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    FEB 27-MAR 5, 2006

      News from March 5, 2006

    • Stewart and Kyle Busch settle: - Kyle Busch said he and Tony Stewart hashed out their differences last weekend prior to the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. Stewart had criticized Busch's driving ability after the Daytona 500. Busch said Saturday prior to qualifying for the Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 that he and Stewart have cleared the air. "I was able to talk with him and get it over with and get it behind both of us," Busch said. "We were able to race against each other a little bit on Sunday and gave each other plenty of room, which was cool. We waved and said, 'Thank you' as we were passing each other. ... There's plenty more times throughout the year where I know we'll be racing and hopefully we can just keep it the way we did Sunday."(

    • Schrader 2nd in Texas: Robert Litton, of Alexandria, Louisiana, captured the SUPR A Feature Late Model title and George White, of Fort Worth, won the Modified Championship on Saturday before the largest crowd in the three-year history of the Pro-Cuts Texas World Dirt Track Championship at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. Litton staved off a fierce rally by Cup driver #21-Kenny Schrader, who opted to play in the Texas dirt during the Cup off weekend. Schrader, who needed a second-place finish in the Last Chance Qualifier just to advance into the feature, started 20th in the 22-car finale, but stormed to second in just two laps of the 40-lap event. Litton, however, never relinquished the lead at any point and held Schrader at bay for the final 38 laps.(TMS PR and Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-5-2006)

    • New NASCAR Show on Biography Channel REVIEW: On March 8, The Biography Channel gets behind the wheel of an exciting and original new series produced in conjunction with NASCAR Images, "NASCAR Driven to Win." Offering up-close-and-personal profiles of some of the racing circuit's most popular young drivers, the series delivers an "under-the-hood" glimpse of life both on-and-off the track. Comprised of 13 half-hour episodes, "NASCAR Driven to Win" will debut new World Premiere episodes each Wednesday during March at 10:00pm/et. The series launches with the premieres of Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch (10:30pm/et); March 15 revs up with premieres of Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle (10:30pm/et). More info at
      REVIEW: Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch are the first two victims of Biography Channel's new series on NASCAR drivers, "Driven to Win." A low-octane mix of smoochy interviews and fawning idolatry, "Driven" has the depth of an oil stain. Kahne and Busch -- down-to-earth good guys, by all reports -- deserve better. There is a danger these episodes may actually be viewed by their friends, who would be appropriately driven to mocking in squeaky voices the over-the-top adoration within these 30-minute bios. Kahne is not merely good-looking. "Female fans -- they loved those eyes," swoons the narrator. Busch is not merely competitive. "His focus remained singular: winning races." Well, duh. In "Driven," every decision is a Crossroads of Life. Each achievement is a Turning Point. Any setback is a Personal Tragedy. Mothers actually testify on camera that their sons are great. It's like watching an infomercial for God. Those who like their drivers served up as one-dimensional superheroes shouldn't pass on "Driven." But those with a notion of reality will find it the pits.(Charlotte Observer Review/Opinion)(3-5-2006)

      News from March 4, 2006

    • Some News on the COT: NASCAR announced in January that the car of tomorrow would be used in Nextel Cup competition beginning in the spring of 2007 at Bristol Motor Speedway, and that it would be phased in over three years. It will be in 16 of 36 races next year. Brian France, the chairman and chief executive of NASCAR, led the pitch for the concept, which became a priority after the racetrack deaths of Dale Earnhardt and others. The new car will be two inches taller and four inches wider. It is hoped that the design, which gives more space to the driver, will improve the quality of races by removing some of the dependence on aerodynamics that has taken some of the competition out of the drivers' hands and turned stock-car racing into more of a sport of engineers. The new racecar will eliminate the designs of individual manufacturers from Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge and, next year's addition, Toyota. All cars will be virtually identical except for the fake grill that differentiates the models. NASCAR officials say the car will control costs because there will be no need to build as many racecars to fit different tracks on the circuit. Some teams have as many as 17 racecars for use at various tracks; they will need perhaps only 10 in the future because there will be so few adjustments allowed from car to car, according to Gary Nelson, who recently resigned as NASCAR's vice president for research and development but will remain involved with the development of the car. NASCAR figures that by phasing in the changes over three years, the current equipment will not become immediately obsolete. Teams can use up their inventory along the way. NASCAR officials say they are still experimenting and that researchers are years away from finding the right specifications for the midsize 1½-mile ovals, which is why the car of tomorrow will not be used at those tracks until 2009.(in part from the New York Times...past news and images on my COT Page)(3-4-2006)

    • Pruett still has NASCAR plans: Scott Pruett said Thursday that even though he is not racing in the Busch Series race Sunday in Mexico City, he plans on running both the Nextel Cup and Busch events in August at Watkins Glen International. Pruett is still running at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, where the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series is racing Saturday. Pruett drives full time on that circuit for Chip Ganassi Racing. Pruett said he had planned to run in the Telcel-Motorola Mexico 200 [Busch Race] , but the sponsorship didn't materialize. Pruett's plans for the June race in Sonoma are up in the air because the Grand American cars are competing at Mid-Ohio that same weekend.(

      News from March 3, 2006

    • Hall of Fame Racing Appeal Date set: Hall of Fame Racing's appeal of a fine and two points deductions meted out by NASCAR for infractions discovered at Daytona International Speedway will be heard Tuesday [March 7th] in Concord, NC. The start-up Nextel Cup Series team is co-owned by former Cowboys quarterbacks and Pro Football Hall of Famers Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. HOF Racing was hit with three penalties last week after an unapproved carburetor was found following qualifying for the Daytona 500 on the #96 DLP Chevy driven by Terry Labonte. NASCAR fined crew chief Philippe Lopez $25,000, even though the team's engines are supplied by Joe Gibbs Racing. Labonte, who finished 17th in the race, was docked 25 championship points. Dallasite Bill Saunders, managing partner of HOF Racing, was fined 25 owners points.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-3-2006)

    • Red Bull's technical director moves to NASCAR: Red Bull will use one of its first prominent figures to set-up its NASCAR team in the US. Their technical director for Red Bull Racing in Formula 1, Gunther Steiner, will more from Formula 1 to NASCAR starting April 1st. The forty-year-old South Tyrolean will also assume the function of Technical Director for the Red Bull Toyota NASCAR team, acting on a level with General Manager Marty Gaunt. Red Bull's NASCAR team will start preparing for their debut season in 2007 on the first of April. Gunther Steiner said about his career move inside Red Bull Racing: "It is a new and fascinating challenge. If as a European you are asked to help set up such an ambitious project you simply cannot say no. I'm really looking forward to working on my new task."(

    • Sad News: "Bunkie" Blackburn: James Ronald "Bunkie" Blackburn, a former NASCAR driver who once won a race at Daytona International Speedway, has died. He was 69. Blackburn died Tuesday, Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home in Columbia [Tenn] announced. His cause of death was not available Thursday night. Blackburn drove in the Grand National and NASCAR circuits from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, driving for teams run by Smokey Yunick and Petty Enterprises. He had four top fives and 14 top 10s in the Grand National series, The Daily Herald in Columbia reported. Blackburn ran 71 races at 26 different tracks in his career. His top finish was in 1968, when he won the Permatex 300 at Daytona from the pole. He also won poles at Talladega and Bristol and was inducted into the Pure Darlington Record Club in 1964 after posting a record qualifying time. He finished in the top 10 twice in the Daytona Firecracker 400. Blackburn grew up surrounded by racing -- his father owned and operated a dirt track in his hometown of Fayetteville, N.C. Blackburn also competed throughout the Middle Tennessee area on dirt tracks and at Nashville Speedway against drivers like Darrell Waltrip, who lives in Franklin, and Coo Coo Marlin, the late father of current Nextel Cup driver Sterling Marlin, also of Columbia. He retired from racing after an injury and went to work for General Electric in Columbia for 20 years before retiring. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Nancy Hedrick Blackburn, three daughters, a son and 12 grandchildren. A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home. (;
      Mr. James Ronald “Bunkie” Blackburn, 69, resident of Campbellsville Pike, died Tuesday, February 28, 2006 at Maury Regional Hospital. A memorial service will be conducted at 11 a.m., Saturday at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home with Dr. Jim Hughes officiating. The family will visit with friends Friday from 4-8 p.m. and Saturday from 10-11 a.m. at the funeral home. Notes of sympathy may be sent to the family at

    • Ford Fusion 7th different Ford to win...and more: The Ford Fusion registered its first Nextel Cup victory at California Speedway on Sunday in only its second series start. ... Fusion is the seventh different Ford model in NASCAR history to win a Cup event, joining Taurus, Thunderbird, Torino, Galaxie, Fairlane and the original Ford. ... The last time Ford Racing swept a NASCAR Craftsman Truck, Busch and Nextel Cup Series weekend was when Roush Racing teammates Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton combined to win all three events at Phoenix in 2001. Biffle captured the Truck and Busch events, and Burton won the Cup feature.(FoxSports)(3-3-2006)

    • Calif TV Ratings UPDATE: Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Auto Club 500 Nextel Cup race from California Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 6.2 and a 12 share, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The overnight rating was 12.7% lower than the 7.1 Fox earned last year, when the race went on to record final figures of 7.9/16. The Daily notes that this year's race aired opposite NBC's final-day coverage of the Winter Olympics.(
      UPDATE: The 2006 West Coast Premiere of NASCAR at California Speedway dominated the Nielsen Media Services television ratings for sports this weekend (February 24-26), with both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series races scoring top finishes. According to data received from NASCAR, Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Auto Club 500 on Fox was number seven nationally for total households in primetime, and number four among adults, with a rating of 7.4 [last year was 7.9/16] and average viewership of 12.5 million. The race ranks as the fourth highest rated auto racing event (with the exception of Daytona 500 broadcasts) in broadcast history. It was the top-rated competitive sporting event for the week, finishing second only to the Winter Olympics closing ceremonies. Saturday's Busch Series Stater Bros. 300 was the No. 1 cable sporting event of the weekend, with a 2.1 rating and an average of two million households tuning in. The race finished ahead of cable broadcasts of both NBA and college basketball games (including the Celtics/Lakers game), and the PGA tour.(California Speedway PR)(3-3-2006)

    • Hamlin Brings FedEX Racing Excitement to Oakland: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Chevy and promising NASCAR Nextel Cup rookie made a pit stop on the way to the Fontana track in February, stopping at the FedEx Express hub in Oakland, California to meet employees of the facility. Hamlin, in California for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, spent two hours greeting hub employees, signing autographs and taking pictures with those in attendance. For Hamlin, it was his second visit to a FedEx Hub since taking the wheel of the #11 car. He visited the Memphis WorldHub in December of last year during the company's busiest week in history, and while it wasn't quite as busy Thursday in Oakland, Hamlin noted the importance of meeting employees face to face. The Oakland hub is the fourth largest FedEx Express hub in the U.S., and the 1700 employees handle an average of 238,000 packages a day. More and pictures from the event are available at Racing/Weber Shandwick PR)(3-3-2006)

    • Rusty Wallace Tests IndyCar UPDATE: To prepare for his role as an analyst for ABC Sports' and ESPN's coverage of the 2006 IRL IndyCar Series season, Rusty Wallace will drive an IndyCar Series car on Thursday, March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Wallace won the 1989 NASCAR championship and scored 55 NASCAR Cup Series victories in his racing career. He retired after the 2005 season and drove the past 15 years for Roger Penske, the winningest car owner in Indianapolis 500 history. The Indy Racing League kicks off its Open Test at Homestead-Miami Speedway March 2-6. The IRL returns to the Sunshine State for the IndyCar Series' Toyota Indy 300 and Indy Pro Series' Miami 100 at the 1.5-mile oval, both on March 26.(Homestead-Miami Speedway)(3-2-2006)
      UPDATE: While Rusty Wallace retired from NASCAR competition following last year's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he decided a little "track time" will help him in his new role as commentator on ABC and ESPN's IRL IndyCar Series telecasts which will begin with the March 26 Toyota Indy 300. Thursday, Wallace slid behind the wheel of Sam Hornish's Penske Racing Honda Dallara, and ran eight laps around the 2.21-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway road circuit. "I feel like I'm going on my first roller coaster ride," Wallace said before firing up the car. Wallace said that Team Penske teammates Hornish and Helio Castroneves gave him all the information he needed. "Then Helio said, 'It's not a qualifying lap. Go out and have fun.'" Wallace did just that - although he failed to heed Castroneves' final word of advice - "Don't stall." Wallace ran a best unofficial time of 1:18 - an impressive seven seconds slower than Castroneves' best lap of the day of 1:11.01 "I'll tell you, I never could have reported on this sport the way it needs to be reported without getting to drive this car," Wallace said. "I was really impressed with the brakes - they could stop on a dime. The acceleration was incredible. But the biggest surprise to me was how you go out and get such great speed, and as you turn down off the back straightaway, I can't believe how hard the wheel gets going into turn 10. As you ark off into there, the steering wheel's locked up. It's amazing. That was the only place that was spooky. The slow corners were fun, the upshifts were fun. These are incredible hot rods. I'm glad I did it." Asked how long it would have taken him to get up to speed, Wallace said, "If I started off in the morning, I think by the end of the day I would have been within a second and a half. I knew in my mind where I gave up stuff. The biggest thing I needed was the car to fit me better, and getting more seat time to build confidence that this car will stick. I don't know the operational envelop of these cars and how far you can take them." It was Wallace's first time around the 2.21-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway road course. "I've been coming to Homestead forever and ever, always running the oval, and I've never seen the road course before today," Wallace said. "It's a great road course. I can't believe how beautiful it is, and I never saw it before. Every time we came here it was covered with motorhomes." While Wallace joked about talking team owner Roger Penske into running a third car for him in the Indianapolis 500, he was serious about getting more track time in an open-wheel car this year. "I'm going to do it all year long in the two-seater, run all the tracks and get a good idea of what's going on," Wallace said.(HMS PR)(3-3-2006)

      News from March 2, 2006

    • Davis files motions to change Dodge verdict: Bill Davis Racing has filed three motions in U.S. District Court in Michigan in response to a verdict of $6.5 million in damages it has been ordered to pay DaimlerChrysler. A jury awarded the damages to Dodge on Feb. 9 after a four-week trial in Detroit. The jury found that BDR gave confidential Dodge information to Toyota and also violated its Cup agreement with Dodge when it signed a contract with General Motors to race in the Busch Series and up to seven Cup events. BDR has filed three motions: one requesting a new trial, another to request a reduction in damages and another for a judgment that it did not violate its Dodge agreement by signing the GM contract. Among the arguments are improper jury instructions and issues dealing with the way Dodge compiled its amount of damages. If Judge George Caram Steeh upholds the verdict, BDR has announced plans to appeal. Dodge terminated its contract with BDR in May 2003 after it discovered BDR's work with Toyota's truck program. The six-year, $18.425-million contract was scheduled to end in 2005. BDR's work on the truck was ruled legal by Steeh, but he left it up to the jury to decide whether BDR gave confidential Dodge information to Toyota.(

    • NASCAR Downplays HOF Report UPDATE Charlotte wins? announce Monday?....on Speed: NASCAR is downplaying a report in the Charlotte Observer that quotes sources as saying Charlotte has emerged as the clear leader in a three-city battle for the sport's hall of fame. NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer Brian France said before Sunday's race at California Speedway that Atlanta remained very much in the running for the hall, and NASCAR public relations spokesman Kerry Tharp said after Sunday's race that a decision on the hall had not been reached. "We are still in the decision-making process, and we're still collecting information from all the cities," Tharp said. "We still anticipate making an announcement in March." The Observer said a high-ranking NASCAR official and two Nextel Cup team owners, all speaking on the condition of anonymity, said NASCAR officials have indicated to them that Charlotte's selection is nearly certain. Charlotte, Atlanta and Daytona Beach, Fla., are the three finalists for the hall.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
      AND NASCAR officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Sunday night that Charlotte has emerged as the clear leading candidate to be the permanent home to NASCAR’s $100 million Hall of Fame. The NASCAR officials said, however, that the sanctioning body is still negotiating with Daytona Beach, Fla., and Atlanta, the two other finalists in the running for the facility. “It’s fair to say that Charlotte is the clear front-runner now and that our discussions with the city have intensified,” said a senior NASCAR official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “We are still having discussions with the other two cities, though.” No date for the announcement of a winner has been set yet, sources said, though it is expected in the next several weeks.(Speed Channel)(2-27-2006)
      UPDATE: NASCAR will announce the selection of Charlotte for its Hall of Fame at a press conference Monday, sources tell The Charlotte Observer.(
      UPDATE 2 - Atlanta Trying...: [GA] State lawmakers trying to drive millions of new public dollars into Atlanta's NASCAR hall of fame bid have hit an unexpected speed bump. In an attempt to snatch the attraction from rival Charlotte, legislators hurried this week to hike the public portion of Atlanta's bid from nearly $32 million to about $80 million. That, with corporate support and bank loans, would push the total offer for the racing shrine from $92 million to more than $140 million. NASCAR plans to announce its choice on Monday in Charlotte, according to reports. Georgia lawmakers came up with two new ideas to try to lure the hall to Atlanta: One would steer $20 million from state sales taxes to the project. The other would divert about $22 million in surplus money from Atlanta's rental car tax to the project. But the latter notion hit an obstacle: Atlanta officials have already committed the money to help the city's homeless.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
      UPDATE 3: NASCAR will host a press conference Monday at 4:00pm/et at the Charlotte Convention Center to announce that Charlotte will be the home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, multiple sources confirmed to today. SPEED will break into its regular programming to cover the Hall of Fame announcement, whenever it takes place.(Speed Channel)(3-2-2006)

    • Lowe's gets most TV exposure in Daytona 500: #48-Jimmie Johnson's victory at this year's Daytona 500 enabled his primary sponsor, Lowe's, to amass nearly $20 million of in-broadcast exposure during NBC's live telecast. The Lowe's exposure figure marked the highest sponsor total for a single NASCAR race telecast monitored throughout the last 22 years by Joyce Julius and Associates. Altogether, Lowe's identity appeared for 27 minutes, 30 seconds (27:30) during the 4.5-hour Fox telecast. Additionally, Johnson's sponsor was mentioned on six occasions. When comparing the exposure to the estimated cost of a commercial on the season opening broadcast, Lowe's earned $19,876,555 in exposure value. Not surprisingly, the Lowe's logo on Johnson's hood accounted for the largest portion of the sponsor's in-broadcast impact, with 16:37 leading to $11.6 million, or 58% of Lowe's entire exposure. In comparison, primary team sponsors averaged 12:05, 2.9 mentions and $1.4 million per race last season during 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series coverage.(Joyce Julius PR)(3-2-2006)

      News from March 1, 2006

    • Texas HOF Inductees: Drag racing legend Kenny Bernstein, Indy-car designer and team owner Jim Hall, NASCAR team owner Jack Roush, winner of the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year Award, and former NHRA racer Raymond Beadle, winner of the Bruton Smith Legends Award are the 2006 inductees into the Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Truck Series drivers [#11] David Starr is the recipient of the 2006 TMS Sportsmanship Award. The Hall inductees and the award winners will be honored at the Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame Gala on April 5 at the TMS Speedway Club Ballroom. Proceeds from the event go to Happy Hill Farm in Granbury, an academy and home for disadvantaged children.(Dallas Morning News)(3-1-2006)

    • 6th Roush Team...for a bit UPDATE 2: Later this season, Roush Racing will add a sixth Nextel Cup team, for seven races, to get Todd Kluever [Busch Series #06] warmed up for his role as #6-Mark Martin's [retiring from Cup] replacement next season.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-26-2006)
      UPDATE: Roush Racing's Todd Kluever, who is running the Busch Series [#06 3M Ford] full time and will make seven Cup starts later this year, will have the second Michigan race (Not first even with the race sponsorship) on his schedule along with Chicago, Kansas and Phoenix in November to name a few. Expect his debut to come at Chicagoland - the track closest to his hometown of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.(RacingOne)(2-27-2006)
      UPDATE 2: 3M Company and Roush Racing announced that 3M will be the primary sponsor for the #06 Ford Fusion entry driven by Todd Kluever in six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races this season. Kluever's NEXTEL Cup races this year are intended to prepare him for the 2007 NEXTEL Cup season, when he will drive the #6 AAA Ford Fusion currently driven by Mark Martin. Kluever's six-race schedule will consist of Chicago, July 9; Michigan, August 20; California, Sept 3; Kansas, Oct 1; Lowe's, Oct 14 and Phoenix, Nov 12.(Roush Racing PR)(3-1-2006)

    • New NASCAR Show on Biography Channel: On March 8, The Biography Channel gets behind the wheel of an exciting and original new series produced in conjunction with NASCAR Images, "NASCAR Driven to Win." Offering up-close-and-personal profiles of some of the racing circuit's most popular young drivers, the series delivers an "under-the-hood" glimpse of life both on-and-off the track. Comprised of 13 half-hour episodes, "NASCAR Driven to Win" will debut new World Premiere episodes each Wednesday during March at 10:00pm/et. The series launches with the premieres of Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch (10:30pm/et); March 15 revs up with premieres of Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle (10:30pm/et). More info at

    • Schrader runs dirt at Texas this weekend: Following back-to-back rain-outs to open the 2006 schedule, the O'Reilly SUPR Late Model season will seek to finally kick off its new season at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track on Friday and Saturday with the Pro-Cuts World Dirt Track Championships. The two-night event will feature late model and modified racing on the 4/10-mile mile clay oval with more than 200 combined entries expected. NEXTEL Cup Series veteran Kenny Schrader takes advantage of the off-week on the Cup schedule to compete in the championship event. Schrader, the 23-year Cup veteran who pilots the #21 Little Debbie/Motorcraft/U.S. Air Force Ford for Wood Brothers Racing, will be in the #99 Pro-Cuts late model entry this weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track. The Pro-Cuts World Dirt Track Championship will be the third short track stop of the year for Schrader. He did not qualify for the show at Talladega on Jan. 7-8. At Central Arizona Raceway in Casa Grande, Ariz., he had finishes of seventh (Jan. 14), 11th (Jan. 15), and second (Jan. 18). Schrader has been a longtime competitor in dirt track races and has at least nine more events scheduled through the summer. (TMS PR)(3-1-2006)

      News from February 28, 2006

    • Top-35 Owners Points Shaping Up: after two races, there are three left before 2006 Owners Points will be used to guarantee the teams in the top-35 Owners Points of making the race, what the race looks like now:
      32) #01-Nemechek, 146, +18 points ahead of 36th
      33) #40-Stremme, 143, +15
      34) #10-Riggs, 137, +9
      35) #45-Petty, 134, +6
      36) #66-Green, 128, -6 points out of 35th
      37) #43-Labonte, 128, -6
      38) #14-Marlin, 128, -6
      39) #16-Biffle, 122, -12
      40) #32-Kvapil, 118, -16 failed to qual at Calif]
      See my Drivers/Owners Points after California page.(2-28-2006)

    • Dale Jr. gets to fly: Mark McFarland, driver of the #88 Navy Chevy in the Busch Series and his team owner, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. have a new perspective on the word. On Monday the two flew with the Navy's Flight Demonstration Crew, the famous Blue Angels [F/A 18 Hornet], in El Centro, Cal. There they were introduced to speeds in excess of mach 1.2, or 890 mph, and G-forces seven times that of their body weight. "That is the roller coaster that they can't build," sounded Earnhardt, Jr. "I thought we pulled a lot of G's at places like Bristol and Atlanta, but riding with these guys gives you a new perspective. This is a testament to the condition they are in." Lt. Kevin Davis, Blue Angel No. 7, put the two through roughly an hour each of twists, turns and rolls over the mountains that border NAF El Centro, which is the winter home of the Blue Angels. Pensacola, Fla., The Cradle of Naval Aviation, is their home during the "flight season." A "season" can be made up of 35 locations, the same as a NASCAR Busch season The Blue Angels are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. By comparison, NASCAR is 58-years-old. (see more and images at the Jr Motorsports site)(2-28-2006)

    • Michael Waltrip Racing update: Toyota is using the same entry philosophy [they used in the Truck Series] as they enter NASCAR’s top series - new teams. Michael Waltrip Racing is working hand in hand with Toyota developing the 2007 Camry. With the quality people we have on board, we will be a key technical partner in all areas of the building process. We are even developing our own 2006 Dodge cars. The reason for this is three fold. First, to run a five-race 2006 schedule, which will be announced Friday afternoon [March 10th] of the Las Vegas race weekend next month. At that time, we will also announce a driver and sponsor combination. Secondly, to assist Toyota in understanding where the cars that are on track today are aerodynamically. And lastly, to help MWR’s employees to stay current with the competition. This group will be much better prepared to race in 2007 because of this plan. Waltrip Racing World is gaining more and more momentum. On February 6, 2006, we finalized zoning approval for the entire 11-acre campus. We plan to begin demolition and renovations by March 1, 2006. Everyone we talk to about our fan friendly, interactive entertainment based concept believes it will be a hit. Race tracks, baseball stadiums –heck, all sports venues have become interactive. Now, the first race shop will be. Our real estate partner, Noah Lazes, has been busy visiting other race shops, Daytona USA, Basketball arenas, etc., making sure our project is the latest and greatest in the world of sports-themed destinations. Bobby Kennedy, MWR’s V.P. of Competition [but still working with DW's Truck Series team], along with Larry Carter, MWR and former Penske Racing [#2] crew chief, have been equally as busy making sure every detail is in order for the team to produce the fastest race cars possible out of our facility. We are blessed that Larry recently helped in the design of Roger Penske’s new Penske Racing shop. His experience and knowledge of the project ensures me our team will need nothing when we move in.(NAPA Site)(2-28-2006)

    • Testing at Kentucky: Penske Racing South driver #12-Ryan Newman is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway Wednesday, March 1 along with Robert Yates Racing development driver Matt McCall. It is Newman's second Kentucky test in three weeks. McCall also is scheduled to test Thursday, March 2, with BAM Racing driver #49-Brent Sherman. Test sessions usually begin at 9:00 a.m., and conclude by 5:00 p.m. Test times will vary based on team objectives. Fans can view testing from a designated area outside Turn 3 for free.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(2-28-2006)

    • Edwards close to signing driver: #99-Carl Edwards is close to signing Canadian Pete Shepherd III to drive his car in the USAC Silver Crown Series [USAC] this season. The deal comes after Shepherd completed a battery of tests in the car at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier this month. Shepherd also has signed a development deal at Roush Racing -- Edwards' Cup team -- where he will drive in a number of Auto Racing Club of America races this season. And he is coming off a successful showing in the Discovery Channel's Driver X program where he made it to the final cut of 1,400 young drivers who were competing for a ride in Roush's Craftsman Truck Series Ford F-150. (Toronto Sun)(2-28-2006)

    • Driver Development Clinics Set: It's no secret that top-level car owners are reaching deep into the junior leagues of racing to seek out their next star. Some Driver Development Specialists and Scouts have been summoned to keep tabs on drivers who might be making noise in Quarter Midgets, Karts, Legends and Bandoleros. In addition, there is great interest in drivers who are currently competing in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, as well as, ARCA and Hooters Pro Cup. There are thousands of hopefuls, but only those who shine, follow practical principles, are willing to market themselves properly and whose families are willing to make sacrifices, will ever get a chance. Now, on October 19, 2006, from 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm in Mooresville, NC, Mike Calinoff will present the "Driver Development Clinics". For more info and links see my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(2-28-2006)

    • Husqvarna to sponsor Joe Gibbs Racing teams: Husqvarna, a global manufacturer of forest, lawn and garden power equipment for all applications, has reached a sponsorship agreement with Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2006 season. The multi-car sponsorship further solidifies Husqvarna’s commitment to racing: The company already serves as the Forest, Lawn & Garden Equipment of NASCAR, and it features a NASCAR branded chainsaw in its product catalog. The contract includes primary sponsorship of Gibbs’ number #18 Chevy for three NASCAR Nextel Cup races. The blue, orange and white car will feature the Husqvarna logo on the hood, quarter panels and back sections. Husqvarna will also be listed on the car’s decklid as well as the transporter and pit box throughout the 2006 season, and the uniform of driver J.J. Yeley will include the Husqvarna name. Husqvarna’s agreement extends into the Joe Gibbs Racing Busch Series team as well. Husqvarna will be the primary sponsor of the number #19 Chevy for four races. Aric Almirola takes the wheel for three of those races. Husqvarna will utilize the Joe Gibbs Racing facility in Huntersville, NC throughout 2006 for dealer events, and will invite select dealers to Washington Redskins football games and pre-season training camp sessions, which are included as part of the sponsorship agreement.(

    • #66 teams up with CertainTeed: CertainTeed Corporation announced a partnership with sister companies Norton Abrasives and BPB in a team sponsorship of the #66 Best Buy Chevy of Jeff Green for the 2006 Nextel Cup Season which is owned by Haas/CNC Racing. The Norton Abrasives brand of Saint-Gobain Abrasives is the world's largest manufacturer and supplier of performance abrasives. BPB, which was recently acquired by CertainTeed's parent company Saint-Gobain of Paris, France, is the world leader in gypsum wallboard and a leading supplier of ceiling tiles and finishing products. As part of the sponsorship, CertainTeed will host 15 race-day hospitality events at which Green will be on deck to sign autographs and talk with invited guests of the company, as well as Norton Abrasives and BPB. In addition, CertainTeed has prime positioning on the #66 car with logo placement above the rear quarter panel. Norton Abrasives and BPB are also featured on the car.(AutoChannel)(2-28-2006)

    • Racin' for a Livin' Major Guest Star Lineup: JVI Productions LLC announced their initial lineup for their Major Guest Stars on the new program Racin' for a Livin'; Jeremy Mayfield, Sterling Marlin, A.J. Foyt IV, Greg Evigan with Kory and the Fireflies as musical guests. Also, to put on a great one-two punch as Major Guest Stars will be brothers Mike and Kenny Wallace. Other will be announced in the near future. Racin' for a Livin' is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to receive seven fully sponsored rides in a NASCAR Busch Series car in the 2007 season. Created by veteran open-wheel racer Jerry VanDenHul, the series will kick-off using direct internet voting to select the twelve participants. Voters can view the potential rookie drivers, learn about their background, and use internet video to learn why they are chasing their dreams of NASCAR glory. More info on the program on my TV/Media News page.(2-28-2006)

      News from February 27, 2006

    • RPM2Nite Returning? Sources have told RacingOne that ESPN2 will indeed bring back "RPM 2Nite" for the 2007 season. The daily news show has been sorely missed that last five seasons.(2-27-2006)

    • Aikman Perplexed by Penalty: Pro Football Hall-of-Famer to be Troy Aikman questioned NASCAR's 25-point penalty for an illegal carburetor modification found on the #96 Hall of Fame Racing car in post-qualifying inspection Feb. 12 for the Daytona 500. Aikman and co-owner Roger Staubach were not expecting a points penalty because Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said Feb. 14 that it didn't look as if it was an intentional violation. But NASCAR announced Feb. 21 that crew chief Philippe Lopez was fined $25,000 and the team lost 25 driver points and owner points. "I don't know how that encourages new ownership and how that encourages new sponsors to get involved in the sport to where penalties are handed down that are very prohibitive and affect the ability of these people to bring millions of dollars and see results," Aikman said prior to the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. "It's discouraging to say the least." The team is appealing the decision. "Whenever we have to issue a penalty, we do a history of penalties to try to stay consistent," Darby said Feb. 24. "The huge majority of carburetor violations that we've seen over the last five years have all been the same penalties as were issued to the 96." The illegal modification was in one of the four ports in the carburetor, team general partner Bill Saunders said after the infraction was found but before the penalty was announced. He added that it was from bad machinery. "Right is right and wrong is wrong," Aikman said Feb. 26. "To me, that was unequivocally wrong. I don't know there is anymore I can say about it or anymore we can do about it. I'm hoping that more reasonable heads prevail when they get a chance to look at the appeal, but I'm not confident anything will happen there because I'm not sure why they wouldn't prevail when they were handing down penalties to begin with."(Scene Daily)(2-27-2006)

    • Penske talks about Toyota: Of rumors Penske Racing South [#2, #12] would leave Dodge and align with Toyota, Roger Penske said, “I have no contract with Toyota. I have a long-term commitment with Dodge, so we’ve not made any commitments at all with Toyota.”(Speed Channel)(2-27-2006)

    • Intrepid Idea...not so good?Although #2-Kurt Busch sat on the pole for the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway in his two-year-old Dodge Intrepid, the three Intrepids in the race came up behind the current Chargers entered. Busch and Penske Racing South teammate #12-Ryan Newman finished 16th and 20th Sunday, while #43-Bobby Labonte was 31st in his Petty Enterprises Intrepid. #9-Kasey Kahne, meanwhile, finished fourth in his Evernham Motorsports Charger, three spots ahead of #42-Casey Mears, who backed up his runner-up finish in the Daytona 500 with a seventh.(Speed Channel)(2-27-2006)

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