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    JULY 4-10, 2005

      News from July 10, 2005

    • Sad News: Charles 'Chuck' Galen Rider, 64, of Hilton Head, SC, formerly of Charlotte, passed away July 8, 2005. Rider was the owner of the #30 Bahari Racing Winston Cup team from 1986 to 1999. Drivers included Michael Waltrip and Johnny Benson [remember the total yellow #30 Pennzoil Pontiac?], Jeff Green and Derrike Cope. In 365 starts, his cars had 16 top-5's, 70 top-10's and 5 poles. Waltrip scored the best two finsihes for Rider with two seconds [Pocono 6/88 and Charlotte 10/94].(7-9-2005)
      UPDATE: Mr. Rider, 64, of Terrell, NC and Wexford Plantation in Hilton Head, SC, passed away Friday, July 8, 2005 at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. He was born August 27, 1940 in Carlisle, PA to the late Charles B. and Marion S. Rider. Chuck was a 1958 graduate of Mercersburg Academy and a 1962 graduate of Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. During his business career, he was employed by Carter Carburetor, president of AEA Inc., an All Pro Auto Parts franchise and distributor, and president of Preferred Power, Inc., the largest Briggs & Stratton distributor in the Southeast, until his retirement. In 1987, he co-founded, with Lowrance Harry and Dick Bahre, Bahari Racing Inc., which raced on the Nextel-Winston Cup circuit until 2001. Bahari Racing Inc. owned and raced the number 30 car, originally the Country Time Lemonade/Maxwell House Coffee car in 1987 and then Pennzoil Pontiac car which featured drivers Michael Waltrip and Johnny Benson. Mr. Rider was preceded in death by his first wife, Patricia Lawing Rider. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Sue Rider; daughters, Deborah R. McClure of Greenville, SC and Ginger Rider of Cornelius, NC; step son, Jay P. Fischer and step daughter, Rebecca L. Heck; grandchildren, Christian and Austin McClure; step granddaughter, Jena Fischer; brother, John Rider of Reading, PA.
      The interment will be held 11:00 a.m., Monday, July 11, 2005 at Catawba Memorial Park, 3060 Highway 70 SE, Hickory, NC. A Memorial Service to celebrate the life of Mr. Chuck Rider will follow at 3:00 p.m., at Harry and Bryant Company, "Chapel in the Oaks", 500 Provoidence Rd., Charlotte, NC with the Reverend Max Helton officiating. The family will receive friends following the service at Harry and Bryant Company. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Victory Junction Gang, 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, NC 27317, (336)498.9055 and the American Cancer Society, c/o Research Foundation, 500 E. Morehead St., Suite 211, Charlotte, NC 28202. See full obituary at the Charlotte Observer.(7-10-2005)

    • Dale Jr. wins at Chicago: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, taking the lead on lap 256 and leading the last 11 laps, held off dominant #17-Matt Kenseth [176 laps led] at the end, winning by 0.407 seconds. The win is Dale Jr.'s first in 19 races, Phoenix in November 2004 and the 16th win of his 201 race career. Earnhardt has now won at least one race in each of the last 6 seasons [all six season's he has been full time] only Jeff Gordon [12 years] and Tony Stewart [7] have longer streaks. On the final pit stop, #8 crew chief, Steve Hmiel went with two right side tires for track position and the crew go Earnhardt out 2nd, behind #22-Scott Wimmer, who didn't pit. It took a few laps, but Dale Jr. caught Wimmer [who finished 17th]. Kenseth finished 2nd, followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson, #25-Brian Vickers and #20-Tony Stewart. Johnson increases his points lead to 108 and now only the top-10 are under 400 points. #24-Jeff Gordon, who ran poorly all day, got wrecked by #0-Mike Bliss [who bottomed out on the apron and came up] and finished with another DNF, 33rd. Gordon is now 102 points out of 400 points to make the chase. Dale Jr. is now 91 points out. Kenseth led 176 of 267 laps, a new track record. There were 10 cautions for 47 laps and 17 lead changed by 12 drivers.
      For race results see Jayski's Chicago Race Results/Awards page.(7-10-2005)

    • Chicago Post-Race Notes:
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, scoring his 16th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 201st career start.
      • Earnhardt Jr’s last victory came at Phoenix, 20 races ago.
      • Earnhardt Jr., moved to 40th on NASCAR’s All-time win list tied with Jimmie Johnson..
      • This marked the ninth victory for Chevrolet in 2005. Ford has eight wins and Dodge has one.
      • Earnhardt Jr. climbed from 16th to 13th in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, and is now 491 behind of first-place Jimmie Johnson.
      • Earnhardt Jr., scored his first victory and second top 10 finish at Chicagoland Speedway.
      • Earnhardt Jr. became the ninth different race winner in 2005.
      • This was Earnhardt Jr’s, 13th career superspeedway victory in 156 career superspeedway races.
      • Earnhardt Jr., led one time for the final 11 laps.
      • Earnhardt Jr., has scored seven top-10 finishes in 18 races this season.
      • This marked the first victory for DEI in 2005 and first at Chicagoland.
      Notebook Items
      • Matt Kenseth (second) posted his second top-10 finish in five races at Chicagoland Speedway. It marked his fifth top-10 finish in 2005 and his best finish of the season. Kenseth led 176 of the 267 laps raced, leading the most laps for the first time in a race this season.
      • Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his fourth top-10 finish in four races at Chicagoland Speedway, all top fives. He scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2005. Johnson remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, now 108 ahead of second-place Greg Biffle.
      • Johnson has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 51 consecutive races, the longest current streak. The streak began at Atlanta in March 2004. Johnson has scored 13 top-10 finishes in 2005, the most of all drivers
      • Brian Vickers (fourth) posted his first top-10 finish in two races at Chicagoland and his fifth top-10 finish in 2005.
      • Tony Stewart (fifth) posted fourth top-five finish in five races at Chicagoland Speedway. Stewart remained third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 43 points behind second-place Greg Biffle.
      • Jeremy Mayfield (sixth) scored his third top-10 finish in five races at Chicagoland Speedway. Mayfield has scored 12 top-15 finishes in 2005. He climbed from 11th to ninth in the point standings.
      • Rusty Wallace (12th) extended a 31-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August.
      • Jeff Gordon (33rd) scored his sixth DNF in 2005. Gordon has finished 30th or worse in eight of the 18 races this season. Gordon dropped from 13th to 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 502 points behind point leader Jimmie Johnson.
      • Bobby Hamilton Jr., led his first lap in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
      • Seven 10 of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Chicagoland Speedway.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-11-2005)

    • Rumblings - Chicago: Dale Earnhardt Jr took the lead from Scott Wimmer with 11 laps to go and held off a hard-charging Matt Kenseth to take today's USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway for his first victory of the season. This was win #16 for Little E (he's now tied for 40th with Jimmie Johnson on the all-time win list) and his first since he won at Phoenix last November. He's the 9th different winner this season (we had 13 of 'em last year), and this was win #22 for DEI. It was worth a nice $325,033 from the over $5.8M in posted awards
      Matt Kenseth (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Loudon last September.
      Casey Mears (9th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Texas in April.
      Stuart Kirby (31st) had his career-best finish today. His previous best has 37th at Kansas in September of 2002.
      Carl Long (40th) had his best finish since he was 39th at Michigan last August (only 5 races).
      STREAKIN....Tony Stewart has 4 Top-5's in a row. Matt Kenseth has 3 Top-10's in the last 4 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the week is Dale Earnhardt Jr (+24), followed by Jason Leffler (+23), Ricky Rudd (+21), and Rusty Wallace (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Dave Blaney (-28 ), followed by Ryan Newman (-27), Travis Kvapil (-27), Mike Bliss (-23), Robby Gordon (-23), and Kasey Kahne (-23). This is Op #4 for Jr this season...he's the leader in that category.
      Bobby Hamilton Jr led today for the first time in his Cup career. He's the 44th different driver to lead a lap this season....last year we had 50.
      No major change in the race for 35th and the final exempt spot in quals. Scott Wimmer has moved up to 34th, Mike Wallace is still in at 35th, and Jason Leffler and the #11 team are now 13 points out (they were 17 markers back after Daytona). Jimmie Johnson pads his points lead this's up to 108. We're down to just the Top-10 alive in the Chase as Dale Jarrett is now 409 out. We had three drivers (Dale Earnhardt Jr, Matt Kenseth, and Casey Mears) advance three spots this week, while Travis Kvapil (30th to 33rd) fell the same number of positions.(Stock Car Fans)(7-10-2005)

    • RCR makes changes in the engine dept: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) continues to make personnel moves to improve its championship-winning engine department. Engine shop manager Spenny Clendenen, an RCR employee since 1985 and head engine builder from 1995 to 1997, has been named to the position of general manager in charge of the department’s business and administrative responsibilities. He will also be the focal point for RCR’s customer engine program, which furnishes engines for Kevin Harvick, Inc. (Busch and Truck), PPI Motorsports (NEXTEL Cup) and Morgan-Dollar Motorsports (Truck). Rick Mann has been named chief engine builder and will oversee all competition-related responsibilities. He brings 17 years of NASCAR engine building experience and nearly 30 years of overall engine building experience to his new position. Assistant engine shop manager Danny Lawrence, an RCR employee since 1985 and head engine builder from 1998 to 2001, has been named assistant chief engine builder. He will responsible for all at-track activities involving RCR’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team engine tuners and will assist Mann at the shop. "I think the reorganization we’ve made is a positive new start to our entire engine department,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. ”We’ve had tremendous growth at RCR over the past couple of years and the workload we’ve asked our management group to be responsible for was keeping us from achieving the success I know we’re capable of. These moves, in addition to bringing on Nick Hayes to head up our engine research and development department, have put RCR in a much better position to reach the goals we’ve set for ourselves.” A new engine shop manager will be named at a later date.(RCR Site)(7-8-2005)
      AND Nick Hayes has been named by Richard Childress Racing (RCR) as its engine research and development director and will lead all RCR engine research and development activities from a newly-created R&D facility at the RCR complex. Hayes comes to RCR after a well-documented yet unique career at Cosworth, which is based in England, including spells in Formula One engine design, development and track support before rising through the ranks to lead its F1 program through the late 1990s. Recent years saw him leading all technical activities at Cosworth as Technical Director. The move to RCR marks the start of a new chapter in Hayes' illustrious and successful race engine career that has covered a wide variety of series but, until now, has not touched NASCAR significantly.(RCR PR)(7-10-2005)

    • RC Wine...the good stuff: A bottle of 2004 Childress Vineyards' Barrel Select Pinot Gris was chosen as one of the top wines produced by celebrity wine proprietors in today's USA TODAY. Legendary NASCAR championship team owner Richard Childress is also the proprietor of Childress Vineyards, located at the gateway of the Yadkin Valley in Lexington, N.C. In a "Food & wine" column ("Heard about stars through the grapevine", July 8, 2005), columnist Jerry Shriver wrote about celebrities involved in winemaking and the taste test USA TODAY entertainment reporter Donna Freydkin conducted with 11 wines having celebrity connections. Freydkin mentioned the Childress Vineyard selection first, commenting that she "preferred the smooth, easy-to-drink-while-sitting-on-your-porch character" of the North Carolina wine crafted by award-winning winemaker Mark Friszolowksi.
      The list of celebrities, other than Richard Childress, proprietor of Childress Vineyards president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, included: movie director Sofia Coppola; her father, director Francis Ford Coppola; the rock band Doobie Brothers, music legend Bob Dylan; golfers Ernie Els, Greg Norman and Arnold Palmer; Vince Neil, lead singer for Motley Crue; and acting legends Fess Parker and Fred MacMurray.(RCR PR)(7-10-2005)

    • more on A.J. Foyt IV to Evernham: Indy Racing League driver A.J. Foyt IV watched Saturday's Busch Series race with Ray Evernham from the top of the No. 19 Nextel Cup hauler. Foyt, A.J.'s grandson, is testing for Evernham and will run the team's #6 Dodge in a couple of Busch Series races this year.(Tampa Tribune)(7-10-2005)

    • Driver killed: Sprint car racing veteran Don Townsend died Saturday night during a USAC National event at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway. He was 70. Townsend was on the track in the No. 77R sprint car when he hit the wall in turn 3 during one of the final hot lap sessions before qualifying. He was taken off the track by ambulance and then flown to The Ohio State University in Columbus. According to the Rebman Motorsports Web site, Townsend was in his 52nd year of racing. He has driven several types of open-wheeled racers during his career—from coupes to offset roadsters to winged and non-winged sprint cars. He raced on both dirt and asphalt. Townsend's first sprint car ride came in 1968. His resume included more than 100 feature wins.(Mansfield News Journal)(7-10-2005)

      News from July 9, 2005

    • More on McMurray signing with Roush: [Jamie] McMurray, who drives for Chip Ganassi [#42 Dodge], has just signed a multiyear contact to drive for Jack Roush beginning in 2007 [in the #6 Ford]. That surprising move is so legally ticklish that McMurray yesterday dodged reporters and refused to answer questions, issuing a brief statement only after it was cleared by his attorneys. McMurray's move has sparked numerous questions, including the thorny legal issue of whether it's OK to sign a contract to drive for somebody else while still under a contract. The sticky issue of "interfering" with a driver under contract has been debated, on and off, for more than 10 years, since driver contracts became the norm in NASCAR. Two NASCAR team owners, who asked not to be named, both said they felt that there was a significant potential for legal action over the move. But Roush quickly dismissed any such legal questions, saying that the issues had been thoroughly scrutinized: "We have had discussions, being fully aware of what his contract is. We don't intend to interfere with his contract in any way. We don't intend to talk about our sponsors or his sponsors, which would be one of the things to be concerned about. We only have interest in him getting in our car when he has fulfilled his commitments to Chip, whatever they are. We won't stand in the way of anything. And we're not interesting in any discussions of a buyout or anything else that might be an inducement for Chip to release him." Roush said that it's possible McMurray might even join Roush Racing for the 2006 season, though Ganassi, in a news release, said he wants to keep McMurray through the end of 2006. "He is not under contract for 2006 until Chip elects or chooses not to take his option going forward in September," Roush said. "This 2005 year for Jamie is the first year of two one-year extensions which were at Chip's option. Chip is obliged to let him know if he wants him to drive in 2006. And lacking an indication of that, he is released. It isn't clear what Chip will do. I haven't had any conversations with him. I don't think he's indicated to Jamie what he's going to do."(Winston Salem Journal)(7-9-2005)

    • Wood still looking at Cup, #21?: Until this weekend, Jon Wood was the heir apparent to Mark Martin in Roush Racing's famed #6 Ford. Jamie McMurray will take over one of NASCAR's most visible rides - although possibly not until 2007. Wood can turn his attention back to the Busch Series, where, as a rookie, he's 15th in the points driving the #47 Ford for mid-level ST Motorsports. ``When I first got the job in this [No. 47] race car this year, that was all that I had,'' he said. ``As the weeks went on and more talk about me going to whichever Cup car next year progressed, it didn't really distract me, but it was more than I needed at the time.'' Wood is under contract with Roush, for whom he drove in the Craftsman Truck Series from 2001 to 2004. That does not mean he will go to the next level with Roush. It is far more likely now that Wood, a third-generation racer in the Wood Brothers family, will wind up driving their #21 Ford. Ricky Rudd, 48 and winless in his three seasons as the Wood Brothers' lone driver, is nearing the end of his career. Whether he retires at the end of this year or goes one more, Wood is his likely replacement. ``There's a strong possibility that if things work out, I could be in the 21,'' Wood said. ``That would be a really big deal because the Wood Brothers family and the racing team have both put a tremendous amount of effort into getting me where I am right now, so that would be cool to pay them back.''(Tampa Tribune)(7-9-2005)

    • What's up with Riggs? it appears more likely than not that Scott Riggs will be leaving the [current] #10 Nelson Bowers-Bob Sutton-James Rocco team at the end of the season, probably to drive for Ray Evernham [in his #10 Valvoline car]. Jay Frye, the team manager for the Rocco-Bowers operation, is glad to get #01-Joe Nemechek [see below] under a new contract but he isn't happy with the state of negotiations with Riggs, who has apparently told Frye to consider looking for another driver. "We have every intention of re-signing Scott, and we presented an offer to him before Richmond (in May)," Frye said. "But he's been quoted saying he's talking with other teams. I think this is where he wants to be, but we'll see. Since all this got out, we've had calls from other drivers, some that would surprise a lot of people. We have every intention of Scott staying, and we want him to stay. We've got to decide within the next two or three weeks, because we're looking a sponsor prospects. So we've got to get it secured sooner rather than later."(Winston Salem Journal)(7-9-2005)

    • More on Mears to Penske: With McMurray out of the picture, Casey Mears' name has popped up as replacing the retiring Rusty Wallace at [#2 Miller Lite Dodge] Penske Racing South. Mears, who drives the #41 for Chip Ganassi Racing, said yesterday he is waiting to hear from Ganassi on next year. "I've been told they want me around next season, but that's the extent of it," he said. "I just haven't seen anything solid that says I'm going to be there. I'm happy with my team. I think we can improve and do a lot better than we're doing now, so if I stick around, I'd be happy with that. If not, I'm keeping options open to go do something else. But right now it's their option, and as soon as they let me know I can make a decision. . . . The longer they wait to tell me anything hurts me.".(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-9-2005)

    • So would Sterling Marlin take the #6 ride for a year? Actually Roush has more - conversations with Sterling Marlin, possibly to take Martin's ride for 2006. "Jack and I have talked a little, but I don't know anything," Marlin said. "I need to know something pretty quick, and I've got some meetings next week. We'll see how it shakes out." So would Marlin be willing to take just a one-year deal? "Yeah, if you look at what those guys are doing - it would be hard to give up the opportunity to win a championship," Marlin said.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-9-2005)

    • #0 Moving to Kannapolis? The city of Kannapolis [NC] may soon be home to a $16.1 million Haas CNC Racing facility. The city and the company are in the process of negotiating a deal that would move Haas CNC Racing [#0 NetZero-BestBuy Chevy with driver Mike Bliss] from its current 40,000-square-foot Harrisburg facility to a 140,000-square-foot facility in the Kannapolis Gateway Business Park. Negotiations have been under way for weeks, and the city is in the final stages of negotiating the sale of 23 acres of land to the racing company, said Kannapolis City Manager Mike Legg. “It’s a huge project for us,” Legg said. The Cabarrus Regional Partnership has been working with the city and the racing company to initiate and fine-tune the deal. A public hearing will be held Thursday with the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners to consider an incentive grant for the Haas CNC Racing under the county’s Industrial Development Program. Haas CNC Racing teams include the #0 NASCAR Nextel Series car driven by Mike Bliss and the #44 NASCAR Busch Series car driven by Justin Labonte. “We’re confident that we will finalize this land purchase with the City of Kannapolis at their Gateway Business Park site,” said Joe Custer, general manager of Haas CNC Racing. “The site’s location on (N.C.) highway 73 and its accessibility to I-85 and the Lowe’s Motor Speedway area makes it very attractive to our organization.” John Cox, CEO of Cabarrus Regional Partnership, said the firm would employee about 100 people at its new facility. Haas CNC Racing is owned by Gene Haas. Haas founded Haas Automation, the largest machine tool manufacturer in the country, in 1983. Haas Automation is based in Oxnard, Calif., and has partnerships with NASCAR race teams, including Hendrick Motorsports. Cabarrus County manager John Day said, if approved, Haas CNC Racing could get an incentive grant for 50 percent of its tax bill for the next three or four years. The incentive greatly helped to attract the company to the area.(Independent Tribune)(7-9-2005)

    • Crocker 2nd at Kentucky, ties record: Erin Crocker won the pole and raced to a second-place finish Friday night in the ARCA Re/Max Series event at Kentucky Speedway. Crocker matched the best finish by a female driver is series history, Shawna Robinson's runner-up effort in a 2001 race at Daytona International Speedway. "It's definitely an improvement," Crocker said. "We're heading in the right direction." No woman has won a stock-car race in any of NASCAR's major national or regional series or in ARCA's top series. Chad Blount won the race, taking the lead on the opening lap and leading for 95 of the 100 laps. He and Crocker were 1-2 after the final restart, on lap 86, and stayed that way the rest of the race.(USA Today/AP)(7-9-2005)

      News from July 8, 2005

    • McMurray to the #6? 2007? UPDATE 3: hearing that Jamie McMurray, current driver of the #42 Texaco Dodge for Chip Ganassi, has signed a multi-year agreement with Roush Racing to drive the #6 Ford beginning in 2007. who drives the #6 in 2006?(7-6-2005 - 2am)
      UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that it will part ways with driver Jamie McMurray following the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. "Jamie's made a decision to go in another direction after we've both fulfilled the commitment that we made to each other in 2002," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "We didn't do a good job of conveying to Jamie where this team is headed, but we expect a lot of success with Jamie the rest of this year and next year, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors beyond that.” Team owner Felix Sabates added, “This is a total team sport and the Texaco/Havoline team will continue to stay focused on making the Chase and running for the Championship this season, next season and well into the future."(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(7-7-2005)
      UPDATE 2: Roush Racing President Geoff Smith says they got the man who was at the top of their wish list of drivers to replace Mark Martin in the #6-car. Jamie McMurray will part ways with Chip Ganassi after next season to pilot what is now the Viagra Ford. “He was at the top that’s for sure, but we didn’t know whether it was going to be available and when and so we were able to work through it and we’re good to go in 2007." If McMurray is released from his contract with the 42-car at the end of this season it would free him to join Roush next year; however Smith isn’t counting on that. “We’re not planning on that at all at this time. The message he’s conveyed to us is that he’s expecting to stay in the #42-car all next year. We’re not planning on any scenario other than that one." So, who takes over for Mark Martin in 2006? Smith said, “There have been so many balls in the air that we’ve been juggling between drivers and sponsors and when this came up we could do this for 2007 that’s now triggered us into a whole new round of assessment about what we’re going to do for 2006. We hope in a very short period of time we’ll have our 2006 solution figured out."(PRN's Garage Pass), Ricky Craven is one driver rumored as a driver for the #6 for one year.(7-7-2005)
      AND from Roush Racing: Roush Racing announced today that it has signed Jamie McMurray to a multi-year contract to drive its #6 NASCAR Nextel Cup entry commencing with the 2007 season. No decision has been made with regard to the driver of the #6 for the 2006 season.(Roush Racing PR)
      UPDATE 3 - McMurray's statement: "I have signed a multi-year agreement with Roush Racing to drive the #6 car beginning with the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. However, my focus and commitment remains with the #42 Texaco/Havoline/Home123 team as we continue our bid for the Chase for the Championship." --- Jamie McMurray.(Jamie McMurray Enterprises PR)(7-8-2005)

    • Nemechek and U.S. Army renew with MB2 Motorsports: In conjunction with the U.S. Army partnership renewal with MB2 Motorsports in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Joe Nemechek has received a multiyear contract extension from MB2 to drive the #01 Army Chevrolet. Nemechek took over the driving duties of the U.S. Army/MB2 entry with four races remaining in the 2003 season. "It's been a privilege to drive the U.S. Army car and represent the men and women in uniform," said Nemechek. "This Army team continues to make progress and as time goes on we're only going to get better and better. The future is bright because we have talented people associated with this team. I am grateful to be part of MB2 Motorsports -- it's a first-class organization that is 100 percent committed to fielding quality teams in the most competitive form of racing." Jay Frye, MB2's general manager and chief executive officer, was equally thrilled in Nemechek's contract extension and the Army partnership renewal. "We are honored with the continued support the U.S. Army has placed with our team," said Frye. "We have a special partner in the Army and are very proud of the association. Our Army of One team has been competitive week in and week out and we are excited about Joe's extension. Everyone at MB2 Motorsports feels that we are on the cusp of something great." Nemechek, a native of Lakeland, Fla., has 375 career NASCAR Cup starts. His first Cup race was in 1993, the year after he won the Busch Series championship.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(7-8-2005)

    • Johnson wins pole at Chicago: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Budweiser Pole for the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway with a new track record speed of 188.147mph for his first pole since Lowe's Motor Speedway in May 2004, 41 races ago. The pole is the first of 2005 [he started first at Dover in 2005 due to bad weather that cancelled qualifying] and the 8th of his career. In five races, there have been five different pole sitters: Todd Bodine, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Six drivers broke the track record: #120Ryan Newman will start 2nd, followed by #41-Casey Mears, #17-Matt Kenseth, #01-Joe Nemechek and #16-Greg Biffle. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 25th. Missing the race were #92-Kenny Wallace, #34-P.J. Jones, #66-Mike Garvey and #75-Wayne Anderson. #20-Tony Stewart is back at the track after suffering a hard crash in Friday's practice, Stewart is OK, but J.J. Yeley qualified the car 13th. Stewart will practice a bit on Saturday nd plans to run the race, he will have to fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the greem flag.
      For qualifying results, pole progrssion and starting lineup and links on my Jayski's Chicago Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(7-8-2005)

    • Home Depot Racing Team Forced to Backup Car After Crash in Practice: Tony Stewart crashed his primary Home Depot Chevrolet midway through this morning's practice session at Chicagoland Speedway. He cut a right front tire upon entering turn four of the 1.5-mile oval, making a hard right side impact with the turn four retaining wall. The #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Team will now race Chassis No. 100 in Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400. This is just the second time in its six-and-a-half year existence the #20 team has had to use its backup race car following a crash in practice. The only other time where its backup race car was used due to a crash in practice was last year at Chicagoland. There, in the morning practice session, Stewart hit oil in turn three, spun, and impacted the turn three wall with the left side of the race car. Stewart went on to win last year's race at Chicagoland in his backup race car. Following today's crash, Stewart was evaluated in the infield care center. While Stewart was awake, alert and able to walk on his own, medical personnel determined that further examination was needed at St. Joseph's Hospital in Joliet. There, Stewart underwent precautionary X-rays. All tests came back negative.
      J.J. Yeley, driver of the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series, qualified the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet a respectable 13th for the USG Sheetrock 400. The sophomore Busch Series driver toured the 1.5-mile oval in 29.006 seconds with an average speed of 186.168 mph. Yeley was fitted into the seat of the #20 car and was able to make two mock qualifying runs before today's practice session ended. In his first career Busch Series start last year at Chicagoland, Yeley led 25 laps before a late race pit stop dropped him to ninth. With Yeley qualifying the #20 car, Stewart will start the USG Sheetrock 400 from the 43rd and last position. The benefit of Yeley making a qualifying attempt was for the #20 team to obtain the best pit selection possible. Stewart will drive the #20 car in tomorrow's two practice sessions and in Sunday's race.
      "My guys had to work and their efforts got us a 13th in qualifying trim," said crew chief Greg Zipadelli. "So our pit pick is a little bit better than if we didn't do it. And most importantly, we did the drill. We put somebody else in who hadn't been in our car and we just missed the top-10 in qualifying. So, I'm proud of my guys. I think a big part of it is keeping our momentum going, but also keeping our confidence that we can do what we need to do. That's important this time of year."
      "If Tony's not feeling up to it, we won't run that much tomorrow," added Zipadelli. "We'll let J.J. run some and go from there. We'll just keep J.J. as a backup driver. He's done a great job for us. If he's got a good race track, this is one of them. He just tested two days up here in his Busch car. He was really good this morning and really comfortable. He got in our car and did a great job. I wouldn't think twice about anybody else."(True Speed Communication)(7-8-2005)

    • Office Depot to become Edwards exclusive sponsor: Office Depot, the "Official Office Products Partner of NASCAR" and Roush Racing announced today that Office Depot has signed a new multi-year deal to be the primary sponsor of the #99 Roush Racing Ford, driven by Carl Edwards beginning in the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. "I'm really excited to have Office Depot on board as the primary sponsor of the No. 99 Ford in 2006 and beyond," said Edwards. "I'm proud to represent Office Depot and all of their employees and customers across the country. There is an obvious cross-over between the NASCAR fan base and Office Depot's customers and I'm excited that they've chosen me, Roush Racing and the #99 team as their vehicle to communicate their messaging. I know I speak for my entire team when I say we look forward to having Office Depot as a part of our team in the future." Office Depot's foray into NASCAR began this February when the Company announced its sponsorship of Roush Racing's #99 Ford that ultimately extended to a total of 17 races for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season.(Roush Racing site)(7-8-2005)

    • Kenny Wallace in the #92, #00 withdraws: Kenny Wallace in cooperation with MWR, has decided to run the #92, State Fair Corn Dog Car in Chicago Nextel Cup race this weekend. "The MWR Team is working hard to build some new cars, has a new Crew Chief [Butch Hylton], so we are taking a little side step this weekend to get in the Chicago Race." Wallace will be driving with a DEI engine, and Front Row Motorsports crew chief Fred Wanke.(Kenny Wallace site)(7-8-2005)

    • More testing at Indy next week: Testing for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard began this week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the real rush hours will take place July 11-12 and July 18-19. A total of 40 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers are scheduled to test on those four days, with 23 on track Monday, July 11 and Tuesday, July 12 and 17 turning laps Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19. Testing will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (local time) each day, with a lunch break from noon-1 p.m. Fans are welcome to watch testing for free in the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2. All drivers are testing in preparation for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 7 at the Speedway.
      The large number of drivers testing at IMS contrasts with the opening week of testing. Four drivers – reigning series champion Kurt Busch, rookie sensation Carl Edwards, 1997 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Ricky Rudd and 2001 pole winner Jimmy Spencer – tested July 5, with just Busch and Rudd returning July 6. Busch was the fastest driver during that two-day test, posting a top lap of 180.208 mph in the #97 Crown Royal Ford. Speeds should be higher over the next two weeks, unless there’s a drastic change in weather, due to the improved track conditions created by increased traffic. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., originally scheduled to test July 11-12, instead will turn laps July 18-19 along with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. teammate and reigning NASCAR Busch Series champion Martin Truex Jr.
      See driver lineup for rach practice on my 2005 Testings news info Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to

    • Gillette Young Guns - Pepsi 400: By picking Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 2, James P. of Frederick, MD was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. James picked Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going to and entering before the weekly deadline.
      As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Dale Earnhardt Jr. This is the first time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Earnhardt Jr.(Alan Taylor Comminications)(7-8-2005)

    • Chicago Qualifying Notes:
      • Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the USG Sheetrock 400, lapping Chicagoland Speedway in 28.701 seconds at 188.147 mph.
      • Johnson broke Jeff Gordon’s track-qualifying record of 28.886 seconds, 186.942 mph set July 9, 2004. Six drivers eclipsed Gordon’s 2004 time. This is the fifth track record set this season.
      • This is Johnson’s eighth career Bud Pole in 129 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. He became the 11th different Bud Pole winner this season.
      • This is Johnson’s third top-10 start in four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.
      • There have been five different Bud Pole winners in the five races at Chicago since the inaugural NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race in 2001.
      • Ryan Newman posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 28.715 seconds, 188.055 mph – and will join Johnson on the front row for the USG Sheetrock 400. Newman posted his 15th top-10 start in 2005, his ninth on the front row. He has started on the front row in 47 of his career races. Newman has started 14th or better, including two front-row starts, in his four races at Chicago.
      • This is the eighth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2005. Dodge has seven Bud Poles and Ford has two. Qualifying was canceled at Dover in June.
      • Casey Mears (third) posted just his second top-10 start this season – both top-fives. He started second at Michigan. It is his second top-10 start in three races at Chicago.
      • Matt Kenseth (fourth) scored third top-10 start this season and his first better than sixth. It is the first qualifying effort better than 16th for Kenseth in five races at Chicago.
      • Brian Vickers (fifth) posted his seventh top-10 start in 2005. It is the second top-10 start for Vickers in as many races at Chicago. He started fourth in his rookie season start here in 2004.
      • David Stremme (31st), driving a third Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry, qualified for his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.
      • Stuart Kirby (32nd) posted his career best qualifying effort in for fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. His previous best start was 37th at Kansas in 2002. It is his second race this season. He started 43rd and finished 42hd at Michigan last month.
      • The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Chicago was 32nd by Kevin Harvick in 2002.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-8-2005)

    • Ramblings - Chicago - Stock Car Fans:
      Jimmie Johnson takes the Bud Pole today at Chicagoland Speedway for Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400, and it's his first pole since he captured the top-spot at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May of 2004! Sure, he's started first three times since....but those were all races we lined up by points, the most recent of which was at Dover last month. This is career pole #9 for JJ. Johnson also becomes our 11th different qualifier for next February's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
      The first six qualifiers were all below the previous track record, and Johnson shattered that mark with a time of 28.701 (188.147 mph).....besting the old record by almost 2/10ths.
      Dave Blaney (10th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th at Talladega in April.
      Travis Kvapil (16th) has his best starting spot since he started 9th at Talladega in April.
      David Stremme (31st) makes his first-ever Nextel Cup start. He's warming up for a full-time ride in the #40 next year.
      Stuart Kirby (32nd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 26th when we were here in July of 2002! (only 3 starts)
      J. J. Yeley (13th) qualified Tony Stewart's car for him today after he blew a tire and was hurt in practice. Tony had no broken bones but was a little woozy and was held out of qualifying. It's expected he'll be good to go on Sunday....but he'll have to drop to the rear of the field.
      STREAKIN.....An empty category again this week.
      47 cars on hand and it's wasn't all that close as Kenny Wallace (in the #92 this weekend), Mike Garvey, P. J. Jones, and Wayne Anderson all get left out this weekend.(Stock Car Fans)(7-8-2005)

    • Stewart wrecks in practice: #20-Tony Stewart crashed in turn 4 during cup practice for the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Rescue workers took their time in helping Stewart out of the #20-Home Depot Chevy. He appeared a bit groggy, however walked to the ambulance under his own power and waved to the fans. He was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital for precautionary xrays. The team will go to a back up car. Stewart's car may have cut down a right front tire, however at this time crew chief Greg Zipadelli doesn't know what happened. Joe Gibbs Racing's Busch driver, J.J. Yeley is practicing Stewart's backup car.(PRN's Garage Pass at the track)
      AND Stewart will come back to the track and if cleared at the track, he could qualify the car, if not, J.J. Yeley would qualify the car and Stewart would race the car, falling to the rear of the field on Sunday. Stewart has no broken bones and is alert and ok, may have a possible concussion.(Speed Channel's NASCAR Live)(7-8-2005)

      News from July 7, 2005

    • CNBC on Assignment: NASCAR Gold: The stock car race that started on the sands of Daytona nearly 50 years ago is now a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. "NASCAR Gold," reported by Dylan Ratigan, premiering on CNBC on Monday, July 11, goes behind the scenes at this empire built on the beach in an in-depth, one-hour documentary about the sport - from its corporate boardrooms to the working pits at the Daytona 500. "NASCAR Gold" gives viewers an inside look at:
      - The extreme loyalty NASCAR fans show to corporate sponsors, buying billions worth of licensed gear every year -- one reason NASCAR attracts more money from more Fortune 500 companies than any other sports or entertainment property in America.
      - The world of the billionaire France family, who, for three generations have run NASCAR with an iron grip. Diversifying beyond its roots in the South by starting races in places like Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Dallas, they have made NASCAR the nation's fastest-growing sport.
      Dylan Ratigan is no stranger to racing. After participating in the Baja 1000 as a co-driver last November - as one engine blew up and he was forced to push the truck by hand for the last mile - Ratigan met NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, who invited him to work on the Gordon team in the Daytona pits. In "NASCAR Gold," Ratigan also goes one-on-one with one of the sport's most legendary team owners, Rick Hendrick.(NBC PR)(7-7-2005)

    • New #45 Scheme for Rest of 2005, Petty Blue Returns: This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge team head to the 1.5-mile Chicagoland for Sunday's Chicagoland 400. Petty and the #45 Georgia-Pacific/Brawny Dodge will have a new look for the rest of the season starting this weekend. Georgia-Pacific will pay tribute to the Petty family by returning the family Petty Blue to the #45 Dodge. The "Petty Blue" color is unmistakable in the minds of race fans across America. The color is synonymous with winning and with Richard Petty's record-tying seven Nextel Cup championships.(Williams Company)(7-7-2005)

    • Find the Perfect Jeans at Chicagoland: Imagine buying jeans faster than a NASCAR pit stop! Now you can with the Levi Strauss Signature "Fit Pit" Tour as it stops at Chicagoland Speedway during the NASCAR race weekend - July 8 -10. The Fit Pit features Intellifit technology that in 10 seconds scans a fully-clothed person and produces a print out recommendation of sizes and styles of Levi Strauss Signature jeans. Chicago NASCAR fans will be able to outfit the whole family in new jeans faster than a NASCAR pit stop.(Alan Taylor Comminications)(7-7-2005)

    • #18 Scheme for Chicago: Boniva (ibandronate sodium), a new medicine for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, will serve as primary sponsor for Bobby Labonte on the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy at Chicagoland. The primary car for the USG Sheetrock 400 is Chassis #91, which has never been raced before. The car was involved in an accident in May during practice for the NEXTEL All-Star Challenge.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR/Site)(7-7-2005)

    • Combo's on the #38 at Chicago: Elliott Sadler will pilot the #38 Combo's Ford on Sunday in the USG Sheetrock 400. This marks the second race of the 2005 season where Combo's has held the primary spot on the RYR Ford Taurus. The first race was in Atlanta where Sadler finished tenth.(M&M's Motorsports)(7-7-2005)

    • Associate sponsor for the #49 at Chicago: Chicago’s number one relocation service company, All Chicagoland Moving and Storage [], will be an associate sponsor for driver Ken Schrader and BAM Racing’s #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge for this weekend’s USG Sheetrock 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at the Chicagoland Speedway. An affiliate of the national moving company, United Van Lines, All Chicagoland Moving and Storage will don the rear deck lid of the #49 in what will be the company’s first-ever venture into NASCAR.(Williams Company)(7-7-2005)

    • TV Ratings not bad for the Pepsi 400 UPDATE: NBC and TNT's coverage of the second half of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season kicked off on Saturday night as Tony Stewart took the checkered flag in the Pepsi 400 just before 2:00am/et [1:41am/et], in a race delayed more than two and a half hours by rain at Daytona International Speedway. The race drew a 4.9 overnight rating with a 12 share between 10:30pm/et and 2:00am/et, down only two percent from last year's 5.0/10 on FOX (9:34pm/et-12:26am/et). The rating peaked between 11:00-11:30pm/et with a 5.5/11, the time that the race, if it hadn't been delayed, would likely have been completed. The rain-delayed race broadcast (7:45pm/et -2am/et) rated a 4.2/9..(NBC PR)(7-5-2005)
      UPDATE up 6% over 2004: Despite not ending until 2:00am/et Sunday morning, NBC's inaugural race broadcast of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season, the Pepsi 400 from Daytona International Speedway, drew a 5.5 national rating and 13 share (9:55 p.m.-2 a.m. ET), up six percent from 2004 (5.2/12 on FOX, 9:36 p.m.-12:26 a.m. ET), even with being delayed more than two and a half hours by rain. NBC's live rain-delay coverage, featuring NBC/TNT pit reporters interviewing NASCAR drivers, (7:45-9:55 p.m. ET) drew a 3.6/8, and was the highest rated program in the 8-9 p.m. ET time period on Saturday. From 8-11 p.m. ET, NBC Sports' coverage of the Pepsi 400 ranked #1 in Saturday primetime against all networks in adults 18-49 and total viewers. The actual race telecast averaged a 3.2/13 in 18-49 from 9:55 p.m.-2 a.m. ET. Though most of the race occurred outside of primetime in the Eastern and Central time zones, the race telecast of the Pepsi 400 ranked as the week's #7 program in 18-49.
      This week at Chicago on "Wally's World," U.S. Olympic gold medalist Jennie Finch, of the U.S. women's softball team, joins NBC/TNT analyst Wally Dallenbach for a few laps on the racetrack.(NBC PR)(7-7-2005)

    • #650 for Schrader: Sunday’s race at Chicagoland Speedway marks the 650th start for #49-Ken Schrader in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series; the veteran is in his 22nd year of Nextel Cup competition.(Williams Company)
      Schrader is 14th on the all-time Nextel Cup Series start list:
    • All Time Winston Cup Starts thru Daytona 7/2005 [* = active]:
      1)  Richard Petty, 1177
      2)  Dave Marcis, 881
      3)  Ricky Rudd, 856*
      4)  Terry Labonte, 823*
      5)  Darrell Waltrip, 809
      6)  Bill Elliott, 743*
      7)  Kyle Petty, 730*
      8)  Bobby Allison, 719
      9)  Buddy Baker, 701
      10) Rusty Wallace, 687* [retires end of 2005, projected 706]
      11) Dale Earnhardt, 676
      12) Sterling Marlin, 657*
      13) JD McDuffie, 653
      14) Ken Schrader, 649*.(7-7-2005)

    • Get Well: to #38 M&M's and #88-UPS Ford team owner Robert Yates who missed his first race at Daytona in decades. Yates was suffering from kidney stones and stayed behind in the Mooresville, NC area.(7-3-2005)
      UPDATE: Robert Yates, Ford's legendary patriarch of horsepower, missed last weekend's Pepsi 400 at Daytona but intends to be back at the track for this weekend's USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, near Joliet, Ill. Yates, 61, had surgery for kidney stones last week and was advised by doctors and family members to stay home and rest. The news here, of course, is that Yates missed a Daytona race for the first time since the 1960s, when he was beginning his apprenticeship with Ford's Holman-Moody stock-car powerhouse in Charlotte.(Ford Racing)(7-7-2005)

    • Week One of Indy Testing over: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd improved upon their test speeds from July 5 during testing of race setups July 6, putting the wrap on a two-day Allstate 400 at the Brickyard test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Reigning series champion Busch set the fastest lap of the test July 6 at 180.208 mph in the #97 Crown Royal Ford. Rudd’s fastest lap of the day in the #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford was 178.999, slightly faster than his July 5 top speed of 178.937. The second day’s higher speeds came despite more sunshine and higher temperatures and humidity. Busch and 1997 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Rudd took advantage of the two full days of testing at the Speedway while Busch’s Roush Racing teammate, Carl Edwards, tested only July 5. Edwards was fastest Tuesday at 179.165 in the #99 AAA Ford. Jimmy Spencer also joined the group July 5 in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge, but crashed in Turn 1 in the afternoon, causing heavy rear-end damage to the only car the team brought to Indianapolis.
      Unofficial Speeds:
      Car No. Driver Speed (mph) Total Laps
      #97-Kurt Busch 180.208, 68
      #21A-Ricky Rudd 178.999, 91
      Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to
      Private testing continues July 11-12 at IMS, when 23 cars are scheduled to turn laps. Drivers schedule to test include current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points leader Greg Biffle, his Roush Racing teammates Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth, Rusty Wallace, and former Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winners Bobby Labonte and Kevin Harvick.
      Drivers Scheduled to test the next two weeks:
      July 11-12: #0-Mike Bliss, #01-Joe Nemechek, #2-Rusty Wallace, #4-Mike Wallace, #6-Mark Martin, #7-Robby Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #10-Scott Riggs, #11-Jason Leffler, #15-Michael Waltrip, #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth, #18-Bobby Labonte, #19- Jeremy Mayfield, #25-Brian Vickers, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #36-Boris Said, #37-Kevin Lepage, #38-Elliott Sadler, #41- Casey Mears, #42-Jamie McMurray, #43-Jeff Green, #45-Kyle Petty, #49-Ken Schrader, #77-Travis Kvapil
      More of NEXTEL Cup’s “heavy hitters” are scheduled to test July 18-19. A total of 17 teams and drivers will turn laps, including four-time Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon, fellow former race winners Dale Jarrett and Bill Elliott, and Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Stewart and Gordon are scheduled to test only July 19.
      (IMS PR)(7-7-2005)

      News from July 6, 2005

    • Holly leaves #32 team UPDATE 2 no...on a sabbatical: hearing that #32 PPI Motorsports crew chief, Harold Holly has left the Tide team and driver Bobby Hamilton Jr., been told Danny Gill will assume crew chief duties at Chicagoland Speedway.(7-5-2005)
      UPDATE: two Nashville, TN TV stations [NBC affiliate WSMV-TV and CBS affiliate WTVF-TV] reported and interviewed driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. and he confirmed that Harold Holly has left the #32 car as crew chief. It was a mutual decision between Holly and #32 car owner Cal Wells. Holly wants to get back to Busch for less hectic schedule and it was time for a change. The new crew chief will be Danny Gill (Hamilton drove ARCA car with him as crew chief).(7-6-2005)
      UPDATE 2: Contrary to published reports, Harold Holly remains under contract with PPI Motorsports and is currently taking a sabbatical leave for several weeks. Filling in for Holly is Danny Gill.(PPI Motorsports)(7-6-2005)
      AND Call Wells told Claire B. Lang XM Satellite NASCAR Radio this morning that Harold Holly is still working for him but is on a several week sabbatical. "What's Harold's doing is he's on a short sabbatical. He's reviewing our performance challenges. He's reviewing where we're coming up short, what we need to evolve and to change," Wells told CBL. Wells said they've hired Danny Gill to come in and straighten out the shop because the prouduct they have been delivering to the crew chief has not been of the quality that Wells said he's been proud of in the past. Wells further said that Bobby Hamilton Sr. assisted in the hiring of Danny Gill to help square away things in the shop. Gill will cover things for the next couple of weeks as Harold delves into, "where our challenges are." Wells says " Harold's going to come up with some thoughts and ideas and direction that is going to make us better." Wells told CBL that he wanted to clairify that, "Harold Holly is still with PPI, that rumors to the contrary are inaccurate and that Harold is a good friend a confidant a supporter and I am a supporter of him."(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(7-6-2005)

    • #4 back in the top-35 AND: With Mike Wallace's 8th place finish at Daytona in the Pepsi 400, the #4 Morgan McClure Motorsports team is back in the top-35 in Owners Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Chicago. Thr #4 is now 34th, #22-Scott Wimmer falls to 35th [6 points behind the #4] and #11-Jason Leffer, even with a 18th place finish and leading a lap, falls out of the top-35 and is now 36th, 17 points behind Wimmer.(7-3-2005)
      AND did ya know? the 8th place finish at Daytona was the first top-10 for Morgan McClure Motorsports since Mike Skinner was 6th at Rockingham on Nov. 3, 2002, or 66 races ago [the team missed a few races in that span], and the #4 team has not had a top-5 in 244 races made since Bobby Hamilton scored a 4th at Richmond in May 1999, 244 races ago.(7-6-2005)

    • MLB and Dale Jr. team up again - image UPDATE: #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)
      UPDATE: The once-a-year Budweiser / Major League Baseball promotion returns to the race track this weekend at Chicago. Dale Jr. will also attend All-Star festivities (this year in Detroit) on Monday following the race. Expect his visit to include a ride to the ballpark via the Clydesdales for the on-field media event preceding the MLB Home Run Derby.(Budweiser PR/fingeprint inc)(7-6-2005)

    • Kraft on the #41 at Chicago: The Kraft logo will replace the Target bullseyes on the rear quarter panels of Casey Mears #41 Dodge this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. This is the first year Kraft has partnered with Target to be a season-long associate sponsor of the #41 Dodge. Kraft Foods' worldwide headquarters are located in Northfield, Ill., just 50 miles north of Joliet.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(7-6-2005)

    • DEI up for awards: The nominees have been released and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. is once again up for two awards by Charlotte Trip magazine. And, just like last year, they’ll need some help from our dedicated fans to assist in the voting process. DEI is once again up for Best of Charlotte and Best Day Trip in the annual Visitor’s Choice Gold Awards put together by the magazine. With your help, they won both categories last year. You can vote for DEI [or other nominee] by logging onto, voting ends on August 15 and then the final three nominees in each category are announced. The actual awards ceremony is on September 7 in Charlotte.(DEI)(7-6-2005)

    • Marlin in Childress car? or maybe Yates? Jack Daniels Distillery says it is not lobbying for Columbia's Sterling Marlin to be the driver of the Nextel Cup car it sponsors, but it expects to be "consulted" about the decision. "We will support whatever decision (team owner) Richard Childress makes, but we will be consulted," said John Hayes, brand director for the Lynchburg-based distillery. Marlin said he was offered the job near the end of last season but turned it down to honor the final year of his contact with Chip Ganassi Racing. Childress hired Dave Blaney on a one-year contract. With Marlin now officially out at Ganassi after this season, there is speculation that he might join Childress and drive the Jack Daniels Chevrolet next year. Through 17 races, Blaney has one top-ten finish and is 27th in the standings. "Dave is a great guy and has been an excellent representative for us," Hayes said. "He is a talented driver but has had some bad luck this season. We got into this a little late (waiting for NASCAR to approve sponsorship by companies that produce hard liquor) and everything considered, Dave has done a good job." Jack Daniels has a multiyear contact to sponsor a Childress Nextel Cup car and Hayes said it is important that the car be "competitive." "We're the world's #1-selling whiskey, and being competitive is important to us in whatever we do," he said. "We're in the big leagues now." Although Blaney has not been in contention to win, Hayes said the company is "very satisfied" with the exposure it has received during the first half of the season. "Our consumer research has been very positive," he said. "We rank seventh or eighth in merchandise sales and considering that we're competing against drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, that's very good. Right now we're very happy with where we are and we will definitely be back next season." Marlin said recently he hopes to learn his plans for next season "in the next few weeks."(Tennessean)
      or Yates: hearing that Marlin could be in a third Robert Yates Racing Ford in 2006, if they decide to field a third team. Yates recently said he had no plans for a third Cup team and would run the Busch team another year, while it was mentioned a few weeks before that RYR was looking into a third team with CitiFinacial sponsoring the team.(7-6-2005)

    • Rusty....Back in Black at Chicago: Rusty Wallace’s #2 Penske Racing South Dodge will be carrying a special “retro” look in this weekend’s USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. “Just tell ‘em that black is back,” chuckled Wallace when discussing his team’s return to the familiar black-and-gold Miller Genuine Draft color scheme that graced his race cars from the beginning of the 1990 season through the end of the 1996 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. “We had so much success during the years we carried that paint job and hope that it’ll bring us some more good luck at Chicago this weekend. The fans loved it back in the early and mid-90s and so many people remember Dale Earnhardt’s black #3 and my black #2 battling it down to the wire in so many races,” Wallace recalled. “We think the fans will really appreciate us bringing that color scheme out another time during our ‘last call’ season.” Wallace drove his black-and-gold #2 Miller Genuine Draft entry (a Pontiac from 1990-1993 and a Ford from 1994-1996) to an amazing 30 wins, 82 top-five finishes and 120 top-10 finishes in 179 races wearing those colors. He recorded 10 of his 36 career pole positions during that time.(Tom Roberts PR)(7-6-2005)

    • Stremme to Debut at Chicago with the Navy UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in an alliance with FitzBradshaw Racing announced today that David Stremme will make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut in the Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 10th, 2005, with the United States Navy serving as primary sponsor on the #39 Dodge Charger. The United States Navy will also serve as the primary sponsor for Stremme in the NEXTEL Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on September 10th. This announcement comes on the heels of the announcement that Stremme will compete for the 2006 Rookie of the Year honors in the NEXTEL Cup Series behind the wheel of the #40 Coors Light and #40 Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodges. The upcoming NEXTEL Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway will mark the first foray into NEXTEL Cup Racing for the United States Navy [actually they were on the #18 car in the 1991 Daytona 500 and on the #4 car in the 2000 Coca Cola 600 - images on my 2000 Paint Schemes Page]. Stremme is currently eighth in the NASCAR Busch Series point standings, driving the #14 Navy "Accelerate Your Life" Dodge. He has posted four top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 2005, to date.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(7-1-2005)
      UPDATE: David Stremme will be making his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut this weekend in the #39 Navy "Accelerate Your Life" Dodge. Stremme and the #39 team tested at Chicagoland June 20th and 21st in preparation for his NEXTEL Cup debut. Lee McCall will serve as Stremme's crew chief this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. McCall joined Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates at the beginning of the 2001 season to lead the #40 team. McCall amassed five wins as a crew chief at Chip Ganassi Racing, four with Sterling Marlin and one with Jamie McMurray. This is the first of four races where Stremme will be running both the NASCAR Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup races. He will also be piloting a NEXTEL Cup car for Chip Ganassi Racing, in addition to his Busch Series obligations, at Richmond, Charlotte and Homestead this season.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(7-6-2005)

    • Different look for the #31 at Chicago: The familiar bright orange Cingular paint scheme on Jeff Burton's #31 Chevrolet will be replaced with a camouflage and orange design for the race weekend at Chicagoland Speedway to highlight associate sponsor Bass Pro Shops.(RCR)(7-6-2005)

    • Testing at New Hampshire: #48-Jimmie Johnson, #20-Tony Stewart, #?[34?]-Joey McCarthy, #38-Elliott Sadler, and #31-Jeff Burton are scheduled to test for the New England 300 [Sunday, July 17] on July 5 and 6th at New Hampshire International Speedway. Been told all were there but Burton and the #34 was there with no driver name on the car [probably McCarthy?]. Ryan Moore is testing an DEI #81 Chevy for the Busch race. Burton will test only on Wedm July 6th. Granstand area will be open to the public free of charge for this test.(7-6-2005)

    • New Minority Owned Team...Carl Long to drive: Victory Motorsports unveiled the names of, Morty Buckles, an accomplished driver that will represent Victory Motorsports in the ARCA Racing Remax Series, and Carl Long, a skillful and experienced driver that will represent Victory Motorsports in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, and drive car #94. Morty Buckles, an African-American driver, has been a part of the NASCAR world for a number of years, most recently in the Drive for Diversity Program, and the NASCAR/Dodge Weekly Series, winning races and respect all around the organization. Carl Long, a resident of Troutman, North Carolina, has a solid 22 years of racing under his belt. Raised in Roxboro, North Carolina, Long started racing in the early 80's, and won his first Track Championship at South Boston Speedway in 1987. In 1992, Long was named the Winston Racing Rookie of the Year at Orange County Speedway. In 2000, Long made his first Winston Cup race, and in 2004 made a career high of six Nextel Cup races. Carl Long has participated at several levels of NASCAR racing, including Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series, and the Craftsman Truck Series [Long was/is running a limited schedule with the #00 McGlynn Chevy team]. Victory Motorsports is owned by Terance Mathis, former All-Pro Wide Receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. For more information go to Victory Motorsports.(TBG Worldwide PR)(7-6-2005)

    • NASCAR Joins "America Supports You" Team: NASCAR announced its support for the "America Supports You" program, an ongoing nationwide effort to communicate America's admiration to the men and women of the Armed Forces. The program, launched by the U.S. Department of Defense last year, recognizes citizens' support for our military men and women and serves as a vehicle to communicate that appreciation to members of our Armed Forces at home and abroad. NASCAR will seek to raise awareness of the program and drive fans to the website at [posted at for a few months now]. NASCAR is working with the industry to help raise awareness about the effort including signage at tracks, airing of public service announcements on Nextel Vision, decals on race cars, outreach to media outlets and public relations support.(NASCAR PR)(7-6-2005)

    • Testing at Indy: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers will test during three separate sessions in July at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, preparing for the 12th annual Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 7. The first test session takes place Tuesday, July 5 and Wednesday, July 6. The second session is Monday, July 11 and Tuesday, July 12, with testing wrapping up Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19. Testing will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (local time) each day, with a lunch break from noon-1 p.m. Fans are welcome to watch testing for free in the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2.
      Drivers Scheduled to test:
      July 5-6: #97-Kurt Busch, #21-Ricky Rudd, #99-Carl Edwards (7/5 only)
      July 11-12: #0-Mike Bliss, #01-Joe Nemechek, #2-Rusty Wallace, #4-Mike Wallace, #6-Mark Martin, #7-Robby Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #10-Scott Riggs, #11-Jason Leffler, #15-Michael Waltrip, #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth, #18-Bobby Labonte, #19- Jeremy Mayfield, #25-Brian Vickers, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #36-Boris Said, #37-Kevin Lepage, #38-Elliott Sadler, #41- Casey Mears, #42-Jamie McMurray, #43-Jeff Green, #45-Kyle Petty, #49-Ken Schrader, #77-Travis Kvapil
      A list of drivers participating in the final session July 18-19 will be released at a later date.(IMS PR)(7-2-2005)
      UPDATE: Rookie Carl Edwards topped the speed chart July 5 on the first day of 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series private testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, posting a lap of 179.165mph in the #99 AAA Ford. Edwards was joined by a short list of testing participants: his Roush Racing teammate #97-Kurt Busch, 1997 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard winner #21-Ricky Rudd and #50-Jimmy Spencer, who won the pole for the race in 2001. Reigning series champion Busch, driving the #97 Crown Royal Ford, was second fastest at 179.151, Rudd was third in the #21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford at 178.937 and Spencer was fourth at 178.839 in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge. The track record at Indianapolis, set in qualifying in 2004 by #41-Casey Mears, is 186.293. All of the drivers tested to prepare for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 7 at IMS. Wednesday’s participant list will shorten by two, as Edwards is not scheduled to test and Spencer crashed in the Speedway’s Turn 1. Spencer spun in Turn 1 and backed into the SAFER Barrier at approximately 2:30 p.m. (local time), causing heavy rear-end damage to the car. Spencer was unhurt, but the team brought only one car and ended their test. Private test sessions are scheduled for July 11-12 and 18-19. Testing on July 11-12 promises to be the busiest, with 26 drivers scheduled to participate.
      Unofficial Speeds:
      Rank Car No. Driver Speed (mph) Total Laps
      #99A-Carl Edwards 179.165, 49
      #97A-Kurt Busch 179.151, 71
      #21-Ricky Rudd 178.937, 73
      #50-Jimmy Spencer 178.839, 21
      Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to PR)(7-6-2005)

      News from July 5, 2005

    • Yates special 'light' car at NHIS: #38-Elliott Sadler is definitely in learning mode during this test [at New Hampshire on Tuesday]. Sadler has a rather average average finish of 18.75 at NHIS. "We're just trying to get a handle on this racetrack," he said. "Race cars would be easy to tune if you only had one big bolt and nut to turn to adjust on it, but you have 500 or 600 different options every time you come to a racetrack." Sadler and Robert Yates Racing are "trying something new," a lightweight car with a low center of gravity designed specifically for the relatively flat one-mile oval here. The team will also likely run the new car on the mile oval at Phoenix.(Union Leader)(7-5-2005)

    • NASCAR Pets Calander: 12 NASCAR drivers including Greg Biffle; Kurt Busch; Dale Earnhardt, Jr; Kerry Earnhardt; Jeff Green; Jimmie Johnson; Matt Kenseth; Jason Leffler; Casey Mears; Ryan Newman; Elliot Sadler; and Stewart stood still just long enough to pose with their patient pets for the NASCAR Pets calendar. Each month read the drivers’ comments about the relationship between themselves and their pets. For sale at and in many mainstream calendar outlets. Proceeds from the sale of the calendar go to support the Greg Biffle Foundation. The aim of The Greg Biffle Foundation for Animals is to create awareness and serve as advocates to improve the well-being of animals by engaging the power and passion of the motorsports industry.(7-5-2005)

    • Hard to beileve....OOPS and CORRECTION #20-Tony Stewart’s victory gave owner Joe Gibbs a new distinction. It was the first time Gibbs-owned cars had ever won two races in a row. Stewart followed up his victory at Infineon Raceway with his first official victory in a restrictor-plate race. “First time in 14 years,” said Gibbs. “It’s hard to do. And it’s been a hard, tough year for us. This is a big deal for Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole.”(Gaston Gazette), Gibbs also owns the #18-Bobby Labonte and #11-Jason Leffler teams.(7-5-2005)
      CORRECTION: Stewart's back-to-back triumphs at Sonoma and Daytona marked the fourth time in his seven-year Nextel Cup career that he has logged back-to-back wins. In 1999, Stewart's second career Nextel Cup win at Phoenix in November was followed one week later by his win at Homestead. And twice in 2000 Stewart scored back-to-back wins - in June at Dover and Michigan and again in late September and early October with wins at Dover and Martinsville.(True Speed Communication)(7-5-2005)

      News from July 4, 2005

    • Mikey and NAPA look to be back with DEI in 2006 UPDATE: Now that Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has signed Martin Truex, Jr. to a three-year contract extension, the next order of business is to renew the deals for driver Michael Waltrip and his sponsor, NAPA, DEI Director of Motorsports Richie Gilmore said Saturday night. “Michael’s been a great driver for us and a great cheerleader for us this year and a great teammate,” Gilmore said. “I think in the next couple of weeks, we’ll have it all worked out. The Martin (Truex, Jr.) deal just took up a lot more time than we thought, but everybody’s happy with how it worked out.” As for Waltrip’s contract extension — something of a surprise to some, as his job was rumored to be in jeopardy — Gilmore said, “We’re still working out the details on it. We think we can get it done in the next couple of weeks. We got a lot done today with NAPA and Michael and we feel like we can definitely get it done.”(Speed Channel), also being told that Waltrip wil NOT be replaced at Speed Channel's Inside Nextel Cup show.(7-3-2005)
      UPDATE: DEI is close to signing sponsor NAPA and driver Michael Waltrip to a one year contract with a perhaps three year extension. That according to DEI Director of Competition Richie Gilmore after a series of contract talks at Daytona with sponsor representatives. Gilmore says the deal to sign Martin Truex Jr. took longer than expected and that now it’s important to make sure DEI has three teams to compete with the Roush and Hendrick operations. Meanwhile, Waltrip says has no deadline and "Whenever they’re ready, I’m pretty much flexible to figure out what’s next whenever they are, so I’m happy. I don’t have any issues. I know how it goes and we’ll work it all out." As far as a back-up plan, Michael said “I’ve been doing this for 20-years and I’ve realized that over the years that you better have a plan "B" …if you don’t you’re libel to be out in left field somewhere so I’m just going right along, happy, just riding a good wave right now. I don’t have any demands. It’d be silly for me to make demands when I haven’t heard what the plan is and when I hear the plan we’ll go from there. Everything’s good as far as I know…I don’t know of any reason to be worried."(PRN's Garage Pass/Sporting News)(7-4-2005)

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