News from March 12, 2006
- Johnson beats Kenseth at Vegas: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a last lap pass during a Green-White-Checkered finish, beating #17-Matt Kenseth by 1/2 a car length. Kenseth led 146 of the 270 laps and Johnson led 1, the most important one, the final lap. The win is Johnson's 2nd of 2006 [in 3 races], 2nd in a row at Las Vegas and 20th career win in 150 starts [13%]. Johnson has 2 wins and a 2nd this season, now leads Kenseth in the points by 52 points. #5-Kyle Busch finished 3rd [and tangled with #20-Stewart again], followed by #9-Kasey Kahne and #24-Jeff Gordon. Johnson is the first driver to win a Cup race from a top-5 starting spot [3rd]. 2005 Nextel Cup champ, #20-Tony Stewart was in the top-5 most of the day until late contact with the wall slowed him to 21st. #42-Casey Mears, who fell from 2nd in drivers points to 4th, still was able to finish 9th, he and Johnson are the only drivers who have top-10's in all three races so far in 2006. There were 7 cautions for 30 laps. There were 22 lead changes with 11 leaders.
Race Results on my Las Vegas Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Las Vegas page.
Race Rundown: see my Las Vegas Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(3-12-2006)
- Las Vegas Race News and Notes:
• Jimmie Johnson won the 2006 UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, scoring his 20th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 150th career start.
• Johnson won the $30,000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader Bonus for winning the race and leading the points.
• Johnson’s last victory came at Daytona two races ago.
• Johnson became the first driver to score a victory at Las Vegas from a top-five starting position.
• Johnson scored his third top-five finish in three races this season.
• It was his second Las Vegas victory in five races here. Johnson also won here in 2005.
• Nineteen of Johnson’s 20 victories have come on superspeedways.
• Johnson moved into 30th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list, tied with Speedy Thompson.
• Johnson finished fifth in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings and has ranked first after all three races in 2006. Johnson took the point lead after this race one year ago.
• Johnson led only once, leading the final lap, the fewest laps led by a race winner at Las Vegas.
• It was Johnson’s third top-10 finish in five races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
• Johnson has won at least one race each season 2002– 2006, five consecutive years.
• Hendrick Motorsports has won at least one race each season 1986-2006, 21 consecutive years.
• This was team owner Rick Hendrick’s 142nd NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Hendrick has scored three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories in the nine races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
• Jimmie Johnson (first) has finished first, second and first in the first three races in 2006 and remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. Johnson has ranked among the top-10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings for 72 straight races, a streak that began after race No. 4 at Atlanta in March 2004.
• Matt Kenseth (second) has finished in the top-10 in the last four races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kenseth climbed from third to second in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 28th after three races.
• Matt Kenseth led the most laps in the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400. The last time he led the most laps in a race was at Texas last November. His 146 laps led were the most by a non-race winner at Las Vegas.
• Kyle Busch (third) scored his second top-five finish in three races at Las Vegas Speedway.
• Kasey Kahne (fourth) also scored his second top-five finish in three races at Las Vegas Speedway. It is his second top-five finish in 2006.
• Jeff Gordon (fifth) scored his fourth top-five finish in nine races at Las Vegas. It was his first top-10 finish in 2006.
• Denny Hamlin (10th) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contender.
• Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contender Clint Bowyer (15th) has scored top-15 finishes in all three races in 2006.
• All seven of the 2006 Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders have competed in all three races in 2006 and two scored top-15 finishes in today’s race.
• Joe Nemechek (13th) has been running at the finish in the last 35 races, a streak that began at Bristol last April, the longest current streak.(Provided by NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-12-2006)
- Stockcarfans.com - Rumblings - Las Vegas: That banking can't come soon enough.... We had a race that went 270 laps today....and the only two laps that were worth watching were the two we weren't supposed to see. Jimmie Johnson got by Matt Kenseth on the outside of turn 4 on the final lap today to win the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 405 by an eyelash.....leading all of about 50 yards of the
race! The win was the second of the season for Johnson and the 20th of his NEXTEL Cup career. He's now tied for 30th on the all-time win list with Speedy Thompson. Win #142 for Hendrick Motorsports was also their 3rd at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the second in a row for Johnson here. Matt Kenseth dominated most of the day leading five times for 146 laps, but came up short at the end.
Joe Nemechek (13th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Lowe's last October.
STREAKIN....Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races. Casey Mears has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
The Rookie Report: Three races in and three different Rookies in the top-spot. Today it was Denny Hamlin (10th), followed by Clint Bowyer
(15th), J. J. Yeley (17th), Martin Truex Jr (20th), David Stremme (33rd), Brent Sherman (34th), and Reed Sorenson (40th).
This Week's Elevator...UP: Operator of the Week is Casey Mears (+29) followed by Robby Gordon (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-32). About as much action in the "Shaft" this week as there was on the track.
Three races into the season and we've had 23 different drivers lead a lap.....last year we had 27 in the first three events.
Every position in the Top-10 in points changed hands....except the leader. Jimmie Johnson retains the points lead (he's been there from the start) while Matt Kenseth moves into second.
The best move forward today came from Greg Biffle (38th to 25th)....Ryan Newman went 11 spots in the opposite direction (7th to 18th).(Stockcarfans.com)(3-12-2006)
- Ash to make more attempts: #02-Brandon Ash, who attempted to make the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but missed, plans to attempt races in the #02 2004 Dodge Intrepid at Phoenix (both), then Richmond (both), Dover (both), Infineon Raceway, Chicago, Watkins Glenn, California, Kansas and Martinsville (Oct).(brandonashracing.com)(3-12-2006)
- #32 Fire: Been told the #32 Tide Chevy caught fire in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway garage this morning when the team was warming up the engine, supposedly a loose oil line caused the problem...besides blowing out all the fire retardant to put out the fire..team is replacing some heat shields and will not change motors or have to go to the back.(PRN's Garage Pass)(3-12-2006)
News from March 11, 2006
- Petty movie is back on: The Disney-backed movie on Richard Petty is on again and filming could start this fall or early spring 2007, said Bill Scott of Petty Enterprises. The movie was expected to be filmed in either 2004 or 2005, but that changed after the script was rejected. Scott said the script has been rewritten, and movie officials are revising it. Scott said actor Dennis Quaid is scheduled to play Lee Petty.(Roanoke Times)(3-11-2006)
- Tire Testing at Lowe's coming up: The repaving at Lowe's Motor Speedway is expected to be finished this weekend. Goodyear has scheduled a tire test there March 28 and 29. Scheduled to test are #21-Ken Schrader, #29-Kevin Harvick, #10-Scott Riggs and #43-Bobby Labonte, along with Bobby Hamilton in his Craftsman Truck.(Roanoke Times)(3-11-2006)
- Pilot Truck Driver Challenge - On the Road Again: The Pilot Truck Driver Challenge is on again for 2006, the Truck Driver
Challenge showcases team transport drivers to demonstrate why they are the best truck drivers on the road. With the responsibility of driving millions of dollars in equipment from the team shop to the track, owners demand the best, and these drivers will prove that claim. Categories in the Truck Driver Challenge will put the driver's skills to the test as they compete for a grand prize of $50,000. New faces around the garage will introduce some transport drivers to the challenge for the first time. Timmy Rogers and DeWayne Zirkle, rookie
drivers for Petty Enterprises, will be competing in the challenge as they enter their first full season in the Nextel Cup. Veteran drivers such as Peter Jellen of Joe Gibbs Racing and Bill Lewis of Penske Racing are out to prove experience can hammer down the enthusiasm of the younger drivers. With the theme of safe and responsible truck driving, new categories will be added in the 2006 challenge. Drivers will be required to complete two safety quizzes, as well as a team event, where they will be partnered with another competitor. During this category, drivers will work together using hand signals and voice commands to navigate obstacles. The popular Chicane Courses will again be a part of this year's challenge with three courses scheduled for competition. The dates and locations are:
1. Florence Civic Center, Florence, SC - Thursday, May 11
2. Knights Baseball Stadium, Fort Mills, SC - Monday, May 22
3. Sears Mall, Bristol, TN - Thursday, August 24
2006 promises to be an exciting season as the Nextel Cup team hauler drivers try to prove who is the best of the best. Defending champion Franky Nester of Richard Childress Racing will be defending the crown as the Pilot Truck Driver Challenge Champion. Each week the drivers will tackle a different category of the challenge in their quest to take home the title, and walk away with the $50,000 check when the Challenge winner is announced in Atlanta.(PR)(3-11-2006)
- Down to NONE: With #15-Michael Waltrip, #99 Domino's Chevy, not qualifying for the Busch race, it leaves just #01/#87-Joe Nemechek as the only driver who has started every NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch race ever held at LVMS.(LVMS.com Pit Notes PR)(3-12-2005)
NONE: Nemechek did not run in the 2006 Busch race, so no drivers have ran all the Busch and Cup races at Vegas.(3-11-2006)
News from March 10, 2006
- Kyle Busch speaks about Mexico: #5-Kyle Busch admitted he lost patience last weekend in Mexico City when he and #15-Michel Jourdain Jr. got together while racing for the lead on lap 54. "I lost a little bit of that (patience) last weekend in trying to get back to the lead. I was worried too much about what was going on behind me. I knew Denny (Hamlin) was fast. I knew Boris Said was fast. I tried to get to the lead so I could try to pull away. But knowing there would be more cautions at the end of the race, I should have known better." Busch says he and big brother Kurt talked about it this week while running four-wheelers on the Nevada sand dunes.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-10-2006)
- No Honda in NASCAR? Honda Racing president Robert Clarke was asked this week if Honda will follow archrival Toyota into NASCAR. "I never say never," Clarke said. "I've learned that in this business. But we have no immediate or near-term plans to get into NASCAR. We are quite occupied with our activity in the IRL." Honda is the only engine supplier for the IRL this season because of the departure of Toyota and Chevrolet.(Dallas Morning News)(3-10-2006)
- Motocross champ Carmichael looking to NASCAR: Motorcross racer, Ricky Carmichael, may trade in his two-wheel ride for NASCAR's four-wheel variety, perhaps as soon as 2008. He has a friend, mentor and supporter in Kasey Kahne, who spent last Saturday -- on a rare weekend off from Nextel Cup -- hanging out with Carmichael at the AMA Supercross at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. Kahne and Carmichael are the same age (26) and share the same passion for racing, having met at the Daytona 500 in 2004 and immediately becoming friends. That friendship has helped increase Carmichael's interest in four-wheel racing. Kahne offered to set up a taste of driving a stock car last summer and Carmichael accepted. They went to the one-third mile, semi-banked Hickory Speedway in North Carolina, a classic short track where many NASCAR drivers have run before they hit the big time. Ray Evernham, Kahne's Cup team owner, provided a late model and went along to oversee the preparation. Kahne drove to set it up. Carmichael not only didn't hit the wall, but also put in some good laps for a guy driving a stock car for the first time. "Ricky did a great job," Kahne said. "He did it right. We had a lot of fun." The experience convinced Carmichael that driving in NASCAR is something he intends to pursue. "It's a dream of mine, for sure," he said.(more at CNNSI)(3-10-2006)
- Speed adds Drew Johnson to Speed News Team: Speed VP of Studio Production Chris Long announced that Drew Johnson will join Bob Varsha and Connie LeGrand at the SPEED News anchor desk beginning immediately. "We went through dozens of audition tapes and really liked what we saw with Drew," Long said. "He has the racing knowledge, the look and the charisma to energize the show a little bit. He's a strong addition to an already talented team." Johnson, 29, comes to SPEED after working as a sports director at local
affiliates in Palm Springs, Calif., and Terre Haute, Ind. Prior to his management positions, Johnson covered sprint car and modified racing at tracks throughout the Midwest, and provided trackside radio reports for multiple events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "For a race fan, getting a job at SPEED is like going to work in a toy store," Johnson said. "With all of the energy and all of the events going on, it's great to be surrounded by so much experience in broadcasting and motor sports. It's a real honor." An avid go-kart racer, Johnson has enjoyed recreational seat time in Dirt Modifieds and sprint cars.(Speed Channel PR)(3-10-2006)
- Fox bringing Cablecam to NASCAR: Fox officials say the network is bringing its popular Cablecam for Sunday's coverage of the UAW-DaimlerChrylser 400 Nextel Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The high-definition camera, made popular by NFL on Fox, will be suspended above the track by a system of cables, puleys and computer-controlled winches. The camera moves within a 250,000-square-foot area covering the front stretch, the start/finish line and pit road at LVMS. This will be the first regular-season NASCAR event in which the Cablecam is used.(SceneDaily.com)(3-10-2006)
- #74 Withdraws: Derrike Cope was planning on driving the #74 McGlynn Racing Dodge an Las Vegas until some unfortunate news came his way. On Thursday, Cope updated derrikecope.com with: "My update for Las Vegas is a disappointing one. I am here in Las Vegas, but I just got word that the Transporter has broken down and will not make it here for this weekend. It is unfortunate for all of us, but they got out of town late and with this happening it is impossible for them to get here in time. I just spoke to Ray McGlynn [owner] and the sponsor and they said that we will just have to rebound and get ready to go to Atlanta next week. I will give you an update next week prior to leaving for Atlanta."(derrikecope.com)(3-10-2006)
- Biffle wins pole at Las Vegas: #16-Greg Biffle won the pole for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a lap of 172.403 mph for his first pole of 2006, 2nd of his career and first since Daytona in Feb. 2005, 73 races ago, putting Biffle in the 2007 Budweiser Shootout. #20-Tony Stewart will start on the outside pole after running 172.068, followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson, #5-Kyle Busch and #9-Kasey Kahne. The rest of the top-10: #2-Busch, #01-Nemechek, Jeff Burton in the #31 Cingular Chevy, #17-Kenseth, and #25-Vickers. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 42nd after having a very loose car and almost loosing it a couple times. #10-Scott Riggs made the race, qualifying 22nd, being the highest starting non top-35 driver to make the race. Riggs had a scare when his throttle stick before he left pit road, the crew was able to get it unstuck so Riggs could make his run. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were Riggs, #61-Lepage, #7-Gordon, #32-Kvapil [after missing last weeks race], #78-KWallace, #96-TLabonte, #4-Wimmer and #34-Chaffin. Missing the race were: #95-Barrett, #00-Sadler, #64-LaJoie, #89-Shepherd, #37-Skinner and #02-Ash. See the qualifying results/starting lineup on my Las Vegas Qualifying/Grid Page.(3-10-2006)
News from March 9, 2006
- Company to put Junior Johnson's life on film: Junior Johnson's life story could soon become a movie, says Fred Griffith of Follow Your Dreams Productions, Inc., a Beverly Hills, Calif., motion picture company that has signed a rights deal for the former NASCAR legend's life story. The movie is to depict Johnson's life as a moonshine hauler and NASCAR race driver. Griffith, an actor and producer from South Carolina, is currently adapting a screenplay based largely on the book, "Junior Johnson, Brave In Life," written by Tom Higgins and Steve Waid. Veteran actor and producer Chris Mulkey ("Radio") is a writing producer for the film. The film will show what Johnson has overcome in his life to become a NASCAR legend with 50 victories in his driving career. It will also depict his often-dangerous career as a moonshiner who hauled illegal whiskey throughout the Southeast for many years.(SceneDaily.com), back in 1973, the movie "The Last Amerian Hero" aired, it was based on Tom Wolfe's magazine article, this film follows the unlikely career of race car driver Junior Johnson in which Jeff Bridges starred as Johnson, but the character was named Junior Jackson. The real Junior Johnson served as technical advisor on the film.(3-9-2006)
- Ward Receives State Conservation Award: The A. Willis Robertson Award was first established in the year 2000 and is awarded annually to the Virginia citizen who has exercised outstanding conservation practices on his/her own land or who has made significant contributions to conservation activities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This year’s recipient was Ward Burton, 2002 Daytona Winner and Halifax County conservationist. The award was granted by the state biologist professional organization, known as the Wildlife Society, Virginia Chapter. Its members are 10,000 strong nationally. Ward Burton is the founder and President of the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation. See full story at wardburton.com.(3-9-2006)
- Congrats: to Danielle Frye, MRN reporter and wife of MB2 Motorsports [#01, #14, #36] CEO and general manager Jay Frye, gave birth March 8th to daughter Emerson Daye at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Emerson weighed in at 7 pounds, 2 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. Emerson joins 2-year-old sister Addison Rece in the Frye household.(3-9-2006)
- Congrats II: MB2 motorsports Parts coordinator, K.C. Brooks and his wife Niki who is employed at Wachovia bank in charlotte, welcomed baby girl Kaylee Nicole on Monday, Feb 27th@ 7:26am weighing 6lbs. 3oz. and was 20 inches long.(3-9-2006)
- ESPN following Kurt Busch: Kurt Busch will take an ESPN film crew around his hometown of Las Vegas this week. "It won't be what you might think," says ESPN feature producer, Jeremy Louwerse. "You probably won't see a single clip of The Strip or what Las Vegas is most famous for. Our intent is to go back and take a look at Kurt's roots - the neighborhood where the 2004 NASCAR champ grew up, his high school, his favorite fast food joint - all the local color he experienced growing up in Las Vegas before making it big time in racing." The feature is set to first air on Friday morning's popular ESPN2 program, Cold Pizza. The two-hour, weekday morning show airs live from New York City between 10 a.m. -12 noon. The program is hosted by Jay Crawford and Dana Jacobson.(Tom Roberts PR)(3-9-2006)
- Ice Age II on the #5 at Vegas: Kyle Busch's #5 Chevy will sport an "Ice Age: The Meltdown" paint scheme in this weekend's NEXTEL Cup event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The film will premiere March 31 in theaters across the country.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), see an image of the car on my #5 Team Schemes page.(3-9-2006)
- Snap-On Tools extends with DEI: Snap-on announced they have extended their sponsorship commitment with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. With this multi-year contract renewal, Snap-on will serve as an associate sponsor to DEI. "Snap-on has played an important role in our team's success through the years," said Teresa Earnhardt, president and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. "This long-term renewal reaffirms the strong relationship that Snap-on and DEI enjoy. We look forward to our continued partnership with Snap-on and its
"Snap-on Tools has been a part of the DEI family since my father began racing," said Dale Earnhardt, Jr. "Their products have
been in our shops for decades and we rely on them to help us win races. They've been a solid partner through the years, and it's great we can continue working with them well into the future." DEI is currently comprised of four teams - the #1 Bass Pro Shops, #8 Budweiser and the #15 Menard's Chevy teams which compete in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. They also field the #11 Menard's Chevy in the NASCAR Busch Series. Snap-on franchisees build relationships and distribute products directly to technicians via the Snap-on van, which has remained an icon for the company since the mid 1940s. In addition, products are sold directly to consumers via snapon.com.(Ogilvy PR)(3-9-2006)
- NASCAR OK with Roush's 6th team: Jack Roush says he had no problems asking NASCAR for a part-time sixth team to run Todd Kluever [#06 3M Ford] in seven races in 2006 in preparation for his rookie season in 2007. When NASCAR announced its four-car cap for every owner last November, NASCAR President Mike Helton indicated an owner could field a fifth part-time car for a rookie. Roush has five full-time teams, and NASCAR has said it would not force him to break any contracts to get down to four. Roush didn't have to lobby for approval for the extra races for Kluever, since NASCAR had already indicated that a part-time rookie would not count against the cap. "Our five cars are OK for the time being, and with Todd being a rookie deal, we got the same considerations [others would]," Roush says. "They offered me to start with that I was good if I needed to do that."(SceneDaily.com)(3-9-2006)
- Gordon gets waxed in Vegas UPDATE: Madame Tussauds Las Vegas will make Jeff Gordon just the second auto racing figure to grace its SPEED attraction when it unveils a life-sized wax attraction of "The Rainbow Warrior" at 2:00pm/pt, Wednesday, March 8, at Madame Tussauds at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, 3377 Las Vegas Boulevard South. SPEED is an interactive attraction dedicated to auto racing that was opened in August 2005 with a meticulously recreated $200,000 wax figure of Dale Earnhardt, the legendary "Intimidator" of NASCAR. Gordon will now join Earnhardt in the attraction. Adrian Jones, general manager of Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, Chris Powell, general manager of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will participate in the unveiling of the Gordon figure. The figure of Gordon will be unveiled in an official driving uniform and be situated in a high-energy, winning setting of Victory Lane. Visitors will be able to stand next to the figure and feel the sights and sounds of one of the most thrilling moments in NASCAR history.(Madame Tussauds Las Vegas PR)(3-7-2006)
UPDATE: Jeff Gordon became only the second auto racing figure to be immortalized in Madame Tussauds Las Vegas SPEED attraction when his life-sized wax attraction was unveiled in special ceremonies at Madame Tussauds on The Las Vegas Strip. Joining in pre-race activities for this Sunday¹s (March 12) NASCAR UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Madame Tussauds introduced Gordon¹s meticulously re-created $200,000 figure, complete with driver¹s uniform, into SPEED¹s Victory Lane. Gordon joins the legendary "Intimidator," the late Dale Earnhardt, whose wax figure christened the SPEED attraction in August 2005. Adrian Jones, general manager of Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, and Chris Powell, general manager of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, unveiled Gordon¹s wax figure. Like all Madame Tussauds¹ attractions, Gordon¹s figure is interactive. Fans and visitors can stand next to it and be photographed while experiencing the sights and sounds of NASCAR. Although he was precluded from attending the unveiling ceremony by prior commitments during race week, Gordon said he was very honored to be immortalized by Madame Tussauds. Madame Tussauds Las Vegas is open seven days a week. For attraction hours and pricing, call 702-862-7800, or visit online at www.mtvegas.com.(PR)(3-9-2006)
- Fisher may run Indy 500: Sarah Fisher, the first female racer to win an Indy-car pole position and the IRL's most popular driver from 2000-2003 who was basically abandoned by the series, is supposedly also in line to get an Indy drive in May. "I'm still working on a Busch East ride with Richard Childress for this season but the month of May is open," replied Fisher with a chuckle when asked about the rumor. "I don't know at this point because I haven't had any conversations with any teams. But if the right opportunity came along, sure I'd love to run Indy again and I hope it happens."(Speed Channel)(3-9-2006)
- Air Force to Fly NASCAR Stars at Las Vegas: Kenny Schrader and Jon Wood will receive U.S. Air Force fighter orientation flights at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada on Thursday March 9. Schrader, current driver of the NEXTEL Cup #21 Wood Brothers Racing Team, will fly with the United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, Thunderbirds. Wood, this year's Busch series #47 driver for JTG Racing, will fly with the 57th Wing.(Air Force PR)(3-9-2006)
News from March 8, 2006
- Celebrity Crew Chief for Robby at Vegas: To launch Harrah's Entertainment's premier event of the 2006 season with Robby Gordon Motorsports, nine-time World Series of Poker champion Phil Hellmuth, Jr., will bring his best bluff and tough call tactics to the No. 7 Harrah's team as celebrity crew chief for the 400-mile event in the Vegas desert. With Hellmuth by his side, crew chief Greg Erwin hopes to raise the odds for the team to cash in on their first win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 is the first event of the 2006 campaign where Harrah's will be the primary sponsor of the #7 Chevy. Jim Beam, Menard's and CarLoan.com will serve as associate sponsors.(Robby Gordon Motorsports PR)(3-8-2006)
- Special Schemes for #9 and #19 at Vegas: #9-Kasey Kahne and #19-Jeremy Mayfield's Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Chargers will run special paint schemes in Sunday's UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Flames [DW will be happy] will extend down the length of each car and the hoods will feature the race logo for the UAW-Daimler Chrysler 400.(Clear!Blue/Evernham MS PR), ni images to post..yet.(3-8-2006)
- Nicorette scheme for the #24 at Vegas: Nicorette nicotine gum will be featured for the very first time in a special car paint scheme with four-time series champion Jeff Gordon driving the #24 Nicorette Fresh Mint Chevy at this weekend's Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Nicorette gum, NicoDerm CQ patches and Commit lozenges combine for the only smoking cessation sponsorship in NASCAR history. This innovative program includes season-long sponsorships with Gordon and rookie-of-the-year candidate Reed Sorenson. The sponsorship also includes NASCAR's "Commit to Win" NEXTEL Cup Contingency Award and sponsorships with Richard & Kyle Petty. The sponsorship also includes the first-of-its-kind "QUIT Crew" program that provides smoking cessation counseling to NASCAR teams and fans. Ganassi Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and Petty Enterprises have already enrolled in the program. NASCAR fans can experience the "QUIT Crew" program at the Winner's Circle Exhibit, an interactive, entertaining exhibit open to race fans Frdiay - Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Fan Walk . Free smoking cessation counseling will be provided to NASCAR fans at the exhibit. For more information, log on to quit2winracing.com.(Lighthouse Marketing PR), see many images of the car on my #24 Team Schemes page, the scheme will also run at Atlanta in October.(3-8-2006)
- HOF Racing appeal denied: Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach's #96 Hall of Fame Racing team will have to live with its Daytona penalty. The team's appeal was denied Tuesday by a three-person review panel of the National Stock Car Racing Commission at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC. HOF Racing's #96 DLP Chevy team was penalized 25 championship points and crew chief Philippe Lopez was fined $25,000 on Feb. 21 for using a carburetor that didn't meet regulations during qualifying for the Daytona 500.
The team appealed the decision because the carburetor and engine came from Joe Gibbs Racing, which is supplying equipment to HOF.
HOF officials didn't have a comment after the verdict was announced. The points penalty is costly for HOF because the team needs to stay in the top 35 in the standings to have a guaranteed spot in the field at each Nextel Cup race. Terry Labonte, who is driving the car for the first five races, ranks 31st after the first two events. But the team would rank 26th if not for the points deduction. Labonte has a guaranteed spot as a past Nextel Cup champion, but he's only driving the first five races. Tony Raines takes over in Martinsville on April 2.
Aikman and Staubach did not attend the appeal hearing. J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, went to the hearing with Bill Saunders, the managing general partner of HOF, and Lopez.(Dallas Morning News)(3-8-2006)
- Rookie News and Notes: #18-J.J. Yeley was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the February 26 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. Yeley scored an eighth-place finish, his best effort in eight career NEXTEL Cup starts. He took top Raybestos Rookie honors for the first time in 2006. #07-Clint Bowyer holds a two-point advantage over Yeley (21-19) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the March 12 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Bowyer is the only Raybestos Rookie that ranks in the top 10 in the NEXTEL Cup Series points. He is eighth in the standings entering the Las Vegas event, two points behind seventh-place Ryan Newman and 84 behind leader Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Busch was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2005 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He finished second, 1.661 seconds behind race winner Johnson. At least one Raybestos Rookie has won a Bud Pole in each of the last 10 years (1996-2005). There has been a first-time Bud Pole winner in each of the last 19 years (1987-2005).(Raybestos/Camp & Associates), see more notes and standings on my Rookies Page.(3-8-2006)
- Hooter's scheme for #61 UPDATE: The #61 Peak Performance Motorsports Ford with Kevin Lepage driving, will sport the orange colors of Hooter's at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. The scheme is to promote the new Hooter's Casino. See images of the scheme on my #61 Team Schemes page.(3-7-2006)
UPDATE: Hooters Casino Hotel will join forces with Peak Performance Motorsports and sponsor #61-Kevin Lepage, at the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 12, 2006. With a deep affection for NASCAR racing, dating back to its triumphant sponsorship of late driver Alan Kulwicki beginning in 1991, Hooters Casino Hotel hopes lightning will strike once again with Lepage behind the wheel. The world's first Hooters Casino Hotel features 696-Hooterized Florida-casual rooms and suites fully equipped with the latest amenities. The hotel is conveniently located one block from the famous Las Vegas Strip. The 30,000 square foot "Hooters"-themed casino floor offers approximately 670 state-of-the-art slot and video poker machines and 32 table games - including the Hooters Girl Party Pit - for 24-hour fun. For more information call 1.866.LVHOOTS or visit hooterscasinohotel.com.(Peak Performance Motorsports/Kirvin Doak Communications). See more images of the scheme on my #61 Team Schemes page.(3-8-2006)
News from March 7, 2006
- Harvick/RCR up in the air: Whether #29-Kevin Harvick returns to Richard Childress Racing next season will not be totally up to the 2001 Nextel Cup rookie of the year. A source close to the organization said there is concern over whether Harvick is focused enough on his Cup career to be given a long-term contract. Harvick already owns teams in the Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series, and is believed to be a target of Toyota as a driver and perhaps owner when the Japanese-based manufacturer enters NASCAR's top series in 2007. Harvick and team owner Richard Childress have set an April deadline for determining whether they will remain together past this season. Childress has maintained he would like Harvick back. He also admitted the decision is not one-sided. "It's got to be right for both of us,'' said Childress, who attended Sunday's race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. "It can't be right for just one. It has to be a deal that both of us believe we can win races and win championships.(NASCAR.com)
AND The Ltn Hour ( Let's Talk Nascar ) Radio Show reported on this weeks show that Robert Yates Racing is also looking at Kevin Harvick to take over the #88 UPS Ford in 2007 as current driver Dale Jarrett's contract ends at the end of 2006. Jarrett has said he would like to driver at least thru 2007. UPS is signed thru 2007.(LTN Radio Show)(3-7-2006)
- Newman puts out fire: #12-Ryan Newman and a Leatherman helped control a fire that threatened to engulf Sledgehammer Charlie's in downtown Lenoir [NC] Monday afternoon. Chris Barlowe and Jeffrey Rocks with Gateway Grading were having lunch with NASCAR driver Ryan Newman at Sledgehammer Charlie's discussing a business venture, according to Barlowe and Rocks, when the fire started. “Our lunch had just arrived when the restaurant filled with smoke,” Rocks said. Barlowe, who used to work with Lenoir Fire Department, asked where the roof access was, and Barlowe, Rocks and Newman climbed up to the roof. Once on top, they saw a vent system cover. If not for Newman's Leatherman, a knife-like tool, the men still may have been trying to get to the fire when Lenoir arrived. However, Barlowe said Newman used the Leatherman to remove the bolts to the ventilator cover while he used a fire extinguisher on the flames. “Once they got the top off, Ryan and Chris expended every fire extinguisher (they had),” Rocks said. “Instead of running away (Newman) ran to the fire."
“Ryan saved the day,” Barlowe said. Fire Chief Ken Briscoe said he saw Barlowe on the roof, but he didn't know a NASCAR driver was working reserves for the department as well. “When (Barlowe) came down he was telling me he and this other guy took fire extinguishers to knock this fire down,” Briscoe said. “I thanked him and said ya'll did a great job.” Then Barlowe told the chief he may want to thank the man that helped him. “I walked over there and said, ‘Gosh! Ryan Newman,'” Briscoe said. “He said, ‘Yeah.'” Briscoe said he thanked Newman again for helping knock the fire down until Lenoir's firefighters arrived on the scene, and Newman told him not to worry about it.
“He was very personable and polite,” Briscoe said. “He did a great job up there knocking the fire down.” By Monday evening, the entire report wasn't complete, but Briscoe estimated around $12,000 to 15,000 in damages. A Sledgehammer Charlie's employee said the restaurant may be open this weekend, but more than likely will be closed until next week.(News-Topic)(3-7-2006)
- Foose scheme will return at Indy: While Jeff Gordon's 13th place finish at California Speedway could be viewed as somewhat of a disappointment, the Chip Foose designed #24 Hot Hues Chevrolet stood out for its unique paint scheme. The paint scheme will race again at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in August. Gordon announced the news prior to the inaugural running of the design at California. The repeat appearance was scheduled in response to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers, custom car enthusiasts and race fans.(Gordonline.com), see images of the car on my #24 Team Schemes page,(3-7-2006)
- Overnight Mexico ratings down: Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Telcel-Motorola 200 Busch Series race from Mexico City earned a 3.0 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 7 market share, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is down 11.8% from last year's 3.4/7 for the inaugural running of the event, the Daily notes.(SceneDaily.com)(3-7-2006)
- Testing at Kentucky: #14-Sterling Marlin and Robert Yates Racing development driver Matt McCall are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, March 7. Fans are able to view testing from the designated area outside Turn 3 for free. Testing usually begins at 9:00 a.m., and ends at approximately 5:00 p.m. Test times will vary based on team goals.(3-7-2006)
News from March 6, 2006
- It's Official - NASCAR HOF in Charlotte: NASCAR today announced that it has selected Charlotte, N.C., to be the home of its Hall of Fame. The NASCAR Hall of Fame, which will be a state of the art facility capturing the spirit of the sport, will honor the NASCAR icons and create an enduring tribute to the drivers, crew members, team owners and others that have impacted the sport in the past, present and yet to come. “To NASCAR fans everywhere, it is my distinct honor to announce that NASCAR has selected Charlotte, N.C., to be the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “The winners in this process are the 75 million NASCAR fans nationwide, who will have a Hall of Fame to call their own. The City of Charlotte will welcome fans from around the country and even the world to the NASCAR Hall of Fame,” said France.
Charlotte’s proposal best achieves NASCAR’s overriding goal to have one of the premier hall of fames in the world of sports and entertainment. The region’s rich racing history and heritage along with the strength of the city’s overall financial structure for the Hall, represents the best fit for NASCAR, the industry and the fan-base. The Hall is expected to include exhibit space, a Great Hall, a Hall of Honor, interactive entertainment restaurants, retail outlets, and a state-of-the-art media center for the industry. The NASCAR Hall of Fame will be a special place that brings NASCAR’s history to life and preserves that history in the appropriate environments. The new facility will allow longtime fans to have the opportunity to relive NASCAR’s greatest moments and for new fans to learn about them.
“Our goal has been – and continues to be – to create one of the “crown jewels” of Charlotte and the very best Hall of Fame-themed entertainment experience in the world,” said Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory. “This Hall of Fame will expand the dynamic and growing sport of NASCAR racing in a dynamic and growing city. It’s a victory not only for the entire region, but for NASCAR fans across the country and internationally. We look forward to welcoming all fans for a unique and entertaining experience.”
Mayor McCrory credits the regional effort and broad-based support from the business community, elected officials, the hospitality and tourism industry and NASCAR fans who supported this effort. Mayor McCrory specifically cited the strong leadership from his fellow “Crew Chiefs,” including Cathy Bessant of Bank of America; Luther Cochrane of BEK Building Group, as well as John Tate of Wachovia and Tim Newman of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.
The Hall of Fame, which will be located in Charlotte’s Center City will be developed, designed, and operated by the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority. The total cost of the Hall of Fame is estimated at $107.5 million. This will primarily be funded by a new two percent hotel/motel tax and contributions from the State of North Carolina and the private sector. The Hall of Fame, which will be open no later than spring of 2010, has been designed and concept by world renowned architecture firm, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. The firm has designed iconic buildings in cities worldwide, including the Javits Convention Center in New York City, the expanded Louvre in Paris, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Charlotte is the hub of the NASCAR industry. Currently 82% of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams, 72 percent of NASCAR Busch Series teams and 55 percent of NASCAR Craftsman Truck teams are based in the Charlotte region. The industry’s current annual statewide economic impact is estimated to be $5 billion.(NASCAR PR)(3-6-2006)
- #32 and #78 to share resources: Nextel Cup's #78 Furniture Row Racing of Denver has joined forces with North Carolina-based PPI Motorsports. The single-car teams agreed to share resources and manpower, according to Furniture Row backup driver Jerry Robertson of Arvada [CO]. Robertson, who might replace veteran driver Kenny Wallace in the #78 Chevrolet later in the season, will become teammates with PPI driver Travis Kvapil, who drives the #32 Tide-sponsored Chevy.(Denver Post)(3-6-2006)
- #14 and Marlin to be sponsored by Wiley X Eyewear at Vegas: Wiley X Eyewear (pronounced Y-lee), a manufacturer of sports, casual and tactical eyewear, will be the primary sponsor on Sterling Marlin's #14 Chevy this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The MB2 Motorsports entry will carry the black and red colors of Wiley X, a company that was lauded by the New England
Journal of Medicine in the Dec. 9, 2004 issue. The renowned weekly medical publication stated that Wiley X ballistic eyewear was one of the main reasons for the decreasing amount of eye injuries suffered by soldiers. Along with being a major supplier to the U.S. Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies, Wiley X produces sophisticated sunglasses for both causal, active wear and specialty eyewear for the motorcycle, mountain/street bike, hunting, boating and fishing markets to name a few. Wiley X is not a stranger to motorsports. The company is in its second season as an associate sponsor on the MB2-owned #01 U.S. Army Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek. Wiley X has
also established an official status with the International Race of Champions (IROC) circuit. For additional information about Wiley X Eyewear and its products, search the company's web site at: wiley-x.com.(MB2 Motorsports PR), see an image of the car on my #14 Team Schemes page.(3-6-2006)
- Tire Leasing deal still questioned: After the first two races of the 2006 Nextel Cup season, questions still abound about NASCAR’s controversial tire-leasing program designed to help level competition. Instituted in conjunction with the rule limiting testing dates at Nextel Cup tracks, the tire-leasing plan is aimed at keeping teams from using Goodyear tires at non-NASCAR designated test sessions. Teams are now forced to lease tires rather than buying them as they have in the past. Supposedly this lessens the advantage multicar teams had enjoyed in testing. Last week at California Speedway, Goodyear leased each race team six sets of tires for practice and qualifying, but did not issue race tires (10 sets per team) until final practice was completed. To further eliminate any potential for unapproved use of Goodyears, the tire manufacturer has installed computer chips in each tire to keep track of inventory. In cutting back on the umpteen number of test sessions in previous years, Cup teams are now permitted to test just six times per season. So far, teams have tested at Daytona Beach and Las Vegas in January [see my Testing News page for other scheduled tests]. Some teams have found a way around the tire-leasing restriction by testing Hoosier tires at non-NASCAR designated testing venues. Hoosier radials aren’t at all similar to the Goodyear component used in Nextel Cup, but could give teams a slight advantage by allowing for additional testing.(in part from the Boston Herald)(3-6-2006)
- Wheldon to NASCAR? If Dan Wheldon has plans to head to NASCAR, he's keeping them private. Wheldon, the defending Indy Racing League champion who lives in St. Petersburg, has moved to Target Chip Ganassi Racing for 2006. He comes off a sensational 2005 season in which he won six races, including the 89th Indianapolis 500 and Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg for Andretti Green Racing. While it's widely believed Wheldon got a huge raise at Ganassi, there might have been another inducement. Michael Andretti told the Express-Times of Easton, Pa., that Chip Ganassi has promised Wheldon a ride in Nextel Cup as soon as next season. Asked whether that's true Saturday after a photo shoot at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Wheldon wouldn't answer directly. "Like anything in my contract, I'm not allowed to discuss it," he said. "That's between me and Chip." Wheldon expressed interest in NASCAR last year while he was considering his options for 2006.(Tampa Tribune)(3-6-2006)
- Latest on AT&T and Cingular: AT&T announced a $67 billion dollar merger with BellSouth that could create the largest telecommunications company in the country. The purchase of Atlanta-based BellSouth would give AT&T total control of Cingular, the nation’s largest cell phone provider, and BellSouth’s nine-state network. Together, the three companies employ more than 316,000 people.
The Cingular brand would likely be phased out in favor of the AT&T brand. The name will be familiar to wireless customers: AT&T Wireless Inc., a spin-off of AT&T, was acquired by Cingular in October 2004. The BellSouth name also would be absorbed in the deal.(MSNBC), no word on how this will effect the Cingular sponsorship of the #31 RCR team.(3-6-2006)
- Cup in Mexico? UPDATE: Team owner Felix Sabates predicts that a track will be built in Mexico over the next five years to attract the Nextel Cup Series the way the Autrodromo Hermanos Rodriguez road course has attracted the Busch Series to Mexico City. "There's some areas in Mexico, very wealthy areas in Mexico, with a huge population around it,'' Sabates said Saturday before qualifying for Sunday's Busch race. "I wouldn't be surprised if you don't see something there in the next four or five years.'' NASCAR chairman Brian France said last week at California that the Cup Series isn't looking at Mexico City for the near future. Sabates agrees as long as the only option is a road course, because the series doesn't want to add a third road course with Watkins Glen (N.Y.) and Infineon (Calif.) already on the schedule.(see more about this at NASCAR.com)(3-5-2006)
UPDATE: Team owner Felix Sabates has admitted that he's had serious discussions with several influential and presumably wealthy Mexican associates about building a ¾-mile oval near Mexico City. Sabates thinks it could happen within five years. That could pave the way for a Cup event in Mexico.(Yahoo Sports)(3-6-2006)