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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    FEBRUARY 4-10, 2008


      News from February 10, 2008

    • The Junior Johnson Story to become a movie: Redwood Palms Pictures has signed on to produce the true life story of racing legend, Junior Johnson. Commonly referred to as the father of modern stock car racing, Johnson began his career as a young teen running illegal moonshine on the dusty back roads of North Carolina, sharpening his unique driving skills by continually evading the law. Little did he know, he would help launch an entire industry. Whiskey Beginnings is one of those stories that crystallizes the American Dream and tells the story of how one man¹s passion changed the world. Junior Johnson not only became a legend in his own time, but a true American hero. ³This story takes place during the great depression, in a time when many people fought daily for their survival,² states Mike DiManno, CEO of Redwood Palms. ³And out of that adversity was born one of the greatest heroes we¹ve ever known.² Redwood Palms is partnering with writers Fred Griffith and Chris Mulkey. Based on the book, "Junior Johnson: Brave in Life" by Tom Higgins and Steve Waid, the film is scheduled to begin shooting in the Fall of 2008.(PR)(2-10-2008) Comment here.

    • Johnson on pole for Daytona 500: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Daytona 500 with a lap of 187.075mph for his 2nd career Daytona 500 pole and 14th pole of his career. #55-Michael Waltrip was 2nd fastest and has a set strating spot for the race. All other starting positions will be determined following the Gatorade 150 qualifying races. The rest of the top five for qualifying was #78-Joe Nemechek, #00-David Reutimann and #22-Dave Blaney. Nemechek, Reutimann and Waltrip are thee three go-or-go-homers [not in the top-35 of end of season owners points] who are guaranteed of making the race. Three other can get in via speed if the other three race their way in on Thursday: #60-Boris Said; #10-Patrick Carpentier, #83-Brian Vickers and #27-Jacques Villenueve. #2-Kurt Busch was not fast enough to get in the race, but could race in via the Duels [4 spots, 2 each, get in via the Duels], but Busch can use the past champions provisional [and start 43rd]. If Busch races his way in, the #44-Jarrett could use it and if Jarrett races in, the #21-Bill Elliottt could use it. If none of the three drivers need it, the the next fastest driver not already in, would get in the race.
      So it is the top 2 are in, followed by spots 3-40 [34 from the top 35 and 4 from the Duels], the spots 41 and 42 from the next fastest drivers/cars, then then the most recent past hampion in 43rd...if needed. If not needed, then the fastest driver not already in, would get the spot. See the qualifying speeds on my Daytona 500 Qualifying Page.(2-10-2008)

    • Truex discussing re-signing with DEI: #1-Martin Truex Jr. is in a contract year, and while some preliminary discussions have been held considering an extension, he insisted Feb. 7 that he wasn't focused on that right now. Truex has spent the previous four years as part of Dale Earnhardt Inc., the first two in the Busch (now Nationwide) Series with Chance 2 Motorsports (co-owned by DEI and Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and the other two in Cup. "We've talked about it a little bit and that's as far as it went," Truex said. "We need to go out here and win races and concentrate on racing. We'll worry about that stuff later on."(SceneDaily.com)(2-10-2008), sponsor Bass Pro Shops and crew chief Kevin Manion are signed thru 2010. Comment here.

    • Earnhardt's 10th Anniversary of Daytona 500: 1998 Paint Scheme on 'New Car': Richard Childress and Teresa Earnhardt were guests today of Daytona International Speedway (DIS) to recognize the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt's historic win in the 1998 Daytona 500. A 2008 race car with the famous #3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus paint scheme was unveiled and will be on display throughout Speed Weeks in the DIS FanZone as well as be integrated into pre-race festivities of the 50th running of the Daytona 500. Earnhardt's 1998 victory capped off two decades of incredible success yet ultimate frustration at Daytona. He had earned 10 top-fives and 14 top-10 finishes, including four second-place showings, in the previous 19 attempts. Everything came together in his 20th attempt, however, during NASCAR's 50th anniversary. The Intimidator took the checkered flag and then the congratulations of every crew member from every team that had lined up on pit road. The magnitude of the appreciation shown to Earnhardt by his competitors has not been seen since. Motorsports Authentics, through its Action Racing Collectables die-cast brand, will be offering a collectible version of the 10th anniversary edition #3 GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet Impala SS. Pre-orders are being taken on goracing.com, nascar.com and at Motorsports Authentics authorized dealers nationwide. "This is one of the most unique Earnhardt programs ever and we're thrilled to be able to support both DEI and RCR in this one-of-a-kind event," Dyer said. "Earnhardt supporters and NASCAR fans alike that aren't able to get to Daytona to see this car can be part of history by buying their very own die-cast replica today, the one and only time Earnhardt's Daytona 500-winning paint scheme will be emblazoned on a 'new car.'"(Motorsports Authentics PR) see images of the scheme and car on the Dale Earnhardt Tribute page.(2-10-2008)

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Bud Shootout 02-09-08:
      Total number of commercials: 65
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 37
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 12
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:20 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 10:07 PM
      Total minutes: 107
      Minutes of race broadcast: 80
      Minutes of commercials: 27
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(2-10-2008) Comment here.

    • Full year for McCumbee in 2008, some races in #45: Chad McCumbee is planning to run his third full season in the Craftsman Truck Series [#8 Chevy]. There is the possibility of driving in a Nationwide Series car for Petty Enterprises. There are plans for as many as five Sprint Cup races in Kyle Petty's #45 Dodge. And there is also a chance he could drive in additional Sprint Cup races in a third [#65 Chevy] for CNC/Haas Racing. It all starts this week at Daytona International Speedway. McCumbee will drive the #8 truck for MRD Motorsports in Friday night's Chevy Silverado 250. Though he won a pair of races in the ARCA Re-Max Series in 2007 - the first wins for Petty Enterprises since 1999 - winning at the NASCAR level would add confidence. McCumbee said he has talked within the past 10 days with Petty Enterprises about a Nationwide Series ride. Although nothing has been solidified, McCumbee said the chances of driving in the former Busch Series could improve after the first quarter of the season. McCumbee's time in the #45 Sprint Cup Series car is also undetermined. There are plans for McCumbee to take the wheel for five races while Kyle Petty works from the broadcast booth [TNT from Pocono in June thru Chicago in July]. McCumbee filled in twice for Petty in 2007, finishing 25th at Pocono Raceway on June 10 and 41st at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 21. But Petty's ability to keep the #45 car in the top 35 in points - he finished 35th last year - guaranteeing a spot in the field, could determine how many times McCumbee gets a chance.(Myrtle Beach Sun News)(2-10-2008) Comment here.

    • New Young Guns Named: #07-Clint Bowyer and #11-Denny Hamlin are the latest additions to the Gillette Young Guns program. The pair join #2-Kurt Busch, #12-Ryan Newman, #99-Carl Edwards and #9-Kasey Kahne as clean-shaven drivers in the campaign. #48-Jimmie Johnson and #26-Jamie McMurray are no longer participating in the program. The company is unveiling a new ad campaign featuring the drivers with WWE veteran John Cena attempting to teach the group to wrestle. Cena learned to drive a Sprint Cup car as part of a reality television show last summer. The Gillette program is entering its fifth season.(SceneDaily.com) Comment here.

    • Dario Franchitti To Be Profiled on HBO: In an HBO REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, correspondent Mary Carillo profiles #40-Dario Franchitti, Monday Feb. 11 at 10:00pm/et on HBO. It will also re-air six times over the course of the next month.(NASCAR PR)(2-10-2008)

    • Little Named NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Director: NASCAR announced Chad Little has been named the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour director. Little, a former NASCAR driver, has been an official with NASCAR since 2005, most recently as advisor to the NASCAR Mexico Series. “Modified racing is an integral part of NASCAR history,” Little said. “The series is strong and I am looking forward to helping it continue to grow. I had the chance to meet and get to know a lot of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour officials, competitors, promoters and fans last year. There is not a more passionate group than those involved with Modified racing, and that translates into some of the best racing in NASCAR.” Former tour director Ed Cox will handle special projects with the NASCAR competition division. At the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour banquet, series sponsor Whelen Engineering announced it was extending its entitlement sponsorship through 2016.(NASCAR PR)(2-10-2008)

    • 'NASCAR: 60 Years' Exhibit to open Feb 15th: NASCAR and the Petersen Automotive Museum have announced that in celebration of 60 years of NASCAR racing, they will unveil a retrospective on the history of the fabled sport. On Friday, Feb. 15, the Petersen Automotive Museum will open its doors to a new "NASCAR: 60 Years" exhibit, featuring a unique collection of race cars spanning NASCAR's history. The museum will also host a Daytona 500 viewing party on Sunday, Feb. 17, complete with a block-party style Fan Fest, featuring NASCAR racing simulators, food & beverage stations, a jumbo television screen, music, the NASCAR Street Tour, interactive displays and more. The eastbound lanes of Wilshire Blvd in front of the museum (between S. Fairfax Ave and S. Orange Grove Ave.) will be closed to host the event. Starting on Feb. 15, the museum will showcase unique race cars that all have a place in NASCAR history. Among the collection are:
      • 1940 Mercury driven by Sam Packard
      • 1964 Mercury Marauder driven by Darel Dieranger
      • 1972 Ford Torino driven by Bobby Unser
      • 1974 Dodge Charger driven by Richard Petty
      • 1989 Pontiac driven by Rusty Wallace
      • 2002 Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
      Also on display will be this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship trophy, as well as a series championship trophy from 2003. The vehicles and trophies will be on display until Aug. 31. NASCAR and the Petersen Automotive Museum will also host a screening of "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" on Wednesday, Feb. 20, featuring a "meet and greet" with the 2008 Daytona 500 winner. Tickets to the showing are free and will be given away at the Fan Fest and fans can also enter to win tickets on myfoxla.com through Feb. 15. More info at petersen.org.(2-10-2008)

    • Reutimann holds off on his own race team: David Reutimann doesn't aspire to team ownership. Not even if it's for cousin, Wayne Jr. Not even in the ARCA series, where expenses can still quickly overrun the budget of a second-year Sprint Cup driver. Reutimann had planned to field a car for his cousin, a successful Silver Crown driver, for Daytona's ARCA race before withdrawing to focus on later dates. "We knew we only had a certain amount of races to make an impact on the ARCA side," Reutimann said, "and knew I wasn't going to be able to come down here and do that the way were going to do it."(St Petersburg Times)(2-10-2008)


      News from February 9, 2008

    • Earnhardt Jr. wins Bud Shootout: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the 2008 Budweiser Shootout in his first race with Hendrick Motorsports, dominating the race and leading 47 of 70 laps to win the race for pole sitters. #20-Stewart followed in 2nd and led 9 laps [2nd most], with #48-Johnson third in a backup car, 4th was #24-Gordon and fifth was #41-Sorenson. Earnhardt Jr. also won the 20 lap first segment. There were 17 lead changes with 8 different leaders and 4 cautions for 15 laps. See my 2008 Budweiser Shootout page, for results, lineup, news, streask, all time pole leaders, 2007 pole sitters and more.(2-9-2008) Comment here.

    • Andretti, McClure added, Shelmedine not to attempt Daytona 500: As expected, #34-John Andretti and #37-Eric McClure were added to the Daytona 500 entry list, driving Chevy's for Front Row Motorsports. Heard that Kirk Shelmerdine will not enter the #33 Chevy for Richard Childress Racing in the Daytona 500. Shelmerdine had tested the car at Daytona and supposedly had sponsorship. See the full entry list on my Daytona 500 Entry List page.(2-9-2008) Comment here.

    • K&N Engineering to sponsor the #28 in the Daytona 500: Yates Racing announced that K&N Engineering, Inc., the world's leader in performance filter technology, will sponsor the No. 28 entry with driver Travis Kvapil for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on February 17th. Kvapil and K&N Engineering, Inc. have shared sponsorship in the past when K&N served as the primary sponsor of Kvapil's #6 Ford in the 2007 Craftsman Truck Series. K&N Engineering, Inc. is headquartered in Riverside, California and has been serving the need of the automotive, motorcycle, marine, industrial, and military markets since 1969. For more information about K&N Filters, view www.knfilters.com.(Yates Racing PR)(2-9-2008) Comment here.

    • Franchitti gets sponsor for Daytona UPDATE: The new Dodge vehicle - Dodge Journey - a SUV, station wagon "crossover" will be the primary sponsor for #40-Dario Franchitti in the 50th running of the Daytona 500. The deal is only for Daytona. After that Franchitti's #40 Dodge Charger's paint scheme may change from week-to-week as no set company has forked over the necessary money for the entire season. Is this reason for Franchitti to be alarmed? Not really. Owner Chip Ganassi has said he will run three cars all season.(Tennessean)(2-8-2008)
      UPDATE: Dodge announced that Dario Franchitti’s #40 Dodge Charger will carry an “All-New Dodge Journey” paint scheme for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 17. The all-new 2009 Dodge Journey is the mid-size crossover that offers customers an alternative to the traditional car, minivan or SUV. With a U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $19,985, it falls between the compact Dodge Caliber and the Dodge Grand Caravan. The new 2009 Dodge Journey launches later this spring. The partnership has Franchitti’s Charger carrying the “All-New Dodge Journey” paint scheme throughout the 10 days of Speedweeks activities leading up to the season-opening Daytona 500. The 2009 Dodge Journey will be available in three models: Dodge Journey SE equipped with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder World Engine and Dodge Journey SXT and R/T models equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transaxle with Auto Stick. Journey SXT and R/T models also are available with a state-of-the-art all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Also in 2008, Dodge will introduce its modern muscle car the all-new Dodge Challenger [headed to Nationawide Series in 2009?].(Dodge PR)(2-9-2008) Comment here.

    • Craven not retired, would take part-time ride: Ricky Craven hasn’t officially retired because he will still jump into a limited, part-time ride if the fit is right. And Craven still feels he can race competitively in any series, even though he has raced only once in any of the three major NASCAR divisions since 2005. But Craven maintains, as he has for the past two years, he is "no longer willing to give up all the other things it takes to be a [full-time] race car driver. The commitment requires being away from your family the majority of the year." So he keeps himself busy making up for lost time with wife K.K. and their three children (daughters Riley and Lydia and son Everett). And to help pay the bills, he writes a column on Yahoo.com, will do eight radio spots on Sirius Satellite radio, and he has launched a new career as a public speaker. The speaking career will take him to Afghanistan in the near future.(Bangor Daily News)(2-9-2008) Comment here.

    • Robby loses a nose: during the first practice session for the Budweiser Shootout at the Daytona International Speedway, Dr, Dick Berggren reported that only one part had been confiscated from any car/team, a change in the way it used to be at Daytona when many parts would not make it thru 'the room of doom' [NASCAR Inspection garage], the one piece, a Dodge nose from the #7 Dodge of Robby Gordon, who just last week switched from Ford to Dodge. There could be a fine announced sometime in the near future.(2-9-2008) Comment here.

    • New spotter for Bowyer: Mike Dillon had spotted for #07-Clint Bowyer but as vice president of competition at RCR, he said he needed to focus on the entire team and he has been replaced by former driver Jimmy Kitchens. "My job is to be as available to all three teams as I can be, and it kind of got one-sided a little bit - I didn't feel like that but the perception was that," Dillon said Friday at Daytona International Speedway. "I'm good with it." The team hired Kitchens away from Gillett Evernham Motorsports [was spotter for #10 car], and Kitchens began spotting for Bowyer at the Las Vegas and California tests. Kitchens worked with Bowyer in the Busch (now Nationwide) Series last year for a couple of races. Kitchens raced against Dillon in the Busch Series and had 47 career starts from 1994-2005. "Clint and I talked a lot, and so that was the thing that [the new spotter] was going to have to do," Dillon said. "He wants to hear a lot. Jimmy understands the racing, and he's been in the car, so he understands the tension and the pressure these guys are under." Kitchens will also work on the Bowyer car as a mechanic.(SceneDaily.com)(2-9-2008) Comment here.

    • Changes in store for the "COT"? Drivers are still talking about how the new car [COT...now Car of Tomorrow or just NASCAR Racecar] won't turn like the old car and crew chiefs are doing everything they can to make it turn. Since last fall, teams have been spending a lot of man-hours working on fine-tuning the front end geometry of the new car in an effort to produce more mechanical grip and help the cars to turn in the corners. The problem is more apparent at the faster, flatter tracks like California, where feedback from drivers after the recent test there was less than positive. However, according to some of the smarter voices in the garage, the real answer to the problem would be very simple. By extending the length of the front splitter from the current six inches out to eight it would create the necessary downforce on the front end to help turn the car. Of course, the splitter would also have to be raised about an inch so that it could maintain its current travel. Yahoo's Bob Margolis also heard that such a change could be in place by the time the Cup series arrives in Atlanta [March 7-9].(Yahoo Sports)(2-9-2008) Comment here.

    • Scott Speed Taking Baby Steps Toward a Career in Stock Cars: Instead of racing in places like Monaco or hobnobbing with the European elite, Speed will now be checking out the sites in such exotic locales as DuQuoin, Illinois or Berlin, Michigan. Speed will spend this season competing full-time in the ARCA Series. Speed said he’s prepared to give himself 2-3 years to figure out if stock car racing is something he can be successful with. If it doesn’t work out he said he’d likely go back to open wheel racing.(Hartford Courant)(2-9-2008) Comment here.

    • Pinnacle Foods Joins RCR to as Assoc Sponsors for Cup Teams: Pinnacle Foods, a leading producer, marketer and distributor of high-quality branded food products has joined Richard Childress Racing's (RCR) family of partners in a multi-year sponsorship agreement for all three of the 11-time championship winning racing organization's Cup Series teams. Pinnacle Foods will showcase its Hungry-Man meals, Armour canned meat and Vlasic pickles, peppers and relish brands on, the #07 Jack Daniel's Chevy (driver Clint Bowyer), the #31 AT&T Chevy (driver Jeff Burton) and the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy (driver Kevin Harvick), respectively.(RCR PR)(2-9-2008)


      News from February 8, 2008

    • Sad News - Gerald Kulwicki: Gerald Kulwicki, the father of 1992 NASCAR Cup champion Alan Kuwlicki, passed away Saturday night in Charlotte. He was 78. Mr. Kulwicki lived part of the year in Charlotte in a home originally owned by his late son, while also residing in his native Wisconsin. Alan Kulwicki moved to North Carolina and started his own race team to compete at NASCAR's highest level. He won rookie of the year honors in 1986 despite basically owning one car and two motors. Alan later turned down a chance to drive for car owner Junior Johnson to keep running his own team, and in 1992 he wound up edging Johnson's team, with Bill Elliott driving, by 10 points to win the championship. Alan, who had five career Cup victories, was killed in 1993 when an airplane he was aboard crashed while trying to land at Tri-Cities Airport in Tennessee as Kulwicki was traveling to a race in Bristol. Funeral arrangements for Gerald Kulwicki were still pending as of late Saturday.(Charlotte Observer)(2-9-2008)
      MORE: Mr. Kulwicki, age 78, of Charlotte and Milwaukee, WI passed away Friday, February 8, 2008 at home. Funeral service will be held in Milwaukee later next week. Bruskiewitz Funeral home is assisting the family. Survivors his wife, Mrs. Thelma Buchanan Kulwicki. He was preceded in death by two sons, Alan Kulwicki and Kenny Kulwicki. Local arrangements are being handled by Wilkinson Funeral Home of Concord.(Charlotte Observer, sign Guestbook) Comment here.

    • Valvoline to sponsor #10 GEM Dodge in 2008: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that the familiar red, white and blue colors of Valvoline will sponsor Patrick Carpentier's #10 Dodge in selected races for the 2008 Sprint Cup season. Valvoline will serve as the primary sponsor at some of NASCAR's biggest races including the 50th running of the Daytona 500, Las Vegas, Texas in April, plus the California and Bristol races in August. Valvoline has served as a co-primary sponsor on the #10 Dodge at Gillett Evernham Motorsports since 2005 as well as an associate sponsor on the #9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne and the #19 Dodge of Elliott Sadler since 2001. "This is another chapter in Valvoline's rich racing history," said Robert Stravitz, vice-president of marketing for Valvoline, "We have a long relationship with Ray Evernham and this race team. We think Patrick can take Valvoline as well as the sport of NASCAR to new markets. We plan to continue to make our NASCAR Nextel Cup Series racing effort serve the needs of our family of brands which include: Valvoline, Valvoline Instant Oil Change, Eagle One, Car Brite and Zerex." Gillett Evernham Motorsports purchased Valvoline's half of Valvoline Evernham Racing last month ending seven years of Sprint cup ownership by Valvoline. Company officials said there are no plans to pursue ownership in the sport with any other partners. Gillett Evernham co-owner George Gillett Jr. said the team is pursuing additional primary sponsors for the #10 Dodge's remaining races in 2008.(GEM PR)(2-8-2008) Comment here.

    • Earnhardt Jr. skeptical about drivers showing more personality: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn't convinced that NASCAR really wants Sprint Cup drivers to loosen up and show their personalities more. "I don't believe them," NASCAR's most popular driver said during media day on Thursday. "I don't think anybody does. What does that mean? Are we supposed to walk the line and see where we step over it and where are we going to get fined when we go too far? What are they saying?" NASCAR chairman Brian France said last month that the governing body wants to get back to the days when drivers were able to be themselves without the fear of a big fine. It was part of his back-to-the-basics mandate, an attempt to win back the traditional fan that he believes may have been lost with all the changes the sport has undergone since 2004. "NASCAR is focused on the best side-by-side racing in the world," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. But again, Earnhardt isn't convinced. "I think honestly they're playing to you guys, not talking to the drivers," he said to a crowd of reporters in a tent outside of Daytona International Speedway. "Basically, they're trying to appear to be looser."(ESPN.com)(2-8-2008) Comment here.

    • Villeneuve close to a sponsor? Hires Barry Green: #27-Jacques Villeneuve has moved to NASCAR, where he's signed on with a fledgling team that's very short on sponsorship. If this venture fails - and it soon might if he doesn't find a sponsor for his Bill Davis Racing team - there's nowhere else for the 36-year-old driver to go. If he's worried, Villeneuve isn't letting on. "It can't fall apart. I won't let it,'' he said Thursday at media day for the Daytona 500. "Of course you are not in 100% control of what happens all the time, so if it does fall apart, I will just persevere.'' It begins this weekend for Villeneuve, who will attempt to qualify his unsponsored car for the Daytona 500. If he's not among the fastest two in Sunday's time trials, he'll have to race his way into the field next week. He's confident about his chances, even though he has a shell of a team working on his Toyota Camry. The financial limitations have him lagging behind the super teams, and even though his years of open-wheel success made him a very rich man, he's not prepared to finance this venture himself because he spent so much to get the operation off the ground late last year, and money is a little tight. But Villeneuve claims he has a sponsor on the edge of commitment, a company just needing one final push to sign on the dotted line. This weekend could seal it, ensuring him a fully funded car for the entire 36-race schedule. Having to deal with all the details has stressed Villeneuve a bit, so he last week called Barry Green, who fielded his cars for him in CART, and asked him to handle his business affairs. "The only thing I want to be doing is drive the race car,'' he said. "When you try to do more than one job at a time, you won't do it as good as you should because your mind is not as rested the way it should be. It's not a positive thing. If I am driving, then I just want to concentrate on that.''(in part from Sports Illustrated/AP)(2-8-2008) Comment here.

    • To The Back [6]: #2-Busch [backup/penalty]; #20-Stewart [engine change/penalty]; #24-Gordon [backup]; #48-Johnson [backup]; #21-Elliott [backup]; #12-Newman [backup].(2-8-2008)

    • #2-Kurt Busch drew the pole for the Budweiser Shootout driving the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, starting in the final spot [23rd] is #12-Ryan Newman, see the starting lineup on the 2008 Budweiser Shootout page.(2-7-2008)

    • Sorenson Fastest in Bud Shootout Happy Hour Practice: The Happy Hour (and final) practice for the Bud Shootout is over and didn't suffer for a lack of excitement. #41-Sorenson was the fastest with a speed of 191.873mph, followed by #48-Johnson, #5-Mears, #9-Kahne, and #21-Elliott. A big wreck took place just minutes into the session when #07-Bowyer and #12-Newman made contact at the end of the backstretch. #12-Newman, #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon, #38-Gilliland, and #21-Elliott suffered the greatest amount of damage. Newman, Johnson, Gordon, & Elliott will all go to backup cars. #99-Edwards and #8-Martin spun after making contact but only suffered minor damage. A second incident happened midway through the session when #20-Stewart squeezed up beside #2-Busch on the backstretch. Busch caught the front of Stewart's car and was knocked up into the wall. Stewart came down the track and made minor contact with teammate #11-Hamlin. Busch then bumped Stewart's car as they were both headed back to pit road. Busch and Stewart were both called to the NASCAR trailer after the incident and will have to go back again Saturday morning. Busch will go to a backup car as well. See speeds on my 2008 Bud Shootout Page.(2-8-2008)

    • Stewart fastest in first Bud Shootout practice: 23 cars went out to run the first Bud Shootout practice on Friday with #20-Stewart the fastest at 191.290mph, followed by #99-Edwards, #11-Hamlin, #22-Blaney and #38-Gilliland. #96-Yeley lost a tire but slowed on the track and did no damage. Slowest was #49-Schrader and #2-Busch. See speeds on my 2008 Bud Shootout Page.(2-8-2008)

    • AutoRacing rated #4 per survey: Each of the major sports has had some image problems recently, but their popularity all remains relatively unchanged since last year. Three in ten Americans who follow one or more sport (30%) say that professional football is their favorite sport, almost unchanged from last year when 29% said it was their favorite. Coming in at second is baseball, as 15% say that is their favorite sport, again almost unchanged from last year when it was 14%. Not far behind baseball is college football (12%) and auto racing (10%). All other sports are in single digits. These are the results of a nationwide Harris Interactive survey conducted online between January 15 and 22, 2008 among 2,302 U.S. adults, of whom 1,562 follow one or more sport. Since Harris Interactive began asking this question in 1985, professional football has always been on top and its popularity is now six points higher (from 24% to 30%). Compared to 1985’s results, baseball has dropped eight%age points (from 23% to 15%), and men’s tennis has dropped four%age points (from 5% to 1%). Professional football isn’t the only sport to gain in popularity. Auto racing has also increased its popularity by five%age points (from 5% to 10%) as has hockey (up 3%age points from 2% to 5%).(businesswire.com)(2-8-2008) Comment here.

    • Kyle Busch to run at Iowa: Iowa Speedway announced that #18-Kyle Busch will compete in the July 20 ASA Midwest Tour Super Late Model race. "I enjoy going back to my roots to help promote Late Model events," Busch said in the release. "It gives me a chance to give something back to racing fans. The ASA super late model race in Iowa will likely be very competitive and, of course, I’d like to win it."(Des Moines Register)(2-8-2008) Comment here.

    • The Mob and the Staten Island racetrack: Authorities carried out one of the largest Mafia takedowns in recent memory today when they charged dozens of reputed members of the Gambino crime family with gangland crimes spanning three decades, -- including an extortion plot at the failed NASCAR track proposed for the Bloomfield section of Staten Island [NY]. A federal indictment in Brooklyn named 62 defendants, including the three highest-ranking members of the Gambino family along with the brother and nephew of the late Gotti. Authorities said a separate state investigation had resulted in charges against 26 others. Many of the charges relate to the activities of a Staten Island cement business, whose owner was identified in the indictment only as "John Doe No. 4." Prosecutors allege that mob figures extorted the owner for money and jobs, and interfered with several of his business ventures, including the proposed NASCAR track on Staten Island. In 2006, the cement business was forced to pay extortion to reputed mobsters to prepare the race track site for construction, court papers said. The project abandoned before the track could be built. As part of the scheme, mobsters allegedly forced John Doe No. 4 to give $9,000 to two workers affiliated with International Speedway Corp., builder of the race track. A company spokesman said today that the men have since quit their jobs, and that the indictment "is not directed at ISC, any of its subsidiaries, or any of its current employees."(Staten Island Advance)(2-8-2008) Comment here.

    • Kurt Busch under the weather: Miller Lite Dodge crew chief Pat Tryson got the word that his blue #2 Miller Lite Dodge Team would start on the pole for Saturday night's Bud Shootout almost immediately after driver Kurt Busch drew the top starting spot just after 7:00 p.m. tonight here at Daytona International Speedway. The last time Tryson had talked to or had seen his driver was some eight hours earlier. At 11:30am/et Thursday morning, Tryson could be found consoling his driver as Busch lay on the hospital gurney in the infield medical center, being administered intravenous fluids. "He's a skinny little dude, but he's as tough as nails," Tryson said of Busch late Thursday night. "I told him this morning that his health is the number one priority and after seeing him laying there earlier today, I can't believe he's done all they tell me he has since then." Busch had been bedridden with the flu at his Mooresville, N.C., home since Monday night. He mustered enough energy to make it down to Daytona Beach this morning, only to be ushered straight to the infield medical center and put under the resident physician's care. Although an hour late, Busch was suited up and completed the afternoon's hectic "NASCAR Media Day" schedule before taking a break prior to the qualifying draw for Saturday night's special event for last year's pole winners. The 2004 NASCAR champ was admittedly weak, but incredibly joyous with the outcome of the draw. While Busch is certain to start from the inside of the front row here on Saturday night, his status for practice on Friday is yet to be determined. "Just like I told Kurt this morning, he doesn't have to be in the car for early practice if he doesn't feel up to it," Tryson said. "We'll play it by ear and hopefully he gets a great night's rest and is ready to go tomorrow (Friday). He's had a tough day here today and has already shown what a champion competitor that he is."(Tom Roberts PR)(2-8-2008) Comment here.

    • Kenny Wallace gets sponsor and car#: Shark Energy Racing will be making a big splash in the Nationwide Series this season as it has joined forces with Kenny Wallace- driver and popular TV personality - and Fitz Motorsports. Shark Energy will be the primary sponsor on the #36 Dodge driven by Wallace. As one of the most popular energy drinks in the world, Shark has recently made its formal debut into the United States after forty years of prevalence in over 70 countries.(Fitz Motorsports PR)(2-8-2008) Comment here.

    • Fox Sells Out Daytona 500: Fox has sold out its Sunday, Feb. 17 telecast of the NASCAR Daytona 500, with 30-second spots selling for $550,000 each, up from $475,000 last year, sources said. The network has also sold about 90% of its ad inventory for its NASCAR race telecasts through the end of March. Overall, for its 17 race windows into June, Fox has sold close to 85% of its ad inventory, which is more than 20% ahead of last year. Ad inventory for the regular NASCAR race telecasts is selling for about $200,000 per 30-second commercial, up from $175,000 last season, a 14% increase per unit. NASCAR sales have been buoyed by strong advertiser interest in several categories, including prescription and over-the-counter drug companies, fast food, wireless, financial services and retail. Sources said Fox sold out the Daytona 500 prior to the Super Bowl, which is the earliest the network has accomplished that.(Adweek.com)(2-8-2008) Comment here.

    • Open wheel war to end? SPEED has learned that Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe, the co-owners of Champ Car, have reached an agreement with IRL founder Tony George to race together this season. As reported by SPEEDtv.com recently, George offered the Champ Car ownership free Dallara chassis and Honda engines to any CC team that signs up for the full season in addition to receiving $1.2 million per car as part of the IRL’s new TEAM program. Additionally, the Champ Car races at Long Beach, Edmonton and Surfer’s Paradise, Australia would be added to the ’08 IndyCar Series schedule.(more at SPEEDtv.com)(2-8-2008) Comment here.


      News from February 7, 2008

    • Change not near in Sprint Cup age limit: NASCAR president Mike Helton said an age requirement change for the Sprint Cup Series is not imminent, but NASCAR officials still are considering 21 as the age rule for future entry into the series. "If we do this, we will give plenty of advance notice," Helton said Thursday. "And we would have an adjustment period before it was implemented." Some people have assumed the idea of making the change was directed at teenage racing phenom Joey Logano, who will compete in NASCAR's Nationwide Series when he turns 18 in May. Logano is considered a rising star who could compete in Cup next season when he's still 18. "This is not the Joey Logano rule," Helton said. "In fact, whatever we do probably wouldn't affect him." Helton didn't get specific, but it's possible some drivers under 21 would get grandfathered in if the change happens. It's also possible the change would not go into effect until after Logano turns 21. Sprint Cup does not have any drivers until 21 this season. But several current drivers were racing in the series before they turned 21, including Kyle Busch, Reed Sorenson, Brian Vickers and Kyle Petty.(ESPN.com)(2-7-2008) Comment here.

    • Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears Premieres Friday on ESPN2: The new television series Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears, chronicling the move of Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Hendrick Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series, premieres Friday, Feb. 8, at 7pm on ESPN2. The five-part series provides viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at the personal, corporate and competitive ramifications involved with the five-time. Most Popular Driver award recipient leaving Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the team founded by his late father. Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears is produced by Earnhardt Jr.’s Hammerhead Entertainment, a division of JR Motorsports, in cooperation with Hendrick Motorsports and is presented by the National Guard. Three of the five episodes of Dale Jr. - Shifting Gears air on ESPN2 in the nine days prior to the Daytona 500, including following ESPN2’s live coverage of Nationwide Series qualifying on Friday, Feb. 15, and the Nationwide Series Camping World 300 at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 16. The final two episodes air on ESPN in prime time the week of the July 27 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, ESPN’s first live Sprint Cup event of the season.(ESPN PR).
      Click here to view clips of Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears.(2-7-2008) Comment here.

    • Hylton will not attempt the Daytona 500: The preliminary entry list for the Feb. 17 Daytona 500 includes 52 cars, but does not include James Hylton. The 73-year-old has decided not to compete in the season-opening Sprint Cup event after previously announcing his plans to attempt to run the race. He says that team owner John Carter had planned to have him a car for the race, but it didn't work out. Hylton planned to run as a teammate to #08-Carl Long under the E&M Motorsports banner, using Long's backup car in the Daytona 500. "They were building a new [car of tomorrow] car," he said Thursday during NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway. "I came down here and tested with Carl Long early on. Then they were building a backup car, and the plan was bring the backup car, and if he didn't need it, I was going to enter it and run in it." Hylton said that Carter has told him he will definitely have a car to enter in the July race at Daytona International Speedway and that he could run in some other Cup events as well. Hylton is entered in the Daytona ARCA race but must qualify for that race. He says his performance in that event could lead to more Cup racing down the road.(SceneDaily.com)(2-7-2008) Comment here.

    • LVMS - Dale Jr announcement: What would a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship by Dale Earnhardt Jr. mean to race fans? Answer: For 8,888 fans who participate in a unique promotion offered by Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it would mean free tickets to the spring 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at LVMS. In one of the most extraordinary promotions in sports history, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is offering free tickets to thousands of race fans should Dale Earnhardt Jr. power his #88 Chevrolet to the 2008 Sprint Cup title. The promotion, known as Dale Jr.'s South Point Jackpot, is sponsored by the South Point Hotel of Las Vegas. Fans can renew their weekend race tickets for 2009 - and be included in the promotion - Wednesday, Feb. 13 through Sunday, Feb. 17. Ticket office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entries for the promotion will end at the scheduled start of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17. The only way to participate in Dale Jr.'s South Point Jackpot is to call the LVMS Ticket Services department at 1-800-644-4444 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Feb. 13-16 and 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 17. (All times PST.) Tickets for the 2008 NASCAR Weekend, as well as credentials for the fan-interactive Neon Garage, are still available. Race fans can call 1-800-644-4444 or log on to www.lvms.com.(LVMS PR), see full PR on the #88 Team news and links page.(2-7-2008) Comment here.

    • Johnson's Skins Golf Tournament raises over $400k: Multi-platinum recording artist Nick Lachey and two-time reigning Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson teed-off in their first annual Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic at the SunRidge Canyon Golf Club in Fountain Hills, Arizona on February 2nd. Proceeds from the event totaling over $400,000 will benefit multiple charities including the Nick Lachey Foundation and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, which support various organizations that help those in need. The Annual Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic will continue on to Tampa in 2009 and Miami in 2010. Lachey and Johnson each pledged $125,000 to the Super Skins purse, which brings the amount pledged to charity to over $400,000.(GMR Marketing)(2-8-2008) Comment here.

    • Gilliland lands seven race sponsor:Yates Racing announced that Experian Consumer Direct, the leading provider of online direct-to-consumer credit reports, scores, and monitoring products, will sponsor the #38 entry for seven races at the beginning of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season. Yates Racing driver, David Gilliland, will pilot the #38 FreeCreditReport.com Ford Fusion which will feature the company’s website, www.FreeCreditReport.com. Gilliland has a history with Experian Consumer Direct as a sponsor, racing 19 times in the FreeCreditReport.com Ford during the 2007 Busch Series season. The season opener for Yates Racing and Gilliland will be the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on February 9, 2008. Gilliland qualified for the race after he captured the pole in his very first trip to Daytona for the 2007 Daytona 500. Experian Consumer Direct and the FreeCreditReport.com sponsorship will begin with the 2008 Budweiser Shootout and continue with the first six races of the Sprint Cup Series through the March 30th race at Martinsville Speedway.(Yates Racing PR)(2-7-2008) Comment here.

    • NHRA for sale - Bruton interested? NASCAR interested? NHRA drivers and crews will spend part of the season wondering who is going to buy the series. HD Partners Acquisition Group was set to purchase the NHRA and its assets for $121 million, but the company's board voted down the deal last week, citing the uncertain economic climate. No one is sure when or if the series will be sold this season. Bruton Smith, head of Speedway Motorsports Inc. (which owns Texas Motor Speedway), had expressed an interest in buying the series. He is building a drag strip at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. "We'll wait, and sometime down the road we'll probably take a look at it," Smith said this week. "I see that the sport is growing. We'll see."(Dallas Morning News), and also heard NASCAR could be interested in the series and is looking in to it.(2-7-2008) Comment here.

    • 7-Eleven Slurpee to Sponsor Boris Said at Daytona: When it comes to qualifying for the Daytona 500, Boris Said hopes the odds will be with him after experiencing an unusual amount of bad luck in his last three Sprint Cup weekends. Said will attempt to start his third Daytona 500, driving a newly-sponsored #60 7-Eleven Slurpee Ford Fusion. But before the green flag drops for NASCAR's most prestigious race, Said, a part-time racer, will have to exorcise a couple of demons to break his recent qualifying jinx. During the Daytona summer race in July, Said appeared to have the pole locked up for the Pepsi 400. But with only 12 drivers remaining to qualify, a thunderstorm swept through the area, forcing NASCAR officials to cancel qualifying and set the starting field by owner points. Instead of earning the No. 1 starting position, which would have also earned him an invitation to Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout (Feb. 9), Said packed his belongings and headed home to Southern California. "You talk about being deflated -- I was definitely in the dumps -- we went from hero to zero in a short time," recalled Said. “It was like we got pick-pocketed and couldn’t do a thing about it. Not being in the Bud Shootout was the biggest loss.” Unfortunately, it didn't get any better for Said. At his next Cup event at the Watkins Glen road course in August, Said, one of the foremost road racers in the world, would have easily qualified. But rain arrived at the wrong time again and qualifying was canceled with owner points setting the starting field. Though Said was later offered and accepted to drive the #21 Wood Brothers Ford in the Watkins Glen race, his #60 No Fear team took another heart-wrenching exit from the track. Then at Talladega Superspeedway, he qualified 10th overall. But a 10th place effort on that day was not good enough to make the 43-car show. The first nine qualifiers were also drivers who needed to qualify on time. Under NASCAR rules, only eight teams outside the top 35 in points earn a starting berth. Except for last summer’s debacle at Daytona, Said and crew chief Frank Stoddard have enjoyed success at the famed 2.5-mile tri-oval. Said won the Cup pole in the 2006 summer race and was fourth fastest the summer before. In last year’s Pole Day for the 500, Said posted the fastest time among teams not automatically qualified. He also qualified on Pole Day in his first attempt at the 500 in 2005, claiming the 11th fastest speed overall.(DMF Communications PR)(2-7-2008) Comment here.

    • Mayfield gets a sponsor for the Daytona 500: Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon will be the primary sponsor on the #70 Chevy driven by Jeremy Mayfield in the 50th running of the Daytona 500. The Piedmont Distillers brand is named for company co-owner and 1960 Daytona 500 champion Junior Johnson, who will drive the pace car and lead the field prior to the start of the Daytona 500. "We are thrilled to partner with Haas CNC Racing for the 50th Daytona 500," Piedmont Distillers president Joe Michalek said. "This team has demonstrated its ability to succeed on the track by placing both its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries in the top 35 of last year's owner's points. In addition, Jeremy Mayfield is a proven driver with three top-five finishes among six top 10s at Daytona International Speedway."
      "Being able to hook up with a legend like Junior Johnson and Midnight Moon for the 50th Daytona 500 is an honor," Mayfield said. "I know Scott (Riggs) and I both admire what Junior has done for this sport, and I hope to give Midnight Moon a great run during Speedweeks." Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon has been a tremendous success since its launch in May of 2007. The Carolina Moonshine brand is currently distributed in 12 states and will launch in Florida during Speedweeks. The Piedmont Distillers is the only legal spirits distillery in North Carolina. It produces two moonshines, Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon and Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine. Both brands are hand-crafted in small batches and then tripled distilled in a copper column still to deliver the smoothest, most premium moonshine available. For more information on Piedmont Distillers, please visit www.piedmontdistillers.com.(3-G Sports PR)(2-7-2008) Comment here.

    • McClure to Honor Laura Chichester During Speedweeks: Eric McClure, will run a special decal on the C-post of his #24 HeftyR brand Chevrolet (Nationwide Series) and his #37 HeftyR brand Impala SS (Sprint Cup Series) during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, honoring Laura Chichester of Cornelius, NC. Chichester, who has been part of the NASCAR family since graduating from the University of South Carolina in 2001 with a degree in Sport and Entertainment Management, passed away on December 20, 2007 at the age of 28. Chichester, an account executive at GMR Marketing in Charlotte, North Carolina for AlltelR Racing, was close friends with Eric's sister, Emily McClure, who coordinated the tribute with Front Row Motorsports and Chichester's family.(Team McClure- Hefty Brand Racing PR)(2-7-2008) Comment here.

    • NASCAR in 30 Seconds - about Commercials - tonight: As NASCAR drivers prepare to race the high banks of Daytona International Speedway and also to launch their new sponsor commercials, SPEED will air NASCAR in 30 Seconds, a special program celebrating the sport's most memorable TV ads and looking ahead to the drivers' new 2008 campaigns. The one-hour special premieres on Feb. 7 at 9pm/et, and will be re-broadcast several times during Speedweeks leading into the Daytona 500. NASCAR in 30 Seconds, hosted by Rutledge Wood, will revisit classic NASCAR TV ads of yesteryear, show previously unseen bloopers and behind-the-scenes footage from ad shoots, and preview several NASCAR and sponsor spots that will air on the Fox telecast of the 2008 Daytona 500 NASCAR in 30 Seconds is produced by NASCAR Media Group. The show culminates with an in-depth behind-the-scenes peak at the making of Tony Stewart's new commercial for Toyota, which is the presenting sponsor of the program.(SPEED)(2-7-2008)

    • Live Coverage of NASCAR Media Day TODAY on ESPNEWS: ESPNEWS will surround NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway with a special three-hour live program featuring exclusive interviews with some of NASCAR’s top drivers as well as analysis. The program airs Thursday, Feb. 7, at 12:00noon/et. #48-Jimmie Johnson and #99-Carl Edwards are among the drivers scheduled to be interviewed from Daytona on the program, along with others such as #24-Jeff Gordon, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #20-Tony Stewart, #31-Jeff Burton, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #40-Dario Franchitti and more. NASCAR on ESPN pit reporter Mike Massaro and NASCAR Now host Ryan Burr will anchor the program from ESPN’s studios, while 1989 NASCAR Cup champion and ESPN analyst Rusty Wallace and NASCAR Now host Nicole Manske will be in Daytona.(ESPN PR)(2-6-2008)


      News from February 6, 2008

    • Congrats: to #18 JGR tire carrier Kenny Barber and wife Tara Barber welcomed son James Reese, who was born on Tuesday, Feb 5th at 8:19am/et, 7 pounds 6 oz and 19 inches long at Lake Norman Regional Hospital in Mooresville, NC.(2-6-2008)

    • #41 in black at the Shootout: The #41 Target Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson will feature an all black paint scheme for the Budweiser Shootout. The car will return to its regular scheme for the Daytona 500.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the car on my #41 Team Schemes page.(2-6-2008) Comment here

    • Miller challenges Bud for 2008, money to charity: The Palms Casino Resort unveiled today a new head-to-head betting line that establishes the #2 Miller Lite Sprint Cup team as a clear favorite over the rival Bud car for the 2008 season. Wasting no time in underscoring its confidence in Kurt Busch and the entire Miller Lite Racing team, Miller Brewing Company announced immediately that it is wagering $25,000 on the Blue Deuce to again finish ahead of the Bud car [#9-Kasey Kahne] this year, with the winnings pegged for the Kurt Busch Foundation. The Palms' official line has the Miller Lite car favored to finish 8½ spots ahead of the Bud car in the final Sprint Cup season standings. Additionally, Miller is wagering $2,500 on the #2 car to finish ahead of the #9 at the Feb. 17 season-opening race in Daytona Beach. At The Palms Casino Resort, the Blue Deuce is favored to finish 6½ spots ahead of the #9 Bud car in the Daytona race. The Palms will be setting similar lines between the two cars for each race. In addition to making a wager on its car for charity, Tom Long, Miller's president and CEO, today sent a certified letter to his counterpart at Anheuser-Busch, August Busch IV, encouraging him to place a wager on his company's new team and driver, donating any winnings to charity. This is the third consecutive year Miller Lite has engaged Budweiser in a friendly challenge in the days leading up to the start of the NASCAR season. Past challenges have included as a prize swapping paint schemes on their cars and the naming rights to each brewer's hometown baseball stadium. Both years, Bud has declined Miller's offer. In year one of the challenge, 2006, Bud would have emerged the winner, but Miller Lite would have been victorious in 2007. The Palms Casino Resort announced that not only was it issuing an official season-long betting line for the Miller Lite and Bud cars, but also a line for each individual race. Miller plans to wager on the Miller Lite Dodge in select individual races during the season, with winnings again going to the Kurt Busch Foundation. Should it lose the season-long wager, Miller will still make a $5,000 donation to the charity. For more information about this year's Miller Lite NASCAR challenge, please visit www.MillerLiteRacing.com.(Tom Roberts PR)(2-6-2008) Comment here.

    • Diffferent scheme, car chief for Blaney: #22 Dave Blaney will start the year with a new paint scheme for the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. The Caterpillar Dealers logo will adorn the #22 Bill Davis Racing Toyota Camry. The "Cat Dealers" car for the Budweiser Shootout salutes the U.S. and Canadian dealers and their longtime support of the Cat Racing program. The names of all U.S. and Canadian Cat dealers will adorn the trunk lid of the #22 Toyota for the special event. Phil Moran has stepped into the position of car chief for the #22 Caterpillar Racing team. Moran, a native of Colchester, Conn., was previously the Cup shop foreman at BDR. Jeremy Milless has also joined the team and will serve in the engineer position. Milless comes to BDR from the open wheel ranks. The remainder of the team remains the same as last year [for those see my Pit Crew chart].(BDR PR), see an image of the car on my #22 Team Schemes page.(2-6-2008) Comment here

    • Hamilton Jr. buys in to Sadler Racing: Earl Sadler gave Bobby Hamilton Jr. his first opportunity to drive a Nationwide car in 1998. Ten years later Hamilton has joined Sadler’s racing team again — as a co-owner. Hamilton said he has purchased 50% of the team, which will now be Sadler Hamilton Racing. The team plans on running a limited schedule of Nationwide, ARCA and Camping World races. Hamilton became part owner on Jan. 7, 2008 — the one-year anniversary of his father Bobby Hamilton’s death. Earl Sadler is celebrating his 25th year of having a race team this season. In recent years, the team has been a hobby for him, running a partial schedule of races. Hamilton said he hopes to help build the team into a full-fledged program by next year — either in ARCA, Nationwide or Craftsman Truck. Willie Allen has been signed for the Feb. 16 Camping World 300 — the Nationwide Series season opener at Daytona. Allen also will compete in the Camping World 150 race at the Music City Motorplex on July 19 for Sadler Hamilton Racing. Allen will team up with crew chief Danny Gill at Daytona. Gill was a crew chief for two races with Allen last year at Thorsport Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series. He also was the team’s competition director. Allen won the series’ rookie of the year in 2007. Hamilton said he plans to run in a limited number of ARCA and Camping World races this season. He also drives fulltime for Team Rensi Motorsports in the Nationwide Series.(Tennessean), Sadler Racing has run in 57 Cup races, the last in 1998.(2-6-2008) Comment here

    • Qtrax.com to sponsor the #49 for the Bud Shootout: BAM Racing team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau announced a new marketing partnership with Qtrax.com, an internet site that is poised to have over 25 million songs which anyone can download freely and legally. In development for over four years, Qtrax.com provides a safe alternative to internet music piracy. Qtrax.com will be the primary sponsor for BAM Racing's #49 Dodge in the Budweiser Shootout. NASCAR veteran driver Ken Schrader will be behind the wheel of the BAM Racing Dodges starting at Daytona. The team intends to compete with the veteran Schrader for the entire 2008 season.(BAM Racing PR)(2-6-2008) Comment here

    • Ward has no ride in the works: in a Daytona 500 past champion chat, Ward Burton was asked if would run any races this season, he said "I don't have any plans to at this moment but I don't know what could happen - it really doesn't look like any opportunity will happen now."(Wardburton.com)(2-6-2008) Comment here

    • TSN to show all Cup races in 2008: TSN [Canada] announced its 2008 auto racing broadcast schedule - the network's largest ever with a total of 121 races (up from 105 races in 2007) from five different series. TSN's comprehensive schedule features full-season coverage of the Sprint Cup Series, the Nationwide Series, the Canadian Tire Series, Formula One and Indy Racing League (IRL). TSN's broadcast schedule features all 39 Sprint Cup races, all 35 Nationwide Series races and the entire 13-race NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. TSN will also have complete coverage of all 18 Formula One races and all 16 IRL races. TSN's live coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series gets underway on February 9 with the first race of the season - the Budweiser Shootout. See complete broadcast schedule at TSN.ca.(2-6-2008) Comment here

    • Dale Jr and adidas Unveil Three Stripe Race Suit at Daytona: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will debut his new three stripes on February 17 at Daytona 500. Working closely with the adidas Innovation Team, they have created a race suit featuring advanced ClimaCool technology. With extreme temperatures in the car, ClimaCool will lower Dale Jr.'s body temperature and combat fatigue, allowing him to be more alert and responsive in those final laps. Two days prior to the debut of the three stripes on the track, Dale Jr.'s exclusive adidas fan gear will go on sale at The Sports Authority available first in Daytona. Dale Jr.'s official adidas fan apparel line, which includes a variety of men and women's clothing such as t-shirts, jackets, hats and jerseys, will be available at The Sports Authority in Daytona on February 15 in conjunction with Speed Week. The fan collection features the same adidas ClimaCool technology that allows Dale Jr. to stay cool on the track.(adidas / Hill & Knowlton PR)(2-6-2008) Comment here

    • Daytona 500..does testing matter? in January 2007, 64 drivers tested at Daytona International Speedway
      the top five finishers in the 2007 Daytona 500:
      #15-Menard finished
      #5-Busch 24th
      #66-Green 36th
      #8-Earnhardt Jr. 32nd
      #6-Ragan 5th, 5th
      The top five finish at the 2007 Daytona 500:
      #29-Harvick was 41st fastest in testing
      #01-Martin was 40th
      #31-Burton was 62nd
      #09-MWallace was 30th
      #6-Ragan was 5th
      The top five in testing for the 2008 Daytona 500(non drafting speeds):
      #88-Earnhardt Jr.
      #22-Blaney
      #55-Waltrip
      #83-Vickers
      #44-Jarrett
      The top five in testing for the 2008 Daytona 500(drafting speeds):
      #9-Kahne
      #18-Busch
      #11-Hamlin
      #40-Franchitti
      #01-Smith
      (2-6-2008) Comment here


      News from February 5, 2008

    • DeWalt NANO Paint Scheme Returns for six races in 2008: The popular, predominantly black, DeWalt NANO Technology paint scheme will return to Matt Kenseth's #17 Ford for six races in 2008. All six are night races with the paint scheme debuting at Phoenix International Raceway on April 12th. After that, the month of May will nearly be a complete "black out," with the paint scheme running three consecutive races, beginning at Richmond International Raceway on May 3rd, then Darlington Raceway on May 10th, and the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 17th. The next stop for the DeWalt NANO Technology scheme will be at one of Kenseth's favorite tracks, Bristol Motor Speedway, for the August 23rd night race, where he's won two of the last three night races. Then the final stop for the paint scheme will be back at Richmond International Raceway on September 6th, for the "regular season" finale, the cutoff for the Chase. "It's a cool-looking car and I'm glad that we'll be running it some in 2008," Kenseth said. "I've always thought black racecars look really cool and I think the fans liked the scheme when it ran last year. I know the last time we ran the NANO scheme we had a pretty good day at Homestead, so maybe it can bring us the same kind of good luck this year." NANO Technology is a proprietary technology from DEWALT that delivers to the user longer cycle life, lighter weight, greater performance, and an expanded system of tool offerings. These benefits encompass the DEWALT commitment to providing professional contractors with a breadth of tool offerings that deliver the performance they need in an ideal ergonomic package.(Roush Fenway Racing Site), see an image of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(2-5-2008) Comment here

    • Budweiser Shootout at Daytona starts season: Sprint Cup Series racing returns to the track this weekend as the series officially kicks off the 2008 season with the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. A field of 23 drivers – 18 who won a Sprint Cup Series pole in 2007 and five past winners of the event – are poised to participate in the annual preseason, non-points race. A total of nine past winners of this event are in the 2008 field and all but four of the 23 participants have posted a points-race victory on NASCAR’s premier circuit. Beginning in 2003, the Budweiser Shootout was formatted into two segments. The first segment is 20 laps followed by a 10-minute intermission. During the intermission teams may change tires or perform any other action that would be part of a normal pit stop. The second segment is 50 laps and must end in a green-white-checkered finish. Caution laps will count toward the total in both segments so the second segment may extend beyond the scheduled 70-lap total. The starting positions for the 2008 Budweiser Shootout will be determined by a random draw. A total of 23 drivers are eligible for the 2008 Budweiser Shootout – which will be the record for the largest field in the history of the event (The previous high was 22 in 2002). There were 18 drivers who gained eligibility by winning a pole in 2007, while five others are eligible because they are past winners of the Budweiser Shootout (and finished in the top 50 in final series point standings). Four drivers will be competing in the event for the first time.(NASCAR PR), see who won poles and where, the entry list and the results of past Bud Shootouts on my 2008 Bud Shootout page.(2-5-2008) Comment here

    • Johnson visits Washington DC UPDATE: Reigning Sprint Cup Series champion #48-Jimmie Johnson will make a return visit Tuesday to Washington D.C., for a trip highlighted by a White House meeting with President George W. Bush. Johnson will join the President in the Oval Office for a meeting and photo, a yearly tradition for whoever wins the Sprint Cup Series championship. “As an American, it's certainly an honor to visit the White House,” Johnson said. “I have been fortunate over the past few years to have met with President Bush and been a guest in the Oval Office – which was amazing considering the history that took place in that room. I know tomorrow's visit will be another great experience.” After meeting with the President, Johnson will make a stop on Capitol Hill to meet with both the Senate and House side of the Capitol. First, Johnson will meet with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) and other Senate leadership, followed by a visit to the House. The day-long excursion ends with a visit with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The trip to our nation’s capitol has become a regular activity for Johnson, who last season became the first driver to win consecutive championships since 1998. This will be Johnson’s third visit to the White House. He previously went as part of the top 10 in 2003 and again in 2007 as a first-time champion.(NASCAR PR)(2-4-2008)
      Statement: President George W. Bush Talks About Meeting With Jimmie Johnson: "You know, one of the things I love about NASCAR is not only are these great athletes, but they're socially minded folks. Chandra [Johnson] and Jimmie [Johnson] and I met several times -- one time at a place where the folks of NASCAR are putting something back into the community to help the less fortunate. In this case it happened to be in a place called Victory Junction, in North Carolina, and it was a fabulous experience. And I want to thank you all very much for taking your fame and lending it to help somebody in need. It's really what makes America a great place. You're leaders on the track and leaders off the track." -- President George W. Bush.(NASCAR)(2-6-2008) Comment here

    • Fanview lawsuit settled: A federal lawsuit involving NASCAR and the technology used for the Fanview device has been settled, according to a statement by the companies involved. Immersion Entertainment had sued Kangaroo Media, NASCAR and Sprint Nextel in U.S. District Court in Texas last year alleging patent infringement. Immersion alleged that Fanview, developed by Kangaroo Media, used devices or systems covered by patents owned by Immersion. Fanview is a handheld device fans can purchase or rent at the track to watch television feeds, look up race statistics and listen to in-car radio of various teams. According to a Kangaroo Media news release, the settlement agreement covers Kangaroo and the other defendants. Additionally, Immersion granted Kangaroo rights in all issued patents and pending applications relating to Immersion's intellectual property portfolio and technology. Kangraoo has paid Immersion $2 million and will pay royalties on sales beginning this year. Minimum royalties are $1 million for 2008 and 2009. At the end of 2010, Kangaroo will have the option to retain the exclusive worldwide rights to Immersion's intellectual property portfolio, subject to minimum yearly royalty payments. The settlement documents are not yet available through the federal court system's online records.(SceneDaily.com)(2-5-2008) Comment here

    • Special scheme for McMurray in the Shootout: Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Ford Fusion in Saturday's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. This special paint scheme promoting a new blend of Crown Royal will run in both the Shootout and the Daytona 500. McMurray on racing at Daytona International Speedway in the Shootout: "I'm really looking forward to the Shootout in Daytona for a lot of reasons. The last time we raced at Daytona; I won there, which gives the team a lot of confidence heading into the race. Also, I really think that all speedway races should be no more than 50 to 70 laps. The rest of the time the guys are just putting themselves into a position to really go for it at the end. We are showcasing a brand new paint scheme in Daytona. It's the #26 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Ford Fusion. The No. 16 isn't the car number, but actually the beginning of the postal code from the famous cognac region of France. Cask No. 16 is a new blend from Crown Royal.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), have not seen an image of the scheme...yet.(2-5-2008) Comment here

    • Stewart to be honored UPDATE: #20-Tony Stewart will receive a ring for winning last year's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in a ceremony Monday at the Indiana Statehouse. Stewart, a native of nearby Columbus, will receive the champion's ring from Indianapolis Motor Speedway boss Tony George during a ceremony on the floor of the Indiana House. He won the NASCAR race last July in a late duel with Kevin Harvick. It was Stewart's second Brickyard victory in three years at the track he considers his home.(myfoxtoledo.com/AP)(2-2-2008)
      UPDATE: Tony Stewart, one of Indiana’s most accomplished and popular sports figures in history, enjoyed the spotlight at the Indiana General Assembly and collected his second Allstate 400 at the Brickyard champion’s ring Feb. 4. Members of the Indiana House of Representatives and Indiana Senate honored Stewart in a joint resolution for his many accomplishments on track – including Allstate 400 at the Brickyard victories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in 2005 and 2007, and two Sprint Cup Series championships, in 2002 and 2005 – and his numerous charitable acts off track. IMS Chief Executive Officer Tony George presented Stewart with his champion’s ring for his 2007 victory on the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives in Indianapolis. “Getting the ring from the Brickyard, it was the highlight of the day, for sure,” Stewart said. Members of the Indiana House of Representatives gave Stewart a rousing ovation upon his introduction by State Representative Milo Smith of Columbus. “That was pretty cool,” Stewart said. “Politics is definitely not my angle normally, but to see everybody so excited to see us here today … There’s always something special when you come home and when you’re around people in a state you grew up in, and when the people in that community are excited to have you back, it’s something that makes you proud.” Stewart said he was more nervous about being at the podium in front of the House of Representatives than he will be before the start of the Daytona 500, the season-opening Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 17. He will attempt to become the first driver to win consecutive Allstate 400 at the Brickyard events, on Sunday, July 27 at the legendary 2.5-mile IMS oval.(IMS PR, see photos and audio at indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(2-5-2008) Comment here

    • GEM appoints Tom Reddin as new CEO: Gillett Evernham Motorsports appointed Tom Reddin as its new chief executive officer overseeing the team's three Sprint Cup teams and Nationwide team. "This is another step in our plan toward build a winning organization," said co-owner Ray Evernham. "Tom is a world-class business executive who brings a wealth of experience to Gillett Evernham Motorsports. His management style will enable this organization to maximize its production off the track so the competition side has the resources to win races and contend for championships." Gillett Evernham Motorsports began searching for a new CEO last season with Evernham, co-owner George Gillett Jr., and President Rick Russell leading the search committee. "We couldn't be happier with our selection," said Gillett. "I feel fortunate we could find someone of Tom's experience, expertise and passion to come lead our organization. The fans in the stands might not see Tom's face at the track but his performance is as vital as that of any team member." Reddin's business background is a combination of consumer packaged goods, e-commerce and technology experience gained at Kraft Foods, CBS, Coca-Cola and LendingTree where he ultimately served as chief executive officer. Reddin's experience also involved racing and NASCAR. His love for motorsports began in childhood and continued when he worked with the late Bobby Hamilton with Country Time Lemonade in the late 80's and early 90's, and Coca-Cola's NASCAR ties in the late 1990s.(Gillett Evernham Motorsports PR)(2-5-2008)

    • Racing Job Seminar in Mooresville: On Friday night, May 23, 2008 at Fitz Motorsports in Mooresville, NC -- during Coca-Cola 600 Race Week. -- Mike Calinoff [#40 Spotter] will present his 9th Annual "Get Into Racing" Seminar. It is a great opportunity for those interested in a career in professional motorsports. The "Get Into Racing" program is not your typical seminar format. Traditionally, participants sit for several hours and try to absorb as much information as possible, while jotting down notes and thinking silently of questions they need answered. There is usually one host who does all of the speaking. See full post on the Racing Schools/Jobs page.(2-5-2008)


      News from February 4, 2008

    • AT&T Not giving up hope to stay in NASCAR: AT&T has not given up on NASCAR, despite its agreement to exit the Sprint Cup Series at the end of the 2008 season, sources told SportsBusiness Journal. The telecommunications turf war that raged throughout much of 2007 between AT&T and series sponsor Sprint supposedly was settled last September with an agreement -- mediated by NASCAR -- that allowed AT&T to keep its marks on Jeff Burton's No. 31 car. In exchange, AT&T agreed to leave Sprint Cup, NASCAR's top series, after the 2008 season. But that hasn't stopped team owner Richard Childress from lobbying NASCAR to keep AT&T in Cup racing, sources say, and Sprint's continuing financial woes are only adding to the sense that AT&T's sponsorship might not be dead yet. Also, AT&T is in the first year of a three-year contract with Richard Childress Racing to sponsor the #31 car, and there are no exit provisions or refunds for AT&T in the deal, sources said, which obligates AT&T for the sponsorship fee through the 2010 season. AT&T agreed to the deal last June before the settlement was reached with NASCAR and Sprint in September. The deal between AT&T and Childress did not require NASCAR's approval. If it eventually leaves, AT&T has said it will work with Childress to find new sponsorship. AT&T's annual costs for the sponsorship are believed to be $16 million to $18 million. RCR officials said they've had no formal talks with AT&T about its plans beyond this season and offered no further comment. NASCAR reiterated that the door is not open for AT&T's return. "Nothing has changed," said Ramsey Poston, NASCAR's managing director of communications. "The fans certainly don't want to hear any more of this. This is a closed issue. Agreements were made, and we expect all sides to live up to them." AT&T's official stance continues to be that it will abide by the agreement and exit the sport if nothing changes, but there's always a chance the climate could shift over the course of a year, especially if Sprint's business problems persist. Sources close to AT&T said the company has contingency marketing plans in place if it's still in the sport in 2009. AT&T is the nation's largest wireless carrier (70.1 million subscribers), with Verizon second (65.7 million) and Sprint third (53.8 million). AT&T, Verizon and No. 4 T-Mobile combined to add 5.65 million new subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2007, while Sprint lost 109,000 subscribers. AT&T also enjoyed a record fourth quarter in 2007 with 2.7 million new customers. As part of its 10-year agreement with NASCAR that runs through 2013, Sprint allowed Cingular and Alltel to stay in the sport, while other wireless brands are forbidden from entering the Cup series. When Cingular, the original sponsor of Childress' #31 entry, merged with AT&T last year and AT&T sought to rebrand the car, Sprint balked. In AT&T's lawsuit, it said it wasn't entering the series as a new sponsor, it was simply taking over Cingular's existing sponsorship. A preliminary injunction was filed in AT&T's favor, but NASCAR and Sprint won an appeal of the injunction. All parties settled before the formal lawsuit ever made it to court.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)(2-4-2008) Comment here

    • Cintas signs with GEM; primary for #10 in a race: Cintas Corp., a supplier of corporate uniforms and other business services, has agreed to a multiyear sponsorship deal at Gillett Evernham Motorsports beginning with the 2008 season. Cincinnati-based Cintas will become the official uniform supplier and safety supplier for all three of GEM's teams, which gives the company associate sponsorship positioning on the #'s 9, 10 and 19 Sprint Cup cars. Cintas also will be a primary sponsor on Patrick Carpentier's #10 Dodge for the March 9 Sprint Cup race at Atlanta, marking the first time Cintas has been a primary sponsor on a Cup car, the company said. Terms of the deal were not available. In addition to sponsoring GEM's Sprint Cup teams, Cintas will have access to drivers Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler. Cintas intends to use the drivers as part of its "Lifetime Experiences" program for Cintas clients.(Business Courier of Cincinnati)(2-4-2008) Comment here

    • 60-year-old crashes, dies at DIS in RPDE car: A 60-year-old Apopka man died after he crashed while driving a Richard Petty Driving Experience car at the Daytona Beach International Speedway, authorities and family members said today. Robert Boswell was taking part in the Richard Petty Driving Experience, a program where fans pay to get behind the wheel of a NASCAR car, said his son, Greg Boswell. The crash occurred about 5 p.m. Sunday, police said. Robert Boswell was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center where he was declared dead at about 7 p.m. An autopsy report released this afternoon showed he died of a heart attack and not from the crash. Chris McKee, director of media relations for the Richard Petty Driving Experience, said Boswell had completed lap three at 125 mph when he slowed to take Turn 1. He began to drive erratically around turn one, jerking at the wheel, said an instructor who was driving ahead of Boswell. He then slumped over and steered the car into the concrete retaining wall on the inside of Turn 2, McKee said. Speedway officials said this was the first Richard Petty Driving Experience death at Daytona. However, McKee said this is the third death of a driver among all participating tracks. The two earlier deaths were later determined to be the result of medical conditions and not mechanical failure, McKee said.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-4-2008) Comment here

    • Congrats: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. and wife Crystal welcomed their first child this morning. Addison Faith Hornish was born at 6:24 a.m. on Monday, February 4th. Baby Addison weighs 7lbs 2oz. and measures 18 inches. Both mom and baby are doing well.(Penske Racing)(2-4-2008)

    • 1999 Daytona 500 on TV: 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 2pm/et through Feb. 11. On Monday, Feb. 4, ESPN Classic will air the 1999 Daytona 500. Jeff Gordon pulls a risky pass by Rusty Wallace with 11 laps to go, almost driving through the grass and getting into the back of the lapped and crash-damaged car of Ricky Rudd. Wallace gives him room, possibly preventing a wreck and Gordon holds off defending-champion Dale Earnhardt for the win. ESPN.com'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.(2-4-2008) Comment here



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