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MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
FEBRUARY 18-24, 2008
News from February 24, 2008
- Labonte to RCR in 2009? Richard Childress acknowledged that his organization is close to fielding a fourth team in the Sprint Cup Series, and Yahoo! Sports has learned that the driver of that car beginning in 2009 likely will be Bobby Labonte [currently #43 Petty Enterprises]. Sources close to the deal point to General Mills, Labonte's current sponsor with Petty Enterprises, coming along with him to RCR. According to Childress, he will field a fourth car sometime this season, though he wouldn't set an exact time frame. He did say things were progressing well and that he was pleased with how plans were coming together. "We're looking at entering a few races before the end of the season," Childress said. Childress entered a fourth car (#33) in selected races in 2007 with Scott Wimmer as the driver. Wimmer likely is the choice to be behind the wheel when the car makes it back onto the track this season. However, Labonte likely will be the full-time driver in 2009. Hiring Labonte would be an ace up the sleeve for RCR. Labonte is a past champion, which means he would get a champion's provisional that would guarantee him a spot in the field at the start of the '09 season. Labonte already has a relationship with Childress, having signed with RCR this year to drive the #21 Nationwide car on a part-time basis this season.(Yahoo Sports)(2-23-2008)
UPDATE: Petty Enterprises has offered Bobby Labonte a contract that it hopes keeps the 43-year-old driver with the team the rest of his career, although an internet report states he could be driving elsewhere next year. "I don't really believe a whole lot of stuff that you read and half of what you say sometimes, so I don't put nothing into it,'' Labonte said Saturday afternoon of the Yahoo! Sports report. Labonte, the 2000 series champion, is in the final year of his three-year contract with Petty Enterprises. Robbie Loomis, vice president for operations at Petty Enterprises, said the team is awaiting word from Labonte on the contract offer. "It's up to him what he wants to do with it,. Hopefully, he'll sign it,'' Loomis said. "We'd really like Bobby Labonte to finish his career out with Petty Enterprises and the contract that we presented him is kind of laid out that way. We think his values and what he stands for is a good fit with us.'' Loomis said he doesn't have a timetable on when the team would like a response from Labonte, but admits that "the earlier the better, so that everybody can get their eyes back on the racing.'' Labonte said whatever he does next will be behind closed doors. "My next step is not to talk about it,'' Labonte said. Loomis also said he does not see General Mills joining Richard Childress Racing as long as that team has Jack Daniel's sponsoring one of its cars. "We have a lot of things in our contract how specifically they won't touch a sponsor that is alcohol, so for the General Mills piece to be going over there ... I really find surprising,'' Loomis said.(Roanoke Times), see a Q&A with Loomis on the #43 Team News and Links page.(2-24-2008) Comment here.
- Special scheme for Labonte at Calif UPDATE: This weekend at California Speedway #43-Bobby Labonte will run a special paint scheme for the Hamburger Helper “My Hometown Helper” Program; the nationwide initiative lends a “helping hand” to local groups making a difference in their community.(Petty Racing PR)(2-21-2008)
UPDATE: This weekend, Bobby Labonte is bringing the colors and scheme of the #43 Hamburger Helper “My Hometown Helper” Dodge to the two-mile California Speedway. Labonte will be focused on racing up front to help raise awareness of the Hamburger Helper “My Hometown Helper” grant program. The nationwide initiative lends
a “helping hand” to local groups making a difference in their community. Labonte has not only had tremendous success on the track, but has volunteered his services to help communities off the track as well. Labonte will be a guest judge for the program. He plans to choose at least one of the MyhometownHelper.com selected grant winners to donate additional money from his foundation and/or to provide his own time to help in raising funds. The MyhometownHelper.com grant winners are selected by a panel that will review applicants’ essays of 250 words or less, describing how the grant will benefit their community project. From now until March 31st community groups seeking support can visit
MyHometownHelper.com to apply online for the grant. Grants will be awarded in the range of $500 to $15,000 dollars and all requests must be sponsored by a charitable organization, municipal or civic organization, or a public school. Funds will be awarded based on the merit of the project, including its impact on, and support within, the community, among other factors. Labonte will review from the winning grant essays in April. Last year, Hamburger Helper “My Hometown Helper” gave away $130,000 in grants and plans to give away $200,000 this year. The Hamburger Helper “My Hometown Helper” grants have helped communities purchase new band equipment, build a school playground and fund a tornado warning system, among other great projects.(Breaking Limits PR). see an image of the car on the #43 Team Schemes page.(2-24-2008)
News from February 23, 2008
- Dodge Says Mistake Led to Gordon's Penalty: Dodge officials admit a mistake led to Robby Gordon having the wrong nose on his car at Daytona and later being penalized 100 points and $100,000 for the infraction. Kipp Owen, director of Dodge Motorsports Engineering, issued a statement Friday about what happened to Gordon. "While the nose meets the template for the car of tomorrow, it has not yet been approved by NASCAR or use in racing," Owen said in a statement. "The prototype parts were in the warehouse, and share the same basic part number as the approved ... nose. It was an unfortunate series of human errors compounded by the very short time frame [Gordon's team] had to get their cars changed to Dodge Chargers in time for the Daytona 500. Dodge has taken the appropriate steps in the warehouse to make sure that prototype parts can not be mistaken for approved parts in the future and hopes that the circumstances surrounding this error are considered."(Roanoke Times)(2-23-2008)
- Burton & Bowyer: what happened at Daytona?
Q) A lot of people were asking about the video of you [Jeff Burton] and Clint Bowyer after The Daytona 500 and they could see it but not hear it. Can you tell us a little bit more about that and what happened and why you guys were mad?
A Burton) “Clint and I were mad, but we weren’t mad at what people thought we were mad at. The conversation that Clint and I had we’ll keep to ourselves. There’s no strife amongst the drivers, there’s none of that. We did have a discussion and it is clear that you can’t have productive conversations as soon as the race is over. That just can never happen, never has happened, never will happen. But there’s nothing leaving Daytona that we have any concern about whatsoever.”
Q) Could you two have helped each other more coming down the stretch?
A Burton) “To be honest I haven’t watched a replay of the race and until I go back and really analyze what we could have done differently I don’t know. I never at any point felt like Clint did anything to jeopardize my opportunity to win the race. That’s all I know. On the surface of it when the race was over I never once felt – I think everybody thought I was mad at Clint like Clint did something to me that I thought he shouldn’t have done but that was the furthest from the case. I never once felt like Clint did anything to negatively affect my race. And by the way, you know I’ve said this for years I don’t expect my teammate to help me if it’s going to hurt him. I never expected it and I don’t expect it now so any thought that I was mad at Clint and that I felt like Clint could have done something to help my cause – that’s totally misconstrued. I don’t think Clint did anything wrong in that race at all in regards to running with me.”(GM Racing PR)(2-23-2008)
- Happy Hour practice for the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway is over. Drivers were on the track for about 30 minutes before rain washed out the rest of the session. The results:
slowest: #45-Petty 173.536 & #34-Andretti 173.469
most laps run: #11-Hamlin 19
incidents: #43-Bobby Labonte scraped the wall a couple minutes into the session. Just minor sheetmetal damage.
See the speeds on the Calfornia Practice Speeds Page.(2-23-2008)
News from February 22, 2008
- Sponsor throws support behind Robby: A campaign is under way declaring Robby Gordon's innocence for what NASCAR said was an illegal part used on his car during Speedweeks. Representatives from Jim Beam, which sponsors Gordon's #7 Dodge, will canvas the Auto Club Speedway grandstands on Saturday gathering signatures for a petition demanding NASCAR reverse its "unfair" decision to dock Gordon 100 points. Crew chief Frank Kerr also was fined $100,000, suspended for the next six Sprint Cup Series events until April 9 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Along with the petition, "Rally for Robby" T-shirts are being made for Gordon fans to wear during this weekend's Cup events, said Sofia Lombardo, spokesperson for Jim Beam [have not seen anyplace fans can purchase the t-shirts]. Also, Thomas Flocco, president and CEO of Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc., has sent a letter addressed to NASCAR president Mike Helton, as well as other top officials, voicing the company's frustrations. "Robby's team earned an honest eighth-place finish in the Daytona 500 through tireless dedication, quality and character, not because of rule violations," the letter states. "As your own officials have stated, there appears to have been no intent to circumvent the rules in order to gain a competitive disadvantage. It amounts to an honest mistake that was corrected before the race. Your decision unfairly penalizes Robby, his sponsors and his fans. ... While we fully support the rules NASCAR has put in place to keep the playing field level, we ask that you closely review all the facts," the letter continued. "Please consider not just the letter of the law, but the spirit of the rules of competition." Gordon, who was not allowed to participate in a news conference for the top-10 Cup drivers Friday in California, is equally as frustrated and feels NASCAR continues to target him as an independent team owner. On Thursday he said that he would appeal the penalty levied against the #7 team by NASCAR.(NASCAR.com)(2-22-2008) Comment here.
- Open Wheel Series Unify: Indy Racing League founder and CEO Tony George and owners of the Champ Car World Series have completed an agreement in principle that will unify the sport for 2008. Gerald Forsythe, co-owner of Champ Car, signed an agreement in principle Feb. 22 in Chicago, joining his partner, Kevin Kalkhoven. George signed the agreement Feb. 21.(Indycar.com)
ESPN Statement on Today’s Open Wheel Unification Announcement - "This is a good day for fans who have long awaited a unification of the two series and we hope it is the beginning of a bright future for open wheel racing." John Wildhack, Executive Vice President, ESPN Programming and Acquisitions.(2-22-2008)
- Did you know? the Sprint Cup race at Daytona was the first time since Homestead in 2005, that no Chevy finished in the top 5. That is 72 races in a row. And it was the first time since Las Vegas in 2003, that only one Chevy finished in the top 10. A streak of 178 consecutive races.(LTPicks.com)(2-22-2008)
- Victory Junction Gang Camp Coming to Kansas: Kyle and Pattie Petty announced that they have decided to open a second Victory Junction Gang Camp
in Wyandotte County (Kansas). The Pettys have been meeting with business and civic leaders over the last few months and have been studying the sustainability of a camp in
the area. Today's announcement included Pattie Petty, and NASCAR driver and Kansas native Clint Bowyer. "We're excited to be able to make this announcement today because this is such a special place for our family," said Pattie Petty, co-founder of the Camp. "I'd like to thank all of the communities who opened up their arms to welcome us; it has been a difficult decision. I want to thank Clint Bowyer for being here today. Clint has been extremely interested and supportive of building a Victory Junction Gang Camp here in his home state of Kansas. I'd also like to thank the Kansas City Area Development Council, Wyandotte Development Inc., the Unified Government and Board of Public Utilities for all of their hard work and support since we started thinking about building a second Camp in this area."
"I'm excited about today's announcement because it not only means a great deal to Wyandotte County, but also to Kansas Speedway," said Kansas Speedway President Jeff Boerger. "For Kyle and Pattie Petty to choose to build a second Camp in Wyandotte County is a huge boost for our area. I look forward to working with the Pettys as they continue to work to make the Victory Junction Gang Camp a reality in our community."
"The Pettys' decision to open the second Victory Junction Gang Camp in Kansas City is an example of our region's sprit," said Bob Marcusse, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council. "Kansas City showed the Pettys it wanted this camp." The Pettys envision that this Victory Junction Gang Camp will not only continue the NASCAR-theme but will also include sports themes that are prevalent in the Midwest.(Kansas Speedway PR)(2-22-2008) Comment here.
- Friday practice and Qualifying for the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway has been cancelled due to rain/wet track and the field will be be set by the rules book, top-35 in 2007 owners pts, one 2007 race winner, two past champs, three who in the top 35 in 2008 owners pts, then two by 2008 race attempts [ties broken by 2008 owners pts pos]. So #2-Busch [won a race in 2007], then #44-Jarrett and #21-Elliott in by the past champ, then #83-Vickers, #00-Reutimann and #55-Waltrip who are in the 2008 top 35 of owners pts, then #34-Andretti and #78-Nemechek [1 attempt, 40th and 41st in 2008 owners pts]. Five teams/driver who will not make the race are: #84-Allmendinger, #49-Schrader, #10-Carpentier, #27-Skinner and #08-Lamar. See my Qualifying Order/Results page for the unofficial lineup.(2-22-2008)
- Toyota Commercial Judged best: NASCAR fans have chosen Toyota's new television commercial, in which kids wielding giant remote control devices wreak havoc on the Toyota drivers, as the best new ad of the season, according to votes cast on NASCAR.COM. UPS's heartwarming spot featuring Dale Jarrett racing the big brown truck and then hanging up the keys was voted the second best spot. Gillette's new Young Guns commercial, in which drivers Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman body slam and generally abuse wrestling star John Cena, was ranked third best. Toyota's new spot showcases the manufacturer's newest drivers
from Joe Gibbs Racing - Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin - as well as Tony's crew chief Greg Zipadelli and veteran Toyota driver Michael Waltrip. After kids in the stands wielding large remote controls propel the Camry's all over the track, Tony Stewart jumps from his car, is chased onto pit road, and guns his helmet at the kid-controlled car.
The winning commercial, part of the "Toyota Department of Fan Operations" campaign that puts fans closer to the racing action, was created by Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles.(NASCAR PR)(2-22-2008) Comment here.
- California Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will be running the same tire codes at California Speedway this weekend, though the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series tires will be branded "Goodyear Eagle," while those for the Craftsman Truck Series will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . . this is the first time that
Goodyear has brought either of theses two tire codes to the race track . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run
inner liners in all four tire positions at California . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated Sprint Cup pit window is every 40-44 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the California Race Info Page for tire codes and pressures.(2-22-2008) Comment here.
- Energizer scheme for Sorenson: The #41 Dodge of Reed Sorenson will sport the Energizer e2 Lithium paint scheme this weekend in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. The dynamic silver and blue paint scheme will feature Energizer e2 Lithium, the World's Longest Lasting Battery in High Tech Devices, as well as the famous Energizer Bunny. The Bunny will be on hand this weekend to support Sorenson and team, and to partake in a number of media opportunities alongside Sorenson.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see images on the #41 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2008) Comment here.
- Juicyfruit on the #42 at Calif: Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Dodge Charger will be carrying the signature yellow of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit brand this weekend at California Speedway. This will be the first of 19 races either Juicy Fruit or Big Red will be the primary sponsor on Montoya's car during the 2008 Sprint Cup season.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see images on the #42 Team Schemes page.(2-22-2008) Comment here.
News from February 21, 2008
- 60th Anniversary Of NASCAR Being Incorporated: Sixty years ago today, the intent of Bill France Sr. became clear. Determined to bring organization to the long-disjointed sport of stock car racing, France had his newly formed sanctioning body – the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing – incorporated. It became official, on Feb. 21, 1948. NASCAR had been born. Incorporation was actually prefaced by NASCAR’s first-sanctioned event, on Feb. 15, 1948. That race was run on a “beach-road” course that used both the Atlantic shoreline and a portion of State Road A1A, with Red Byron winning. “Big Bill” France, of course, wanted everyone to win. One of his basic tenets was that for NASCAR to survive – much less thrive – everyone involved would need to benefit. France had talked about that two months earlier, during the now-famous meeting in December 1947 at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, which resulted in NASCAR’s formation. Retrospect makes some of his words from that meeting seem prophetic, such as the following: “Stock car racing has got distinct possibilities … and we do not know how big it can be if it’s handled properly. …. I believe stock car racing can become a nationally recognized sport by having a National Point Standing. … We must try to get track owners and promoters interested in building stock car racing up. We are all interested in one thing that is, improving the present conditions.” France and his fledgling sport took a huge step toward all of the above, on Feb. 21, 1948.(NASCAR PR)(2-21-2008)[the first 'Cup' race, then known as Strictly Stock was run on June 19, 1949 in Charlotte with Jim Roper winning the 148 mile race. Comment here.
- Coors Light to the #01 car in 2008? UPDATE: hearing Coors could be a sponsor of the #01 DEI team in 2008.(9-9-2007)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s #01 Chevy driven by Rookie of the Year candidate Regan Smith will feature a special paint scheme from Coors Light, "The World's Most Refreshing Beer" and official beer of NASCAR and NASCAR fans everywhere. The Coors Light and NASCAR logos will run on the car for this weekend's Auto Club 500 at California
Speedway and the March 2nd UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Beginning this month, adult race fans can enter for a chance to win the ultimate fan weekend at a NASCAR-sanctioned race. The "Four Day NASCAR Weekend" includes access to NASCAR events that only Coors Light can offer, including Coors Light Pole Day and a VIP experience all weekend long. For more information about Coors Light's official NASCAR sponsorship, as well as race schedules, race weekend promotions, and more see coorslight.com/racing.(DEI)(2-21-2008) Comment here
- The DISH Network to sponsor Roush cars for 15 races: Roush Fenway Racing announced DISH Network has signed on as a sponsor in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. DISH Network will have a team representative and serve as a primary sponsor in 15 Sprint Cup Races in 2008, alternating between three Roush Fenway drivers. Greg Biffle will drive the #16 DISH Network Ford Fusion in 11 Sprint Cup races, Carl Edwards will drive the #99 Ford in three races [this week at California is one] and Matt Kenseth will race the #17 Ford in one race [Bristol in March]. The DISH Network team of drivers will be dubbed the DISH Network AllStars. The DISH Network AllStars first race is Sunday, Feb. 24 featuring the 2007 Nationwide Series champion #99-Carl Edwards.(Roush Fenway Racing)(2-21-2008)Comment here
- #7 team penalized for Daytona infraction: NASCAR has issued penalties and fines to the #7 team that competes in the Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rule infractions found during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. The #7 Dodge driven and owned by Robby Gordon was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-3.10A (unapproved front bumper cover) of the 2008 NASCAR rule book. The violations were found during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 8. As a result, Gordon has been penalized 100 championship driver and owner points. Crew chief Frank Kerr has been fined $100,000, suspended for the next six Sprint Cup Series events until April 9 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2008.(NASCAR PR), Drivers and Owners points have been adusted accordingly. (2-20-2008)
UPDATE - appeal: Robby Gordon comments: "This was an innocent mistake made by someone not even on my team. They accidentally supplied us the new Dodge noses that NASCAR hasn't yet approved because of what amounted to a clerical error. It was discovered during technical inspection and corrected before the race. It was not even close to being an intent to create some competitive advantage, and the mistake was not even made by my team. This penalty is way out of proportion when you compare it what happened last year when a team was penalized 100 points for adding a substance to the fuel, or when a team deliberately changed the bodies of the COT. To penalize my team the same amount when we didn't even make the mistake, and the mistake was nothing more than inadvertent human error by someone else is just not fair. Other teams who have had similar issues to what happened with the nose on my car were only penalized 25 points. I hope that NASCAR can reconsider when they have all the facts. In the meantime, we have no choice but to appeal this penalty. We started the season off on a high note with a top 10 finish at Daytona and we look forward to continuing that at California and Las Vegas.(RGM PR)(2-21-2008) Comment here
- McMurray flies with the Thunderbirds: Along with driving the high banks of Daytona International Speedway last week, Roush Fenway Racing driver Jamie McMurray
experienced a once-in-a-lifetime thrill when he was invited to fly with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. McMurray was invited to fly in an F-16 Fighting Falcon, along with television star Jeff Hammond. The two paired up last Tuesday at the Daytona Beach International Airport, where they met their crew for the afternoon. After receiving their suits and pre-flight instruction, McMurray and Hammond made their way out the tarmac. McMurray flew first with Thunderbird No. 8, Major Tony Mulhare, who showed the driver of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, a few maneuvers the jets and pilots perform during a typical mission. After a 45-minute flight that included a maximum vertical climb takeoff, high-speed rolls and turns and aggressive tactical maneuvers, the F-16 touched down safely on the runway. When the two climbed out of the jet, Major Mulhare awarded McMurray with a "9-G" pin. The pin is only given to those participants who are able to endure 9 G-forces during the flight. Three days later, the pilot and crew attended the race at Daytona International Speedway and were there to shake McMurray's hand before he climbed into his #26 Ford.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(2-21-2008) Comment here
News from February 20, 2008
- 700th career start for Martin: Mark Martin will make his 700th career Sprint Cup start this weekend when the green flag drops at California Speedway,
becoming only the 13th driver in NASCAR history to reach the milestone. The Principal Financial Group will serve as the sponsor of the #8 Chevrolet and will feature a paint scheme that showcases a special 700th-start logo in tribute to Martin's accomplishments. Martin started his first Cup race on April 5, 1981 at North Wilkesboro Speedway. He started fifth and finished 27th. During pre-race ceremonies at California Speedway, the Principal Financial Group and DEI will present Martin with a commemorative green flag emblazoned with the same 700th start logo that will appear on DEI's #8 Principal Financial Group Chevy. Following the race, this same green flag will be signed by Martin and auctioned on e-bay with proceeds benefitting the Dale Earnhardt Foundation. If Martin, who is running a partial schedule of 24 point races in 2008, stays on schedule he will end the year with 722 Cup starts.(DEI PR)(2-20-2008) Comment here
- Skinner in the #27, with Bad Boy Mowers: Mike Skinner will run the #27 Bill Davis Racing Toyota at California Speedway, running one of two Toyota Camrys the team tested last month at the two-mile speedway [by Jacques Villenueve]. The #27 Toyota will feature the decals of Bad Boy Mowers this weekend in Fontana. Bad Boy Mowers, a Batesville, Arkansas-based company, began in 1998 with the sole purpose of producing the Bad Boy zero-turn commercial lawn mower.(BDR PR), see an image of the car on my #27 Team Schemes page.(2-20-2008)
- Lamar to run the #08 at Calif and Vegas: EM Motorsports announced that Burney Lamar will be at the wheel of the #08 Rhino’s Energy Drink Dodge Charger in this
weekend’s Sprint Cup Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. Lamar will also pilot the #08 Dodge at Las Vegas next week. Lamar is a veteran of 31 Nationwide Series starts, with his best finish being a 2nd at Daytona in the 2006 Hershey’s 300. Lamar also has two Craftsman Truck Series starts and three ARCA RE/MAX Series starts.(EM Motorsports PR)(2-20-2008) Comment here
- Harvick to honor students: #29-Kevin Harvick will recognize students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Friday, February 22 at 2:05 p.m. in the California
Speedway media center. These students designed and built a prototype vehicle that traveled 1,902.7 miles per gallon using conventional fuel to win the 2007 Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition. The Shell Eco-marathon Americas challenges college teams to travel the farthest distance using the least amount of fuel. Teams compete using prototype vehicles fueled by conventional or alternative fuels or energy sources. The winning team receives a grand prize of $10,000 that is awarded to the team's educational institution. The winning vehicle will also be on display at the California Speedway media center.(RCR PR)(2-20-2008)
- Special scheme for Blaney at California: Dave Blaney's #22 Cat Camry will feature a special "Cat Paving Products" paint scheme this weekend. The design, which features Cat Paving Products machines on both sides of the car and the trunk lid, also has a "highway" look that is integral in the scheme. The equipment depicted on the #22 car for this event represents various stages of the paving process from start to finish. The PM-200 Cold Planer is used for the removal of asphalt and concrete pavements prior to re-surfacing. In addition to preparing the surface for new asphalt, a key new feature is that it has low exhaust emissions - exceeding all emission regulations for off-road applications. The AP655D is a new track-type asphalt paver which handles a wide variety of paving projects - from new construction, to resurfacing - such as the recent repaving of Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif, which was done by working around-the-clock and completed in less than 15 days.(BDR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #22 Team Schemes page.(2-20-2008)
- Kenseth going for 3 in a row at Calif: #17-Matt Kenseth, attempting to win the Auto Club 500 for a third-straight year, is the all-time leader in NASCAR wins at California Speedway, posting six wins total; four in the Nationwide Series and two in the Sprint Cup Series. Kenseth will run the Carhartt paint scheme on Sunday for the first of four times this season. He won this event last year in the Carhartt scheme, marking the first time Kenseth had won a Cup event in a paint scheme other than DEWALT. The other three Carhartt races in ‘08 are Michigan in June, Loudon in Sep., and Charlotte in Oct.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(2-20-2008)
- Nationwide penalties announced including the penalty for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the # 5 team......the car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules); 20A-3.1.1E (1) (the rear ends of the spoiler did not meet the specified height); and 20A-3.12.1A (altered rear spoiler after passing template inspection to enhance aerodynamic performance) of the 2008 NASCAR rule book. The violation occurred following practice on Feb. 14. Driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has been penalized with the loss of 50 championship driver points, while car owner Rick Hendrick has been penalized 50 championship owner points. Crew chief Chad Walter has been fined $25,000 and suspended for the next six Nationwide Series events until April 9 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2008. See the full rundown of penalties on the Nationwide Series Site.(2-20-2008)
- Newman's dad reveals grudge vs. Purdue: If Greg Newman has anything to say about it, none of the $1.5 million his son earned for winning Sunday's Daytona 500 will be going to Purdue University. #12-Ryan Newman graduated from Purdue in 2001 with a degree in vehicle structural engineering. But his father, who made a college degree a prerequisite for supporting Ryan's racing aspirations, said Purdue doesn't deserve to share in Ryan's good fortune. Ryan was racing on weekends and won the 1999 U.S. Auto Club Silver Crown title while attending Purdue. But he wasn't recognized by the school as being a student-athlete, his father said, and thus wasn't allowed any scheduling flexibility with his assignments. "They should have helped him, but they didn't cut him any slack," Greg said. "They didn't recognize him as being a racer. Now they do." Purdue assistant athletic director Tom Schott said he wasn't sure how to respond to the elder Newman's complaints. "We have 18 varsity sports here, but we don't have varsity auto racing," Schott said.(Indianapolis Star)(2-20-2008) Comment here
- Different look for the #10 at Calif: Patrick Carpentier in the #10 Charter Dodge Charger seeks to make his fourth career start. The #10 will feature the purple and yellow paint scheme of Charter Communications for the Fontana race. Carpentier will be one of the few drivers in the field that have experience in both stock cars and open wheel at the 2-mile oval. He has raced there in both the Champ Car Series and the IRL. The #10 Charter Dodge Charger test at California Speedway this past January. Being outside the top-35 in owner points, Carpentier will have to qualifying for this race on time. He will battle 16 "go or go homers" for the eight open qualifying spots.(GEM PR)(2-20-2008)
- RCR missing California win: Richard Childress Racing has earned a Cup Series victory at 18 of the 22 tracks on the 2008 schedule. The only tracks on the
current schedule where RCR hasn't earned wins are California Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway.
Additionally, RCR has Cup Series wins at 21 tracks, the three defunct tracks being North Wilkesboro (N.C.), Riverside (Calif.) and Rockingham (N.C.).(RCR PR)(2-20-2008)
- U2 on the hood of the #19 at Calif: The #19 Best Buy Dodge of Elliott Sadler will feature the "U2 3D" concert movie on its hood, sides and decklid at California Speedway this weekend. Filmed in South American during their Vertigo Tour in front of 90,000 fans, "U2 3D" continues the band's use of modern technology. With this endeavor, they once again raised the bar in creating the first digital, multi-camera real time production of its kind. The film opens February 22nd in IMAX Theaters.(GEM PR)(2-20-2008)
- DIRECTV back on the #07 car: Clint Bowyer's #07 Chevy will feature DIRECTV colors this weekend at California Speedway. DIRECTV's corporate headquarters are in El Segundo, Calif., just 68 miles west of California Speedway. Jack Daniel's, the team's customary primary sponsor, will be featured on the
car's lower-rear quarter panels and deck lid.(RCR PR)(2-20-2008)
- McMurray back in regular scheme:Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion for the first time this season. This will be McMurray’s first time in 2008 back in his Crown Royal purple and gold paint scheme. The #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion will run a special decal on the rear quarter panel this weekend in support of “Dress for Success,” which is a program to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(2-20-2008)
News from February 19, 2008
- IROC up for auction MORE: Looks like no IROC in 2008. The series took 2007 off, in search of a sponsor for the series. None was found and the cars were up for sale and now the cars, engines and equipment will be up for auction Match 6-8, 2008. More info at IROCracing.com.(1-23-2008)
UPDATE: The International Race of Champions (IROC series) officials announced today the All-Star auto racing series will liquidate all tools, equipment, race cars and memorabilia in a two-day public auction on March 7th and 8th at IROC headquarters in Tinton Falls, NJ. The IROC series has been dormant since the conclusion of the 2006 season due to lack of sponsorship. IROC President Jay Signore said, “We’re all very sad to see IROC come to an end, but the competition for major corporate sponsorship is very tough and the car manufacturers have not shown any interest. We kept hope alive as long as we could but now it’s time to look forward and move on.” Spanning four decades the IROC series left its mark in auto racing history staging 120 events at 16 different world-class race tracks across the United States and amassing a roster of over 125 of the biggest names in stock car, open wheel and road racing from throughout the world. Twenty-one of those greats have won the elite IROC championship along with the bragging rights of beating out the best of the best. Signore concluded “We managed every aspect of the IROC series out of this building for the past 25-years and everything has to go in this auction. We have tools and equipment along with a dozen, or so, race ready IROC cars, driver uniforms, helmets, autographed pictures – there’s a lot of history here. It’s hard to see it all go, but we’ve had a great time with the IROC series and no regrets.” For more information on the IROC liquidation contact Auction Liquidation Services at 800-563-9740. For more information regarding the International Race of Champions go to www.irocracing.com or contact George J. Signore at 732-542-4762.(IROC PR)(2-19-2008) Comment here
- Tryson named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the race: Pat Tryson, crew chief for the #2 Penske Miller Lite Dodge driven by Kurt Busch in the Sprint Cup
Series, was named the Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race” for Sunday’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Tryson will receive a $1,000 check as a result of his leadership and strategic thinking during the race. Despite facing tough obstacles throughout the race, Tryson and his team rebounded to finish second in
the “Great American Race,” helping propel teammate Ryan Newman to victory. Due to electrical problems in the qualifying race last Thursday, Busch was forced to use a “Champion’s Provisional” to line up 43rd on the starting grid on Sunday. After experiencing a handful of challenges, the Tryson-led team bounced back from tight handling conditions, a speeding penalty and a serious overheating condition to finish runner up. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to victory lane, but the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team.
Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/Speed television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of the Richard Childress Racing #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of the Roush Fenway Racing #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges.
In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead, FL. The Wypall Wipers Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(2-19-2008) Comment here
- Riggs testing at Kentucky: the Kentucky Speedway site reports that #66 Scott Riggs is testing the Haas CNC Racing Chevy at the track today and Wed [Feb 19-20]. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway)(2-19-2008)
- Edwards Honored: Columbia, MO race car driver Carl Edwards was honored by Missouri senators for his NASCAR championship. Edwards brought his 2007 Busch Series trophy to the Capitol on Monday to pose for pictures and sign autographs for fans. He drew a standing ovation from senators who unanimously passed a resolution honoring his accomplishments. Dressed in a blue suit, white shirt and tie, Edwards looked more like a lawmaker than a NASCAR driver. But he assured that he has no political ambitions. "The biggest difference between racing and politics is racing is probably a little bit safer," Edwards quipped.(Kansas City Star)(2-19-2008) Comment here
- Don Miller comments about Newman's win: Monday on "SIRIUS Speedway" on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with Don Miller, former president of Penske Racing and mentor to Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman.
Don Miller: "That kid (Ryan Newman) is like my son. I couldn't care more for any individual that I know. He's just a great young man. We're really close
and our two families are really close. When he does well it really makes me extremely proud and yesterday I was just proud of everybody, the whole team and all the time we've spent putting it together and making it work."
On the outlook for Penske Racing for 2008: Don Miller: "I think they're going to be pretty tough all year long. We've got our Dodge engines running really, really good. We're making some really good power and I think that the reliability is back. And I know, in looking at the tests that both Kurt [Busch] and Ryan just completed out in California and in Las Vegas, they both ran really, really good. In fact, Ryan was quickest for quite a long time there in California. So I think they're going to be pretty
tough to deal with, those two guys, all year long. And I know, with a little bit more seat time, Sam [Hornish Jr.] is going to make it, too. He's a savvy cat. He's one of those guys that you probably have to spend a little bit more time whoaing him down than you do speeding him up because he's always looking for the edge. But he'll be fine. We just need a little more time with him and giving him these three or four races to get his feet on the ground is really great."
On the teamwork shown by the Penske teams during Sunday's race:
Moody: "The team concept, the Hendrick guys have gotten it forever, the Roush-Fenway guys have come to the dance on that, and it seems like now Penske Racing has really got the concept working at long last."
Miller: "Yeah. You know, I'll be very frank with you. We struggled getting the cooperation between our two drivers a couple of years back, as you know. It was difficult because even though you are in the same building and you've got two guys who really want to win, if they don't want to work together it makes everybody's life a little bit more difficult. But over the past couple of years that Ryan and Kurt [Busch] have been running together, they have built a really strong confidence situation as far as [one saying], 'Hey, if I'm in a position to help you, you know I'm going to help you.' And people that paid attention probably saw that quite a few times last year."
"SIRIUS Speedway" airs weekdays (3-7pm/et) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128.(Sirius PR)(2-19-2008) Comment here
News from February 18, 2008
- Daytona 500 Champion embarks on whirlwind media tour: After one of the most exciting Daytona 500s to date - one that saw 42 lead changes and 16 different leaders - the 2008 Daytona 500 champion will add a few more miles to his itinerary as he takes a whirlwind media tour beginning on Monday. Ryan Newman, driver of the #12 Alltel Dodge, will celebrate his victory in Sunday's "Great American Race" with several more media interviews including a few national television and radio appearances.
Monday's scheduled appearances started with the winning Daytona 500 Car Induction Ceremony at Daytona 500 Experience in the shadows of DIS and then the Champion's Breakfast where the winner will recall his victory to gathered media. Also on Monday were an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, interviews with Fox and Friends, Mike and Mike in the Morning, NASCAR Raceday and The Dan Patrick Show.
Tuesday, it's Live with Regis and Kelly, a luncheon with the New York media at the historic Waldorf Astoria and then off to Bristol, Conn., for interviews at ESPN's headquarters on SportsCenter, ESPN Radio, ESPN NEWS and ESPN.com. Newman will be on the set of NASCAR Now, ESPN’s daily NASCAR news and information program, when it airs Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 6:00pm/et. Newman will discuss his victory in the Sprint Cup season opener with host Ryan Burr.
Wednesday, Newman boards a plane and it's wheels up to the West Coast and California Speedway day in Los Angeles. The whirlwind tour concludes on Thursday with various west coast radio shows.(DIS PR)(2-18-2008) Comment here
- Daytona 500 early TV Ratings: Yesterday's 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Fox scored increased average audience, total audience and household ratings compared to a year ago, according to fast national figures released today by Nielsen Media Research. The 50th Daytona 500 earned a 10.2/20 household rating/share and averaged 17.8 million viewers, and both the rating and average audience are +1% better than a year ago (10.1/20, 17.5 million). It was also the second highest-rated and second most-watched 500 ever on Fox, trailing the 2005 race in both stats. 33.5 million Americans watched at least part of the Great American Race, a +2% improvement over 2007's 33.0 million. The Daytona 500 remains far and away the top-rated event in American motorsports. Yesterday's race more than doubled the rating of last year's Indianapolis 500 (+137% vs. 4.3/12). Fox's improved Daytona 500 rating completed a Speedweeks "triple play" as the Daytona 500 (+1%), Daytona Pole Qualifying (+4%), and Budweiser Shootout (+6%) all posted gains over the same events in 2007. This is the first time that all of Fox's Speedweeks programming has boasted a year-to-year increase.(Fox PR)(2-18-2008)
- Dodge re-ups with Penske and Ganassi: Dodge executives have taken team owners Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi out of the Toyota equation by signing new contracts with the two. That keeps Dodge with a four-team lineup, including Petty Enterprises and Gillett-Evernham. When Toyota first announced its NASCAR plans, there was considerable speculation that both Penske and Ganassi would eventually switch.(Winston Salem Journal)(2-18-2008)
- Commercial breakdown, driver focus, and links related to the 2008 Daytona 500:
Total number of commercials: 122
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 65
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 37
Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 4 min. 35
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:20 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:58 PM
Total minutes: 218
Minutes of race broadcast: 166
Minutes of commercials: 52
Number of missed restarts: 0
See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(2-18-2008)
- An extra million for Newman and the team: Teammates #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch gave Dodge its first ever 1-2 sweep in NASCAR’s premier event, the Daytona 500, winning the 50th running of the “Great American Race” Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. The Dodge Charger domination didn’t stop there. Six of the first eight positions were filled by Dodge drivers. Reed Sorenson finished fourth, Elliott Sadler fifth, Kasey Kahne sixth and Robby Gordon seventh. Chrysler Chairman and CEO Robert Nardelli met with Dodge team owners earlier Sunday and announced there would be a $1 million bonus for a Dodge victory. During a meeting with several members of the motorsports press later in the day, he predicted a Dodge victory. It was Newman’s first Daytona 500 victory and snapped an 81-race winless streak. He led four times for eight laps in the #12 Alltel Dodge Charger, but the most important was the final circuit. The win was also the first Daytona 500 victory for car owner Roger Penske, the most successful owner in open wheel history with 14 Indianapolis 500 victories. It was the first Daytona 500 win by a Dodge driver since Ward Burton visited victory lane in 2002. Newman collected $1,506,045 for the win plus the $1 million bonus from Dodge. Newman’s Dodge Charger will be inducted into the Daytona 500 Experience Monday where it will remain on display for one year. Following the induction ceremonies, Newman departs for New York for a media tour and then on to Las Angeles on Tuesday afternoon for more appearances.(Dodge Motorsports PR)(2-18-2008) Comment here
- Some stats: 32 cars finished on the lead lap at Daytona on Sunday, the most ever for a 500 mile oval race in Sprint Cup [the old record was the 2006 Daytona 500 at 31, there were 35 at Indy in 2005, 37 at Michigan in a rained shortened race [June 2006] and 34 for a road cource . All since the Lucky Dog came about in 2003.(2-18-2008)
- Former NBA Player seeking Cup team ownership: Former NBA star and current talk show host John Salley is in the preliminary stages of seeking ownership in the Sprint Cup Series. Salley, at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday for the "Best Damn Sports Show Period," said he's had discussions with at least one Cup team owner about becoming a financial partner. "I want to be a team owner," Salley said. "I want to be in this. I would help out with the money end and stand out front with a hat on." Salley was so impressed with his experience at the Daytona 500 that he would choose it over the NBA All-Star Game that also was scheduled Sunday. "I am so far away from the All-Star Game it's ridiculous," he said. "I've dunked on people. I've done it all. This is the best s--- I've seen in my life." Salley was particularly impressed with the amount of corporate sponsorship in the sport. When introduced to Ryan Pemberton, the crew chief for #00-David Reutimann, he couldn't help but notice all the sponsors on his shirt. "That's a lot of pimping here," Salley said. Salley, who stands out in the garage as a 6-foot-11 black man, said he's not looking to be a part of NASCAR's diversity program.
"This has nothing to do with diversity," he said. "Diversity is not something I want out of it. I've heard all the jokes about how black guys don't do NASCAR. That's amazing somebody would say that."(ESPN.com)(2-18-2008) Comment here
- GM Sticking with NASCAR: Despite reporting a record $38.7 billion loss in 2007, General Motors said it had no plans to eliminate its support of NASCAR. General Motors has dominated the series in recent years, with Chevrolet drivers having won the last three championships. “Obviously, the last racing we would drop in the racing that we’re in would be NASCAR right now, cause it’s still go the best return for us,” said John Middlebrook, the vice president for global sales and marketing for General Motors.)New York Times)(2-18-2008) Comment here
- Kyle Busch doing well in all three series: #18-Kyle Busch (fourth) is the second driver to be in the top 10 in points in all three of NASCAR’s national
series at the same time (Mike Wallace, 2003). Busch finished second in both the Craftsman Truck Series and Nationwide Series races.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-18-2008) Comment here
- Bubba In The Garage? Could James "Bubba" Stewart leave motocross to pursue a career in NASCAR? "I'm trying to convince him four wheels are better than two," said Max Seigel, the president of global operations at Dale Earnhardt Inc. Stewart was Siegel's guest on Sunday at Daytona, the first Cup event he has attended. The 22-year-old phenom said Siegel has "hinted around with it a lot" about putting him in a developmental program. "Yeah, I'd like to try it," he said. "Once I came down saw all the people, all the merchandise, that definitely interests me." Stewart reminded that there were five times as many people at the 500 [185,000] as there are at a motocross event.(ESPN.com)(2-18-2008) Comment here