. He had surgery to fix a fractured vertebrae and damaged ligaments.(

    • Photographers struck by car in ARCA race UPDATE: Four photographers and a fan were treated for injuries suffered in two separate incidents in Saturday's ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway. The most seriously injured was photographer Steve Rose, who was struck by the car driven by Blake Feese, who lost control entering his pit and careened into an opening in the wall. Rose was taken to a local hospital for further treatment. Also struck were T. Taylor Warren, Fernando Medina and Pierce Williams. An unidentified female fan was hit by debris when Chad Zimmerman's car flew into the catch fence.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-13-2005)
      UPDATE - Photographer back at the track: Steve Rose, Penske Racing South's photographer, was re-examined and released. The middle finger on his left hand is broken and he is has a splint on it today. His right collarbone has a hair-line fracture. Rose was at the track Wednesday and interviewed on Speed Channel.(2-17-2005)

    • No Indy double? A handful of NASCAR drivers took notice when the start of the Indianapolis 500 was moved back an hour, making it almost impossible for them to compete at the Brickyard and in NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart and John Andretti have all attempted "The Double'' in recent years. It was a tough task even when the Indy race began at 11:00am/et because it was still a scramble to make it back to North Carolina in time for the NASCAR event [Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway]. Now that the race will start at noon, Gordon said Indy will be hard-pressed to get any NASCAR drivers in the field. "That's the dumbest decision they could have made,'' Gordon said. "One of the draws of that race these days is seeing what NASCAR stars try to run the double, and I just don't understand why they would take that element out of it by moving the start time.'' Indy officials want to attract a larger television audience with the later start. Tony Stewart echoed Gordon's thoughts. Just him showing up last year on Bump Day drew significant attention as his mere presence at the track added excitement to an otherwise non-eventful day. "I wasn't planning on doing it again, but it's got to be the dumbest thing I've ever seen Indianapolis Motor Speedway do since I've been around,'' Stewart said. "I don't know what their theory was on that. I thought it helped them to have guys doing both races.'' Gordon said Indy officials should have moved the race to Memorial Day instead of trying to draw viewers on the same day as a NASCAR race. "That would be the better move for the Indy 500,'' said Gordon, a former IRL racer. "Not only would they be the only race on TV that day, but all the NASCAR drivers would have the day off and could consider entering the 500. I really think you'd get a lot more of us in the field if the race was run on Monday. You never know who might give it a try.''(

    • #34 gets sponsor for Daytona: Mach 1 announced today that Dimension Films will be their primary sponsor for Thursday's Gatorade Duel Twin 150 and the Daytona 500. The #34 Chevy will proudly display Dimension Films upcoming thriller "Cursed" . The movie opens February 25 at theaters across the nation. From writer Kevin Williamson and director Wes Craven, the creators of Scream, the film that changed the face of terror forever, comes Cursed. A twist on classic monster fables, Cursed unleashes ancient omens into the modern world. Randy LaJoie is the driver of the #34 Chevy.(Mach 1 PR)(2-17-2005)

    • A national white supremacist group with a branch in Tampa says its members will attend the Daytona 500 race this weekend to disseminate its message and try to recruit newcomers to its fold. But officials at Daytona International Speedway said Wednesday the West Virginia-based National Alliance will not be spreading the word on raceway property. Security guards would be on the lookout for members of the group. While no National Alliance members in Tampa or West Virginia could be reached for an interview Wednesday, a man named Sean Walker returned a phone call asking for comment and left this message: "All I can say is, yes, we will have Alliance members there and yes, we will be spreading our message." The group, described on the Anti-Defamation League's Web site as a neo-Nazi white supremacist organization, has designed three different racing-themed fliers that promotes its message. Articles posted on the National Alliance's own Web site and on the Web site of the organization's magazine, National Vanguard, also encourage members to gear up for the Daytona 500 campaign, calling it the "best pro-white activism this year." Daytona Beach police Sgt. Al Tolley said officers will be watching for group members as well. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said groups like the National Alliance sully the image of the sport. "It runs counter to everything NASCAR stands for," Poston said Wednesday. "NASCAR continues to be committed to diversifying the sport on and off the track." Poston reeled off a number of programs sponsored by NASCAR that aim to attract minorities to race car driving, or jobs related to the sport. One Daytona Beach city commissioner who was waffling on whether to go to Sunday's race said learning of the National Alliance's plans helped him decide. "Now I really plan to attend the race," said Commissioner Dwayne Taylor, "because I think it's the responsibility of every commissioner to monitor this." Commissioner Gwen Azama-Edwards said she is pleased Speedway officials will be taking pains to prevent National Alliance members from spreading their fliers. "My hope and desire is that they not recruit anyone, especially locally," Azama-Edwards said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-17-2005)

      News from February 16, 2005

    • Need ID's to buy some collectibles/tshirts: from Young fans of Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch will be confronted with a new reality if they visit the team's souvenir trailer at the Daytona 500 this weekend. If they want to purchase a piece of licensed merchandise featuring Busch's 2005 car, they'll have to flash identification proving they are 21 years of age. And if parents are looking to purchase Busch merchandise for their children, that's not going to happen either, as all outerwear will come in adult sizes only. Busch's young fans could be considered a casualty of the latest alliance in NASCAR, as alcohol sponsorship was expanded to include the hard liquor category this offseason. Jack Daniel's took Dave Blaney's car; Jim Beam scooped up Robby Gordon; and Diageo tabbed Busch to tout its Crown Royal and Smirnoff Ice brands. Although NASCAR is requiring each of the companies to spend 20% on alcohol responsibility campaigns, Diageo officials voluntarily decided to impose an age limit on who can buy logo gear at the track, as well as avoiding clothing in children's sizes. They also chose to attach Crown Royal and Smirnoff Ice diecast model cars to a base that will keep the wheels from moving, hoping to discourage children from playing with them. Fans of Blaney's #07 Jack Daniel's Chevy also will face similar limitations, according to Richard Childress Racing's public relations manager Matt Klug. "Eventually I think they plan to offer a [diecast] car for kids without the Jack Daniel's logo," Klug said. There will be a separate line of Blaney clothing coming out for children that does not have Jack Daniel's name emblazoned on it, though it will carry the #07 car number, which also is a reference to the Old No. 7 Brand. For NASCAR's part, the sanctioning body is taking a public stance that it is not regulating merchandising. "It's every team's decision as to how they want to handle the sale of merchandise," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. "Diageo has decided to do it this way, and they're taking a leading role." Poston said that Diageo's conservative licensing program isn't entirely new. Dale Earnhardt Jr. model cars made for children are red and have the #8 on it, but don't have the Budweiser logos. And it's not an uncommon sight this week at Daytona International to find parents wearing Junior's Budweiser shirts while their children sport Junior shirts with Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers logos on them. Jim Beam, sponsor of Gordon's #7 car, says that its diecast cars will be made in a larger scale size to try to keep kids from playing with them.(

    • Speakin' of TV this week TV Guide will have three collectible covers featuring Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Available at newstands, supermarket's etc. Also the issue has a NASCAR feature by Robert Edelstein.(2-16-2005)

    • #0 picks up more sponsorship: Haas CNC Racing announced today that CertainTeed would add partial sponsorship to the #0 Chevrolet driven by Mike Bliss in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Financial terms of the deal were not released.(NASCAR Scene). NetZero and BestBuy currently co-sponsor the #0.(2-16-2005)

    • The King to be honored: Richard Petty, who won seven NASCAR Cup Series championships, will be inaugurated into the Goodyear Legends of Daytona on Friday. Legends of Daytona is a new attraction at Daytona International Speedway that honors stock car, sports car and motorcycle racers for their Daytona accomplishments.(NASCAR Scene)(2-16-2005)

    • #23 picks up a sponsor: seen on Speed Channel's Daytona 500 practice coverage, the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge with driver Mike Skinner has Argent Mortgage on the hood of the car.(2-16-2005)

    • Weekend TV Results Mixed UPDATE beats NFL Pro-Bowl: NASCAR'S first action of 2005 enjoyed a mixed reception from television audiences. Fox’s broadcast of Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway was the highest-rated sports program of the weekend, drawing an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.7 and an 8 share, according to today's Sports Business Daily. (The 2004 event was carried on cable’s TNT, so results aren't directly comparable.) Fox's coverage of Sunday's qualifying session for the Daytona 500, however, fell well short of last year's overnight ratings for NBC's coverage of the qualifying session. This year’s 2.7/6 overnight figures were 20.6 percent below last year's 3.4/8 overnight figures on NBC.(NASCAR Scene)(2-15-2005)
      UPDATE: For only the second time, Fox's NASCAR Bud Shootout on Saturday night outrated the NFL's Pro Bowl. ESPN's Pro Bowl posted a 5.1 cable rating (4.2 broadcast network rating), a jump of 6% compared to last year's 4.8 cable rating (3.9 on broadcast network). But the football game was topped by Fox's 5.3 national rating. The only other occasion when the Bud Shootout prevailed was in 2001.(USA Today)(2-16-2005)

    • Dodge Charger Aution brings in over #75k: The bidding race for the first 2006 Dodge Charger volume production unit to roll off the assembly line and autographed race car body used in the world reveal has officially ended; winning bid was $75,100. Proceeds from the auction will be shared between Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Salvation Army. Winning bidder will receive Charger keys from NASCAR legend Richard Petty at the Dodge Charger 500 on May 7, 2005 at Darlington (S.C) Raceway The charity auction ran from Feb. 1 - 11 attracting 56 bidders; 26,435 people visited the auction site. The winning bidder of the auction also will receive a Charger Experience package that features airfare, accommodations and two tickets to the Dodge Charger 500 race in Darlington, South Carolina on May 7 to receive their vehicle keys from NASCAR legend Richard Petty.(Clear!Blue PR)(2-16-2005)

    • ARCA and HANS only? Jarrett to get ARCA ride? After last Saturday's ARCA crashfest ay Daytona that left just 10 of 41 cars running at the finish — including an accident which resulted in multiple injuries to driver Billy Venturini's second vertebrae and the disc below — expect the sanctioning body to re-evaluate its head-and-neck devices. Venturini, 28, was wearing a Hutchens device that NASCAR has removed from its list of approved apparatuses in all NASCAR series except the weekly racing series. In his post-qualifying news conference, Dale Jarrett said that Bill Venturini Sr. had inquired on Jason Jarrett's availability for the next two months while Billy recuperates.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-16-2005)

    • Kahne to run the Mountain Dew scheme again: #9-Kasey Kahne will take his partnership with Mountain Dew to new heights this season when his first national television commercial for the brand debuts this Sunday and his #9 Dodge features a Mountain Dew paint scheme at next week's race at California Speedway. In the TV spot entitled "Change," not only does Kahne's Dodge go through a number of "changes," but he must also vie for the seat behind the wheel of his own race car. The commercial will air during the FOX broadcast of the Daytona 500 this Sunday, February 20. Kahne's Dew allegiance will also show on the track when he competes in a Mountain Dew paint scheme at the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway on Sunday, February 27. Kahne's #9 Dodge will showcase the new Mountain Dew graphics that will begin appearing on the brand's product packaging available in stores in March. The last time Kahne's car featured a special Mountain Dew paint scheme he finished second at Michigan International Speedway on June 20, 2004. This marks the fifth straight year that Mountain Dew has sponsored Evernham Motorsports drivers and teams. Pepsi-Cola Company's involvement with NASCAR began when the sport was introduced in 1948. Today, Pepsi serves its products at 16 of the 23 Nextel Cup Series tracks and is the title sponsor of the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 2, 2005.(Pepsi Racing PR), see an image of the scheme [now the Charger] on my #9 Team Schemes page.(2-16-2005)

      News from February 15, 2005

    • Up to 7 Locations going for the NASCAR Hall of Fame: NASCAR announced the final list of locations in the running to host the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Groups in Atlanta, Birmingham/Talladega, Charlotte/Concord, Daytona Beach, Kansas City, Richmond and the State of Michigan have received requests from NASCAR for proposals and have agreed to submit bids for this new project. The city selected will partner with NASCAR to build a state-of-the-art facility aimed at displaying – and preserving – the sport’s rich history and tradition. “NASCAR’s overriding goal is to have a world class Hall of Fame,” said NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France. “We want it to be a special place that brings NASCAR’s history to life. Our hope is for longtime fans to have the opportunity to relive NASCAR’s greatest moments and for new fans to learn about them.” There are a number of independent racing “halls” in existence in the United States, but none are officially affiliated with NASCAR. In support of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, it is likely that an annual induction ceremony would take place in conjunction with an existing NASCAR-sanctioned race weekend. This would attract a significant number of visitors to the site and provide a major economic lift for the Hall of Fame and surrounding areas. The enshrinement ceremony and other ancillary events would also make for compelling television content on a national basis. “NASCAR wants a Hall of Fame that will remain fresh and will entice visitors to return time and time again,” said NASCAR VP of Licensing and Consumer Products Mark Dyer. The NASCAR RFP (Request for Proposal) sent to the seven groups bidding is intentionally vague. There are no specific requirements for size, shape or cost. It is NASCAR’s hope that each community will view this as an opportunity to be creative in design, development and timing. The deadline to submit proposals is May 31. “NASCAR seeks a strong partner that shares our vision and belief that the NASCAR Hall of Fame will be a great success for their community and all our fans,” Dyer said. “This is critical to the project and will be something we’ll look at when the proposals are submitted.” NASCAR will begin the process of review once the proposals are received. At that time a schedule will be announced for site visits and presentations by each city.(NASCAR PR)(2-15-2005)

    • Coca-Cola Racing Family New Anime Ad to Debut During Daytona 500: In the first-ever NASCAR-themed Anime ad, Coca-Cola Racing Family members Tony Stewart, Kyle Petty, Bobby Labonte and Kevin Harvick are seen as animated superheroes engaging in adventurous activities such as scuba diving with sea monsters and flying fighter planes before they return to the track for a Coke and a bit of racing. Breaking during the broadcast of the Daytona 500 on February 20 -- a growing showcase for new advertising -- the 60-second ad, entitled "Fantastic Four," is the only animated spot in the new Coca-Cola "Make It Real" campaign. It will also run in more than 10,000 movie theaters across the country and a 30-second version of the spot will be featured on NASCAR broadcasts throughout the season. The spot concludes with one word -- 'Adrenaline' -- followed by the campaign tagline, 'Make It Real.' The word 'adrenaline' underscores the drivers' energetic attitude both on and off the track. Created by Berlin Cameron / Red Cell, the new 'Make it Real' campaign also includes print and outdoor executions. Additional ads are planned for later in 2005.(Coca-Cola PR)(2-15-2005)

    • WYPALL Wipers Returns in 05' With Bigger and Better Crew Chief Challenge: After a highly successful 2004 campaign, WYPALL Wipers will return to racing in 2005, once again highlighting crew chiefs in the Nextel Cup garage with their Crew Chief Challenge program. With changes in place for the new season, the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge promises to be one of the most exciting and innovative contests to date. Following each Nextel Cup race, a panel of voters, including Robbie Reiser and Tony Eury Sr., a Wypall Wipers representative and a member of the local media, will cast their vote for the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. The elected crew chief will receive $1,000 at the conclusion of the event. At the season's end, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will be awarded $20,000 and bragging rights of being the 2005 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. Tony Eury Sr. won Wypall Wipers Crew of the Year honors, after being voted Crew Chief of the Race nine times throughout 2004. For more information on the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge, logo onto

    • Mikey vs. chairs: In a unique tune-up for Sunday's 47th running of the Daytona 500, Michael Waltrip and Greg Biffle, two former winners at Daytona International Speedway, will put their driving skills to the test on a track of a different kind. There'll be no restrictor plates and drafting partners to worry about, or even left turns for that matter, but there will be a catch. Waltrip and Biffle will be racing in the world's fastest armchairs - souped-up, motorized recliners that reach a top speed of more than 40 miles per hour - down a makeshift drag strip. The event, dubbed the "Full Throttle Armchair Challenge," celebrates the official launch of Full Throttle, a new energy drink from The Coca-Cola Company. The 'event' takes place Friday, February 18, 2005 at 11:00am/et at the Daytona Beach Kennel Club Parking Lot, 2201 W. International Speedway Boulevard - next to Daytona Speedway. The event is free and open to the public. Full Throttle, a new lightly carbonated energy drink from The Coca-Cola Company, hits store shelves around the country this week. Best described as "16 ounces of citrus-flavored fury in a can," Full Throttle is packed with the fuel energy drink lovers crave, including ginseng extract, caffeine, taurine, guarana extract and B-vitamins.(Coca-Cola/Fast Horse PR), wonder if it comes in diet?(2-15-2005)

    • Some Sad News: Mae Mecca, passed away this morning in her sleep at age 92. Visitation is Thursday at the Perna Funeral Home, 1306 Hertel Ave., Buffalo, N.Y., 14216 - (716) 874-1010. Funeral mass will be held Friday morning at Holy Angels Catholic Church in Buffalo. Her son Paul Mecca used to work on the Exide account for Geoff Bodine's Cup team. In late '94, Paul was hired in-house at Exide and he was named Director of Motorsports. He also worked with Jack Roush when the Exide sponsorship moved to Jeff Burton's car. Paul worked as Director of Motorsports for Exide Batteries from 1994-2000, then started his own sports marketing agency.
      AND condolences to NASCAR driver Tony Raines and his family for ths loss of his father-in-law, Derald Mann, who passed away last Friday.(2-15-2005)

    • Kansas meets with NASCAR about HOF: An influential contingent from Kansas headed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius made a quick pit stop here Monday looking to take the lead in the race to land NASCAR's proposed Hall of Fame. The group that met with NASCAR executives for more than an hour included Sebelius; Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Carol Marinovich; and Bob Marcusse, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Developmental Council. Daytona Beach, Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Richmond, Va., are the other cities competing for what proponents argue will be a tourism magnet, given the growing popularity of the sport nationwide. Sebelius said Kansas would offer NASCAR a centralized geographical base, "a lot more robust than the Southeast," as racing looks to branch out to all parts of the country. NASCAR's proposal for a hall, made public last month, stipulated it wanted suitors to foot the bill, which is expected to be tens of millions of dollars. NASCAR officials invited four cities to make proposals, with Richmond later joining the race. Daytona Beach is lobbying the Florida Legislature to kick in as much as $75 million so the Hall of Fame can be built here, where NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. are headquartered.
      Daytona Beach is lobbying the Florida Legislature to kick in as much as $75 million so the Hall of Fame can be built here, where NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. are headquartered. Meanwhile, Daytona Beach city and business leaders have settled on a slogan to rally around that capitalizes on the area's racing roots. It reads: "NASCAR's Past. NASCAR's Future. All roads lead to Daytona." Daytona Beach also plans to hire John Sabour, executive director of the Central Florida Sports Commission, to develop its hall of fame proposal for NASCAR. The sports commission -- a nonprofit, private organization established to attract international, national and regional events and sports-related business activities -- worked with Daytona Beach to land the Florida Tennis Center. The Chamber of Commerce has formed a committee to help Sabour in various tasks, including fund raising. Capitalizing on the city's home court advantage, Daytona Beach officials are planning a rally today at 6:00pm/et at Daytona USA, looking to build local support for bringing the NASCAR hall of fame to Daytona Beach.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-15-2005)

    • Media Choses Johnson as the 2005 'favorite': If media voters prove accurate prognosticators, look for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship battle to mimic recent history. The defending NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series champion, #97-Kurt Busch, won the 2004 title by eight points over #48-Jimmie Johnson – the closest finish in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup history. And while both drivers remain title candidates, Johnson has been selected as the media favorite in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10. A total of 213 votes were cast in the balloting, which began Feb. 3 and ended Feb. 13. Drivers received 10 points for first place, nine points for second place, eight points for third place, seven points for fourth place, six points for fifth place, five points for sixth place, four points for seventh place, three points for eighth place, two points for ninth place and one point for 10th place. Eight drivers in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 competed in the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
      Johnson received 1,765 points and 87 first-place votes. Trailing him by only 25 points in second is Hendrick Motorsports teammate #24-Jeff Gordon, who received 1,740 points and 65 first-place votes. Third place in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 belongs to #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who received 1,355 points and 25 first-place votes. Only eight points separate #20-Tony Stewart and Busch for fourth and fifth place, respectively. Stewart received 1,030 points and seven first-place votes while Busch received 1,022 points and five first-place votes.
      As for the rest of the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10, sixth-place #12-Ryan Newman received 844 points and nine first-place votes. In seventh place is #9-Kasey Kahne, the defending Raybestos Rookie of the Year. Kahne, who received 707 points and one first-place vote, didn’t make the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, but he has been voted to the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10.
      In eighth place is 2003 series champion #17-Matt Kenseth. Kenseth received 657 points and no first-place votes. Behind Kenseth, in ninth place, is #42-Jamie McMurray , the second driver who didn’t make the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, but has been voted to the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10. McMurray received 546 points and two first-place votes. Tenth in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 media voting is #6-Mark Martin, who’s beginning his final fulltime season. He received 453 points and four first-place votes.(NASCAR PR)(2-15-2005)

    • Edward's allowed to run for ROTY [in Busch]: on Speed Channel's NASCAR Live on Tuesday, it was reported b Ken Squire that Carl Edwards, the Roush Racing driver in the Cup Series #99 and Busch Series #60, will be allowed to run for the 2005 Busch Series Rookie of the Year award.(2-15-2005)

      News from February 14, 2005

    • Special Mag: USA WEEKEND Magazine has NASCAR's NEW Young Guns in the 2/20 issue. This Daytona 500 weekend, meet the latest generation to tear up the track: Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray, Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers. PLUS- an exclusive poster featuring all 4 drivers. Check your local newspaper for your own poster or read the article online at

    • Tire Problems at Daytona UPDATE 2: A potentially serious tire problem with Goodyear's new Daytona 500 tires developed last night during the first hours of SpeedWeeks practice for tonight's Bud Shootout kickoff, and some drivers, according to crews, are "scared." [this was noted during Speed Channel's coverage of Budweiser Shoot practice when #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #19-Mayfield cut down tires and #01-Nemechek, the fastest, showed heavy tire wear, all were the right rear]. Greg Zipadelli, the crew chief for Stewart, says the problem of delamination includes both right-rear and right-front tires, indicating to him that it's not a chassis problem but a tire production problem. Tommy Baldwin, crew chief for #9-Kasey Kahne, says the problem also apparently included a left-rear tire problem with at least one tire on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car, indicating a more widespread issue. "It looks like a delamination problem," Baldwin said. "But it seems we always have a little problem in practice but never in the race. We'll see Saturday. Hopefully we don't. But it could be a serious problem all week." NASCAR's John Darby said Goodyear engineers were studying the problem. "We've had probably five or six isolated issues," Darby said. "Goodyear is still checking into it, and we'll meet with them in the morning."(Winston Salem Journal), Noticed and mentioned during Speed Channel's coverage of Budweiser Shoot practice, the 'Goodyear' yellow letters are much larger this year on the tire.(2-12-2005)
      UPDATE: Complaints about tire problems during the first two [Bud Shootout] practice sessions led Goodyear to pull about 300 tires from circulation Saturday. The tread from #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s tire split during the first practice session Friday, and #01-Joe Nemechek had nearly the same thing happen in the second session. Goodyear engineers lined up all the serial numbers of the tires it had distributed to teams and discovered the ones that had problems came from the same batch. So the company pulled all the tires from that batch as a precaution. Goodyear said it was investigating why the tread was splitting, and officials stressed to teams that there will not be a tire shortage leading up to the Daytona 500.(
      UPDATE 2: The tire problems encountered by several Nextel Cup teams last week appear to have been remedied. The problem involved treads that were slightly separating from the tires. At high speeds, the slight separations became major. Goodyear engineers determined that all the problem tires were from the same batch. The tires were replaced, and there have been no problems since.(Kansas City Star)(2-14-2005)

    • Wind Tunnel back Sunday: Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain kicks off its new season Sunday, Feb. 20 at 9:00pm/et. For 2005, the new two-hour format will include a weekly rotating cast of in-studio guest "co-hosts," in addition to the popular featured guest interviews Despain has had in the past. Speed Channel analyst Robin Miller will co-host the first show on Feb. 20, with NASCAR legend David Pearson scheduled as Dave's first guest of 2005.(Speed PR)(2-15-2005)

    • New Official Jeff Burton Official Site: #31-Jeff Burton has a new number, new colors and a new sponsor in 2005, but it doesn't end there. He's also raising the bar with a brand new state-of-the-art website and fan club. The re-designed internet site was launched today just in time for the 2005 season-opening Daytona 500. As a part of the site, NASCAR fans can join the fully re-engineered Jeff Burton Fan Club. Filled with countless visuals and multimedia features, fans can learn about Jeff's career, his thoughts on upcoming events, his life away from the track, Richard Childress Racing and its team members, team sponsors, weekly race previews and reports, and photos from the track. In addition, fans can even experience what it feels like to take a lap around the track from inside the cockpit of the Cingular Wireless Chevy. For additional information about the website and fan club, log onto

    • Chris Economacki Day: Longtime motorsports journalist Chris Economacki recently was honored during the 32nd RPM Promoters Workshops Series in Lake Mary, Fla. Florida state senator Bill Posey presented Economacki, the Publisher Emeritus, National Speed Sport News, with a certificate proclaiming “Chris Economacki Day” in Florida on Sunday, Feb. 20 – the same day of the 47th annual Daytona 500.(NASCAR PR)(2-14-205)

    • Jarrett testing: mentioned during FOX's Daytona 500 qualifying, #88-Dale Jarrett [the pole sitter] will test a short track car at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL on Monday and Tuesday.(2-14-2005)

    • Jarrett Wins Bud Pole:
      #88-Dale Jarrett won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the 2005 Daytona 500, lapping Daytona International Speedway in 47.793 seconds at 188.312 mph. Bill Elliott holds the track-qualifying record of 42.783 seconds, 210.364 mph, set Feb. 9, 1987, prior to the advent of restrictor-plate racing. Ken Schrader holds the track restrictor-plate qualifying record with a lap of 46.434 seconds, 198.823 mph - set Feb. 7, 1988.
      This is Jarrett's 16th career Bud Pole in 568 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.
      This is Jarrett's fourth Bud Pole at Daytona. It is his third Bud Pole in a Daytona 500. He also won the Bud Pole for this event in 1995 and 2000.His lone Pepsi 400 Bud Pole came in 2000.
      The Daytona 500 has been won from the Bud Pole nine times in the 46 previous Daytona 500s, most recently by Dale Jarrett in 2000.
      Jarrett's Bud Pole ended a streak of four straight starts outside the top 10 in the Daytona 500 that dated to 2001. Jarrett started 31st here one year ago, 11th in 2003, 21st in 2002 and 31st in 2001. His last Daytona 500 Bud Pole came in 2000.
      This is the fourth Daytona 500 Bud Pole for Robert Yates Racing. Yates has won three with Dale Jarrett (1995, 2000 and 2005) and one with Davey Allison (1991).
      Jimmie Johnson had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 47.829 seconds at 188.170 mph and will join Jarrett on the front row. It is his fourth top-10 start in his seven races at Daytona; all in the Daytona 500. This is Johnson's second front-row start in four Daytona 500s. Johnson won the Bud Pole for the 2002 Daytona 500. He started sixth in this race one year ago.
      The front row for the Daytona 500 and the starting lineups for the Gatorade Duel qualifying races were set by today's qualifying. The participating highest-ranked 35 in car owner points from 2004 will be guaranteed a starting spot in the Gatorade Duel races and the 2005 Daytona 500.
      Starting positions in the Gatorade Duel races are determined by qualifying speeds. The participating eligible highest ranked 35 in 2004 car owner points will be assigned to Gatorade Duel races based on their standing in the 2004 final car owner points. Odd-numbered ranked car owner's will compete in the first Gatorade Duel led to the green by the Bud Pole winner; even-numbered owners will compete in the second. Owners who failed to finish in the top-35 of the 2004 car owner points will be assigned to a Gatorade Duel based on qualifying times, the highest qualifying owner to the first Duel; the next to the second and alternating through the remaining entries.
      Finishing positions in the Gatorade Duel races will determine starting positions in the 2005 Daytona 500. First the front-row qualifiers will be removed from the equation. The remaining eligible highest ranked 35 in car owner points, plus the two highest finishing non-top 35 teams from each Dual and the four fastest drivers not among those 35 (by time from Daytona 500 qualifying) will make up the field for the 2005 Daytona 500.
      The NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus is worth $10,000. Only Kurt Busch is eligible for the award for the 2005 Daytona 500. If the reigning Series champion does not win the award at Daytona it will increase each race by $10,000 until won by the race winner/points leader and then start over.
      The winner of Daytona 500 has started in the top five in five of the seven Daytona 500s since 1998. The remaining two Daytona 500s in that seven-year period were both won by drivers who started 19th: Michael Waltrip (2001) and Ward Burton (2002).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(2-14-2005)

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