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APR 10-16, 2006
News from April 16, 2006
- Harvick says no excuse DeLana Harvick, who takes an active role in the career of husband Kevin and heads up his race team, tried to be understanding when asked about the recent confrontation between Nicole Lunders, Greg Biffle’s girlfriend, and Eva Bryan, Kurt Busch’s fiancée, at Texas Motor Speedway. But Mrs. Harvick, who grew up in a racing family, stressed that disputes between wives and girlfriends are indefensible. “The thing is, we as wives or girlfriends hear a lot of things in the motor-home lot that you guys, the media, never see,” she said. “Because of that, I think there are things on the race track that you see in a different light.
“However, there’s absolutely no reason to confront another spouse. They absolutely have nothing to do with what happened on the track, period. It’s inappropriate and it’s unacceptable. It’s a double-edged sword. You’re so emotionally attached to everything that happens. Someone’s safety is at stake. However, there are people there. There are cameras. That’s not acceptable.”(Gaston Gazette)(4-16-2006)
News from April 15, 2006
- DIRECTV Unveils Award Program to Honor Crew Chiefs: DIRECTV, Inc. the official satellite television service provider of NASCAR, which provides outstanding service for race teams up and down pit row, will begin recognizing the invaluable contributions crew chiefs make to the sport with two new awards throughout the 2006 NEXTEL Cup season. DIRECTV's program will name a "NASCAR DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race" after each NEXTEL Cup race and crown a "NASCAR DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Year," who will be honored during NASCAR Champions Week in New York City following the season. The "NASCAR DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race" will be awarded to the crew chief of the driver who has demonstrated the best qualifying and race effort based on finishing times during the weekend. Following each race, each participating crew chief's car's start and finishing positions will be combined, with points equally given to qualifying and finishing positions. The lowest combined score of start and finish positions will earn "Crew Chief of the Race." (For example, a first place finish nets one point, as does a pole position; a tenth place start position or finish nets ten points). If a tie should result from the tally of these positions, the award will go to the race's higher-finishing car. Each winning crew chief will be honored with a $5,600 cash award that will be presented during pre-race ceremonies at the following NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. In addition, the crew chief who accrues the most "NASCAR DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race" awards throughout the season will be named the "NASCAR DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Year." This honor, along with a $102,400 cash award, will be presented to the winner during NASCAR Champion's Week in New York City. As part of the program, race fans will be able to enter the "NASCAR DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Year Sweepstakes" by logging onto www.DIRECTV.com/racing or visiting in-store displays at consumer electronic and independent retail locations for a chance to win a variety of DIRECTV and NASCAR related prizes. The grand prize winner will receive the opportunity to act as an honorary crew member with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) during a NEXTEL Cup Series race in 2007. Second place prize is a trip to New York City during the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champions Week and the third place prize is a VIP, behind-the-scenes experience with RCR in Charlotte, North Carolina during the 2007 season.(PR)(4-15-2006)
- Crew Chief Changes at Roush UPDATE Edwards comments: Roush Racing sources told NASCAR.com on Thursday that two of its Nextel Cup teams will have new crew chiefs at Phoenix next week. Bob Osborne will assume crew chief duties for the #26 team and driver Jamie McMurray. Osborne moves from the #99 car, where he helped Carl Edwards to a third-place finish in the point standings last year. Roush Racing's lead engineer, Wally Brown [not Rogers], will take over the #99 team. Brown also has been a crew chief in the Busch Series with Kevin Harvick Inc. Jimmy Fennig, who was the crew chief for McMurray, now will head Roush's Busch Series program. Fennig was the crew chief for Kurt Busch when he won the 2004 Nextel Cup championship.(NASCAR.com)
MORE: In an effort to help strengthen overall racing operations and position the organization for continued success, Roush Racing announced several personnel changes today. The crew chief and engineering changes will take effect immediately. Veteran crew chief Jimmy Fennig will oversee Roush Racing's Busch program in it entirety taking on the job of senior crew chief. Fennig will also assume crew chief duties for the #17 Ameriquest/Pennzoil Ford driven by Matt Kenseth. Fennig brings 36 years of racing experience to Roush's Busch programs. He has led teams and drivers to victory lane numerous times, and in 2004 that experience culminated in a NEXTEL Cup Championship with the #97 team.
Bob Osborne will assume the crew chief position for the #26 Crown Royal/Irwin Industrial Tools team with Jamie McMurray behind the wheel. Osborne has been with Roush Racing since 1998 working as the engineer for the #6 Ford piloted by Mark Martin. Osborne then moved to head of engineering before taking over as crew chief of the #99 Office Depot Ford in 2004.
Wally Brown will take over as crew chief of the #99 Office Depot Ford driven by Carl Edwards. Brown began his career at Roush Racing as the engineer on the #6 team then moved into the role of head engineer when Osborne moved to the #99 crew chief position. Jim Ryder will replace Brown as head engineer. Mark Catania moves to head engineer for the Busch and Truck teams replacing Ryder. Alex Lenxmeier will assume the engineering role for the #26 team under Osborne. Chad Norris is currently serving his four week NASCAR suspension and will assume set-up duties overseeing all the Busch cars.(Roush Racing)(4-13-2006)
UPDATE - Edwards comments on crew chief change: #99-Carl Edwards sees Jack Roush's decision to shift crew chief Bob Osborne to Jamie McMurray's #26 car as a move to spark McMurray's season, not his own. Edwards said Friday that he was told by Roush that if the switch did not work Osborne would be back. Another meeting was scheduled in 90 days to "discuss how it's going."
"It has to do with getting Jamie going," Edwards said while practicing at the Nashville Superspeedway for Saturday's Busch Series Pepsi 300. "That's all this is. That's something I want to make real clear because Bob is doing an unbelievable job. ... This is a compliment to Bob, if anything." He said the change has "nothing to do with" either Osborne or the team's performance. Edwards is 22nd in points after seven starts this season, averaging a 24th-place finish with two top-five finishes.(Associated Press)(4-15-2006)
- Checkers/Rally's Joins Drive For Diversity Program: Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. announced that the Company will have an active role in the 2006 Drive for Diversity program with Checkers supporting Brianne Cronrath as a primary sponsor in nine NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series races. Cronrath, a 21-year-old dean's list senior -- majoring in elementary education at Pennsylvania's Kutztown University -- will debut the sponsorship Saturday at Caraway (N.C.) Speedway, driving the #63 Checkers Chevy late model stock car for Spraker Racing. This will be Cronrath's first full season in the Drive for Diversity program. She joined the program last year at mid-season. Since joining NASCAR in 2005 as the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant, Checkers/Rally's has been a proponent of diversity as a sponsor with Bill Lester's Craftsman Truck team. For more information, please visit www.drivefordiversity.com.(DMF Communications PR)(4-15-2006)
- Kyle Busch gets a ticket UPDATE 3: CBS 6 [Richmond VA] has learned NASCAR driver Kyle Busch was pulled over Wednesday night in Henrico County [Richmond VA] for reckless driving. The incident happened around 10 o'clock at Laburnum and Route 60 in the East End. Ironically, Busch just talked to the media Tuesday at RIR about NASCAR's new "Focus on Driving Campaign," which is aimed at limiting distractions for teens behind the wheel. Busch was in Richmond taking part in a nextel cup testing session this week.
Busch is just 20 years old himself [turns 21 on May 2nd] and the defending Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year. Police won't go into specifics about the incident bu say that alcohol was not involved and there was no property damage. Busch is scheduled to appear in court on May 23rd.(wtvr.com)(4-13-2006)
UPDATE: The misdemeanor charge carries up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine and a driver's license suspension, said Sgt. Don Lambert, with Henrico County police. The charge also calls for a mandatory court appearance; Busch will appear in Henrico County General District Court on May 23. Lambert said the incident happened at 10 p.m. near Richmond International Airport, a few minutes outside the city. Neither speed nor alcohol was a factor, though Lambert would not provide further details. Henrico County authorities said Busch, who lives in Mooresville, N.C., was cooperative.(ESPN.com/AP)
UPDATE 2: Busch and two other crew members were in a rental car on their way to the airport. They were near the airport when Kyle squealed the tires. They then pulled into a KFC to get something to eat when a cop pulled them over and told him squealing the tires wasn't a good thing to do and Busch agreed. He was very cooperative. There is no police report. He received a citation. There was no burnout and no donuts in a parking lot. Busch is scheduled to address the situation in the media center at Nashville at 4:30pm central time.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-14-2006)
UPDATE 3 - Busch's comment's: #5-Kyle Busch said Friday that he was charged with reckless driving Wednesday in Richmond, Va., after he "chirped" the tires of his rental car while leaving a gas station. He said he then went about 20 feet and turned into a fast-food restaurant to order food to go. He was in the drive-through lane when he first noticed the blue lights in his mirror. "It could happen to anybody," he said, adding that he's unsure whether he'll appeal his case in court. Busch, 20, said he held no ill will toward the officer who stopped him. "I have the utmost respect for law enforcement in general," he said. "They're just trying to do their job."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution and see more at the Richmond Times-Dispatch)(4-15-2006)
- Church Woos NASCAR Faithful: A church in Manatee County [Tampa FL area] is hoping the presence of a legendary NASCAR driver's car will have people racing to its Easter Sunday service. Bayside Community Church plans to have the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s black #3 Chevy available for viewing and photos [a showcar]. There's a catch. People have to sit through a service to get a ticket to be photographed with the race car. To get the free 4-by-6-inch picture, they have to return the next weekend and sit through another service. The nondenominational church expects to more than double its normal attendance of about 1,100. It has mailed 40,000 fliers, sent out news releases and advertised on a country radio station and at the DeSoto Speedway. Lead pastor Randy Bezet is tying the Earnhardt car into Sunday's service. The theme: "Finishing the race of life."(Tampa Tribune)(4-15-2006)
News from April 14, 2006
- Martin part-time Cup in 2007? #6-Mark Martin is hedging on his vow to not return to Nextel Cup in any part-time capacity after moving to a full-time Craftsman Truck Series ride next year. He now says if the right opportunity presents itself, he might consider doing Cup races that run in conjunction with truck events.(Tampa Tribune)(4-14-2006)
- DE Foundation logo to appear on all DEI cars: The logo of The Dale Earnhardt Foundation is making the rounds, literally, at NASCAR races this season one lap at a time. The familiar "victory" silhouette of racing legend Dale Earnhardt is now part of the official paint scheme on all Dale Earnhardt, Inc. race cars in both the Busch and Nextel Cup series races. The logo made its debut this past week during races at Texas Motor Speedway. The Dale Earnhardt Foundation logo will be visible on the right rear "taillight" of all DEI cars, just above the car number decal. "We're very pleased that the DEI race teams are showing their support for the Foundation and its charitable efforts in such a visible manner," said Dick Baker, Executive Director of The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. "This is a creative idea that will help us to expand awareness and recognition for the Foundation with race fans and the general public alike." Dale Earnhardt, Inc. races the #11 Menard's Chevrolet driven by Paul Menard in the Busch Series. In the Nextel Cup Series, the team races the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet driven by Martin Truex, Jr. and the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Founded in 2002 by Teresa Earnhardt, The Dale Earnhardt Foundation was established to carry on Dale's name and good works through charitable causes that support Children, Education and Wildlife Preservation. For more information please visit www.thedaleearnhardtfoundation.org.(DEI PR)(4-14-2006)
- NASCAR's Hendrick family places cross on plane crash site: Members of NASCAR's Hendrick family have erected a 14-foot cross on Bull Mountain in memory of the 10 people who died when a team plane crashed there in 2004. The 8-foot-wide polished metal cross was placed at the private site about two weeks ago, according to Jesse Essex, manager of media relations for Hendrick Motorsports. He did not know what company completed the project. The cross replaces smaller versions placed at the site soon after the Oct. 25, 2004, crash, which occurred as the group was en route to a Nextel Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway.(AP)(4-14-2006)
- Airline Hires NASCAR Crews to teach: UAL Corp., which emerged from bankruptcy earlier this year, plans to schedule more flights with fewer aircraft in a move to lift United Airlines "out of the ditch," according to a top executive. Chief Operating Officer Peter McDonald said in a speech Tuesday evening at Northwestern University that the company has hired NASCAR pit crews to train ramp workers in order to reduce turnaround time at airports. McDonald said improving aircraft turns, refueling, cleaning and loading and unloading planes on layover will add 125 flights to United's schedule without putting more planes in the air. Increasing efficiency is part of the company's plan to return to profitability after being forced into bankruptcy by a surge of low-cost carriers, high labor costs, and ever-rising fuel prices. The key to its strategy, McDonald said, is United's "most important asset"--its people.(cbs2chicago.com), doesn't say what diviion of NASCAR or what teams the pit crews are from.(4-14-2006)
- Biffle and a bank: Aquesta Bank officials say Nextel Cup driver Greg Biffle has joined the board of the proposed financial institution in Cornelius, N.C. Biffle was introduced to officials of the proposed Aquesta Bank by his business manager, who is an investor in the project, according to The Charlotte Business Journal, and both sides hit it off.(SceneDaily.com)(4-14-2006)
News from April 13, 2006
- Richmond Testing Day 3 OVER: only six drivers in seven cars [Wimmer had 2] made runs in the AM session on Day three, with #4b-Scott Wimmer being the fastest at 125.974 [is 6th overall fastest], followed by [Wimmer was 2nd in #4] #78-KWallace, #34-Chaffin, #32-Kvapil, #92-Blount and #49-Sherman [121.583].
Afternoon: seven drivers made runs, the fastest being #92-Chad Blount at 123.893mph, followed by #78-KWallace, #43-Labonte, #34-Chaffin, #32-Kvapil, #4b-Wimmer and #49-Sherman [121.022].
Night session: #32-Travis Kvapil recorded the fastest lap during the final session of the third and final day of NEXTEL Cup Series testing at Richmond International Raceway on Thursday, April 13, followed by #78-KWallace, #49-Brent Sherman and #43-Labonte.(RIR Site)
OVERALL: 46 drivers tested during the three day session.
See my 2006 Richmond Testing Page for all the speeds, for each session and overall, with each drivers best speed and rank.(PR's)(4-13-2006)
- Pit Crew Challenge:The second NASCAR NEXTEL Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman will take place in a new venue in 2006, moving to the new Charlotte Bobcats Arena in uptown Charlotte. The event, taking place at 7:00pm/et, Wednesday, May 17, is the only event of its kind officially sanctioned by NASCAR and pits the sport's favorite over-the-wall athletes against each other in several skills competitions to showcase their considerable talents. General admission tickets for the event are available April 17 for $10. Fans can purchase at the Bobcats Arena Box Office at CharlotteBobcatsArena.com or by calling (800) 495-2295. Participating teams will partake in open practice at Cabarrus Arena and Events Center throughout the month of May. The practices, which are open to the public, are May 8 from 2-6 p.m., and May 9 and 10 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.(LMS PR)(4-13-2006)
- Steve Waid joins Rowdy as a contributor: Longtime racing reporter Steve Waid, vice-president for editorial development at top weekly publication NASCAR Scene (www.scenedaily.com), has joined Rowdy, the racing radio show you get on your cell phone, as a weekly contributor. "Waid's World" takes fans behind the scenes to find out about the personal stories and interests of their favorite drivers--today on the show Waid talks to Michael Waltrip. Fans can hear "Waid's World" every week on Rowdy, as Steve joins a lineup of regular contributors that includes former Cup driver Rick Mast, champion crew chief Barry Dodson, award-winning reporters Mark Garrow and David Poole, and internet sage Jayski. To check out Rowdy for yourself, and get all the latest racing news every day, just dial 1-800-95-ROWDY, visitwww.rowdy.com, or download the Rowdy podcast via itunes or at www.podnova.com.(4-13-2006)
- Edwards named an Ambassador for Youth for National PTA: National PTA has teamed up with Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Office Depot Ford, to boost family nutrition and wellness and help kids excel in school. Edwards, a former substitute teacher, has been named an Ambassador for Youth for National PTA. He joins businesswoman and designer Kathy Ireland in encouraging parents to make time and get involved in their kid's school and PTA. Office Depot is Edwards' primary sponsor in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and a Proud Community Partner of National PTA. Edwards is committed to helping parents create healthy lifestyles for their children both at home and in school. Leading by example, Edwards exercises everyday, doesn't drink or smoke, and eats healthy. Edwards and the National PTA note that children are more likely to excel in the classroom with meaningful parent involvement and that healthy kids consistently outperform their peers. In his new role as a National Ambassador for Youth, Edwards will join millions of parents and educators to work toward improving the lives of children, as well as urging parents and families to be more involved. Edwards follows in the footsteps of dozens of community leaders, celebrities, legislators, and U.S. Presidents, all of whom have lent their voices and support to National PTA to make a difference in the lives of children. Edwards, who is in front of millions of fans each week on the racetrack, will also lend his support by speaking directly with kids, working with National PTA to provide relevant information to parents, and being a strong advocate for public education. Edwards, whose mother is a former president of her local PTA, began working with National PTA when he donated a portion of his winnings from the 2005 Ameriquest 300 race at the California Speedway to the Kids of Katrina fund, a special relief effort created by National PTA and Office Depot to assist those schools
impacted by Hurricane Katrina. For more information about National PTA, visit www.pta.org.(Roush Racing PR)(4-13-2006)
- Kurt Busch trying to mend fences: Kurt Busch says he has tried to talk with Greg Biffle about their accident Sunday during the Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. Biffle was angry that Busch ran into the back of him after Biffle slowed slightly on the straightaway. "I tried to reach out for [Biffle] and left a message on his phone, and I'm sure I'll see him this afternoon," Busch said Tuesday while teams were testing at Richmond International Raceway. "Biffle and I are both very competitive racers, and we both looked for the same real estate at the same time, yet I was trying to yield as a lapped car on the track.
Things like that happen, and we'll definitely try to smooth everything out and move on to the next race." Busch and Biffle were teammates at Roush Racing until this year, when Busch moved to Penske Racing South. "With the old teammates, we definitely had some great times together," Busch said. "Biffle and I grew up running trucks together, and when I moved to Cup he shortly followed. We have some great relationships, and it's not just one race that will tear it apart."(SceneDaily.com)(4-13-2006)
- Martin's Museum Grand Opening Apr 14-15: Mark Martin will hold the grand opening for his all new Ford dealership, Mark Martin Ford-Mercury, and museum this weekend (Friday and Saturday) in Batesville, Arkansas. The dealership and museum officially opened on Feb. 27th. The grand opening is being officially presented by Coke. In addition to the normal artifacts on display in the museum, other items of interest that will be on display at this weekend’s grand opening are the Nextel Experience that travels to each NASCAR Nextel Cup race, The winning Scotts Ford F-150 from the Daytona Truck race direct from Victory Lane, the #6 AAA Nextel
Cup Ford, AAA simulators where fans can race each other, the AAA booth and tent display and Coca-Cola booths as well. Martin’s #6 Ameriquest Busch car and hauler will also be on display and there will be live remotes with radio stations as well. The state-of-the art museum features several of Martin’s past cars, including the #6 Viagra Coca-Cola 600 win car, the ’90 Folgers Thunderbird, the #60 Win Dixie Busch car, Martin’s 2005 IROC car that he used to win his record fifth championship, and the ’89 Strohs Thunderbird. Each car is a part of a display that includes hi-tech mantrons that tell the story of each piece of history.(Roush Racing)(4-13-2006)
- Richmond testing - Day 2: #29-Kevin Harvick was fastest in the morning session on Day 2 of testing at Richmond International Raceway testing, with a lap of 126.505mph, followed by #21-Ken Schrader, #5b-Kyle Busch, #6b-Mark Martin and #42-Casey Mears.
Afternoon: #5b-Kyle Busch was the fastest in the afternoon session with a speed of 126.576, followe by #6b-Mark Martin, #21-Ken Schrader, #16-Greg Biffle and #17-Matt Kenseth.
Evening: #42-Casey Mears was the fastest in the evening session with a speed of 126.802mph [fastest overall so far], followed by #12b-Ryan Newman, #66-Jeff Green, #40-David Stemme and #1b-Martin Truex Jr.
Some incidents: #25-Vickers wrecked Day 1, #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #00-Sadler scraped the wall.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)
See my 2006 Richmond Testing Page for all the speeds, for each session and overall, with each drivers best speed and rank.(PR's)(4-12/13-2006)
News from April 12, 2006
- Get Well: #21 Team Owner Glen Wood had his scheduled hip replacement surgery this morning. Everything went good. Only in surgery less than an hour. The plan is to try to get him up today or tomorrow at the latest and be home probably Friday. Send cards to: Glen Wood, 21 Performance Drive, Stuart,VA 24171.(4-12-2006)
- ESPN set for racing's return - some Q&A's: NASCAR will have a new look next season as ESPN/ABC replaces NBC in broadcasting the second half of the Nextel Cup series. ESPN/ABC signed an eight-year agreement with NASCAR. ABC will broadcast all 10 races in the title chase next year and at least 11 of the final 17 races. ESPN will broadcast the rest. Also, ESPN2 will be the home for the Busch series. With all the work to be done, George Bodenheimer, president of ABC Sports/ESPN, attended last weekend's race at Texas Motor Speedway along with a group of executives. He spoke with reporters before the race. Here is some of what he had to say.
Q: What will the broadcasts be like next year?
A: It's a little bit premature for us to answer that question. We're working hard on developing some innovative moves forward. ESPN takes a lot of pride in distinguishing its productions from other networks. We have our best people here studying the latest technology and other devices to bring to the sport. We know that fans look for that, and we know that they look for that from ESPN and ABC.
Q: Have you decided if you will have two or three people in the booth to call races?
A: We have not. We're delighted to have Rusty Wallace on. Jerry Punch obviously is going to play a big role in what we do. Beyond that, we have not made any decisions but there should be some forthcoming shortly.
Q: How will you address the criticism NBC and Fox get about too many commercials and missing restarts?
A: We've certainly thought about it. We will be working hard to keep an eye on those factors. Advertising sales are how the cash register is rung, so, obviously, it has to play a part in what we're doing. ESPN has grown since we were last in the sport, we now consider ourselves a multimedia company with ESPN.com, Mobile ESPN on the phone, multiple networks. We're looking to take this wonderful property and blow it out across all our mediums. It is really well beyond 'what does a three-hour telecast look like?' We will be serving fans seven days a week.
Q: Will you have a daily NASCAR show?
A: Yes. We will have a daily show. We have not fixed on an exact schedule or the name of the show. We will have a daily presence.
Q: How important are later afternoon starting times and night races?
A: It's important. Generally, we're looking to attract the highest ratings that we can, obviously, later in the day bodes well. NASCAR, as all leagues, has to balance those issues with fan support and logistical issues. If NASCAR wants to continue to grow, and being affiliated with ESPN and ABC will help them grow, they're going to have to look at all those kinds of issues to make that happen.(Roanoke Times)(4-12-2006)
- Biffle's girlfriend faces a reprimand: #16-Greg Biffle's girlfriend faces a reprimand from NASCAR about her pit-road confrontation with #2-Kurt Busch's fiance after the two drivers wrecked at Texas Motor Speedway. Busch hit the back of Biffle's car early in Sunday's race, causing an accident that ended Biffle's day. Biffle, the defending race winner, had led 49 of the first 82 laps before the crash and wound up 42nd. Moments after the wreck, TV cameras caught girlfriend Nicole Lunders slamming a water bottle on Biffle's pit box. She then marched down pit road and climbed halfway up Busch's box and had a heated exchange with Eva Bryan. The brief confrontation created a buzz in NASCAR, and the sanctioning body wants to cool down the emotions. "There will be some conversations that will be had with the people that participated, and we'll make sure that this doesn't carry on and into the garage or anywhere else," Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition, said Wednesday. "You've got to remember, most everybody in the garage area is friends, and those two girls in particular have a close relationship. Tempers flare, and we'll look at that and we'll make sure it doesn't carry on any further than that." NASCAR does not have a steadfast rule against team members entering other pit boxes, but generally frowns upon it if the reason for approaching the area stems from something that happened in race. "When altercations and things like that happen, we recommend that you stay in your own area," Pemberton said. "You can go have a conversation, but it can't be heated per se." Family members are typically given entrance to the track on a "license" that recognizes them as a team member, meaning their actions can be policed by NASCAR and the sanctioning body reserves the right to revoke their pass at any time.(Associated Press)(4-12-2006)
- Sad News: Condolences to former Cup Team Owner and 2-time Cup Champion crew chief, Andy Petree on the passing of his father Joe Petree Jr., who passed away Tuesday, April 11, 2006 at Frye Regional Medical Center. A Service of Remembrance will be held at 11:00am/et, Thursday, April 13, 2006 at First United Methodist Church in Newton. Revs. Daniel G. Martin and Amy Foley will officiate. The family will receive friends following the service. Memorials may be made to: First United Methodist Church, Renovation Fund, P.O. Box 926, Newton, NC 28658 or to the Humane Society, P.O. Box 63, Hickory, NC 28603. Condolences may be sent to the Petree family at willisreynoldsfuneralhome.com..(4-12-2006)
- Richmond Testing - Day 1: A pair of Dodges topped the charts following Tuesday’s morning session. #2-Kurt Busch led all drivers with a top speed of 125.360mph (21.538 seconds). #42-Casey Mears was second at 125.302 followed by #16b-Biffle 125.267, #6b-Martin and #5-Busch 125.029.
In the Afternoon session: fastest was #6b-Martin at 124.395, #16-Biffle 124.390, #2b-Busch 124.287, #8-Earnhardt Jr. 124.212 and #26b-McMurray 124.201.
In the PM/Night session: quickest was #6b-Mark Martin 125.552mph, then #16b-Biffle, #17b-Kenseth, #2b-Busch and #5-Busch.
See my 2006 Richmond Testing Page for all the speeds.(PR's)(4-11/12-2006)
- #11 Team Takes PIt Crew Honors at Texas: Denny Hamlin's pit crew became the fifth team of the season to secure the weekly Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition by spending the least amount of time on pit road in Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. "The #11 FedEx Racing crew was unbelievable and those guys deserve all the credit in the world for the finish we had," said Hamlin, who posted a career best fourth-place result. "From the start of the race they were pulling off quick stops and making good changes. It seemed that every time we needed a lift the guys stepped it up." Hamlin's pit crew, part of the Joe Gibbs Racing stable, spent 253.611 seconds on pit lane during the Samsung/RadioShack 500. The team earned $10,500 for the win. The #11 over-the-wall team consists of: Chris Webb (jackman), Blake Haughland (front-tire carrier), Donnie Brown (front-tire changer), Heath Cherry (rear-tire carrier), Barry Cook (rear-tire changer), Scott Wood (gasman), John Eicher (catch can), Bobby "Spike" Christenson (windshield) and John Furino (pit support). The team's crew chief is Mike Ford and the pit crew coordinator is Paul Alepa.
Along with the #11 team win, the pit crews of Kyle Busch and Elliott Sadler have one win apiece in the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge, while Jimmie Johnson's and Tony Stewart's pit crews are tied for first in the standings with two victories each. The season champion will receive a $105,000 bonus. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(4-12-2006)
News from April 11, 2006
- Rule Violations Result in Penalties for #74 team: NASCAR announced today that one fine and two penalties have been issued to the #74 Dodge team competing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, as a result of rule violations last week at Texas Motor Speedway. Due to violations of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and 20-5.9G(1) (external modifications to the intake manifold deemed impermissible unless authorized by the Series Director) of the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book, crew chief Domenick Turse was fined $50,000; driver Derrike Cope was penalized with the loss of 25 driver championship points; and car owner Ray McGlynn was penalized 25 owner championship points. The infraction was discovered during opening day inspection.(NASCAR PR)(4-11-2006)
- Long to attempt Darlington in #37 car: Carl Long will be driving the #37 R&J Racing Dodge in the NEXTEL Cup Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 13th. The team is looking for sponsorship, but will be racing regardless. Carl Long qualified an impressive 21st fastest last time the Cup cars raced at Darlington. Long has also put up for sale a number of his vehicles and chassis. Long needs to sell these items immediately in order to repair and prepare his NEXTEL Cup car to run at New Hampshire International Speedway in July.(more at Carl Long site)(4-11-2006)
- NASCAR PR Dude to run Boston Marathon: The 110th Boston Marathon is set for April 17 with the event’s massive starting grid including Jeremy Davidson, an Amherst, Mass. native who handles public relations outreach for NASCAR’s weekly and touring competition levels. It will have approximately 500,000 spectators spread out along a race course of 26.2 miles. There will be approximately 20,000 competitors and more than 1,000 media members reporting on it all. Boston will be the fourth marathon for Davidson, 30. But he equates this run as something akin to a young driver making their first start at Daytona (because of the prestige) or Darlington (because of the history). As in auto racing, an entrant must qualify for the Boston Marathon. You don’t just show up on race day with your gym bag. To qualify for entry to the Boston event, one must provide the Boston Athletic Association proof of completion of a prior marathon in a time of less than 3 hours, 10 minutes. Davidson qualified with a time of three hours and seven minutes in the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando, Fla., in January. That time was 44 minutes quicker than Davidson’s first marathon time of 3:51 in the Disney event in 2004. Davidson began training for the Boston event shortly after he qualified for it, consuming 100 ounces of water a day, maintaining a diet of 70 percent carbohydrates, and daily running distances of 10 to 15 miles or more. “I’m on pins and needles waiting for the event to start,” Davidson said. “The Boston Marathon is an American sporting tradition like the Daytona 500. As a race course, Boston is really the “Darlington” of marathons. At 110 years, Boston is the oldest marathon like Darlington is NASCAR’s oldest superspeedway. The Boston Marathon course is extremely difficult, just like Darlington Raceway.”(NASCAR PR)(4-11-2006)
News from April 10, 2006
- Big Plans by ESPN MORE later times: ESPN plans to pull out all the bells and whistles when NASCAR returns to the cable sports network in 2007. "ESPN has really morphed or grown since we were last in the sport," said ESPN president George Bodenheimer, who was at Texas on Sunday. "We're really considered a multimedia network now. We're looking to take this property and blow it out, if you will." The network will offer plenty of coverage in studio shows, analysis and a heavy online presence. Much of it has yet to be formalized, said Bodenheimer, also president of ABC Sports. ESPN and ABC will broadcast 17 Cup races beginning in 2007, the first year of an eight-year contract the networks signed with NASCAR. ABC was one of the first networks to televise stock car racing in the 1960s, and ESPN introduced flag-to-flag race telecasts in the 1980s. The network was NASCAR's leading carrier through the 1990s, but has not aired a race since 2000, when it lost the rights to NBC and Fox. Bodenheimer said the return of NASCAR to ESPN marks an emotional reunion after both grew to national prominence.(ESPN.com/AP)
AND ABC Sports/ ESPN president George Bodenheimer, whose networks return to the mix of televising NASCAR events for the first time in six years next season, said he prefers late afternoon starting times for Sunday Nextel Cup events in 2007. "Generally we're looking to televise the sport when we can attract the highest ratings that we can," Bodenheimer said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(4-10-2006)
- Texas Overnight TV Ratings Mixed: Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.8 and an 11 market share, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 4% lower than the 5.0/11 Fox earned for the 2005 Texas race, but last year's race was a week later and was not broadcast opposite the Masters golf tournament, which typically draws strong ratings. This year's overnight rating for Texas was 4.3% higher than the 4.6 Fox earned for the 2005 spring Martinsville race, which aired at the same time as the final round of the Masters. CBS earned a 9.0/19 overnight for this year's final round of the Masters, making it the weekend's highest-rated sports event.(SceneDaily.com)(4-10-2006)
- Said helping Evernham: Evernham Motorsports owner Ray Evernham has an ace in the hole to get red-hot Kasey Kahne ready for the upcoming NASCAR Nextel Cup road course races: Boris Said. Said, a veteran road racer and occasional NASCAR Cup competitor, is working as a consultant to help Evernham's drivers - Kahne, Jeremy Mayfield and Scott Riggs - get ready for those winding tracks that can be tough on younger drivers.(SceneDaily.com)(4-10-2006)
- Francis Wins WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award: Kenny Francis and Kasey Kahne teamed up to capture another win this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. For the second time this season, Kahne started on the pole and held on to take the checkers, this time out-dueling Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth in the final stages of the Samsung / Radio Shack 500. Francis' dominant weekend earned him the WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. A panel of voters; including Tony Eury Sr., a member of the local media and a WypAll Wipers representative; all cast their vote for Francis as the Crew Chief of the Race. For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, WypAll Wipers gave Francis $1,000. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned the WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. This was Francis' second Crew Chief of the Race award in 2006, which ties him with Robbie Reiser for the lead. Darian Grubb and Roy McCauley are tied for second-place in the standings, each with one win.(Wypall PR)(4-10-2006)
- Toyota and...Jarrett? UPDATE 3 Allmendinger? Gibbs?: The new NASCAR Nextel Cup Toyota operation that is being backed by Red Bull "has opened the checkbook," according to one top Ford man, who points to Red Bull's hiring of John Propst, a top Ford Motor Company vehicle dynamics specialist, and the hiring of a top Dodge engineer from the Ray Evernham camp for its new stock-car racing team. General Motors executives are anxiously watching their own key engineers for any similar defections. Elsewhere on the Toyota-NASCAR front, Toyota has made a bid to sign a two-year contract with Dale Jarrett, the tour's 1999 champion and a three-time Daytona 500 winner. Jarrett's contract with car owner Robert Yates is up at the end of this season. While it has been unclear for several months if Yates and Jarrett could come to new terms, Ford officials said Yates is offering Jarrett a contract similar to the Toyota deal.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-8-2006)
UPDATE - Red Bull Drivers? When Red Bull Racing debuts their two Toyota teams at Daytona in February of 2007, rumor has it the organization is looking to pair a rookie with a veteran, taking an approached used by Evernham Motorsports with Dodge. Veterans on the Red Bull list are said to be Kevin Harvick and Dale Jarrett. No word on a rookie, but it could easily be an accomplished veteran from another of the Motorsports arenas.(CircleTrackPlus)(4-9-2006)
UPDATE 2 Allmendinger? Murmurs in Champ Car circles say Red Bull, which carries a personal services contract with AJ Allmendinger, might like to see the young American in Nextel Cup, where it hopes to strike big in 2007 in partnership with Toyota. With so much money and fame up for grabs in NASCAR, it has become a challenge to keep promising open-wheel drivers away from the France family circus. It could prove difficult for Owner Carl Russo and Champ Car to hold onto Allmendinger, especially if he starts winning.(Autoweek)(4-9-2006)
UPDATE 3 Gibbs? There is still no word on which drivers Toyota might back, but Toyota may be making a run at car owner Joe Gibbs, with hopes of persuading the veteran Chevy man, and his three-man team of #20-Tony Stewart, #11-Denny Hamlin and #18-J. J. Yeley, to jump to the Camry brigade, according to sources. Chevy's Kevin Harvick continues to be a focal point of Toyota speculation. However, there is word that Harvick may be under consideration by Ford's Jack Roush for a driving job next season, though Harvick insists "I've not talked with Jack Roush, and I don't know Geoff Smith (Roush's contract attorney)." Smith was not here to discuss the situation, and Roush demurred: "I hear Toyota goes with Kevin Harvick, and there's not a Toyota in my future. What I do know, is Toyota just hired (engineer) John Propst from Ford, and that gives Toyota access to everything all the Ford teams have known about the engineering of the cars, and that's a cheeky move by Toyota, and it's certainly a coup for Toyota. The thing that is more distressing is Toyota is in position to make their own tires, with its relationship with Bridgestone....And I've heard Toyota has acquired 100 acres of land in Charlotte to put together a test track."(Winston Salem Journal)(4-10-2006)
- Sad News - Jack Bowsher: Three-time ARCA national driving champion and six-time car owner champion Jack Bowsher died Saturday, April 8th. He was 75. Bowsher had 80 victories as a car owner (#1 in ARCA competition) and 48 as a driver (#2 in ARCA competition). Bowsher's car sat on the pole and won the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at the road course in Riverside, California in 1970 with A.J. Foyt behind the wheel. Bowsher finished 1st in the 24 Hours of Daytona as a car owner in 1976 with drivers David and Larry Pearson, and sons Jim & Gary. He is survived by wife Julie Bowsher, sons’ Jack Bowsher Jr., Gary Bowsher, Jim Bowsher, Bobby Bowsher and Todd Bowsher, and daughter Jodie Bowsher. As per Jack's wishes, there will be no funeral home viewing. Graveside Services open to the public will be Tuesday April 11 at 1:00pm at Fletcher Chapel Cemetary, 5920 Fletcher Pike, Harmony Township, Springfield, Ohio 45505
There will be a memorial gathering open for family and friends immediately following the graveside service from 3:00pm to 7:00pm at: VFW Post 8673, 2825 East Leffel Lane, Springfield, Ohio 45505. In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Jack's name to:
Focus Motorsports Ministries, Bill Krick, Chaplain, 2497 Governors Pointe, Concord, NC 28025-2425.(ARCARacing.com and toddbowsher.com)(4-10-2006)
- Richmond NEXTEL Cup Series Testing, April 11-13: the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers will take their turn for three
consecutive days of testing starting Tuesday, April 11. Below is the tentative schedule of when the drivers expect to test at Richmond
International Raceway. Testing each day will run from 9:00am to 9:00pm/et and the grandstands will be open for fans each day. Admission and parking are free and concessions will be available from 9:00am to 8:30pm/et each day.
Scheduled to test April 11-12:
#01-Joe Nemechek, #09-Mike Wallace, #1-Martin Truex, Jr., #2-Kurt Busch, #6-Mark Martin, #7-Robby Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #9-Kasey Kahne, #11-Denny Hamlin,
#12-Ryan Newman, #14-Sterling Marlin, #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth, #18-J.J. Yeley, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #20-Tony Stewart,
#21-Ken Schrader, #22-Dave Blaney, #24-Jeff Gordon, #26-Jamie McMurray, #40-David Stremme, #41-Reed Sorenson, #42-Casey Mears, #45-Kyle Petty, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #66-Jeff Green, #89-Morgan Shepherd, #96-Tony Raines, #99-Carl Edwards;
Scheduled to test April 12-13:
#07-Clint Bowyer, #4-Scott Wimmer, #5-Kyle Busch, #10-Scott Riggs, #25-Brian Vickers, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #38-Elliott Sadler, #43-Bobby Labonte, #49-Brent Sherman, #51-Mike Garvey, #61-Kevin Lepage, #78-Kenny Wallace, #88-Dale Jarrett, #92-Chad Blount.(RIR PR)(4-10-2006)