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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    APR 25-MAY 1, 2005




      News from May 1, 2005

    • Jeff Gordon dominates and wins a wild race at Talladega: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Kurt Busch won the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, holding off #20-Tony Stewart and #15-Michael Waltrip who tried to team up and make a run, but couldn't catch Gordon on the Green-White-Checker finish. It is Gordon's 72nd career win, 3rd of the 9 race season and 10th restrictor plate win. The win comes on Rady Dorton's 51st birthday, Dorton was the Hendrick Motorsports engine guru who passed away in the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash last October. In a wild race which included not the BIG ONE but the HUGE ONE when #48-Johnson got into #4-Wallace after Wallace got loose when #8-Earnhardt Jr. bump drafted Wallace, sending Wallace spinning and collecting 25 cars total, the 2nd most cars involved in a wreck at Talladega [April 2003]. Then with two laps tp go, there was a mini-big one when Johnson smacked the outside eall, came down on Harvick, who came down on #1-Truex Jr. who hit #8-Earnhardt Jr. and shot across the track with Johnson. So we had a green-white-checker finish and the longest race ever at Talladega 194 laps for 516.04 miles. #48-Johnson still holds the points lead which really got suffled around with the wrecks. #49-Ken Schrader finished 8th, his first top-10 since Bristol in March 2003. #77-Kvapil was the highest finishing rookie at 18th. The race will re-air on Speed Channel, Thursday, May 5th at 3:00pm/et.
      Race rundown, laps led, lucky dogs, cautions, narrative and more on Jayski's Talladega Race Info/Rundown Page
      Race Results on Jayski's Talladega Race Results/award/links page.(5-1-2005)

    • Surgery required for official: Pete Babb, NASCAR’s senior official, is scheduled to undergo cardiac surgery on Monday at Birmingham’s Carraway Methodist Medical Center. Babb, who turned 78 on Saturday, works in the Busch Series and has been in the sport for more than 50 years. “People like Pete Babb helped make NASCAR the great sport it is today,” said NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter, who called Babb “a beloved and respected figure.”(Gaston Gazette)(5-1-2005)

    • Aaron's re-ups with Waltrip and the #00 team: Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership, which is sponsoring Sunday’s Nextel Cup race, extended its primary sponsorship of Michael Waltrip’s Busch team through 2008. Waltrip’s team will carry Aaron’s colors in at least 22 Busch races each season through 2008, as well as four Nextel Cup races in a Waltrip-#00 owned car driven by Kenny Wallace. Wallace failed to qualify for tomorrow’s race, so Aaron’s will sponsor Hermie Sadler, who will start the Aaron’s 499 in 30th place.(Speed Channel)(5-1-2005)

    • Talladgea Race Notes:
      * Jeff Gordon won the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, scoring his 72nd NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 410th career start. His last victory came at Martinsville, three races ago.
      * This was Gordon's 10th career restrictor-plate victory in 50 career restrictor-plate races. Gordon scored 28 top-10 finishes in those 50 races.
      * It marked Gordon's fourth victory in 25 races at Talladega. Gordon also won this race one year ago.
      * Gordon has scored three victories in 2005, more than any other driver. He also posted victories at Daytona and Martinsville.* Gordon has climbed from 12th to third in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings in the last four races.
      * Gordon has scored four top-10 finishes in nine races this season.
      * Gordon scored the sixth victory for car owner Rick Hendrick at Talladega. This was Hendrick's 134th victory as a car owner and fourth in nine races this season.
      * This was the fifth victory in 2005 for Chevrolet. Ford has four victories while Dodge still seeks their first of the season.
      Notebook Items
      * Tony Stewart (second) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 13 races at Talladega Superspeedway. It was his fourth runner-up finish at Talladega. Stewart has scored four top-10 finishes in nine races this season. He climbed from 14th to sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
      * Michael Waltrip (third) posted his 13th top-10 finish in 39 races at Talladega Superspeedway. He scored his fourth top-10 finish and third straight in 2005.
      * Jeremy Mayfield (fourth) scored his second top-10 finish in 22 races at Talladega Superspeedway. This was his career-best Talladega finish. This marked Mayfield's first top-10 finish in 2005. He climbed from 16th to 12th in the point standings, his highest ranking of the season.
      * Jamie McMurray (fifth) scored his second top-10 finish in six races at Talladega Superspeedway. It was his career-best Talladega finish.
      * Ken Schrader (eighth) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 41 races at Talladega Superspeedway. Schrader scored his first top-10 finish since Bristol in March 2004.
      * Dale Earnhardt Jr. (15th) has climbed from 27th to ninth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings in the last six races.
      * Travis Kvapil (18th) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender for the fourth time in 2005.
      * Jimmie Johnson (20th) posted his first DNF since Kansas City in October 2005. He remained first in the point standings with a 130-point lead over second-place Kurt Busch.
      * Mark Martin (33rd) has been running at the finish in 31 consecutive races , the longest current streak.
      * Seven of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed Talladega Superspeedway.
      * Jeff Gordon led 139 of the 188 laps, the first time that he has led the most laps in a race this season.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-1-2005)

    • Stock Car Fans - Rumblings - Talladega: Plate racing reared it's ugly head again today, and we had a "Big One" that was almost as big a one as we've ever seen. 25 cars in a tussle going into turn one on lap 133 brought out the red flag and that (combined with a lap 187 accident that put us into green/white/checker) gave us only 13 cars on the lead lap at the finish. But it may have mattered little as Jeff Gordon seemed to have 'em covered all day. As the only car able to pass without help today, he powered around Michael Waltrip on lap 185 and held off the advancing crowd to win the Aaron's 516 at Talladega Superspeedway for his second plate win of the season, and third overall. Gordon's domination resulted in leading the event 12 times for 139 laps....no one else led more than 12 circuits. This is Jeff's 72nd career win (he's seventh on the all-time list, four wins behind a guy who knew his way around the plate tracks a little, Dale Earnhardt) and his 4th in the last 5 plate races. His 4th win at Talladega was worth $365,116 from the over $5.8M in posted awards. This is win #134 for Hendrick Motorsports, and coming on Randy Dorton's birthday just makes it that much sweeter.
      Tony Stewart (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Watkins Glen last August.
      Jeremy Mayfield (4th) had his best finish since he won at Richmond last September. His Top-5 finish makes 23 drivers to score a T-5 this season, last year's number was 31.
      Ken Schrader (8th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Bristol last March. Schrader & Mayfield's Top-10's give us 33 drivers to score a T-10 this year, last year's number was 39.
      Kerry Earnhardt (17th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 24th when we were here last October.
      Martin Truex Jr (21st) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 32nd at Homestead last November.
      STREAKIN....Michael Waltrip has 3 Top-10's in a row.
      Kurt Busch has 3 Top-10's in a row.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the week is Michael Waltrip (+35), followed by Ken Schrader (+34), Dale Earnhardt Jr (+21), and Johnny Sauter (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-34), followed by Scott Riggs (-23), Ricky Rudd (-23), Boris Said (-23), and Scott Wimmer (-21). This is Op #3 for Mikey....he leads the pack.
      Kurt Busch snips 43 points off Jimmie Johnson's lead.....it's now 130. Our "Stayin' Alive" line stays at 18, however.
      Tony Stewart gained the most spots today (14th to 6th) while Ryan Newman (7th to 15th) and Sterling Marlin (9th to 17th) fell the most.
      Mike Wallace and the #4 team move back into the 35th and final exempt qualifying spot for next weekend....by two points! Now you know why he stayed out to lead a lap today under yellow on lap 21, huh? Scott Wimmer will have to make the next race on time.(Stockcarfans.com)(5-1-2005)


      News from April 30, 2005

    • Michelin looking to becoming tire supplier: Michelin, through its B.F. Goodrich subsidiary, has expressed official interest in becoming a tire provider for the major NASCAR series, but the ruling body’s chief operating officer, George Pyne, said, “Nothing is imminent.” Pyne said any change in tire providers would not occur within the next two years, stressing that NASCAR was “loyal to Goodyear.” The tire company’s stock was trading at $11.87 per share on Friday, below the $20 at its 2002 high, but better than most of the years since. J.P. Morgan recently upgraded its investment rating for the company, which announced in February it was projecting a 2005 fourth-quarter profit.(Gaston Gazette)(4-30-2005)

    • Waltrip hopes to stay, up to NAPA: Hanging over #15-MIchael Waltrip, again, is his future at Dale Earnhardt Inc., once more a topic of conversation, and sponsor NAPA may be the power that ultimately makes the call. NAPA executives like Waltrip, but NAPA is also a demanding sponsor. There is speculation if Waltrip leaves DEI that NAPA might take its money and follow him. Waltrip said he'd prefer to stay, and he figures he's making his case. "We showed signs of being a winning driver last Saturday night," Waltrip said. "I got with a team that just won Phoenix (last fall), and I raced Kurt (Busch) to the very end, the defending champion.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-30-2005)

    • Window Nets Confiscated: The window nets were confiscated from the cars driven by #99-Carl Edwards, #11-Jason Leffler, #0-Mike Bliss, #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #17-Matt Kenseth because the openings in the meshing were smaller than NASCAR's one-inch minimum. Smaller holes allow less air inside the car. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-30-2005)

    • Sirius sooner then 2007? NASCAR's new satellite network radio deal with Sirius may kick off sooner than originally planned, according to NASCAR sources who say Sirius may buy out the last year of XM Radio's contract and take over the exclusive NASCAR franchise.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-30-2005)

    • NASCAR Confirms talks with Toyota: NASCAR Nextel Cup Director John Darby confirmed Friday that Toyota is participating in discussions with NASCAR about the new engine and so-called “Car of the Future,” both of which are expected to be introduced in 2007. This is the strongest indication yet that the giant Japanese automaker likely will enter the Nextel Cup Series, probably in 2007, though publicly it has not committed to doing so — yet. But at the very least, Toyota seems committed to the Busch Series for ’06, as Darby said. Toyota intends to submit a new car and engine to NASCAR by July 1, Darby said, the first steps necessary for Toyota to compete in the Busch Series next year. “They’re involved in our engine conversation,” Darby said of Toyota. “There’s an anticipation of them joining us in the Busch Series next season. I know they’re working on a car right now for submittal.” Asked if he thought Toyota’s arrival would be good for the sport, reigning Cup champ Kurt Busch said, “Definitely. They’ll bring in more sponsorship dollars, more interest. When we got these new tracks for two dates — Phoenix, Texas, California — people are familiar with Toyotas. They know what they’re about.” Busch’s car owner, Jack Roush, is adamantly opposed to Toyota’s presence in NASCAR, however, and privately, team owners are worried that the Japanese automaker will drive up the price of racing.(Speed Channel)(4-30-2005)

    • Ortho on the #99: Thew #99 Ford, driven by Carl Edwards, will sport a special Ortho Season-Long Grass and Weed Killer paint scheme next week in Talladega for the Aaron's 499 NEXTEL Cup race. Ortho, one of The Scotts Company’s brands, will appear for the first time as a primary sponsor at Sunday's 188 lap event. "I'm excited to have the Ortho paint scheme on the No. 99 Ford next week," said Edwards. "Scotts has 11 races this year and it's neat that they are using them to support not only the Scotts brand but their other brands as well. We had a great win with Scotts at Atlanta and we're hoping to have another great run with Ortho in Talladega." Jeff Keyser, Senior Director for Ortho Marketing at The Scotts Company echoed Edwards' excitement and explained their strategy for placing the Ortho brand on the #99 Ford at Talladega. “Ortho Season-Long Grass and Weed Killer is proud to partner with Roush Racing to sponsor Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Team in Talladega.” Keyser continued, “Weeds become a real problem for consumers April through June and this is the perfect time to get them under control. Just one application of Ortho Season-Long not only kills existing weeds, but also prevents new weeds for the entire season…which should give fans more time to enjoy racing on weekends!”(Roush Racing)(4-30-2005)


      News from April 29, 2005

    • Stewart talks about 'feud' with Johnson: #20-Tony Stewart has no idea why everyone is making such a big deal over him and #48-Jimmie Johnson getting together on the track at Phoenix. At Talladega, Stewart told PRN's Garage Pass, "He's a good friend of mine. He's tried to call all week but I've been in Alabama fishing and didn't even bring my cell phone. There's not a problem between us, we're really good friends and nothing is going to change that. There's buddies that wreck into each other all the time and that's why they call it accidents. I don't know why everybody's making such a big deal about it." The part that you guys don't see is the part of where the guy's trying to call you on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday trying to get a hold of you and wants to apologize. Nobody will write about it 'cause nobody cares because it doesn't create good media. The part that ticks you off is that they'll do everything they can to make it a big deal but there's nothing there and there's nobody there to follow up on saying hey this guy called the next day first thing in the morning to try and get a hold of him to say sorry it happened and didn't mean to get into ya. It's no big deal."
      "When we talk after the race you guys (the media) have the luxury of being there right after the race so the emotion is there, you say things that by the time you get home that night you're like, nah, it wasn't a big deal. I know who he is, I know him as a person, I know it wasn't intentional and you discard it. We've done a pretty good job in the last six to eight months of being under the radar and something that wasn't even our fault last week is becoming a big problem for us. Not because it's a problem between the two guys that it happened with but it's because of the radio and the writers and this and that want to make a big deal about it. There is no deal, there's nothing there, there 's nothing there of any substance, it was a wreck that happened."
      When asked if some people want to try and create a rivalry Stewart agreed saying "Any time they can do something like that they do and that's what ticks me off more than anything in this sport, it's what I absolutely hate about it, is the fact that people are trying to make something out of nothing and that's what's frustrating." Stewart was asked if there needs to be some great on track rivalry. "Do you think there has to be? I don't care if it does or not. It doesn't matter to me when I get in the car whether there's a rivalry on the race track with anybody or not it doesn't change how I race. It doesn't matter, it's a waste of my time."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-29-2005)

    • Award Show Dates Set: NASCAR has announced the dates and sites for season-ending awards ceremonies for its three national series, plus its nationwide short-track competitive level. The run of celebrations will be highlighted by the renewal of a true NASCAR tradition – “Champion’s Week” in New York City. As it has since 1981, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will honor its champion at the venerable Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. This year, the gala is set for Friday, Dec. 2 and also will feature the other drivers involved in the “Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.” TNT will broadcast the event nationally that evening; it will be re-broadcast at a later date on NBC.
      Dates and times for the awards ceremonies for the NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series also have been established:
      For the fourth consecutive year, the NASCAR Busch Series awards ceremony is set for the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Fla. The celebration will take place Friday, Dec. 9, and will be broadcast at a later date by TNT.
      The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will conclude its “10 Years Tough” celebration on Sunday, Dec. 11 – also at the Portofino Bay Hotel. The ceremony will be broadcast at a later date by SPEED Channel. The location and time are new; instead of hosting its awards ceremony on the Saturday evening following the Friday season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series now will crown its champion three weeks later.
      Also, the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards ceremony will be held in Nashville. This year’s celebration will be held Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort.
      2005 NASCAR Awards Ceremonies
      Sat., Nov. 5: NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville
      Fri., Dec. 2: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York
      Fri., Dec. 9: NASCAR Busch Series, Portofino Bay Hotel, Orlando, Fla.
      Sun., Dec. 11: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Portofino Bay Hotel, Orlando, Fla.(NASCAR PR)(4-29-2005)

    • Engine Builder Showndown to honor Dorton: This year's final round of the Clevite Engine Builder Showdown will be about more than speed, precision and bragging rights, it will serve as a platform to remember the life of Randy Dorton, former director of engine development of Hendrick Motorsports. In an effort to pay tribute to one of the best engine builders in NASCAR history and further the Dorton Family's commitment of passing the torch of knowledge on to younger generations, Clevite Engine Parts, the NASCAR Technical Institute and Dianne Dorton are coming together for a very special Final Round of the Clevite Engine Builder Showdown. This year's final round of competition will be held once again at the prestigious NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC on Tuesday, May 24. The festivities begin at 5:00 p.m. with the start of the silent charity auction featuring incredible NASCAR memorabilia, as well as a VIP reception featuring some of Randy's closest friends in racing. The event will include the announcement of the new Randy Dorton Memorial Scholarship Fund, benefiting those NTI students focusing on engine building. In addition to the silent auction, the night will include a live auction with proceeds going to the Randy Dorton Memorial Scholarship Fund, and more. This year's final round should prove to be one of the most exciting in Showdown history. Mike Maiwald of Hendrick Motorsports, long time Showdown participant and last year's first runner-up, set two new engine build records this year along with his build partner, Shane Parsnow. During Round One, they set a new build record of 20 minutes and 20 seconds. They then shattered that record during Round Two with a build time of 18 minutes and 54 seconds. The previous record was established in 2002 by long time Showdown participant Danny Lawrence of Richard Childress Racing.
      After Round Three, which will be held the evening of Monday, May 23, two of the following four teams will advance to the Showdown's final round.
      · Mike Maiwald and Shane Parsnow of Hendrick Engines
      · Tom Karas and Kevin Webber of Hendrick Engines
      · Mike Lanci and Jesse Hardee of Ernie Elliot Engines
      · Danny Lawrence and Greg Gunnell of Richard Childress Racing
      This year's Clevite Engine Builder Showdown champion team will be immortalized alongside past Showdown champions on the new Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy. The trophy will be presented by Dianne Dorton and Terry Shively, vice president and general manager of Clevite Engine Parts. Anyone who wishes to make a contribution to the Randy Dorton Memorial Scholarship Fund, or donate an item for the Randy Dorton Memorial Showdown charity auction, which will be held in conjunction with the final round of the Clevite Engine Builder Showdown, can visit the Randy Dorton Web site at www.randydorton.com.(PR)(4-29-2005)

    • #66 to run Aaron's decals: Michael Waltrip, who owns the #00 Aaron's Rent Chevy that Kenny Wallace attempted to get into the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway but failed to qualify for, said that #66 Hermie Sadler would run the Aaron's decals on Sunday in the race.(Speed Channel's Trackside)(4-29-2005)

    • Hornaday has appendix out, Raines to stand by: Craftsman Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday, Jr. was home Tuesday when he felt a 'pop' in his stomach. Turns out his appendix burst and he underwent emergency surgery. Despite that, Hornaday plans on running Saturday's race at Gateway International with Tony Raines standing by to drive Kevin Harvick's #6 truck in case he's needed.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-29-2005)

    • New Crew Chief for Robby? UPDATE: hearing that #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports crew chief Bob Temple and the team parted ways this past week, no word on his plans or who is the new crew chief.(4-29-2005)
      UPDATE: Bob Temple has been replaced as crew chief on Robby Gordon's team. Patrick Donahue is the acting crew chief for the team....and it is expected that next week Greg Erwin (was the lead engineer for Xpress motorsports NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Team) will be named Crew Chief. Erwin is acting as a consultant to the team this weekend. Team officials say that The team has been looking at "all apects" of the organization and additional changes are planned.(Claire B. Lang - XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(4-29-2005)

    • TV Ratings Up from Overnight: Fox's broadcast of last Saturday night's Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.1 and a 10 market share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is up 13.3 percent from the 4.5 overnight rating from the nation's largest television markets. There was no spring race at Phoenix last year, but Fox's broadcast of the Sunday afternoon race at Talladega Superspeedway on the comparable 2004 weekend earned a 6.3 rating. The 5.1, however, was recorded on a Saturday night, traditionally an off period for television viewing, and was the highest figure of any weekend sports broadcast. It also matched the 5.1 for the Sunday afternoon broadcast of the April 10 Martinsville race, which was the lowest figure for any of the season's eight races to date.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-29-2005)

    • Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: By picking Kurt Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on April 23rd, Arnold B. of Tarboro, NC was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Arnold picked Busch as the highest finishing Gillette 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 Busch. This is the second time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Busch.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-29-2005)

    • Jeff Gordon in Limbo at Talladega: Since the car he used to win the Daytona 500 is parked at Daytona USA for a year, #24-Jeff Gordon will bring a new ride to Talladega. It’s called “Limbo.”
      “It took about five or six months to build the car that’s in Daytona USA,” said Gordon, who has won three of the last restrictor plate races at Daytona and Talladega. “You hate to lose a good car that the team spent so much time on, but it’s an honor to have it there. “With only two months since that win the team hasn’t had enough time to build a new one, so we’ll bring another car out of our stable.”
      "Limbo” got its name because it took so long to build. It will have a special “Star Wars” paint scheme.(The State)(4-29-2005)

    • DW Inducted into Hall of Fame: Darrell Waltrip was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame last night — the highest honor for any race driver — and he credited his success to ''all the people around me. Other people are responsible for what I've been able to accomplish,'' he said, ''starting with my parents. My mom and dad were hard-working people. We had a lot of hard times, but we didn't cry much. We laughed a lot.'' Waltrip, 58, said his wife Stevie, ''the first person who believed in me,'' was ''responsible for a lot of my success.'' Team owner Junior Johnson was ''in the right place at the right time'' to help guide him to three points titles. ''Our sport's not about cars,'' Waltrip said. ''It's about people, and I've been blessed to be surrounded by great people all of my life.'' Waltrip, who moved to Franklin from Owensboro, Ky., in the late 1960s to pursue his racing career, won 84 races, tied with Bobby Allison for third all-time. He retired from full-time driving after the 2000 season and became a racing commentator for Fox Sports. Waltrip will be calling this weekend's races at Talladega Superspeedway.
      Waltrip was introduced last night by his younger brother Michael, who said, ''He's a wonderful person, a great role model on and off the track. He broke the mold on what a race driver was supposed to be about.'' Last night's other inductees were legendary Formula One driver Nigel Mansell; Bob Glidden, the National Hot Road Association's winningest driver and 10-time champion; Joe Amato, the NHRA's all-time Top Fuel winner; and Chris Hanauer, considered the all-time greatest hydroplane racer.(Tennessean)(4-29-2005)

    • Kvapil like Switzerland in in Wallace-Newman feud: #77-Travis Kvapil said he gets along fine with both his Penske Racing South comrades – #2-Rusty Wallace and #12-Ryan Newman. But he also said the ongoing feud between those two is awkward at times. "I don't want anybody to think I'm choosing sides," Kvapil said. "I do feel like I'm caught in the middle a little bit. I'm just trying to stay quiet. Whatever their differences are is between them. I wish we could work through it and it would all go away." Kvapil, who drives the #77 Kodak Dodge, said his team shares information with the #2 Miller Lite Dodge of Wallace and the #12 Alltel Dodge of Newman. But Wallace's and Newman's teams don't share info with each other.(Dallas Morning News)(4-29-2005)

    • DEI to Open Doors in honor of Earnhardt's 54th Birthday TODAY: Dale Earnhardt Inc. will open the doors of its Mooresville, N.C. shop to fans on April 29, which would have marked the 54th birthday of founder Dale Earnhardt. The team's showroom will have a display on the 25-year history of DEI. A Jumbotron on the front lawn will show highlights of Earnhardt's career and coverage of Friday qualifying at Talladega.
      Dale Earnhardt fans will have the opportunity to take home some great prizes and bid on "one of a kind" DEI racing memorabilia during Dale Earnhardt Day activities planned for April 29 at the corporate headquarters of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. The fourth annual event celebrates the birthday of legendary race driver and seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt. A raffle, silent auction and live auction will be held during the day, with all proceeds benefiting The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. Five raffle drawings will be held throughout the day and tickets may be purchased for $3 each or eight for $20. Prizes include a 1/6 scale remote control #3 race car and a pair of 100 channel trackside scanners. The raffle grand prize is a Dale Earnhardt, Jr. leather jacket, signed by Dale Jr.
      For the collector, a number of special items will be on display and sale to the highest bidder in both a silent and live auction. The silent auction will feature six items, including sheet metal from DEI cars signed by the drivers and Teresa Earnhardt. Fans can also bid on a signed, limited edition Gibson electric guitar created for the 2003 Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert and a private "behind the scenes" tour of DEI for four, which also includes lunch in the Trophy Room, DEI's private dining room, among other items.(DEI PR)(4-18/29-2005)
      AND On Friday, April 22, Teresa Earnhardt joined Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and other politicians from Georgia in proclamation of a very special day. The State of Georgia formally named each April 29 as Dale Earnhardt Day in recognition of seven-time NASCAR champion and American Icon, Dale Earnhardt. He was born on April 29, 1951. This is the sixth state to mark the occasion with a governmental proclamation. The States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida currently have similar proclamations.(DEI PR)(4-29-2005)

    • Burton to appear on TV show: The fast-paced world of auto racing will be front and center on The WB's hit series One Tree Hill from Warner Bros. Television Tuesday, May 3 (9-10 p.m.) as Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) and Nathan (James Lafferty) meet up with real-life NASCAR standout Jeff Burton, who drives the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet in the Cup Series. Lucas and Nathan meet Burton in the garage before they take a couple of laps around the track. In the episode, which combines America's most popular spectator sport with a dramatic ending, Lucas and Nathan go to the track with their uncle, a professional stock car racer. While there, Nathan and Lucas learn to drive a car in excess of 100 miles per hour as Nathan tries to leave his past in the dust. The pair also gets the chance to rub elbows with Burton, a career 17-time winner on the NASCAR Cup Series.(RCR PR)(4-29-2005)

    • Harvick wins the pole at Talladega: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Budweiser pole for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 189.804mph, almost a mph faster then #24-Jeff Gordon who ran 188.988mph and will start on the outside pole. The rest of the top-five are #38-Elliott Sadler, #10-Scott Riggs and #12-Ryan Newman. Missing the race were #7-Robby Gordon, #37-Kevin Lepage, #00-Kenny Wallace and #92-Stanton Barrett. #99-Carl Edwards qualified 21st but the team changed the transmission, so Edwards will start at the rear of the field. The pole is Harvick's 3rd pole and 1st since Indy in 2003.
      See qualifying results, starting lineup, lineup links, pole progression on my Jayski's Talladega Qualifying/Grid/Practice Page.(4-29-2005)

    • Talladega Qualifying News and Notes
      Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Aaron's 499, lapping Talladega Superspeedway in 50.452 seconds at 189.804 mph. Bill Elliott track-qualifying record of 44.998 seconds, 212.809 mph, set April 30, 1987, prior to the implementation of restrictor-plates. Elliott also holds the restrictor-plate qualifying record at Talladega, 48.128 seconds, 199.388 mph, set May 4, 1990.
      Harvick posted his third career Bud Pole and his first since Indianapolis 2003, 60 races ago. It is his third top-10 start in 2005, all in the past four races. Harvick has just three top-10 starts in nine Talladega races. His previous best start here was second in April 2003.
      Harvick is the seventh different Bud Pole winner in 2005. Ryan Newman (three) is the only multiple Bud Pole winner this season.
      Jeff Gordon posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 50.670 seconds, 188.988 mph, and will join Harvick on the front row for the Aaron's 499. Gordon tied his best Talladega start (July 1996) in posting his 13th top-10 start in 25 races here. He scored his fourth top-10 start in 2005, all in the past five races.
      This is the fourth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2005. Dodge has three Bud Poles and Ford has two.
      Elliott Sadler (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in 12 races at Talladega, all in the past five races. It is also his fourth top-10 start this season.
      Scott Riggs (fourth) posted his third top-10 start in 2005. Riggs has started from the top five in all three of his races at Talladega.
      Ryan Newman (fifth) posted his fourth top-10 start in seven races at Talladega, but his first since April 2003. Newman is the only driver to post top10 starts in every race this season.
      Jimmie Johnson (sixth) posted his sixth top-10 start in seven races at Talladega. It is his fifth top-10 start in 2005, but his first since Atlanta.
      Ricky Rudd (seventh) posted his 19th top-10 start in his 57 races at Talladega. It is his second top-10 start this season.
      Dave Blaney (eighth) posted
    • Rusty to run Kentucky race: Rusty Wallace and his #64 Top Flite Golf car will swing into action with fellow NEXTEL Cup Series stars Michael Waltrip, Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne when the Busch Series takes the green flag for "The Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo" at Kentucky Speedway on June 18 at 8:00pm/et. The full day of family entertainment will include a prerace concert with decorated country music artist Travis Tritt and an appearance by race grand marshal and Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the 2004 National Football League offensive rookie of the year. Biffle, Edwards, Kahne, Wallace and Waltrip will split time between Kentucky Speedway and the June 19 NEXTEL Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway.(Kentucky Speedway)(4-29-2005)

    • Heavy Winds at Talladega predicted/Weather warning from EMA: Campers and race fans have a lot more speed to watch out for this weekend than just what’s happening at the Talladega Superspeedway. A warning from the National Weather Service in Birmingham has predicted 20 to 30 mph winds during the day Friday and some gusts up to 60 and 70 mph late that afternoon until midnight. There’s also a slight chance for severe thunderstorms Friday and early Saturday morning. "The Talladega County Emergency Management Agency will sound the three nearest outdoor warning sirens that surround the speedway with the normal test siren tone followed by a public address to advise those camping of the approaching weather should winds begin to gust as high as predicted," according to a press release from the EMA. The speedway has advised campers to secure awnings, trash cans, tents, barbecue grills and other items that could become airborne by tying down such objects or putting them away. "Do not wait until the storm arrives to try and secure items," the press release states. "Please make your preparations to day or this evening for your safety and the safety of all citizens and race fans." Because the predicted winds are so severe, tornadoes and straight-line winds are a threat. Campers, keep your ears tuned in for the sirens and to weather radios in case warning severe weather.(Daily Home via Catchfence)(4-29-2005)


      News from April 28, 2005

    • Home Depot and Gibbs to build Playgrounds: Home Depot today announced a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and the nonprofit group, Kaboom!, to build playgrounds for at-risk children who live in NASCAR race communities. The Racing to Play program is designed to build a NASCAR-themed playground in a single day just prior to a scheduled weekend NASCAR race. Tony Stewart, whose JGR Nextel Cup entry is sponsored by Home Deport, is scheduled to take part when the first playground is built June 16 in Jackson, Mich., prior to the Michigan 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. Plans call for additional playgrounds in Daytona Beach, Fla.; Joliet, Ill.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Fontana, Calif.; Richmond, Va.; Talladega, Ala.; Kansas City, Kan; Atlanta, Ga.; and Phoenix, Ariz.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-28-2005)

    • Geoffrey Bodine to attempt some Cup races: Geoffrey Bodine said he plans on driving in three to five Nextel Cup events this year with Rick Ware's #52 Dodge, starting with next month's Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC.(Elmira Star Gazette), Jose Luis Ramirez recently tested for Ware at Infineon Raceway, but crashed, supposedly will still try to attempt to make the June race.(4-28-2005)

    • Honor for Woody: Staff writer Larry Woody of The Tennessean is the 2005 recipient of theInternational Motorsports Hall of Fame's Henry T. McLemore Award, which recognizes outstanding motorsports journalism. Woody will be honored during ceremonies tonight 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.(Tennessean)(4-28-2005)

    • Jeff Gordon, Newman and Kenseth to test at Indy UPDATE 2: #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to begin preparations today for what could be a historic victory in August at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The four-time Brickyard 400 champion is representing Chevrolet in a closed two-day tire test at the Speedway. He'll be joined by Ryan Newman (Dodge) and Matt Kenseth (Ford) as Goodyear checks to see how its new, softer tire compounds fare on Indy's newly paved surface. All the teams can be expected to test at the Speedway either before or after the Nextel Cup race July 10 at Chicagoland Speedway. The sessions are scheduled July 5-6 and 11-12. Rain is in the forecast for today, which could disrupt a test already postponed once. It was pushed back to allow for grinding of the track after a Firestone test in preparation for the Indianapolis 500 produced unusual tire wear. A subsequent Firestone test indicated the grinding had done its job.(Indianapolis Star)(4-26-2005)
      UPDATE: Goodyear will attempt -- again -- to hold its NASCAR tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today after Tuesday's session was rained out. The tire manufacturer postponed a similar session earlier this month when the track's surface was being grinded. Today's test is closed to the public.(Indianapolis Star)(4-27-2005)
      UPDATE 2: On-track preparations for the Brickyard 400 began Wednesday. A Goodyear tire test, shortened to one day by rain Tuesday, was completed with Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet), Ryan Newman (Dodge) and Matt Kenseth (Ford) running laps.(Indianapolis Star)(4-28-2005)

    • Batman Returns with Martin, to sponsor MIS Race UPDATE: #6-Mark Martin will run a 'Batman Begins' scheme at the June Michigan race. See the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page.(4-22-2005)
      UPDATE: NASCAR, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and International Speedway Corporation announced that Batman Begins*, the highly anticipated film from Warner Bros. Pictures, will take center stage at Michigan International Speedway on June 19 for the running of the NASCAR Nextel Cup "Batman Begins 400." The film opens worldwide on June 15. Roush Racing legend Mark Martin will get a little extra Batman power to help him get to Victory Lane, as his Ford will feature a special Batman Begins paint scheme for the race. Martin's fellow Roush Racing driver, Ricky Craven, will also be sporting a Batman Begins scheme during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event on June 18. Race fans will have a front-row seat for a one-of-a-kind celebration of the film's launch when the Batmobile from the film leads the pack of 43 race cars off of pit road to start the battle for the checkered flag.
      Besides the on-track action that fans will be able to enjoy during the weekend, the newly redesigned fan area behind the main grandstand at Michigan International Speedway will incorporate the Batman Begins Fan Zone, which will feature the Batmobile from the film, Mark Martin's Batman Begins themed car, the Ricky Craven truck, and the fantasy and event cars that are part of the weekend's Batman action. The Batman Begins Fan Zone will also include other activities and exclusive merchandise based on the film and the Batman Begins 400. While this is the first time a major motion picture is serving as the title sponsor of a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race, it is not the first time Warner Bros. Consumer Products has been involved with NASCAR or Michigan International Speedway. Just last August, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Comics partnered with Michigan International Speedway for the highly successful Justice League Racing Weekend Presented by Hot Wheels, as some of NASCAR's top drivers piloted cars emblazoned with the familiar heroes of the Justice League. Fans can still purchase tickets to the Batman Begins 400 by calling MIS at 1-800-354-1010 or logging on to www.MISpeedway.com.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-28-2005)

    • Sponsor back for Lepage at Talladega AND/IMAGES: This weekend Kevin Lepage and the #37 R&J Racing Team will be sporting a new look as Patrón Tequila comes on board the #37 R&J Racing Dodge Charger for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, AL. The team will not only be taking their sponsor from Daytona to Talladega, but also the car that earned them a 9th place finish. Lepage and the entire crew are looking to have a strong run this weekend.(R&J Racing/Integrated Marketing Solutions PR)(4-26-2005)
      AND On Wednesday, Kevin Lepage unveiled a new paint scheme for this weekend's Aaron's 499 NASCAR Nextel Cup event at Talladega Superspeedway and it's sure to be a hit with the boss – "the good boss". The bright, lime green Dodge Charger is the same car that Lepage race to a 9th place finish in the Daytona 500 earlier this year and it is again sponsored by Patrón Tequila (in Spanish, the word *patrón *means "the good boss"). "We are very happy to announce that Patrón is with us for 5 more races this year and the new paint scheme is going to look great on the track," said Lepage. "Patrón came on board in Daytona and we had a top ten there and we plan to race the same way in Talladega. The car drafts well in traffic and that's critical, but equally as important, we want to stay out of trouble and avoid any big mishaps."
      After Talladega, the R&J Racing #37 Patrón Tequila Dodge Charger driven by Kevin Lepage will be racing in Michigan on June 19, Chicago on July 10, Watkins Glen on August 14 and in Fontana, Ca. on September 4.(R&J Racing/Integrated Marketing Solutions PR)(4-28-2005)
      IMAGES: see four images of the car on my #37 Team Schemes page.(4-28-2005)

    • Nextel Invites Employees at RJR to attend the All-Star Event: To honor the rich tradition and esteemed contribution that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company provided to the NASCAR community for 33 years, Nextel gave employees of R.J. Reynolds 1,500 tickets to attend the upcoming NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge under the lights at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The premier all-star event will take place Saturday, May 21 at 7:30pm/et.(Nextel PR)(4-28-2005)

    • Sad News: Award-winning Detroit motorsports reporter and longtime friend of Michigan International Speedway, Joe Dowdall, passed away of pancreatic cancer on April 24, 2005. He was 80. The media center at MIS has been named in his honor since 1986 due to Dowdall’s tremendous support in covering races at the track since its inception in 1968. Dowdall had over a 40-year career at the Detroit Times, Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, reporting on various racing topics throughout his lifetime. A native of Detroit, he also occasionally covered the Lions, Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons. He once stated, “Luck and fate gave me a 50-yard line seat on life.” Born and raised in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, Dowdall attended Holy Redeemer High School and the University of Detroit before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. Between missions as a radio operator on B24 Liberators in Italy, he got his start as a reporter by publishing a makeshift sports page of stateside baseball and football scores for his bomber squadron.
      He joined the Detroit Free Press in 1948 as a copy boy, and over time worked as a police-beat reporter, Sunday features editor and sportswriter. He joined the Detroit News in 1968 as its motorsports editor and covered a wide range of racing events, including many at MIS. His efforts were recognized with several honors, including two Page One Awards, multiple national and state Motorsports Writer of the Year awards, and he received the inaugural Ray Marquette Award for Auto Racing Journalism in 1979. After retiring from the Detroit News in 1987, Dowdall lived in Traverse City, Michigan, North Hutchinson Island, Florida and Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is survived by his wife of fifty-four years, Shirley, by his five children, Debbie (Deacon), David, Michael, Daniel and Kathy (Forrester), and by sixteen grandchildren. A memorial service for Joe Dowdall has been scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 5, 2005 at the St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Farms (MI). Donations in his honor should be sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in lieu of flowers.(MIS)(4-28-2005)

    • #12 Crew wins at Phoenix: The #12 ALLTEL pit crew earned its second Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge Award at Phoenix International Raceway last weekend. The ALLTEL team is now tied with its teammate, the #2 Miller Lite team, as well as the #38 team for the Checkers/Rally’s Challenge lead.(Penske Racing)(4-28-2005)


      News from April 27, 2005

    • A lot of Cautions: Through the first seven races of this season, officials have issued 77 caution flags. In the previous four seasons, the most caution flags issued in the first seven races was 59 in 2003.(USA Today)(4-27-2005)

    • Field of Competitors Nearly Set for Pit Crew Championship: Tyson Foods and the Crew Chief Club announce that Dale Earnhardt, Inc.; Penske Racing South; Joe Gibbs Racing; Roush Racing; Evernham Motorsports; Richard Childress Racing; Robert Yates Racing; Chip Ganassi Racing; MBV Motorsports; MB2 Motosports; Petty Enterprises; Bill Davis Racing; PPI Motorsports and BAM Racing teams will participate at the National Pit Crew Championship Powered by Tyson on May 9, 2005 at Pit Instruction and Training (PIT) facility in Mooresville, North Carolina from 6:30 to 9:30pm/et. More info post on my Pit Crew News page, for a list of the pit crews and who is on them, see my 2005 Pit Crew Chart. 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. The competition will be televised on the SPEED Channel on August 6, 2005 at 8:00pm/et.
      Participating Teams> Cup Teams:
      o #8 and #15 Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
      o #2, #12 and #77 Penske Racing South
      o #11, #18 and #20 Joe Gibbs Racing
      o #6, #16, #17, No.97 and #99 Roush Racing
      o #9 and #19 Evernham Motorsports
      o #07, #29 and #31 Richard Childress Racing
      o #38 and #88 Roberts Yates Racing
      o #40, #41 and #42 Chip Ganassi Racing
      o #10 MBV Motorsports
      o #01 MB2 Motorsports
      o #43 and #45 Petty Enterprises
      o #22 Bill Davis Racing
      o #32 PPI Motorsports
      o #49 BAM Racing
      Busch Teams:
      o #8 Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
      o #20 Joe Gibbs Racing
      o #60 Roush Racing
      o #2 and #21 Richard Childress Racing
      o #41 Chip Ganassi Racing
      o #22 PPC Racing
      For more information please visit www.pitcrewchampionship.com or www.tyson.com.(4-27-2005)

    • Petty to test at the Rock: #45-Kyle Petty is scheduled to test his Darlington car at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, NC on Monday, May 2nd. While the track is not holding any races, it still is open for testing and the Buck Baker Racing School still holds classes there.(4-27-2005)

    • Waltrip to be inducted into Hall of Fame - Thursday - UPDATE: Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip heads the latest class of inductees into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Waltrip is joined by longtime drag racing stars Joe Amato and Bob Glidden, powerboat champion Chip Hanauer and Formula One and CART champion Nigel Mansell. Waltrip won Winston Cup titles in 1981, 1982 and 1985, driving for Junior Johnson. He also had 84 wins — tied for third all-time with former inductee Bobby Allison — 54 poles, and was named Driver of the Year three times. Amato had 54 NHRA Top Fuel wins and five division championships, both records. He also finished in the top 10 in points in each of his 19 seasons. Glidden captured 10 NHRA Pro Stock titles and another one in the IHRA. When he retired, Glidden was the NHRA's winningest driver in any class with 85 career victories. Hanauer won seven Unlimited Hydroplane national and world titles and 61 national events, including a record 11 Gold Cup races. The five-member class will be inducted on April 28, 2005.(AP)(11-11-2004)
      UPDATE: On Thursday night at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, DW plans to talk about people and memories, including 33 years ago when he walked into Talladega to run this week's race as a rookie. DW started 25th and finished 38th in his very first Cup race on May 7, 1972. It's ironic that 33 years later, that DW is getting inducted into the hall of fame at the track where he started my career.(see DW's article at Allwaltrip.com)(4-27-2005)

    • NASCAR HOF News, Daytona and Charlotte:
      CHARLOTTE: The Charlotte City Council endorsed a hotel tax hike and the use of city-owned land for a NASCAR Hall of Fame on Monday. The unanimous vote marked the latest step in the city's fast-moving bid for the tourism prize. "After this vote we're at Turn 1," said Mayor Pat McCrory, a Republican. "We've still got a ways to go." The tax hike, which requires approval from the state legislature, would increase the rate from 6 percent to 8 percent. That is expected to yield $65 million of the $137.5 million construction cost, and the plan already has the crucial backing of the local hotel industry. Council members took turns praising the idea and the opportunity that the hall of fame could bring. In Raleigh on Monday, organizers of Charlotte's bid detailed their request for state money beyond the hotel tax hike. The state would contribute $10 million in cash over the next two years, plus $10 million over the next 20 years from extra tax money generated by tourists. Private companies would pay $15 million and commit as much as $5 million toward cost overruns.(Charlotte Observer)
      DAYTONA For weeks, Daytona Beach's bid to attract a NASCAR hall of fame ran into a one-man legislative roadblock. But when the Florida House met Tuesday, Daytona Beach found a way to maneuver around the roadblock and move forward with its proposal to get a $30 million state subsidy for the hall of fame. With House Finance and Taxation Chairman Fred Brummer, R-Apopka, refusing to take up the NASCAR project in his committee, lawmakers used a procedural move to sidestep him and add the proposal to another bill. That bill -- which also includes a tax break related to the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach -- could pass the House as soon as today and head to the Senate. Rep. Pat Patterson, a DeLand Republican who is sponsoring the NASCAR project, said lawmakers need to approve the proposal or risk losing the hall of fame to other areas that are trying to land it. Daytona Beach is seeking the $30 million over 25 years to help pay for building the hall of fame. It proposes creating a NASCAR-themed license tag and using sale proceeds to pay back the $30 million. Daytona Beach's proposal, however, has become tangled in a broader debate about whether Florida should spend tax dollars to help build sports facilities. The projects have moved slowly through Senate committees and stalled in the House Finance and Taxation Committee because of Brummer's opposition.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-27-2005)

    • Busch wins Mid-Race Leader Award: #97-Kurt Busch won the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award last weekend by leading Saturday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Subway Fresh 500 at halfway mark. Busch earned the $10,000 prize and then collected another $5,000 by going on to win the race. The MBNA Mid-Race Leader race-win bonus will reset to $5,000 for next week's race at Talladega Super Speedway a result of Busch's victory. It was the second week in-a-row, and only the second time all season that the winner of the MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award went on to win the race as #16-Greg Biffle did the same at Texas, since the award hadn't been won in 2005, Biffle pocketed an extra #35,000 as the awrd rolls over from race-to-race. I keep tabs of the winners of this and the leader on my Talladega Race Info/Rundown page. MBNA Mid-Race Leader will be eligible for $10,000 + $5,000 available bonus if they also win the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Super Speedway.(MBNA PR)(4-27-2005)

    • Dale Jr. isn't concerned about Truex bolting; Expects Mikey back in the #15 UPDATE 2: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t concerned teammate Martin Truex Jr. will be driving for any team other than DEI. Truex, who is in contract negotiations with car owner Teresa Earnhardt said at Texas rumors of him looking to go elsewhere are false. Dale Jr. said “I feel real confident he (Truex) means what he says and he wants to be with us. I don’t want Martin to feel slighted in any way or feel unhappy with it (his contract) so I told him to just take your time and it’ll get done.” Junior pointed out it took six months to get his current contract worked out. Could Truex be headed for the #15 car replacing Michael Waltrip? Dale Jr. doesn’t think so. “I like working with Michael. If Teresa and Ritchie Gilmore are happy with the way he runs this year I don’t see why we can’t have him back. It isn’t his last year I don’t think…he hasn’t announced his retirement to me. They’ve had good cars…they’ve had some accidents and stuff but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’d win races aside from plate races. They should win every plate race they run and they should have a couple of more here and there because they’re that good a team and I think Michael can get the job done."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show/Sporting News)(4-22-2005)
      UPDATE - More on DEI's Future: Considering that the drivers who will be available after the 2006 season are far superior to those who will be available at the end of this year, it would be advantageous for DEI and NAPA, the #15's primary sponsor, to maintain the status quo. According to Gilmore, one driver who won't be jumping into the #15 any time soon, especially if NAPA remains on the car, is Shane Hmiel. Hmiel has close ties with DEI; the company must approve any deal for him to race with another team. Hmiel wouldn't suit NAPA.(Sporting News)(4-26-2005)
      UPDATE 2: Martin Truex says he was "flattered" by the attention he received regarding his uncertain status for next season. Dale Earnhardt Inc. has not yet signed Truex for 2006, leading to speculation he would leave the organization. His buddy, teammate and owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., spoke with Truex last week and says he's "confident" Truex will drive DEI's #1 Chevrolet as a Nextel Cup rookie next season.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(4-27-2005)

    • Gordon with the Force: Jeff Gordon will have everyone's favorite Jedi Master, Yoda, as his co-pilot when he takes the wheel on May 1 and tries to capture his second straight win in the spring race at Talladega Superspeedway, the Aaron's 499. In conjunction with the highly-anticipated May 19, 2005 release of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, the hood of Gordon's #24DuPont/Pepsi Monte Carlo will feature Star Wars' beloved Yoda brandishing a light saber above the familiar Pepsi logo. This marks the second time Gordon, a Pepsi driver, has teamed up with Star Wars. The #24 car featured a Star Wars/Pepsi paint scheme in 1999 when Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace was released. In addition to the #24 paint out, Pepsi is currently running a national promotion centered around Yoda. Pepsi drinkers and Star Wars fans have three ways to play the "Call Upon Yoda" instant-win sweepstakes -- online, by phone, or by text messaging -- to see if they've won one of ten $100,000 grand prizes. More info at www.calluponyoda.com.(Talladega Superspeedway), see an image of the car on my #24 Team Schemes page.(4-27-2005)

    • Labonte to make some Demo laps at Talladega: Labonte will drive demonstration laps in the #44 Doran Labonte Racing DORAN JE4 Pontiac Grand American Rolex Series car prior to NEXTEL Cup drivers’ introductions Sunday morning at Talladega. Labonte, along with brother, Terry, IRL IndyCar Series standout Brian Herta and road-racing star Jan Magnussen finished ninth with the car in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in February. Bobby Labonte will drive the car in three more Rolex events in 2005: the Brumos Porsche 250 June 29-30 at Daytona International Speedway, the 400-kilometer event July 29-31 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., and the Watkins Glen 200 Aug. 11-12 at Watkins Glen International. Events at Daytona and Watkins Glen are in conjunction with NEXTEL Cup Series events, while the Birmingham event is during the off-week between the Pennsylvania 500 and the Brickyard 400.(JGR)(4-27-2005)

    • Testing at Richmond: Two drivers will be at Richmond International Raceway testing Tuesday, April 26th, in preparation for the FUNAI 250 and Chevy American Revolution 400. Mark Martin will test his #9 Busch car and #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. will test his Cup car. Many drivers are scheduled to test May 2-4 including: #2-Rusty Wallace, #16-Greg Biffle, #9-Kasey Kahne, #21-Ricky Rudd, #40-Sterling Marlin, #10-Scott Riggs, #42-Jamie McMurray and #43-Jeff Green. Busch Series #8-Martin Truex Jr., #60-Carl Edwards, #41-Reed Sorenson, #31-Dave Blaney, #2-Clint Bowyer and #56-Tim Sauter.(RIR)(4-25-2005)
      UPDATE: NASCAR drivers Mark Martin and Bobby Hamilton Jr. recorded some extra laps with a day of testing today at Richmond International Raceway. Martin was setting up his #9 Pennzoil NASCAR Busch Series car while Hamilton Jr. turned laps in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series #32 Tide Chevrolet. Martin turned in a best lap time of 21.45 seconds [125.874mph] on Tuesday, his first of two consecutive days of testing at Richmond International Raceway.(RIR)(4-27-2005)

    • Biffle To Fly In F-16: On Wednesday, #16-Greg Biffle will take a ride in an F-16 fighter jet with the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard. The flight will take place at the Montgomery Regional Airport. "I can't wait," said Biffle. "I've talked to a couple of other drivers who have gotten the chance to fly in an F-16 and they have all said it's like nothing else. The National Guard gave me the opportunity to drive an M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank last year and that was pretty cool. This is another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I can't wait." Biffle will undergo a physical examination prior to climbing into the F-16 just to make sure his body will hold up to the extreme conditions. For example, when driving his National Guard Ford into the high-banks of Daytona, Biffle will experience around three-four "G's" (G-force is a measure of stress on a body during rapid acceleration). However, the F-16 is capable of pulling nine G's without even trying and the effect of nine G's on the human body is significant. As you pull more G's, your weight increases correspondingly and thereby, your 10 pound head will weigh 90 pounds when you reach nine G's. The National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and one of the nation's longest enduring institutions. The National Guard operates in all 50 states, three territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit the National Guard website at www.1-800-GO-GUARD.com.(Roush Racing)(4-27-2005)

    • Hamilton Jr. has troubles in Nashville UPDATE: #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. hurried home from Saturday night's Nextel Cup race in Phoenix to compete at Music City Motorplex [see image of Hamilton's car there] yesterday afternoon, but made an early exit with a badly-rumpled car and equally-ruffled feathers. Hamilton and Mark Day crashed while jockeying for second place just 10 laps into the debut of the track's new All American Late Model Challenge Series. The front of Hamilton's car was crushed and he said he had no control of his steering when he came down pit road and smacked into Day's parked car. ''This is why Mark Day is where he's at now,'' said Hamilton, who is in his first full season in NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series. ''Someday when he's sitting around explaining to his kids why he never got anywhere in racing, he can tell them (stuff) like this is why.'' Hamilton had planned to run four of the remaining five Challenge Series races, but after yesterday's incident he said: ''I won't be back. If they can't control their competitors any better than this, I don't want any part of it. I come in here on my day off to race and help the track get a little publicity, and something like this happens.'' Hamilton claimed the incident was a carryover from a highly-publicized rift between Day and former Fairgrounds driver Deborah Renshaw. Renshaw quit racing at the track because of the controversy and now drives in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for Bobby Hamilton Sr. ''Day ran off Deborah because he couldn't beat her,'' Hamilton said, ''and now he pulls something like this.'' The senior Hamilton, who was watching the race from track-side, said: ''Day just put him in the wall.'' Day, a veteran racer from Clarksville [TN], was asked to give his version of the incident but declined comment.(in part from the Tennessean)(4-25-2005)
      UPDATE - could face charges? Hamilton, Jr.'s first appearance at the famed Nashville Fairgrounds track (now called Music City Motorplex) in years ended with fist flying and police cars cruising the pits. And the incident could lead to Hamilton, Jr. facing an arrest warrant. The incident that got the fracas started began 10 laps into the All-American Late Model Series Challenge when Hamilton and Mark Day’s cars touched on the back straight, shortly before entering turn three. The incident sent Hamilton’s car into the outside wall, severely damaging the front end. With hampered steering, Hamilton limped his car around the track for more than a lap. His crew later said that he was unable to turn the car into the pits, so he was forced to stay on the track. According to Hamilton, he finally regained enough control to navigate onto pit road, where he made contact with Day's car, which was pitted behind Hamilton's stall. One of Day’s crewmembers, William Scogin, who was checking the left front of Day’s car, was slammed into the pit wall by Day’s car when Hamilton’s car hit it. A brawl immediately ensued, with both crews going after each other. The antics caused a red flag that parked the remaining field on the back straightaway until track officials could gain control of the situation. Scogin, who met with Metro Nashville Police at the track, told MTRN that he was considering swearing out a warrant on Hamilton, Jr. for vehicular assault. Day said that he was surprised by Hamilton’s actions after the incident. Day insisted that the on track incident was a racing accident. Hamilton, who started fourth, was racing Day for second at the time of the crash. Hamilton’s crew later claimed that the damage to Hamilton’s car caused the pit road crash and that Hamilton didn’t intend to hit Day’s car.(Middle Tennessee Racing News)(4-26-2005)
      UPDATE 2: Nextel Cup driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. and local driver Mark Day have each been fined $1,000 and they and their crew chiefs have been suspended from racing at Music City Motorplex after an incident on Sunday. The two were involved in an accident in turn four. Day drove to the pit area. Hamilton's car, which received front-end suspension and steering damage, struck Day's car when entering his assigned pit box directly in front of Day's pit. Crews from each team scuffled but were quickly subdued by officials. Hamilton blamed Day, who would not comment after the race. ''Firm action is required to prevent these types of situations from continuing,'' track president Joe Mattioli said. ''Competitive racing is one thing, but we cannot and will not allow this type of behavior.''(Tennessean)(4-27-2005)


      News from April 26, 2005

    • Newman to run a limited Busch Series Schedule: #12-Ryan Newman will drive a limited NASCAR Busch Series schedule this year, beginning in May at Lowe's Motor Speedway, team President Don Miller announced Tuesday. "When this opportunity presented itself, we felt we couldn't afford to turn it down," Miller said. "It will be interesting to see Ryan competing in the Busch Series again." Chief Engineer Roy McCauley will oversee the Busch Series program and serve as Newman's crew chief on that circuit. The Busch Series crew will be comprised of personnel who worked with McCauley last fall on Penske Racing South's #06 Dodge that was driven by Travis Kvapil and Chad Blount. Penske Racing South's entry in the Busch Series will carry #39, which was the number used by Newman when he raced Midgets in USAC. Sponsorship for the Dodge will be announced at a later date. In addition to the May 28 CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Newman's tentative Busch schedule includes: Chicago, July 9; Watkins Glen, Aug. 13; Michigan, Aug. 20; Bristol, Aug. 26; Richmond, Sept. 9; Dover, Sept. 24; Charlotte, Oct. 14; and Texas, Nov. 5. This is Newman's first venture into the Busch Series since 2001 when he competed in 15 events. That season he won the August Michigan race, produced two top-five and seven top-10 finishes, earned six poles and started on the outside of the front row on four occasions.(Penske Racing)(4-26-2005)

    • Testing at Darlington Tuesday UPDATE: Testing in preparation for the Darlington Busch and Cup races next Friday and Saturday nights [May 6 and 7th] is scheduled for 2:00 to 10:pm/et on Tuesday, April 26th. The following drivers are scheduled to test: Cup - #9-Kasey Kahne, #40-Sterling Marlin and #13-Greg Sacks. Bsuch - #8-Martin Truex Jr., #4-Ryan Hemphill, #90-Dale Jarrett, #58-Brent Sherman and #46-Robert Pressley. No word if the testing is open to the public.(Darlington Raceway)(4-25-2005)
      UPDATE: Due to today's inclement weather, testing at Darlington Raceway has been pushed back until Wednesday and will run from 9:00am - 5:00pm/et.(Darlington Raceway)(4-26-2005)
    • #1 Busch Team Appeal, Rejected and Fine INCREASED: The National Stock Car Racing Commission has not only rejected the appeal of car owner James Finch for an illegal carburetor found during post-race inspection at Texas, they slapped on an additional $25,000 fine. NASCAR had disqualified the #1 Dodge from the Busch Series race costing the team 125-points for finishing 14th and $28,000 in prize money. Also, Crew Chief Joe Shear Jr. was suspended until May 18th.
      Commenting on the decision, Finch told PRN’s Fast Talk with Benny Parsons radio show Monday night; "It’s pretty consistent with me. The last time I appealed one it was several years ago and it was a $5,000 fine and when it was over they made it 10."
      Finch’s main bone of contention is that NASCAR hands down the penalties AND hears appeals. "The racing is great, it always has been, I’m just saying that they need to give up part of the sport and let somebody else referee the rules. If they want to do this right, get an independent commission to make an independent hearing and make the ruling. It’s kind of like having a highway patrolman pull you over and tell you you’re speeding and you say...I don’t believe I am...and he says yes you are...and you say okay, I don’t believe you but I’m gonna sign the ticket. Then 30 minutes later you go to the courthouse and he’s the judge. In the rule books it’s all minimum fines...they don’t have any maximum fines. In the NFL it’s five yards off sides for everybody every time. In NASCAR it’s according to who you are. In baseball it’s three strikes you’re out...NASCAR it’s according to who’s swingin’...just let ‘em keep swingin’."(PRN’s Fast Talk with Benny Parsons)(4-25-2005)
      AND see my
      Busch Series site for NASCAR's full ruling.(4-26-2005)

    • Winston Cup Museum to hold ceremony: The Winston Cup Museum will house authentic Winston Cup race cars from different eras of the sponsorship, trophies, uniforms, helmets, winner's checks, autographed pictures, wall murals and framed/signed original racing posters. The museum will be on a constant rotation of General Motors, Ford and Dodge conceptual cars and special paint schemes. The museaum will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 10th, 2005. The museum will open to the public on May 11 at 12:00noon/et. It's located at 1355 Martin Luther King Drive, Winston-Salem, NC, in the old Bob Neill Pontiac dealership that is currently being renovated. Tickets will be $5 for adults and $3 for children 5-12. Children under 5 will be admitted free.(MSNBC)(4-26-2005)

    • Jeff Gordon, Newman and Kenseth to test at Indy today: #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to begin preparations today for what could be a historic victory in August at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The four-time Brickyard 400 champion is representing Chevrolet in a closed two-day tire test at the Speedway. He'll be joined by Ryan Newman (Dodge) and Matt Kenseth (Ford) as Goodyear checks to see how its new, softer tire compounds fare on Indy's newly paved surface. All the teams can be expected to test at the Speedway either before or after the Nextel Cup race July 10 at Chicagoland Speedway. The sessions are scheduled July 5-6 and 11-12. Rain is in the forecast for today, which could disrupt a test already postponed once. It was pushed back to allow for grinding of the track after a Firestone test in preparation for the Indianapolis 500 produced unusual tire wear. A subsequent Firestone test indicated the grinding had done its job.(Indianapolis Star)(4-26-2005)

    • Yates Looking to start 3rd Team? Robert Yates is cranking up plans for a third Ford team next season, and every top NASCAR crew chief worth his salt is looking at that opportunity - particularly if Yates can snare a hotshot driver. The top two drivers mentioned so far are Martin Truex Jr. [denied he is looking, working on contract with DEI, denied by Yates] and Reed Sorenson [under contract with Ganassi]. Yates is expected to go after at least one of Chevrolet's top crew chiefs to run the team. Two men he has his eye on are Tony Eury Jr., at Dale Earnhardt Inc., and Todd Berrier at Richard Childress Racing. Yates, however, may be battling rival car owner Ray Evernham of Dodge for both driver and crew chief. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Truex's teammate and friend at DEI, said he has talked with Truex, who still doesn't have a contract. "I asked him how he felt, and I feel real confident he means what he says, and that he wants to be with us," Earnhardt said. "My contract took about six months to work itself out. You want everything done today or tomorrow, but you have to understand it takes time. It's good to be patient in this situation. I'm sure it will get done."(Winston Salen Journal)(4-26-2005)

    • GM Plans to stay in racing: Despite General Motors' quarterly loss of $1.1 billion, the largest deficit since the first quarter of 1992, the newly appointed director of GM racing, Mark Kent, will defend the racing program to stockholders and is optimistic that Chevrolet will be able to compete with Toyota when Toyota enters Cup, which is expected in 2007. Insiders expect Toyota's technology to make it a strong contender immediately.(Sporting News)(4-26-2005)

    • A Bit of Toyota Speculation: Toyota executives may handle all driver contracts at the corporate level, instead of leaving it up to individual team owners. And Toyota has considerable cash in the bank for whatever it might want to do, because the company is the most profitable of the automakers at the moment. Might Toyota come in and spend whatever it takes to get whichever driver it wants? Executives at Ford, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler may have to ante up themselves to keep prized drivers in the fold. Toyota appears to be cranking up things for a 2006 Busch effort, with a Nextel Cup project planned for 2007 - and it may need some drivers. And not just one or two, because NASCAR is expected to insist that Toyota back at least six teams when it steps up. Toyota is spending $98 million on its Indy Racing League program, and that money, maybe more, is expected to be moved to the NASCAR account soon.(Winston Salen Journal)(4-26-2005)

    • Ford Taurus Ends Production Ends in March 2006: The last Ford Taurus will roll off the assembly line in the first three months of 2006, ending a 21-year run that has racked up nearly 6.7 million total U.S. sales. The news was relayed to employees at Ford Motor Co.'s Atlanta plant in an April newsletter distributed by United Auto Workers Local 882. With its jellybean shape, the debut 1986 model helped revolutionize American car design and pull Ford out of a financial tailspin. By 1992, it was the country's best-selling car -- a title it held for five consecutive years. But in recent years, as sales have waned, Ford has been pushing the Taurus out of its retail lineup and into the fleets of rental car companies. It is being replaced in dealer showrooms by the Ford Fusion, which debuts this fall. The end of Taurus production robs Ford's Atlanta assembly plant of its last product. Production of the Mercury Sable, a Taurus twin, ends this month -- and no new product has been earmarked for the plant, which opened in 1947 and employs nearly 2,000 hourly workers. Ford would not confirm when Taurus production will end and declined comment on Atlanta's future.(Detroit News), see my Ford Past News page for past news, supposedly the 2006 Ford Fusion wil be the new NASCAR Ford car.(4-25-2005)
      AND Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing technology, says that the 2006 Ford for the Nextel Cup Series currently is on schedule for the July 1 submission date. Engineers are close to completing the car and will take it to Atlanta for a trial run to make sure the Ford can reach minimum speed and to the wind tunnel before turning it over to NASCAR for approval. NASCAR keeps the car but returns the engine and other pieces.(Sporting News)(4-26-2005)


      News from April 25, 2005

    • Overnight Phoenix TV Ratings, Lowest of the Year: Fox's broadcast of Saturday night's Subway Fresh 500 earned a 4.5 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and an 8 market share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. Saturday night is traditionally an off night for television viewership, and the 4.5 is the lowest overnight rating of any Nextel Cup race this year. There was no spring race at Phoenix last year, but the overnight rating is 23.7% below the 5.9 Fox drew overnight on the comparable weekend of 2004, when it aired the spring Talladega race.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-25-2005)

    • Marlin's Dad, Coo Coo, to serve as Grand Marshall at Music City: Tennessee racing legend, Coo Coo Marlin, will serve as Music City Motorplex's Grand Marshall for an evening of NASCAR Stock Car racing at the Tennessee State Fair Grounds on Friday evening, April 29th. Coo Coo is the only driver to in the history of the track to have captured the track championship and amazing four times, before moving up NASCAR top division, now known as NASCAR Nextel Cup. Coo Coo will be on hand for pre race ceremonies and driver introductions. Clifton "Coo Coo" Marlin was born in Columbia, TN in 1932. In 1959 he won his first driving title at the Fairgrounds in Carl Wood's 1934 Flathead Ford. He repeated that accomplishment in 1962, 1966 and 1967, making him the only four-time champion in the track's history. In NASCAR's premier division, Coo Coo had a total of one hundred and sixty-five starts, forty-two top ten finishes and three top three finishes. He ran his last race at Talladega in 1980, and in 1987 was inducted into Tennessee Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Coo Coo is the inspiration of a clan of racers including son #40-Sterling Marlin and grandson Stedman Marlin [looking for a ride] who are carrying on the family tradition. (more info at the Music City Motorplex site)(4-25-2005)

    • Eury Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: PHOENIX, AZ (April 23, 2005) - Michael Waltrip came up just short of winning his first race of the 2005 season. After starting twenty-eighth in the Subway 500 at Phoenix International raceway, Waltrip charged through the field, eventually battling Kurt Busch in thrilling late-race duel to the checkered flag. The #15 team's impressive comeback earned Tony Eury Jr. the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award. Waltrip's car showed promise early, running some of the fastest times in this weekend's practice sessions. Unfortunately, Waltrip didn't back up his practice speeds in qualifying and drove the #15 NAPA Chevrolet to a twenty-eighth place starting spot. The panel of voters selecting the Crew Chief of the Race; including Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; elected Eury via a split decision . Gintonio cast his vote for Lance McGrew, crew chief of the #25 GMAC Chevrolet. Reiser and the Wypall Wipers representative voted for Eury. Tony Eury Jr. collected $1,000 for winning the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award. He is now tied with Robbie Loomis, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Alan Gustafson and Pete Rondeau for second place in the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings. Doug Richert leads the competition with two wins. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000.(SMC 500)(4-25-2005)



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