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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    JAN. 16-22, 2006





      News from January 22, 2006

    • Inaugural Sprint Sound and Speed Does Well Freezing temperatures and a steady wind did not keep fans of country music and NASCAR from enjoying all of the activities at the inaugural Sprint Sound and Speed - Presented by SunTrust - A Celebration of Music & Motorsports Saturday in downtown Nashville on Jan 13-14. Attendance to all of the weekend's events exceeded organizer's expectations, including advance ticket sales of over five thousand to the festival alone. Walk up sales pushed the number far past the pre-sale total, pleasing organizers and sponsors alike and providing proof that the marriage of country music and NASCAR is a match made in heaven. All proceeds from Sprint Sound and Speed benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp for children with chronic medical conditions and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum charities. More than $180,000 was raised from two separate music and racing memorabilia auctions -- one for fans and one for those attending the VIP gala, The Groove at Sound and Speed. Some of the high ticket items included Richard Petty's hat that went for $17,000 and a Triumph motorcycle that went for $33,000.(PR)(1-22-2006)

    • RCR Personnel Moves: Mike Brown has been named director of licensing for Richard Childress Racing (RCR), replacing Chuck Spicer who has assumed the new position of director of competition business operations. Brown is responsible for all aspects of RCR's licensing programs. He has been involved in the sales, marketing and licensing end of the NASCAR industry for more than a decade, most recently in a three-year stint as director of sales and marketing with Team Caliber. Prior to that, he spent more than four years as director of licensing for International Speedway Corporation (ISC), establishing and then supervising the sales, marketing, licensing and purchasing activities of its Charlotte office. Spicer's new responsibilities include RCR's driver development and diversity programs, team travel, engine department business opportunities, and to serve as the liaison between the competition and business sides of the company. He served as RCR's licensing director since moving from Bill Davis Racing in December 2000.(RCR PR)(1-22-2006)

    • Racing Job Seminar: On May 26th from 7-10 PM in Mooresville -- during Coca-Cola 600 Race Week -- Mike Calinoff will present his 7th Annual "Get Into Racing" Seminar. It is a great opportunity for those interested in a career in professional motorsports. The "Get Into Racing" program is not your typical seminar format. Traditionally, participants sit for several hours and try to absorb as much information as possible, while jotting down notes and thinking silently of questions they need answered. There is usually one host who does all of the speaking. The "Get Into Racing" program takes a totally different approach. While Mike Calinoff, serves as the primary speaker, he is complimented with a panel of experts who are in the business. More info on my Racing Jobs/Schools page.(1-22-2006)


      News from January 21, 2006

    • Pyne leaving NASCAR: George Pyne, chief operating officer for NASCAR since 2002, will leave his post to become president of the International Management Group early next week, according to a high-ranking official in the racing organization. IMG, founded by the late Mark H. McCormack in 1960 on a handshake deal with golf legend Arnold Palmer, is considered one of the top sports marketing and representation firms in the world. "George got the kind of opportunity that you don’t say no to," said the NASCAR official. "His success at NASCAR in negotiating the big deals will easily translate into success at IMG. NASCAR wishes him well and hopes to do business with him in his next endeavor." Pyne could not be reached for comment last night. NASCAR is expected to announce Pyne’s resignation at a press conference on Monday.(Boston Herald)(1-21-2006)

    • NASCAR to switch to Unleaded Fuel starting 2008 UPDATE: NASCAR will use unleaded fuel for its racecars and trucks beginning in 2008, making the switch from the high-octane leaded fuel that it has used for decades. Gary Nelson, NASCAR's vice president for research and development, said yesterday that the series had been testing a new fuel since the fall and that early results had been promising. The fuel, Sunoco 260 GTX, will be used in NASCAR's three main racing series - Nextel Cup, Busch, and Craftsman Truck. Nelson said it was already being used in the Grand American road racing series. "Sunoco came up with a formula that really seems to do the job," Nelson said in a telephone interview. "It does a very good job inside the engine," he said, adding that "we've got more testing to do and more work to do." NASCAR is exempt from the 1970 Clean Air Act, which required the transition to unleaded fuel for all automobiles. But the series has worked to find an unleaded substitute for years. Nelson had said there were problems finding a fuel that provided the same lubrication as lead. The new fuel alleviates that problem without using MTBE, an additive that had been considered in the past but was rejected because it was barred in some states as a health hazard.(New York Times)(1-20-2006)
      UPDATE: NASCAR announced that a special unleaded fuel has been developed and will be used by the start of the 2008 season as a result of its partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its fuel supplier, Sunoco. “We’ve been back and forth to the drawing board for several years to find an unleaded fuel that is compatible with NASCAR engines. NASCAR congratulates Sunoco and is proud of the progress it made on developing a fuel that works in NASCAR engines,” said Gary Nelson, NASCAR’s vice president of research and development. NASCAR tested a number of possible alternative fuels in recent years, but none that didn’t cause engine problems. NASCAR tested an unleaded product in its NASCAR Busch Series in the late 1990s. However, the tests were unsatisfactory and required the sanctioning body to conduct further research. Other fuel solutions were incompatible and led to engine failure. NASCAR began testing the current unleaded fuel, Sunoco 260 GTX, last fall at its Research & Development Center in Concord, NC. The fuel will be used in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.(NASCAR PR)(1-21-2005)

    • PRN's "Fast Talk Live from Daytona Beach": For the 15th consecutive year, Performance Racing Network (PRN) will kickoff its broadcast season with "Fast Talk Live from Daytona Beach" and the roster of scheduled guests includes defending NEXTEL Cup champion Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler. Co-hosted by 1973 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion Benny Parsons and Mark Garrow, host of "PRN's Garage Pass," the popular radio program will air Feb. 12-16 from the Volusia Mall, located directly across from Daytona International Speedway on International Speedway Blvd. in Daytona Beach, Fla. The shows are open to the public and there is no admission charge. "Fast Talk Live from Daytona Beach" will debut Sunday, Feb. 12, from 4pm to 5pm and a two-hour edition airs Monday, Feb. 13, from 6pm to 8pm The final three shows will each be one-hour in length, airing from 6pm to 7pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 14-16. "Fast Talk Live from Daytona Beach" can be heard on over 100 radio stations across the nation, on XM Satellite Radio's channel 144 and at www.nascar.com. A listing of drivers scheduled to appear on each of the five "Fast Talk Live from Daytona Beach" programs can be obtained by visiting www.goprn.com.(1-21-2006)


      News from January 20, 2006

    • Owners trying to buy #77 team for owners points UPDATE 2 Waltrip-Bawel partner up: At least six car owners have inquired about the possibility of buying the #77 [Penske-Jasper] team that won't race this year. That's because that team finished in the top 35 in last year's car owner points. If a new team can transfer the #77's points from last year, that would mean it would be guaranteed a spot in the starting field for the 2006 Daytona 500 and the new season's next four races beyond that. Any such arrangement would have to be submitted to NASCAR for its approval.(ThatsRacin), it was reported on NASCAR.com a few weeks ago, that since the #77 was not being run in 2006, the #4 Morgan-McClure team with driver Scott Wimmer would move up and be guaranteed a spot in each of the first five races, if someone bought the #77, would 'assume' that the #4 team would get knocked out.(1-17-2006)
      UPDATE: #55-Michael Waltrip, who enters the season without a spot in the top 35 in owners points after his move to Bill Davis Racing, may be the beneficiary if a deal can be worked out between BDR and Penske Racing South, which won't field its #77 team this year. The deal, which would be subject to NASCAR's approval, would require an agreement to be reached between official #77 owner, Doug Bawel and BDR. Other team supposedly have made inquries about acquiring the rights to #77's 2005 owners points. One techicality could be whether or not the owners points would revert to Penske's #77 team should it return in 2007.(NASCAR Scene Print Version)(1-20-2006)
      UPDATE 2: President and CEO of Michael Waltrip Racing, Inc., Michael Waltrip and President of Jasper, Doug Bawel, announced they have formed Waltrip-Jasper Racing Company, LLC. Waltrip-Jasper Racing will field the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Nextel Cup Dodge in 2006,driven by Waltrip. Bawel has been in racing for over 15 years, previously as an owner of Penske-Jasper Racing Company's #77 Kodak Dodge. Bawel will serve on the Board of Directors and will be active in business management and sanctioning body relationships for the new company. "I have been in the sport as a driver for 22 years and the logical progression for me was ownership at the highest level, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series," Waltrip said. "This is such a big step, that I wanted to partner with someone who has intimate knowledge about ownership at this level. Doug Bawel and I have been friends for a number of years and I have always respected the way he handled himself in the garage and with NASCAR."
      "I learned quickly that Michael is a goal oriented person," Bawel stated. "When we began talking about the possibilities of teaming up, he started dialing the phone and making things happen immediately. He is a talented driver and a proven NASCAR Busch Series car owner, but most importantly as he moves into NASCAR's premier series, he is a man with a vision that likes to take ideas from paper to reality. I am delighted to lend my experience and management support to Waltrip-Jasper Racing."
      Waltrip-Jasper Racing has contracted Bill Davis Racing to be the source of cars, engines and personnel. Additionally, Waltrip-Jasper Racing has created their own team of people. The foundation of Waltrip-Jasper Racing is sculpted with experienced people vested in NASCAR. Ty Norris, former EVP of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will serve as the general manager overseeing the operation. Waltrip's long-time confidant, Bobby Kennedy will serve as the Competition Director and Larry Carter, a veteran crew chief, has also been contracted by Waltrip-Jasper Racing to be a part of the team.(Waltrip-Jasper Racing PR), so this allows Waltrip and the #55 team to use the #77 owners points and guaranteed to make the first five Cup races. Thus knocking the #4 Morgan-McClure team back to 36th in owners points and out of the guaranteed spot.(1-20-2006)

    • Petty joins COT test at Daytona: The NASCAR Car of Tomorrow had company Thursday at Daytona International Speedway as NASCAR Research and Development officials put their prototype through its paces for a second consecutive week. This time, Petty Enterprises’ Kyle Petty (#45 Wells Fargo Dodge) joined NASCAR Director of Cost Research Brett Bodine on the track, guiding his gray prototype alongside the black, white and yellow NASCAR prototype. Thursday’s test followed the second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series session of NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona, the annual preseason tests at Daytona, and Petty’s fresh experiences in his current car lent valuable perspective to the Car of Tomorrow test. “It’s different the way it sucks up in the draft,” Petty said. “It’s different the way it feels around other cars. The nuance of the car is just a lot different.”
      Last week, Bodine and the NASCAR Research and Development team led by NASCAR Vice President of Research and Development Gary Nelson conducted the first Car of Tomorrow test at Daytona, spending time on solo runs, and gathering baseline information for the second test. “We’re just here to do multi-car runs, try to evaluate its effect on the second car,” Bodine said. “All the aero configurations that we worked on last week, we’re letting Kyle do all the analysis. He was just here (Wednesday) with his current car, so he’s got a good feel for the differences between the two.” Both Daytona tests were open to any teams that wished to test their prototypes. Bodine said the fact that only Petty Enterprises brought its prototype wasn’t a hindrance to either test’s success. Petty is one of several drivers who tested his team’s prototype last October at Talladega Superspeedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway.
      “We can learn a good bit with two cars,” said Bodine, a former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitor. “Kyle’s been working with us since the beginning with this project. He’s been to Atlanta and Talladega, and now here at Daytona with us. We’ve had a really good working relationship, and just the fact that there’s only two cars, we can still learn a good bit about them. We already have.”
      In the final stages of a five-year project, the Car of Tomorrow represents NASCAR’s next major step in safety and performance innovations, and cost reduction. The redesigned chassis is boxier, with an open front bumper that catches air and creates drag – one of numerous features aimed at minimizing aerodynamic dependence. Current tests are targeting on-track handling and balance, testing the effects of both a redesigned spoiler, and a wing similar to what is employed in the sports car series. Both are bolt-on pieces that could help teams tune cars more efficiently at more tracks, thus reducing fleet costs.
      Many Thursday morning runs saw Petty following Bodine in a drafting mode, with the NASCAR prototype utilizing the spoiler, then the wing for comparison. During the afternoon, Bodine planned to follow Petty in the draft, with the wing and spoiler bolted on the Petty Enterprises prototype, to gather data and observations on the trailing car. “We’re trying the wing, we’re trying the spoilers,” Petty said. “You’re trying a lot of different stuff and I think you’re still in that stage of development. I think that’s a big thing. I think everybody jumps to conclusions – ‘oh my god, the Car of Tomorrow, it’s going to change racing, it’s going to do this.’ How do you know until you come up with the end product? And we don’t have the end product. I think every time you take it to a race track, you get closer and closer.”(NASCAR PR)(1-20-2006)

    • Rusty auditions for ABC/ESPN IRL gig: Don’t look now, but the IRL’s television broadcast team is about to get a new face. Actually, it figures to be an old one. Auditioning as Autoweek went to press was retiring NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, who appears to be prepping for a switch to the Nextel Cup announcers booth when ABC and ESPN get back in the game in 2007. Hiring Wallace, an avid Indy car fan, figures to be a win-win for all parties, including the IRL, which is in desperate need of a ratings jolt. The IRL’s play-by-play voice figures to be Brian Kenny, host of Friday Night Fights on ESPN2, with former driver Scott Goodyear joining Wallace in the booth. Jerry Punch, Jack Arute and Jamie Little will be the pit reporters.(Autoweek)(1-20-2006)

    • NMPA to induct three in Hall: On Saturday night in Charlotte the National Motorsports Press Association will induct three new members. Mega-track owner and veteran promoter Bruton Smith will be honored in person. NASCAR pioneer promoter Paul Sawyer and two-time Late Model Sportsman Series champion Butch Lindley will be inducted posthumously. It marks the first time in decades that the press organization's induction ceremony has been held anywhere other than either Darlington or Florence, S.C. The NMPA Hall Of Fame for years has been located at Darlington Raceway as part of the Joe Weatherly Stock Car Racing Museum. But there's a possibility that the hall might be moved sometime soon, maybe to the Charlotte area.(ThatsRacin)(1-20-2006)

    • Not a Bomb..as NASCAR commerical prop: Charlotte-Mecklenburg [NC] Police say the suspicious package found Thursday morning at an Interstate 485 construction site was not a bomb. Police were called to the site, near I-485 and Interstate 85, when a surveyor found a package between two construction trailers. The package had wires sticking out of it and had what appeared to be a cell phone attached to the exterior. Police officers, the bomb squad and the K-9 unit were sent to the scene. According to WCNC-TV, the Charlotte Observer's news partner, the package turned out to be a prop left at the scene by a crew which recently filmed a NASCAR-related commercial there.(Charlotte Observer)(1-20-2006)

    • Dale Jr. to do XM Radio show: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will join XM Satellite Radio for a weekly show to be broadcast exclusively to XM's six-million-plus subscribers from coast to coast. Dale Jr.'s show will debut during the week of February 13 on XM's NASCAR Radio (XM Channel 144) during Daytona Speedweeks. XM is the nation's leading provider of satellite radio and the official satellite radio network of NASCAR. Dale Jr. will discuss the latest happenings on the NASCAR circuit, as well as music, video games and other personal interests on the wide-ranging show. Dale Jr. will also play a key role in various XM promotions as part of a multi-year agreement with XM.(Yahoo Biz)(1-19-2006)


      News from January 19, 2006

    • New Speed Show featuring Dale Jr.: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is putting his newly formed production company to work, as Hammerhead Entertainment has reached a deal with Speed Channel to deliver up to 13 30-minute episodes of Back in the Day, a modern adaptation of the vintage race program Car and Track with Bud Lindemann. Back in the Day will make a Prime Time premiere during Daytona Speedweeks on Feb. 13 at 9:30pm/et. Car and Track, a collection of American racing footage from the 1960s and early 1970s, ran in replays on Speed from 1996-2000. Earnhardt Jr., a longtime fan of the series, will host the updated version, which will revisit NASCAR in its infancy, touching on not only what was going on at the race track, but what was going on in America. "I've always been a big fan of Car and Track," Earnhardt said. "Bud Lindemann had the vision to bring auto racing to television over 30 years ago. I watched every episode as a kid and still watch them today. We're going to show everyone the grassroots of our sport and bring the past to the present in a fun and entertaining way."(Speed Channel PR)(1-19-2006)

    • Speed to have over 70 hours of Speedweeks coverage: SPEED, celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2006, will be live from Daytona Speedweeks for 10 days, beginning Feb. 10 at 2pm/et with Speedweeks on SPEED. In addition to live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race (Feb. 17, 8pm/et), the IROC race (Feb. 17, 6pm/et), the ARCA race (Feb. 11, 4pm/et), SPEED also will air multiple practice and qualifying sessions from all of NASCAR's three major divisions. SPEED favorites, including Trackside, Inside Nextel Cup, NASCAR Live, NASCAR Performance, SPEED News and NASCAR Victory Lane also will be on-site, with a new high-energy pre-race show entitled NASCAR RaceDay [instead of NASCAR This Morning] set to make its Daytona debut. "NASCAR RaceDay will take the team from NASCAR this Morning and add several new segments, including tech reports from crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Bootie Barker, off-track items from Vicki Johnson and Craig Reynolds and long-form interviews with the weekend's storymakers," said Chris Long, SPEED VP of Studio Production. "John Roberts, Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace will continue to anchor the show and offer their no-holds-barred perspective, something our viewers have come to expect from SPEED. NASCAR RaceDay will set the tone for the entire weekend." SPEED will have multiple stages on-site, including its 53-foot mobile stage truck just outside the main tunnel entrance, a central location inside the track in the FanZone and a third stage positioned atop the viewing garage in the NASCAR Nextel Cup team area.
      SPEED also has multiple specials planned for Speedweeks, including NASCAR Five Years Later, a look at NASCAR five years after the loss of Dale Earnhardt, a Daytona documentary hosted by Dave Despain, a look back at Toyota's NASCAR experience and Champions Quest, a one-hour special on the Rolex 24 at Daytona efforts of NASCAR champions Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace. As part of its coverage, SPEED will announce the 2005 SPEED Channel Driver of the year with a special one-hour program on Feb. 15 beginning at 8pm/et.(SPEED Channel)(1-19-2006)

    • Mountain Dew signs on as sponsor for Hendrick Motorsports: Mountain Dew will be an associate sponsor of Brian Vickers' #25 GMAC Chevy throughout the 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series season announcing a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Hendrick Motorsports. The season will mark the 20th anniversary of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports team, which has 29 pole positions and 15 wins since 1986. Vickers will also pilot #57 Mountain Dew Chevys in three Busch Series races in 2006: Feb. 25 at California, May 12 at Darlington, and Aug. 19 at Michigan. Vickers will be featured in Mountain Dew advertising and on in-store display materials. He joins teammate #24-Jeff Gordon as part of the Pepsi-Cola racing team. Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew's parent company, has been involved with stock car racing for more than five decades. Today, Pepsi serves its products at 15 of the 22 NEXTEL Cup tracks and is the title sponsor of the Pepsi 400, which is held annually at Daytona International Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(1-19-2006)

    • Jim Beam renews sponsorship of #7 and Gordon: Jim Beam announced that it will continue its relationship with Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) as a primary sponsor of the #7 Chevy driven by team owner and veteran driver Robby Gordon for a designated number of races (11) during the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup season. "Jim Beam is committed to motorsports and to supporting the only team owner/driver in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series today," said Brian Gallagher, manager of Jim Beam Racing. "We admire Robby's passion for racing and his determination to succeed as both a driver and a team owner. We look forward to continuing our sponsorship of Robby Gordon Motorsports in 2006."
      "RGM has the experience, people and capabilities to put a competitive car on the track," said Gordon. "Over the last several months our team has grown significantly, and our second season of competition will look much different than the first given the experience we have gained. We look forward to a successful 2006 season with Jim Beam."
      Similar to 2005, Jim Beam will utilize its sponsorship of Gordon and the #7 Chevy to activate the Jim Beam Racing drink smart initiative. In 2005, Gordon donated $100,000 from a fund provided by Jim Beam to colleges and universities to fund alcohol education programs such as Alcohol 101 Plus from The Century Council (www.centurycouncil.org), an organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. The 2006 Jim Beam Racing drink smart program will be announced at a later date. In addition to sponsoring the #7 Chevy, Jim Beam helped make history as a sponsor of Gordon and Team Dakar USA, the first and only American team to compete in the Dakar Rally. For more information on Jim Beam Brands, and the Company's sales and distribution partners, please visit www.jimbeambrands.com or www.drinksmart.com.(Ketchum PR)(1-19-2006)

    • NC family reaches settlement with Ford over limo deaths: A family has settled its lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. stemming from a rear-end collision where a limousine erupted into flames, killing the wife of a former NASCAR crew chief and her two sisters, lawyers for both sides said Wednesday. Neither side would disclose terms ending a wrongful-death lawsuit over the safety of the fuel-tank system in Lincoln Town Car limousines, which are manufactured by Ford. The three women were stopped in traffic on Interstate 40 in Greensboro on Sept. 10, 2003, after attending a concert. A pickup truck driven by Jeffrey Niles McFayden rammed into the back of their limousine, which exploded almost immediately and trapped them inside. Tara Howell Parker, 29, her stepsister Mysti Howell Poplin, 24, and her half sister Megan Elizabeth Howell, 16, died of smoke inhalation and burns suffered in the fire. Parker was the wife of NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett's former crew chief [Shawn Parker]. Brenda and Ricky Howell, the women's parents, alleged in their lawsuit that the Lincoln Town Car was defective because the fuel tank was behind the rear axle, which increased the risk of fire in rear-end collisions. They said Ford could have fixed the problem by distributing a safety shield to protect the fuel tank. McFayden was convicted in May of three counts of involuntary manslaughter. Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes blamed the deaths on the driver, who collided with the limo at 60 mph. "Unfortunately, there is no vehicle on the road that can adequately protect people in such collisions," Vokes said. "We do not believe any other comparable vehicles' fuel tanks could have survived the severity of this impact."(ESPN.com/AP)(1-19-2006)

    • McGlynn Racing & Cope partner with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital: McGlynn Racing and former Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope have partnered, for the 2006 NEXTEL Cup season, with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the fight against childhood cancer. The partnership includes a commitment from McGlynn Racing to raise national awareness and funds for St. Jude - the world's premier pediatric cancer research center - through its driver, team and sponsors. As a component of the partnership, McGlynn Racing will display a St. Jude logo on its cars [currently #00] throughout the season. Cope, a veteran of more than 400 NASCAR races and the team's primary driver, will also make visits to St. Jude during the NASCAR race season to interact with the patients. "I am very pleased to have St. Jude involved with our organization," says Cope. "They have a dynamic facility that touches so many children and their families. St. Jude is a leader in providing the most sophisticated care for their patients and we as a race team look forward to assisting them throughout the year." McGlynn Racing, a Pennsylvania-based NASCAR team will compete in its first full season at the NEXTEL Cup level. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. For more information, please visit www.stjude.org.(McGlynn Racing)(1-19-2006)

    • #97 to #26? UPDATE 2 to #26: hearing the new number for the #97 team and driver Jamie McMuuray could be #26, which Roush Racing used years ago with Johnny Benson and the Cheerios car.(11-12-2005)
      UPDATE: Roush Racing has decided to bring back the #26, replacing the #97, when Jamie McMurray steps into the car next season starting at Daytona. The sponsors of Kurt Busch's old ride - Sharpie, IRWIN and Crown Royal - will transfer over to the new number along with new paint schemes [and owners points]. Although Busch won the championship with the #97 in 2004, the move is a smart one from a marketing point of view. With the recent troubles for Busch, the rebranding will help build a new base for McMurray and the sponsors. The last time Roush ran the #26 was during the 1998-1999 seasons with driver Johnny Benson. Benson, who ran the Cheerios sponsored car at the time, posted 12 top-10 finishes in 48 races behind the wheel of the car. The #26 has seen multiple drivers and owners over the years, most recently with Todd Bodine and Haas-Carter Motorsports in 2002.(RacingOne image there)(11-16-2005)
      UPDATE 2 Crown Royal kicked off a year of new beginnings as they unveiled a brand new paint scheme and car number for the #26 Roush Racing Ford Fusion piloted by new driver Jamie McMurray. The car will feature a purple and white color scheme, with gold striping reminiscent of the stitches that line Crown Royal's famed purple bag packaging. There will be both daytime and nighttime versions of the paint scheme. Crown Royal's parent company Diageo - the world's leading premium drinks business - announced in November 2005 that it will take over primary sponsorship of Jamie McMurray's Roush Racing Ford Fusion beginning with the 2006 season. Crown Royal will own the primary paint scheme for 18 races this season, with Smirnoff ICE - another Diageo brand - owning three, and Newell-Rubbermaid [with Sharpie and Irwin Tools] retaining the remaining 15 races.(Alan Taylor Communications), see many images of all the schemes on my #26 Team Schemes page.(1-19-2006)


      News from January 18, 2006

    • Daytona 500 Testing - Day 6 - the final day: AM Drafting speeds: #88-Dale Jarrett ran the fastest drafting speed of the 6 day testing at Daytona on Wed morning with a speed of 189.215mph, followed by #07-Clint Bowyer, #09-Mike Wallace, #99-Carl Edwards and #16-Greg Biffle. 51 cars made runs out in the draft.
      PM Drafting Speeds: hit the 190's today with #5-Kyle Busch being the fastest in drafting today and overall with a quick lap of 190.251mph, followed by #07-Clint Bowyer, #45-Kyle Petty, #42x-Casey Mears and #15-Paul Menard. The fastest Ford was #16-Greg Biffle at 14th. 32 drivers ran today in 51 cars.
      See the speeds on my 2006 Daytona 500 Session 2 Testing Page
      See pics and notes on Cup Scene Daily LIVE Daytona Blog: Day 5.(1-18-2006)

    • Overall Daytona 500 Speeds: after six days of testing at Daytona International Speedway, 53 drivers have made non-drafting runs. The top five were are: #24-Jeff Gordon at 188.466mph [ran on Jan 10th/afternoon-pm], followed by #5-Kyle Busch [17th/pm], #36-Bill Elliott [10th/pm], #38-Elliott Sadler [10th/pm] and #48-Jimmie Johnson [10th/pm].
      Fastest Manu:
      Chevy: #24-Jeff Gordon at 188.466mph, 1st overall
      Dodge: #10-Scott Riggs at 186.776, 10th overall
      Ford: #38-Elliott Sadler at 187.594, 4th over all
      See the top speeds for the 53 drivers and the best overall drafting speeds on my
    • Daytona Testing Cumulative Day 1-6
      .(1-18-2006)

    • Dodge and Bill Davis Racing lock horns in lawsuit: A multimillion-dollar breach of contract lawsuit between DaimlerChrysler and Bill Davis Racing is expected to get under way today in U.S. District Court in Detroit. DaimlerChrysler says Bill Davis Racing, based in North Carolina, violated the terms of a six-year contract in 2003 by passing confidential information to Toyota. The suit says Davis was helping the Japanese automaker develop a prototype Tundra truck for NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series. At the time, Davis was under contract to prepare DaimlerChrysler vehicles for the NASCAR Winston Cup series, now the Nextel Cup series. After terminating the contract and suing Davis, DaimlerChrysler says it learned that Davis had signed a contract in February 2003 to provide a car to General Motors for the Winston Cup series. DaimerChrysler is seeking $6.5 million in damages and an injunction to prevent Davis from divulging confidential automotive data acquired from DaimlerChrysler. Davis has denied the charges, countersued and is seeking $8.5 million to $9.8 million from DaimlerChrysler for breach of contract. Davis intends to run two Dodges in the Nextel Cup series this year with drivers Michael Waltrip and Dave Blaney. In the truck series, he will run three Toyota Tundras with drivers Johnny Benson, Mike Skinner and Bill Lester. U.S. District Judge George Steeh will preside over the trial, which is expected to last 2-3 weeks.(Detroit Free Press)(1-18-2006)

    • NASCAR Foundation established: NASCAR announced the establishment of the NASCAR Foundation, a 501 © (3) non-profit entity that will serve as the liaison between the sport and all of the charitable causes supported by its different constituents. The Foundation will review charity requests on a regular basis and over time, will expand its focus beyond the industry-related charities that NASCAR currently supports. Betty Jane France has been a leader of NASCAR charitable projects, most notably Speediatrics, a NASCAR themed pediatric unit at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach and Homestead Hospital in Homestead, Fla. Mrs. France believes the NASCAR Foundation will be an effective tool in making a positive and lasting impact in the community. “NASCAR actively supports charities and is devoted to being a leader in the area of public service,” said Mrs. France, who will serve as chairman of the NASCAR Foundation Board. “We are fortunate to have a wonderful group of drivers, owners, teams, tracks and sponsors, along with more than 75 million fans that believe in providing opportunities for those in need. The NASCAR Foundation will link all of our charitable initiatives, and working together, we will make a difference.” The NASCAR Foundation will also work with drivers and their foundations or favorite charity. Kyle Petty, who along with his wife, Pattie, founded the Victory Junction Gang Camp in honor of their late son, Adam, says the NASCAR Foundation will be a great asset to furthering the assistance the sport can provide to those in need. The NASCAR Foundation Board will consist of Betty Jane France, chairman; Mike Helton, vice chairman; Jim Hunter, vice president; Todd Wilson, treasurer; and Jennifer F. Bates, vice chairman, secretary. Sandy Marshall, who has served as NASCAR’s senior manager for Community Relations for the past three years and is based in Charlotte, will be executive director of the NASCAR Foundation. For more information on the NASCAR Foundation, visit www.NASCAR.COM/foundation.(NASCAR PR), more on my Racing Charities Page.(1-18-2006)

    • Hermie Sadler to run 20-22 races: Hermie Sadler says he is partnering with Mike and Bonnie Anderson, friends of his from Virginia, to form MBA Racing, with plans to run 20-22 NASCAR Nextel Cup races this season in a #00 Ford. Sadler will have sponsorship from Aaron's rentals for eight races in a partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing. As a new team, the group does not have one of the 35 guaranteed starting positions for the opening five races. Sadler, who is testing at Daytona International Speedway this week, also plans to test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway later this month. Sadler has 52 Nextel Cup starts in his career, mostly in cars he owned. "The bug is hard to get rid of," Sadler said. "The situation with Michael came along and the situation with Aaron's, and things kind of fell into place. Hopefully there won't be as much pressure this time, because we do have a little help. We're going to put all of the effort we can into these first five races and see where it takes us." Kevin Caldwell is crew chief for the team, which will run Roush-Yates engines and has purchased cars from Robert Yates Racing and ppc Racing.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-18-2006)

    • Subway back with Biffle: Subway will once again be the primary for Greg Biffle on the #16 Ford, this time for two 2006 Nextel Cup races, Phoniex in April and Martinsville in October. See an image on the #16 Team Schemes page.(1-18-2006)

    • McGlynn Racing to announce sponsor; car # change: There are lots of rumors flying around about the #00 team and Ryan McGlynn was reached today to comment on some of them:
      * The new sponsor is solid. “It’s a done deal” Ryan was quoted as saying. “We do not want to release any of the details until the sponsor has everything in place. They are waiting for the right timing to coincide with the best effectiveness for speed weeks.”
      * The team is listed as number 200 right now but that may change. The new sponsor would like to have a number that is firm for every race, not one that needs to be changed if a similar number shows up (as happened last season.)
      * The race shop’s move to Charlotte was delayed because the real estate transaction fell through. “It was pulled out from under us by the seller” said Ryan. He plans to take his time and find the perfect property over the next season, and the move to Charlotte is still definitely planned.
      * Derrike Cope will be driving a McGlynn Cup Car at Daytona! No ifs, ands or buts, Derrike is driving the car and attempting to qualify for the Daytona 500. The car make and number will be released later.(McGlynn Racing site), however the team didn't test at Daytona.(1-18-2006)

    • Johnson Hits the Big Screen at Atlanta: While his Hendrick Motorsports teammates were hitting the Daytona pavement testing their stock cars, Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus were hitting the big screen at Atlanta Motor Speedway today, filming an upcoming episode of the hit NBC TV series "Las Vegas." Johnson, playing himself, starred with Nikki Cox, who gets driving tips from the two-time winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Knaus, Johnson's crew chief, also plays himself in the episode which is tentatively set to air on February 6. While Johnson may seem like a natural on the track, he admits acting isn't quite so easy for him. "You have a writer trying to write things that you would say and you have to make it sound like what you would say," the driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet said. "Fortunately, I am playing myself, so I can turn to the writers and say 'I would do it like this,' and they are OK with that." Johnson also admits that it could be even more difficult for him. "Remembering the lines and trying to look like you're not thinking about the lines that you have to deliver is the most difficult part," Johnson commented. "If I was playing someone else and there was a particular way I had to deliver lines and have a certain personality, I would be in big trouble."(AMS PR)(1-18-2006)

    • Lepage back with Peak Performance: Peak Performance Motorsports announced Tuesday that it has signed Kevin Lepage to drive its #61 Ford [was #66 in 2005] in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series this season. "We are beginning the season on a high note with this announcement," team owner Jeff Stec said. "Kevin has performed well for the team in the final nine races of 2005 [and] proved that we are capable of producing excellent results for out sponsors both on and off the track." Crew chief Greg Conner returns with the team as does primary sponsor Peak Fitness.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(1-18-2006)


      News from January 17, 2006

    • 2006 IROC Drivers Announced: Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) officials announced today the driver field and race event schedule for the 2006 Crown Royal IROC Series. The four-race invitational all-star series, which matches 12 drivers from different disciplines of auto racing in equally prepared cars, will open its historic 30th season February 17 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). Five-time Crown Royal IROC Series and 2005 champion Mark Martin will look to capture consecutive series crowns for the first time since Dale Earnhardt accomplished the feat in the 1999-2000 seasons. Martin won three in row from 1996-1998 and owns an IROC-record 13 checkered flags. The 2006 driver field will consist of representation from seven major racing series, including six drivers that captured their respective series championship in 2005.
      The drivers are: Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth; 2005 Busch champ Martin Truex Jr., 2005 Truck Champ Ted Musgrave; Steve Kinser from WoO; ARCA Champ Frank Kimmel, Sam Hornish, Jr. and Scott Sharp from the IRL, and road racers Max Papis along with Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor [who will split duties, two races each];(Alan Taylor Communications/IROC Racing PR), driver capsules, schedule and more on my 2006 IROC Page.(1-17-2006)

    • Steadman Marlin gets a ride at Daytona..maybe more: Sadler Racing team owner Earl Sadler will field a car for Steadman Marlin [Sterling's son] in the Feb. 18 Busch Series opener at Daytona International Speedway and hopes to enter some Nextel Cup races later in the season if funding permits. "It's a great opportunity and I'm grateful to Mr. Sadler for it," said Steadman, 25. "He's got a pretty good race car. Bobby Hamilton had a good run in it last year at Daytona, and maybe I can do the same. Racing has always been a big part of our family. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I sat out seven or eight months. I'm anxious to get back." While his father, Sterling, is a 30-year racing veteran, Steadman has struggled to get his racing career up to speed. "I've told Steadman he has to work at it," Sterling said. "Nobody's going to drop anything in his lap. He has to get out there and earn it." The Sadler-Marlin racing relationship goes back to the early 1980s, when Sterling drove in some races for the team. Could Sadler give Steadman's career a similar jump-start? "Well, things have changed a lot over the years," said Sadler, 83, who has also assisted such drivers as Davey Allison, Michael Waltrip, Jeff Green and Jeremy Mayfield with their early careers. "Every year racing gets more expensive, which makes it harder for a small operation like ours to compete. We do the best we can with what we've got, but we're limited." Sadler said how many Busch races the team enters after Daytona depends on how much sponsorship funding can be generated. Said Steadman: "We're working on some deals to bring in some funding. I feel like we've got a lot to offer sponsors." Steadman was to share a Busch Series ride with his father for FitzBradshaw Racing. That team fields Dodges, however, and when Sterling signed to race Chevrolets for MB2 Motorsports the Busch deal fell through. "It's been frustrating, but at least I have a ride for Daytona," Steadman said. "If we can come out of there with a good run maybe it will lead to some other things."(Tennessean)(1-17-2006)

    • Stewart Cleared to Race: #20-Tony Stewart got clearance Monday to drive in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona as well as the test session at the end of the month at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway following two separate flips last week in a U.S. Auto Club Midget race. Stewart left a Tulsa, Okla., hospital last Friday with his right arm in a cast, but doctors said there were no serious injuries during a follow-up visit on Monday, team president J.D. Gibbs said. "Everything checked out fine," Gibbs said. "We told him he's still driving in the Daytona 500 even if his arm was broken." Stewart was participating in the Chili Bowl, one of the premier Midget races of the team. Job Gibbs Racing teammate J.J. Yeley and Evernham Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne also participated in the race. Stewart flipped and crashed on Thursday during a heat race. He wasn't injured in that accident, Gibbs said, but he struck his right arm on the shifter when he flipped again on Friday. "The reality of it is, when he first started with us he did way more (races) than what he's doing now," Gibbs said. Gibbs said the race team has restricted Stewart from some of his outside races in the past, but the defending Nextel Cup Series champion has reduced his schedule in the past couple years. "For him to go back to the local tracks where he started, we think it's all right," Gibbs said. "He enjoys that."(Athens Banner-Herald)(1-17-2005)

    • #5 Paint Scheme plans: hearing that Kyle Busch will run a few paint schemes in 2006 besides the normal Kellogg's scheme. At Las Vegas, Busch will run the Ice Age 2 [movie] scheme. Some sort of Disney Pixar Animation Film scheme in June, not sure which race. Cheez-It at Daytona in July. Carquest Auto Parts schemes at Darlington, both Pocono races, Chicago and Texas in November. Delphi at Texas in April, Indy, Michigan in August and Lowe's Motor Speedway in October.(1-17-2006)

    • Vickers to skip Daytona testing UPDATE: Vickers comments from brianvickers.com: "I hate having to miss any time, but given the timing of it all and making sure the impact was minimal, the conclusion was for me to have the [hernia ]surgery [Jan 16th], skip Daytona testing and rest in order to be able to get back in the car for the Las Vegas test. I appreciate very much David Green, who agreed to go to Daytona a few days early to help out with the #25 Cup test, and Justin Labonte, who will drive the #57 car during Busch Series testing."(Brian Vickers site)(1-14-2006)
      UPDATE: Brian Vickers' #25 GMAC Chevy was sixth fastest in Monday's test session at Daytona International Speedway, but he was back home in North Carolina having surgery to repair a hernia. Team spokesman Chris Haid said Vickers, 22, was resting comfortably Monday evening after a successful operation.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(1-17-2006)

    • Daytona 500 Testing - Day 5: AM Speeds - #10-Scott Riggs [Dodge] was the fastest in Tuesday, Jan 17th's morning testing session Daytona Intl Speedway, with a quick lap of 185.345mph, followed by #01-Joe Nemechek [Chevy], #5-Kyle Busch [Chevy], #66-Jeff Green [Chevy] and #25-David Green [Chevy - subbing for Vickers]. The fastest Ford was #26-Jamie McMurray at 11th. 58 cars made runs in the session.
      PM Speeds: #5-Kyle Busch was the fastest on Day 5, Jan 17th of testing at Daytona with a speed of 188.119mph, followed by #07-Clint Bowyer, #29-Kevin Harvick, #88-Dale Jarrett and #66-Jeff Green. The fastest Dodge was #10-Scott Riggs at 10th. 60 cars made runs in the PM session. See all the speeds on my 2006 Daytona 500 Session 2 Testing Page.
      Have updated the driver list for the two Daytona 500 test session, speeds are posted for the first session [Jan 9-11]...on the 2006 Daytona 500 Session 1 Testing Page. Up to 33 drivers this week. Will post any speeds reported for each session on the 2006 Daytona 500 Session 2 Testing Page. Also check out Truck Series testing speeds on my Daytona Truck Series Testing Page.
      See pics and notes on Cup Scene Daily LIVE Daytona Blog: Day 5.(1-17-2006)


      News from January 16, 2006

    • COT to make debut in 2007: NASCAR's "car of tomorrow" [COT] will be phased into competition beginning with short-track and road course races in the 2007, Nextel Cup Series director John Darby confirmed Monday. As a second week of Cup testing began at Daytona International Speedway, Darby said NASCAR will soon announce an official schedule for the new car's implementation. That could come next Monday on the first day of the annual media tour hosted by Lowe's Motor Speedway. Darby confirmed that plans are to use the car, which is approximately 2 inches taller and 4 inches wider than cars currently used in Cup competition, at short tracks and road courses in 2007, then at the circuit's largest tracks of 2 miles or longer in 2008, and finally at intermediate tracks in 2009. But, Darby said, he expects to see teams "accelerate" that schedule once the phase-in begins, figuring they'll want to see the new car used at more intermediate tracks sooner. "Within the next couple of weeks we'll release the official 'car of tomorrow' schedule and that will be the official schedule," Darby said. "We'll say, 'Here is it, we're not turning back.' ... The important thing is to get that official schedule out, because when it goes out it's printed and everybody says, 'here's the deal,' and then it's time to get going." NASCAR tested its own prototype of the car of tomorrow with a rear wing assembly here on Thursday, and plans another test on Thursday of this week with as many as eight prototypes made by various Cup teams. "We've made a ton of progress with it over the winter and it's down to small changes now," Darby said. "We're doing a lot of work with the wing right now to test it out and see how it's going to work. It's has been real positive. We will keep pressing on and in '07 it will race."(ThatsRacin/David Poole)(1-16-2006)

    • Shepherd teams up with Victory Motorsports: With backing from Christian businessmen nationwide, Victory Motorsports will field driver Morgan Shepherd on the Nextel Cup Series for the entire 2006 season. The announcement was made Monday by Tony and Brian Mullet, two businessmen and brothers from Ohio, who are leading the effort. "This is a tremendously exciting time for me as a race car driver but is also tremendously exciting because of the possibilities in spreading the Gospel," said Shepherd, 64, who is becoming the oldest full-time driver in NASCAR Nextel Cup Series history. Shepherd has dedicated his career, as well as his life, to spreading the Gospel and the salvation story. He has competed in a car emblazoned with "Racing With Jesus." Shepherd is testing in Daytona Beach, Fla., through Wednesday, preparing for the Daytona 500 in February. Doug George is the crew chief of the #89 Dodge, and the team will be using Joey Arrington engines. "Our goal is to go down there and get this team off to a solid start," Shepherd said. "We want to be at least in the top 35 of the car owners' standings after the first five races (which guarantees starting positions for races following that), and build this team. We know we have a long way to go, but we have every intention of getting there." The Mullets, whose Dutch Quality Stone is based in Mt. Eaton, Ohio, are leading putting together a group of Christian businessmen who are backing Victory Motorsports financially, and are working to develop sponsorship. "This is a great opportunity for Christians to help promote salvation and to promote the importance of our Savior to the world through one of the best means possible - motorsports," said Tony Mullet. "We're encouraging other businessmen to join us, to promote and market their companies in the traditional sense but to also, in doing so, 'market' eternal life." Said Shepherd, "We have a lot of work ahead of us and it's going to be a tough road, but I'd rather start with nothing and have Jesus Christ on my side than start with millions and millions of dollars and not have Jesus. We want to run and run competitively but our main goal, our main focus, is educating as many people as we can about salvation and God's plan for them."(Williams Company PR), this team has nothing to do with the Victory Motorsports Racing team that is owned by former NFLer, Terrance Mathis and last heard from, was alligned with #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports, but has not been heard from in a while.(1-16-2006)

    • Parrott expected back with #43 team after illness: Petty Enterprises competition director Greg Steadman stepped back into his previous role as crew chief for Bobby Labonte last week at Daytona testing because new chief Todd Parrott was recovering from a bacterial infection in a Huntersville, NC, hospital. Parrott was expected to return to Petty Enterprises this week. The #43 team is scheduled to test for Goodyear at Texas Motor Speedway later this month and also will test its intermediate program starting January 30 at Las Vegas. Executive vice president of racing operations Robbie Loomis says Petty's immediate goal is to "focus on the moment" and build confidence among the teams.(Sporting News)(1-16-2006)

    • Long may run Daytona 500 with 2nd Peak team: Long Looking to Run Daytona 500 with Peak Performance: Peak Performance Motorsports, who will field the #61 Peak Fitness Ford in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup with Kevin Lepage as driver for 2006, is looking to have Carl Long run a 2nd team car in the Daytona 500. The team will make a decision on whether or not they will run the 2nd team after the three-day Daytona testing session beginning this Monday. Only Lepage will test, Long will not.(Carl-long.com)(1-16-2006)

    • Busch team gets Cup experienced help: Former Hendrick chassis guru Eddie Dickerson is joining forces with crew chief Billy Wilburn at Clay Andrews Racing. Andrews will back David Gilliland, 29, who is the son of former Winston West champion Butch Gilliland, in Nextel Cup. The team will test with Chevrolets later this month at Las Vegas and plans to run 15 races, starting in March with Vegas.(Sporting News)(1-16-2006)

    • Daytona 500 Testing - Over for Day 4: AM Speeds: #5-Kyle Busch was the fastest i the opening session of Daytona 500 Testing, Session 2 for the Cup teams with a speed of 186.629mph, followed by #14-Sterling Marlin, #26-Jamie McMurray, #10-Scott Riggs and #01-Joe Nemechek. 58 cars made runs in the AM session.
      PM Speeds: #14-Sterling Marlin was the fastest in the afternoon session 2 of Daytona 500 testing with a speed of 187.110mph, followed by #10-Scott Riggs, #26-Jamie McMurray, #01-Joe Nemechek and #25-David Green [subbing for Vickers]. 60 cars made runs in the afternoon session.
      AND have updated the driver list for the two Daytona 500 test session, speeds are posted for the first session [Jan 9-11]...on the 2006 Daytona 500 Session 1 Testing Page. Up to 32 drivers this week. Will post any speeds reported for each session on the 2006 Daytona 500 Session 2 Testing Page. Also check out Truck Series testing speeds on my Daytona Truck Series Testing Page.
      DAY 4 NOTES: Robby Gordon is testing the #7, not Paul Tracy since Gordon made it back from Drakar early and David Green is testing for Brian Vickers who had hernia surgery today. Hermie Sadler is in the #00 Ford [Waltrip team will run Ford in 2006], Lepage is in the #61 Chevy [was a Ford in 2005 and #66], #27-Kirk Shelmedine is in a Chevy, #89-Shepherd is listed in a Ford; #95-Stanton Barrett is testing too. Testing contunies, Tuesday, Jan 17th, with drafting on Wed. Jan 18th.(1-16-2006)



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