Hall of Fames Museums
MAY 2-8, 2005
News from May 8, 2005
- Mikey and Green spar most of the race: #15-Michael Waltrip and #43-Jeff Green were called to the office after Waltrip clearly spun Green out, bringing caution on Lap 207. Waltrip and Green apparently have a running disagreement, with Waltrip accusing Green of jabbing at him earlier in the race [a lap 8 wreck took Waltrip out of contention], and with the two also having a clash at Martinsville. Waltrip insisted he was not sure what caused brought on the unpleasantness. "They said we should not be around each other," he said after his meeting with the officials. "That'll be good with me, because the only two times I've had him behind me he's spun me out. It's unfortunate to have to deal with stuff like this."
"I'm baffled. I was running down the back straightaway on the first lap of green and he hit me. The sad part is he doesn't have to pay any price and I get my car tore all to pieces. It's cool with me. If NASCAR says stay away from each other or you'll regret it, then that's good." Waltrip was penalized one lap for rough driving after spinning Green out. Green left the meeting quickly and did not comment.(Speed Channel)(5-8-2005)
- No more buying tires? UPDATE: A NASCAR spokesman confirmed Thursday that the sanctioning body could require teams to lease tires instead of buy them during race weekends, with the long-term purpose of limiting testing. NASCAR representatives have been in contact with Indy Racing League officials about a similar policy it uses in the IndyCar Series, spokesman Jim Hunter said.
Under current IRL rules, teams are supplied with between seven and nine sets of tires for an event, depending on its distance, and a maximum of 35 sets for Indianapolis 500 activities during May. At the end of each event, teams must return all of those tires. For each of four open tests and three engine test dates allowed under IRL rules, teams can lease tires from Firestone. Again, all tires must be returned at the end of the tests. If NASCAR teams weren't allowed to buy tires from Goodyear specifically for testing and couldn't keep the ones they bought during race weekends, either, that would be one way to restrict testing to limits set by the sanctioning body. Hunter said NASCAR is still only considering such a move and added it would not be something it would adopt in the middle of a season.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-6-2005)
UPDATE: Goodyear officials confirmed that NASCAR has proposed a "lease" situation under which teams would not buy tires, per se, but would instead lease them from Goodyear. The idea is to limit the number of tires available to teams for testing, and thus to reduce testing, period. Teams still would pay the going price for a set of tires, about $1600, but all tires, used and unused, would be returned to Goodyear after each race. A similar rule is in place in IRL/IndyCar, for similar reasons. Teams often hoard unused tires for future track tests, with testing being a major expense.(Speed Channel)(5-8-2005)
- Busch acts up at Darlington, "actions not befitting of a champion": #97-Kurt Busch hit the [inside] wall on the first lap at Darlington Raceway. Then he hit an official with a water bottle, bad-mouthed NASCAR over his radio and ended up in a closed-door meeting with series officials. "His actions were certainly not befitting of a champion,'' NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said after the Dodge Charger 500. "He said things that are not fit for print.'' Busch knew it was going to be a bad night seconds after the race began. He had started 11th, but didn't even get a full lap in before he spun out coming out of the fourth turn and hit the inside retaining wall.
He took the #97 Ford into the garage so his crew could make enough repairs for Busch to continue racing. Later in the race, NASCAR said Busch moved into the wrong position on the track under caution. Officials ordered him to stop and get in line where he was supposed to be, but Busch refused. He was sent into the pits for a two-lap penalty, and NASCAR officials took offense to the language he used over the radio. They ordered him to turn his engine off, and he responded my revving it. He also tossed a water bottle out of his window that hit the official in his pit. Busch was then summoned to meet with NASCAR after the race. Although series officials looked less than pleased with the champion, Busch emerged from their hauler with a huge grin on his face, but nothing to say.(ESPN.com/AP)(5-8-2005)
News from May 7, 2005
- MB2/MBV Motorsports to move? UPDATE: hearing that the MB2 Motorsports #01 U.S. Army and MBV Motorsports #10 Valvoline teams [and #36 tean of Boris Said] will move the team from their Concord, NC shop to Mooresville, NC in the Eaton building on Rt 115. Per the Mooresville Tribune, the Mooresville Commission voted to extend an economic grant for $16,512 a year for five years to Team Property Partners LLC, a race team relocating from Concord to the Eaton Corp. building on NC 115 in Mooresville (4 miles from where I live).(12-23-2004)
UPDATE: Three more Nextel Cup teams will call Race City USA home when MB2 Motorsports moves into the vacant Eaton-Aeroquip complex in late summer. Vacant since 2003, Eaton’s former automotive complex on N.C. 115 at Timber Road, south of downtown, will now house the teams of drivers #01-Joe Nemechek, #10-Scott Riggs, and #36-Boris Said, MB2 officials said Thursday. MB2 left Mooresville in 2001 for a facility near the Concord Regional Airport. Jay Frye, CEO and general manager of MB2 Motorsports, said the move to Concord wasn’t a long-term decision. “We liked being in Mooresville,” he said. “We found an opportunity to come back there. The town and the county were very gracious and excited for us to be coming back.” The teams will now have a little more room to maneuver, moving from 40,000-square-foot facility to the 144,000 square-foot Eaton building, Frye said. The move is expected to be completed by September, after a building upfit by MAX Construction Services of Mooresville. “This strengthens our motor sports cluster that we have in our community,” said Melanie O’Connell Underwood, executive director of economic development at the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce. “(The teams) have more opportunity to be closer to suppliers that we have here.”
The 40-mile move to Mooresville will also shorten the commute for many of the teams’ 100 employees who kept their homes in town when the company moved five years ago, she said. Fifteen Nextel Cup, 26 Busch Series, and 14 Craftsmen Truck teams will now be based in Mooresville, according to the MSI Chamber.(Mooresville Tribune)(5-7-2005)
- Nadeau not coming back as a driver? From a Winston Salem Journal story with quotes by former Cup driver Ernie Irvan, who survived two bad wrecks with head injuries: "Jerry [Nadeau] is going to be a part of my foundation [Race2safety -race2safety.com], because he's a head-injury survivor too. Jerry was just racing go-karts with us, and Jerry whipped our butts. Jerry is definitely gotten a lot better. I don't know if he'll ever get back racing. He said he won't."(Winston Salem Journal)(5-7-2005)
- Biffle wins wild one at Darlington: #16-Greg Biffle, who led the most laps, blew by #12-Ryan Newman, who had old tires, and won the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway for his 6th career win and 3rd of the season. With 3 laps to go, #6-Mark Martin spun while trying to make a pass and brought out the final caution and setting up a green-white-checker finish. With 19 cars on the lead lap, all but the leader at the point, #12-Newman and #49-Ken Schrader made pit stops, 16 of the 17 got four new Goodyear tires, while #99-Edwards got two and came 4th with two laps to go. Biffle blew by Schrader and Newman on the 1st green flag lap and it was over. #24-Gordon got into #99-Edwards. who made a great save, and finished 2nd, followed by #9-Kahne, #6-Martin and #12-Newman. #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 7th and held on to the points lead.
For race results/results links, see Jayski's Darlington Race Results/Awards page.(5-7-2005)
- Schrader...one more year: Ken Schrader said he wants to race one more season after 2005 in the #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge before moving to the Craftsman Truck Series full-time in 2007.(The Morning News)(5-7-2005)
- What Red Flag? Fox TOLD not to mention it...Why? UPDATE: Fans using scanners have access to transmissions between producers and TV/radio announcers, which means that many of them heard Fox’s announcers instructed not to make any on-air reference to the fact that a red flag immediately came out after the 25-car crash. The information eventually came out — the race was halted for 43 minutes, 21 seconds — but why deprive television viewers of valuable information? Was it some cheap ploy to keep viewers from changing channels?(Gaston Gazette), wondered that myself, the same thing happened at Phonix when the red flag was out for over 6 minutes when power was out, I heard about it on the radio coverage, it was mentioned in passing on TV, AFTER the fact...I was like..what gives....the what happened at Talladega...why does NASCAR wanna hide the fact there is a red flag...makes no sense [or cents].(5-3-2005)
UPDATE: Television viewers can now expect to know promptly when a NASCAR race has been put under the red flag after having that information temporarily withheld on the past two Nextel Cup telecasts on Fox Sports. During last week's Aaron's 499 from Talladega Superspeedway, announcers were told over Fox's internal communications not to mention the term "red flag" through two segments following a 25-car wreck on Lap 133. When The Charlotte Observer this week asked for an explanation of the practice, that request set off an in-house discussion of the practice that went all the way up to David Hill, chairman and chief executive officer of Fox Sports. "It was a stupid thing to do," Hill said. "I've never heard anything so ridiculous." Apparently, personnel in the Fox production truck erroneously believed it would make a difference if some of its commercials could be aired before viewers were actually told the red flag was out. "This situation is proof that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing," Hill said. "The time a race goes under a red flag has nothing to do with when a network says it. We can't change the time the red comes out. That would be like us saying the New England Patriots didn't score a touchdown when they did, but they scored three minutes later." Hill said producer Neil Goldberg and his crew now have a clearer understanding of the situation.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-7-2005)
- Nextel Fan of the Week: Bobby Hall of Hueytown, Ala., and his 9-year-old son, Dalton - FoxSports (5-7-2005)
- Special Mother's Day Scheme UPDATE: #88-Dale Jarrett is scheduled to drive a car with a childhood image of Dale driving Ned Jarrett's race car at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, May 7th in honor of his mother for Mother's Day which is May 8th.(12-20-2004)
UPDATE: #15-Michael Waltrip and #45-Kyle Petty have been added to the Mother's Day special paint scheme program at Darlington.(RacingOne)(1-7-2005)
UPDATE 2 - This weekend, drivers take a moment to remember Mom in Darlington Last year, several NASCAR drivers teamed up with Action Performance Companies Inc., to wish their "NASCAR Dads" a Happy Father's Day via a race day program at Michigan International Speedway. Now, some "NASCAR Moms" are getting their due. Veteran drivers #88-Dale Jarrett and #45-Kyle Petty will pilot Happy Mother's Day-edition race cars during the 500-mile NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series at Darlington Raceway. Jarrett's #88 UPS Ford Taurus will include a nod to his mother, Martha, while Petty will roll out the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge Charger with a Happy Mother's Day dedication to his mom, Lynda. In keeping with NASCAR's long-standing tradition of no stock car races held on the actual Mother's Day holiday, the cars will run on Saturday night, May 7, 2005. Martha Jarrett, Lynda Petty and several other NASCAR Moms will be on hand to announce racing's most famous tagline with an appropriate twist: Sons and Gentlemen, start your engines. This year's participants in the Happy Mother's Day program also are eligible for a $10,000 cash bonus. The prize will be awarded to the highest finishing driver, who then will present it to his mother or her favorite charitable organization. A percentage of the proceeds from the sales of the Happy Mother's Day die-cast have been earmarked to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The collectibles will be available through Action's usual distribution channels, including the Action Racing Collectables distributor network and Racing Collectables Club of America. To locate an ARC distributor, please call 1-800-411-8404. To join RCCA, call 1-800-952-0708 or visit www.goracing.com.(Action Performance) or see my Collectible Links page for places to buy them. And looks like Waltrip was droped from the program or never part of it.(5-7-2005)
- Newman comments on rift with Rusty: The never-ending feud between supposed teammates #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Rusty Wallace is apparently no closer to abating. Newman has been mostly silent, while Wallace has made no secret of his antipathy toward Newman and, in particular, his crew chief, Matt Borland. Newman said the feud has had no practical effect on the team’s performance. “Rusty has voiced his opinion in a lot of areas,” said Newman. “I’ve maintained a pretty calm stance, and basically our performance has been related to our performance as a team. We’ve had our goods and bads throughout the season, and none of it has been anybody else’s fault except ours.”(Gaston Gazette)(5-7-2005)
- Changes on Speed? Krista out? Tweeden in? If speed doesn't sell on Speed, then maybe sex will. What else is there to make of the news from the cable channel that Leeann Tweeden, a one-time spokesman/lingerie model for Frederick's of Hollywood, a layout model in Playboy, a Hooters calendar girl, and cover girl for men's magazine FHM, could be replacing Krista Voda, a veteran sports reporter, on its NASCAR shows?(Winston Salem Journal)(5-7-2005)
- Bill Elliott to take lead for NASCAR HOF Atlanta bid: #91-Bill Elliott will be the lead salesman for Atlanta's bid to be NASCAR's Cooperstown. Elliott will use his strong ties to corporate sponsors and NASCAR executives to help Atlanta win stock car racing's hall of fame. Elliott will officially be the honorary chairman of the city's NASCAR bid. Scott Wilfong, president of SunTrust Bank, Atlanta, and Mark Lazarus, president of Turner Entertainment group, are also leading the effort, among other city and state officials.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(5-7-2005)
- Daytona NASCAR HOF bid almost dead? Miami's bid for a $60 million state subsidy to help build a new baseball stadium for the Florida Marlins is dead, Senate President Tom Lee said Thursday. Lee also said "it's not looking good" for other sports subsidies, including $30 million for a NASCAR hall of fame in Daytona Beach and facilities for the Orlando Magic and spring training facilities. The fate of the NASCAR subsidy likely will be decided today, the last day of the legislative session. Lee didn't anticipate even bringing the bill up for debate on Friday, the final day of the session. George Mirabal, president of The Chamber, Daytona Beach/Halifax Area, said the setback to the NASCAR hall proposal was a disappointment but by no means did it signal the end of the project.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(5-6-2005)
UPDATE - not good: In a tumultuous end to the legislative session, Florida lawmakers passed a $63 billion budget Friday and approved overhauling the state's Medicaid system -- but refused to spend $30 million to help Daytona Beach attract a NASCAR hall of fame. The Senate never took up a bill that would have provided subsidies to Daytona Beach to try to outbid other areas of the country for the NASCAR hall of fame. Daytona Beach lobbyist Sam Bell said the issue was dead. A bill outlining a NASCAR hall of fame subsidy -- which House members passed last month, lumping the hall of fame with other proposals to subsidize stadium projects for the Florida Marlins and Orlando Magic -- never came up in the Senate. Bell said that, coupled with a lack of time to push through the proposal, played a key part in lawmakers scuttling the NASCAR subsidy. "It was just a salad of things that was not palatable," Bell said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(5-7-2005)
- Top Banana and Go ManGo! Chargers Unveiled AND: As part of its introduction of the new limited production 2006 Dodge Charger Daytona R/T, Dodge unveiled two new Bud Shootout paint schemes on the #9 and #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge
Chargers, celebrating the modern rear-wheel-drive muscle car. Jeremy Mayfield will pilot the #19 Top Banana Dodge Charger, and Kasey Kahne will drive the #9 Go ManGo! Dodge Charger in Saturday night's race at Daytona International Speedway. The paint schemes are replica versions of the two classic 1960s color schemes available on the Dodge Charger Daytona R/T production vehicles available starting this summer.(Clear!Blue PR), see images on my #19 Team Schemes page and #9 Team Schemes page.(2-12-2005)
AND these schemes are also running in the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway this weekend.(5-7-2005)
News from May 6, 2005
- Johnson has spoken to Dale Jr.: Jimmie Johnson says he’s talked with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and everything is okay between them. This after Junior on Tuesday during testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway called Johnson an “idiot” and blamed him for causing both major crashes last Sunday at Talladega. "Yeah it (Dale’s comments) defiantly caught me off guard, said Johnson, and from what I understand he (Dale Jr.) was put in a bad position during the interview…was put on the spot and some allegations of a comment that came out of my mouth…so looking at that I don’t blame him for saying what he did and I spoke to him and everything’s fine there.
We’ll just move on. It’s racing and this Lowe’s team is very strong…I believe in my team and they believe in me and I know everybody in the garage area respects me. Everybody’s given their opinion, right or wrong everyone can point fingers in every direction but in my opinion it’s a racing incident."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-6-2005)
- #14 and Andretti coming back in June, for 5-7 races: It was reported on Speed Channel's NASCAR Nations show Thursday night that the #14 ppc Racing Ford and John Andretti would return to the track to run 5-7 races in 2005, with the first being at Michigan in June. Plans call for the team to run 15 to 17 races in 2006 and then full-time in 2007. No word on a crew chief for the team as it was reported last week that crew chief Dave Charpentier left and went back to DEI.(5-6-2005)
- Rusty does call injured crewman Contrary to a recent report, Rusty Wallace said Thursday that he had, in fact, attempted to contact Richard Childress Racing crewman Josh Yost throughout the past week. Wallace and Yost finally spoke via cell phone Thursday morning. "I just spoke with him and he's fine," Wallace said. Yost, the jack man for Jeff Burton's #31 Cingular Chevrolet, was struck by Wallace's Dodge during a pit stop in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. An RCR team spokesman who had spoken directly with Yost on Wednesday told NASCAR.COM's Marty Smith that Wallace had not yet spoken with Yost. The spokesman said Yost had his cell phone with him throughout his hospital stay and had not received a call from the 1989 Cup Series champion. Smith then reported that information on SPEED Channel's NASCAR Nation Wednesday, greatly upsetting Wallace, who explained he had tried to contact Yost at home and had left messages on his home answering machine. "I'm glad I've spoken with him and that he's OK," Wallace said. Yost's right ankle suffered two ruptured ligaments, torn ligaments and a severe laceration in the incident, which the team confirmed would sideline him for the remainder of the 2005 season. Exploratory surgery Tuesday also revealed that the tip of Yost's right fibula was crushed. Yost had reconstructive surgery Thursday, and may be able to go home Friday, the team said.(NASCAR.com)(5-6-2005)
- Barry Dodson back to the broadcast booth? In an exclusive interview today on Rowdy, former crew chief Barry Dodson talks about his desire to return to television work. "Basically, my stint with Rusty is complete," says Dodson of his work with longtime compatriot Rusty Wallace. "We started the RWI Busch shop and got it going from nothing--did the same thing with Steven Wallace and the Hooters team, and he's about to turn 18. So it's a good time for me to get back into something I really loved doing." Dodson, who won the a championship as the crew chief for Wallace in 1989, has worked as a television analyst before and is a regular contributor to Rowdy. Also on the show today, Barry talks about the Big One at Talladega, drivers pay a salute to their mothers, and Mark Garrow reports from Darlington. Rowdy is a racing radio show you get on your cell phone, with daily racing news and driver interviews. Call 1-800-95-ROWDY to sign up and try it for free, or listen to samples, check out the archive, and find out more at www.rowdy.com.(5-6-2005)
- Bobby Labonte To Drive Boniva Car at Richmond: GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, and Joe Gibbs Racing, plan to help raise awareness of Boniva(ibandronate sodium), a new medicine for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Boniva will be the primary sponsor for the #18 Chevrolet driven by Bobby Labonte at the Chevy American Revolution 400 May 14 at Richmond International Raceway. In addition to the Richmond race, which is during Osteoporosis Awareness Month, Labonte will drive a Boniva-sponsored car at a second race later this summer. The sponsorship comes in the wake of the Surgeon General'sReport elevating osteoporosis to a major public health threat on par with smoking and obesity.(Camp and Associates/Joe Gibbs Racing)(5-6-2005)
- Talladega TV Ratings Soar: Fox's broadcast of last Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 7.6 and an 18 market share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 20.6% higher than the 6.3 the 2004 Talladega spring race, which was run a week earlier. It is also 24.6% higher than the rating for the 2004 California spring race, which was run on the comparable weekend. The race was also easily the weekend's most watched sporting event, with Fox's coverage of last Saturday's Busch Series race at Talladega finishing second with a 3.3/7. To date, Fox is averaging a 6.2/14 for its Nextel Cup coverage, up 5% from last year.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-6-2005)
- Busch crashes into ambulance at Road America UPDATE: During a mid-morning track test session at Road America [4 mile road course, Elkhart Lake, WI], #97-Kurt Busch drove through a tire barrier and hit an ambulance. Although two ambulance personnel were taken to the hospital for minor injuries, Bush was not hurt in the accident. According to Busch, a loose brake fitting caused break failure as he went into turn five. The incident is under review by the Road America Safety Team.(5-3-2005)
UPDATE: It's news enough that Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch came to Wisconsin in early May to test his Cup car at Road America, considering NASCAR hasn't competed at the 4-mile road course in Elkhart Lake since 1956. Then you learn that he crashed and hit an ambulance. Two workers were treated for minor injuries and released from a Sheboygan hospital after the accident Monday in Turn 5, according to a track spokeswoman. Busch's crash occurred when a brake line failure caused him to lose control, Roush Racing said. Busch aimed for a tire barrier in the runoff area in Turn 5, a sharp, downhill lefthander, and then hit the ambulance, which was parked in a standard location, the spokeswoman said. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(5-6-2005)
- Kenny Wallace to run #00 for Waltrip, different sponsor: Kenny Wallace will be behind the wheel of the #00 Bryan’s Chevrolet prepared by Michael Waltrip Racing this weekend for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Darlington Raceway. Wallace seeks his second NEXTEL Cup start of the 2005 season, his 18th career start at the track “Too Tough to Tame.” Wallace ran four races for Waltrip in 2004 and ran the Daytona 500 earlier this year finishing 40th due to an engine failure. He is scheduled to drive six more NEXTEL Cup events this season for Michael Waltrip Racing.(Michael Waltrip site)(5-6-2005)
- #650 for Marlin: #40-Sterling Marlin will make his 650th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career start at Darlington Raceway this weekend. Marlin made his Cup debut in 1976 at Nashville Speedway, driving for his father Coo Coo Marlin.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(5-6-2005)
- Darlington Qualifying Notes:
• Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Dodge Charger 500, lapping Darlington Raceway in 28.923 seconds at 170.024 mph. Ward Burton holds the track-qualifying record of 28.295 seconds, 173.797 mph, set March 22, 1996.
• This is Kahne’s fifth career Bud Pole in 46 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races, his first since Pocono last June.
• This is Kahne’s second Bud Pole at Darlington Raceway. He also won the Bud Pole here last March.
• Kahne became the eighth Bud Pole winner in 2005. Ryan Newman (three) is the only repeat Bud Pole winner this season.
• Ryan Newman posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 29.003 seconds, 169.555 mph – and will join Kahne on the front row for the Dodge Charger 500. Newman has started from a top-10 starting position in six of his seven races at Darlington. He is the only driver to post top-10 starts in every race this season
• This is the fourth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2005. Chevrolet also has four Bud Poles and Ford has two.
• Greg Biffle (third) posted his third top-10 start in five races at Darlington. It is his eighth top-10 start in 2005.
• Elliott Sadler (fourth) scored his eighth top-10 start in 13 races at Darlington and his sixth in the past seven races here. It is his fifth top-10 start this season.
• Brian Vickers (fifth) posted his first start better than 27th in his three races at Darlington and his fourth top-10 start in 2005.
• Four drivers failed to qualify for the Dodge Charger 500: Johnny Sauter, Robby Gordon, Tony Raines and Morgan Shepherd.
• There have been eight different Bud Pole winners in the 12 races at Darlington since September 1999. Kahne is the only repeat Bud Pole winner since 1999. Qualifying was rained out three times in the 12-race period (spring 2001, fall 2002, fall 2004).
• The furthermost back that a race winner has started at Darlington was 43rd in the inaugural Southern 500 in 1950 by Johnny Mantz. That race had a 75-car field. Only four other drivers have won at Darlington from a starting position further back than 15th: Herb Thomas (23rd - fall 1954), Bobby Labonte (37th - fall 2000), Ward Burton (37th - fall 2001) and Ricky Craven (31st - spring 2003) (NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-6-2005)
- Stock Car Fans - Ramblings - Darlington:
It's an all-Dodge front row for tomorrow night's Nextel Cup event! Think the Sponsor's happy?
Kasey Kahne edged out Ryan Newman this afternoon and grabbed his first Bud Pole of the season for Saturday Night's aptly named Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway. His time of 28.923 (170.024 mph) was good enough for his 5th career top-spot and first since he led 'em to the green at Pocono last June.
He becomes our 8th qualifier for next February's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona as well.
We had the three "S"'s today.....Slippin', Slidin', and Slappin'. When you consider that was with only one car on the track we could have
another memorable event with 43 of 'em out there.
Sterling Marlin (7th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Bristol last August.
Michael Waltrip (19th) has his best starting spot since he started 3rd at Daytona in February.
Carl Long (21st) has his career-best starting spot this week. His previous best was 26th at Atlanta in November of 2001!
Jeff Fuller (40th) makes his first Cup start of the season.
STREAKIN....Ryan Newman has 17 Top-10 starts in a row.
Greg Biffle has 8 Top-10 starts in the last 9 races.
Jeremy Mayfield has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
The Trouble Train had four cars in tow today. Johnny Sauter (his 4th dnq of the season), Robby Gordon (also his 4th), Tony Raines (the 2nd dnq for the #61 car), and Morgan Shepherd (the #89 car's 4th dnq as well).(Stock Car Fans)(5-6-2005)
- Bliss wrecks during practice: #0-Mike Bliss crashed while running third during practice and will go to a backup car - "We were in qualifying trim and we wrecked in Turn 2. I'm okay. We feel like our primary car was good and we should be able to apply all that to the back up car. Our back-up car is a brand new one. We tested it at Kentucky, but that's all."(GM PR), if the team takes the engine out of the car that crashed, and uses it to qualify, Bliss will not have to start at the rear of the field before Saturday nights race.(5-6-2005)
- Tru-Line Donates to NASCAR Tech: Tru-Line Laser Alignment, Inc. has provided the NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) [Mooresville, NC] a laser wheel alignment system for its NASCAR training program. The TR-12 is completely portable, weighs less than 100 pounds, and runs off of D cell batteries. "The Tru-Line laser wheel alignment system is a welcome addition to the NASCAR training program at the NASCAR Techinical Institute. Setting up the chassis on a NASCAR racer is an integral part of our education process. NTI requires the very best equipment available to the industry and Tru-Line is at the top of its class. The Tru-Line system is portable, accurate, reliable, and cuts our set-up time in half. It's a proven winner in the industry", says John Dodson, Community and Race Team Relations Director for NTI. For more information visit www.tru-line.net.(PR)(5-6-2005)
- Travelodge back to the #16, primary at Darlington UPDATE: Travelodge Hotels announced the renewal of its associate sponsorship of the #16 National Guard Ford Taurus, driven by Greg Biffle, in the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The agreement continues the Travelodge brand's two-year relationship with Roush Racing of Concord, N.C. As part of the agreement, Travelodge Hotels will appear as the team's primary sponsor at Darlington Raceway's Carolina Dodge Dealers 500 on May 7.(PRN Newswire)(3-24-2005)
UPDATE: This weekend the #16 National Guard Ford will feature a special Sleepy Bear logo on the hood. Sleepy Bear is the official mascot for Travelodge, now in their second year of associate sponsorship with the #16 National Guard Ford.(Roush Racing)(5-6-2005)
News from May 5, 2005
- Nextel and SunTrust to Sponsor a Fundraising Event: Nextel Communications and SunTrust Banks, Inc. today
announced their sponsorship and preliminary plans for a two-day premiere fundraising event to be held in Nashville, Tennessee on
January 13th and 14th, 2006, to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp and The Country Music Hall of Fame charities. More info on my Racing Charities page.(5-5-2005)
- Rusty back in black at Chicago: #2-Rusty Wallace is scheduled to drive the #2 Miller Genuine Draft retro car at Chicagoland Speedway on July 10, 2005. See an image of the scheme on my #2 Team Schemes page[oops images is now there...brainfade! - DOH!].(5-5-2005)
- Newman to run Sony scheme at Calif: #12-Ryan Newman will run a Sony HDTV scheme at California Speedway in Sept. See an image of the scheme on my #12 Team Schemes page.[oops images is now there...brainfade! - DOH!](5-5-2005)
- How do Gordon's 72 wins rank?
#24-Jeff Gordon has just hit 72 Cup wins and is closing on the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth on the all-time NASCAR winners' list, at 76. Next up in Gordon's windshield are Cale Yarborough, fifth with 83; Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip, tied for third with 84; David Pearson, second with 105 and Richard Petty with the seemingly insurmountable 200. But Gordon got his 72nd win last Sunday at Talladega at the age of 33 years and nine months. (He'll turn 34 on Aug. 4.) See the chart for the comparisons:
||Wins at 33 yrs, 9 mths
||Age at 72nd win
||Win total at end of 12th season
(* current thru Talladega 5/1/05)(^ ran a combo of part-time/fulltime seasons)
Only Petty at that age had more wins than Gordon, 123. And Petty at that stage was racing in a whole other kind of NASCAR, with seasons as long as 61 races, barnstorming to backwater tracks where the competition for him often was nil. Even counting Gordon's winless rookie year of '93, he has averaged 5.88 wins per season in the 12.25 seasons he has completed. But he's been hinting he might retire at 40. Let's keep the happy medium of 5.88 wins per season, to allow for the possibilities that his career will get even brighter and then take a downturn that prompts his retirement. Should he quit at the end of the 2011 season, the year he turns 40, that would give Gordon 6.75 more seasons from now. At 5.88 wins per season, he'd have 39 more wins, for a total of 111, moving past Pearson into second place. Somes Stats and article [see much more and projections there] from the Orlando Sentinel/Ed Hinton.(5-5-2005)
- Jimmie Johnson To Join Rumsfeld At Troop Support Concert: #48 Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson will join
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and country music stars Thursday afternoon at the Pentagon for the first "America Supports You" Salute to Our Military Men and Women concert. Johnson will be at Darlington Raceway preparing for Saturday night's NASCAR Nextel Cup race, but will join the Pentagon concert via satellite. Johnson, Rumsfeld, and Lowe's executives will unveil the #48 Lowe's
Chevrolet carrying the "America Supports You" decal on the rear deck lid (trunk). This car plus the #5 Lowe's Busch Series car will race
with the decal at Darlington, Richmond and Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte during the month of May. The hour-long concert, scheduled to begin at 12:15pm/et, will include singers Keni Thomas, Craig Morgan and Rockie. It will air live on the Defense Department's American Forces Radio and Television Service to 177 countries throughout the world. In addition to the Pentagon event, Lowe's will offer free "America Supports You" bumper stickers in its more than 1,100 stores across the country and take its Team Lowe's Fan Experience interactive mobile display to six military bases. Military families will have an interactive experience with Team Lowe's Racing. Julie Sussman and Stephanie Glakas-Tenet will provide "Dare to Repair" clinics on the Fan Experience using products from local Lowe's stores.(GMR Live PR)(5-5-2005)
- Sponsorship Expands After Lepage's Strong Daytona 500 Finish: Kevin Lepage's impressive ninth place finish at this year's NASCAR Daytona 500 provided the incentive for The Patròn Spirits Company to increase its involvement with Lepage's #37 Dodge and R & J Racing program to include an additional five NASCAR NEXTEL CUP races. This deal was brokered by Active International, the world's largest corporate trading firm. Active's sports & event marketing division has extensive expertise in negotiating major sports sponsorships and has helped its clients to participate in a number of high-profile properties including the PGA TOUR, NBA and NASCAR. Trade credits that The Patròn Spirits Company acquired from Active were an important element in enabling Active to tailor this financial program for Patròn's sponsorship of Lepage's #37 Dodge. The deal is unique given that 2005 is the first year that spirits companies have been able to participate as NASCAR sponsors. The sponsorship provided Patròn with an innovative way to enhance its marketing strategy. As the primary sponsor of Lepage's car, Patròn designed the paint scheme and the logos that are featured on the hood and side panels (images on my #37 Team Schemes Page). (Peppercom PR)(5-5-2005)
- Goodyear Tire Notes: Both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes this weekend . . . this is the third straight NASCAR Nextel Cup race to which Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to Darlington . . . this is the only track at which Nextel Cup teams will run this specific tire set-up this season . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in their tires at Darlington, see all the tire info on my Darlington Race Info/Rundown Page(5-5-2005)
- Terry Labonte Delievers: Terry Labonte made a special pizza delivery to a group of youngsters Wednesday when he visited the after-school program at the University City YMCA in Charlotte, N.C. The two-time Cup Series champion brought lunch to the kids in one of his #44 Pizza Hut Chevrolets, complete with Pizza Hut car-topper.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(5-5-2005)
- Nextel Named Recipient of Award Of Excellence: Nextel, one of the nation's largest wireless telecommunications companies, has been named the 2005 recipient of Pocono Raceway's Bill France Award of Excellence. The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence has been presented annually to the person, corporation or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the sport of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Racing. This prestigious award, first presented in 1977, is dedicated to the inspiration of Bill France Sr., founder of NASCAR. By taking over the title sponsorship of NASCAR's premier series, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Nextel and NASCAR forged a partnership built upon each partner's passion for performance, innovation and excellence. Through the sponsorship, Nextel has diligently worked to integrate NASCAR into the company's business and culture, while at the same time elevating NASCAR to a new level by using its products and technology to enhance the sport and maximize the fan experience. From at-track activation and NASCAR-based products and applications, to community programs and advertising, Nextel's partnership with NASCAR is helping the sport continue its meteoric growth. Nextel donated $1 million to the Victory Junction Gang Camp and used the company's presence at-track to collect old wireless phones through the DONATE A PHONE program, benefiting The American Red Cross's Armed Forces Emergency Services program. The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence, a beautifully sculptured and highly polished piece of anthracite coal mined in Pennsylvania, will be presented to Nextel at an award ceremony on Saturday, June 11, 2005. This ceremony is part of the festivities leading up to the June 12, 2005 POCONO 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway. See full PR and list of past winners on my Awards/Voting page.(Pocono Raceway)(5-5-2005)
- Testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway Ends: #24-Jeff Gordon took to Lowe's Motor Speedway's renovated racing surface like
the proverbial duck took to water Wednesday night as 17 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams made final preparations for the May 29 NASCAR All-Star Challenge and the May 29 Coca-Cola 600. The unofficial stopwatches caught Gordon's #24 DuPont Chevrolet
with a lap at 189.056 mph around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. The 28.563-second lap was a tick of the watch faster than the track record of 28.590 seconds, 188.877 mph, set last year by #12-Ryan Newman. Gordon's lap came as teams concentrated on long runs, searching for the proper chassis setup to complement the harder right-side tires Goodyear has manufactured for the track's May events. The tires performed flawlessly Wednesday and one veteran crew chief said tire issues that developed during Tuesday's testing were the result of teams "getting greedy with tire pressures and camber." #16-Greg Biffle posted the third fastest unofficial lap at 186.047 mph in
the No. 16 National Guard/Subway Ford. "I was so disappointed when they ground the track. I was like 'man that was a great race track, they shouldn't t have messed with it'. The bumps gave it character," Biffle said. "But now I'm just shocked. I've never seen grinding a race track do what it did here. It's just so fast. I'm driving in the second groove, or even the third groove," Biffle continued. "I'm not running on the bottom, so that tells you there will be side-by-side racing. This is going to be one of the best shows out of all 36 races." 1988 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Bill Elliott participated in Wednesday's session and plans to compete in the Coca-Cola 600 as he
runs a limited schedule in Ray Evernham's #91 Stanley Tools Dodge. "The track is quite a bit smoother and it has a lot of grip," Elliott said. "I think I'm in better shape because I haven't missed anything from not being here the last year. Now everyone has a clean
slate with the changes to the race track. It was always hard to run a high groove here, but now you can run a higher line and still have a
good time." The six-hour testing session was run without incident. The only caution flags were for debris and oil from Mears' blown engine late in the session.
Testing for the May events continues Monday and Tuesday when NASCAR Busch Series teams hit the track in preparation for the inaugural nighttime running of the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 on Saturday, May 28. Fans can attend the NASCAR Busch Series testing sessions free of charge. Lowe's Motor Speedway's frontstretch grandstand will be open and fans should enter through Gate 5A, located next to the main ticket office.
Tickets for all May events at Lowe's Motor Speedway, including the May 21 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the May 29 Coca-Cola 600, can be purchased by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.
The top-10 unofficial speeds:
Showing driver, car No. and speed:
1. Jeff Gordon, 24, 189.056;
2. Martin Truex Jr., 1, 186.464;
3. Greg Biffle, 16, 186.047;
4. Mike Bliss, 0, 185.637;
5. Casey Mears, 41, 185.631;
6. Ken Schrader, 185.478;
7. Elliott Sadler, 38, 185.287;
8. Kyle Busch, 5, 185.172;
9. Bobby Hamilton Jr., 32, 185.084;
10. Mike Skinner, 23, 184.906.(LMS PR)(5-5-2005)
News from May 4, 2005
- #11 Rumors out again: on Speed Channel's NASCAR Nation, NASCAR.com's Marty Smith was asked about rumors of Joe Gibbs Racing's #11 Jason Leffler being replaced. Smith said he contacted the team and was told there is no truth to the rumor, but Smith said garage gossip have possible drivers as Scott Wimmer, who currently drives the #22 CAT Dodge for Bill Davis Racing and Martin Truex Jr., driver for the #1 DEI Cup car in a limited schedule and full time in the #8 Busch Series Chance 2 Chevy.(5-4-2005)
- Eleven Penalties Result from Talladega Infractions NASCAR announced today that 11 penalties have been issued to NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competitors, as a result of rule infractions this past weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
Three of those penalties were issued to the #00 Chevrolet team, because of an unapproved rear axle housing, a violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book. The violations were found during pre-qualifying inspection. Kenny Wallace, driver of the #00, was penalized with the loss of 25 driver championship points; car owner Elizabeth (Buffy) Waltrip was penalized 25 owner championship points; and crew chief Terry Wooten was fined $25,000.
Harold Holly, crew chief for the #32 Chevrolet driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr., was fined $10,000. During opening day inspection, the #32 had unapproved upper rear coil spring mounts, violating Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q.
Jimmy Elledge, crew chief for the #41 Dodge driven by Casey Mears, was fined $2,500 because of unapproved use of refrigerant near the fuel system, violating 2-4-A and 12-4-Q. The violations were found during pre-qualifying inspection.
In addition, $1,000 fines were issued to the following six competitors:
Alan Gustafson, crew chief for the #5 Chevrolet driven by Kyle Busch, because of an unapproved right-side window (violating 12-4-A and 12-4-Q); Mike Ford, crew chief for the #88 Ford of Dale Jarrett, was fined for the same violations. In both cases, the violations were found during pre-qualifying inspection.
Four crew chiefs were fined because of unapproved window nets presented at opening day inspection (violating 12-4-A and 12-4-Q). Nets must have a minimum opening of one inch between the ribs. Those four:
Robert (Bootie) Barker, crew chief for the #0 Chevrolet driven by Mike Bliss; Dave Rogers, crew chief for the #11 Chevrolet driven by Jason Leffler; Bob Osborne, crew chief for the #99 Ford driven by Carl Edwards; and Richard (Slugger) Labbe, crew chief for the #19 Dodge driven by Jeremy Mayfield.(NASCAR PR)(5-4-2005)
- Toyota to Busch Series in 2006: NASCAR has confirmed that Toyota intends to compete in the Busch Series in 2006 and is an active participant in discussions about the next generation of Nextel Cup cars and engines, which are slated to debut in 2007, or perhaps 2008. Bill Davis Racing, the lead development team in Toyota’s truck project, is likely also developing Toyota’s Busch entry, though little specific information has come to light yet.(Speed Channel)(5-4-2005)
- Shepherd trying to help Darlington track and more: #89-Morgan Shepherd will be a part of this Mother’s Day race weekend by honoring mothers and helping an organization that’s been working to save the racing traditions at his favorite race track. Long ago deemed the “Lady in Black” by the countless racers who’ve grazed the pristine white walls of Darlington Raceway leaving behind black tire and paint smudges, the track finds itself buried in rumors that its newest moniker might be “retired” as well. Undeniably, the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series schedule has been trending toward modern race tracks with huge seating capacities and larger television markets. Fanz to Support the Darlington Racing Tradition has been formed in an effort to save the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race date at the storied track, and use its position in the public eye to raise funds for local charities and the Lyn St. James Foundation. “That the race weekend falls on Mother’s Day weekend offers us a great opportunity to raise money for our charities and honor the mothers in our lives, while continuing to raise awareness for our cause. For a $1 donation, fans can put the name of their mom on Morgan Shepherd’s race car for Saturday night’s race,” said Bob Henry, President of Fanz to Support the Darlington Racing Tradition.(Williams Company) Also, Shepherd is scheduled to appear on ABC's "World News Tonight" with Peter Jennings at ^:30pm/et and on Thursday is scheduled to by on ESPN's 'Outside the Lines' at 12:00midnight/et.(5-4-2005)
- School Stuff: Chattanooga State Technical College is introducing a curriculum that provides career training in the booming NASCAR industry. The school will offer automotive and mechanical courses as well as instruction in the ''business, regulations, economics and history'' of the sport. For information call 423-697-4738.(Tennessean) Info on Driving Schools, College Programs and Diversity, see my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(5-4-2005)
- Testing dates set at Lowe's Motor Speedway UPDATE - Speeds: Lowe's Motor Speedway has scheduled 35 hours of open testing for NASCAR Craftsman Truck, Busch and NEXTEL Cup Series teams in preparation for the track's slate of May races, including the May 21 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the May 29 Coca-Cola 600.
The testing schedule:
May 3-4, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
May 9-10, NASCAR Busch Series, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Many of the bumps in the track's racing surface were removed recently during an asphalt grinding process and the testing sessions
mark the first, and only, opportunity for teams to experiment with the new surface prior to the May events. Lowe's Motor Speedway's frontstretch grandstand will be open free of charge during each testing session. Fans should enter through Gate 5A next to the ticket office on the second floor of Smith Tower.(LMS)(3-22/5-2-2005)
DRIVERS: #01-Joe Nemechek, #0-Mike Bliss, #5-Kyle Busch, #6-Mark Martin, #16-Greg Biffle, #18-Bobby Labonte, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #24-Jeff Gordon, #25-Brian Vickers, #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr., #36-Boris Said, #41-Casey Mears, #44-Terry Labonte, #45-Kyle Petty, #77-Travis Kvapil, #18-Dale Jarrett, #91-Bill Elliott, #08-Shane Hmiel, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #4-Mike Wallace, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #15-Michael Waltrip, #23-Mike Skinner, #29-Kevin Harvick, #38-Elliott Sadler and #49-Ken Schrader.(LMS)(5-3-2005)
UPDATE Vickers fastest, and crashes: Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s renovated racing surface continued to receive rave reviews Tuesday night as 22 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams prepared for the May 21 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the May 29 Coca-Cola 600. With teams focusing on long runs and race set-ups, several drivers consistently posted laps in the mid-180 mph range, just shy of Ryan Newman’s 188-mph track record. Brian Vickers was fastest on the unofficial stopwatches with a lap at 186.130mph in the #25 GMAC/ditech.com Chevrolet fielded by Hendrick Motorsports, but his night ended against the outside wall. With just one minute left in the session, a flat right-front tire sent Vickers’ Chevrolet into the turn-two wall. The car was heavily damaged, but Vickers was not injured. The only other incidents during the six-hour testing session came just before the dinner break when #41-Casey Mears hit the wall in turn two and #88-Dale Jarrett bounced off the SAFER barrier in turns three and four on the same lap. Both were able to drive to the garage area and Mears was able to continue testing. Jarrett, however, was finished for the evening. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing continues Wednesday evening, May 4, with the cars once again on the track from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Fans can attend the final night of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing free of charge. Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s frontstretch grandstand will be open and fans should enter through Gate 5A, located next to the main ticket office.
Showing driver, car #and speed:
1. #25-Brian Vickers, 186.130
2. #18-Bobby Labonte, 185.592
3. #24-Jeff Gordon, 185.554
4. #6-Mark Martin, 185.491
5. #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 185.312
6. #41-Casey Mears, 185.039
7. #01-Joe Nemechek, 184.982
8. #5-Kyle Busch, 184.603
9. #1-Martin Truex Jr., 184.300
10. #29-Kevin Harvick, 184.281.(LMS)(5-4-2005)
News from May 3, 2005
- What Red Flag? Fans using scanners have access to transmissions between producers and TV/radio announcers, which means that many of them heard Fox’s announcers instructed not to make any on-air reference to the fact that a red flag immediately came out after the 25-car crash. The information eventually came out — the race was halted for 43 minutes, 21 seconds — but why deprive television viewers of valuable information? Was it some cheap ploy to keep viewers from changing channels?(Gaston Gazette), wondered that myself, the same thing happened at Phonix when the red flag was out for over 6 minutes when power was out, I heard about it on the radio coverage, it was mentioned in passing on TV.(5-3-2005)
- Doug Rice Named President of PRN: Veteran broadcasting executive Doug Rice has been promoted to president and general manager of Performance Racing Network and Gerry Horn, a 20-year veteran of corporate sales, was elevated to vice president of PRN sales. The announcement was made by H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., Performance Racing Network's parent company. Rice joined PRN in 1988 as director of affiliates and, after serving in other managerial positions, was named vice president and general manager in 1999. In addition to overseeing the network's operations, Rice has also served as co-anchor alongside Mark Garrow on all PRN race broadcasts since 1994. The network broadcasts 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races and eight NASCAR Busch series events at Speedway Motorsports, Inc. facilities. It also produces numerous other motorsports-related programs including "Fast Talk with Benny Parsons," "PRN's Garage Pass" and "The ALLTEL Pit Reporters."(LMS PR)(5-3-2005)
- #92 Team Looking: Transporter driver wanted for #92 Cup team for driver Stanton Barrett. Must hold valid CDL and have a clean driving record. Full time work at shop as well as over the road. Duties include stocking, cleaning and maintaining transporter. Experience and additional mechanical knowledge is a plus. More info and phone on my #92 Team News and Links page.(5-3-2005)
- #24 Crew Wins at Talladega: Hendrick Motorsports' crew for the #24 Chevrolet has won $10,000 for the fastest pit work in Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway among teams participating in the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge. No details were announced. The crew with the most weekly wins will collect a $100,000 prize at the end of the season.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-3-2005)
- Changes at Speed, NASCAR Nation down to 30 minutes?: A shake-up at the top of Fox's Speed Channel is the latest TV shock for NASCAR, and Fox's decision to let Jim Liberatore go as head of the cable channel leaves considerable uncertainty about just what's going on. Liberatore has been running Speed Channel, based in Charlotte, since Fox bought it four years ago. He cites "a difference in philosophies" for his departure.
According to one source, Liberatore wanted to diversify Speed Channel again, to include a good mix of all racing. It has become predominantly NASCAR-oriented. There are also reports that the Speed Channel 's NASCAR Nation show will soon be dramatically revamped, in light of generally poor ratings. The show is likely to be cut from an hour to 30 minutes, and its focus is to change from hard racing reports to more soft entertainment features.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-3-2005)
- Kenseth changes scheme for Darlington: #17-Matt Kenseth will be running a special paint scheme this weekend in
the Darlington Cup race. The #17 will be sporting the copper and black colors of Carhartt. This is the first of three races in which the #17 will be sporting the Carhartt paint scheme. The other two are Michigan in June and Lowe's Motor Speedway in October.(Roush Racing), see an image of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(5-3-3005)
- Bogus NASCAR Stuff Seized: Law enforcement officials seized more than $160,000 worth of counterfeit merchandise during last weekend's NASCAR race in Talladega, Ala. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesman Marc Raimondi says more than 7,000 items were confiscated.(USA Today)(5-3-2005)
- Team Caliber to ISC company? been hearing that Team Caliber [diecast -
teamcaliber.com] is being bought by an ISC [International Motor Sports] company called Americrown.(5-3-2005)
News from May 2, 2005
- Morgan Shepherd to air on ESPN show, May 5th: Sixty-three year old Morgan Shepherd, easily the NASCAR Nextel Cup's
oldest driver, survives week-to-week with his two man team and no sponsors. "I'm the last of the Mohicans," he says, forcing a laugh.
ESPN's Outside the Lines has been chronicling Shepherd's 2005 campaign since NASCAR's season-opening Daytona 500 on February 20. He has started just one race - the UAW Daimler Chrysler 400 on March 13 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, starting 43rd and finishing 40th. Outside the Lines will present an inside look at Shepherd's travails on Thursday, May 5 at 12:00midnight/et [Subject to change depending on breaking news]. Despite struggling, Shepherd refuses to retire in part because of his Christian faith -his team logo is prominently displayed on his #89 Dodge.(ESPN)(5-2-2005)
- Update 2 on RCR Crewman: Josh Yost, the jackman for #31 Jeff Burton's Cingular Wireless team, suffered torn ligaments and a severe laceration on his right ankle after a pit stop mishap. He was taken to a Birmingham hospital, but flew home with his team Sunday night.(Alabama Live)(5-2-2005)
UPDATE: Injured Jeff Burton jackman Josh Yost was released from a Birmingham, AL hospital Sunday night and flown back to Winston-Salem, NC on one of Richard Childress' planes. He was admitted to the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and will be operated on Tuesday by Dr. David Martin. After getting hit by Rusty Wallace on pit road at Talladega, Yost was thought to have broken his right ankle, but after tests it turned out to be badly torn ligaments. Yost also suffered a severe, deep laceration to his lower right leg.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-2-2005)
- TV Ratings for Qualifying and Trackside at Talladega: Talladega NASCAR coverage was a hit with SPEED Channel viewers last weekend as more than one million households tuned in for coverage of NEXTEL Cup qualifying Friday. Live qualifying coverage on SPEED drew a Nielsen Household Rating of 1.10 (696,000 households), while the replay scored a .56 (354,000 households) later in the day. SPEED Channel's "Trackside" program went out to more than half a million households, scoring .68 (433,000 households) for its live broadcast Friday night. A same-day replay added an additional .25 (156,000 HH).(SPEED Channel)(5-2-2005)
- Overnight TV Ratings for Talladega Up: Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Aaron's 499 earned a 6.1 overnight Nielsen Media Research rating from the nation's largest markets and a 14 market share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The
rating is up 3.4% from the 5.9 overnight figure for the 2004 Talladega race, which was run a week earlier. This year's figure,
which is the third-highest overnight rating for a race this season, is also up 8.9% from the 5.6 that the 2004 California race drew on
the comparable weekend.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-2-2005)
- Loomis Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award: Jeff Gordon scorched the competition at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. His Robbie Loomis prepared Chevrolet easily weaved its way to the top spot, leading 139 of 190
laps in route to Gordon's second restrictor plate win of the season, his third win in 2005. Loomis' dominant car made him the easy pick
for theWypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. The panel of voters; including Mike Szvetitz of Opelika-Auburn News, a Wypall Wipers representative and Tony Eury Sr.; all agreed that Loomis deserved Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race honors. "He (Loomis) got Gordon in first and got him out first," said Szvetitz. "He kept him up front for almost the whole race." Loomis collected $1,000 for winning the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Collecting his second award in 2005, Loomis is now tied with Doug Richert in the Crew Chief of the Year standings. Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Alan Gustafson and Pete Rondeau are tied for second place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000.(SMC 500)(5-2-2005)
- Bridesmaid for Stewart at Talladega: for #20-Tony Stewart, it was his fourth second-place finish in 13 career Nextel Cup
starts at Talladega Supperspeedway when he finished 2nd to #24-Jeff Gordon Sunday.(5-2-2005)
- Car of the Future delay? Under pressure from race teams, NASCAR might delay the debut of the "car of the future" until the end of 2007 and the "common" engine until 2008. Many engine builders fear teams could be crushed financially if they're left with large inventories of obsolete engines. But to even the playing field and prepare for Toyota's expected arrival in the Cup series, NASCAR is looking at controlling cars from the tires up.(Sporting News)(5-2-2005)
- TV Contract to stay with current partners: NASCAR’s next TV contract, which will begin with the 2007 season, should be completed by year-end, according to a NASCAR source close to the situation. The source said signs are positive that all of NASCAR current television partners will re-up for a second contract. Look for a substantial increase in $2.4 billion rights fee paid over the six years of the first contract, which runs from 2001-2006. The NFL recently signed a lucrative $8 billion contract extension, and that, combined with strong ratings generated by the first NASCAR Nextel Chase for the Championship last fall, should mean more money for NASCAR this time around.(Speed Channel)(5-2-2005)
- Gambling Internet sites want in: When NASCAR lifted the hard liquor sponsorship embargo, did it open a Pandora's box? The next wave of sponsors pushing to get into the garage are Internet gambling sites, which have approached several teams with big checks but have not yet gotten the green flag from NASCAR.(Sporting News)(5-2-2005)
- Crate Engines at Daytona/Talladega for the Busch Series? Detroit executives have proposed to NASCAR that the sanctioning body switch to crate engines at Daytona and Talladega as a cost-cutting measure for the Busch series. Crate engines would be formula engines built to identical standards, IROC-style; they could be mass produced for maybe $8,000 apiece, considerably less than $60,000-plus Daytona/Talladega Busch engines currently used. NASCAR already hands out identical shocks and springs at Daytona and Talladega.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-2-2005)
- Rusty tapes special message and host fan: One racing fan, who is battling cancer, requested to meet her favorite men: Rusty Wallace and Dr. Phil McGraw. Wallace couldn't make the taping of McGraw's show last Thursday, but he taped a spot for the episode, which was to be broadcast this Friday. Wallace also sent his race shoes from Las Vegas and will be host to the fan at the Nextel All-Star Challenge May 21 at Charlotte.(Sporting News)(5-2-2005)
- Marlin has an offer for 2006? liquor company as sponsor? #40-Sterling Marlin already has said he’s “99 percent” sure he won’t be back driving for Chip Ganassi next year. Multiple sources in the garage indicate that a well-known liquor company has contacted at least one established team about putting Marlin in one of its cars next season.(Speed Channel)(5-2-2005)
- #14 Team done? Charpentier goes back to DEI: The #14 ppc Racing Cup team is being dismantled, and it's not surprising that crew chief Dave Charpentier has returned to Dale Earnhardt Inc. The #14 team was in existence for just a few months, so don't expect Charpentier to take any of Ford's secrets to Chevrolet.(Sporting News)(5-2-2005)
- More on Toyota: The key issue in the NASCAR Cup garage at the moment is Toyota's apparently imminent step up to the Busch series next season, with an expected Nextel Cup debut in 2007. Toyota's NASCAR model is expected to be the Avalon, though some are looking at the Solara, too. Toyota, according to sources, wants to field two Busch teams next year, with engines provided by the company, as it has done with its NASCAR Truck program. However, NASCAR officials are reported to have told Toyota that it would have to provide support to least five or six teams. Toyota is also reported to be bidding for some big-name NASCAR teams for its Busch effort, the biggest name mentioned being Chevy kingpin Rick Hendrick. GM executives insist they've got firm contracts with Hendrick for the next several years. However the Hendrick-Toyota questions have persisted, in part perhaps because Hendrick is one of the country's biggest Lexus dealers. Adding fuel to the Toyota-NASCAR issue are reports that Toyota plans to drop its IRL support at the end of the season (the company is spending nearly $100 million this year on its Indy-car program) and that Honda executives have indicated to IRL boss Tony George they don't plan to stick it out either if Honda is to become the only engine supplier to that series.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-2-2005)
- Petty to test at the Rock - TODAY: #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.(4-27/5-2-2005)
- Pressley honored: It’s very fitting that Bob Pressley has been commemorated in a manner that will have people thinking of him while they’re gripping a steering wheel. For Bob Pressley, well, when he gripped a steering wheel it meant business. Bob Pressley was a winner on the racetrack, but more importantly off the racetrack. He passed away a little more than a year ago at age 71, but is most definitely not forgotten. Pressley’s resume is impressive. He was the track champion at Asheville Motor Speedway seven times. He worked magic when he seized the steering wheel, winning more than 500 races. Earlier this week the two-mile stretch of Brevard Road/N.C. 191 where he once tooled around in a Model A Ford was officially renamed Bob Pressley Highway. The experience he gained in a Model A Ford translated to a four-decade racing career. He became a legend, and an important part of local history. His is a legacy worth remembering. The Pressley family is an important thread in the fabric of the rich heritage of racing in Western North Carolina. Son Robert Pressley is a NASCAR fixture, and grandson Coleman is carrying the legacy on by racing at Hickory Motor Speedway.(Citizen Times)(5-2-2005)
- No major changes in 2006 schedule? Don't expect any major changes in next year's Cup schedule, which likely won't be released until September.(Sporting News), last year the 2005 schedule was announced on May 14th.(5-2-2005)
- #00 Team in trouble? Kenny Wallace's #00 team could be in big trouble with NASCAR after inspectors at Talladega Superspeedway confiscated a trick rear-end housing from the team, owned by Michael Waltrip. A fine is expected, and some speculate it'll be $50,000, because the design might be considered a safety issue.(Winston Salem Journal), the team failed to qualify for the race.(4-30-2005)
UPDATE: Nextel Cup Director John Darby said a major penalty likely will be levied by NASCAR over the offset rear axle that was seized Friday from the #00 Chevrolet owned by Michael Waltrip Racing and driven by Kenny Wallace. The car failed to qualify for Sunday’s race.(Speed Channel)(5-2-2005)