Hall of Fames Museums
AUGUST 8-14, 2005
News from August 14, 2005
- Tony Stewart wins at Watkins Glen: #20-Tony Stewart won the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen at Watkins Glen International, dominating the race, leading 83 of 92 laps, for his fifth win of 2005 and 24th of his career, increasing his points lead to 105 points over #48-Jimmie Johnson who finished 5th. #7-Robby Gordon, who started 39th, finished 2nd, followed by #36-Boris Said [his best carrer finish], #40-Scott Pruett and Johnson. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 10th and #24-Jeff Gordon finished 14th. The race finished under a Green-White-Checker finish as there was a late caution, but no one ran out of gas.
For cautions, some race narrative, lap leaders, etc see my Watkins Glen Race Info/Rundown Page.
For race results and links, see Jayski's Watkins Glen Race Results Page.(8-14-2005)
- Sad News: Clifton "Coo Coo" Marlin, one of NASCAR's early stars and father of current Nextel Cup driver Sterling Marlin, died Sunday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 73. Marlin died in his hometown of Columbia, Tenn., said officials from Chip Ganassi Racing, which fields cars for Sterling Marlin. Sterling Marlin had returned home from this week's race in Watkins Glen, N.Y., to be with his father. Scott Pruett was scheduled to replace him in Sunday's event. Although he never won a NASCAR points race, Marlin was one of the sport's earliest stars. A hard-nosed racer who made his name racing around the short tracks in Tennessee and Alabama. He became a regular at the Tennessee Fairgrounds, running against the likes of Bobby and Donny Allison and Red Farmer. Marlin won his first title at the Fairgrounds in 1959. He added titles in 1962, then again in 1966 and 1967 and his four titles are a record at the now-defunct race track. Marlin moved onto NASCAR, where he made 165 Cup starts from 1966 to 1980. He had no wins, but earned nine top-fives and 51 top-10 finishes. His series best points finish was 20th in the 1975 season. Recognized as a driver, Marlin also was well-known for a blue collar work ethic that kept him maintaining the land on his Tennessee farm until his death. He passed that work ethic on to his son, Sterling, who despite being a two-time Daytona 500 winner still spends his weekdays working on the farm.(ESPN.com/AP)
AND: Members of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will begin racing festivities this morning at Watkins Glen International with heavy hearts as the driver of the #40 Coors Light Dodge, Sterling Marlin, mourns the passing of his father, Coo Coo Marlin. Sterling made his way back to Tennessee to be at his father's side in their home state late Thursday night. Coo Coo passed away early this morning from lung cancer in Columbia, Tenn. The elder Marlin was a pioneer in the NASCAR industry and very instrumental throughout Sterling's racing career. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Coo Coo's name to the American Lung Association. Ganassi pilot Scott Pruett will handle the driving duties in the #40 machine for Marlin in light of the situation for this afternoon's 92-lap Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(8-14-2005)
- Office Depot gives 99 kids free tickets: In celebration of the back-to-school season, Office Depot, the primary sponsor for Nextel Cup driver Carl Edwards' No. 99 Ford, has provided 99 race tickets for underprivileged area children. Edwards' car is sporting a "Back to School" paint scheme for today's race, with a bumper-sticker sized sponsorship added to the trunk which reads, "Proud Partner of the National PTA." The 99 area children are from Schuyler Outreach, a nonprofit organization that provides food and financial assistance to low-income families. "Education is so important and it's really neat that our sponsor is recognizing that," said Edwards. "This is only my third road course race (and first here) and I'm hopeful that the special paint scheme will bring us a little luck this weekend."(Elmira Star-Gazette)(8-14-2005)
- Bill Lester to make Cup start? UPDATE No: NASCAR's top series could soon have its first African-American driver in nearly 20 years, as Bill Lester and team owner Bill Davis have discussed the possibility of putting Lester in a Nextel Cup car later this season. "We've kicked it around, definitely," Lester said Saturday. Lester, 44, has been a regular in NASCAR's Craftsman Trucks Series — stock car racing's equivalent to Class AA baseball — since 2002. If he qualified for a Cup race, he would become the first African-American driver to race in NASCAR's top series since Willy T. Ribbs, who ran three races in 1986. Lester said he has made it clear to Davis that his goal is to race in the Nextel Cup, and Davis has been receptive. "It's just a matter of all the planets lining up," Lester said. A graduate of the University of California-Berkley with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science, Lester quit a high-paying job at Hewlett-Packard in the late 1990s to pursue his hobby, sports-car racing, full time. He ran his first NASCAR race in 1999, a Busch Series race on the road course in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Bobby Hamilton hired him to drive in the trucks series in 2002 and he moved to Davis' team last season. So far, Lester has shown speed but hasn't achieved consistent good finishes. He ranks 18th in the trucks series points standings this season, qualifying on the pole for two races but finishing in the top five only once.(USA Today)(8-7-2005)
UPDATE: Bill Lester, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver of the #22 Toyota Tundra sponsored by Office Depot at Nashville Superspeedway, confirmed on Friday, he has had NO contact will Tim Brown, the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner from Notre Dame and nine-time Pro Bowl honoree from the Oakland Raiders. Brown announced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past weekend he was starting a new diversity NASCAR Nextel team and looking for a veteran driver from another NASCAR series to be his main driver. Lester also insisted that he has had NO conversation with Bill Davis on a project that will see Lester behind the wheel of the #23 NASCAR Nextel Dodge for at least one race before the end of the 2005 season. According to Lester, "It's just talk!"(Insiderracing.com)(8-14-2005)
- No Cup Offers for Reutimann...yet: Darrell Waltrip Motorsports #17-David Reutimann is one of the hottest drivers in the Craftsman Truck Series, and if he stays hot, he could soon attract attention from the Nextel Cup garage area. That hadn't happened as of last week, though. "I haven't heard from one team," the Zephyrhills native said. But Reutimann picked up his first career victory Saturday at Nashville. And in his past five races, he has a win, a second, two thirds and an 11th. He's up to fifth in the points after taking Rookie of the Year honors last year. Working against Reutimann is that he's 35, or at least 10 years older than the up-and-comers who are getting Cup offers. But the turnover in Nextel Cup this year is unusually high.(Tampa Tribune)(8-14-2005)
- Watkins Glen Race Notes:
• Tony Stewart won the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen, scoring his 24th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 234th career start.
• Stewart remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, now 105 ahead of second-place Jimmie Johnson. Stewart extended his point lead by 30 points.
• Stewart has scored all but 89 of the available championship driver points in the last eight races. There were 1,520 available points in those eight races.
• Stewart’s last victory came at Indianapolis, one race ago. He scored his third victory in seven races at Watkins Glen International. Stewart has scored five victories in 2005, all in the last seven races. He also won at Infineon Raceway, Daytona, New Hampshire and Indianapolis.
• Stewart is tied with Greg Biffle for the most victories this season .
• Stewart has scored eight straight top-10 finishes, extending a streak that began with a second-place-place finish at Michigan
• Stewart moved into sole possession of 24th on the NASCAR’s All-time win list.
• Stewart won the $10,000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus for winning the race and leading the point standings. It marked the fourth time in 2005 that the bonus has been won. Jimmie Johnson won it at Las Vegas ($30,000) and at Charlotte ($90,000) while Stewart won ($90,000) at Indianapolis and $10,000 at Watkins Glen.
• This was Stewart’s fifth career road-course victory in 14 career road-course races.
• Stewart has won the last three road-course races (Watkins Glen-August 2004, Infineon-June 2005, and Watkins Glen-August 2005).
• Tony Stewart led the most laps for the eighth time in a race this season. He led 83 of the 92 laps raced. This was the most laps led by a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race winner in Watkins Glen history
• Stewart has led the most laps in six of the last eight races in 2005.
• Stewart led three times including the final 34 laps.
• Stewart has scored 14 top-10 finishes in 22 races this season, tied with Jimmie Johnson for the most of all drivers.
• Stewart scored the third victory for car owner Joe Gibbs at Watkins Glen International. Stewart won for Gibbs here in 2002 and 2004.
• This was Gibb’s 47th victory as a car owner and fifth in 22 races this season.
• This is the 12th victory for Chevrolet in 2005. Ford has nine and Dodge has one.
• Robby Gordon (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in seven races at Watkins Glen International. It marked his first top-10 finish in 2005.
• Boris Said (third) posted his first top-five finish in five races at Watkins Glen International. Said scored his career-best NASCAR NEXTEL Cup finish.
• Scott Pruett (fourth) posted his third top-10 finish in four races at Watkins Glen International. This was Pruett’s 37th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race and fifth career top-10 finish. Pruett’s best Watkins Glen came in 2003 when he finished second.
• Jimmie Johnson (fifth) posted his second top-10 finish in four races at Watkins Glen International. He scored his 14th top-10 finish in 22 races in 2005. Johnson remained second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings now 105 behind first-place Tony Stewart.
• Johnson has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 55 consecutive races, the longest current streak. The streak began at Atlanta in March 2004.
• Mark Martin (seventh) scored his 32nd career road-course top-10 finish, setting an all-time NASCAR record and breaking his tie with Dale Earnhardt who had 31.
• Rusty Wallace (sixth) extended a 35-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August. Wallace has scored 17 top-15 finishes in 22 races in 2005.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10th) climbed from 16th to 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 683 points behind firstplace Tony Stewart and 163 points behind 10th-place Carl Edwards.
• Five of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Watkins Glen International
• Only five drivers are within 400 points of current point leader Tony Stewart with four races remaining before The Chase begins in New Hampshire in September.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-14-2005)
- Rumblings - Watkins Glen:
Tony Stewart had 'em covered all day.....for that matter, he's had 'em covered for the last two months! Tony was all about total domination today (he led 83 of the 92 circuits) at Watkins Glen International as he captured the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen for his 5th victory of the season (and all in the last 7 races), back-to-back Jack (he won at Indy last week), and his 3rd road course win in a row. They even extended the event two laps with a green/white/checker....and it made no difference.
This was career win #24 for Tony, and he's now in sole possession of 24th place on the all-time win list. Win #47 for Joe Gibbs Racing was worth $269,006 from the over $4.6M in posted awards.
Robby Gordon (2nd) had his best finish since he won here in August of 2003.
Boris Said (3rd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 6th twice....at Infineon in June of 2003 & 2004.
Scott Pruett (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Infineon in June of 2004 (only three races). The Top-5's by Gordon, Said, and Pruett make 30 drivers at that mark this season....last year we had 31. Those same three drivers' Top-10's put us over last years mark. We've had 41 drivers this season and only 39 last.
Joe Nemechek (9th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Michigan in June.
Paul Menard (27th) had his career-best finish today. In his only other Cup race, he was 29th here in August of 2003.
Anthony Lazzaro (28th) had his career-best finish today as well. His only other Cup race was 34th here in August of 2001.
Johnny Miller (29th) had his best finish since he was 24th at Infineon in June of 2003 (only two races).
STREAKIN....Tony Stewart has 8 Top-10's in a row.
Mark Martin has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is tie between Robby Gordon (+38 ) and Boris Said (+38 ). The only other driver on the plus side was Scott Pruett (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Greg Biffle (-35), followed by Kurt Busch (-34), Jeff Burton (-25), Ryan Newman (-23), and Michael Waltrip (-22). When you line up by points and put those good roadies in the back you can count on a great day in the "Shaft".
Jorge Geoters led a lap today in his NEXTEL Cup debut. He's the 46th different driver to lead a lap this season....last year we had 50 of 'em.
Tony Stewart tacked 30 points onto his lead over Jimmie Johnson....it's now at 105. Jamie McMurray moved above the "Stayin' Alive" line as he replaced Dale Jarrett in the Top-10. DJ & Elliott Sadler are taking this "teammate" thang" a little too far as they have identical point totals tied for 11th (and three points out of the "Chase" at the moment).
Brian Vickers (22nd to 18th) made the best move forward and Jeff Burton (18th to 22nd) went in the opposite direction.
We put three more drivers in the "Mathematically Eliminated" category today.....everybody from 33rd on down is out of the game.(Stock Car Fans)(8-14-2005)
News from August 13, 2005
- Congrats: to NASCAR's Mark Dyer [in charge of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, see story at the Daytona Beach News Journal], his daughter, Sharnai, won two world AQHA [quarter horse] titles on Friday. Aboard her 11-year-old gelding, Majestic Scotch, Sharnai took the western pleasure and western riding titles on August 12. This is the same event Montgomery Lee Petty won at a couple of years ago.(8-13-2005)
- Geoffrey Bodine Recruiting: Geoff Bodine arrived at Watkins Glen International Friday, but he wasn't looking for a ride. Instead, he was recruiting NASCAR's brightest stars to drive for him. Bodine and John Morgan have put together the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Challenge, which will take place Jan. 4-8, 2006 at Lake Placid, pitting race car drivers against each other on a downhill half-pipe with 90-degree turns. So what better place to find a bunch of speed freaks in New York state than the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen?
Bodine said drivers Boris Said, Kyle Petty and Jeff Burton have ex-pressed genuine interest in the event, but the Chemung native was just getting his recruiting tour underway. "We haven't had much support," Bodine said of previous fund-raising efforts. "We have a lot of great American athletes buying sleds from Europe out of their own pockets." In the 2002 Winter Olympics, held in Salt Lake City, Utah, Bo-Dyn sleds took a gold medal in women's competition and silver and bronze in the men's runs. The sleds are now among the best in the world, but to even keep them at that level requires funding. Bodine's goal is to sign up 10 racers, possibly with participation by their backers. "We want to jazz these things up," Bodine said, adding he'd like the get sponsorship decals on the sleds, "to make 'em look like Nextel Cup cars." Bodine said there would be an open division for a limited number of pedestrians to attempt sled runs ... if they dare. "It's an out-of-control feeling and I like it," he said.(Corning Leader)(8-13-2005)
- Driver Money: According to sources, Penske is giving Kurt Busch a five-year contract for anywhere between $6 million and $12 million a year. It is unclear what Busch is making with Roush, but the average Cup driver makes $3 million-plus a year, plus whatever he can generate in souvenir sales and through personal-services contracts. At the top end, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon are reported to be making about $20 million a year each.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-13-2005)
- No Toyota in 2006: Over the past several months, Toyota Racing Development had quietly built a race car that eventually was submitted for the mandatory approval process that would allow it to be entered into the NASCAR Busch Series beginning in 2006. For reasons known only to them, TRD officials would never acknowledge the existence of the car even though it had gone through the initial stages of the approval process (fitting the car to the templates). Next up for Toyota was an on-track test at Atlanta Motor Speedway, similar to what Ford and Chevrolet recently underwent when submitting their new models for the 2006 season. But just three weeks ago, prior to the first scheduled on-track test, Toyota officials notified NASCAR that they were pulling the plug on the process.
Speculation centered on Toyota and NASCAR officials allegedly being at odds and not seeing eye-to-eye on the car and its engine.
"Not so," said a NASCAR official. "There was never a problem with the car. They just notified us that they were pulling the plug and ending the process – for now." Despite confirmation from those in the garage, Toyota officials still won't acknowledge the existence of the car. Instead, they maintain that their goals have not changed since earlier in the year.(Yahoo Sports)(8-13-2005)
- More on Toyota, Robby Gordon? from Inside the Pit Box - ...... this gentleman was at Bill Davis Racing [BDR] on another matter and while there, saw several Toyota Camry Cup cars either completed or close to being so. It is commonly believed that Toyota will probably not enter Cup before the 2007 Daytona 500. So why would BDR have so many cars with bodies already hung? Too many things can happen in a year and a half. It doesn’t make sense. Everyone knows that BDR heavily involved with Toyota and that the team is doing the majority of R&D for their Cup program. But the gentleman I spoke to said he saw something else at BDR. It was another Toyota painted in the familiar scheme of Robby Gordon with one of the sponsors already in place on the rear quarter panels. There has been no mention of Gordon going to Toyota so this is a brand new one. If Gordon is going to Toyota, which sponsor, Fruit of the Loom or Jim Beam will go with him? Both are extremely proud American companies so how will their customer base react to such a move?(Inside the Pit Box)(8-13-2005)
- Roush not letting Busch go in 2006: Nextel Cup champion #97-Kurt Busch will be back to fulfill the final year of his contract with Roush Racing because his car owner will not let him go early. Jack Roush said Busch sought a release for 2006 after telling him earlier this week that he had a deal for 2007 with Roger Penske. "He said, 'I don't want to negotiate with you for 2007,'" Roush recalled Friday at Watkins Glen International. "I said, OK, and he said, 'I want to be released for 2006.' I said not OK." Busch said he understood that and is focused on winning another title or two before moving to Penske. He has called the Penske ride an "opportunity of a lifetime," and a challenge to prove he can win with a different team. He's hoping something still can be worked out that will permit him to move into the No. 2 Dodge next season, but didn't sound optimistic. "It's Jack's decision," he said. "We'll see what happens." Roush already is faced with trying to fill one of his five cars for next season. He has signed Jamie McMurray to replace Mark Martin in 2007, but is leaning on Martin to delay by a year his retirement from full-time Cup racing. Martin wants to move to the Truck series next season. McMurray wants to leave Chip Ganassi Racing after 2005. Like Busch, he can't get out of the final year of his contract. "That's not even on the radar screen," Ganassi said before the cars began practice for Sunday's Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen. "His status has always been the same." So, Busch can't go to Penske as a replacement for the retiring Rusty Wallace, and McMurray is staying put. Will somebody give in and break the logjam? Ganassi and Roush certainly don't sound as if they will. Roush made that clear to Busch, saying he expected the driver to keep his commitment and that he was keeping commitments to his sponsors. "We'll have to work our way through this," he told Busch. "But the thing I'll give you today is that you shouldn't expect a release for 2006." Busch was asked if he thought his departure after this season would be best for everyone. "You could speculate on that," he said. "For me, I'm happy wherever I go." He called 2006 a question mark but said he has a great opportunity to win for either car owner. Beyond that Busch would not comment on 2007. "I've got 2005 to drive for this championship," he said. "We're in good position. We're fifth in the points. It's hard to go into the future." He called the team's chemistry great and said there is no misunderstanding among crew members about why he wanted to move to Penske. "They know that it wasn't them. They know that it wasn't me," he said. "They know that it wasn't Roush Racing. They know that it's this business." Busch said there would be no letdown in his level of intensity, whether it be practice, qualifying or racing.(ESPN.com/AP)(8-13-2005)
- Marlin's Dad Ill UPDATE on Coo Coo; Pruett to run the #40: Ganassi Racing's Busch driver, David Stremme [who will take over the #40 in 2006] is practicing the #40 Coors Light Dodge for Sterling Marlin who flew back to Tennessee last night to be with his father, former Cup driver Coo Coo Marlin, who is ill. No word on Coo Coo's condition and if Stremme will be in the #40 car all weekend.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)
AND from a Dodge/Clear!Blue PR Chip Ganassi: "Sterling Marlin is not here this morning, and his father is not doing too well. He flew out of here last night to go back home to be with Coo Coo. (David Stremme will practice the #40 Coors Light Dodge on Friday). None of this could happen today without the steadfast support of Sterling Marlin since I got in partners with Felix. A lot needs to be said there about that man.(8-12-2005)
LATEST on Coo Coo: Retired racing great Coo Coo Marlin of Columbia is hospitalized in serious condition, continuing his battle with lung cancer. The 73-year-old Marlin's son, Nextel Cup driver Sterling Marlin, has decided to skip tomorrow's race in Watkins Glen, N.Y., to be at his father's side. Sterling Marlin and his wife Paula returned home from New York at 2:00am yesterday when informed that the elder Marlin's condition had worsened. Paula said her husband was with his father yesterday and unavailable for comment. The family has requested privacy during this period. Coo Coo Marlin was the first Middle Tennessee racer to rise to national prominence, spending 14 seasons on the Grand National (now Nextel Cup) circuit. He never won a points race, but was widely respected as a hard-nosed, determined racer. He was also a farmer and cattleman before retiring. Sterling Marlin credits his father for instilling in him the qualities that carried him to two Daytona 500 victories and made his one of the sport's most popular racers. David Stremme, with help from Scott Pruett, practiced Sterling Marlin's #40 Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing yesterday at Watkins Glen. Stremme, who is taking over the #40 Dodge next season, is expected to drive the car in qualifying today and the race tomorrow. Marlin has been working to secure another ride for 2006.(Tennessean)
UPDATE: Scott Pruett, who was to run the #39 Target Dodge for Ganassi Racing until rain cancelled Cup qualifying, will run the #40 Coors Light Dodge for Sterling Marlin at Watkins Glen. Marlin is missing the race to be with his ill father in Tennessee, David Stemme was going to qualify and race the car but was scheduled to go out 46th of 46 cars. The #39 team only had two attempts, so didn't make the race.(8-13-2005)
- CANCELLED because of RAIN: after 37 of 48 driver went out to qualify, hard rain hit the Watkins Glen International Track and caused cancellation of qualifying. So the field was set by the rules book, so the first 35 drivers are set by 2005 Owners Points, then by race team attempts, with ties broken by the Owners Points. So the top five are #20-Tony Stewart, #48-Jimme Johnson, #16-Greg Biffle, #2-Rusty Wallace, #97-Kurt Busch. Two drivers who had made the race via qualifying, #39-Scott Pruett and #87-Chris Cook, missed the race as they didn't have enough qualifying attempts to make the race. The other driver missing the race was #27-Tom Hubert who was a post entry. #50-Jorge Goeters will make his first career Nextel Cup start. Pruett will run the #40 Coors Light Dodge for Sterling Marlin who is missing the race to be with his ill father in Tennessee, David Stemme was going to qualify and race the car.
See the starting lineup, what the qualifying results did look like, practice speeds and more on my Jayski's Watkins Glen Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(8-13-2005)
- Ramblings - Watkins Glen: They've finally figured out how to slow Tony Stewart down....have it rain! So, instead of taking the pole for tomorrow's Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen by being almost a half-second quicker than the field, he takes it by 75 points. That's the margin over Jimmie Johnson that Tony holds in the points and by virtue of being that he'll lead us to the green tomorrow at Watkins Glen International.
Tony was so much faster than the competition today you know some of those guys had to be wondering if he was skipping the inner loop! If we could have held off the rain for another 30 minutes or so, the lineup would certainly have looked different. We had 37 cars take a time and had but 9 to go when the showers came.
Speaking of that lineup, I'm gonna use the one provided by NASCAR to the media....tho I think it's wrong. They have the #27 of Tom Hubert missing the event and the #50 of Jorge Georters in the 43rd spot, but the #27 has 13 attempts (according to the official NASCAR numbers from last week's Owners Points Report) while the #50 has but four. By those numbers the #27 should be starting 41st, Boris Said & Paul Menard slide back one spot, and Geoters goes home.
Now, it's possible that the #27 withdrew (but Hubert did take a time), that NASCAR for some reason disqualified them, or that possibly the entry blank for the Kirk Shelmerdine Ford was late [Jayski Note: #27 was a Post Entry per NASCAR Statisical Services]. In any event, there's been no explanation put forward....so don't be surprised to see something different tomorrow by race time. A number of internet sites (whose data I trust) seem to have the same numbers I do.....
Greg Biffle (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Dover in June (that race lined up by points also).
Rusty Wallace (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Martinsville in April.
Carl Edwards (10th) has his best starting spot since he started 8th at Dover in June (that rain-out again).
Scott Pruett (25th) is gonna fill in for Sterling Marlin who's gone home to be with his ailing father, Coo Coo.
Anthony Lazzaro (38th) makes his first Cup start since we were here in August of 2001. He started 31st and finished 34th that day.
Johnny Miller (40th) makes his first start since we were here in August of 2003. He started 32nd and finished 36th that day.
Paul Menard (42nd) makes his first Cup start since that same race in 2003 when he started 43rd and finished 29th.
Jorge Geoters (43rd) makes his first NEXTEL Cup start.
STREAKIN....Ryan Newman has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.
46 cars on hand....the Trouble Train contains three cars (sort-of). Scott Pruett, Chris Cook, and Tom Hubert all miss the field.....but as we
mentioned Pruett will take the wheel of the #40 Coors Light Dodge. Both he and Cook were quick enough to make the race.....till the rains came.(Stock Car Fans)(8-13-2005)
- Johnson Good to Go: #48-Jimmie Johnson, who crashed hard last week at Indianapolis during the closing laps of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, was evaluated Thursday and ran 12 laps in practice Friday on the road course at Watkins Glen International. "The CT scan that they did on me looked great," said Johnson, who was hurt when his right front tire blew and he slammed the fourth-turn wall on lap 146. "I went to the gym and got my heart rate up and went through some different scenarios to make sure my brain is firing on all eight cylinders. I got the green light, and here I am."(ESPN.com/AP Notes)(8-13-2005)
News from August 12, 2005
- Ganassi Announcement on Friday UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi will be on hand for a special announcement at Watkins Glen International regarding sponsor activities and plans for the 2006 season on Friday, August 12, 2005 at the Watkins Glen International Victory Lane.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)
Hopefully this will help clear up some of the Silly Season rumors, such as does Casey Mears stay in the #41 Target Dodge? move to a 4th team, #39? go back to Busch so Reed Sorenson can move up to the #41? does Jamie McMurray get out of his contract? if so, then who goes in the #42 Texaco Dodge? Mears? Sorenson? someone else? So far the only thing we know for sure is David Stremme in the #40 Lonestar/Coor Light Dodge in 2006...supposedly #41 crew chief, Jimmy Elledge will be his crew chief.(8-10-2005)
UPDATE: been told that Ganassi will expand to a full four car team in 2006, with Casey Mears moving to the Home 123 Dodge, possibly #39, with Ganassi Busch Series driver, Reed Sorenson going to the #41 Target Dodge and also running the #41 Discount Tires Dodge on the Busch Series. The fate of the #42 Texaco Havoline team is unknown, but at present Jamie McMurray is expect to drive the car unless he can get out of his contract for 2006 and move to the #6 Roush Racing Ford, the team he signed to drive for in 2007.(8-11-2005)
UPDATE 2: Home123 Corporation, a subsidiary of New Century Financial Corporation , together with Chip Ganassi Racing
with Felix Sabates (CGRFS), today announced plans to expand their partnership to sponsor a fourth NEXTEL Cup Series entry in 2006 with current CGRFS driver Casey Mears taking the helm. Mears and his Home123 Team will take to the track in 2006 in an all-out pursuit to win races and build awareness of one of America's premier providers of home mortgage loans.
Home123 Corporation, the official mortgage company of NASCAR, joined forces with CGRFS prior to the 2005 season as a major associate on both the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge driven by Jamie McMurray in the NEXTEL Cup Series and the #41 Discount Tire Dodge piloted by Reed Sorenson in the Busch Series. In addition to Home123's NASCAR involvement, New Century Mortgage Corporation, also a subsidiary of New Century Financial Corporation, is the primary sponsor on Chip Ganassi Racing's #02 Rolex GrandAm Series team with drivers Cort Wagner and Stefan Johansson. Casey Mears has been driving for CGRFS since joining the NEXTEL Cup Series ranks in 2003. To date he has amassed two pole positions, two top-five finishes and 13 top-10 finishes in 93 starts. Prior to moving up to NASCAR's elite division, Mears cut his racing teeth competing in the NASCAR Busch Series, CART, IRL, Indy Lights Series and USAC Triple Crown, along with many other forms of motorsports. To find out more about Home123 or New Century, please visit www.Home123.com
AND UPDATE 2 1/2: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today its complete 2006 driver line up for
its NASCAR NEXTEL Cup programs. The multi-car team will expand its Concord-based racing stable to four NEXTEL Cup Series teams in 2006 with drivers Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson, Jamie McMurray and David Stremme piloting the Dodge Chargers.
"I'm extremely excited about our 2006 driver line-up," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "We began working toward this goal in 2002 when Felix and I signed David, and it continued with the addition of Reed, Jamie and Casey in 2003. This is a testament to Lorin Ranier and our driver development program as well as our unparalleled sponsor services team and the investments we've made over the past few years to achieve our goal of a four-car operation. It is my belief that these four drivers will help us accomplish our mission of winning races and adding value to our sponsor partners."
4th Team: Mears will continue his driving duties with CGRFS in 2006, but will pilot the Home123 Dodge Charger for a full season with backing from one of America's largest providers of home mortgage loans, New Century Mortgage subsidiary Home123. Mears is set to begin his fourth year with CGRFS next season after serving as driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge since 2003.
#41: Having already notched victories at Nashville and Gateway, and establishing himself a championship contender in his first full season of NASCAR Busch Series racing for CGRFS in the #41 Discount Tire Dodge, Sorenson's reward will come in the form of a full-time NEXTEL Cup Series ride in 2006 behind the wheel of the #41 Target Dodge. The 19-year-old rookie will remain the driver of the Discount Tire Busch machine next season, and will benefit significantly from running a full slate of Busch and Cup Series races in 2006.
#40 ream: As previously announced, Stremme will be piloting the #40 Coors Light and #40 Lonestar Steakhouse & Saloon Dodges for 2006 in the NEXTEL Cup Series for CGRFS. Stremme, the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year, will be making a run at the NEXTEL Cup Rookie of the Year honors alongside Sorenson. And if last weekend's Busch Series performances at Indianapolis Raceway Park were any indication of things to come, the two will have plenty for the competition as they stand third (Sorenson) and eighth (Stremme) in the championship standings.
#42 team: As the team's leading contender for 2005's edition of "The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup," McMurray (11th) will again pilot the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in his fourth year of tenure at CGRFS. The former NEXTEL Cup Series race winner will return to the familiar black and red Dodge Charger with the Texaco/Havoline sponsorship he's enjoyed every season at CGRFS since joining the squad in 2003.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-12-2005)
- RCR, Tracy Decide Not to Run at MIS: After two days of successful testing at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Paul Tracy have decided that not enough time remains before the Aug. 20 GFS Marketplace 400 at MIS to prepare for Tracy's first entry in a NASCAR event.
"I'm very impressed with Paul's ability in a race car, whether it's a Cup car or a Champ Car, but it was just too short a time to put the
right program together," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. "Paul's a champion and he had a very good test but we want to do this right and be fully prepared to give him a maximum effort." Childress hopes to race Tracy again later this year.
"I have the greatest respect for the guys that drive Cup cars week-in and week-out," said Tracy. "It takes a lot of preparation to be ready
for a highly competitive event like the NEXTEL Cup Series and we just didn't have the time to do the job right. I want to thank Richard for
giving me this opportunity and the crew guys at the test for all of their effort. My primary goal this year is the pursuit of the
Bridgestone/Ford Champ Car World Series Championship."(RCR PR)(8-12-2005)
- Stewart's Indy Celebration to be seen on Watkins Glen prerace: Because last Sunday's Allstate 400 at Indianapolis ran a little bit long, fans watching at home didn't get to see much of Tony Stewart's emotional celebration after he got through talking with Allen Bestwick. That will change Sunday, as the network will show the remainder of Stewart's Brickyard victory party during the pre-race show from Watkins Glen.(NASCAR.com)(8-12-2005)
- SUNDAY: Home Depot to Offer a 10% Discount on Bricks, Wall Blocks and Pavers in Celebration of Historic Victory: Tony Stewart scored the biggest win of his career when he drove his #20 Home Depot Chevy to victory lane in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday. While the hometown hero cemented his leadership with his name on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's race trophy, Stewart's sponsor, The Home Depot , put a 10% discount on bricks, wall blocks and pavers this weekend at all U.S. The Home Depot stores.
The official home improvement warehouse of NASCAR will take out full-page color ads in today's USA Today, and Friday's Atlanta
Journal-Constitution, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, Indianapolis Star, Evansville (Ind.) Courier, Syracuse (N.Y.) Post-Standard and
Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat & Chronicle with a congratulatory note for Stewart and the #20 Home Depot Racing Team. Customers who present a copy of the coupon from the ad will receive a 10% discount on bricks, wall blocks and pavers this Thursday through Sunday (Aug. 11-14). "First it was ladders and fences, and now it's bricks and pavers," said Stewart, alluding to The Home Depot's previous 10 percent discount on ladders and fences that followed his fence-climbing celebratory antics at Daytona (Fla.) and New Hampshire. "I plan to
keep winning races and helping to drive down the cost of home improvement for The Home Depot customers." Paved with 3.2 million bricks in 1909, the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway is best known as the Brickyard. While its surface is now covered with asphalt, a yard of bricks remains at the start/finish line as a testament to the track's famed history.(The Home Depot/True Speed Communication)(8-12-2005)
- Hall of Fame Racing close to a sponsor deal: Hall of Fame Racing, the new NASCAR team owned by former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, is close to reaching a sponsorship agreement to compete in Nextel Cup next season.
Bill Saunders, general manager of the team, would not reveal any details but said things are close to being finalized. "Let me put it in a football analogy," Saunders said. "We're on the one-inch line and it's first-[and]-goal, so we're feeling fairly good about this. We hope to announce something next week." Saunders has worked diligently on the project since January of 2003, when Aikman first announced he wanted to start a NASCAR team.(Dallas Morning News), see page info on my Past HOF Racing News page.(8-12-2005)
- #4 picks up associate sponor for Watkins Glen: In a one race deal, PEO Pros and Morgan-McClure Motorsports have agreed to an associate sponsorship of the #4 NASCAR Nextel Cup car at the Watkins Glen road course. PJ Jones will be driving the car. Jones was also instrumental in arranging the sponsorship. "We've been really happy with PJ in our marketing efforts. He's been a good investment!" said John Tenney, CEO of PEO Pros. Jones will be back in the #34 PEO Pros Chevy at Michigan next week, with Mach 1 Racing. More info on PEO Pros at peo-pros.com.(PEO Pros PR)(8-12-2005)
- Carloan.com to Sponsor the #00 five races: Carloan.com, the Internet's top rated online car loan service, has signed a five-race sponsorship agreement with McGlynn Racing and driver Carl Long to continuing their partnership with the team starting with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on August 21st. Carloan.com will be the title sponsor of the #00 McGlynn Racing entry for the Richmond and Martinsville races, as well as a major associate sponsor at Michigan and two other races that have not yet been determined. The McGlynn Racing car will showcase a new paint scheme at Michigan designed by the Carloan.com team. Carloan.com came aboard with McGlynn Racing earlier this year when they sponsored the team at Chicagoland Speedway. Find out more about Carloan.com at Carloan.com.(Carl Long site)(8-12-2005)
- Lazzaro to run #37 at Watkins Glen: Road coarse specialist Anthony Lazzaro will be filling in for NASCAR Nextel Cup regular Kevin Lepage for this weekends road coarse race at Watkins Glen. Lepage made the decision late this week to have Lazzaro fill in for him, as he thought it would be better for the team to put a more experienced road course driver in the driver's seat of the #37 Patrón Tequila Dodge Charger for Watkins Glen. "It was a tough decision to make because no driver wants to give up their seat at anytime for any race" says Lepage. "But I thought it would be better for the team to have a more experienced road course driver take the wheel for this weekend's race at the Glen. Anthony has a lot of experience on road courses and I thought he would be a good fill in for me. I know Anthony well; he drove for my Matrix Motorsports Busch Team back in 2003 at Kansas. Have no fear I will be back in the car at Michigan next week."(Integrated Marketing Solutions)(8-12-2005)
News from August 11, 2005
- Sad News: Pam Coble, wife of Motorsports writer, Don Coble, passed away Wednesday afternoon after battling cancer for nearly a year. Her memorial service will be Saturday morning at 11 at the First Baptist Church of Fayetteville, Ga. Don reports for the Augusta Chronicle.(8-11-2005)
- A Parade for Tony on Monday: Columbus, IN will have a chance to show its support for Tony Stewart [#20 Home Depot Chevy] at 7:00pm Monday at a parade through downtown. Following the parade, Stewart, a Columbus native and winner of Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, will be recognized at a ceremony at City Hall. The parade will form at Washington and Eighth streets at the Moose Lodge and will travel down Washington Street where it will end at City Hall. If Sunday’s NASCAR race at Watkins Glen, NY in New York is rain-delayed until Monday, the parade would be postponed until Tuesday. Stewart is making a name for Columbus and Indiana by being the first Hoosier native to win a race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1940. Stewart also leads the points standings in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series and was the series champion in 2002.(The Republic)(8-11-2005)
- Rusty Wallace weekend in Troy NY: The city of Troy, N.Y., has proclaimed the upcoming weekend “Rusty Wallace Weekend” in honor of Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion and 55-race winner. “It’s an honor I’m very proud of and I want to thank the people of Troy for remembering me this way,” said Wallace, in the middle of his final “Rusty’s Last Call” behind the wheel of his Miller Lite Dodge. “That area has a strong racing heritage and for them to be thinking of me during my final race at Watkins Glen this weekend is really cool.” Wallace will be celebrating his 49th birthday during Sunday’s running of the Sirius Radio @ the Glen at Watkins Glen International. It will mark Wallace’s 46th and final road course race in NASCAR competition.(Tom Roberts PR)(8-11-2005)
- Triple Duty at Watkins Glen...and Double: Jorge Goeters, Scott Pruett and Tony Stewart [but no Boris in the Grand Am race?] will attempt a triple-race weekend at Watkins Glen International beginning with Friday night’s Grand American CompUSA 200, running the Busch Series Zippo 200 on Saturday and culminating with Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series headliner– the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at the Glen. Doing double duty in both the Grand American race and Cup race are Kyle Petty, Bobby and Terry Labonte, and Johnny Miller. Twenty drivers will attempt to run both the Busch and Cup race at Watkins Glen, see the list on my Busch Series site.(8-11-2005)
- Latest on possible 3rd RYR team: Robert Yates Racing General Manager Eddie D'Hondt said RYR will have to decide by the end of the month whether it will field a third full-time team next season. If that doesn't happen, look for the team's Busch Series car to run a few additional races next season, including stand-alone Busch events with a younger, development driver.(NASCAR Scene via BGNRacing.com)(8-11-2005)
- Benson back in Cup at MIS: Johnny Benson will be racing at Michigan International Speedway next weekend, August 20th - 21st. He will be competing in the #67 Dodge for the Smith Brothers Motorsports team in the Busch Series and the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing team in the Nextel Cup Series.(Johnny Benson site)(8-11-2005)
- More on Busch to Penske...souvenir sales part of it? According to sources close to #97-Kurt Busch, one reason for his decision [to leave Roush and go to Penske] could be related to the souvenir-sales part of the business. Roush controls most of his drivers' souvenir sales, and personal-services deals must also be funneled through him. Drivers can make as much as $2 million a year off souvenir sales.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2005)
- Waltrip to the #11? before end of the season? UPDATE 2: Motorsport.com is reporting: Speculation has arisen that Michael Waltrip may vacate his seat in the #15 DEI Chevy prior to the end of the 2005 season. Rumors are swirling around the garage that Waltrip has been offered to drive the No. 11 Chevy at Joe Gibbs Racing for the last ten races of the season and next year. Both teams have denied the report.(Motorsport.com)(7-22-2005)
UPDATE: Micheal Waltip denied one of this weekend's hottest rumors that he will replace Jason Leffler in the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Chevrolet starting at Watkins Glen. When asked directly by Yahoo! Sports, Waltrip emphatically said that he intends to honor the remainder of his contract – unless he's fired.(Yahoo Sports)(8-7-2005)
UPDATE 2: Sources close to Michael Waltrip say he is in the running to take a full-time ride with Joe Gibbs, after the departure of Jason Leffler [#11 Fed-Ex Chevy]. Gibbs may move the FedEx sponsorship from his new third team to Bobby Labonte's #18 team next season, and that would open up a quarterpanel for NAPA, Waltrip's long-time sponsor at DEI.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-11-2005)
- Benson to drive #23 car at Atlanta: Through an agreement with Bill Davis Racing, the Challenger brand is a new associate sponsor on the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, driven by Scott Wimmer, through the end of the 2006 racing season – and, in addition, is the primary sponsor on the #23 Dodge, driven by Johnny Benson, in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Nextel Cup race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway this October. The Challenger brand graces a full line of quality tractors, combines and hay tools. The #22 Caterpillar Dodge carried the Challenger brand on board for the first time in this past Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. For more information on any of Challenger’s full line of agricultural products visit www.challengerag.com.(Johnny Benson site)(8-11-2005)
- 100 Wins for DEI/Chance2: For the 100th time since Dale Earnhardt, Inc. [counting Chance2] was formed 25 years ago, there is a checkered flag flying outside their corporate headquarters. When the #8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet of Martin Truex, Jr. pulled into Victory Lane at Indianapolis Raceway Park on Saturday night, it was his sixth of the season. But, for DEI it marked a milestone in their history. The team Dale and Teresa Earnhardt co-founded made its first visit to a Victory Lane in March 1985 with Dale winning a Busch Series race at Rockingham Speedway. There are only six drivers who can claim they contributed to the team’s 100 wins earned at 33 different NASCAR venues. Dale Earnhardt [17 wins], Dale Earnhardt, Jr. , Ron Hornaday , Martin Truex, Jr. , Steve Park  and Michael Waltrip . Truex, Jr. delivered a championship to the team winning the 2004 NASCAR Busch Series crown [and currently leads the points there in 2005], Earnhardt Jr. won the Busch crown in 1998 amd 1999 and Hornaday delivered two Craftsman Truck Series championships during his tenure with the team.(DEI PR)(8-11-2005)
- Hubert to run the #27 for Shelmerdine at Watkins Glen: Kirk Shelmerdine Racing has announced that Tom Hubert will be piloting the #27 NASCAR Nextel Cup Ford Taurus at Watkins Glen International Speedway for the weekend of August 12-14, 2005. Kirk Shelmerdine Racing is also seeking primary and associate sponsorship for the remainder of the 2005 season. For further information, please visit www.KirkShelmerdineRacing.com.(KSR PR) Hubert qualified and ran the #27 at Infineon Raceway in June.(8-11-2005)
- Some Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires Goodyear brought to Watkins Glen in 2004 . . . both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes this weekend . . . this specific combination was run earlier this season at Infineon Raceway (Nextel Cup) and Mexico City (Busch Series) . . . road courses are the only tracks at which NASCAR teams run different tire codes on the front and rear, as opposed to on the left and right on ovals . . .this rear-tire code (D-6840) is unique to the road courses in 2005, while the front-tire code (D-6836) will be run on the right-side at Martinsville . . . as on all NASCAR road courses, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Watkins Glen. The Estimated Pit Window is every 30-33 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes on my Watkins Glen Race Info/Rundown Page.(8-11-2005)
- Menard to run at Watkins Glen in #1 UPDATE: DEI #11 Busch Series driver, Paul Menard will attempt to make his first DEI Cup start at Watkins Glen in the SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen on August 14th. Menard will drive the #1 Kraft Chevy. Menard will run in the Busch Series in 2006 with select Nextel Cup starts and plans got a full-time Nextel Cup ride in 2007.(NASCAR Scene Magazine). but been told Menard will not be in the #15 car in 2006 or 2007.(7-24-2005)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has entered Paul Menard in this weekend’s Nextel Cup Series race; the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen road course event. Menard will pilot the #1 Kraft/Ritz Chevrolet at Watkins Glen International. Since coming to DEI in July of 2004, the 24-year old native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin has won two Busch Pole Awards. In the last eight Busch races, he’s earned three top-fives, seven top-10s and moved from 18th to 10th in points in the #11 Menards Chevrolet for DEI. This will be his first Nextel Cup Series race for DEI, but not his first Cup start. “I made my first Cup start in 2003 at Watkins Glen,” said Menard, who started 43rd and finished 29th in that race [for Andy Petree]. In preparation for the race, Menard went to The Glen with Tony Eury, Sr, Director of Competition for DEI, car chief B. Hoover and his Busch crew chief, Dan Stillman, to test. “We tested the Cup car at Watkins Glen last week for two days and it went very well,” Menard said. “It’s such a fast road course and I enjoy going each time because you can really drive the car hard around there. My goals for the weekend are to run top-five in the Busch race and qualify for the Cup race. I’ll just take it from there and run a clean race. Gaining respect from your competitors is a priority when you race at any level.” Menard will be pulling double duty driving the #11 Menards Chevrolet in the Busch Series race on Saturday. This will be the first time the series has returned to The Glen since 2001.(DEI PR)(8-11-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: By picking #17-Matt Kenseth as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 7th, Tony E. of Sussex, WI was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Tony picked Matt Kenseth as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Matt Kenseth. This is the first time this year that a donation in Kenseth's name has been made to the
NPCC.(Alan Taylor Communications)(8-11-2005)
- Domino's stay with NASCAR: Domino's Pizza, the Official Pizza of NASCAR, announced it will extend its partnership with the NASCAR. "We continue to be a proud sponsor of NASCAR, and feel our brand has been enhanced by this partnership," says David A. Brandon, chairman and CEO of Domino's Pizza. "As the number one choice for pizza among NASCAR fans, we feel we have been rewarded for our connection to this exciting sport." By focusing its marketing and advertising efforts on promoting Race Day is Domino's Pizza Day, Domino's has increased sales consistently across the country on race days by promoting the Race Day 555 Deal. When NASCAR fans are preparing to watch a race, ordering pizza from Domino's is becoming part of their race day ritual. The road ahead is promising. Domino's Pizza is the title sponsor of the upcoming Domino's Pizza 250 NASCAR Busch Series race on August 20 at Michigan International Speedway, and the primary sponsor of driver Michael Waltrip's #99 Domino's Pizza car [for that race].(Dominos.com)(8-11-2005)
News from August 10, 2005
- Busch to leave Roush after 2006; to the #2 UPDATE 2: Roush Racing announced today that Kurt Busch has advised team officials that he has signed with another team commencing in 2007. The name of the team is not known. Kurt also requested a release from his contract for 2006. Due to sponsor and team considerations no decision on that request will be made for an indefinite period. Roush Racing will have no further comment at this time.(Roush Racing PR), could be the #2 Penske Racing team, but what about 2006 if Busch can't break his contract? Sources tell me it is for Penske Racing and hopes are that Busch will be able to buy out his contract and run the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2006. Odd that Rosuh is now in the same position that their signing of Jamie McMurray put Ganassi Racing in, as McMurray was signed by Roush to drive the #6 Ford for Roush in 2007, but hopes to get out of his contract to drive the car in 2006. Current driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge is Rusty Wallace, who is retiring and says he will not unretire and come back in 2006, unlike #6-Mark Martin who is also retiring BUT has agreed to run one more year if McMurray is not let out of his contract with Ganassi, which also runs thru 2006. Hard enough keeping up with what is happening next week let along in 2007, interesting trend we have going here. Looks like the new way of trying to get out of a contract.(8-9-2005)
UPDATE: Penske Racing South announced today that it has signed Kurt Busch, 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion, to a multi-year contract to drive for the team beginning with the 2007 season.(Penske Racing PR)(8-9-2005)
UPDATE 2: Kurt Busch Statement regarding leaving Roush Racing and taking over the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2007 and his commitment to the #97 team: "I met with Jack Roush personally Tuesday morning to let him know that I am committed to Rousch Racing and the #97 team as we attempt to defend our Nextel Cup Championship this season and through the remainder of my contract, but that I have signed a multi-year agreement to drive the Penske Racing South #2 car beginning in 2007. We did briefly address, solely as a matter of timing, the possibility of a release from my 2006 contract with Roush Racing, but that is Jack's decision. There are a lot of factors involved in a release and no immediate decision was made. All of this, however, is in the future. For as long as I am in the #97 car, my total focus and commitment will be to Roush Racing, its sponsors and on our collective goal to win another Nextel Cup Championship. I look forward to success this weekend at Watkins Glen and hopefully solidifying our position in the 2005 Chase for the Cup."(Kurt Busch Inc. PR)(8-10-2005)
- Goeters in the #50 at Watkins Glen: Jorge Goeters is listed as the driver for the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge at Watkins Glen. Goeters is also driving the #32 Braun Racing Chevy in the Busch Series race there.(8-10-2005)
- Miller in the #92 at Watkins Glen: Road Racing expert Johnny Miller will return to Nextel Cup competition this weekend during the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen at Watkins Glen International. Miller, who last competed in a NASCAR race in 2003 here, will drive the #92 Chevy fielded by Front Row Motorsports [Hermie Sadler and Tony Raines usually drive the car]. Miller, who received an engineering degree from the University of Tennessee, was tapped by the team in large part for both his driving skill and engineering prowess. Miller is currently using his 20-plus years of racing experience to drive and develop Grand American Road Racing Rolex Series cars, along with testing racing tires for several major international manufacturers. In fact, Miller is doubling up this weekend, also competing in a Rolex GT Class Chevrolet Corvette for ASC Motorsports in Friday evening’s Grand-Am race. “I’m beyond excited to be back in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series,” said Miller, who made his Nextel Cup debut in 2003 at Infineon Raceway with Morgan-McClure Motorsports finishing 24th on the lead lap. “I’m privileged that (team owner) Bob Jenkins gave me the call when he was looking for a road-course specialist. We are entering this weekend from square one—Front Row motorsports is a great team with a competitive car, but with no testing time under our belt we’ll have get up to speed quickly. It’s going to be a busy weekend driving in two different races,” added Miller, “but that is my typical race weekend—I try to drive as many race cars as possible. I love racing, and I enjoy learning as much as I can to get to the front of the pack.” Johnny Miller, from Johnson City, Tenn., was one of NASCAR’s “hired guns,” competing in two NASCAR Nextel Cup races for Morgan-McClure Motorsports in 2003.(Miller Racing site)(8-10-2005)
- Brickyard 400 TV Ratings - Brickyard Rating Grows 68% in 5 Years on NBC: NBC Sports' coverage of the Allstate 400 at
the Brickyard earned a 6.2 rating and 15 share on Sunday, matching the second highest rating in the history of the event, with more than
19 million people tuning in to all or part of the broadcast. The 6.2/15 is a 2% increase over the rating for last year's race (6.1/15) and a three% increase over 2003 (6.0/15). NBC's coverage of the race in 2002 set the record high for the event (6.3/16); NBC's 2001 broadcast also earned a 6.2.
In the five years that NBC has broadcast the Brickyard, the rating has grown 68% (6.2/15 vs. 3.7/12 on ABC in 2000). The NBC/TNT
four-race, season-to-date average national rating, excluding the Pepsi 400, which alternates yearly between NBC and FOX, stands at a 5.3, up 56% over 2000 (3.4), the last year before NBC/TNT began exclusively broadcasting the second half of the NASCAR Nextel Cup season. The 5.3 season-to-date average is up 8% over last year's 4.9 for the same four races, and up 15% over 2003 (4.6)
(the comparison to 2000 excludes NBC's coverage of Nextel Cup Racing from Chicagoland Speedway, which began hosting NASCAR events in 2001).
Sunday's rating peaked at a 7.9 between 6-6:15pm/et as hometown hero Tony Stewart took the checkered flag for the first time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The top-rated markets for NBC's coverage of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard are as follows: 1) Indianapolis, 19.4; 2) Greensboro, 14.0; 3) Knoxville, 13.6; 4) Greenville, 12.8; 5) Charlotte, 12.0; 6) Jacksonville, 11.9; 7) Nashville, 11.4; 8) Louisville, 10.9; 9) Atlanta, 10.5; 10) Dayton, 9.7.(NBC PR)(8-9-2005)
- Mike Wallace to Drive #12 Toyota at Nashville: Mike Wallace confirmed tonight with Motorsports Lounge that he will drive Darrell Waltrip's #12 Toyota Tundra in this weekend's NASCAR Truck Series race at Nashville Speedway. Mike was available to drive the truck due to his current NASCAR Cup ride, the #4 Lucas Oil Morgan McClure Chevy, removing him from behind the wheel this coming weekend at Watkins Glen to put in a road racer [P.J. Jones] instead.(Motorsports Lounge)(8-10-2005)
- Day 2 of Michigan Testing: Paul Tracy acted a bit surprised at the group of media members assembled outside the Richard Childress Racing transporter Tuesday during the break in testing at Michigan International Speedway. Even though he was all business during the two-day test, he had time to joke with reporters about all the attention he was receiving for his two-day venture into testing stock
cars. "Hey guys, Jeff's transporter is over there," joked the 2003 Champ Car World Series champion, as he was referring to the transporter of four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon who normally gets plenty of attention from the media. Tracy, along with Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett and a slew of NASCAR Busch Series teams completed the second day of testing in preparation for the upcoming GFS Marketplace 400 and Domino's Pizza 250 race weekend at MIS. While Tracy completed his second day of incident-free testing, Gordon joined the test session on Tuesday, where he was looking to get back on track and make the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. After completing the test, it will be up to Richard Childress and team management to see if he will return next week to attempt to qualify for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series GFS Marketplace 400. Other drivers who completed laps on the MIS oval included Dale Jarrett in the #88 UPS Ford, Jeremy Mayfield in the #19 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge, Sterling Marlin in the #40 Coors Light Dodge and Carl Edwards, who tested his Busch Series car, the #60 Charter Communications Ford.
Others NASCAR Busch Series drivers included Paul Menard in the #11 Menard's Chevrolet, J.J. Yeley in the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin in the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet, Ashton Lewis Jr. in the #25 U.S. Marines Ford, Reed Sorenson in the #41 Discount Tire Dodge and Justin Labonte in the #44 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet, who was also joined by #87 Joe Nemechek on Tuesday only.
Tickets are still available for the NASCAR Busch Series Domino's Pizza 250 on Saturday, August 20, and the ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 on Friday, August 19. Children 12 and under admitted free to both events. Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series activities include NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series qualifying, along with a concert by the country sensation Sugarland following the Domino's Pizza 250. All tickets can be purchased now by visiting www.MISpeedway.com or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.(MIS PR)(8-10-2005)
News from August 9, 2005
- Double Duty for RYR at Watkins Glen: Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler will both compete in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Watkins Glen, in an effort to get more seat time in preparation for Sunday’s event. Jarrett will drive the #90 CitiFinancial Ford, while Sadler will race a specially-designed #08 Robert Yates Racing Ford. The car will be a tribute to all of the RYR sponsors, featuring a split design with UPS on the passenger side of the car and M&M’S on the driver side of the car.(Elevation Group PR)(8-9-2005)
- Burton back in the #21 at Watkins Glen Busch race: Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy in the Cup series, will be pulling double duty this weekend, piloting the #21 Reese's Chevrolet in the Zippo 200 Busch Series race at Watkins Glen International Saturday, August 13. In his two previous starts in the #21 Chevy earlier this season (Darlington and Bristol), Burton has two second-place finishes.(RCR PR)(8-9-2005)
- Zipadelli Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at Indy: Greg Zipadelli made Tony Stewart's dream come true this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - he brought the Indiana native a win at the Brickyard 400. Stewart held the lead three times for a total of 44 laps before taking the checkered flag in one of NASCAR's most prestigious events. His victory marked his fourth win this season and his seventh consecutive top-10 finish. For arranging the appointment for his driver to "kiss the bricks," Zipadelli was voted the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
Stewart had the car to beat this weekend. But unlike most winning cars that arrive to the track with hours of practice and test sessions
already logged, Stewart's car came fresh to the Brickyard. The original car that Zipadelli planned on using for the race didn't test
well, so he had his Home Depot crew piece together a brand new # 20 machine. "I'm just so proud of this team," said Zipadelli. "I'd like
to thank my fab shop and motor room. This is a brand new car. Everybody worked night and day to get it built. We weren't happy with
the one we tested. We went to the wind tunnel and the car looked good. And we brought it back here even without even taking it to the
race track. So I couldn't be prouder of everybody in our organization."
The panel of voters; including Steve Ballard of the Indianapolis Star, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; all agreed that
Zipadelli deserved Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race honors. Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson, Bob Osborne, Greg Zipadelli and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Steve Hmiel, Jimmy Fennig and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(8-9-2005)
- Waltrip and Toyota? UPDATE: Waltrip is headed eventually to the Toyota camp - along with Eury Jr., according to one Detroit source very close to the situation - in what is reported to be a top-dollar project. "Toyota has offered Michael and Tony Jr. so much money they can't turn it down," the source said. Waltrip has been eyed for a Toyota ride for more than a year, in part because older brother Darrell runs a Toyota team on the Craftsman Truck Series. NASCAR has been pushing Toyota to step up its presence in the sport, for the added marketing punch that would provide. And Waltrip could give Toyota quick credibility. Toyota isn't expected to field a Cup team until 2007, although a Busch team is a possibility in 2006. Toyota does have a formidable presence in the truck series. The Toyota option? "I don't even know when that's a possibility, and I need a job for next year," Waltrip replied.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2005)
UPDATE: There have been whispers that [Michael] Waltrip is working with Toyota to become their flagship driver in 2007. Even though nothing firm has been announced in relation to Toyota, speculation is that they will have a car ready for the 2007 season. Don't be surprised if the team that Waltrip drives for in 2006 is in the final year of their manufacturers' contract.(Suffolk News Herald)(8-9-2005)
- Tim Brown and Roush make it official UPDATE: Tim Brown, who starred as a wide receiver first at Notre Dame and then with the Oakland Raiders, will have a NASCAR team next year, featuring a technical alliance with Roush Racing. Still to be decided are a driver, crew chief, sponsor and even which series to run in, but Brown aims to have Tim Brown Racing on track in 2006. “It is our intention to run the Cup series. We have a very short time to get that done,” Brown said Sunday morning. “If that’s going to happen, it’s going to happen in the next 45 to 60 days. So we’re going to pushing very hard to get that done. If we end up in the Truck series or the Busch Series, that would be good, too.” Roush said he was enthusiastic about the partnership. “We would not presume to tell Tim what he needed to do or what he had to do, but we’ve certainly made our share of mistakes in the 18 years that we’ve been involved in the business, and we could show him where some of the hard points are,” said Roush. “We’ll have a great relationship.” Roush, who has some of the deepest sponsor roots of any team owner, may well prove to be Brown’s lifeline to sponsor dollars. Money, arguably the single most critical element in racing, has been noticeably absent from other minority race teams, including the now-defunct Washington-Erving Motorsports and BelCar Motorsports, the latter of which was owned by Sam Belnavis, who later became chief diversity officer for Roush Racing. (Speed Channel)(8-8-2005)
UPDATE: Two steps toward cool will be the car's number and paint scheme: 81 and silver and black, just like Brown wore for 16 seasons with the Raiders.(Sporting News)(8-9-2005)
- Johnson OK: UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson hit the wall with 15 laps remaining and doesn't remember anything from the time he crashed until he woke up on pit road. He doesn't recall driving his car into the pits. Johnson was treated and released from a hospital, but his crew chief, Chad Knaus, was unhappy with the response to the accident. He said Johnson walked all the way to the garage before getting any medical attention. "His bell was definitely rung," Knaus said. NASCAR said Johnson initially refused medical attention from two emergency attendants.(Rocky Mountain News)(8-9-2005)
ORIGINAL: It was a disastrous race for pre-race points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson, who started 42nd after his car failed inspection on Saturday. He was able to drive into the top 20 early in the race but spun out and wound up being sent to the rear of the lead lap cars after making two pit stops for repairs when NASCAR had pit road closed. Johnson was dazed after slamming hard into the wall late in the race. Calling it the "hardest hit I've taken," he had to be helped out of his car in the pits when the engine caught fire. Asked if he realized the car was on fire, Johnson said, "No, I don't really remember coming from turn four to the pits. I just remember kind of waking up on pit road and the guys pulling me out of the car. So, it's all good." Johnson, who fell to second place in the standings, 75 points behind Stewart, was examined at Methodist Hospital and released.(USA Today)(8-8-2005)
- Foyt ok after bee attack: A.J. Foyt was able to go to his office Monday, just two days after being stung by nearly 200 bees at his ranch in Hempstead, Texas. Foyt spokeswoman Anne Fornoro told The Associated Press that the 70-year-old, four-time Indianapolis 500 winner was driving a bulldozer Saturday, clearing brush, when he apparently stirred up a nest of bees. She said Foyt jumped off the bulldozer and started to run for a nearby stream, but he tripped and the bees swarmed onto him. He was stung dozens of times on the face and upper body before finally scrambling into the water. Fornoro said a man working nearby called 911. Foyt was treated at the scene, but refused a trip to the hospital. "He says he was stung in the mouth, the ears, the throat, all over his face and that his eyes are really swollen, but he's doing OK," Fornoro said. Foyt is owner of an Indy Racing League team with his grandson, A.J. Foyt IV, as the driver.(ESPN.com/AP)(8-9-2005)
News from August 8, 2005
- Leffler released from #11: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has released driver Jason Leffler from his driving duties with the #11 car
in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Terry Labonte will compete in several of the upcoming Nextel Cup races in the #11, beginning this weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. JGR will also turn to its NASCAR Busch Series drivers - J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin - to split driving duties in the #11 in the remaining Nextel Cup races where Terry Labonte is not scheduled to drive. "This was a difficult decision," said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. "Everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing had high hopes for Jason and the #11 team, but our performance wasn't meeting the expectations all of us set forth at the beginning of the year. It hasn't been for lack of effort, as Jason is a talented race car driver who worked incredibly hard and was terrific with our sponsor.
"With an experienced veteran in Terry Labonte, the #11 will benefit from his 25 years of Nextel Cup racing, and ideally, climb higher in
points. In looking toward next year, J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin will get some valuable seat time at the Nextel Cup level that will allow us
to build the #11 into a race-winning contender for 2006 and beyond."
Terry Labonte's addition to JGR is a natural, as Terry's younger brother, Bobby, is a 10-year veteran of JGR, having piloted the #18
Interstate Batteries Chevrolet since 1995. The Labonte brothers are the only brothers in NASCAR history to win NASCAR Cup Series championships. Terry won the title in 1984 and 1996, while Bobby won in 2000. :We want to thank Hendrick Motorsports for allowing Terry to assist us with the #11 team," said Gibbs, whose team now features three NASCAR Cup Series champions in Bobby, Terry and 2002 series champion Tony Stewart. "In planning the future of the #11 team, we looked around the Cup and Busch Series garages and decided that the two best talents were already driving for us. J.J. and Denny are exceptional race car drivers, and we felt it was important to give each of them a shot at Nextel Cup." (True Speed Communication/JGR)(8-8-2005)
- Leffler could be a free agent? Cary Agajanian, #11 Jason Leffler's attorney, would not confirm reports that car owner Joe Gibbs has offered to buy out the remaining 18 months of Leffler's contract for $5 million, but Agajanian would not deny that such an offer could be on the table. "I can't comment on that ... but I'm not denying it either," Agajanian said. "There could be talks. We're not in the middle of everything that goes on. There could be talks. A car owner has the right to speak to his driver, and we encourage that. Honestly there could be discussions between them. But we're not involved in them. That's a very personal thing between Jason and the Gibbs folks." If Leffler were free, Agajanian said he would be negotiating any contract with a new team. Terry Labonte substituted for Leffler at Sonoma in June, and Labonte could apparently be called upon again [at Watkins Glen and a few others races].(Winston Salem Journal)(8-8-2005)
- Ten test at Michigan...including..Paul Tracy: Paul Tracy might have 15 years of open-wheel experience under his belt, including 11 starts at Michigan International Speedway, but on Monday he might as well been a rookie as he made his first appearance in a stock car in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test at MIS in a Richard Childress Racing prepared car.
Tracy, along with 10 other NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series teams tested in preparation for the upcoming GFS Marketplace 400 and
Domino's Pizza 250 race weekend at MIS. He is expected to return next weekend to attempt to qualify the #33 Chevrolet for the GFS
Marketplace 400 on August 21. Tracy felt comfortable in the car despite his lack of experience in stock cars and performed well during
the first day of the two-day test. Tracy started out the day learning from Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick, who shook down the #33 before turning the wheel over to the 2003 Champ Car World Series Champion.
"It's a lot different from what I do. To go out on fresh tires and really lean on it hard, sometimes to the point where I don't know exactly how far I can push it, is still an area to learn," said Tracy. "But that last long run was good. It was consistent and I was able to play with the line and run a consistent time the whole time and everyone was happy with it so it was a good run. Tomorrow morning we'll try to run it a little harder on fresh tires. But I'm happy. I'm just trying to take it one step at a time and not force the car past its limits."
Other drivers who completed laps on the MIS oval included Dale Jarrett in the #88 UPS Ford, Jeremy Mayfield in the #19 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge, Sterling Marlin in the #40 Coors Light Dodge and Carl Edwards, who tested his Busch Series car, the #60 Charter Communications Ford. The list also included NASCAR Busch Series drivers, with Paul Menard in the #11 Menard's Chevrolet, J.J. Yeley in the #18 Vigoro/Home Depot Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin in the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet, Ashton Lewis Jr. in the #25 U.S. Marines Ford, Reed Sorenson in the #41 Discount Tire Dodge and Justin Labonte in the #44 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet. All 10 drivers will be competing in the August 19-21 event weekend, which includes the NASCAR Busch Series Domino's Pizza 250 racing on Saturday, August 20, and the GFS Marketplace 400 on Sunday, August 21.
No speeds were reported on Monday with most of the teams continuing to test Tuesday during the two-day MIS test session.
Fans can view testing by visiting the viewing area near the MIS administration building off the main U.S. 12 entrance to the track.
The MIS viewing area will be open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and tickets for August 19-21 activities will be available for purchase in the MIS
ticket office inside the administration building.
Tickets are still available for the NASCAR Busch Series Domino's Pizza 250 on Saturday, August 20, and the ARCA RE/MAX Series Hantz Group 200 on Friday, August 19. All tickets can be purchased now by visiting www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.(MIS PR)(8-8-2005)
- Cook to run double at Watkins Glen: Christine Marie Motorsports announced that TradePortal, a leading direct market access software innovator for the financial services industry, will be the primary sponsor for driver Chris Cook during the race weekend of August 12-14 in Watkins Glen, NY. Cook will race in the Busch Series" Zippo 200 on August 13 and the NEXTEL Cup Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen on August 14. The Watkins Glen events will be Cook"s third and fourth NASCAR races in 2005; following a 26th place finish (qualified 16th) at the Busch Series Mexico 200 in March and a 28th place finish (qualified 28th) at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 in June- his debut race in the NEXTEL Cup Series. Cook will again drive for NEMCO Motorsports, under a 2005 partnership with Christine Marie Motorsports. Watkins Glen will mark the first foray into auto racing sponsorship for TradePortal, headquartered in Irvine, California.
"While some may view financial services software and a NASCAR team as unlikely partners, the corollaries of what makes each a success are strikingly the same," said David Smithey, Trade Portal CEO. "Speed, performance, reliability, control and team are all essentials for success in both racing and securities trading. Nothing drives this message better than what happens at a NASCAR race." Cook is a former road race instructor who worked with NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney and Tim Fedewa among others at the Bondurant Racing School in Phoenix, AZ. For more information about Chris Cook and Christine Marie Motorsports, please visit www.christinemariemotorsports.com.(Intellection PR)(8-8-2005)
- Tony the 1st since 1940: the last Indiana native [born in] to win a race at Indy had been the late Wilbur Shaw, who won the Indy 500 in 1940. Shaw was born in nearby Shelbyville, just 20 miles from Stewart's hometown of Rushville [he lives in Columbus now].(Yahoo Sports)(8-8-2005)
- GM Not Happy With Monte Carlo Testing so far UPDATE: Chevrolet officials were scrambling this week after the 2006 version of the Monte Carlo did not perform as expected in its first on-track test. Joe Gibbs Racing [#18-Bobby Labonte] took the car to Atlanta Motor Speedway this week and everyone was surprised when it struggled during the test. So GM Racing director Pat Suhy spent much of his time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend, meeting with NASCAR officials to discuss what they should do. Suhy said GM will test the car again. NASCAR officials have not yet approved the car for competition. "I think everyone was a little overconfident and got a little complacent and didn't pay attention to the details when building this car," Suhy said.(ESPN.com RPM)(8-7-2005)
UPDATE: GM Racing needs to get its house in order. NASCAR didn't appreciate Joe Gibbs Racing bringing a 2006 Monte Carlo to Atlanta last week that was unprepared to get through the on-track portion of NASCAR's approval process. The car didn't make a target speed. How bad was the car? The team had to borrow springs from rival Ford, which had the Wood Brothers auditioning the new Fusion. "We dropped the ball," JGR team manager Jimmy Makar says. "There's really no excuse." NASCAR agreed to allow JGR and Bobby Labonte to return to Atlanta on Tuesday in an attempt to get the Monte Carlo up to speed.(Sporting News)(8-8-2005)
- Kenseth and Penske? Rumors persist that Roush Racing's Matt Kenseth is the top choice to replace Rusty Wallace, who's retiring, in the #2 Penske Racing car. Sources say Kenseth is sponsor Miller Brewing Co.'s first choice. Plus, Kenseth and his wife, Katie, are good friends of Penske driver Ryan Newman.(Sporting News)
BUT: ....there were reports yesterday that Roger Penske had indeed approached Jack Roush with an offer of some sort for Kenseth, but that Roush had dismissed it out of hand. Penske continues to decline comment on his driver search. Is Kenseth's contract for sale? "Absolutely not," Roush Racing's Geoff Smith said. However, Smith said he hasn't had an opportunity yet to talk with Kenseth about the Penske report. "I've been traveling around on sponsorship business, and I've been trying to track him down to ask him," Smith said. Smith says he's confident that Kenseth will remain with Roush: "Matt is very happy about being at Roush Racing, and we've had some discussions about going forward." Kenseth's contract with Roush runs through the end of 2006, and Smith says he is working on a long-term renewal. Penske is down to two men in his search for a driver to replace Rusty Wallace next season. Penske will make his announcement by Sept. 1.(Winston Salem Journal), also hearing it could be Busch, but he is signed thru 2006.(8-8-2005)
- Rusty gets Sirius: #2-Rusty Wallace will run a Miller Lite/Sirius Satellite Radio scheme at Watkins Glen International on August 14th, see an image of the scheme on my #2 Team Schemes page.(8-8-2005)
- Mears to run Cancer Awareness scheme in Oct: during Speed Channel's NASCAR This Morning, Casey Mears, driver of the #41 Target Dodge, said he will driver a pink Cancer Awarenss scheme in the October races.(8-8-2005)
- Mikey to stay at DEI? not much info here, but the Winston Salem Journal reports: Michael Waltrip may not be leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc. [#15 NAPA Chevy] at the end of the season after all.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-8-2005)