Hall of Fames Museums
NOV 28-DEC 4, 2005
News from December 4, 2005
- Edwards wins 4th Qtr DOTY: In a tight race Carl Edwards, a breakout driver NASCAR Nextel Cup series, was voted Speed Channel Driver of the Year presented by Gillette M3 Power Nitro fourth quarter 2005 by a panel of experts and one combined fan ballot. "The neatest thing about the Speed Channel Driver of the Year is that I've been nominated twice," said Edwards in New York for the Annual NASCAR Awards Banquet. "Just to see those commercials, seeing my name on the television with all those drivers from all different series, it's so amazing to be considered for it." In his first full season in the #99 Office Depot Ford Edwards scored one pole and two straight victories, in the final quarter, during the intense Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and included a win from the pole in the #60 World Financial Ford in the Busch Series. Edwards took four first-place votes and tallied 81 points. While NHRA's Tony Schumacher earned five first-place votes, including and totaled 79 points. Tony Stewart also scored five first-place votes and finished third with 69 points. Schumacher, "Sarge" had a perfect quarter winning all five of his events, resulting in his second-straight POWERade Series title driving U.S, Army Top Fuel dragster. Third place Stewart, winner of the third quarter 2005 Driver of the Year, wrapped up his second Nextel Cup title with consistent finishes in the top ten. Also taking first place votes France's Sebastien Bourdais in the Champ Car World Series, Greg Biffle in NASCAR, and World of Outlaws Steve Kinser. Bourdais clinched his second-straight title and totaled 51 points fourth in the ballot. Biffle was runner-up in the Chase to the Cup and was fifth in the vote with 31 points. A total of 20 drivers scored points in the fourth quarter voting. Noteworthy, NASCAR's Mark Martin took third place in the fan vote behind Stewart and Edwards on the www.speedtv.com website. In its' 39th year, the Speed Channel Driver of the Year presented by Gillette M# Power Nitro title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. Edwaards will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix, wristwatch at a date to be announced.(DOTY PR)(12-4-2005)
- Scandinavia Conquers Race of Champions' "Nations Cup": The Scandinavian team of seven-time Le Mans winner Tom Christensen (Denmark) and former DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom (Sweden) went unbeaten all the way to the title in the Race of Champions’ “Nations Cup” competition, edging the Playstation/France entry of double Champ Car titlist Sebastien Bourdais and multiple Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel in the final. Jeff Gordon made it to the semi-finals round in both the Nation's Cup team event and the individual Race of Champions in Paris on December 3. In the Nation's Cup event with Gordon and Travis Pastrana representing the United States, Gordon won both heats against Nelson Piquet Jr of Brazil to give the U.S. a 2-1 victory in the best-of-three. However, in the next round, Gordon was bested by Tom Kristensen of Scandinavia by a tenth of a second, and Pastrana was defeated by Ekstrom. The Scandinavian team went on to capture the Nation's Cup. Gordon represented the U.S. in 2002 when the event was held in Gran Canaria off the coast of Africa. Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Colin Edwards captured the Nation's Cup team event.(Speed Channel and Gordonline.com)(12-4-2005)
- AARWBA Titus Trophy Goes to Wheldon: NASCAR President Mike Helton was the featured speaker and Dan Wheldon, the Indy 500 winner and IRL series champion, was announced as recipient of the Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy at Saturday night's 36th annual American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's All-America Team dinner presented by Sprint Nextel. The sold-out event marked the official conclusion of AARWBA's year-long 50th Anniversary Celebration. Approximately 250 members, guests and VIPs were in attendance at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis for the ceremonies. Members of AARWBA, the country's oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals, annually elect drivers to the Team from seven categories: Stock car, open-wheel, drag racing, road racing, short track, touring series and at-large. The Titus is named in honor of the late AARWBA member journalist and professional racer and the unique trophy features his typewriter and helmet. Wheldon was not in attendance and AARWBA President Dusty Brandel accepted. NASCAR drivers elected to the Team were: Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson (stock car); and Martin Truex Jr. (touring); Special AARWBA membership cards went to NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. Executive Vice President of Communications Fred Nation.(see full awards breakdown at the AARWBA site)(12-4-2005)
- Ford's Nowland Honored for Half Century of Service: Mose Nowland, an engineer with Ford Motor Co. for the past 50 years, was the surprise recipient of the Spirit of Ford Award, the company's highest motorsports recognition. Nowland was presented the award—a Steuben Eagle—Friday night by Edsel Ford II in a private ceremony prior to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Awards Banquet in New York's Waldorf-Astoria. In the racing world, Nowland's resume is legendary. He worked on the Lotus-Ford that Jim Clark drove to victory in the 1965 Indianapolis 500 and on the Le Mans-winning Ford GT-40 one year later, when the underdog Fords upset the heavily favored Ferrari juggernaut. During that same decade, Nowland was a driving force in Ford's Kar Kraft high-performance operation. Nowland also has extensive experience in stock cars and helped develop the D3 cylinder head used in NASCAR Nextel Cup cars today.(Ford Racing)(12-4-2005)
News from December 3, 2005
- Rusty Honored: Friday morning's edition of the annual National Motorsports Press Club/Myers Brothers Awards Breakfast was notable for recognition received by Rusty Wallace and the absence of many of his peers. Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR Cup champion who won 55 career races, was named the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s 2005 Myers Brothers Award. The veteran driver, who said farewell to his fans with his "Rusty's Last Call Tour" this season, started 706 Cup races, amassing 202 top-five and 349 top-10 finishes in addition to his 55 victories. He also won rookie of the year honors in 1984. In his final season this year, Wallace qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup and ended the year eighth in points. "We started the team back in 1991," said Wallace of the team he co-founded with Roger Penske. "We won a lot of races, won our share, won our share of poles, accolades and all the cool things that comes with it. When get an award like this, it's something that really sticks. That's a great award. I've won the yearly awards and really treasured them, got the big checks ... but this one here will go high on my mantle," Wallace said. "It'll be something I'll be really proud of, so thank you very much." Voted on each year by members of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA), the Myers Brothers award recognizes individuals and/or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. It is named in honor of Billy and Bob Myers.(Speed Channel)(12-3-2005)
- USA Bobsled Team early season success: After the first two stops on the FIBT World Cup bobsled season in Calgary, Canada and Lake Placid, N.Y., the United States bobsled teams have achieved startling results with help from NASCAR. In six total races spanning women's bobsled as well as two and four-man bobsled events, the United States has captured one gold, four silver and two bronze medals. That's seven medals out of 18 that have been distributed to date. Another startling factor is that four different American drivers have won those medals. In addition, never before has the U.S. had two different men on the podium at one time in a World Cup until recently at the Verizon Sports Complex in Lake Placid when the men took silver and bronze medals in the two-man race. The United States has three women's bobsled athletes in the top five of the World Cup standings and three U.S. men's sleds in the top 10 of the World Cup. As a result, the team has moved to the head of the leaderboard in Nations points.
This early success is being impacted by a combination of factors. "We have superior athletes who are peaking for the 2006 Winter Games
in Torino, Italy," said Geoff Bodine, a former NASCAR driver who started building Made In America U.S. team sleds in 1992. "And on top of that, my sled design guys, Chassis Dynamics, have built some great sleds. The guys at Chassis Dynamics knew this new design was going to be fast even before it hit the ice during the national team trials in October." To continue America's drive to the podium, Bodine is hosting a fundraiser for his Bodine Bobsled Project. This event will involve 10 NASCAR drivers piloting specially-made bobsleds in Lake Placid January 5-7, 2006 at the Verizon Sports Complex, site of the 2003 and 2009 FIBT World Bobsled Championships. According to Bodine, "The sleds my colleagues will be driving will look exactly like our Bodine-designed sleds on the FIBT World Cup tour. After testing a sled on November 8 in Lake Placid, the guys are going to love the speed and thrill of the bobsled."
Many drivers have lent their name to the event, but it is still to be determined who will compete. Boris Said is one driver who has roots in
bobsledding and is confirmed in Lake Placid. His father, Bob Said, was a bobsled driver in the 1968 and 1972 Winter Games. Said describes bobsledding as, "the greatest thrill I have ever had without an engine." Other drivers who have indicated to Bodine their desire to
attend if their schedules permit are Cup winner Stewart, Todd Bodine, Ken Schrader, Kyle Petty, Randy LaJoie, Kevin Lepage, Debra Renshaw and Steve Park. For more information on the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, go to the www.bodinebobsled.com. The next FIBT World Cup event on the circuit takes place Dec. 9-11 in Innsbruck, Austria, site of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Games. All events are covered on Speed Channel.(12-3-2005)
- Quiet Earphones: The buzz of cars speeding around the track is one of the most exciting sounds in car racing. It's also the most uncomfortable - and potentially damaging. To protect the comfort and hearing of race fans, Pineville, NC-based Outside the Box, Inc. introduces the new RaceQuietT Earphones. The new RaceQuiet Earphones allow fans to enjoy their race experience to the fullest, without being distracted by the discomfort and pain that sometimes accompanies such an exceptionally loud environment. Using the earphones' patented noise reduction technology, race fans can not only enjoy a quieter race, but they also have the option to listen to race scanners, radio commentary or music on a portable electronic device.
The RaceQuiet Earphones feature an Acoustic Isolation SystemT (AIS) which provides 42 decibels of noise reduction across the entire sound spectrum, allowing race fans to enjoy maximum comfort in extreme noise environments. The AIS utilizes state-of-the-art electronics and miniaturization processes based on the same patented technology used by the U.S. military.
In addition to noise reduction, the earphones feature high quality audio reproduction and are compatible with scanners and other portable electronic devices, including iPodsR. The earphones have a nearly four foot long cord for easy input. Replaceable memory foam ear canal tips ensure a cozy, snug fit, and at a weight of only 1.5 ounces, the RaceQuiet Earphones can be comfortably worn for extended periods of time.
The RaceQuiet Earphones are available for $39.95. Included with the earphones are a carrying tin and replacement tips. The RaceQuiet Earphones are available at all NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series races. For more information or to purchase the earphones, visit racequiet.com.(12-3-2005)
- Snowball Derby this weekend: The racing season is winding down but a number of NASCAR hopefuls aren't ready to hang up their firesuits until next year just yet. The 38th Annual Snowball Derby at the half-mile Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL is set for Dec. 1-4 and over 100 entries have been received for both the prestigious 300-lap late model race and its companion event, The Snowflake 100. Steve Wallace [Rusty's son], the 2004 winner and the youngest in Snowball history to take home the trophy, returns to defend his title but he will face what is arguably the most competitive Snowball field ever. Competitors include Darrell Waltrip Motorsports' Joey Miller, Driver X contestants Jeff Choquette, Chuck Barnes Jr., Travis Kittleson, and Bubba Pollard, young guns Matt Hawkins, Cale Gale, Charlie Bradberry, Josh Hamner, and Casey Smith, in addtion to short track veterans Gary St. Amant, Kevin Cywinski, Hal Goodson, Ricky Turner, Eddie Mercer, Freddie Query, and Wayne Anderson. The Snowflake 100 includes Hendrick Motorsports development driver Chase Austin, upcoming talent Keeton Hanks, plus double dippers Choquette, Hamner, and Hawkins.(BGNRacing.com), more info at snowballderby.com(11-25/12-3-2005)
- Champion's Week Day Five Review: After a long and eventful week in the nation’s biggest city, “NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion’s Week presented by Sprint” culminates tonight, with two of NASCAR’s traditional year-end celebrations. This morning, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 drivers and their crew chiefs gathered for the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) / Myers Brothers breakfast presented by Sunoco. The annual get-together, held in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel’s Starlight Room, was highlighted by several special award presentations.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Tony Stewart (#20 The Home Depot Chevrolet) and sixth-place Ryan Newman (#12 ALLTEL Dodge) took home the lion’s share of the post-season prizes, with Stewart and his #20 team hauling in over $500,000 in special awards from MBNA, Clevite, WIX Filters, Sunoco, Goodyear Gatorback Belts, Goodyear Tires and Mechanix Wear.
Among Newman’s accolades was his fourth consecutive annual Budweiser Pole Award, worth $100,000. Since debuting in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 2000, Newman has won 35 poles in 152 races – sitting on the pole position for nearly 25 percent of his career. He won eight poles in 2005 and set two new track records.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#8 Budweiser Chevrolet) was awarded the Chex Most Popular Driver Award for the fourth consecutive year.
The Myers Brothers breakfast is named in honor of the Billy and Bobby Myers, pioneers of NASCAR’s early era whose family is still active in motorsports today. The third generation of the family’s racers, Burt and Jason Myers, compete on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and represented the family on Friday morning, along with Karen and Danny “Chocolate” Myers.
Stewart posed for one more formal photo op, on Park Avenue outside the Waldorf-Astoria, before heading in for the season’s final act: the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series awards ceremony. The gala event features musical performances by singers Gavin DeGraw, Toni Braxton and jazz pianist Eric Lewis. Comedian Jay Mohr also returns to the event for the second year.
In addition to honoring Tony Stewart and the rest of the top-10 drivers, the ceremony includes presentations for Raybestos Rookie of the Year Kyle Busch (#5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet), NASCAR’s Most Dramatic Moment Award (determined by fans through a vote on NASCAR.com), the annual Marketing Achievement Award and the Manufacturer’s Championship Award, which went to Chevrolet for the 25th time since 1972.
25 years and counting … Participation in Champion’s Week and the awards ceremony is a privilege reserved for the top 10 drivers in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. This year’s event marked NASCAR’s 25th annual visit to New York, a tradition which began with Darrell Waltrip’s 1981 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup title. Many of this year’s honorees have played important roles in NASCAR’s history in New York. Rusty Wallace (#2 Miller Lite Dodge) has attended 17 of NASCAR’s 25 New York banquets while Mark Martin (#6 Viagra Ford) has attended 14 times.
For Tony Stewart, this year’s visit to New York was another chapter in his incredible racing career. He hasn’t finished outside the top 10 in the point standings since coming to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 1999.
Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) and Matt Kenseth (#17 DeWALT Tools Ford) have enjoyed similar streaks in their NASCAR NEXTEL Cup careers, as each made their fourth straight appearances in New York since 2002. Kurt Busch (#97 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford) and Jeremy Mayfield (#19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) made their third visits, while Greg Biffle (#16 National Guard Ford) and Carl Edwards (#99 Office Depot Ford) were in town for the first time.
Celebrity sightings … NASCAR’s top drivers and entertainers Jay Mohr, Toni Braxton and Gavin DeGraw weren’t the only celebrities to grace the red carpet at Friday night’s event. Comedian and actor Will Ferrell, who will star in a NASCAR-themed comedy premiering in summer 2006, was also in attendance at the awards banquet.
New season not far away … Not long after the awards ceremony is concluded and the teams and drivers have celebrated the holidays with their families, preparations begin for the 2006 season. Daytona International Speedway will host its first NASCAR Preseason test session Jan. 9-11.(PR)(12-3-2005)
- HDNet Presents Telecast of Race of Champions - Nations Cup, Live from Paris: HDNet will give U.S. racing fans an
exclusive front-row seat December 3 as NASCAR superstar Jeff Gordon and X-Games champ Travis Pastrana compete in the 2005 Race of Champions - Nations Cup, live from the famous Stade de France in Paris. The entire event will be available for the second year in a row to U.S. television viewers in the highest quality 1080i high-definition television (HDTV), only on HDNet, Saturday, December 3 at 11:00am/et, followed by a prime-time encore presentation at 9:30pm/et. The 18th annual Race of Champions - Nations Cup is an end-of-season international racing showdown featuring two exciting competitions. First, in the Nations Cup, the world's best drivers compete in national teams of two in a bid to determine "The World's Fastest Nation." Then, in the Race of Champions, the same drivers compete in a series of head-to-head heats in identical cars to determine the individual "Champion of Champions." Team USA is sponsored by Centrix Financial, who has chosen four-time NASCAR champ Gordon and five-time X-Games Motocross champ Pastrana to
compete against top drivers from all the major world class championships. More info about HDNet at hd.net.(11-30/12-3-2005)
News from December 2, 2005
- NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion sets single season winnings record: NEW YORK (Dec. 2, 2005) – NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Tony Stewart (#20 The Home Depot Chevrolet) will collect $6,173,633 in point fund awards – a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point fund award record – along with special awards totaling $517,000. The post-season payouts bring his 2005 season total to $13,578,168, the largest single-season total in NASCAR history. Stewart’s take exceeds the previous single-season record, $10,979,757, set by Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevrolet) in 2001. Stewart’s career winnings now total $48,467,449, making him the fifth-highest money winner on NASCAR’s all-time list. Over $25 million in point fund awards will be distributed to the top 25 drivers in the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings. Runner-up Greg Biffle (#16 National Guard Ford) will receive over $2.62 million in point fund awards, bringing his season total to over $8.35 million. With over $6.7 million in race winnings this season, fifth-place Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet) was the season’s next-highest money winner. Johnson will receive $20,000 in post-season special awards and more than $1.7 million from the point fund, for a 2005 season total of over $8.33 million.(NASCAR PR), see full winnings for top-25 on my 2005 Nextel Cup Banquet, News, Winnings page.(12-2-2005)
- Knaus leaving Hendrick? UPDATE denied: hearing [or have leaned] that #48 Hendrick Motorsports crew chief, Chad Knaus will leave the team and driver Jimmie Johnson and go back to Evernham Motorsports [was one of Evernham's first hires, until moving to #92 Melling team in 2001], then Hendrick Motorsports in 2002 to crew chief Johnson.
UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports says Knaus has no plans to leave Hendrick Motorsports and has multiple years remaining
on his contract.(12-2-2005)
- Wimmer to #4? hearing that Scott Wimmer, former driver of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge, will be the new driver of the #4 Morgan-McClure Chevy in 2006. No word on the status of the alliance with Victory Motorsports Racing that Morgan-McClure announced a few months ago.(12-2-2005)
- NASCAR TV deal near? UPDATE 2: NASCAR could announce as early as this week a TV rights deal that would see Fox broadcast the first half of the Nextel Cup season and TNT and ESPN/ABC sharing the back half starting in 2007, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports. The sanctioning body could get as much as $550 million a year from TV rights, a 38% increase over the estimated $400 million a year it gets under the current arrangement with Fox, NBC and TNT. The story says industry insiders say the ABC/ESPN commitment alone is expected to be about $270 million a year. TNT and ESPN are expected to air six races each, reporter Scott Warfield writes, and ABC will air the final 11 races, including all 10 events [and Indy] in the Chase For The Nextel Cup.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter), so that would be 36 total races: ESPN gets 6, TNT gets 6, ABC gets 11, so Fox/FX would get 13 [plus Bud Shootout and Nextel Challenge].(11-29-2005)
UPDATE: look for an announcement Thursday, Dec 1st in NYC.(12-1-2005)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR CEO Brian France said Thursday that NASCAR was on the "final lap" of its TV deal, in which ESPN is expected to replace NBC for 2007 and beyond. An announcement is expected before the end of the year.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(12-2-2005)
- Three Straight For Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won his third straight Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award. The announcement was made today during the National Motorsports Press Association's (NMPA) Myers Brothers Awards Breakfast at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City that a record number of fans nationwide have again voted the North Carolinian as the most popular driver in the most popular form of motorsports in the United States. "It's a huge honor to win the Most Popular Driver award just one time, but to win it three times in a row is pretty overwhelming. I just want to thank the fans, and I want to thank Chex and the National Motorsports Press Association for the award," Earnhardt said.
"This one probably means more to me than the others because of the kind of year we had. It's one thing to have fan support when you're riding high and winning races. It's another thing to have it during the rough times," he continued. "No matter what we went through this year, I never once felt like my fans were turning on me and the Budweiser team. It's amazing to have that kind of support. It makes the team want to work that much harder and me drive that much faster. I can't thank the fans enough for what they've meant to me in my career."
A record 4,157,443 votes were cast in 2005, a huge jump for an award which never had more than 400,000 votes in a year prior to General Mills sponsorship. Chex began sponsorship of the award this season, replacing Grands! Biscuits, which had sponsored it since the beginning of the 2002 season. Earnhardt, Jr. has led the voting since the start of the 2003 season, and easily captured enough votes
in the record-setting 2005 year to again win the award. He finished with 1,403,544 votes, which is also an all-time record.
"The fans have pretty well made a statement in regards to their favorite driver in this era," said Kenny Bruce, president of the NMPA. "They have also made a statement as to the importance of this award. We appreciate every fan who voted, and we really appreciate Chex for its sponsorship."
"On behalf of Chex and General Mills, I want to congratulate Dale Earnhardt Jr. on winning this award for the third straight year," said Chex Marketing Manager Trevor Bynum. "We also want to thank the millions of fans who voted and made this award possible with their continued strong support."
Jeff Gordon finished second in the voting at www.mostpopulardriver.com with 594,434 votes. Kasey Kahne was third with 343,154; 2005 Champion Tony Stewart fourth with 246,026; and retiring Rusty Wallace fifth with 214,026. Rounding out the top 10 were Kevin Harvick, Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett and Jimmie Johnson.
The NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award dates back to 1956, making it one of the oldest and most traditional awards in NASCAR racing. It began as a simple poll of the drivers and later grew to incorporate all NASCAR Nextel Cup competitors. Later, it included all NASCAR members. Today, it is a prestigious award voted on by racing fans throughout the world. Through the years, voters' choices have
ranged from the obvious to the surprising. Bill Elliott's 16 most popular wins tops all drivers. He is followed by Richard Petty, who has won nine times. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s win last year made him the fifth driver in NASCAR history to win the award in consecutive seasons, while his win in 2003 made him and his father, the late Dale Earnhardt, the only father-son combination to have won. Other past winners have included such notables as Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.(Williams Company PR)(12-2-2005)
- New NASCAR History Book/DVD coming: Richard Petty's record setting 200th career win. Dale Earnhardt's triumphant Daytona 500 victory. Carl Edwards' back-to-back NASCAR Busch and NEXTEL Cup victories. These are just a few of the one-hundred landmark moments chronicled in the upcoming book and DVD collection titled Speed Guts & Glory by New York Times bestselling author Joe Garner. The Fall 2006 release, published by Warner Books, also includes an interactive DVD containing the actual race footage of the historical NASCAR moments hosted by four-time NASCAR Cup champion and driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet Jeff Gordon. From broadcast news to famous films, sports to comedy, Joe Garner, whose seminal multimedia works We Interrupt This Broadcast, And The Crowd Goes Wild, and Stay Tuned have sold nearly two million copies, has sought to capture and chronicle the times we live in. In addition, he explores our collective past with passion and commitment few contemporary authors can match. More at garnermedia.com.(12-2-2005)
- Busch eager to win back peers, fans: 2004 Nextel Cup Champions Kurt Busch was a full participant in Thursday's season-ending activities, dismissing all speculation that he would be excluded from NASCAR's festivities following the controversial close to his championship reign. He was suspended by his former team for the final two races of the year after a run-in with Phoenix police.
Although he was only charged with reckless driving -- reports that he was drunk were proven false when police said his blood alcohol limit was well below the legal limit -- Busch was lambasted for his belligerent attitude toward the officers. It cost him his reputation and much of the respect he had been working hard to earn across the garage. Clearly contrite, Busch says he's eager to move on.
"Everybody has a circumstance that comes up in life where you want to press the reset button and this is one of those," he said. "What has to happen is the real me has to come out. The fans have to get to know the real Kurt Busch better. I think you will see a difference, it's just going to take time, like everything does." Busch chose to take the high road Thursday when asked about [former owner Jack] Roush, and indicated he would reflect upon his accomplishments with the team in his Friday night speech. "I think we've had a great career together," he said. "I'll leave with my head high and pride that I developed in that #97. Once we get through all this, it's going to be a lesson learned for me," he said. "It will be great to turn over a new leaf next season."(ESPN.com/AP)(12-2-2005)
- Action's acquisition approved: Shareholders of Action Performance Cos. have approved the company's acquisition by Motorsports Authentics, a joint venture between Speedway Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corp. The transaction is slated to close Dec. 9.(Charlotte Business Journal), past info on this on my Collectible Links page.(12-2-2005)
- Champion's Week Day Four Review: With only one day remaining before the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony, the flurry of New York City activities picked up for the series’ Top 10 drivers. Champion Tony Stewart (#20 Home Depot Chevrolet) opened the day with his fellow Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitors at the New York Stock Exchange. The group, along with NASCAR President Mike Helton and Sprint Nextel Chief Marketing Officer Mark Schweitzer were guests of honor and helped kick off the day by ringing the opening bell. Activities continued at an afternoon luncheon and press conference at Cipriani. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France addressed the group with a ‘State of the Sport’ speech highlighting the 2005 season. In his speech, France congratulated Stewart and the Home Depot Team for its championship. France also pointed out the importance of keeping competition close on the track. “The close competition we had this year in the three national series is precisely what keeps our fans coming back for more,” France said. “Preserving the competitive balance for every team that competes in NASCAR is one of the most important jobs we have.” France also mentioned the long history of having the Champions Awards Ceremony in New York. “New York is the media capital of the world, we love being here. Tomorrow night, at the Waldorf-Astoria, we’ll celebrate our 25th year in New York.”
Donahue also spoke at the event, sharing Sprint Nextel’s overview of their second season as title sponsor of NASCAR’s top division.
Stewart was not the only champion recognized at the event. A special photo was arranged for the champions of each of NASCAR’s 12 divisions, including the national touring series, regional touring series and the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. It is the only time during the year that all of the champions are brought together.
Afterwards Stewart was taken to Times Square where he posed for a championship picture with his show car and trophy on Military Island. While there, a plaque from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declaring Thursday “NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Day” in the city was presented to Sprint Nextel Vice President of Sports Marketing Michael Robichaud. The night will conclude for Stewart with the Sprint Champion’s Celebration. Stewart and his team will be honored by Sprint Nextel at the Marriot Marquee. “Its been awesome and we’ve had great weather,” Stewart said about his week in the city. “I definitely think it’s a great place to celebrate the championship.”
Champions of NASCAR Dinner … A special dinner celebration will be held Thursday night to honor all of the NASCAR champions. The champions, including Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR Busch Series), Ted Musgrave (NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series), Andy Santerre (Busch North Series), Mike Duncan (West Series), Tony Hirschman (Whelen Modified Tour), Junior Miller (Whelen Southern Modified Tour), Justin Diercks (Midwest Series), Jeff Jefferson (Northwest Series), Jeff Fultz (Southeast Series), Jim Pettit II (Southwest Series) and Peyton Sellers (NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series) will be joined by NASCAR executives and various media members in the Empire Room at the Waldorf-Astoria. Each champion will be presented with a commemorative champion’s helmet, specially designed in recognition of their 2005 championship.
Ronald McDonald House Visit … Several of the Top 10 drivers will make a special trip to the Ronald McDonald House of New York. The Ronald McDonald House is a temporary home for children undergoing cancer treatment. Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch (#97 IRWIN/Sharpie Ford), Ryan Newman (#12 ALLTEL Dodge), Carl Edwards (#99 Office Depot Ford) and Kyle Busch (#5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet) will have a private visit with the children and their families.
Breakfast of Champions … Friday’s schedule begins with the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) / Myers Brothers Breakfast, in the Starlight Room at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The event kicks off the final day of Champion’s Week with several special award presentations – which altogether represent over $750,000 in prize money. The awards include: Budweiser Pole Award (Ryan Newman), Clevite Engine Builder Award (Mark Cronquist, Joe Gibbs Racing), Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge Award (Ryan Newman), Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award (Tony Stewart), MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award (Tony Stewart), Mechanix Wear Pit Crew of the Year Award (#20 The Home Depot Chevrolet crew), Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Year Award (Ryan Newman), Commit Lozenges Commit to Win Award (Kasey Kahne, #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge), WIX Filters Lap Leader Award (Tony Stewart), USG Improving the Finish Award (Elliott Sadler, #38 M&M’s Ford) and the Sunoco Diamond Performance Award (Tony Stewart). Two awards have yet to be announced and the winners will be named on Friday morning: the Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver Award and the NMPA’s Myers Brothers Award.(PR)(12-2-2005)
- #92 Team retains crew and chiefs, Chaffin to drive UPDATE: Veteran crew chief Ted Kennedy announced Friday afternoon that his plans are to continue to serve as the car chief on the #92 Front Row Motorsports Nextel Cup Series team for the 2006 season with driver Chad Chaffin despite rumors flowing that Kennedy will join Michael Waltrip Racing in association with FitzBradshaw Racing next year in the Busch Series. "I'm not sure how the rumor was started, but I plan on staying with Front Row Motorsports and driver Chad Chaffin as we intend to put together a competitive package for the Nextel Cup Series in 2006."
Kennedy, who spent the latter part of the 2005 Nextel Cup Series season with Front Row Motorsports, owned by Bob Jenkins also stated "At this time, I don't forsee me heading to another organization."(Ted Kennedy Enterprises PR/Catchfence)
UPDATE: been told a rep at Front Row Motorsports that Mike Steurer is the crew chief of the #92 team and will be in 2006 also.(12-2-2005)
News from December 1, 2005
- Sad News - Humpy's Mom: A funeral service for Kathleen Wheeler, mother of H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway, and David Wheeler, the track's director of interior maintenance, will be held at 11:00am/et Saturday, Dec. 3, at The Basilica at Belmont Abbey in Belmont, NC. Wheeler, 95, a Belmont native, passed away Wednesday night, Nov. 30,
at the Courtland Terrace assisted living center in Gastonia, NC. A visitation and rosary for Wheeler will be conducted at 7:00pm/et, Friday, Dec. 2, at McLean & Sons Funeral Home, 515 N. Central Ave., in Belmont, NC. Wheeler is survived by four children, H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, David Wheeler, Mary Plexico and Angela Wheeler; nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Her husband, Howard A. Wheeler, passed away in 1968. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations in memory of Kathleen Wheeler be made to the Wheeler Center c/o Belmont Abbey College, 100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Road, Belmont, N.C. 28012.(LMS)(12-1-2005)
- Hamlin leaves RCR for BDR? UPDATE Official - Blaney and Hamlin: hearing [or have learned] that crew chief Kevin Hamlin has left Richard Childress Racing and will be the new crew chief at Bill Davis Racing for Dave Blaney and the #22 Caterpillar Dodge with former #22 crew chief Derrick Finley moving over to the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Dodge that Michael Waltrip will drive in 2006.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio show/Sporting News)(11-29-2005)
UPDATE: Blaney Rejoins BDR, Hamlin Assumes Crew Chief Duties: Bill Davis Racing confirmed its future plans for the #22 team Thursday, announcing that Dave Blaney has returned to the racing organization to drive the #22 Caterpillar car in the Nextel
Cup Series, with Kevin Hamlin joining him as crew chief.
“In the last couple of years, we just haven’t seen the performance we know the #22 CAT Racing team is capable of, so change was not a choice—it was a necessity,” said Bill Davis, team owner and president of Bill Davis Racing. “Dave is not only a talented and consistent driver, but he is someone I respect and have always enjoyed working with in the past. This will be my first time working with Kevin Hamlin, but I have long admired his work and accomplishments in this sport.”
Blaney, a Hartford, Ohio, native, first drove for Bill Davis in 1998 and 1999, when he piloted the #93 Pontiac in the NASCAR Busch Series. After running a part-time NASCAR Cup schedule in 1999, the team decided to turn its focus to running full-time in the Cup Series in 2000 and continued the effort through 2001. Sponsorship changes and the development of other opportunities led to Blaney’s first departure from BDR in 2002. “I have always understood Dave’s need to pursue other avenues in this business, but it also was understood there were never any bridges burned between us,” Davis said. Blaney returned to Davis’ High Point operation in 2004 to drive part-time in the
Nextel Cup Series, along with a Craftsman Truck Series start at Dover in early June. However, the partnership was interrupted once again in late June 2004 when Blaney received an offer to drive full time for Richard Childress Racing, which also marked the first time he drove under the direction of Hamlin. Later that same year, Blaney was named the driver of Childress’ #07 Nextel Cup team for the 2005 season.
“I have been very fortunate to have driven for and with some of the best in this business,” Blaney said. “I enjoyed racing for the Davis’. Bill and Gail have not only been business partners, but they’ve been good friends to me. I’ve spent the majority of my NASCAR career as a BDR driver, so it’s always nice to be able to return to your roots.”
Hamlin joins BDR following a long and successful career at Richard Childress Racing, where he served as crew chief for various drivers including Mike Skinner, Dale Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick, Robby Gordon, Jeff Burton, and most recently, Blaney, after RCR revised its crew chief assignments in early November.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(12-1-2005)
- Cousin of Earnhardt dies: Orange County [FL] Deputies tased a man on the West side, who later died. They say he was likely high on drugs and running into traffic early this morning. Barbara Miller with the Sheriff's Office says the first deputy on scene couldn't calm him down, so he tased Jeff Dean Eanhardt. "He tried it a second time and again it had no effect on the subject. Unfortunately when more deputies arrived, they were able to restrain the subject and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance, but he died at around 7:25 this morning." WDBO confirmed Jeff is the first cousin of Dale Earnhardt.(580wdbo.com)(12-1-2005)
- Stewart to get in shape: Tony Stewart went on a shopping spree last week that he hopes will lead to a new and improved Nextel Cup champion. "I went out and bought $17,000 worth of exercise equipment for my house," Stewart said Wednesday as he prepared for yet another of the dozens of media events this week in New York, leading up to Friday night's NASCAR awards ceremony at which he will collect checks for more than $5.8 million. The 5-foot-9 Stewart, who probably weighs at least 20 pounds more than the 185 listed in the NASCAR media guide, admittedly loves fast food and has often made himself the brunt of his own jokes about how out of shape he is. "I'm going to get in shape for next year," Stewart said Wednesday. "I've got to. As you get older, your body changes and I can't do the kind of things I used to do, like eat three cheeseburgers on my way home and then eat dinner an hour later. I'm tired of puffing and panting when I climb up two flights of stairs. I've got to start taking better care of myself." The first step, he said, will be getting together with a nutritionist to talk about diet. "Then all I need to do is stay away from the McDonald's drive-up window and not use all that new equipment to hang my clothes on," Stewart said, grinning.(ESPN.com/AP)(12-1-2005)
- Waltrip to Fitzbradshaw? hearing that Michael Waltrip's Busch team will be associated with Fitz-Bradshaw Racing with the #40 team in 2006, not sure if he and his drivers would still run #99 and if Aaron's / State Fair Corn Dogs would still be sponsors. Supposedly Ted Kennedy would be the crew chief. Micheal Waltrip Racing crew chief Butch Hylton will be the crew chief for the #12 FitzBradshaw team, no word on the fate of the #00 Nextel Cup team.(12-1-2005)
- Baldwin leaving Evernham? to Yates? UPDATE OFFICIAL RYR 2006 lineup announced: hearing that #9 crew chief, Tommy Baldwin could be leaving Evernham Motorsports and driver Kasey Kahne.(9-18-2005)
UPDATE: hearing Baldwin could end up at the #38 M&M's/Robert Yates Racing team as Elliott Sadler's crew chief.(9-19-2005)
UPDATE: Look for some organizational changes at Robert Yates Racing. Slugger Labbe will take over as crew chief of the #88, which is driven by Dale Jarrett, and Tommy Baldwin will lead the #38 crew and Elliott Sadler. Yates ended rumors that he will start a third team; he says he first wants to make the 88 and 38 teams stronger. But there still are plans for additional buildings on Yates' property in Mooresville, N.C.(Sporting News)(11-21-2005)
UPDATE RYR Announces 2006 Lineup: Robert Yates Racing (RYR) announced its lineup for the 2006 NASCAR season. The lineup includes the addition and reassignment of key team members for both the #88 UPS and #38 M&M’S Chocolate Candies NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, as well as the #90 CitiFinancial Busch Series team.
Effective immediately, Richard “Slugger” Labbe is the crew chief for the #88 UPS Racing Team and driver Dale Jarrett while Tommy Baldwin, Jr., becomes the crew chief for the #38 M&M’S Chocolate Candies Team and driver Elliott Sadler. Both Labbe and Baldwin bring with them experience and success that includes wins in the Daytona 500 (Labbe with driver Michael Waltrip in 2003 and Baldwin with
driver Ward Burton in 2002).
“Both Slugger and Tommy have had success in their past endeavors with other teams in the NEXTEL Cup Series,” said Eddie D’Hondt, general manager for RYR. “We’ve been aggressive in the off season. It is our goal to get both of our teams in the Chase for the Championship in 2006. We are really pleased with the staff we’ve put together and delighted to have Slugger and Tommy on board.”
Labbe, a former RYR employee, returns after spending time serving in the crew chief role during the last few seasons for Michael Waltrip at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and most recently for Jeremy Mayfield at Evernham Motorsports. Baldwin also joins RYR from Evernham Motorsports where he led the team efforts for young driver Kasey Kahne since 2004.
“This is a great opportunity for me to be able to come back here in this capacity,” Labbe said. “Robert (Yates) has been an incredible person to know and work with. I’ve known him and Dale (Jarrett) for a long time, and to have this opportunity is an important one for me personally. I am really looking forward to 2006.”
“There is potential for great success next season at RYR,” said Baldwin. “Robert has built a strong foundation here and it’s exciting to be able to step in and work with Elliott and the #38 Team. I think we’ve only seen the beginning of what Elliott can accomplish behind the wheel and I look forward to the task of leading this team to the next level.”
Kevin Buskirk, who has been serving in an interim crew chief role for the #38 M&M’S team, will become the Technical and Performance Director for all of RYR. Additionally, the team has added Ed Guzzo to the organization and he will serve as the Production and Operational Director.
Busch Series: In addition to the personnel changes with the NEXTEL Cup Series programs, RYR announced its driver lineup for the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series season and plans to compete in all 35 events. Sadler will drive the #90 CitiFinancial Ford for 16 events in 2006 while drivers Stephen Leicht and Matt McCall will share the driving duties during 17 events as part of the RYR Driver Development program. In addition to Leicht and McCall, Belgium driver Marc Goosens will compete in both the Busch Series road course races in 2006 as part of a joint effort between RYR and Rile Technologies, the championship team in the Rolex Series.
RYR will continue to prepare for 2006 and beyond, looking for the right opportunity to grow the organization into a four-team organization that competes in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.(Elevation Group/RYR PR)(11-28-2005)
Todd Parrott? have learned that Todd Parrott has left RYR, no word on his 2006 plans. Parrott finished up the 2005 season as Jarrett's crew chief on the #88 team after starting the season as the crew chief of the #38 team.(sources and PRN's Garage Pass Radio show)(11-29-2005)
AND Robert Yates Racing GM Eddie D'Hondt told Sirius Satellite Radio's "Sirius Speedway" that Todd Parrott is no longer with RYR. D'Hondt said, "It was a very diffcult decision to make, and it was made with a heavy heart, but we can't be sitting on our hands. We need to get both cars in the Chase next season, and to do tht, some changes had to be made." D'Hondt said new crewchiefs "Slugger"
Labbe and Tommy Baldwin are already on the job, and that the team has a full testing schedule between now and the end of the year.
AND II: heard that many of the engineering staff was released in this reorganization.(12-1-2005)
- Champion's Week Day Three Review: Midtown Manhattan traffic got a new look on Wednesday morning, when 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series cars rumbled through the streets for the “NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Victory Lap presented by Sprint.” The promotion featured a parade of the top 10 cars, with their drivers in full uniforms. The Victory Lap began at Rockefeller Center, where the drivers were interviewed on NBC’s The Today Show. The drivers passed through Times Square and a few side streets before finishing at 375 Park Avenue, the site of NASCAR’s New York office. The Victory Lap was a highlight of “NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion’s Week presented by Sprint”, which celebrates the 2005 season and concludes Friday with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series awards banquet at the historic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. With a police escort, the drivers navigated the route in about 20 minutes. Fan viewing areas were staged along the streets and the drivers were welcomed at the finish by a large gathering of fans and media.
Among the top 10 drivers was veteran Rusty Wallace (#2 Miller Lite Dodge), who finished eighth in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings for his best finish in the point standings since 2002. When Wallace won the 1989 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup title, the banquet was held in New York – but a procession of race cars through the streets was unheard of. “It’s the last awards banquet for me as a driver,” said Wallace “It’s kind of bittersweet. It feels good to be in the top 10 in the last year I’m going to run. It’s been a great career.”
According to NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Marketing Steve Phelps, who oversees the sanctioning body’s New York office, the event signified NASCAR’s ever-growing presence in New York. "NASCAR has been celebrating our champion in New York City for 25 years,” said Phelps. “We've had our corporate marketing headquarters here since 1998. On any given weekend, New York is one of NASCAR's biggest markets, with fans as passionate as anywhere. The sport's fans in New York deserve a special treat and we're grateful to Sprint Nextel and our top 10 ‘Chasers,’ the New York City Sports Commission, the City's Department of Transportation, and New York's Finest for helping to bring these loyal fans another unforgettable Victory Lap." NOTE: Kurt Busch drove the #97 Irwin Tools Ford and was in an Irwin Tools drivers suit.(PR)(12-1-2005)
News from November 30, 2005
- Petty's opt out of NSL UPDATE: National Sprintcar League officials learned Tuesday (November 22nd) that the Richard Petty Driving Experience, and Richard and Kyle Petty would no longer be a part of the NSL. Citing overwhelming demands in getting a start-up series off the ground, the Petty's informed the NSL of their decision. Despite the loss, the National Sprintcar League is moving forward with plans to race 410 winged sprintcars in 2006.(more at Motorsport.com)(11-29-2005)
UPDATE: Richard Petty Driving Experience announced that it has withdrawn its support of the National SprintCar League effective immediately. "We formed this series with the intention of rebuilding and growing winged sprint car racing," said Kyle Petty. "We had a clear vision about how to undertake this. Unfortunately, our vision for the future of sprint car racing was not shared by all of the key stakeholders in the sport. We believe that a prolonged battle over control of the sport is not in the best interest of anyone involved. Hopefully, by stepping aside at this point, there is time for a common vision to emerge. We still believe that sprint car racing can thrive
in the United States and we hope that the tracks, drivers, teams and sanctioning bodies will put their individual interests aside and work towards some common ground to unify this great motor sports platform. We appreciate everyone who supported us in this endeavor."(Richard Petty Driving Experience /Williams Company PR)(11-30-2005)
- Motorcycle champ thinks about moving to NASCAR: Ricky Carmichael, a six-time AMA 250 motocross champion and the winningest rider with 129 victories, has already tested with one NASCAR team and is making inroads with others. His contract with Suzuki expires in 2007, and Carmichael plans to honor that commitment. "Definitely, I'm interested in NASCAR," Carmichael said in a telephone interview earlier this week. "I've had a good opportunity to talk to some folks and it's something I'd like to try." Carmichael has never sat behind the wheel for an auto race. He did, however, test a Late Model, a stock car often used as a steppingstone to NASCAR's top circuits, for Ray Evernham in August.(USA Today)(11-30-2005)
- Cope to run full season in 2006 for McGlynn Racing: McGlynn Racing and Derrike Cope to run full NEXTEL Cup schedule in 2006. McGlynn Racing and Derrike Cope have announced they will run a full NEXTEL Cup schedule in 2006. Former Daytona 500 winner, a veteran of over 400 Cup [actually has 399] series starts, will run the #00 for the team. New sponsorship for the team is nearing completion and will be announced in the coming weeks.(McGlynn Racing PR)(11-30-2005)
- Champion's Week Day Two Review: As NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Tony Stewart (#20 The Home Depot Chevrolet) continued his busy slate of media interviews, appearances and social functions in New York, the rest of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 drivers arrived in the city and joined Stewart in Tuesday’s activities. A highlight of Tuesday’s “NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion’s Week presented by Sprint” schedule was a visit to the FDNY New York Fire Academy in Manhattan. Stewart met the probationary officers, who are still undergoing training and affectionately dubbed “probys” by their fellow firefighters. Stewart also participated in a few training exercises, led by FDNY Fitness Instructor, Lieutenant Mike Cacciola.
Earlier, Stewart, Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet), Carl Edwards (#99 Office Depot Ford), Kurt Busch (#97 Sharpie/IRWIN Ford) and Brian Vickers (#25 GMAC Financial Services/ditech.com Chevrolet) attended a fundraising event for the Staten Island University Hospital’s Pediatric Burn Center. Witnessing the intensive training exercises at the fire academy and spending time with the burn center’s youngest patients provided a day of reflection for NASCAR’s biggest stars.
“It’s unbelievable, I have to pinch myself everyday,” said Edwards. “To be able to do what we're doing and to be in New York City, taking the helicopter over Manhattan, it’s just unreal. I got to see the Statue of Liberty for the first time. This whole thing is just unreal to me. I'm glad to be here.” For Busch, who was the center of attention as the 2004 champion, Tuesday’s trip brought back fond memories of his own Champion’s Week experience. “I'm able to enjoy things a bit better this year,” said Busch. “It gives me a vision and a memory of what it meant last year to win the championship. These great people in Staten Island, and just to make the hospital visit, that's something I didn't get the chance to do last year. Every time I get the chance to come to New York as a top 10 driver, I’ll enjoy it.”(PR)(11-30-2005)
- Checkers/Rally's to present new car to deserving father: Checkers/Rally's will give away a new Chevy Cobalt to Alfredo Ruiz, a hardworking father from Newark, NJ, as part of its community outreach efforts as the Official Burger of NASCAR. The event will take place outside Madison Square Garden this Thursday as part of NASCAR Champions Week activities. Checkers is partnering with NASCAR and the local Newark United Way charity The Leaguers, Inc. to present Mr. Ruiz with the new car. Richard Turer, Vice President of Marketing at Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., will present the keys to the new car. This is the sixth charitable car giveaway this year from Checkers/Rally's. With the support of The Leaguers, Mr. Ruiz has come back from homelessness to work full-time as a Coordinator in The Leaguers, Father's Program. He helps guide fathers through the process of being better parents and shows them how to be the first teacher and role model for their children.(PR)(11-30-2005)
News from November 29, 2005
- Dare To Dream: The Alan Kulwicki Story on DVD: The 2005 independent film detailing the life and career of the People's Champ is now out on DVD just in time for Christmas. Shot on location at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Infineon Raceway, Slinger Super Speedway, Alan Kulwicki Racing, Inc. and many of the places where Alan's story took place. Go back in time and see how a young driver without a car, without a crew and without any money can begin a career in NASCAR with only his desire, determination and belief in himself. Relive his magical rookie season when he drove almost the entire season with only one car in his garage…and became the Rookie of the Year. Relive his first win at Phoenix. His battle with Earnhardt at Poco# Watch the incredible 1992 season culminate in the closest points race in the history of NASCAR. Special Features on the DVD set include Kyle Petty accepting Alan's Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame award. Interviews with friends/family/crew. Kulwicki/Wallace Zerex commercial bloopers. More at stores.ebay.com/DDI-Films[is more of an eBay auction BUT at the end of the list of Auctions it can be bought for a set price] and daretodreammovie.com.(11-29-2005)
- Champion's Week Day One Peview: A post-season trip to New York City has turned into a tradition for Tony Stewart (#20 Home Depot Chevrolet). The 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion returned to the city for the seventh consecutive season as part of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10. Stewart, and the rest of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitors will be honored Friday night at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Stewart has finished in the top 10 in every season he has competed in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. This is the second time he will be honored as series champion; he also took the title in 2002. “I think when I got to New York, it finally hit me, the full spectrum of what we accomplished,” Stewart said of his championship season. “Being here for championship week, this is when it is going to hit us the most.”
Stewart was welcomed Sunday night with a private dinner with NASCAR and Sprint Nextel executives. A special meal was cooked by Waldorf-Astoria head chef John Doherty, who has overseen the hotel’s kitchen since NASCAR first held the awards ceremony in New York in 1981. “It was a very neat setting being able to watch the chefs do what they do best. It made for a fun atmosphere and was a great way to start the week off,” Stewart said.
On Monday, Stewart’s first full day in the city, the champion was treated to a tour of New York area landmarks which ended with a carriage ride through Central Park. The tour began with a trip to the “TOP OF THE ROCK” – the observation deck atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The deck originally opened in 1933, but had been closed for the last 20 years. It re-opened on Nov. 1. “Its fun to be able to go places that you’ve never been to,” Stewart said afterwards. “To be up that high and see a perspective of the city that people haven’t seen from that building for over 20 years is pretty cool.” Although his first day was relatively light, Stewart has a full week’s worth of activities planned for him, and he’s ready to celebrate his second championship. “We’ll have a lot of fun. Obviously, being able to spend time with our team later in the week and to be able to go to some of the parties that the team gets to go to, that’s probably going to be the most gratifying part of the week – being able to celebrate as one team again.”(PR)(11-29-2005)
News from November 28, 2005
- #55 Scheme: added #55 NAPA Autro Parts Dodge scheme to the 2006 Paint Scheme links.(11-28-2005)
- More Changes at DEI: Dale Earnhardt Inc. [#1,#8,#15] is expanding and reorganizing its current campus to 160,000 square feet. DEI will house the #8 team with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. in the same building with rookie Martin Truex and crew chief Kevin Manion. The #15 Cup team will be combined with the Busch program and used for research and development with Paul Menard driving. Earnhardt and Truex will split Busch Daytona driving duties, Earnhardt driving the season opener, Truex the July race.(Sporting News)(11-28-2005)
- Ganassi Changes: Since Ganassi Racing announced it would expand to four teams, it has been adding personnel--including former Roush car chief Jeff Vandermoss to become crew chief for David Stremme in the #40 Dodge. Now with just three teams, that leaves current [#40] crew chief Steve Boyer as the odd man out. But with his talent, he could end up as the lead engineer for Ganassi's Cup programs.(Sporting News)(11-28-2005)
- Dale Jr. to buy track with Schrader? UPDATE Official: A Kenny Schrader/Dale Earnhardt Junior owned Paducah Raceway would certainly focus a lot of attention on the area racing scene. Not only for PIR, but for Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway as well. Both run dirt track races and would be in direct competition. Eddie Jarvis, Tony Stewart's manager, says Kenny Schrader approached Stewart to purchase the Raceway. Stewart declined and Dale Earnhardt Jr. expressed interest. "Dale Jr went out this morning before he left town. Hopefully he'll own something around here and that he'll have a chance to come back to Paducah quite a bit," Jarvis said.(News Channel 6)(10-7-2005)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Ken Schrader along with well known Midwestern promoter Bob Sargent are now the proud owners of Paducah International Raceway. The trio recently finalized their purchase of the popular McCracken County, KY, venue that boasts a 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval, 1/5-mile race track and a Motocross/TT run with grandstands that accommodate 5,000 spectators. In addition to PIR, Schrader is the co-owner of another dirt track - I-55 Raceway in Pevely, MO. Located off of I-24 in Paducah, the track hosts the most popular touring sanctions from the AMA motorcycles to various 700+ horsepower super late model series. Paducah International Raceway will also host prominent special events including the Tri-Track Challenge, U.M.P. Summernationals and the track's annual banner event - "The Wayne Coakley/Bob Memmer Memorial 'World 50'". Racing action will take place at PIR every Friday night during a seven-month season from March through September and will feature U.M.P. Super Late Models, U.M.P. Modifieds, Crate Late Models and Pure Street Stocks. Additional divisions including quads, 4-cylinder hornets and mini-sprints will also compete on a limited schedule.(Paducah International Raceway site)(11-28-2005)
- Penske to consolidate team headquarters UPDATE: Penske Racing is moving its headquarters next year, leaving Reading, Pa., after the 2006 Indy Racing League season concludes, relocating to the company's new NASCAR facility in Mooresville, N.C. The move will allow the organization to consolidate its stock-car, Indy-car and sports-car teams in the 424,000-square-foot facility Roger Penske opened last year in the Charlotte suburb. "There is certainly a lot of crossover capabilities," said Tim Cindric, the president of the team's Indy-car program. "Definitely one of the motives is to put everything under one roof." Penske set his team's roots in Reading in 1973 after it spent its first seven seasons in Newtown Square, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. Penske's Indy-car team has about 90 employees, most of whom are Pennsylvania natives. Cindric doesn't know how many people will follow the team.(Indianapolis Star)(11-1-2005)
UPDATE: Penske Performance is moving its NASCAR, Indy Racing League and American LeMans Series programs under one roof in North Carolina, and Roger Penske has announced that Tim Cindric will oversee the entire operation. Since 1999, Cindric, 37, has been responsible for Penske Racing's IRL effort, Penske Cars Ltd., Racing Experience Inc., Penske Technology Group and Penske Motorsports Inc. Cindric led Team Penske to two IRL titles and 25 victories, including three consecutive Indy 500 wins. Penske Racing South president Don Miller will retain his role; Penske Racing South general manager John Erickson will become G.M. of Penske Motorsports' ALMS Porsche program.(Sporting News)(11-28-2005)
- NASCAR closes in on CASCAR: No big announcement but NASCAR is getting closer to taking the checkered flag with its purchase of CASCAR. "I would like to be optimistic about that," CASCAR founder and president Tony Novotny said on the eve of the national Super Series and regional Sportsman Series awards banquet at the Hilton Hotel in London [Canada]. One source said there could be an official announcement in two weeks. "It's just guessing, like everyone else is, and that's including myself," said Novotny, who founded the Canadian Association for Stock Car Auto Racing in 1981. "I'm not the guy behind doing the deal and whatever is holding this thing up. They (NASCAR) have an option and that option certainly doesn't play out yet and everybody is optimistic it will happen sooner. We went into an agreement with NASCAR and they have been working with us with the idea of eventually taking the operation over." Negotiations began almost two years ago and Richard Buck, NASCAR's director of racing development in Canada, confirmed in September that he recommended his board of directors on Aug. 22 that NASCAR buy CASCAR. "Basically the process is moving along," Buck said during the Super Series race at Delaware. NASCAR's takeover of CASCAR could see a Busch Series or Craftsman Truck race in this country next summer. CASCAR, which has maintained its office in Komoka, is the largest stock car sanctioning body in Canada, although the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series came into the country two years ago at three tracks, including Delaware.(London Free Press)(11-28-2005)