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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    MAR 28-APR 3, 2005





      News from April 3, 2005

    • Harvick wins at Bristol: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, his first win in 55 races at Indy in 2003 and also the first win for RCR since Robby Gordon won at Watkins Glen in 2003 [a week later then Harvick]. It is Harvick's 5th career win and RCR's 77th win, which breaks a tie with Roush Racing. Harvick officially started 13th, but ended up starting from the rear as the team needed to make repairs to the power steering pump, which is unapproved after impounding. The rest of the top-5 was #38-Sadler [pole sitter], #20-Stewart, #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #88-Jarrett. #77-Travis Kvapil was the rookie of the race with a 7th. #45-Kyle Petty finished 8th for his first top-10 since Talladega in April of 2002 when Petty finished 10th, 99 races [Petty DNQ's 5 races in that span]. #48-Johnson finished 6th and increased his points lead to 94 over #16-Biffle, who faded late to 9th.
      For race rundown, results links, see my Brstol Race Info/Rundown Page.
      Race results on Jayski's Bristol Race Results page
      Points on Jayski's Driver/Owners Points after Bristol.(4-3-2005)

    • Drug Testing to be Expanded? UPDATE: Drug testing for NASCAR drivers could be radically expanded if NASCAR executives follow the strict new Olympics-type anti-doping rules adopted by the FIA, the world governing body of auto racing this week. NASCAR racing has so far been immune to the steroids controversy swirling around the NFL and major-league baseball. But are steroids a problem in NASCAR? What is NASCAR's policy on steroids? And how will NASCAR react to the latest steroid-sports controversy? NASCAR officials say that steroids use is a non-issue in their sport. Nevertheless, several drivers and crew chiefs say they wouldn't be surprised to see NASCAR opening a round of steroidw testing, under its broad drug-use policy, which all NASCAR team members must sign before the start of each season. The FIA just announced that it has agreed to follow the World Anti-Doping Agency's rules for all its races. And all NASCAR drivers and car owners must hold an FIA license in order to compete in the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis and the Talladega 500. That would appear to mean that all Nextel Cup drivers would have to be drug-tested for the full WADA list of prohibited drugs, which includes a litany of anabolic steroids. Jeff Burton said: "No, there is not a steroid problem in NASCAR. However, it's always best to be proactive, and get on the front edge of that thing and make sure nobody is using steroids. "Steroids would help tire changers, jackmen and those kind of guys." "I don't think drivers need steroids for stamina," Jimmy Spencer said. "You don't have to be real strong to drive a race car, but you have to have good stamina. Steroids work against that."(Winston Salem Journal)
      UPDATE: Jeff Gordon says he doesn’t know much about steroids, and doesn’t feel a steroid would give a driver any added advantage, “I just think when you’re in a racecar and you’re traveling the speeds you’re traveling, you’re mind doesn’t have a choice but to concentrate. There might be some natural herbs that guys could take to help them with that…I’ve certainly never had to do that or thought about doing that. At a track like this (Bristol) or a road course it’s very physical, muscle endurance is defiantly something that’s important so being in good shape and having a workout that allows you to stay fresh. I would say that the only thing for us is more like a bicycle rider like a Lance Armstrong. It’s more about keeping your body hydrated. We’re not trying to get really strong. You don’t need to be physically really strong.” Asked if he could tell if someone on his team was taking steroids or any illegal substance Gordon said, “I’m not sure what the signs are but we would put that responsibility on our trainers that train the guys and make sure they’re doing what they need to do to stay fit but doing it in a way that’s healthy for their bodies.”(PRN's Bristol Coverage)(4-2-2005)
      UPDATE: Steroids in NASCAR? The governing body says performance-enhancing drugs are not an issue in Nextel Cup or its other series, but an expert in the field speaks to the contrary . “There’s a lot of money involved in NASCAR,” said Charles E. Yesalis, a Penn State health policy professor and sports-drug expert who has testified about steroids on Capital Hill. “Anybody that thinks people in one sport are more honest than another sport are just plane naive.” Yesalis said NASCAR, which does not have a mandatory drug testing policy, would be smart to turn its entire testing program over to the World Anti-Doping Agency to avoid the scrutiny other sports are under. “I doubt they have a huge problem, but it would deter one if they did,” he said. Yesalis, who will be at Bristol Motor Speedway for today’s Nextel Cup race, said steroid use in NASCAR likely would come with pit crew members that require strength, speed and agility. He said steroids would have little if no impact on a driver’s performance. Yesalis said he first became wary of possible steroid use in NASCAR when he heard teams were using professional strength and conditioning trainers to work with pit crew members. NASCAR has a drug policy that calls for random testing only as a result of reasonable suspicion of abuse of an illegal substance, including steroids. Yesalis said there aren’t always physical signs with steroids. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said there is no mandatory testing as there is in the NFL and other sports because the sanctioning body doesn’t perceive there to be a problem. “There’s not even a suspicion of a problem in the sport,” said Poston, reminding many teams have their own drug testing policy separate from NASCAR’s. “We think the policy is very sound, that it is effective.” Some in the garage agree with Yesalis that NASCAR is being naive, particularly in light of the recent congressional hearings on steroids in baseball that is being expanded to the NFL after recent allegations of steroid involvement by members of the Carolina Panthers. They say NASCAR should take a more proactive position to avoid unnecessary scrutiny. NASCAR may not have a choice but to get involved in the steroid issue. The House Committee on Government Reform recently sent a letter to the NFL asking the league to submit information on its steroid testing policy. Only four drivers — Brian Rose in the truck series, Shane Hmiel and Kevin Grubb in Busch, Sammy Potashnick in the Winston Series West — are known to have tested positive during the past three years.(in part from The State)(4-3-2005)

    • Gordon not sorry he chose Menard Engines: #7-Robby Gordon said he doesn't regret his decision to use engines built by John Menard this season, even though it has drastically hurt him in his bid to field his own race team. Gordon failed to qualify for Sunday's race at Bristol, the second of five races he'll miss this year. Although he got in on speed in the other three, his motors failed in all of them and he has yet to finish a race. Menard is a highly regarded open-wheel engine builder, but this is his first foray into full-time NASCAR motor construction. Gordon said he has 100% faith in Menard, who has been a longtime supporter of Gordon's racing endeavors. He said that the engine failure two weeks ago in Atlanta was unrelated to the first two blowups this season, and the team had a strong test session at Texas with no motor problems.(NASCAR.com)(4-3-2005)

    • Bristol Race Notes:
      * Kevin Harvick won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, scoring his fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 147th career start. His last victory came at Indianapolis in August 2003, 56 races ago.
      * Harvick is the fifth different race winner in five races in 2005.
      * Harvick became the seventh different race winner in the last 10 races at Bristol.
      * Harvick begins the 2005 season with three top-10 finishes in five races. He climbed from 11th to sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
      * Harvick posted his fifth top-five finish in nine races at Bristol Motor Speedway. He finished in the top10 in seven of his last eight races at Bristol.
      * Harvick scored the eighth victory for car owner Richard Childress at Bristol Motor Speedway. It marked Childress's first victory at Bristol since Dale Earnhardt won here in August 1999. This was Childress's 77th victory as a car owner. Notebook Items
      * Elliott Sadler (second) posted his fourth top-10 finish in 14 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. He has scored top-10 finishes in three of the five races this season. Sadler climbed from eighth to fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
      * Tony Stewart (third) scored his fourth top-five finish in 13 races at Bristol and climbed from seventh to third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. It marked his third top-10 finish in 2005.
      * Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 11 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. He climbed from 26th to 17th in the point standings. Earnhardt Jr., has scored two top-10 finishes in five races this season.
      * Dale Jarrett (fifth) scored his 19th top-10 finish in 38 races at Bristol. Jarrett scored his first top-10 finish in 2005 and climbed from 15th to eighth in the point standings.
      * Jimmie Johnson (sixth) posted his fifth top-10 finish in seven races at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson has scored top-10 finishes in the 11 races since Charlotte last fall. Johnson is the only driver that has led at least one lap in all five races in 2005.
      * Travis Kvapil (seventh) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender for the second time in 2005. It marked his career-first top-10 finish.
      * Kyle Petty (eighth) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 44 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. His most recent top-10 finish came at Talladega (10th) in April 2002.
      * Greg Biffle (ninth) scored his second top-10 finish in five races at Bristol Motor Speedway. It marked his fourth straight top-10 finish in 2005, the first time in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career to do so.
      * Mark Martin (31st) has been running at the finish in 27 consecutive races, the longest current streak.
      * Seven of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Bristol.
      * At Martinsville 2005 owner points will be used to determine the guaranteed entrants. Noted drivers ranked outside the top 35 include: Ricky Rudd and Robby Gordon, who will both have to qualify by speed.
      * Looking ahead to the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, 25 drivers are already more than 400 points behind point leader Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-3-2005)

    • Stock Car Fans - Rumblings - Bristol: We had a typical Bristol slugfest today, but when the final 69 laps went green Kevin Harvick led 67 of 'em! Harvick survived another wild and wooly short track event at Bristol Motor Speedway today to win the Food City 500 in front of a mere 160,000 fans. We had our customary caution-filled event (14 of them for 115 laps), but Kevin put the RCR Goodwrench Chevy in Victory Lane for the first time since he won at The Brickyard in August of 2003.
      Career Win #5 for Harvick ties him for 60th on the all-time win list, ironically enough with Alan Kulwicki (who we lost 13 years ago this weekend). This was win #75 [Jayski Note: actually win #77] for RCR Enterprises, was worth $189,001 from the over $5.3M in posted awards, and puts the #29 team in both the Nextel Challenge as well as on the Winners Circle Plan for 2005.
      Elliott Sadler (2nd) had his best finish since he won at California last September.
      Tony Stewart (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Watkins Glen last August.
      Dale Jarrett (5th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Talladega last October.
      Travis Kvapil (7th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 19th at Daytona in February.
      Kyle Petty (8th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Homestead in November of 1999.
      Terry Labonte (18th) had his best finish since he was 18th at Richmond last September.
      Jimmy Spencer (21st) had his best finish since he was 19th at The Brickyard last August.
      Hermie Sadler (32nd) had his best finish since he was 23rd at Talladega last October (only 7 races).
      STREAKIN.....Jimmie Johnson had 11 Top-10's in a row.
      Greg Biffle has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is a lonely Kyle Petty (+29). DOWN: The Big Dropper is a tie between Jeff Green (-23) and Ryan Newman (-23), followed by Bobby Hamilton Jr (-21). Looks like Petty Enterprises had 'em covered at both ends of the "Shaft".
      This was the fateful week for those teams hovering around 35th in the Owner Point category, and Jason Leffler's team is in at 35th this week. Ricky Rudd now joins the "must qualify on time" gang for Martinsville. Mike Wallace is still 13 points out of the Elite 35.
      Jimmie Johnson tacked another 12 markers onto his lead over Greg Biffle in the points...it's now at 94. We've now got 30 drivers still above the Mendoza line this week.
      Dale Earnhardt Jr advanced the most spots in the standings (26th to 17th), while Casey Mears (17th to 26th) fell the commensurate amount.(more on StockCarFans)(4-3-2005)


      News from April 2, 2005

    • Brewer suing Morgan McClure: Conway Law Firm, P.L.L.C. has been retained to represent Tim Brewer, the former General Manager and Crew Chief for Morgan McClure Motorsports, Inc. Conway will bring suit next week against Morgan McClure Motorsports, Inc.for breach of contract and wrongful termination in a substantial sum.(Conway Law Firm PR)(4-2-2005)

    • Rusty's son to make Busch starts: Just as Rusty Wallace's farewell tour is getting under way, his son Steven Wallace is taking one of the first steps up the NASCAR ladder. Wallace said Friday his 17-year-old son [turns 18 this summer] has been signed to a driver development contract by Dodge, which also supports the elder Wallace's racing. The younger Wallace, who is now competing on the Hooters Pro Cup circuit, likely will move to his father's Busch car next season for a partial schedule [about 15 races]. He got the deal with Dodge following a recent tryout with several other hopefuls, all of whom drove a Bobby Hamilton-prepared truck at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), also on Speed Channel's Trackside show Friday, Wallace said that Steven would run two Busch races this year in the #64, Phoenix [Nov] and Memphis [Oct].(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-2-2005)

    • Rusty and Jeremy Makeup: When they competed together under the Penske umbrella, Jeremy Mayfield and Rusty Wallace endured a rocky partnership as teammates. Now, with Mayfield admittedly older and wiser and Wallace in the twilight of his career, time appears to have healed the wounds. Mayfield currently competes in the Busch Series driving the Miller High Life Light Dodge owned by Wallace. He'll steer that car throughout today's Sharpie Professional 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. "I kind of feel honored to be honest with you," Mayfield said Friday. "His last year, (Rusty's) Last Call, he asks me to drive it." It's a surprising turn of events, considering the frosty state of affairs between the two in the Penske days. But Mayfield says that's all in the past. "You know, there's a lot of things I did wrong that I could've done better to make that whole deal work," he said. "We'd probably still be teammates right now. But I had a lot of growing up to do and had to be humbled and mature a lot, too, and I feel like I have." Now with the Ray Evernham Dodge team in Nextel Cup competition, Mayfield said he sees a whole different side of his former teammate. "We never really got to know each other when we were teammates," Mayfield said. "Now, the more I'm around him, I'm like ‘Man, this guy's cool as hell.'"(Kingsport Times News), may Newman and Rusty are next to fix things?(4-2-2005)

    • NASCAR Greats Honored at Bristol: Legends Plaza, the latest addition to the Bristol Motor Speedway complex, pays homage to some of racing’s biggest names. The permanent display, in front of the Bruton Smith office building, features large brass plaques mounted on pre-cast concrete bases. The display honors former Bristol winners like the late Dale Earnhardt and Alan Kulwicki as well as 12-time winner Darrell Waltrip, Richard Petty, the Allison family, Junior Johnson, Cale Yarborough and David Pearson.(Bristol Herald Courier)(4-2-2005)

    • So What's up with Fittipaldi? Christian Fittipaldi, attempting to revive his racing career following an unsuccessful NASCAR stint, posted the fastest time among the Rolex Grand American Daytona Prototypes during Friday's practice session at California Speedway. The 35-year-old Brazilian, who made five Prototypes starts in 2004 including the season finale at Fontana, made the jump to NASCAR after a successful career in the CART Series. He said he did not regret his decision to seek a ride in NASCAR after the 2001 CART season. "If CART had not gone where it went, I would not have left and the same for some others,' said Fittipaldi. "I had to look at an alternate. NASCAR is definitely the series everybody wants to be in in America. It's the most competitive and there are a healthy number of cars. NASCAR is maintaining, and is not going up as much as Grand Am is right now. The cars are relatively cheap to run, compared to Champ Car and IRL,' Fittipaldi said. "They still have technological gizmos in the car that make them fun to drive, makes them interesting."(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(4-2-2005)

    • Shower Power: Maui Shower Co. has made its Bristol debut, at Farmer Bob’s Campground off Tenn. Highway 394. The colorful trailer holds 11 shower “pods” that can accommodate up to 1,000 showers a day. “It’s a state-of-the-art, premier, multishower unit,” said Pamela Withage, who is running Maui Shower with her husband, Mike. Each private pod consists of a stainless steel shower — cleaned with hospital sanitizer after every use — and a changing area. Maui Shower’s generator is continuously running so hot water is always available. Towels can be purchased for $4 each, soap and shampoo for $1. The showers operate on tokens, bought at the trailer, that are worth $1 each. It costs two tokens to start a shower and one for each additional minute. Withage said she encourages patrons to buy $20 worth, since most people don’t know how long it will take them to shower and leftover tokens can be used any time. This is Maui Shower’s fourth stop since inception — the first three were at races and a “bike week” in Florida. Withage said they are following the NASCAR circuit, and have about 28 weeks booked this year. The company tries to set up at multiple-day events that draw no less than 5,000 people.(Johnson City Press)(4-2-2005)

    • The 10 millionth vote has been cast:. Since General Mills began sponsoring the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award at the beginning of the 2002 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season, more than 10 million votes have now been made by fans throughout the world. Fans vote at www.mostpopulardriver.com for the only fan-based official award in motorsports.
      A record 750,000 fans have already voted this season, well ahead of last year’s pace. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who has won the award the past two years, leads this season. Jeff Gordon is second, followed by Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart. Rounding out the top 10 are Michael Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson.
      Voting for the more than 40 drivers eligible for the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award, the only fan-based award in motorsports, began Tuesday, Feb. 1, at www.mostpopulardriver.com and continues through 11:59 a.m. CST, Monday, Nov. 21. Fans may vote once each day at the site.(Williams Company)(4-2-2005)

    • Childress on the #29 pit box at Bristol: #29 team owner, Richard Childress is reasserting himself to the team. He will be on Kevin Harvick's pit box tomorrow for the Food City 500, helping interim crew chief Scott Miller, the first time Childress has been on a pit box for a race since the 2001 season.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-2-2005)

    • Stockcar Fans - Ramblings - Bristol: We beat the rain today at Bristol Motor Speedway, and it was Elliott Sadler who grabbed the Bud Pole for Sunday's Food City 500 at the sweetest little half-miler on the planet. Sadler's time of 15.022 (127.733 mph) was good enough for his 3rd career pole and first since he had the top-spot at Talladega in September of 2003. He becomes the fourth qualifier for next February's Budweise Shootout.
      Dave Blaney (2nd) will join Sadler on the front-row.....this is his best starting spot since he had the pole at Rockingham (we used to race there?) in February of 2003.
      Five....count 'em....Five sets of ties today! We time out to a 1000th of a second, and almost 25% of the field is involved in duplicate times. Remember, ties are broken by Owner points.
      Rusty Wallace (3rd) has his best starting spot since he was on the outside pole at Martinsville last October.
      Travis Kvapil (5th) tied his career-best qualifying effor today. He also started 5th at Martinsville last October.
      Jeff Green (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Richmond last May.
      Mike Wallace (22nd) has his best starting spot since he started 18th at Dover in June of 2003!
      Stanton Barrett (23rd) has his best starting spot since he started 20th at Dover last June (only two races).
      Hermie Sadler (35th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 31st at Martinsville last October (only five races).
      STREAKIN....Ryan Newman has 12 Top-10 starts in a row.
      Greg Biffle has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
      The dnq's of the #7 (Robby Gordon) and #37 (Kevin Lepage) were crucial indeed. Starting next week we'll use current year Owner points to determine who has to time into the field, and their misses will open the door to Jason Leffler, Mike Wallace, Bobby Labonte, and Ricky Rudd. While Bobby Labonte is eligible for a past-champions provisional, it'll be interesting to see how this shakes out for the other drivers.(StockCarFans.Com)(4-2-2005)

    • Talking Jobs: As stock car engines roared in the background, college students and representatives from six states gathered Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway to learn about career opportunities in motor sports. “We want them to hear what it’s really like out there,” said Dr. Tom Coates, an associate professor in East Tennessee State University’s physical education, exercise and sports sciences department. “They need to hear what you need to do to get ready for job opportunities in motor sports, what kind of experiences are good in college (and) what type of internship and volunteer opportunities are out there.” A spin-off of the Motorsport Operations Partnership created by BMS and ETSU last spring, Friday’s Motorsport Operations Symposium featured several panelists who spoke to students from ETSU and 15 other institutions about diverse opportunities in the rapidly growing field.(Johnson City Press)(4-2-2005)


      News from April 1, 2005

    • New Sponsor Site - Cingular Racing: Cingular Wireless has dropped the green flag in cyberspace for fans of #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet and NASCAR driver Jeff Burton. With the launch of www.cingular31.com, the official Web site of TEAM Cingular, fans will now have an opportunity to stay up to speed on everything happening around the team, including the latest news and notes, driver appearances and customer promotions. The new, interactive web site will serve as a comprehensive portal devoted to everything around TEAM Cingular. Exclusive content will include pre- and post-race reports, Jeff Burton pre- and post-race perspectives, up-to-date driver and show car appearance schedules, Cingular-themed promotions and contests and links to the latest media coverage around TEAM Cingular.(Career Sports & Entertainment)(4-1-2005)

    • Two Racing Movies scheduled to open TODAY: Dare To Dream - The Alan Kulwicki Story opens on Friday, April 1, 2005.
      AND "Dust to Glory" is scheduled to open on April 1, 2005, celebrates the unique people and geography of Baja, from sun-baked mountains to dusty deserts to the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Some of the drivers featured in the movie are NASCAR drivers Robby Gordon and Michele Jourdain, Jr.(4-1-2005)

    • JGR's Diversity Program Ready for 2nd Season: After scoring three wins, three poles, 15 top-five finishes and 34 top-10 finishes in its first season of NASCAR Weekly Racing Series competition in 2004, Joe Gibbs Racing's (JGR) diversity program hit the ground running in 2005 as second-year drivers Aric Almirola and Chris Bristol finished third in their respective early-season races. Almirola drove his #92 Home Depot Chevrolet to a strong third-place finish in the March 19 Doughton Racing Products 300 Late Model stock car race at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. Bristol equaled his teammate's mark a week later, piloting his #92 MBNA Chevrolet to third in the March 26 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series season-opener at Hickory Motor Speedway. In 2005, Almirola moves from being a regular Late Model driver at Ace Speedway to campaign his Home Depot Chevrolet at big Late Model races throughout the Southeast. Bristol, meanwhile, moves to the .363-mile Hickory oval to compete regularly in that track's Late Model program. Both cars will carry the number 92 in tribute to White, the number he wore throughout his football career.(Joe Gibbs Racing/True Speed Communication)(4-1-2005)

    • Diageo and Kurt Busch: Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix: In recognition of April as Alcohol Awareness Month, Diageo is donating its space on Kurt Busch's #97 Ford during this weekend's race in Bristol to "Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix" - a multimedia program that provides parents with important tools to talk to their children about the consequences of underage drinking. The space, which covers the lower hood and rear quarter panel areas of the car, is normally occupied by the company's Crown Royal and Smirnoff ICE brand logos. Busch will carry a special message on the No. 97 Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" Ford during this weekend's Food City 500 race at Bristol Motor Speedway: kids and alcohol don't mix. For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit diageo.com.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-1-2005)

    • ‘Bill Elliott Day’ gets approval: The Georgia General Assembly has decided the state needs to pay tribute annually to native son and race car great Bill Elliott. Legislation won final approval Thursday for an annual “Bill Elliott Day in Georgia” on Oct. 8. Here’s what lawmakers said about Elliott: “The General Assembly finds that a Georgia family’s proud tradition of racing began in Dawsonville, Georgia, under the tutelage and guiding hand of George Elliott. George’s young son Bill began to demonstrate at an early age a natural skill and competitive racing instinct at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, and in 1976, at the tender age of 20, Bill Elliott entered his first Winston Cup race and launched a career that would span decades.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-1-2005)

    • #14 team scales down number of races it'll run AND: ppc Racing officials announced today its #14 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series program with driver John Andretti will cut back its full-time operations to a part-time schedule effective immediately. The team made five starts last year with Andretti and the first three races in the 2005 season, including the Daytona 500. Car Owner, Greg Pollex, talked about today's announcement: "We started our cup program last year with the #14 car with the intent of being competitive and we want to continue that initiative in 2005," said Pollex. "We did not anticipate the major shift in the qualifying rules which force a non-locked-in team to qualify for a race or to go home, as it happened to us in Atlanta. The combination of the new qualifying rules and the fact that most events are impound races is a combination that does not work when you are forced to use a qualifying setup just to make the field. A qualifying set up will not race competitively. We have decided to turn our efforts to improving down force on our bodies to assist in the qualifying effort. This will also allow our primary cup sponsor to regroup their sponsorship package for the remainder of the year. In the near future we will announce a part-time schedule for this year and return stronger than ever full time in 2006."
      In addition, Pollex noted ppc Racing's NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series programs will continue in their championship form in 2005 with no direct affect from today's announcement.(ppc Racing), the team has withdrawn from Bristol, no schedule of races was mentioned.(3-30-2005)
      UPDATE: have heard some of the over-the-wall crew have left the team.(4-1-2005)

    • NASCAR NEXTEL CUP - Qualifying Notes - Bristol:
      * Elliott Sadler won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Food City 500, lapping Bristol Motor Speedway in 15.022 seconds at 127.733 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 14.908 seconds, 128.709 mph, set March 21, 2003.
      * This is the 42nd Bud Poe for Robert Yates Racing. Those Bud Poles have come with six different drivers: Dale Jarrett (16), Ernie Irvan (10, Davey Allison (six), Ricky Rudd (four), Kenny Irwin (three) and Sadler (three).
      * This is Sadler's third career Bud Pole in 218 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. His most recent Bud Pole was at Talladega in September 2003.
      * This is Sadler's first Bud Pole and sixth top-10 start in 14 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. It is his third consecutive top-10 start here. It is his second top-10 start in 2005.
      * Dave Blaney posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 15.056 seconds, 127.444 mph, and will join Sadler on the front row for the Food City 500. It is second top-10 start in nine races at Bristol. It is his first start better than 27th this season.
      * This is the second Bud Pole for Ford in 2005. Dodge also has two Bud Poles and Chevrolet has one.
      * Rusty Wallace (third) posted his first start better than 21st in 2005. It is his best start at Bristol since he won the Bud Pole here in August 2000.
      * Jeff Gordon (fourth) scored his 22nd top-10 start in 25 races at Bristol. It is his first top-10 start this season.
      * Travis Kvapil (fifth) posted his career-best and his second top-10 start in 2005.
      * There were five sets of ties in this qualifying session: Ryan Newman and Jeremy Mayfield (seventh and eighth); Kasey Kahne and Greg Biffle (ninth and 10th); Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Ricky Rudd (19th and 20th); Dale Jarrett and Mike Wallace (21st and 22nd); Scott Wimmer and Shane Hmiel (32nd and 33rd) The ties were broken by 2004 owner points.
      * There have been eight different Bud Pole winners in the last 13 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Bristol Motor Speedway, but only three in the past seven. Jeff Gordon (four), Ryan Newman (two) and Rusty Wallace (two) are the repeat Bud Pole winner in the 12-race period.
      * Forty-eight races at Bristol have been won from the first four starting positions (54 percent).
      * Only 15 races have been won from a starting position outside the top 10, including five of the past eight.
      * The furthest back in the field that a Bristol race winner has started was 38th by Elliott Sadler in the 2001 Food City 500.
      * Kurt Busch is the defending champion of the Food City 500. He has won the last three spring races and four of the last six races at Bristol.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-1-2005)

    • UPS partners up with Bristol and Texas: UPS announced that it has entered into a new partnership with Speedway Motorsports, Inc., (SMI) to become an exclusive track sponsor of Bristol Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. This new partnership is introduced on the heels of an earlier announcement in regards to UPS’s new relationships with California Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Richmond International Raceway. The addition of Bristol and Texas to the UPS family of race tracks that has also included Daytona International Speedway since 2001 provides UPS with a presence at a variety of geographic locations visited by the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Beyond branding presence at the tracks, UPS will coordinate both outbound and inbound shipments, including ticket packages and merchandise for vendor concessions.(UPS Racing)(4-1-2005)


      News from March 31, 2005

    • Dale Jr. Comments: Even though he pulled off the Bristol sweep last fall, Dale Earnhardt Jr. says winning the Busch and Nextel Cup races like Carl Edwards did at Atlanta will be a tough act to follow. He said "I don’t know man, the way Carl did it at Atlanta I thought he topped me there so that was pretty impressive. The passes that he made to win in both races I think he topped all of us. It’ll be a while before anybody can do it like he did it."(PRN's Garagepass Radio Show)(3-31-2005)

    • Paul Tracy to NASCAR rumors heat up...again: Champ Car World Series driver, Paul Tracy, 36, told The Toronto Sun yesterday that if NASCAR comes to Canada in 2006, he wants to be part of that series. Tracy's Champ Car contract with Forsythe Championship Racing ends this season and he said he wants to explore other avenues. "I haven't got any irons in the fire so to speak," Tracy said yesterday while in Toronto to help promote this year's Molson Indy race. "(But) there are a lot of things happening in Canada right now with NASCAR." Tracy said that for the first time in his Champ Car career he is looking around at possibly changing series next year. Tracy always has worn his Canadian identity on his sleeve and a NASCAR presence in Canada would be a huge draw for him as a driver. At the end of 2003 -- the year he won the Champ Car driver's championship -- Tracy was offered a test with Richard Childress Racing, one of NASCAR's top Nextel Cup organizations. But Tracy chose to stay in Champ Car to defend his title. Last season, Tracy was approached again by RCR to run in the Nextel Cup race at Infineon Raceway in California in a one-time deal, but he turned it down on the advice of his Champ Car team. It's a decision that those close to Tracy say he now regrets.(Toronto Sun)(3-31-2005)

    • So who to the #6 car in 2006? UPDATE: Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Roush Racing Ford, is no longer is slated to replace Mark Martin [retires from Cup at end of 2005] in the #6 after this season. "It's pretty obvious he's found a home in the 99," [Roush Racing president Geoff] Smith says. "We're going to have to fill the 6 with someone else, and we don't know who that someone else might be." Smith says they will look at current Roush truck series driver Ricky Craven, a former Cup veteran, for the ride. But he expects other drivers in the garage to be interested: "That's a fantastic ride that's going to be available."(USA Today)(3-22-2005)
      UPDATE: "I'm hoping by the first part of May we'll have a better handle on who's going to drive," Smith explained. So is Ricky Craven is a candidate, as was recently reported? "Ricky is a candidate," Smith said. "Jack (Roush) feels that Ricky has something in him left to show people, but he's only one candidate at one point in time. We'll have to see how the season unfolds a little bit before we end up designating somebody."
      But Smith said Wednesday that Pfizer, the sponsor of Martin's Ford since 2001, likely won't return to the hood of the No. 6 in 2006. "We're not expecting them to return in a capacity as primary sponsor after this year," Smith said. "As of this moment in time, there hasn't been any expression of continuing on in a primary sponsorship, although there have been some discussions about continuing an endorsement arrangement with Mark." Not to worry. The #6 won't be tooling around the track stark-white like the #99 did last year. According to Smith, several sponsors are standing in line, the rarest of luxuries for Nextel Cup Series teams these days.(see full column at NASCAR.com)(3-31-2005)

    • Interesting take on the #3: NASCAR's red-hot collectible industry could be fueling one of the hottest rumors on the sporting landscape. Richard Childress Racing might bring the #3 car back for a couple of races next season. It hasn't been driven in a cup race since Dale Earnhardt Sr., died on the final lap of the Daytona 500 in 2001. If the car returns, Dale Earnhardt Jr. could be behind the wheel. It is the stuff of which die-cast legends are made. Or is it? Because NASCAR has chosen not to retire numbers, speculation about the 3 has continued in the grandstands.(Knoxville News) NOTE: Childress has said in the past he has NO plans to run the #3 and Dale Jr. is signed with DEI thru 2007.(3-31-2005)

    • Busch to run special scheme at Bristol: Kurt Busch and the #97 Sharpie team aim to make a mark on racing history by earning a fourth spring race victory in a row at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) April 3. Busch is also putting his autograph on education during the Food City 500, driving a special Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" paint scheme featuring the signatures of students from his former middle school in Las Vegas and students from Bristol. At a BMS autograph session April 1, Busch and fifth grade students from Bristol's Valley Pike Elementary will be putting the finishing touches on the paint scheme, signing the back of the car for a "ride along" during the race. Earlier in March, Busch collected autographs from students at a special assembly for his former middle school in Las Vegas. The signature paint scheme is part of Sharpie's nationwide effort asking for one million autographs from everyday people in exchange for $1 million in supplies and funds to schools. As the Sharpie Retractable "Autographs for Education" tour stops in Bristol, the Sharpie team is inviting the students, teachers, parents and the community in general to put their autograph on education by visiting its displays at BMS. Sharpie is elevating its pledge to the nation's schools throughout 2005, recognizing essential needs resulting from funding challenges schools face. Complete entry methods for the signature collection effort can be found at retailers nationwide and at www.sharpie.com.(Roush Racing)(3-31-2005)

    • Woman killed at JGR Construction site: A woman was killed Wednesday afternoon while helping finish construction on an addition to a race team's facility. Authorities were called about 2:30pm/et about an injury at Joe Gibbs Racing on Reese Boulevard in the Huntersville Business Park, about 15 miles north of uptown Charlotte. The woman, whose identity was being withheld until authorities notify her family, died on the scene. Although officials with the company and the police released few details, preliminary reports suggested a joist had struck the woman, said Juan Santos, a N.C. Department of Labor spokesman. The woman worked for the general contractor at the site, not the race company, according to a statement released by Joe Gibbs Racing. Officials with Precision Walls Inc. declined to comment as they left the site, while officials from Shelco Inc., the general contractor, could not be reached. Huntersville police and state officials are still investigating the incident.(Charlotte Observer)(3-31-2005)

    • NC License Plates Now Available: NASCAR fans across North Carolina now have 33 new ways to express their love of racing as the N.C. Department of Transportation's Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV) has given the NASCAR license plate series the green flag. The new NASCAR-themed plates are the latest additions to NCDMV's specialized license plate program, which includes over 90 special license plates that allow citizens to express their common interests and civic affiliations. The NASCAR series features a general NASCAR plate in addition to plates highlighting 32 of the sport's most popular drivers. Requests for specialized license plates are approved by the General Assembly. Primary sponsors of the bill approving the NASCAR plate series were Senator David W. Hoyle and Representatives Wayne Goodwin, Linda Johnson and Karen Ray. Each plate has a checkered-flag background design, which substitutes for the "First in Flight" design on standard issue plates. The left side of the plate features an image representing a NASCAR driver while the right side has the identification letters and numbers. Motorists also have the opportunity to personalize the letter combinations on the plate.
      In addition to the NASCAR series, NCDMV is introducing two other new plate designs, "Friends of the Appalachian Trail" and Virginia Tech. The "Friends of the Appalachian Trail" plate is currently being manufactured and should be available soon to the public while Virginia Tech plates are already available. Motorists should start seeing the NASCAR series plates on the road in just a few weeks. Applications are currently available by calling NCDMV's Specialized License Plate Office at (919) 861-3575. Motorists may request the plates online and at license plate agencies throughout the state in about two months. For more information on NCDMV's specialized license plate program visit www.ncdot.org/dmv and click on specialized license plates.(NCDOT site)(3-30-2005)
      AND why no #3 or #8? That leaves one question for many fans: When can I get my Dale and Dale Jr. tags? The answer: Well, you can't. So why no plates for Dale Earnhardt, the Kannapolis racing legend who died in a wreck four years ago, or for his son, who is one of the sport's most popular drivers? Essentially, the plates are too tacky. Okay. They didn't say that. But Joe Hedrick, vice president for licensing at Dale Earnhardt Inc., said the tags don't look right. "Those plates don't reflect the image of the North Carolina plate," Hedrick said, adding that he would want them to look more like the state's traditional "First in Flight" plates, but with Earnhardt's No. 3 or Junior's No. 8 emblem on one side. If you look at it, it looks like a very commercial plate," he said. Hedrick said he's sure DEI and the state could work something out. It's the company's obligation, he said, to give the state options for a different-looking tag. Hedrick also said to tell fans "we're not abandoning them. We just want to go through the process to have a more authentic plate."(Charlotte Observer)(3-31-2005)

    • Testing at Texas: Eight NASCAR teams tested Tuesday and Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway, preparing for the upcoming Samsung/RadioShack 500 race week. The flurry of testing activity marks the second straight week NASCAR teams trekked to Texas in search of speed. Drivers putting their NEXTEL Cup machinery through the paces were #91-Bill Elliott, #9-Kasey Kahne, #36-Boris Said and #7-Robby Gordon. Busch Series teams included defending champion #8-Martin Truex Jr.; #87-Joe Nemechek; #11-Paul Menard and #21-Brandon Miller.
      Wednesday's speeds: NEXTEL Cup: Elliott, 188.416 mph; Said, 187.500 mph; Kahne, 186.657 mph. Busch: Nemechek, 185.886 mph; Menard, 182.432 mph, Truex and Miller, no speed reported. Miller was uninjured after late afternoon contact with the turn four wall.
      Tuesday's speeds: NEXTEL Cup: Gordon, 189.474 mph; Kahne, 186.981 mph; Said, 186.207 mph; Elliott, 185.440 mph. Busch: Truex, 185.249 mph; Nemechek, 184.300 mph; Miller, 183.175 mph; Menard, 182.432 mph. Kahne was not injured after making contact with the second turn wall in the morning.
      Testing continueson Tuesday, April 5 with #2-Rusty Wallace, #38-Elliott Sadler and #21-Ricky Rudd, NASCAR Busch Series testing with #66-Greg Biffle. Tickets are on sale daily at the speedway ticket office, by calling (817) 215-8500, online at www.texasmotorspeedway.com and at Ticketmaster locations.(TMS)(3-31-2005)

    • Morgan-McClure Marketing Alliance: Cory Gierman, MuzikMafia Godfather (www.muzikmafia.com) and Larry McClure, president and team manager of #4-Morgan-McClure Motorsports (www.morgan-mcclure.com) announced today a co-marketing alliance. As part of this alliance, Rachel Kice of the MuzikMafia will be attending the Food City 500 at the Bristol Motor Speedway to capture in artistic form, the energy and emotion from 500 laps of competition on the world's fastest half-mile track. This painting will serve as the basis for the MuzikMafia themed paint scheme on the #4 Lucas Oil Chevrolet later in the NASCAR Nextel Cup season. Rachel will begin painting at the start of the green flag at Sunday's race.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports)(3-31-2005)

    • Darrell Waltrip, Junior Johnson To Tell Tales: Darrell Waltrip and Junior Johnson invite you to join them for supper, sit a spell afterward and listen as they tell some tales of their championship racing seasons. Waltrip and Johnson, who teamed for three NASCAR Winston Cup Championships in the 1981, ’82, and ‘85, will spin some yarns of those days on Thursday, March 31, at a Bristol Motor Speedway benefit dinner for the International Storytelling Center. The International Storytelling Center attracts thousands of people to Jonesborough, Tenn., to celebrate the ancient storytelling traditions so popular in the Appalachian region and beyond. The town about 20 miles from Bristol Motor Speedway holds the distinction as the birthplace of a storytelling renaissance, which took place 30 years ago at the first National Storytelling Festival. The event now draws more than 10,000 each October to Jonesborough. More at the Bristol Motor Speedway site.(3-3/31-2005)

    • 'Roam for a Home' a Success: Terry Labonte's fourth annual "Roam for a Home" charity motorcycle ride was a rousing success over the holiday weekend. Hosting more than 100 motorcycles and 150 riders, the 650-mile trek served as a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House of Corpus Christi, Texas, and concluded with a free concert by country music star Blake Shelton.
      AND For every Kellogg product purchased in April at a Texas-based Albertson's grocery store, Kellogg's and Albertson's will donate 10 cents to the Hendrick Marrow Program (up to $15,000). If a Hendrick Motorsports driver wins a NEXTEL Cup event in the month of April, the contribution will be doubled.(HMS)(3-31-2005)


      News from March 30, 2005

    • Final Atlanta TV Ratings: Final Nielsen Media Research figures show that Fox's broadcast of the March 20 Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway drew a 5.5 rating and a 13 share, today's Sports Business Daily reports. The rating is 12.2 percent higher than the 4.9 overnight rating for the race from the nation's largest television markets. The rating was down 3.5 percent from Fox's broadcast of Atlanta's 2004 spring race, which was run a week earlier and did not compete with CBS's coverage of the men's NCAA basketball tournament. The final 5.5 rating for Atlanta was down 1.8 percent from the 5.6 rating that Fox drew for the 2004 Darlington race, which was run on the comparable weekend.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-30-2005)

    • Martin to run retro schemes in 2005 UPDATE 2: #6-Mark Martin, running his final Cup season in 2005, will run some retro schemes in 2005, the 'Folgers red' at Michigan in June, the 'Strohs blue' at Las Vegas and 'Valvoline colors' at the 2nd California race, all with Viagra as the sponsor, and also a Kraft scheme at the 2005 Budweiser Shootout, see the schemes on my #6 Team Paint Schemes page.(12-25-2004)
      UPDATE: The retro schemes will run as planned. They are slated to run at Texas, The Nextel All-Star, Indy and Homestead.(3-30-2005)
      UPDATE 2: As a part of the Mark Martin’s ‘Salute to You’ program in 2005, his No. 6 Viagra* (sildenafil citrate) Ford will feature four retro-paint schemes during the course of the celebration season. The program will highlight Martin’s first Cup paint scheme that ran on his car during his first Winston Cup race in 1981. It will also highlight his first paint scheme in a Roush car, the Retro ’89 scheme ran in 1888 and 1989 and was the paint scheme on Martin’s car during his first Winston Cup win at Rockingham in 1989. The retro-90 scheme ran in ’90 and ’91 and saw a fierce battle between Martin and the late Dale Earnhardt for the 1990 Cup Championship. The Retro ’93 car represents one of the strongest eras in Martin’s career, a time when he won 13 races and 11 poles in a four-year span.
      Each of the four cars will still be sponsored by Viagra*, but will feature the four different schemes.
      RETRO ’81 PAINT SCHEME – WILL RUN AT HOMESTEAD (11/20/05)
      Races – 5
      Highlights – Martin’s first ever Winston Cup paint scheme…Won the poles (Martin’s career first) at both Nashville (6/11/81) and Richmond (9/13/81)…Scored Martin’s first career top-10 with a seventh-place finish at Richmond on Sept. 13, 1981 and his first top-five with a third-place run at Martinsville on Sept. 7, 1981.
      RETRO ’89 [old blue Strohs]– WILL RUN AT TEXAS (4/17/05)
      Races – Two seasons
      Highlights – Martin’s first cup paint scheme with Roush Racing…Ran on the car in 1988 and ‘89. ..Registered 17 top-five and 28 top-10’s…Was on the car for Martin’s first career Winston Cup win on Oct. 22, 1989 at Rockingham…Finished third in the points in 1989.
      RETRO ’90 [old Folgers red] – WILL RUN AT THE BRICKYARD 500 (8/7/05)
      Races – Two season
      Highlights – Ran on the car in 1990 and 91…Finished second in the points in ’90…Scored 30 top-top five and 40 top-10 finishes, eight poles and four wins in that two year span…Won at Richmond on 2/25/90…Won at Michigan on 8/19/90…Won at North Wilkesboro on 9/30/90…Won at Atlanta on 11/17/91.
      RETRO ’93 [old Valvoline colors]- WILL RUN AT THE NEXTEL ALL-STAR CHALLENGE (5/21/05)
      Seasons – 1992-95
      Highlights – Ran for four seasons…Finished top-six in the points all four year including three top-five finishes and a second place in 1994...Garnered 50 top-five and 78 top-10 finishes…Had 11 poles and won 13 times…Won at Martinsville (5/26/92), Charlotte (10/11/92), Watkins Glen (8/8/93), Michigan (8/15/93), Bristol (8/28/93), Darlington (11/5/93), Phoenix (10/31/93), Watkins Glen (8/14/94), Atlanta (11/13/94), Talladega (5/30/95), Watkins Glen (8/13/95), North Wilkesboro (10/1/95) and Charlotte (10/8/95).(Roush Racing), images [3 of 4] on my #6 Team Schemes page.(3-30-2005)

    • Two races added to Said's 2005 Sched: MB/Sutton Motorsports announced that #36-Boris Said's 2005 Nextel Cup schedule has been expanded from 11 to 13 races with the addition of the Talladega race in May and the Texas race in November. Said, who competed in the Daytona 500, will next race his #36 CENTRIX Financial Chevrolet at the Samsung/RadioShack 500 weekend, April 15-17 at Texas Motor Speedway. Said's 2005 Nextel Cup Schedule:
      Daytona, Feb. 20; Texas, April 17; Talladega, May 1; Charlotte, May 29; Sonoma, June 26; Daytona, July 2; Indianapolis, Aug. 7; Watkins Glen, Aug. 14; California, Sept. 4; Kansas, Oct. 9; Charlotte, Oct. 15; Atlanta, Oct. 30; Texas, Nov. 6.(MB/Sutton Motorsports)(3-30-2005)

    • Daytona HOF Bid Clears 1st step: Daytona Beach's bid to attract a NASCAR hall of fame got its first legislative victory Tuesday -- but the hard part is still coming. The House Tourism Committee approved a plan that would commit $30 million over 25 years to the city's effort to lure the hall of fame to a site near Daytona International Speedway. The vote came after weeks of lobbying and tinkering by local officials as they tried to ease concerns about using tax dollars to pay for the project. But the plan still faces major obstacles, including uncertainty about whether House and Senate leaders will go along with funneling tens of millions of dollars to the hall of fame and other sports-related projects. Also, three other House committees are slated to vote on the plan during the coming weeks -- including the House Finance and Taxation committee, which is expected to closely scrutinize the project.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-30-2005)

    • National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson announced: Al Jones, Mayor of the Town of Mooresville, NC, roclaimed the week of May 2- May 9, 2005 as the National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson Week. The proclamation took place at Pit Instruction and Training (PIT) facility in Mooresville, North Carolina, where the National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson will take place on May 9, 2005. This competition is a bracketed event where the 40 top pit crews have been invited to compete to win $100,000, with four teams having the chance at a $500,000 prize in the final bonus round, "The Powered by Tyson Pit Stop." At today's press conference, Mooresville town officials and event organizers outlined plans for making sure the event runs smoothly and has easy access for all fans. All proceeds from the event will go to Second Harvest and The Victory Junction Gang Camp. On May 9, 2005 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., there will be an exciting motorsports competition, with a twist. The National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson has invited the top 30 Cup and top 10 Busch pit crews in the country as they go head-to-head in a bracketed competition for the fastest pit stop. It's win and move on. The competition will be televised on the SPEED Channel.
      Tickets to the event are free, and can be picked up in advance at PIT on 156 Byers Creek Road in Mooresville; the Mooresville Convention & Visitors Bureau on 265 North Main Street in Mooresville; and the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame on 119 Knob Hill Road, Lakeside Road in Mooresville. While tickets are free, attendees are encouraged to make a monetary donation to benefit Second Harvest and The Victory Junction Gang Camp. These can be accepted at all ticket locations. To make access in and out of the event easy, special parking lots will be designated with shuttles running continually on the day of the event. Teams for the competition will be selected after April 15, 2005. For more information please visit www.pitcrewchampionship.com or www.tyson.com.(PR)(3-30-2005)

    • #4 Morgan-McClure gets Food City as assoc. sponsor at Bristol: Food City has formed a partnership with Morgan-McClure Motorsports and driver Mike Wallace for a one-race associate sponsorship. The Morgan-McClure Motorsports #4 Lucas Oil/Food City Chevrolet will debut during qualifying for the Food City 500 on Friday, April 1st.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports)(3-30-2005)

    • Fruit of the Loom Debuts at Bristol: The April 3 Food City 500 will mark the debut of Fruit of the Loom as a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series sponsor. It’s the first of 10 races this season in which the world-renowned apparel company will be featured on Robby Gordon's #7 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Fruit of the Loom sponsored Gordon’s Busch Series effort in 2004, a pairing that yielded a victory at Richmond and nine other top-10 finishes to lay a strong foundation for their ascent into the NEXTEL Cup arena.(Robby Gordon site)(3-30-3005)

    • Charter to sponsor the #16 at Bristol: #16-Greg Biffle will sport a special Charter paint scheme on the #16 Nextel Cup Ford Taurus.(Roush Racing)(3-30-2005)


      News from March 29, 2005

    • Dale Jr. comments on troubles: A lot of people want to know the reason behind Dale Earnhardt Jr’s. poor start to the 2005 season. Taking time out from testing at Martinsville Junior said he doesn't blame his new pit crew but claims DEI is playing catch up. Dale Jr said "There’s a lot of other stuff and variables going on in the sport right now to where DEI is a company that’s found itself behind in a lot of areas. We've got great race cars but there are guys who have better ones now and we've got to work hard and gain on some areas." So, Dale was asked, how do you do that? He said "Gotta hire some people, steal some people, get rid of the dead weight...that’s the only way you can do it. I heard somebody say that (Junior joked)...that’s a quote...(smiling)...not my own.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-29-2005)

    • Council approves NASCAR incentives: In an effort to keep NASCAR's all-star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the Charlotte [NC] City Council voted Monday night to set aside thousands of incentive dollars. NASCAR is considering moving the big race, which contributes more than $94 million a year to the regional economy. So last week, the president of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority asked the City Council to approve more than $62,000 in incentives. The state has already put up $250,000 in incentives.(News Carolina 14)(3-29-2005)

    • #9 to Outfit Special 'Reverse' Paint Scheme of Kahne's Signature Dodge Pit Cap: While Kasey Kahne turned out a season for the record books in 2004, NASCAR fans turned out in record numbers donning Kahne's signature Dodge pit cap at racetracks across the country. As a thank-you for the sea of red Dodge pit caps seen in the grandstands each weekend, Kahne's #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger will sport a 'reverse' paint scheme of the fan-favorite hat style. The special paint scheme, which will debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 2005 Brickyard 400, represents a unique twist on the style of Kahne's well-known red hat. For the first time, Kahne's #9 Dodge Charger will feature a predominantly white design with two red racing stripes across the entire length of the car top - a 'reverse' color design based upon the popular hat and the replica race car scheme that Kahne debuted in the 2004 Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.(Clear!Blue), see an image of the scheme on my #9 Team Schemes page.(3-29-2005)

    • Writer Honored: Larry Woody of The Tennessean is the 2005 recipient of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame's Henry T. McLemore Award, which recognizes outstanding motorsports journalism. Woody will be honored during ceremonies April 28 at the hall in Talladega, Ala., along with 2005 inductees Darrell Waltrip, Nigel Mansell, Chip Hanauer, Joe Amato and Bob Glidden. Woody is the 25th person to receive the McLemore Award since it was first awarded in 1969. Previous recipients include Chris Economaki, Ken Squier, Barney Hall, Eli Gold, Bob Jenkins and Ned Jarrett. ''It's really an honor, particularly with Darrell being inducted, because our careers have kind of paralleled each other,'' Woody said. A three-time Tennessee Sportswriter of the Year, Woody has also covered the NFL and Vanderbilt. He has written several books, including Mark Martin: Mark of Excellence, Pure Sterling: The Sterling Marlin Story and A Dixie Farewell: The Life and Death of Chucky Mullins. His most recent book is Along for the Ride, a collection of stories about covering auto racing. The Crossville native joined The Tennessean sports staff in 1967 after serving two years in the Army and receiving two citations for valor in Vietnam.(Tennessean)(3-29-2005)

    • Testing at Texas: Texas Motor Speedway says Bill Elliott, Kasey Kahne, and Boris Said are scheduled to test their Nextel Cup entries there on Tuesday, and Rusty Wallace is expected on Wednesday. Busch Series drivers planning tests this week include Joe Nemechk, Martin Truex Jr., Paul Menard and Brandon Miller on Tuesday and Greg Biffle on Wednesday. The tests are not open to the public.NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-29-2005)

    • Johnson Gillette Young Gun at Atlanta: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Golden Corral 500, Presented by Gillette Mach3 Turbo Nitro at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20th, Cynthia W. of Conyers, GA was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Cynthia picked Johnson as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the third time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson.(Alan Taylor Communications)(3-29-2005)


      News from March 28, 2005

    • McDonald's to sponsor Elliott UPDATE and Evernham too: hearing that McDonald's will sponsor the #91 [#98?] Dodge and Bill Elliott at Michigan in June and California in September.(3-17-2005)
      UPDATE: McDonald's announced the company has entered into a partnership agreement with Evernham Motorsports in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The agreement calls for McDonald's to be an associate sponsor on the #9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger driven by 2004 Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year Kasey Kahne and the #91 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Charger that will be driven by [1988] NASCAR champion Bill Elliott at selected Nextel Cup events. The agreement includes a two-race McDonald's primary sponsorship on Elliott's car. The Bill Elliott Racing entry will carry the McDonald's paint scheme at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (June 19) and California Speedway in Fontana (Sept. 5). Kahne, 24, said that he welcomes the new partnership and is looking forward to being affiliated with McDonald's. McDonald's motorsports programs also include primary sponsorships in the Champ Car World Series with the Newman/Haas team and driver Sebastian Bourdais and in the NASCAR Busch Series with Team Rensi Motorsports and [#35] driver Jason Keller. More info on McDonalds, see www.mcdonalds.com.(McDonald's Racing)(3-28-2005)

    • 10,000 fans show up at Martin's dealership, full-time Trucks in 2006: More than 10,000 NASCAR fans descended on star driver Mark Martin's hometown over the weekend as he hosted defending Nextel Cup champ Kurt Busch and circuit veteran Rusty Wallace at his new Ford dealership. The fans lined up with pieces of Martin's #6 memorabilia hoping for a signature. When he saw the size of the crowd -- some fans came from as far as California, Louisiana and Wisconsin -- Martin said he was a bit apprehensive. The event, called Mark Martin Days, was on Friday and Saturday. Next season, Martin said he will join the Craftsman Truck Series for a full schedule and spend more time in Batesville. "I think that's the most important thing, that people realize just how hard I work for the success," Martin said. "It hasn't come easy and I've had a lot of competition. I've had to work harder than most to be there."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP)(3-28-2005)

    • The Dodge 'Vacuum' Nose UPDATEs: Dodge officials have been in negotiations with NASCAR officials, apparently over aerodynamic issues. Dodge has a new nose and tail this season, and the nose has been controversial because of its tendency to suck up trash on the track and lead to engine overheating.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-14-2005)
      UPDATE: Jeff Hammond of FoxSports: "Dodge is concerned about it [Nose], and they've had some conversations with NASCAR. But Dodge designed the nose and presented it to NASCAR in a certain form. If NASCAR allows a change, the benefits of cooling the engine block can't also give teams another benefit with downforce or drag. I think NASCAR will be a little reluctant to make any changes as long as Chargers run tape on the nose. If Dodge went to NASCAR and said, "Hey guys, we're overheating, and we need a little tweak", NASCAR might be more willing to make a change if there's no tape covering the opening. But more than likely, I think that NASCAR would say, "You should have thought about that ahead of time." As long as teams can open up that front end and add more air to the engine, it's going to be hard for NASCAR to give Dodge much leeway."(FoxSports)(3-28-2005)
      AND The Dodge Charger nose has been in the news recently because it seems to pick up trash off of the track, blocking the air flow to the radiator. Speculation has it that Dodge has gone to NASCAR and ask for modifications on the nose. At Nashville Superspeedway this past weekend, Ray Evernham said that as far as he knows, Dodge has neither ask for -- or have been offered any concessions from NASCAR concerning any modifications of the Dodge Charger nose. "We've talked to them about a possible replacement of the trash screen and nothing else," said Evernham.(Insider Racing News)(3-28-2005)

    • Rudd to 2nd: #21-Ricky Rudd is expected to make his 55th start at Bristol, placing him second in all-time starts there behind Richard Petty, who had 60. Dave Marcis had 54, followed by Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte at 52.(NASCAR Stat Services)(3-28-2005)

    • Bonus Points: #48-Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers after four races wiht 30 Bonus Points scored. How does a driver get bonus points? By leading a lap of a race [one time bonus of 5 points] and leading the most laps in a race [in the event of a tie, both drivers get the bonus points. The drivers with the most bonus points?
      #48-Jimmie Johnson, 30 points - lead a lap in all four races and led the most laps in two races, 1st in Drivers Points
      #16-Greg Biffle, 15, 2nd in drivers points
      #12-Ryan Newman, 15 , 6th
      #45-Kyle Petty, 15, 24th
      #01-Joe Nemechek, 15, 29th
      Johnson is the only driver to have led at least one lap in every race in 2005.(NASCAR Stat Services)(3-28-2005)

    • New Book Ranks Drivers: Speed wins races, but in racing it’s not the only determination of ranking drivers. Now, a new book by Unicoi writer Jeff Birchfield uses three statistical categories to rank some of the top names in racing. Titled “The Fast Crowd: 2004-05 Statistical Ranking of Racing’s Top Drivers,” the 64-page book identifies the Top 30 in the Nextel Cup Series. “Unlike baseball where there have frequently been statistical buffs, they’ve been rare in stock-car racing,” Birchfield explained. “However, for those of who enjoy research and statistics, it is a labor of love.” He said he thought about doing such a book for the past three or four years. In fact, he did a Top 10 ranking about 10 years ago for Inside Track magazine. Birchfield based his rankings on three categories — race wins over the past three seasons, a driver’s winning percentage with his current or most recent team and the percentage of times he has finished in the Top 10 over the course of his career. Still, he noted, statististics in racing require a little more work than such sports statistics as passing yards in football or batting percentages in baseball. “It’s just a tougher sport to do statistics work,” he said. He took some of his information from such sources as the 2004 NASCAR Media Guide and the NASCAR Preview and Press Guides available on news stands as well as old racing newspapers, magazines and track programs. Birchfield has been writing sports for 12 years, including stints in the sports sections of the Elizabethton Star and his current employer, the Johnson City Press. In addition, he operated the sports publication Sports Talk and has written freelance sports articles for Richard Petty Stock Car Magazine, Winston Cup Illustrated [Now NASCAR Illustrated] and FasTrack, a racing newspaper. He worked on his most recent endeavor in partnership with photographer Dave Boyd, who provided all the photographs in the book. Birchfield and Boyd worked together at the Elizabethton Star and, most recently, with the Johnson City Press. The majority of the book’s photographs originated at Bristol Motor Speedway. Birchfield said he sat down with Boyd and they sorted through photographs to choose the ones for publication. Birchfield plans to launch a non-traditional book tour to promote the book. An acquaintance suggested to Birchfield that he promote the book at area flea markets. “Flea markets always seem to be located near race tracks,” Birchfield said. In addition, he is working with smaller track promoters to sell the book. Birchfield and his wife, Sheila, are the parents of two children, Adam, a third grade student at Unicoi Elementary School, and 4-year-old daughter, Laura. The book is available for $9, plus shipping and handling, by writing to: Fast Crowd, P.O. Box 1294, Johnson City, TN 37605. Copies are also available for purchase at the office of The Erwin Record.(Erwin Record)(3-28-2005)

    • DNF's - Martin has the streak: #6-Mark Martin has been running at the finish in 26 consecutive races, the longest current streak. #18-Bobby Labonte and #7-Robby Gorodn have the most DNF's with 3 in 4 races. There are the only three active drivers with five or more races at Bristol that have not posted a DNF there. #29-Kevin Harvick has been running at the finish in all eight of his races at Bristol. #48-Jimmie Johnson and #12-Ryan Newman have each been running at the finish in all six of their races there.(NASCAR Stat Services)(3-28-2005)

    • National Guard Diversity Team Continues: Drive for Diversity announced that the Army National Guard will once again be the primary advertiser for driver Morty Buckles and Belnavis Racing in the 2005 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series (NDWS). Buckles will run the #54 Ford Late Model Stock Car at several NDWS tracks this season, including Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.(dBusinessNews)(3-28-2005)

    • Top 10 Stuff: #20-Tony Stewart has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 49 consecutive races (since Dover - September 2003), the longest current streak. #97-Kurt Busch, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #6-Mark Martin, #20-Tony Stewart and #2-Rusty Wallace have each ranked in the top 10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings after every race in 2005.(NASCAR Stat Services)(3-28-2005)

    • Testing at Martinsville: Advance Auto Parts 500 Schedule UPDATED
      March 28: rained out.
      March 29: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #15-Michael Waltrip, #5-Kyle Busch, #25-Brian Vickers, #11-Jason Leffler, #21-Ricky Rudd, #14-John Andretti, #22-Scott Wimmer, #17-Matt Kenseth, #49-Ken Schrader, #32-Bobby Hamilton.
      March 30: #5-Kyle Busch, #21-Ricky Rudd
      The main fan gate is open at no charge for fans to watch.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-21/28-2005)



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