Hall of Fames Museums
MAY 23-29, 2005
News from May 30, 2005
News from May 29, 2005
- Johnson wins wreckfest at LMS: #48-Jimmie Johnson passed #18-Bobby Labonte at the line by half of a car in a wild Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway for his third straight Coca-Cola 600 win, an all-time record. The race lasted 5 hours, 13 minutes and 56 seconds [the record is 5 hours, 34 minutes, 6 seconds], had an ALL-TIME NASCAR Grand National/Winston Cup/Nextel Cup race record for cautions with 22 cautions, 18 for wrecks, 1 for an engine and 3 for debris for 103 laps. Labonte finished 2nd after started dead last when the team changed the transmission for the start of the race and was a lap down and got a lucky dog lap back in the race, followed by #99-Edwards, #19-Mayfield and #12-Newman. Nice top-10's by #1-Martin Truex Jr. and the new 50 year-old #49-Ken Schrader who finished 9th.
For my race rundown, see my Charlotte/Lowe's Race Info/Rundown Page
For race results, see Jayski's Coca-Cola 600 Race Results/Awards page.(5-29-2005)
- Back to Back winners of the Coca-Cola 600: #48-Jimmie Johnson won his 3rd straight Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, a new record, the six other times the race was won two times in a row:
Jeff Gordon, 1997-1998
Dale Earnhardt, 1992-1993
Darrell Waltrip, 1988-1989
Neil Bonnett, 1982-1983
Darrell Waltrip, 1978-1979
Buddy Baker, 1972-1973
- #8 Crew Chief Candidates UPDATE: The two men most prominently mentioned yesterday as candidates [to be #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s new crew chief] were Jimmy Elledge, who is Earnhardt's brother-in-law [married to Kelley] and also crew chief for Chip Ganassi and #41-Casey Mears, and Robbie Reiser, crew chief for 2003 champion #17-Matt Kenseth and owner Jack Roush.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-27-2005)
UPDATE: Jimmy Elledge, crew chief on Casey Mears' #41 Target Dodge, has risen to the top of the rumor-mill list of candidates to become Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s permanent crew chief. But the same family conflicts that many blamed for the split between Earnhardt and his uncle and long-time crew chief, Tony Eury Sr., would be an issue again because Elledge is married to Kelley Earnhardt, Dale Jr.'s sister. "It can be a good thing, but I could have brother-in-law, my mother-in-law and my wife all mad at me at the same time," Elledge said, emphasizing that his comments shouldn't be construed as proof that he's seeking the job. But, he said, he's up to the challenge of leading a high-profile team like Earnhardt's #8 Budweiser crew. "I feel I'm ready for it and could handle it," he said, adding that the job of preparing a car for NASCAR's highest-profile driver comes pressure-packed. You've got to be ready for all the challenges," he said. "You've got a sponsorship sitting there that obviously the sky's the limit as far as money. You have a driver sitting there that everybody knows can contend to win the championship. So you'd better have your gun loaded when you walk in the door and know that if you're going to do it you've got to step up to that level and be able to produce. Otherwise it's not going to be a fun ride."
He also said that Earnhardt is very much like his father and requires a special touch as a crew chief. "He's a strong personality," Elledge said. "I watched Kirk [Shelmerdine] and Andy Petree have to hit [Dale Earnhardt Sr.] with a ball bat every once in a while to keep him straight," he said. "[Earnhardt Jr.] is the same way."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(5-29-2005)
- Nice Gesture: The Print Media Relief Fund will hold a yard sale near the Will Call booth in the Gate 4 area outside the frontstretch today, beginning about 1 p.m. Reporters have donated books, briefcases, hats and other items, and will offer them to fans for reasonable donations. Money will go to help NASCAR pay to provide the same weekly statistical update books to print media, who now get a slimmed-down version of what goes to television personnel. (Actually, the money will go to Victory Junction Gang Camp. NASCAR is a lost cause. The whole thing's being done to make a point.)(ThatsRacin.com)(5-29-2005)
- Kvapil sues Meshkin [BANG]: Penske Racing South driver #77-Travis Kvapil, a rookie in the Nextel Cup Series, has filed suit in North Carolina against his former employer, Alex Meshkin, who owned the now-defunct Bam! [Actually it is BANG not BAM] Racing Craftsman Truck team. Kvapil, who drove for Bam! Last season, alleges that Meshkin was contracted to provide a Busch Series ride for him this year but failed to do so. Meshkin, who is also involved in litigation with former employee Larry McReynolds, closed his race team late last year.(Speed Channel)(5-29-2005)
- Jeff Gordon donates $1M for hospital: Jeff Gordon is donating $1 million for the construction of what will now be known as the “Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital At NorthEast Medical Center.”
“I believe children and families are really the heart and soul of our future,” Gordon said. The contribution comes from the Jeff Gordon Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping support the physical, social and intellectual needs of children and their families.
Gordon said even though he doesn’t have kids, his work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Riley Hospital for Children in Indiana and other organizations give him the opportunity to meet with children often. “It still blows me away every time I meet them,” he said. “I walk away from them with my heart breaking.” Gordon said he chose to support a hospital in the Concord area in part because of Concord’s racing connection. “You have to factor in how many of the people are involved in racing in this community,” he said. “The gift from The Jeff Gordon Foundation will help ensure the best medical care for the racing families in this community, especially their children.”
Gordon also mentioned NEMC’s standing as the only North Carolina hospital to be named as a “100 Top Hospital” for the past four consecutive years as one of these reasons for his support. The children’s hospital will serve patients from birth to age 18 and will be located in part of two new floors under construction on the Clinical Services building at NEMC. The Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital at NorthEast Medical Center will have 26,800 square feet of space that will house a 24-bed pediatric unit. The fact that Jeff Gordon’s racing number is 24 and the hospital will have 24 beds is a coincidence, said Lee Brower, director of communications for NEMC. In fact, the hospital will also have a 5-bed pediatric intensive care unit, a children’s playroom, a Teen Café, an outpatient treatment clinic and a new Child Advocacy Center. The patient rooms will include private beds and baths, televisions and DVD players, monitoring capabilities, play space and Internet workstations. Targeted to open in December of 2006, the hospital is estimated to cost $9.4 million. The NEMC Foundation will raise $5.9 million of that over the next three years. Gordon said his $1 million donation is just the next step for the Jeff Gordon Foundation and said he may consider having a signature event for the hospital or donating more money in the future for other things related to the Children’s Hospital. “The demand will be there to continue to have more equipment and facilities,” he said. “Who knows where it will stop?”(Independent Tribune)(5-29-2005)
- Coca-Cola 600 Notes:
• Jimmie Johnson won the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, scoring his 16th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
victory in his 123rd career start.
• Johnson became the first driver to score three straight Coca-Cola 600 victories. It was Johnson’s fourth victory
and seventh finish better than seventh in eight races at Lowe’s.
• It is Johnson’s second victory in 2005. He also won at Las Vegas in March.
• Johnson remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, 71 ahead of second-place Greg Biffle.
• Johnson won the $90,000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus for winning the race and leading the point
standings. He also won it at Las Vegas, winning $30,000. The bonus will roll-back to $10,000 at Dover.
• Johnson led just three times for 11 laps including a last lap lead change - the second time in 2005 that there has been
a lead change on the final lap. Carl Edwards passed Johnson on the final lap at Atlanta in March to score his careerfirst
• Johnson scored his third straight victory at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Fred Lorenzen is the only other driver to do
win three straight here.
• Johnson has scored nine top-10 finishes in 12 races this season, more than any other driver.
• Johnson scored the 12th victory for car owner Rick Hendrick at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the most of any owner.
This was Hendrick’s 135th victory as a car owner and fifth in 12 races this season.
• This marked the sixth victory for Chevrolet in 2005.
• The 21 lap leaders in the 2005 Coca-Cola 600 is a record for this event. The most leaders in a NASCAR NEXTEL
Cup race is 26 at Talladega set July 1986 and April 2001.
• The 22 caution periods in the 2005 Coca-Cola 600 is an all-time record in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
• Bobby Labonte (second) posted his 11th top-five finish in 25 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Labonte scored his
first top-five finish since he finished third at Pocono in June 2004. He climbed from 31st to 24th in the NASCAR
NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Carl Edwards (third) posted a top-five finish in his first race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He scored his fifth top-10
finish in 12 races in 2005. Edwards has scored 10 top-10 finishes in 25 career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. He
climbed from 13th to eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Jeremy Mayfield (fourth) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 23 race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He scored his
second top-10 finish in 2005.
• Ryan Newman (fifth) scored his fourth top-10 finish in nine races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Newman has scored
six top-10 finishes in 2005. He climbed from seventh to fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
• Mark Martin (28th) ended a 33-race streak of running at the finish that began at Michigan last June.
• Six of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
• Jeff Gordon (30th) posted his fourth DNF in 2005. No other driver in the top-10 in the point standings has more
than two. Gordon dropped from third to fifth in the point standings.
• Kurt Busch (43rd) posted his second DNF in 2005. This was the third time in his career that he finished 43rd in a race.
He finished 43rd in both races at Michigan in 2001. Busch dropped from fifth to 10th in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP
standings. He holds a 47-race streak of ranking among the top 10 since Rockingham in February 2004.
• Martin Truex Jr. led four laps, the first laps led in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
• Ricky Rudd led one lap in the 2005 Coca-Cola 600, his first lap led since Kansas in October 2004.
• Looking ahead to the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.... 16 drivers remain within 400 points of current
point leader Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-29-2005)
- Rumblings - Lowe's Motor Speedway:
We ran 400 laps tonight at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and the winner wasn't decided till the last turn of the last lap! Jimmie Johnson passed Bobby Labonte on the outside coming off turn 4 for the final time and pulled off the three-peat tonight in the Coca-Cola 600. Johnson came from 3rd in the five-lap shootout after a late race red flag to get his second victory of the year (he won at Las Vegas in March), the 16th of his Nextel Cup career (he's solo in 40th place on the all-time win list), and his 4th win in the last 5 events at "his house".
This was win #135 for Hendrick Motorsports (their fifth of 2005) and was worth $470,091 from the over $6.3M in posted awards.
Set a bunch of records lately. We had a race record for leaders (21), a Cup record for cautions (22), and a world record for the use of the word "levigate". Hopefully we won't threaten those last two marks anytime in the near future. Sterling Marlin hit it on the head.....he can thank NASCAR for his being involved in the wreck that took out two of the Ganassi cars. Surely we've never been heard to utter "they make 'em up as they go along", have we?
Bobby Labonte (2nd) had his best finish since he was the runner-up at Martinsville in April of 2004. His Top-5 finish gives us 24 drivers to
score that mark this season....last year we had 31 drivers grab a T-5.
Carl Edwards (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Atlanta in March.
Martin Truex Jr (7th) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 21st at Talladega earlier this month. His Top-10 finish makes 34 drivers to garner a Top-10 this season....last year we had 39 of 'em.
Dale Jarrett (8th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Bristol in April.
Jeff Green (11th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Martinsville last October.
Kevin Lepage (12th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Daytona in February.
Mike Bliss (15th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Fontana in February.
Mike Wallace (16th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Richmond last September.
Kyle Petty (17th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Bristol in April.
Bill Elliott (20th) had his best finish since he was 9th at the Brickyard last August.
STREAKIN....Ryan Newman has 3 Top-5's in a row. Greg Biffle has 3 Top-10's in a row.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is a tie between Bobby Labonte (+32) and Jeremy Mayfield (+32), followed by Kevin Lepage (+31), Jeff Green (+28 ), Greg Biffle (+27), Mike Wallace (+26), Kyle Petty (+20), and Joe Nemechek (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Matt Kenseth (-34), followed by Jeff Gordon (-28 ), Jimmy Spencer (-25), Kasey Kahne (-22), and Johnny Sauter (-21). Almost a third of the field active in the "Shaft" tonight.
Martin Truex Jr led tonight for the first time in his NEXTEL Cup career. Bill Elliott led tonight for the first time since he led twice for 26 laps
at Texas in April of '04. Ricky Rudd led tonight for the first time since he led once for 2 laps at Kansas last October. We've had 40 different drivers lead a lap this season....last year we had 50 different leaders.
Jimmie Johnson padded his points lead tonight....it's back up to 71 markers over Greg Biffle. We also lopped another three drivers from our "Stayin' Alive" line....it's now 16. The low-water mark this year was 15 when we left Darlington a couple weeks ago.
Bobby Labonte (31st to 24th) made the best move forward in the points this weekend, while Kurt Busch (5th to 10th) and Ricky Rudd (27th to 32nd) fell the most spots.
Our "locked-in" list (the Top-35 in Owner Points) appears to be stabilized as Jason Leffler (by virtue of missing this week's event) is now 143 points out of 35th on the Owner Points list....and that's gonna take a good two to three races (in all probability) to make up.(Stock Car Fans)(5-29-2005)
- Newman's team may change the engine UPDATE no change: from a Clear!Blue - Dodge Charger quotes PR:
MATT BORLAND (Crew chief No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger) COMMENT ON POSSIBLE ENGINE CHANGE FOR SUNDAY'S 600:
"Ryan felt a vibration (in Happy Hour). We don't know if it was the engine tires or what. It got better afterwards. Usually it doesn't get better. I wouldn't take a chance on a 300-mile race. Usually if the engine is vibrating it's going to go and it's going to go pretty soon. They've torn everything down and everything looks as good as normal. We're still looking. By then (tomorrow) we'll either change it or give it a blessing and send it on its way." NOTE: If the team does change engines, Newman would start at the rear of the field befpre the drop of the green flag for the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(5-29-2005)
UPDATE: Newman's team did not change the engine and will start from the pole.(5-29-2005)
- #725 for Petty: #45-Kyle Petty will start his 725 career Nexte Cup race in today's Coca Cola 600, Petty is 7th on the all-time start list.(5-29-2005)
News from May 28, 2005
- Sad News: Joe Lee Johnson, 75, winner of the first Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 1960, passed away today after battling cancer. Arrangements are incomplete at this time. Information when available will be posted here and released to other media outlets.(Cleveland Speedway site). Johnson ran 55 Nextel Cup [then Grand National] races from 1957 thru 1962, winning 2 with 4 top 5's and 10 top 10's.(5-26-2005)
MORE Joe Lee Johnson, 75, died in a Chattanooga hospital on Thursday morning, after a battle with cancer. He was of the Baptist faith. He was the owner of Cleveland Speedway Inc., in Cleveland. He was the inaugural winner of the World 600, in Charlotte, N.C., in 1960, and held numerous other racing titles. He was a pioneer in the early days of NASCAR. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the East Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home with the Rev. Luther Eslinger officiating. Interment will be in Lakewood Memory Gardens, East. The family will receive friends after 2 p.m. on Saturday at the East Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 404 South Moore Road. Memorial contributions may be made to the Bradley County Humane Society. Please share your thoughts and memories at Mem.com. See more at the Chattanoogan.(5-28-2005)
- FedEx, Interstate Batteries Team Up for Coca-Cola 600 IMAGE: Due to Joe Gibbs Racing’s #11 race car failing to qualify for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Charlotte, officials from Joe Gibbs Racing, FedEx and Interstate Batteries agreed that FedEx would become the primary sponsor of the #18 Chevrolet for the Coca-Cola 600, replacing Interstate Batteries. Bobby Labonte will remain as the driver of the #18. Crew chief Steve Addington and the entire #18 crew will also retain their normal duties. The #18 Chevrolet was to have run a Madagascar paint scheme in the Coca-Cola 600. However, DreamWorks and Action Performance Co. have graciously agreed to postpone the Madagascar promotion until the June 12 Pocono 500 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. “We can’t thank Interstate Batteries and FedEx enough for enabling us to deal with this setback in the most positive manner possible,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “We stress teamwork throughout Joe Gibbs Racing. To have Interstate Batteries, who has been with us since day one, and FedEx, our newest sponsor, and Bobby Labonte and the #18 crew work through this bit of adversity so seamlessly speaks volumes about the quality of our sponsors and the character of our team.”(Joe Gibbs Racing site)(5-27-2005)
IMAGE: see an image of the car on my #18 Team Schemes page, thanks to Cup Scene Online for the image.(5-28-2005)
- Craven doesn't expect to replace Martin: Craftsman Truck Series racer Ricky Craven was at Texas Motor Speedeay Tuesday, testing for the Chex 400 race on June 10. Tuesday also was his 39th birthday. The former Nextel Cup driver joined Roush Racing this year with hopes of getting back to Cup racing. But he doesn't think he will be selected to replace the retiring Mark Martin next season in the #6 Viagra Ford. "I think that's very remote," he said. "At 39, I'm sort of the end of the scale for what teams are looking for. I totally focused on this truck team and winning the championship this season." Martin is ending his Cup career but not his racing career. Craven expects Martin to join him in the truck series as a teammate next year.(Dallas Morning News)(5-27-2000)
UPDATE: Ricky Craven remains firmly focused on winning the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points championship for Roush Racing but admitted he now feels his chances of replacing Mark Martin in the #6 Ford in the Nextel Cup series next season are "remote." Martin is retiring from full-time Nextel Cup racing to run in the Truck series. "The reason I think it's remote is I turned 39 years old a couple of days [May 24] ago and that is clearly not the trend," said Craven. "I'm not trying to talk myself out of a job but I'm realistic. Roush Racing is evaluating the opportunity and the drivers and that's exactly what they should be doing. I have made it clear I'm interested in racing Cup cars with Roush Racing. I still feel I've got several good years ahead of me and that my best years are still ahead of me," he added. "I won two [Cup] races the last four years and I'm determined to succeed again. I certainly have no reservations whatsoever that I can compete at the top of my game the next two, three, four years."
There was some speculation Procter and Gamble/Tide was interested in hooking up with Craven in a Roush car next season. However, they will have one year left on their contract with PPI Motorsports after this season. "I haven't had any discussions with them," said Craven. He said he has no interest in speculating on the future.(Bangor Daily News)(5-28-2005)
- Hermie out? UPDATE 2: hearing that driver Hermie Sadler and the #66 Peak Fitness Racing team have parted ways effective immediately. No word on who will drive the car at Dover next week. Salder and the #66 team failed to make the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and four other races in 2005 and are out of the top-35 in owners points.
UPDATE: been told by the team that this is untrue and that Hermie Sadler will be driving the #66 Peak Fitness Ford next weekend at Dover and for the balance of the 2005 season. The Peak Fitness Team is dedicated to improving their equipment and performance and feel good about the progress we have made since establishing the team on January 7, 2005.(Peak Fitness Team)(5-27-2005)
UPDATE 2: Hermie Sadler denied an Internet report last night that he was exiting the #66 Ford. Car owner Jeff Stec called the Emporia native last night when he learned of the rumor. "There's no truth to that at all," said Sadler, who didn't make tomorrow's Coca-Cola 600 and is ranked 40th in points. "We'll be going to Dover next week."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-28-2005)
- NASCAR Scene and others as court to open documents: NASCAR Scene and three other news organizations have asked a North Carolina court to open up documents in Richard Childress Racing's suit over an insurance company's failure to pay a claim in the death of Dale Earnhardt. Attorney Brad Kutrow filed the motion on behalf of Scene, the Associated Press, the Charlotte Observer and the North Carolina Press Association after Davidson County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Taylor sealed Earnhardt's driving contract and other exhibits in the case. RCR is suing United of Omaha Life Insurance for what it says was a failure to adequately investigate its claim before refusing to pay on a $3.7 million policy the team contends it had taken out on the driver. The company contends that the policy was not valid because Earnhardt, who died in the 2001 Daytona 500, had not taken a required physical and because initial payments for the policy were not handled properly. Judge Taylor is expected to hear the motion to open the documents Tuesday.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(5-28-2005)
- Newman to start Coke 600 on outside pole? UPDATE - Yep: during Newman's press conference, he was asked: "WILL YOU START ON THE OUTSIDE? [at the start of Sunday's Coca-Cola 600] "Do I have that option? I'll have to think about that. I've got two or three days. That's a good one."(Dodge/Clear!Blue PR), yes he has the option, the pole sitter can start on the inside or outside line, if the driver chooses the outside, only the outside pole sitter [in this case #24-Jeff Gordon] changes, moving to the 'pole' or inside. And yes, this is an option the pole sitter has for every race.(5-27-2005)
UPDATE - Yep: Ryan Newman's Penske Racing outfit has exercised the option to start on the outside of the front row in the Coca-Cola 600, crew chief Matt Borland confirmed Saturday. Yep, we're going to do it," Borland said. "The bottom of Turns 1 and 2 isn't real good, so we're going to start on the outside tomorrow." Per the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series rulebook, the pole-winning team has the option to flip-flop starting positions with the second-place qualifier and start in the outside line if they so desire. Though rare, this has happened before, and in fact happened just last weekend in the Nextel Open when pole-winner Mike Bliss chose the outside line over the traditional pole position, leaving second-place qualifier Kyle Busch to start in the typical pole slot. Jeff Gordon will start in the traditional pole position in the Coca-Cola 600.(NASCAR.com)(5-28-2005)
News from May 27, 2005
- Fellows in the #32 at Infineon Raceway AND Watkins Glen?: PPI Motorsports announced that veteran road course driver Ron Fellows will climb behind the wheel of the #32 Tide/Downy Chevy for the upcoming NASCAR Nextel Cup event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA, on June 26. PPIM’s owner, Cal Wells III made the decision based on NASCAR’s current qualifying rules. Bobby Hamilton Jr., remains the driver of the Tide ride. “I want to stress the fact that I have the utmost faith in my driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr.,” said Wells. “Unfortunately, our team has suffered a string of bizarre circumstances that has equated to 37th place in the NASCAR Nextel Cup owner points. I felt, as did Bobby Jr., qualifying would be a major concern at Infineon since we may have to race our way in. Therefore, I believe it is in the best interest of the team to turn to one of the best road course racers in motorsports to help improve our results. Fellows can not only help our owner points but also provide the Tide team with a legitimate shot at winning at the race.”
“It’s no secret I do not have the experience or the professional road course schooling needed to feel comfortable about qualifying successfully at a road course,” added Hamilton Jr., who has raced only three times in his career at Watkins Glen in the NASCAR Busch Series. “The Tide team is not in a situation to take chances so putting Fellows in the car is a good decision.”
Fellows, 45, is recognized as one of North America’s best road course drivers. From Mississauga, Ontario, he has a vast array of NASCAR experience after wielding Chevrolets in all three NASCAR series. To his credit, he has five NASCAR victories and has won in every level of competition he’s raced. Currently, he drives full time in the American Le Mans Series for Corvette Racing. His most recent win came last month at Road Atlanta. Fellows and teammate Johnny O'Connell drove the new Corvette C6.R to its first victory as well as tying the ALMS record with 22 career wins.(PPI Motorsports)(5-26-2005)
Watkins Glen too? from a GM Pres Release, comments by #32 Team Owner, Cal Wells: "And I think we'll bounce back and dig in. And, you know, we've got Ron (Fellows) driving for us at the road courses and I'm sure he'll get it in the show there. So, I think we'll be fine. We'll claw our way back." Sounds like Fellows will drive at Watkins Glen in August also?(GM RP)(5-27-2005)
- Wilson signs up with Robby: Fruit of the Loom and Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods have entered into a licensing agreement whereby the world-renowned apparel company will produce, sell and market a line of Activewear products inspired by and designed for today's athletes. Wilson is one of the highest-rated sporting goods brands among consumers 12-65 years of age. The new Wilson Activewear line will be sold through sports specialty and mid-tier retailers throughout the United States. The Wilson logo will appear on the #7 Chevrolet for the remaining races [Daytona, Indianapolis; California, Talladega, Martinsville, Texas, and Phoenix] in which Fruit of the Loom is contracted to be Robby Gordon's primary sponsor this season, beginning with this weekend’s Coca Cola 600.(Team Gordon)(5-27-2005)
- Crawford holds off on Cup deal: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series racer #14-Rick Crawford said Ford officials talked to him about running a few Nextel Cup races later this season, but Crawford decided against it. "It takes about $125,000 to build just one of those cars, not including the engine," Crawford said at TMS Tuesday. "But that car is going to be obsolete in a year. I didn't think the timing was right to do it." Crawford is talking about NASCAR's plans for the so-called "Car of Tommorow." It's a redesigned body that all the Cup teams will use by 2007.(Dallas Morning News)(5-27-2000)
- Rusty in, Mikey out at Trackside? UPDATE Mikey's choice: hearing that Rusty Wallace will replace Michale Waltrip on Speed Channel's Trackside show, starting sometime this summer. No reason mentioned. The show airs on Friday's at various times, sometime live and sometimes same day coverage and is hosted by Steve Byrnes with Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond adding commentaty and funny stuff to the mix. Guest each week include drivers from the different NASCAR Series and other NASCAR personalities.(5-19-2005)
UPDATE: Waltrip said on this weeks Inside Nextel Cup show, Speed Channel [Monday's 8:00pm/et] that it was his choice to leave and that he was too busy with driving the #15 Cup car and #99 Busch Series car.(5-27-2005)
- Hospital to be named after Gordon....(who cares if he can't sing): NorthEast Medical Center [Concord, NC] will announce Friday that its new children’s hospital will be named after Jeff Gordon. The Jeff Gordon Foundation will make a significant contribution to the medical center. The children’s hospital will come at a cost of $9.4 million, $5.9 million of which will be raised by the NEMC Foundation in the next three years. Details on Gordon’s contribution will be announced Friday at a news conference. According to a release sent out Wednesday afternoon, “NorthEast Medical Center and The Jeff Gordon Foundation will announce a significant financial gift directed toward a project focusing on children’s causes.” The announcement will be made at 1:00pm/et on Friday to the media at Hendrick Motorsports in Harrisburg, NC. Gordon, a four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, established the Jeff Gordon Foundation in 1999 to provide support for charitable organizations that help children overcome serious illnesses. Instead of a free-standing structure, the children’s hospital will be part of two new floors currently being added to the Clinical Services building. The pediatric ward, pediatric intensive care unit and Child Advocacy Center that are already part of the hospital will be located in the new children’s hospital. The 26,800-square foot children’s hospital will include 14 patient rooms, support spaces and an outpatient treatment clinic, in addition to the five-bed PICU and the Child Advocacy Center.(Independent Tribune)(5-27-2005)
- Looks like Rusty declines to team up with Martin: Could Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace — both of whom are in their last full seasons in Nextel Cup — share time together next season behind the wheel of one of Jack Roush’s Ford Nextel Cup cars? It’s a long shot, the principals involved said Thursday, but not impossible. Martin said Thursday he’s contemplating doing a split Cup season next year in a Roush Ford. “If you could share a full schedule with the #6 car with another top driver, that’s never been done before,” said Martin. “Selling that to a sponsor, it would take the right sponsor and it would take a lot of things.” Martin’s car owner, Jack Roush, said the odd were not good that it would happen and the more realistic option is that Martin ends up in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in a Roush Ford F-150. “If you ask me to put odds on that (a part-time Cup deal for Martin next year), I’d say the chances of that are pretty slim, between a 1 and a 30 percent probability,” Roush said. “He’d have to reach an accommodation with Rusty (Wallace) or with another driver and I’d have to put together a sponsor package that would be attractive on a year-to-year basis to fund it at a level of a championship program. I’m not saying I couldn’t do it, but it’s going to be a challenge.”
“They’d like me to do that and right now my decision is not to do anything like that,” added Wallace. “Although that’s a very, very attractive offer and it does make a lot of sense.”(Speed Channel)(5-27-2005)
News from May 26, 2005
- MLB and Dale Jr. team up again - image: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to run a MLB [Major League Baseball] scheme at the Chicagoland Speedway race in July, see an image of the scheme on my #8 Team Schemes page.(5-26-2005)
- Newman wins pole with new track record: #12-Ryan Newman won the pole for the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a new track record of 192.988mph, breaking his own track record set last Oct of 188.877mph. Twenty-two driver broke the old track record thanks to the levigation [smoothing] that was done this past spring. The Budweiser pole is the 4th of 2004 for Newman and 31st of his career. Newman has won three career races from the pole. Did ya know? all four of Newman's 2004 poles have been at SMI tracks: Las Vegas, Atlanta, Texas, Lowe's.
#24-Jeff Gordon is on the outside pole with the rest of the top-five being #17-Matt Kenseth, #9-Kasey Kahne and #48-Jimmie Johnson. Missing the race were #11-Leffler [was 37th fastest], #32-Hamilton Jr., #66-Sadler, #36-Said, #34-Fuller, #00-Long, #92-Raines, #75-Garvey and #27-Shelmerdine. #13-Sacks withdrew after running slow in practice.
The speed of 192.988mph moves Lowe's Motor Speedway in 2nd for the fastest CURRENT race track on the tour with only Atlanta faster.
See starting lineup, qualifying results, pole progression, top-35 how they did, practice results on Jayski's Semi-Live Qualifying Page.(5-26-2005)
- TV Ratings for All-Star Race: The 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge earned a 4.3 rating on FX, up 19% over the 3.6 rating for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge. The number of households (HH) increased 24% to 3,691,000 as number of viewers increased 14% to 5,484,000. The event was the highest-rated NASCAR all-star event ever.(NASCAR)(5-26-2005)
- Fan Voting for Challenge: #1-Martin Truex Jr. won the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge fan vote to secure a position in the field. Truex led the voting as a record 438,931 votes were cast for drivers.(NASCAR) AND NO I have not seen nore found the vote tally, who was 2nd or the rundown.(5-26-2005)
- Marcis OK after Lawn Mower Accident: Former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Dave Marcis is recovering at his home in Arden, N.C., after suffering facial injuries in a lawn-mowing accident on Wednesday. Marcis was mowing grass at his property in Rib Lake, Wisconsin when a rock flew from underneath the mower, striking him in the cheek area. Marcis incurred a laceration that required five stitches. Also, several teeth were damaged by the impact, necessitating a trip to the dentist on Thursday afternoon. “Actually, I’m pretty lucky,” Marcis said. “”The rock could’ve hit me in eye, or in the temple.” Marcis, 64, retired from NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing after the 2002 season. He ended his 35-year NASCAR career with 883 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup starts. He was the runner-up in the 1975 championship standings. “I told my wife (Helen) that I need to go back racing,” Marcis said. “This lawn-mowing stuff is dangerous.”(NASCAR PR)(5-26-2005)
- Biffle close to re-signing with Roush UPDATE signed: #16-Greg Biffle still hasn't picked up a pen to sign a new contract with Roush Racing. But Geoff Smith, the team's general manager, says he's hopeful that Biffle will sign soon. Last month, Smith said that he wanted to complete Biffle's contract by the end of May. "Biffle is very, very close to being done," Smith said. "We're working through a couple of contract points, related to his sponsors actually. We got together with one and got that worked out. Now we're working with the other one. And I really expect that to be finished very shortly.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-26-2005)
UPDATE: Greg Biffle has renewed a multi-year agreement with Roush Racing to continue to drive the #16 Ford Taurus. In the midst of his eighth year with Roush Racing, a tenure that has included a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship and a NASCAR Busch Series Championship, Greg Biffle is considered a top contender for the Nextel Cup title. Now, 12 races into the 2005 season, Biffle and the National Guard team have three wins, four top-five finishes and seven top-10 finishes. Needless to say, Biffle has been quite busy. However, in the last week he has made time to finalize his contract with Roush.
"It just took a little while to iron out the details but I'm really happy to be making this announcement," said Biffle. "I've had a long, successful career at Roush Racing with the Truck and Busch Series Championships and I'd love to bring Jack his third Nextel Cup Championship. This National Guard team is at the top of its game right now and the energy is so high, it's just a really good feeling as a driver to be in this situation. I think you'll see a few more wins out of this team before the end of this season and we're doing everything we can to be ready for those final ten races. You never know how things are going to play out but we can at least make sure we're in the best position possible heading into the 'Chase'."
Team owner Jack Roush shares Biffle's excitement about the National Guard team and Biffle's future at Roush Racing. "Greg is a tremendous talent and his decision to remain at Roush is a commitment to his team," said Roush. "The #16 team has really come together and I think the best is yet to come for them. Greg and Doug (Richert) have a chemistry right now that you don't find very often between a driver and a crew chief. It's taken a little while to get to this point but their on-track performance this season speaks for itself."(Roush Racing)(5-26-2005)
- Gordon gets booed at Cubs game: Since the passing of Harry Caray, the Chicago Cubs have had a number of celebrity guests to lead the crowd in the singing of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch. Actors, musicians, politicians-- you name it-- they've all been to Wrigley Field for the seventh inning tradition. On Tuesday, May 24, Jeff Gordon visited the historic ballpark in Chicago to throw out the first pitch before the game. He donned the pinstriped Cubs home jersey to make his trek out to the mound for the ceremonial pitch. Gordon then headed up to the broadcast booth for the 7th inning, where WGN broadcaster Bob Brenly asked him for a ride home after the game. "What is the speed limit on Lake Shore Drive anyway?" Brenly joked. Gordon talked about the July race at Chicagoland Speedway and the NASCAR season. In the middle of the 7th inning, Gordon led the crowd in a rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," which definitely didn't go as smoothly as a lap around a NASCAR track (the words simply escaped him). Though Gordon's "Let's get some runs" proclamation at the conclusion turned out to be a boon for the home team as the Cubs rallied from a 2-0 deficit with 4 runs in the eighth inning to win the game.(Gordonline)
AND Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon is used to hearing boos at the racetrack, but on Tuesday, he was booed at Wrigley Field during a game between the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros. Gordon threw out the first pitch at the Chicago ballpark and sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th-inning stretch. After referring to the facility as "Wrigley Stadium", he sang off-microphone at the beginning and then stopped singing in the middle before attempting to catch up to his organ accompaniment at the end of the tune.(FoxSports)
AND II Cub's manager Dusty Baker said he felt for NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon, who was booed Tuesday night for his version of Take Me Out To The Ball Game. "It's hard to believe Jeff Gordon [would be booed]," Baker said. "For me, this guy is one of the greatest of all time. I don't know if he's going to come back now."(Chicago Tribune)(5-26-2005)
- #6 has sponsor, not ready on a driver: Geoff Smith, Roush Racing's general manager says of the #6 Ford ride that is open for 2006 [Martin retiring] "For Mark's ride, we have sponsorship ready and waiting for us to announce our driver, but we're not quite ready on the driver side." Smith says that Roush's operation has been doing its homework, finding out who is under contract and who is reasonably available. "We don't want to get entangled in other people's contracts," Smith said. "All we want to do is ask 'Are you under contract or not, and if you're not, do you have any interest in engaging in discussion? When you look at the row of drivers here, there are some drivers we don't feel would fit into our program, and there are other drivers who would fit but who aren't available. So we're not quite sure where we sit. One of the reasons we hired Ricky Craven (driving now for Roush's #99 truck operation) was to see if he could do it. One of the reasons we worked so hard to put Jon Wood (Eddie Wood's son) in a [#47] Busch program this year was to watch him as well. Both of those guys are still on our radar screen for possible selection. And we think both of those would do fine." The Wood option comes as Ricky Rudd, the Wood brothers' current driver, debates with himself about racing another year or retiring at the end of this season. "We just didn't want to settle on any one person until we were sure," Smith said. "I'm more sure about what the garage territory looks like than Jack, but it's Jack's job to make the inquiries, not mine. We wouldn't have any issue right now with filling Mark's seat except that we had to move Carl [Edwards] up early (when Jeff Burton left last summer)," Smith said. "We've got Ricky and Jon and three other young candidates behind them under contract that we're grooming, the most obvious being Todd Kluever (in the truck series)."(Winston Salem Journal)(5-26-2005)
- Mopar scheme for Kahne at LMS...in Oct: #9-Kasey Kahne is scheduled to run the blue and white Mopar scheme at Lowes Motor Speedway on October 15, 2005. See an image of the scheme on my #9 Team Schemes page.(5-26-2005)
- GoPhone for Burton at LMS: Jeff Burton’s bright orange #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet will have a new look at the Coca-Cola 600 with a special paint scheme to promote Cingular Wireless’ new GoPhone, a prepaid or pay-as-you-go wireless service providing consumers with the ultimate level of freedom, control and choice of their wireless products and plans. With no annual contract or credit check, GoPhone is perfect plan for the quick and painless wireless pit stop while still providing consumers with all of the latest products and services that have helped Cingular become the largest wireless carrier in the country.(RCR)(5-25-2005)
see an image of the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(5-26-2005)
- Writer to be honored at Indy: Mike Harris one of the most prominent motorsports journalists in the United States will be honored, by the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Award panel, for his lifetime of service to the award, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, May 27th. Harris started with the Associated Press in 1969 and has been the motorsports writer since 1980 and a member of the Expert Panel for 25 years. Born in Wisconsin, Harris had a number of assignments including the Indiana Sports Editor of AP. When the motorsports position opened up Harris thought it would be for three years. Instead he's remained on the beat up to the present day. Harris was a large part of the coverage that took auto racing out of the curiosity phase to mainstream media. One high point in his career came in 2001 when he won The Story of the Year and Deadline Writing APSE writing awards for his coverage of Dale Earnhardt's death at the Daytona 500. He has appeared on radio shows and television interviews too numerous to count in addition to the annual Speed Channel Driver of the Year Show. Harris said "I'm very honored. The Driver of the Year Award is very special to me, and, it's an honor to be thought of in that way by the panel." As a token of esteem of the panel Harris will be presented a Maurice Lacroix Swiss wristwatch and a plaque in pre-race activities for the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 in the Indy Racing League.(DOTY PR)(5-26-2005)
- Former Cup Crew Chief to run ARCA race: The #2 Petro Express/Shaver Motorsports entry for this weekends ARCA/ReMax race at the Lanier National Speedway will have a familiar face to the team behind the wheel for his first ARCA ReMax start. Jeff Buice, veteran crew chief for Shaver Motorsports, has been tapped by owner/driver Dan Shaver to pilot the Petro Express entry this weekend giving Buice a chance to experience the thrill of driving in the ARCA/ReMax series. Owner/driver Dan Shaver will assume crew chief responsibilities to make the driver/crew chief swap complete for this weekend's event. Buice served as crew chief for the #9 Melling Racing Winston Cup Series with drivers that included Lake Speed and Jerry Nadeau.
But Buice's experience is not just limited to just working on the car. Jeff Buice raced in and around the Atlanta area from the time he graduated from high school until he went to work in the Winston Cup series in 1989. During the past 2 years, Jeff has been racing in the SCCA, running in the ITS and GT2 classes, as well as serving as the crew chief for Shaver Motorsports since November 2002. More info on Jeff's driving career can be found at www.genesnipes.com. Buice has also been busy raising the next generation of the family into the world of Motorsports, his son Dalton. At age 13 he has become a major threat in karting events all along the south east and in both dirt and pavement races.(PR)(5-26-2005)
- Crew Standby for the #29: Dan Blizzard, the front tire changer for RCR's Busch Series driver #2-Clint Bowyer, will be on standby to change front tires on Kevin Harvick's #29 Cup car. Regular front changer Jason Pulver cut his hand at home one week ago and is listed as doubtful.(USA Today)(5-29-2005)
- Martin to be honored: #6-Mark Martin will be inducted into Lowe's Motor Speedway's prestigious Court of Legends prior to CTC Pole Night qualifying. Martin is also featured and honored on the ticket for CTC Pole Night. "It's a great honor," said Martin. "In my opinion Lowe's Motor Speedway is the greatest place on earth to race and I think a lot of the speedway and the people who have made it what it is. It's a great compliment to know that they think enough of me to do this and I'm honored by the recognition. We've had some great runs and great wins at Lowe's and hopefully we aren't done just yet." Martin will join NASCAR legends such as Richard Petty, Junior Johnson and Darrell Waltrip as his handprints and racing shoe print are cemented in the Court of Legends walkway leading to Lowe's Motor Speedway's main entrance. Speedway officials will also present Martin with a special framed edition of the CTC Pole Night collectible ticket featuring his likeness and detailing his accomplishments at the track. The ceremony will feature Martin and Lowe’s Motor Speedway president and general manager H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler and will be held at the Avenue of Flags leading to the second floor of the Smith Tower at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Roush Racing)(5-26-2005)
News from May 25, 2005
- Mowing for Victory Junction - Ends this weekend: Beginning Monday, Feb. 28, 2005, Hustler Turf Equipment will begin a three-month journey across America in a Super Z lawnmower – painted to resemble Richard Petty’s #43 Dodge. The trek will start in San Bernardino, Calif., traverse Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Lousiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina and conclude at the Pettys’ Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., just outside of Greensboro. Petty and the mower driver, Kansas State freshman Josh Schmidt, spoke about the “Mow for Victory Tour” in a Saturday morning press conference. For more information, check outwww.mowforvictorytour.com.(2-27-2005)
UPDATE: there will be a press conference at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Thursday, May 26th at 6:30 pm/pm and the ride will end at the Victory Junction Gang Camp on Saturday, May 28th at 10:00am/et.(5-25-2005)
- Living Legends of Auto Racing Museum relocates, to reopen: Living Legends of Auto Racing Museum in Daytona Beach, FL, will reopen on Saturday. The museum has relocated to Sunshine Park Mall in South Daytona. Several auto racing "legends" are expected to sign autographs and greet fans during Saturday's grand opening, including Marvin Panch, Jack Anderson, Mac McDonald, Pal Parker, Hilly Rife and Harold Cardwell. The museum, now in its fourth year of operation, is expanding its hours. The facility will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week, Monday through Saturday. There is no admission fee, but donations are welcome. The museum is the brainchild of the Living Legends of Auto Racing Board, founded 12 years ago by local racing aficionados. The museum highlights the auto-racing scene from 1903 -- the era of Malcolm Campbell and his contemporaries -- till the present. It also showcases contributions of so many connected with racing, from drivers and car owners to sponsors, techs, crews, design engineers and even the media who have helped turn the once dirt-track hobby to a billionaire industry. The museum is unique in a number of ways. First, it has no paid staff, but is run entirely by a dedicated corps of volunteers. The board organizes fund-raising events throughout the year, both for its own benefit as well as to share proceeds with communtiy agencies. Supporters can pay $15 for a one-year membership. Those older than 65 are offered a lifetime membership fee of $100. Museum manager John Peoples, a retired research photographer with Princeton University and photo-journalist, puts current annual museum membership at approximately 600, with about 100 lifetime members, scattered all around the globe. The museum publishes a quarterly newsletter, "The Cannonball," with racing trivia, biographbical sketches, racing lore and the like, as well as an annual Yearbook and Press Guide. At the same time, merchandise, souvenirs and related items sold at the museum help add to the coffers. For more information, call (386) 257-2828 or go to the Web site: www.livinglegendsofautoracing.com.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(5-25-2005)
- RCR Wins Engine Builder Showdown: Danny Lawrence and Greg Gunnell of Richard Childress Racing walked away with top honors Tuesday night after the final round of the Clevite Engine Builder Showdown. The winners earned $20,000 and will have their names on the new Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy. Dorton was director of engine development at Hendrick Motorsports. He was killed along with nine others in the crash of a team-owned plane that was en route to a race at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 24. A scholarship fund in Dorton's name has also been established, and an eBay charity to raise money for it continues through Friday. For more information about the fund or the auction, go to www.randydorton.com.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-25-2005)
- Sponsor for #99 at Pocono in June: Stonebridge Life Insurance Company will be the primary sponsor on the #99 Ford, driven by Carl Edwards, at the Pocono 500 on June 12. This will be the first time Stonebridge Life Insurance Company has sponsored a NEXTEL Cup car. Stonebridge Life Insurance Company is the sister company to World Financial Group, who appeared on the #99 Ford as a primary sponsor in 2004 and 2005. As a leading direct response insurer, Stonebridge Life offers families straightforward and convenient ways to protect their financial assets, especially when they feel like they are racing through everyday life. Like NASCAR and Roush Racing, they are committed to quality, quick response, and excellent service. It is these parallels that brought Stonebridge Life and Roush Racing's #99 team together. Stonebridge Life will be running a major promotion around their sponsorship, with details of the promotion announced in the coming weeks. Stonebridge Life Insurance Company offers term and whole life insurance plans directly to consumers via mail, phone, and the Internet. It is also a member of the AEGON Group, one of the world's largest insurance organizations.(Roush Racing)(5-25-2005)
- So...who is Dale Jr's spotter? Since Steve Hmiel will now be the crew chief and was #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr's spotter, who will spot for Dale Jr. now? been told ot will be part-time Busch Series driver Jimmy Kitchens.(5-25-2005)
- No penalties for Harvick/Nemechek: NASCAR will not punish Kevin Harvick or Joe Nemechek, who had a televised shoving incident that included verbal assaults after Stewart, Nemechek and Harvick started a wreck with five laps remaining in the All-Star Challenge.(Rocky Montain News)(5-25-2005)
- Smith plans to keep All-Star race at LMS: Speedway Motorsports owner Bruton Smith will continue to work to keep
the Nextel All-Star challenge at Lowes Motor Speedway. During a Q & A with reporters Smith was asked if he would consider moving the event if it stayed in the SMI family of facilities. Smith said "We're not going to move it to another one. We will not do that." Even Las Vegas? "We will not do that." But doesn't Vegas need another date? "Yeah, but it won't be that one."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-25-2005)
- Changes at the #8? Crew Chief? UPDATE 2 Hmiel in: Teresa Earnhardt made a surprise visit to Lowe's Motor Speedway last Saturday night, and some Dale Earnhardt Inc. insiders say it was a move to rally the troops. Several DEI sources expect changes to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #8 team this week. Pete Rondeau has performed admirably as crew chief, but the front office feels a stronger hand is needed to motivate the brew crew. Jimmy Elledge, crew chief for #41-Casey Mears, and Ford were mentioned as possible replacements. Tony Eury Jr., #15-Michael Waltrip's DEI crew chief and Earnhardt Jr.'s cousin, says he gave his word to his men that under no circumstances would he abandon them during the season.(Sporting News/PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-23-2005)
UPDATE: Effective immediately, Steve Hmiel will serve as interim crew chief on the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Dale
Earnhardt, Jr. in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, replacing Pete Rondeau. Richie Gilmore, Vice President of Motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc. stated, "We are capable of consistently winning and are focused on that as a company. We are going to concentrate our efforts on improved results with the number 8 car." Steve Hmiel, Technical Director at Dale Earnhardt Inc., will replace Rondeau commencing with this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. "Pete is a valuable asset and has brought a number of innovations to our
organization. He will continue to do that in a different capacity and we're happy that Pete is so strongly dedicated to Dale Earnhardt
Incorporated and its success," Gilmore said. He concluded, "We have high expectations of how our teams are to perform and we will utilize every resource we have to win races. Our primary objective is to get the 8 and the 15 solidly into the Chase for the Championship and as a company, we're focusing everything we have at that goal."(DEI PR)(5-24-2005)
UPDATE 2: DEI Vice President of Motorsports Richie Gilmore says he has a short list of possible crew chiefs for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the Bud Chevy team. This after DEI Technical Director Steve Hmiel was named as the interim replacement for Pete Rondeau who will stay with the company. Gilmore, who wouldn’t name names, says "There are some people under contract and if we can’t get the right guy Steve is prepared to do it for the rest of the year…and if it goes well it might be longer than that." Gilmore doesn’t characterize the move as driven by panic. "We had a plan in the off-season where we needed to get to and we’ve felt like we’ve seen a lot of results that we’ve been happy with…with the #15 and Michael Waltrip and Tony Eury Jr. The #8 was probably three-quarters of the way where we want it to be, but everything seems to be chemistry and the chemistry wasn’t there on race day. Communication from the pit
box to the race car was something that we felt needed to get better." Gilmore still thinks Rondeau has a bright future as a Nextel Cup Crew Chief. “We hope we can get him in a position to be a cup crew chief here down the road and to succeed because we think he is one of the top crew chiefs in the business. He was in a position where the chemistry wasn’t right."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-25-2005)
- #99 Crew chief to #8? #88? One man currently on everyone's want list is Bob Osborne, crew chief for Roush Racing's #99, with driver Carl Edwards. Having two plum positions [#8 and #88] open should open up the market considerably.(Speed Channel)(5-25-2005)
- Some IDOL stuff: Coca-Cola Racing Family driver Michael Waltrip will race eight finalists from the hit show "American Idol" and 12 children of active-duty North Carolina servicemen and women currently serving overseas. The event will be held Saturday at NASCAR SpeedPark in Concord BUT is not open to the public.
AND The eight "American Idol" finalists will perform on the Coca-Cola Stage at Food Lion Speed Street on Saturday, May 28th at 7 p.m. The finalists will also be part of the pre-race show on Sunday, May 29th at the Coca-Cola 600 when they sing the national anthem for nearly 200,000 race fans.
AND DW: Fox's Darrell Waltrip and family are guests of FOX Sports CEO David Hill @ American Idol Finals both Tuesday and Wednesday nights.(5-25-2005)
- Skinner in the #23 at LMS: Mike Skinner will run the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600. Skinner most recently raced the #23 Bill Davis Racing Dodge last month at Talladega Superspeedway, where he was taken out of contention in the 25-car pileup on lap 132 of the 194-lap event (started 34th, finished 42nd). He also raced the #23 at Daytona International Speedway in February.(Bill Davis Racing)(5-25-2005)
- #34 gets sponsor for Coke 600: Denver, NC based MACH 1 Inc. announced today that REVI Technical Wear will be
the primary sponsor on the #34 Chevy [driver Jeff Fuller?] this weekend for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowes Motor Speedway. REVI will remain as an associate sponsor on the #34 for the remainder of the 2005 season. Revi Technical Wear (www.reviwear.com) is a maker of custom team apparel. Their unique process is sublimation printing, which is a gas dyeing process. Revi's prints are permanent and enhance garment performance and wear. Revi is now
supplying Motorsport Crew apparel to major teams in Nextel Cup, Busch Series, Craftsman Truck Series, Trans AM, IRL and Champ Car markets. Their shirts feel and look better and will last longer than traditional crew shirts. An expert in sublimation printing, Revi has supplied a wide range of sports markets internationally for over 18 years. These sports include Cycling, Professional Baseball, Professional Soccer, Professional Lacrosse and Summer and Winter Olympic Sports.(Mach 1 PR), see image of the scheme on my #34 Team Schemes page.(5-25-2005)
- Smirnoff on the #97: Kurt Busch's #97 Ford Taurus sports the colors of Smirnoff Ice at the Coca-Cola 600 for the first of three times this season. The colors will also run at Daytona in July and California in Sept.(Roush Racing)(5-25-2005)
- Country Cocktails Scheme for Blaney: The #07 Chevy of Dave Blaney will once again sport the Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails paint scheme for the Coca-Cola 600.(RCR)(5-25-2005)
- Edwards/Blaney to run Modified race at LMS Dirt Track: Carl Edwards will kick off Coca-Cola 600 week by competing in the Ferris Commercial Mowers presents the Eckerd 75 DIRT big-block modified race Wednesday night, May 25, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor
Speedway. Edwards is scheduled to drive a second #3 Page Trucking and Transportation entry as a teammate to multi-time DIRT modified champion Brett Hearn of Kinnelon, N.J. While Edwards has very little experience in the big-block DIRT modifieds, he is no stranger to dirt-track racing. The second-generation driver captured the 1999 modified title and the 2000 pro modified championship at Capital Speedway, a dirt track near Jefferson City, Mo., while working his way up the racing ladder. The Ferris Commercial Mowers presents the Eckerd 75 will start a busy week for Edwards as he will also drive the #60 Charter Communications Ford in the inaugural nighttime running of the CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 on Saturday, May 28, and he'll be behind the wheel of the #99 Scotts Ford for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 29. Tickets for all May events at Lowe's Motor Speedway and The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway can be purchased online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.(5-24-2005)
AND #07-Dave Blaney. the 1995 World of Outlaws Champion will race the #74 Smith Brother’s entry on Wednesday night, May 25 when the Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series returns to the Dirt Track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(RCR)(5-25-2005)
News from May 24, 2005
- NC Senate OK's higher hotel tax for NASCAR HOF: The state Senate gave its final approval today to a temporary 2% increase in the Charlotte hotel room tax to help fund construction of a proposed NASCAR hall of fame. The bill would give Charlotte the authority to raise the local occupancy tax from six percent to eight percent. The revenues would help finance the museum and a new ballroom for the Charlotte convention center, next to the proposed site.(NBC 6/WCNC)(5-24-2005)
- Daytona NASCAR HOF bid gets some $$: Supporters of the NASCAR hall of fame got a $20,000 shot in the arm Monday from the Volusia Council of Governments. The council, made up of elected officials from across the county, gave nearly unanimous approval to help The Chamber, Daytona Beach/Halifax Area and other supporters win the hall of fame over contenders in Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Kansas City, Kan.; and Richmond, Va. Deltona Mayor John Masiarczyk issued the only dissenting vote, saying he didn't want the group to set a precedent of giving money for countywide fund-raisers. Chamber President George Mirabal told VCOG members the money would help pay for consultants and other costs, such as the formal proposal package that has been estimated to cost $250,000. The facility is expected to cost between $70 million to $100 million. Leaders are looking for private backing, but won't get a planned $30 million from the state. Lawmakers recently turned that proposal down, even though it included a plan to pay the money back with revenue from a state NASCAR license plate for cars.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(5-24-2005)
- Sad News - man dies at LMS: A Charlotte man died after a race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway this weekend. Friends said Chris Keistler, 46, passed out after Saturday's All-Star race and never woke up. Jeremy Karle believes his buddy died from alcohol poisoning. David Hampton heads Cabarrus County's paramedic teams and said rescue crews rarely see cases of alcohol poisoning among race fans. “I can't remember the last one that we actually dealt with,” he said. The most common alcohol-related call comes when the weather is warm and fans drink too much beer and not enough water. But Hampton said race fans having fun do not always see trouble before it's too late. The Medical Examiner is waiting for a toxicology report to determine Keistler's exact cause of death. Friends said he was single and did not have any known health problems.(NBC 6/WCNC)(5-24-2005)
- RCR Lawsuit Against United of Omaha Begins Today: Court proceedings in the lawsuit filed by Richard Childress Racing against the United of Omaha Life Insurance Company will begin on May 23, 2004, at 10:00 a.m., in Superior Court in nearby Lexington, NC. This case arises out of life insurance covering the death of Dale Earnhardt at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 18, 2001. It
involves the three-year contract Earnhardt and Richard Childress signed in 2000 to cover the years 2001 through 2003. Richard Childress Racing agreed to insure Earnhardt for $7.2 million, to be payable to Teresa Earnhardt if he died during the first year of the contract. A $3.5 million life insurance policy was already in effect with National Life of Vermont and Richard Childress Racing purchased an additional policy worth $3.7 million through agents of United of Omaha, a subsidiary of Mutual of Omaha prior to Earnhardt's death.
The insurance policy application with United of Omaha was completed and signed in January 2001 by all parties involved: Richard Childress Racing, Dale Earnhardt personally, and United of Omaha. Two premium payments were made by Richard Childress Racing to agents of United of Omaha.
Within 24 hours of Earnhardt's death, United of Omaha declined payment on the $3.7 million policy and stated they had closed their file on the case. Shortly after that, National Life of Vermont sent a check for $3.5 million to Richard Childress Racing, which was delivered to Teresa Earnhardt. The lawsuit against United of Omaha is for violation of North Carolina laws dealing with bad faith and unfair and deceptive trade practices by insurance companies. Under those laws, insurance companies must conduct a reasonable investigation of all claims based upon all available information. Richard Childress Racing contends that United of Omaha did not conduct such an investigation and illegally refused to pay under the policy, thus violating the law and regulations applicable to insurance companies in North Carolina. He is pursing this case on behalf of Dale Earnhardt, Dale's memory, and Teresa Earnhardt.
This trial is set for a special session of the Superior Court of Davidson County in Lexington, N.C., which will begin May 23, 2005, at
10:00 a.m. The case will be heard by a resident Superior Court judge in Davidson County, the Honorable Kimberly G. Taylor. This is to be a trial by jury that is expected to last for one to two weeks.(RCR PR)(5-23-2005)
AND - MORE: But the insurance company, United of Omaha, argues the policy was never in effect. Part of the problem: Earnhardt died before taking a physical. There's also a dispute over whether Childress had paid enough of the premium. The team says it made an initial payment and got the bill for a second on Feb. 19, 2001 -- the day after Earnhardt's last race. It paid the bill. But the company says more money was owed before the policy would take effect. Richard Childress, who owned the No. 3 car that Earnhardt -- a Kannapolis native -- made famous, sat in front of the courtroom with his attorneys. He contends that United of Omaha didn't conduct a proper investigation of his claim, as required by N.C. law.(ThatsRacin.com)(5-24-2005)
- Martin still retiring, Roush looks to blow folks minds UPDATE: Nextel All-Star Challenge winner Mark Martin told Sirius Speedway (MRN Radio/Sirius Satellite Radio) host Dave Moody that his plans for 2006 have not changed as a result of last weekend's win, but that Roush Racing is working on a deal that would "absolutely blow everyone's mind. As of now, my plan is to run the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next season in one of Jack's trucks, but they're working on a sponsorship deal that could change things quite a bit. It's a real longshot to happen, but if it did, it would be totally different than anything we have ever done before. People will be blown away when they hear about it. It will absolutely blow everyone's mind. I'm not putting a lot of stock in it, though, because it probably won't
happen. My plan is to spend 2006 running a truck and spending more time with my family."(Sirius Speedway - MRN Radio/Sirius Satellite Radio)(5-23-2005)
UPDATE: Mark Martin with Claire B. Lang on XM Satellite NASCAR Radio's "Dialed In" talks in detail about his plans for the future.....
Mark: Well, there's this far-fetched idea that someone has, to take two let's say "retiring" drivers and split a season. You understand what I'm saying?
Mark: When I first looked at scaling back to do, let's say, 12 or 16 races, that's a great idea. Except the problem is is that you can't make that work. The team can't work. You can't have a top-notch crew chief and a top-notch team and get a sponsor that can afford to make that work. The only way you can do it is a full-time deal. And so the only way that you could see a possibility to make a deal work would be to run a full-time car with two drivers.
Claire: I've heard that brought up by the fans before, like two or three drivers doing it, they love that idea. Would it be a driver currently retired or one that's already stepped down?
Mark: Look (laughing) I told you I already gave you all I can give you.
Claire: (laughing) You did.
Mark: It's far-fetched. I really know what I really want to do is I really want to do this truck thing. But you know there's all kinds of crazy ideas out there, and that's one of them, but you know I expect I don't have a deal signed yet with Jack and with a sponsor on the truck but that's obviously not going to be any problem. That's where our focus is right now.
Claire: If you were to do this other wild deal, and there'll probably be other wild deals coming up, too, then would that mean you couldn't do the NASCAR Craftsman
Truck Series, that you'd have to choose? And is part-time racing something that is intriguing to you?
Mark: No, uh, first of all, that's something crazy that ..
Claire: But it's a cool idea.
Mark: It's a cool idea. Its really hard to find a sponsor that would, you know, sponsor multiple drivers for a full schedule and do it right. And then it's also hard to find the right drivers and everything. But, you know it is an idea. I'll say again, my focus is on getting this truck thing put together. That's what I want to do, and that is very real, and that's what we're working on and I expect to be doing that.(5-24-2005)
News from May 23, 2005
- Hornish to the #2? or Paul Tracy? UPDATE Ganassi/Penske trade? With all of the speculation about who will replace Rusty Wallace in the #2 car next year, everyone has forgotten about two-time IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr., who already drives for Roger Penske. I [Yahoo's Bob Margolis] hear that he's at the top of the list to replace Rusty.(Yahoo! Sports)
AND Roger Penske's search for a new driver to replace retiring Rusty Wallace has become one of this sport's biggest mysteries. #42-Jamie McMurray seemed the obvious pick for a while, but car owner Chip Ganassi doesn't seem a bit interested in letting McMurray move over to arch-rival Penske. #16-Greg Biffle has also been in the heavy speculation since his contract with Jack Roush is up at the end of the season. Biffle insists he's sticking with Roush. but adds the caveat that even if he were thinking about moving on, he'd be foolish to say anything about it right now.
The latest Penske speculation focuses on Paul Tracy, a wildly aggressive Indy-car star who once drove for Penske - and who once worked with Matt Borland, one of Penske's top NASCAR crew chiefs, who works now with Ryan Newman. Borland said that Tracy might be a bit too aggressive for NASCAR's got-to-get-along world, but Borland said that if Tracy brings the right attitude, it could certainly work out. And Borland said it would be "very interesting" to watch Tracy learning to adjust to the NASCAR tour.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-9-2005)
UPDATE Ganasi/Penske trade?: There has been talk in the motorsports world that Penske's IRL effort will become a one-car team in 2006. Speculation is that Sam Hornish either could take over Wallace's #2 car or be sent to Ganassi Racing, in exchange for Jamie McMurray, who would drive the #2.(Sporting News)(5-23-2005)
- Congrats: NASCAR Driver Casey Atwood married long-time girlfriend Laura Pride Saturday, May 21st. At present, Atwood doesn't have a full time gig after running a few Truck Series race for Bobby Hamilton Racing.(5-23-2005)
- Truex still not signed...to the #11? Speaking of DEI, the cheers for defending Busch Series champion Martin Truex were deafening during driver introductions for the Nextel Open. It's no wonder Truex was voted into the All-Star Challenge by fans. But when asked to comment on whether an announcement was expected this week on his re-signing with DEI to drive the No. 1 Chevrolet in Cup, Truex declined. Truex, who is fourth in Busch points, has also been mentioned as a possibility for #11 Joe Gibbs Racing seat.(Sporting News)(5-23-2005)
- Dickerson resurfaces: Former Hendrick Motorsports chassis developer Eddie Dickerson (released back in February) is consulting for Evernham Motorsports #9-Kasey Kahne and #19-Jeremy Mayfield.(Sporting News)(5-23-2005)