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    JANUARY 14-20, 2008

      News from January 20, 2008

    • Kenny to Run Some Cup Races? Kenny Wallace will come right out and tell you that he's not yet ready to gain his identity from his career in motorsports television -- he's still a racecar driver. Wallace said he plans to be part of an announcement on Monday for a Sprint Cup deal to attempt the 50th annual Daytona 500 -- the keystone event to Speedweeks -- as well as a limited number of other Cup races throughout the season. Wallace said he was signed [to a TV deal with SPEED] prior to the 2007 season to a three-year deal, with two option years. "I guess an ideal situation for me, right now would probably be to run for the championship in the [Nationwide] Series and run a limited amount of Cup races," Wallace said. But Wallace said he's a couple of years away from doing media full time -- or even thinking about it.( Comment here

      News from January 19, 2008

    • Judge rules on discrimination lawsuit against NASCAR: A U.S. District Court judge has dismissed virtually all claims in a racial discrimination and breach of contract lawsuit against NASCAR and other parties stemming from a highly publicized 1999 incident at New Hampshire International Speedway. The incident occurred when former Penske Racing motorcoach driver David Scott, who is black, was greeted by a pair of motorcoach drivers, one of whom was wearing a white pillow case over his head as if he were a member of the Ku Klux Klan. NASCAR indefinitely suspended the two motorcoach drivers involved. In his complaint, Scott said he was promised a job with NASCAR in response to the incident. NASCAR had claimed in its filings that Scott "was given several work opportunities which were declined" and "was not qualified" for the racing official job he wanted. Judge Deborah A. Batts ruled Thursday that the three-year statute of limitations had passed for all of the allegations, except for one on whether NASCAR did not award Scott a minority vendor contract in 2005 and 2006 based on race. Scott must re-file his lawsuit within 45 days to focus on that claim.( Comment here

    • CitiFinancial sponsoring Roush: CitiFinancial will be the primary sponsor on a variety of Roush Fenway Racing entries in all 35 Nationwide Series events in 2008. The sponsorship is part of Citi's new multifaceted, strategic marketing partnership with Roush Fenway Racing. As part of the relationship, CitiFinancial will tap into Roush Fenway's all-star driver lineup to pilot the CitiFinancial Ford. In addition, Citi will become a major associate sponsor on all Roush Fenway Racing teams, including the Sprint Cup Series entries of #16-Greg Biffle, #99-Carl Edwards, #17-Matt Kenseth, #26-Jamie McMurray, and #6-David Ragan.(Roush Fenway PR)(1-19-2008) Comment here

    • Sad News - David Weiss: David Michael Weiss 47, of Summerfield, died Thursday, January 17, 2008, at his residence. A memorial service will be held at a later date to be announced. David was born September 20, 1960, in Ohio, a son to Tom and Patricia Weiss. He worked with Toyota Racing Development and spent many years working in the aerospace industry in Denver, Colorado. His true passion was racing which brought him to California and to Toyota Racing Development. David was also a graduate of Youngstown State University. Survivors include his wife, Kristie Weiss of the home; his father , Tom Weiss of Nashville, Tenn.; and his mother, Patricia Manus of Atlanta, Ga.; one brother, Stephen Weiss of Atlanta, Ga.; and his dog, Lucy of the home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to U.N.C. Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center CB# 7295, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295. Forbis & Dick N. Elm Street Chapel is serving the Weiss Family.(News & Record)(1-19-2008)

      News from January 18, 2008

    • NASCAR to increase age requirement? MORE A reliable inside source tells that NASCAR is seriously considering raising the age limit for drivers in the Sprint Cup Series from the current 18 years of age to 21. Should the change happen, and a decision has not yet been made according to the source, the driver who comes most quickly to the mind of Rowdy listeners is phenom Joey Logano. Logano, currently with Joe Gibbs Racing, turns 18 on May 24th of this year (he's scheduled to make his Nationwide Series debut at Dover shortly afterward), and under the current rules he would be eligible for Cup duty in 2009. Presumably any change would affect the Sprint Cup series only.(
      UPDATE: NASCAR sources confirmed Wednesday that the sanctioning body is considering raising the minimum age for drivers racing in the Sprint Cup Series from 18 to 21. Currently, drivers must be 18 to compete in the Cup, Nationwide or Craftsman Truck series. If a change is made, drivers between 18 and 21 would remain eligible for Nationwide and Truck competition but would have to wait to make the move into stock-car racing’s top series. There are concerns that young drivers are being moved up through the ranks too soon, and that more time in the second-tier series would give them time to develop their skills on the track and to mature off of it. Such a change could, theoretically, also bolster interest in the Nationwide and Truck series, since it would ensure that promising young drivers could build fan followings and attract sponsorships while competing at those lower levels.(Thats Racin)(1-18-2008) Comment here

    • New sponsors for DEI: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has secured two new sponsors for the 2008 season, Steak-umm and Cub Cadet. Both deals are for mostly associate positions on DEI cars but also involve primary positions in select Sprint Cup races. Terms of the deals were not available. Steak-umm's sponsorship will involve a full season of associate sponsorship on Mark Martin's #8 Chevy, as well as a primary for the June Pocono race. In May, Steak-umm will be the primary sponsor on DEI's #01 Chevy driven by Regan Smith at Richmond. Cub Cadet, which also has status as NASCAR's official outdoor power equipment, has bought associate space on Martin Truex Jr.'s #1 Chevy with a primary planned for the Chicagoland race in July. Charlotte-based Camp Strategy represented Cub Cadet. There's also a business-to-business component, which involves Bass Pro Shops, the yearlong primary on Truex's car, possibly selling Cub Cadet equipment in its stores. .(Sporting News/Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal)(1-15-2008)
      UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced that they have secured Steak-umm Company LLC as a primary sponsor on the #8 and #01 Chevys for select races during the 2008 season, including the May Richmond Sprint Cup race with Regan Smith and the June Pocono Sprint Cup race with Mark Martin. Steak-umm will also serve as an associate sponsor on the #8 car for the full 2008 season. Steak-umm’s entry into the NASCAR sponsorship arena coincides with the company's introduction of Steak-umm Burgers, a new line of frozen burgers available in Original, Sweet Onion and Real Cheese varieties. It is also part of a broad new Steak-umm marketing initiative that began last year with national TV ads for the company's thinly sliced, portion-controlled frozen sandwich steaks.(DEI PR)(1-18-2008) Comment

    • Gillett Evernham Announces Personnel Changes: Gillett Evernham Motorsports made several personnel announcements involving its engineering and competition departments as it prepares for the 2008 Sprint Cup and Nationwide seasons with drivers Kasey Kahne, Patrick Carpentier,  Elliott Sadler and Chase Miller. The announcement included:
      * Tommy Wheeler, who joined the organization in 2001 and served as technical director of Gillett Evernham Engines since 2006, has been promoted to engineering services director.
      * Rodney Childers, formerly the team director of the #10 Valvoline Dodge, has been moved to team director of the #19 Best Buy Dodge.
      * Mike Shiplett, formerly the team director of the #9 Dodge in the Nationwide Series has been promoted to team director of the #10 Valvoline Dodge.
      * Kirk Almquist, formerly the car director of the #19 Best Buy Dodge, has been promoted to team director of the #9 Dodge in the Nationwide Series.
      * Iain Watt, who joined the organization in 2007, has been promoted to director of performance engineering responsible for the team’s on-track performance.
      * Sam Johns was promoted to director of operations responsible for building and preparing all of the team’s Sprint Cup Dodges.
      (GEM PR)(1-18-2008) Comment here

      News from January 17, 2008

    • Marlin Has Concerns About Chances at Daytona: Sterling Marlin twice has won the Daytona 500 in his racing career. A shot at winning number 3 in the 50th running of the race Feb. 17 took a huge hit this week after three sub-par days of testing. Marlin's #09 Chevy, owned by Phoenix Racing, had the 46th-fastest speed, at 186.162 mph, of the 58 drivers who tested the past two weeks. The slow speed has Marlin doubting his chances of qualifying for the race. "It looks like the Toyotas are looking like they have their bases covered," said Marlin, a Columbia native. "They are really fast. Realistically looking, you are not going to make the (restrictor) plate races on speed because you can't get yourself fast enough to make it." Marlin is scheduled to attempt to qualify in seven Cup races. That list originally included four restrictor plate races - two at Daytona and two at Talladega. Max Papis is scheduled to attempt to qualify for both road races during the season. Marlin said the team should rethink attempting to qualify at Daytona and Talladega. "We might want to get rid of the superspeedways and go with more short tracks," Marlin said. "I told them today that if we come back like we are today, we are wasting money and time. The car drafts pretty good, but you need some speed. We've got to find out the problem."( Comment here

    • Rules Change Before Daytona? NASCAR is still evaluating data from Sprint Cup Series testing at Daytona International Speedway, but it looks as if there likely will be a change in the gear rule when competitors return in February. Teams currently have a choice of a 370 gear or a 375 gear, but their RPMs are above what NASCAR is looking for. A change in gear - likely a 364 gear - would reduce RPM. That would make the engines more durable. It could even make the cars faster. "If we change the rule, we won't do it officially until all of testing is completed," NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said Wednesday during testing. "I think all of the teams are already anticipating a change. I know a lot of teams last week tried a 364 gear and a lot of teams here have got 364s in." NASCAR would like to keep the RPMs below 9,000, Darby said. Darby said no one has reached 9,000 RPM. "We're getting too close to that," Darby said. "The key to it is if 10 cars are drafting and they see 8900, when we put 43 out, they're going to be over 9000." Darby said NASCAR is fine with the overall speeds, which have hit 188 mph in drafting.( Comment here

    • Gant to Race the Famed #33 in the Old School Racing Tour: Old School Racing will take old school fans back in time when they kick off their inaugural Old School Racing Tour this May. That is when the fans will be able to see their favorite drivers and the paint schemes they made famous. Harry Gant will pilot the #33 that he made famous. Along with the green and white paint scheme made famous by Gant, “old school” fans will also see the familiar red and white scheme made famous by David Pearson, the gold and black scheme made famous by Davey Allison, the “Kings” paint scheme and many others that will bring back memories of the good ‘ole days of racing. The inaugural race at Concord Speedway on May 18th of 2008, the season will run a ten race schedule. The OSR will field cars for such racing legends as Harry Gant, James Hylton, David Pearson, Geoff Bodine and some 30 other racing icons. More info at the Old School Racing Champions Tour (OSRCT) site.(1-17-2008) Comment here

    • Riggs testing at Kentucky: #66-Scott Riggs is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Sunday, Jan 20 and Monday, Jan 21. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(1-17-2008)

      News from January 16, 2008

    • Daytona Testing Speeds - Day 6: Due to threat of rain, lunch was cancelled and only one session was run in the final day of testing at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday. The rain never came and the session lasted until 4:00pm/et. #9B-Kahne was the fastest in a Dodge at 189.111mph [the fastest overall of both weeks of testing], followed by #11B-Denny Hamlin in a Toyota, #40-Franchitti in a Dodge, #01A-Smith in a Chevy and #12B-Newman in a Dodge. The fastest Ford was #6B-Ragan at 10th. #88B-Earnhardt Jr. was 19th fastest. Slowest of the 52 cars were #57A-Benning at 179.386 and #15B-Menard at 180.766. Any single car runs were not noted or mentioned.(NASCAR Media). See speeds on the Daytona Testing Session 2 page.(1-16-2008

    • Overall Speeds at Daytona:
      Single Car Speeds: 56 drivers/cars made single lap runs during the first three practice sessions [1st day and first half of the 2nd day]. The top six speeds came for those drivers testing in the 2nd week [Jan 14-16] with #88B-Earnhardt Jr. being the fastest in a Chevy at 185.820mph, then #22B-Blaney, #55-Waltrip, #83A-Vickers and #44A-Jarrett all four in Toyota's]. #48A-Johnson was the fastest from the first week at 184.782 [7th overall]. Slowest were #57A-Benning at 176.856 and #08A-Long at 178.536.
      Drafting Speeds: 57 drivers/cars ran drafting testing with most in packs of cars. #9B-Kahne was the overall fastest of all six days/two session with a speed of 189.111mph in a Dodge, followed by #18B-Busch in a Toyota the first session, then #11B-Hamlin, #40-Franchitti and # 01A-Smith. Slowest were Chevy 47.703 188.667 Day6. #57A-Benning at 179.386 and #98A-Keller [who only tested on Day 1 in single car runs] at 182.278.
      NOTE: Some drivers did single car runs during the drafting practice sessions, but have not seen them separated. For the best speeds per session and overall, see the 2008 Daytona Cup Testing Speeds - Best by Driver all sessions.(1-16-2008)

    • GEM names Mark McArdle VP and Managing Director of Competition Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced the promotion of Mark McArdle to Vice President and Managing Director of Competition. McArdle formerly served as the Vice President and Managing Director of Gillett Evernham Engines. "This is another example of the business and performance related improvements Ray Evernham and I are committed to making," said George Gillett Jr., team owner of Gillett Evernham Motorsports. "The goal is to position our resources and leadership where they will have the greatest impact, conduct assessments and then make any additional strategic investments necessary to compete for championships. That's what we expect as an organization and we are committed to delivering that level of performance to our partners." McArdle spent 10 years building engines in CART with organizations such as Penske Racing and Mercedes-Benz. After visiting victory lane in the Indianapolis 500 three times, McArdle made the move to NASCAR and has been with Gillett Evernham Motorsports since 2003. In addition to his management responsibilities at Gillett Evernham Engines, he also provided oversight and direction to Advanced Engine Technology, the Gillett Evernham facility based in Northhamptonshire, England. McArdle's technology-based approach to competition together with the added business expertise and resources of Gillett should help Gillett Evernham Motorsports move closer to its goal of becoming a championship organization.(GEM PR)(1-16-2008)

    • State Water Heaters to #66..with Riggs UPDATE 3: hearing that State Water Heaters will sponsor the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy and that Scott Riggs will drive the car, supposedly Jeremy Mayfield and the #66 crew will move over to the #70 Team. State Water Heaters sponsored the #4 Morgan McClure team and driver Ward Burton in 2007, no word on MMM or Burton's 2008 plans.(1-2-2008)
      UPDATE: Scott Riggs told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway Friday that be will drive the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy next season, with the Bootie Barker-led team that worked with Johnny Sauter's #70 car last year. In addition, Riggs confirmed that talks are underway to brng State Water Heaters aboard as sponsor. "We're in negotiations pretty heavy with State Water Heaters, and while the deal is not signed, we're hopeful that we can get it done."(1-4-2008)
      UPDATE 2: State Water Heaters has signed a multiyear contract to sponsor the Haas CNC Racing Sprint Cup cars. The company will be the primary sponsor for the #66 Chevy driven by Scott Riggs for an undisclosed number of races in 2008 and will be an associate sponsor for the rest, according to a team spokesperson. It will also be an associate sponsor for the #70 Chevy of Jeremy Mayfield while also appearing as a primary on that car in select races. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.(, see images of the car testing on the #66 Team Schemes page.(1-16-2008)
      UPDATE 3: Haas CNC Racing announced it has entered into a multi-year, global, business-to-business partnership with State Water Heaters to be a primary sponsor of the #66 with Scott Riggs. The program also includes primary placement for select races with Jeremy Mayfield on the #70 and an associate sponsorship position on both cars for the full 2008 season. "We couldn't be happier than to partner with a quality brand like State Water Heaters," said team marketing manager Carl Cline. "With the recent changes we've made at Haas CNC Racing, 2008 should prove to be an exciting year for us and we are thrilled to have State Water Heaters share in our future successes. Through our commitment to performance, both on and off the track, we hope to grow a long, proud partnership with State Water Heaters," Cline added. For more information about State Water Heaters visit CNC Racing PR)(1-16-2008)

    • Kodak back with Newman in 2008: been told Kodak will be the primary sponsor for #12-Ryan Newman for six races: Pocono - June 8; Chicago - July 12; Watkins Glen - Aug 10; California - Aug 31; New Hampshire - Sept 14; Atlanta - Oct 26. See an image of the car on the #12 Team Schemes page.(1-16-2008)

    • Dodge plans to phase in new engine: Dodge officials expect to have a new engine on the track sometime this summer. The new engine should improve water flow and the ability to make power reliably, said Howard Comstock, Dodge's Sprint Cup program manager. Gillett Evernham Motorsports, Penske Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing build their own engines. Petty Enterprises uses Gillett Evernham motors. "We did the initial development in-house at Chrysler and made parts available to the teams," Comstock said. "Now they have got parts, and they can get their engines put together and run them for the first time on their dyno. We will get some additional feedback and make some engineering changes as we go along and make sure that everything is solid before the engine actually sees competition." With Chevrolet and Toyota having introduced new engines last year, Comstock said Dodge has looked at those engines and learned. Ford most likely is coming out with a new engine in 2009.( Comment here

    • Grooved Tires in Dale Jr's garage? A set of grooved Goodyear tires in #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s garage created a buzz Tuesday. The tires, which are the same specifications as the race tires teams lease from Goodyear, are set-up tires which teams can use when pushing the car through the garage en route to inspection, thus saving wear on their race tires.(Florida Today)(1-16-2008)

    • Hornish baby due on..Feb 10th..pole day at Daytona: Sprint Cup newbie #77-Sam Hornish spent most of December getting ready for a new arrival. Sam's wife, Crystal, is due to deliver their first child next month. "I've been decorating the nursery and getting everything ready," Hornish said. "The due date is a bit of a concern for me. It's February 10th [pole day for the Daytona 500]. I really want to be there for the birth. We'll see what happens."( Comment here

    • Marlin set to run 10 races in 2008: This year, Sterling Marlin plans to be behind the wheel of the #09 Chevrolet owned by Phoenix Racing for a total of just 10 Cup races -- the two Daytona races, the two Talladega races, several of the short tracks and the season finale at Homestead. The car's primary sponsor is Miccosukee Indian Gaming, which owns and operates a resort and casino near Miami, Fla.( Comment here

    • Calinoff returns to spot the #40 car: When David Stremme arrived on the Sprint Cup Series scene in 2006, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates hired 15-year veteran spotter Mike Calinoff to provide experience and guidance for the rookie. Now, two years later and faced with a similar scenario, Ganassi has signed Calinoff to once again provide that experience from the spotter¹s tower for his newest Sprint Cup rookie, 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner and IRL Series champion Dario Franchitti. An entrepreneur with an array of successful and growing businesses, Calinoff has a vast amount of experience working with drivers in the developmental stage and is eager to begin working with Franchitti. Calinoff began as a NASCAR spotter in 1992. He spent six years spotting for Matt Kenseth, including his 2003 Sprint Cup championship season. He spent the last two years as David Stremme¹s Sprint Cup spotter.(MCI PR)(1-16-2008)

      News from January 15, 2008

    • Goodyear to run tire test at Texas this week UPDATE: Two Sprint Cup teams will conduct a tire test Tuesday and Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway, a Goodyear spokesman confirmed today. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #07-Clint Bowyer will participate in the two-day test. Goodyear wants to come up with a tire that's suitable for the track, where NASCAR"s new car will be raced for the first time this year.(
      UPDATE: #07-Clint Bowyer was certainly pleased with his team’s effort Tuesday after day one of a two day Goodyear tire test at Texas Motor Speedway. “We were fast”, said Bowyer. “I ran a 29 flat so that’s still getting off in the corner over 200 miles per hour. In turn one I looked over at the board and it said 200.” The bad news was the Jack Daniels Chevrolet lost a motor. Bowyer said; “It looked to me like the oil pan broke. There was a piece of piston on the back straightaway so it (chuckling) grenaded.” #42-Juan Pablo Montoya also tested with Bowyer. Montoya was scheduled to test at Daytona this week, however the Texaco Dodge driver practiced last week so he could take part in the Texas test.(PRN's Garage Pass radio show)(1-15-2008) Comment

    • Four wins for Dale Jr.? #88 crew chief, Tony Eury Jr. is convinced they [he and Dale Earnhardt Jr.] can make the most of that close relationship and win races this season, something that didn't happen in a lame-duck year at DEI. How many will they win? "I'd be very disappointed if we don't win at least four," Eury said. "I don't think that's out of line at all. We can get the job done. It's just a matter of getting the right breaks and making the right calls. If we do that, we have a shot at getting in the Chase and winning the title."
      "We have to get a little bit faster, but all in all, I couldn't be happier," Eury said from Daytona International Speedway. "I've been pumped, and Dale Jr. is more pumped up than I've ever seen him."(paraphrased from Comment

    • Haas starts prison term: Gene Haas, a reclusive entrepreneur who built a multimillion-dollar company in Oxnard, surrendered to federal authorities Monday to begin serving a two-year prison sentence. The 55-year-old Camarillo resident was convicted of conspiring to cheat the government out of millions of dollars in taxes owed by his company, Haas Automation Inc., the country's largest machine tool builder. Haas must serve the entire prison sentence because parole isn't granted in the federal system. He pleaded guilty in August to one of 11 federal charges brought against him. His plea deal also requires him to pay about $75 million in restitution and fines, which he has done. The company also owns Haas CNC Racing, which has competed in NASCAR since 2002. The race team currently fields two Sprint Cup Series teams with a 2008 lineup featuring drivers #66-Scott Riggs and #70-Jeremy Mayfield. On Monday, Haas checked into the Federal Correctional Institution, a low-security prison for male inmates near Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, according to his attorney Brian Hennigan. Haas has long been regarded as an extraordinary success who founded his company in 1983 and built it into the country's largest machine tool builder. Haas Automation remains one of Ventura County's larger employers, with about 1,550 workers at a manufacturing complex at 2800 Sturgis Road in Oxnard. Haas also is known as one of the county's more generous philanthropists. According to previous company statements, Haas has not been involved in the daily operation of the business for nearly a decade and the business has not been affected by the federal charges.(Ventura County Star)(1-15-2008) Comment

    • New sponsors for DEI: Dale Earnhardt Inc. has secured two new sponsors for the 2008 season, Steak-umm and Cub Cadet. Both deals are for mostly associate positions on DEI cars but also involve primary positions in select Sprint Cup races. Terms of the deals were not available. Steak-umm's sponsorship will involve a full season of associate sponsorship on Mark Martin's #8 Chevy, as well as a primary for the June Pocono race. In May, Steak-umm will be the primary sponsor on DEI's #01 Chevy driven by Regan Smith at Richmond. Cub Cadet, which also has status as NASCAR's official outdoor power equipment, has bought associate space on Martin Truex Jr.'s #1 Chevy with a primary planned for the Chicagoland race in July. Charlotte-based Camp Strategy represented Cub Cadet. There's also a business-to-business component, which involves Bass Pro Shops, the yearlong primary on Truex's car, possibly selling Cub Cadet equipment in its stores. .(Sporting News/Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal)(1-15-2008) Comment

    • Daytona Drafting SPEEDs - Day 5 PM: 54 cars took to the track for drafting test at Daytona International Speedway in the afternoon in Day 2 of Session 2 on Tuesday. #12B-Newman was the fastest in the draft at 188.013mph, followed by #01A-Smith, #15B-Menard, #29B-Harvick and #40A-Franchitti. The fastest Toyota was #20A-Stewart at 6th, the fastest Ford was #6B-Ragan at 16th. Slowest were #57A-Benning at 178.338 and #08A-Long at 179.311.(NASCAR Media) See speeds on the Daytona Testing Session 2 page.(1-15-2008) Comment

    • Daytona Testing SPEEDs - Day 5 AM: 52 cars took to the track testing at Daytona International Speedway in Day 5 overall of testing and Day 2 of Session 2 on Tuesday. #88A-Earnhardt Jr. was the fastest in single car runs Tuesday morning at 185.820mph [the fastest overall single car run so far]. #55-Waltrip was 2nd fastest [and 6th in his 2nd car] followed by three more Toyota's. #83A-Vickers, #44A-Jarrett and #20A-Stewart. #40-Franchitti was the fastest Dodge at 7th and #38B-Gilliland was the fastest Ford at 15th. Slowest were #57A-Benning at 175.097 and #08A-Long at 178.536. This afternoon, drafting testing will start, some teams will run single cars runs, but they are not usually reported as such.(NASCAR Media). See speeds on the Daytona Testing Session 2 page.(1-15-2008) Comment

    • Dale Jr. to appear in Super Bowl Ad: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will go bumper-to-bumper with his former backer before the Feb. 17 Daytona 500 if he makes the starting grid in a Feb. 3 Super Bowl ad for the company sponsoring his new ride. Earnhardt recently shot two ads for Pepsi's Amp energy drink, sponsor of his race car this year. Pepsi is the No. 2 Super Bowl ad spender this year behind Anheuser-Busch, which was Earnhardt's sponsor last season. "There's only a few Super Bowl spots and it's limited on what celebrities get chosen; after a while, you start to understand the competition between the brands," Earnhardt said by phone from a commercial shoot in Los Angeles, where he said he and a crew of 30 took over a "nice woman's café. You start to see how big a deal it is not to bomb," he said. "It's important to be at the top of the list. When they go out and spend all this dang money, they don't want to bomb out." Pepsi shot two ads with Earnhardt and they're in a pool of ads in testing to see which will get a piece of its two minutes of in-game ad time. With that time valued at about $10 million and more than 90 million people expected to be watching, Pepsi is testing to see if they are game-ready. Either way, the Earnhardt ads will air in the telecast of the Daytona 500. Pepsi marketers think Earnhardt's appeal can help the Amp ads top soft-drink rival Coca-Cola and end Anheuser-Busch's Super Bowl Ad Meter winning streak. A-B has taken the checkered flag for the most-liked ad for nine games. Before Anheuser-Busch began its Ad Meter run, Pepsi reigned as king of Big Game ads for six consecutive Super Sundays. With the Earnhardt ads, Pepsi's formula has mixed in some of the traditional ingredients of crowd-pleasing Super Bowl ads: celebrity star power and animal antics. In one of the ads, Amp gives Earnhardt the energy to take on a camel (real), in the other a gorilla (human powered). The beasts are meant to represent the forces that drivers endure on a race track at 200 mph.(USA Today)(1-15-2008) Comment

    • LaJoie participates in NASCAR seat testing: In an ongoing effort to improve race driver safety, NASCAR, General Motors and a select group of safety equipment manufacturers recently met to further evaluate ways to improve racecar seat standards for NASCAR racing at all levels. Randy LaJoie, owner of "The Joie of Seating", was one of just a few manufacturers invited to participate in a discussion and seat testing conducted at a Delphi facility. Other companies represented included: Hendrick Motorsports, ISP, Richardson, and HANS Performance Products. According to LaJoie, the purpose was to further research ways to establish seat standards for the racing community and further reduce driver injuries contributable to poor seat design, materials and installation. LaJoie's willingness to participate in this effort further reflects his passion to improve racer safety. LaJoie has been an activist in much of the safety R&D that NASCAR has conducted over recent years and has been working to see these innovations transcend beyond the top 3 NASCAR series. In his own effort to do just that LaJoie began touring around the country in 2007 with an interactive unit to help bring safety education and innovations to all levels of racing. Still seeking a Title Sponsor for "Randy LaJoie's Safer Racer Tour", LaJoie plans to continue this tour in 2008, and for years to come, in hope of getting racers to use safer equipment and practices. The North Carolina Motorsports Association presented Randy LaJoie with their 2007 Industry Safety Innovation award for his work in helping to improve auto racing safety with the racecar seats designed and manufactured by The Joie of Seating.(PR)(1-15-2008) Comment

      News from January 14, 2008

    • Sponsor for the #01? Dale Earnhardt Inc. has not announced sponsorship for its #01 Sprint Cup entry with driver Regan Smith, but it appears that one of the sponsors will be Principal Financial Services. Smith got into his car at testing Monday morning at Daytona International Speedway wearing a Principal Financial Services uniform, and the company logo graced the rear quarter panel of its car. The company's Web site was featured on the rear bumper. "Principal Financial and Dale Earnhardt Inc. have executed a letter of intent for a 2008 sponsorship relationship," DEI President Max Seigel said. "The details are still being worked through to make Principal Financial a primary and associate sponsor for DEI in 2008. Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Principal Financial will be making a proper announcement once the contract has been signed." DEI officials have said that they would piece together sponsorship from more than one company for the Smith car. DEI Vice President John Story said earlier this month that he could not confirm Principal as one of the team's sponsors.(SceneDaily). of note: Principal Financial Services was a associate and sometime primary on the #01 [and #13 and #14] with Ginn Racing, which merged with DEI in 2007.(1-14-2008) Comment

    • NASCAR This Week on ESPN: In advance of the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, ESPN Classic will be televising six of the best Daytona 500 races of all time every Monday at 2:00pm/et through Feb. 11. On Monday, Jan. 21, ESPN Classic will air the 1990 Daytona 500.'s NASCAR page features a poll where viewers can log on to choose their favorite Daytona 500 from the six. Then, on Saturday night, Feb. 16, the night before the 2008 version of NASCAR’s biggest race, ESPN Classic will show the top five races as chosen by the fans in their order of preference, starting at 10pm/et.  #3-Dale Earnhardt was all but the 500 winner in 1990 when his car blew a tire in turn 3 of the last lap, leading to an unlikely Daytona 500 victory for Derrike Cope. Cope cruised by Earnhardt to win the 500, his first career NASCAR win, and one of only two in his career, the other coming later that season [at Dover].
      ESPN Classic will give NASCAR fans a chance to see the final NASCAR race at historic Riverside International Raceway with an airing of highlights of the 1988 Budweiser 400 Friday, Jan. 18, at 3:00am/et. Rusty Wallace, now ESPN’s lead auto racing analyst, was always a threat to win on road courses during his driving career and Wallace drove his Kodiak Pontiac to victory over Terry Labonte in the 400-kilometer race on the 2.62-mile circuit located east of Los Angeles. Ricky Rudd, Dale Earnhardt and Phil Parsons completed the top five in the race that was run June 12, 1988. Riverside held races for NASCAR’s top series from the early 1960s until 1988. The track closed in 1989 and a shopping mall now sits on part of the land.(ESPN PR)(1-14-2008)

    • Garnder wins Chili Bowl: Damion Gardner went from outside looking in to looking back at everyone as he scored a dominating victory in Saturday night’s 22nd annual Chili Bowl. Gardner was a last-minute entry for the biggest midget race of the year but he wound up being the class of the record 284 entries in front of a standing-room only crowd of 13,000. Starting on the outside of the front row, Gardner took command in Turn 1 and led all 50 laps despite 10 caution flags and a couple of challenges from Dave Darland. Darland, the USAC veteran from Kokomo, had to settle for second after starting fourth while Shane Cottle came home third. Defending champ Tony Stewart started 13th and ran eighth in the main event after capturing one of the B features while fellow NASCAR ace Kasey Kahne dropped out early with mechanical trouble.(more at and at
      Chili Bowl Telecast to be Replayed: For fans who missed Saturday's live pay-per-view broadcast of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, and for those who must see again, by popular demand the event will be available to viewers for replay via Cable On Demand and Satellite for two additional weeks. The pay-per-view replays will be available starting Monday, January 14.
      Cable: The race telecasts will be widely available via Cable On Demand on cable systems nationally beginning Monday, January 14 through Saturday, January 26. Watch whenever you want; play, pause, rewind and fast forward; consumers are in control of the action. On Demand content location varies by system. Check your electronic guide for specific channels. A subscription to HBO is not required.
      DirecTV: All Day Ticket available on Channel 124; Wednesday, January 16; Monday, January 21; Friday, January 25
      Dish Network: Channels 455/472: Monday, January 14 @ 9:00pm/et; Tuesday, January 15 @ 9:00pm/et; Wednesday, January 16 @ 9:00pm/et.(1-14-2008)

    • Brandon Ash Racing Develops Plan for Growth: Brandon Ash Racing, owned by the father-son combination of Ed and Brandon Ash and Ken Wood, have outlined a plan to bring their #02 Brandon Ash Racing Dodge Sprint Cup operation east after partnering with potential sponsors to help grow the team at their current home base in Winston, Oregon. “We’ve thought hard about our next step for Brandon’s career and what’s best for this race team,” said team owner Ed Ash. “We feel that eventually moving east, to the heart of the racing business, is the best answer for us, but we want to do it the right way. We want to find partners to grow with us here, and eventually make the move when the time is right. Finding that partner is our primary goal now.” Brandon Ash Racing has immediate plans to race in Sprint Cup events in the western half of the country this season with Brandon Ash behind the wheel of their trademark #02 flamed Dodge. The team is prepared to enter its first event at the Phoenix International Raceway in April. Ash, 30, started his professional career racing in the Camping World West Series in 1998 at the young age of 21. Ash recorded over 20 top-10 and over a dozen top-five finishes including a win at the Kansas Speedway while in the series. Ash made the leap to the Sprint Cup Series in 2004. Brandon Ash Racing is currently speaking with potential partners for the 2008 season and beyond. More information can be found at Limits Marketing PR), Ash has ran four Cup races in the past few seasons.(1-14-2008) Comment

    • Fuller testing 2nd Furniture Row car at Daytona: Furniture Row Racing, whose full-time driver Joe Nemechek tested last week [in the #78], has brought its #87 entry for this test, with Jeff Fuller behind the wheel.( Comment

    • BAM Racing and Schrader team up for Daytona UPDATE: Been told that BAM Racing plans to field a “Diamond Driven” Dodge Charger with veteran driver Ken Schrader for both the Bud Shootout and the Daytona 500 with David Hyder as the crew chief and engines by Evernham Motorsports.(1-13-2008)
      UPDATE: Ken Schrader is among the 31 drivers on hand for the second Sprint Cup test session today through Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway. Schrader, who is eligible to compete in the Budweiser Shootout, confirmed Monday morning that he would run the Speed Weeks events for BAM Racing and also will do the tests at California and Las Vegas later this month. "We're just going to see what happens," said Schrader, who owns his own race team and often races at short tracks across the country. "The only thing I know for sure is I'm going to race every weekend this year. I don't know where or what."( Comment

    • Dale Jr's night club under construction: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in the process of opening a nightclub in Charlotte [NC]. "It's coming along," Earnhardt said. "It's really early in the building stages. I went over there for the first time to see it this week. It looks terrible right now. Hopefully once they paint it and do all the tricks that they'll do to make it look cool and then make it half lit it'll look cool. Hopefully I'll at least break even. That's all I'm hoping to do. They are never moneymakers. I just want to have some fun with it." The bar will be named Whiskey River. Earnhardt said he'd been planning the place for about three years. But at the time he couldn't use the name Whiskey River because his affiliation with Budweiser as his primary sponsorship at Dale Earnhardt Inc. "I thought that would be fun to name a club that and was surprised there aren't many clubs named that," Earnhardt said.(Tennessean)(1-14-2008) Comment

    • AARWBA Titus Trophy to Franchitti: Dario Franchitti, who won the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series championship and then moved on to NASCAR, was announced as recipient of the Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy for 2007 at Saturday night’s 38th annual American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association’s All-America Team ceremony. The Titus is earned by the driver who receives the most All-America Team votes cast by AARWBA members. Named in memory of the late journalist and professional racer, it is the highest honor offered by the country’s oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals. Emerson Fittipaldi, the legendary Indy-Formula One-Champ Car champion, was the featured speaker. Other Team drivers on-hand to claim their “Horsepower” Trophies were: Tony Schumacher and Tony Pedregon (drag racing); Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Scott Pruett (road racing); Mika Salo, Jamie Melo and Alex Lloyd (at-large); and Frank Kimmel (touring series). Also elected were Sebastien Bourdais (open wheel); Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon (stock car); Donny Schatz and Jerry Coons Jr. (short track); and Ron Hornaday Jr. (touring). Several special awards were presented:
      Pioneer In Racing Award: Carl A. Haas
      Jim Chapman Award: Dave Densmore and Bob Carlson received the honor for excellence in motorsports public relations.
      Dusty Brandel President’s Award: Robert (Rocky) Entriken, journalist and longtime chairman of the All-America Team selection committee, received the honor from Brandel. Entriken was acknowledged for his many contributions to the organization.
      Gorsline Scholarship: The 15th annual scholarship, given by John Gorsline of The Gorsline Co., went to 19-year-old Star Mazda series champion Dane Cameron. The prize is awarded to an up-and-coming driver who displays the attributes of a future champion. Cameron became the first rookie to win the overall series championship.
      A special audio-visual tribute was offered in memory of members Bill France Jr., Wally Parks and Shav Glick. Bob Jenkins was Master of Ceremonies. Army Staff Sergeant John Adams and Indianapolis 500 Oldtimers Club executive director Jack Martin led the Pledge of Allegiance.(AARWBA PR)(1-14-2008)

    • NASCAR licence plate leads to capture: Masking his appearance with a coat of drywall compound wasn't enough to protect the identity of a bank robber, authorities said. A NASCAR plate on the getaway car led police right to him. Robert Coulson Lavery, 56, was convicted Wednesday in the Nov. 24, 2006, robbery of the New Cumberland [PA] Federal Credit Union, which netted $7,910, Fairview Township police said. He was charged along with Robert Steven Miller, 53, who drove the getaway car, which bore a Rusty Wallace NASCAR plate on the front. A tip from someone familiar with the car led police to Miller, who confessed to helping Lavery in the robbery, police said. When Lavery was arrested at Miller's home in Harrisburg, police found $3,775 in cash, clothing with smears of drywall compound, and more drywall compound in the passenger side of the car. Miller pleaded guilty to robbery and theft in October.(Associated Press)(1-14-2008)

    • SPEEDs - Day 4 PM: 53 cars took to the track testing at Daytona International Speedway with #22B-Blaney being the quickest at 185.445mph in sigle car runs, followed by #88B-Earnhardt Jr., #83A-Vickers, #44A-Jarrett and #55-Waltrip. Toyotas had 8 of the fastest times in the top-10. #40-Franchitti was the fastest Dodge Charger at 10th and #38A-Gilliland was the fastes Ford Fusion at 14th. Bringing up the rear were #57A-Benning at 176.856 then #08A-Long at 177.291.(NASCAR Media). See speeds on the Daytona Testing Session 2 page.(1-14-2008) Comment

    • Daytona Test Session 2 - Day 4 AM: Sprint Cup testing at Daytona International Speedway is back for the second session, with 28 drivers and 50 cars taking single car runs, the fastest was #44B-Jarrett with a speed of 184.987mph, which was faster then last weeks fastest single-car run of #48-Johnson [184.782], followed by #88B-Earnhardt Jr. in his new Hendrick Motorsports ride, #40-Franchitti, #20A-Stewart and #11B-Hamlin. The fastest Ford was #38A-Gilliland. Slowest car was #09A-Marlin at 178.880. See speeds on the Daytona Testing Session 2 page.(1-14-2008)

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