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    FEBRUARY 18-24, 2008

      News from March 2, 2008

    • #99 Fails post race inspection at Las Vegas: been told the oil tank lid was not secured on the winning #99 Ford of Carl Edward's and found during post race inspection at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The car failed post race inspection and will keep the win, but will face points penalties and a fine. NASCAR usually announces penalties late Tuesday afternoons.(3-2-2008)
      MORE: The #99 car had a problem in the postrace inspection. The lid of the oil tank reservoir was off, so NASCAR officials are taking the car to the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Any possible penalties would come later this week, probably Tuesday. Five Nationwide Series teams were penalized for a similar violation at Daytona.( rule...the oil reservoir tank cover was not fastened securely, the five teams were penalized with the loss of 25 driver and owner championship points.(Jayski's Past NNS News page)(3-3-2008)

    • Edwards wins again: #99-Carl Edwards won the UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway winning his 2nd race in a row and 9th of his career, taking over the points lead with the win. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd followed by #16-Greg Biffle, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #9-Kasey Kahne, #6-David Ragan, #28-Travis Kvapil, #11-Denny Hamlin and #8-Mark Martin. Former points leader and pole sitter, #18-Kyle Busch finished 11th. #24-Jeff Gordon tangled with #17-Matt Kenseth with a few laps to go, going for 2nd place and crashed out, finishing 35th and falling to 22nd in points. 2007 Champ, #48-Jimmie Johnson was not a factor all race and finished 29th. $20-Tony Stewart crashed hard around lap 107 and finished 43rd/last. There were a record 11 cautions for 44 laps 2 laps short of a record] and 9 drivers led with 19 lead changes.
      See Reace results/Awards on Jayski's Las Vegas Race Results.(3-2-2008)

    • The Unofficial Points Standings [after Las Vegas, race 3 of 36]:
      1) #99-Carl Edwards 491
      2) #18-Kyle Busch 470 -21
      3) #12-Ryan Newman 450 -41
      4) #9-Kasey Kahne 440 -51
      5) #29-Kevin Harvick 428 -63
      6) #16-Greg Biffle 427 -64
      7) #31-Jeff Burton 421 -70
      8) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 371 -120
      9) #19-Elliott Sadler 368 -123
      10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 361 -130
      11) #20-Tony Stewart 355 -136
      12) #2-Kurt Busch 348 -143
      See updated points standing on Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Standings after Las Vegas.(3-2-2008)

    • Cup testing at Phoenix March 3-4: Sprint Cup Series testing at Phoenix International Raceway on Monday, March 3rd is open to the public, with free admission to fans holding a grandstand ticket to the April 12 Subway Fresh Fit 500 at PIR. The first 100 fans will receive autographed collector cards of driver and Phoenix native J.J. Yeley [#96 DLP Toyota]. Monday’s test sessions run from 9am to 9pm with hour breaks at noon and 5pm. Gate 7 will open for fans at 9am. April race tickets will be available for purchase at the Gate 7 ticket office. Tuesday’s [March 4th] sessions are closed to the public.(3-2-2008) Comment here

    • Latest on Buckshot: Last Monday morning, while many of his former NASCAR peers were preparing to run the rain-delayed Auto Club 500 in California, Buckshot Jones was working traffic, too. But he was on I-85, far from the hustle and bustle of Sprint Cup racing, chauffeuring his sons Kolton and Levin to school in Norcross. And even though his NASCAR career never reached its full potential, he wouldn't have it any other way. He's now earning his living as a land developer and spending quality time with his kids, something many NASCAR drivers have little time to do. Still, he said, there are some lingering regrets about his racing career, which essentially ended midway through the 2002 season when he was released at age 31 by Petty Enterprises.(See full story at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(3-2-2008) Comment here

    • Big George's ashes take a ride around the track: Mike Harmon was standing at the garage gate Thursday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, waiting for clearance to begin work on his Nationwide Series car, when a random lady approached with a bewildering request. She introduced herself as Mara Brodeur, an ardent race fan from Medford, Ore., who was camping in the infield with a group of friends for the race. But one of those friends was missing -- Big George. George Helms was a diehard. He loved NASCAR, dreamed of someday attacking the high-banks at Daytona or Bristol or Darlington. But he never got that chance. They called him Big George for a reason. He stood 6-foot-5 and weighed 400 pounds and thus couldn't fit in a racecar. So when Big George died last December -- of a heart attack at age 54 -- Mara set out to make certain his dream didn't die, too. "They had his ashes in an urn and wanted me to ride him around the racetrack," Harmon said, with a chuckle, as he stared at the ground as if to deflect the attention. As a whole, racecar drivers are a superstitious lot. Not many guys would do this, but Harmon has his reasons. He's cheated death. At Bristol Motor Speedway in 2002, Harmon narrowly escaped death in a crash during practice that Kenny Wallace called "the worst wreck in NASCAR history." And then there was history. Harmon was moved by a tribute performed by Top Fuel drag racer Brandon Bernstein at Bristol Dragway, when he placed the ashes of a fan in the parachute of his car during a race. So he took the urn and taped it to the fire extinguisher of his car, and there it rode for the entire practice session Friday afternoon. Afterwards, overcome with emotion, Big George's friends hugged Harmon and thanked him.( Comment here

    • After two races, some drivers doing well...others? Only one Sprint Cup driver has scored two top-5's in the first races of the 2008 season, #18-Kyle Busch; and only four drivers have scored two top tens: #18-Busch, #12-Ryan Newman, #20-Tony Stewart and #9-Kasey Kahne. #5-Casey Mears is the only driver who has DNF'd [did not finish] in the first two races. Five teams/drivers who were not in the top-35 of owners points at the end of 2007, are currently in the top-35 after two races: #2-Kurt Busch [traded #2 owners points with Penske's third team, #77-Hornish], #83-Brian Vickers, #00-David Reutimann, #44-Dale Jarrett and #55-Michael Waltrip. That means five teams who ended the 2007 in the top-35 and having a guaranteed spot: #28-Travis Kvapil, #22-Dave Blaney, #01-Regan Smith, #45-Kyle Petty and #5-Casey Mears [41 points out of 35th]. With three more races things can change.(3-1-2008) Comment here

    • Keller to stand by for Kahne: #9-Kasey Kahne was suffering through a sinus infection Saturday, but the illness didn't stop him from posting the fastest lap in Happy Hour. Kahne decided to skip the Sam's Town 300 Nationwide race Saturday because of his illness. Gillett Evernham Motorsports teammate Patrick Carpentier replaced Kahne in the #9 Nationwide entry. "After the first [Cup] practice, we knew we might do something to allow Kasey the time to get better for Sunday's race," said Mark McArdle, vice president of competition for GEM. "He's been taking fluids and getting plenty of rest." McArdle said they have Nationwide Series driver Jason Keller on stand-by just in case Kahne can't drive Sunday or needs to get out of the car before the end of the race.( Comment here

      News from March 1, 2008

    • R. Gordon may do 'the double' Indy 500/Coke 600 if he loses appeal: If Robby Gordon Motorsports loses its appeal next week of the penalty levied by NASCAR for a rules violation committed during Daytona Speedweek, Robby Gordon may choose to enter the Indianapolis 500. Robby Gordon Motorsports was penalized 100 points and fined $100,000 for installing an illegal nose on the #7 Dodge at the outset of Speedweek. Gordon told Friday that if his team loses the appeal, and is unable to rebound into Chase contention by May, he will attempt to run the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the same day. In the past, drivers -- including Gordon from 2002 to 2004 -- have attempted to run both races in the same day. But the races' start times in recent years have created logistical conflicts. "If the fine sticks, I will go to the Indianapolis 500," Gordon said. "The only way I wouldn't is if we're in a position to make the Chase in May." If indeed this happens, Gordon is uncertain whether he would field his own car or drive someone else's. Gordon does believe, though, that he has an excellent opportunity to win this appeal, which will be heard March 5 by the National Stock Car Commission in Daytona Beach, Fla. The part in question, the nose piece on the car, is not a NASCAR-certified part, Gordon said. It is distributed to the teams by the manufacturer, so Gordon said it amounts to a clerical error by someone not even on his team. The infraction was discovered during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500, before the car ever graced the racetrack. So Gordon believes the penalty is disproportionate. Gordon said the penalty also has hurt the perception of his team. Races remain on the schedule for which Gordon hasn't yet secured sponsorship. "When sponsors are looking at your team, perception is important," Gordon said. "This made us look bad."( Comment here

    • Drivers...throw a helmet, get $15k? TMS president Eddie Gossage said ticket sales for the Sprint Cup Samsung 500 on April 6 have been flat since Jan. 1, then made an announcement he hopes will increase the buzz. "I'm offering $15,000 to any driver who throws their helmet between now and the Samsung 500," Gossage said. The conditions: the helmet must be tossed in anger on the "field of competition," according to Gossage. And Gossage gets the helmet for his extensive office collection. While he acknowledged it was a tongue-in-cheek offer, he said he would definitely pay. NASCAR officials did not immediately return messages seeking comment.(Dallas Morning News)(3-1-2008) Comment here

    • Some inspection problems before qualifying: The Cup cars of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #48-Jimmie Johnson and #17-Matt Kenseth were forced to go through the inspection line twice after NASCAR officials found minor violations on their cars. NASCAR officials said the problems were not serious, but the crews of the #88 Chevy, the #48 Chevy and the #17 Ford were told to correct the problems and go back through the line. All three cars were on the track for the first practice session.( Comment here

    • Kyle Busch may run full NNS season: Kyle Busch said Friday he might change his plans and try to run the entire Nationwide Series schedule this season. "There's some thought about it," Busch said. "We'll see. I think the possibility is there, but I'm not going to do whatever it takes to get practice in the Nationwide car. I'm going to worry about the Cup stuff and show up to race the Nationwide car." Busch, who leads the Cup standings, ranks second in the Nationwide standings and second in the Craftsman Truck Series standings. He will not run the entire truck schedule. Busch said they would re-evaluate his schedule after the Nationwide race at Atlanta next weekend. "I believe Tony is going to skip that Atlanta race," Busch said. "So we'll probably be the [Nationwide] points leader coming out of that if everything goes right this weekend. Then we'll decide if we want to go to Mexico City or not. Right now, it's not on our list, but guys are calling to get a ride in our No. 20 car for that race, so I might be stealing somebody's ride."( Comment here

    • Las Vegas? 2nd race? banquet? Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith said Friday he hopes to add a second race date at SMI’s Las Vegas Motor Speedway next year, as well as persuade NASCAR to relocate its annual Sprint Cup awards banquet here [Las Vegas]. Last year, Smith floated the idea of moving the banquet from New York City, its home since 1981. He renewed calls to move the event again during his Friday press conference, citing high hotel prices and the ability to include fans in the event if it were held in Las Vegas. “I don’t know how y’all feel, but if you go there (New York) and you look at your hotel bill when you go up there, I looked at mine and it looked like my phone number,” said Smith. … “The time has come when we ought to do something different and the different thing would be to have it right here,” said Smith. But NASCAR is unlikely to award a new race date or move the banquet in the near future, said Ramsey Poston, managing director of corporate communications for NASCAR. “The schedule is full now,” said Poston. And as for the banquet, “We feel like it works well now in New York,” Poston said.( Comment here

    • Kentucky Derby scheme at 'Dega UPDATE: #44-David Reutimann is scheduled to run a special UPS Kentucky Derby paint scheme at Talladea Superspeedway in April.(1-27-2008)
      UPDATE: Churchill Downs and UPS are again teaming up to bring the horsepower of the Kentucky Derby to NASCAR, as the two companies today unveiled a special Kentucky Derby 134 paint scheme that will be featured on the #44 UPS Toyota Camry during the Aaron’s 499 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 27. The unveiling also launched the “Off to the Races Delivered by UPS” sweepstakes, which debuted in 2007. The online contest will provide one lucky fan with two tickets to the Aaron’s 499, as well as a special behind-the-scenes meeting with NASCAR driver David Reutimann, who will take over the #44 UPS Toyota Camry from the retiring Dale Jarrett next month. The prize package, which combines the excitement of NASCAR’s premier series with one of the most prestigious events in Thoroughbred racing, will also include two tickets to the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands at Churchill Downs on Saturday, May 3.(, see images of the scheme on my #44 Team Schemes page.(3-1-2008)

    • NASCAR and teams fighting counterfeiters: NASCAR, apparel company Motorsports Authentics and several teams have received an injunction over renegade merchandise, and at least 10 people have had unauthorized merchandise seized since the start of the 2008 season. The teams and NASCAR received a temporary restraining order Feb. 8 in U.S. District Court in Charlotte that allowed for the seizure of merchandise that infringed on their trademarks. On Thursday, the U.S. District Court issued a preliminary injunction against producers of counterfeit merchandise. Materials can be seized within a 10-mile radius of a track from 48 hours before qualifying to 24 hours after the completion of a race. Ten individuals were listed in the most recent order as violating the order. None of those individuals challenged the injunction during a hearing Thursday. Among the teams and drivers that joined NASCAR in the suit are Richard Childress Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Jeff Gordon, JR Motorsports, Rusty Wallace Inc., Penske Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Gillett Evernham Motorsports, Red Bull Racing, Michael Wlatrip Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing. NASCAR and/or teams occasionally file lawsuits in order to seize merchandise from unlicensed dealers.( Comment here

    • Happy Hour practice for the UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #9-Kahne 176.586
      #99-Edwards 176.298
      #15-Menard 176.240
      #24-Gordon 176.211
      #48-Johnson 176.108
      slowest: #70-Mayfield 171.320 and #27-Skinner 172.783
      wreck: #07-Bowyer lost it and smacked the outside wall, bounced off and came back down the track and backed into the inside wall. #45-Petty got into the #07 and did some damage to the left front of the #45. The #07 team is going to a backup car, looks like the same car he ran at California last week
      See all the speeds on my Las Vegas Practice Speeds page.(3-1-2008)

      News from February 29, 2008

    • Reutimann to Test at Infineon Raceway Next Week: Sprint Cup Series driver David Reutimann will visit Infineon Raceway for a one-day test session on Wednesday, March 5. Reutimann, who drives the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, has never competed in a Cup Series event on Infineon Raceway's 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course. He was replaced by road-course specialist P.J. Jones for the Sonoma Valley event in 2007. Reutimann will return to Infineon Raceway for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 20-22. For tickets, call 800-870-RACE or visit Raceway PR), Reutimann will test in a late model stock car with Chris Cook as the coach, last year Regan Smith tested an open-wheel Formula Russell car there.(2-29-2008)

    • Two Allstate / Kahne Commercials to air during Vegas race: Building on the popularity of the first three years of its "Allstate Girls" advertising campaign, Allstate, the official insurance sponsor of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, is kicking off the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season with the launch of two new television spots featuring #9-Kasey Kahne, the Allstate Girls, and for the first time on camera, a pairing of Kahne and Allstate spokesperson Dennis Haysbert. The commercials will debut March 2 during FOX's third Sprint Cup Series telecast of the season.(Allstate PR)(2-29-2008) Comment here

    • There’s Still Hope At Morgan-McClure: According to Larry McClure, co-owner of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, some folks with big bucks are coming through his Virginia race shop, allowing him to hold out hope that his team will return to Sprint Cup action. In January, the company, announced that it was ceasing operations due to lack of sponsorship. But McClure said Thursday that two Fortune 500 companies and one Latino group are considering sponsoring the #4 Chevy. One of those potential suitors, who McClure said he’s been in contact with on three separate occasions, will be visiting his Abingdon complex next week. Kodak left as the team’s primary sponsor after the 2003 season, and the sponsorship situation has been shaky, at best, since. [The potential sponsors] can afford to do this, and that’s the big thing,” McClure said. “A lot of people want to do it, and then, that’s what’s happened to us the last four or five years. We’ve gotten with people, but they were more wannabes than could-be’s. And then we ended up paying the price for it.” McClure said he has six COTs at the shop raring to go, and that with sponsorship his team can be more competitive than in the past for a couple of reasons. Before funding fell through, he said MMM had an agreement to be a satellite team for one of the “big three” Chevy operations in Cup for 2008 [Hendrick, Childress, DEI]. These kinds of pacts, most recently exhibited when Robby Gordon Motorsports switched to from Ford to Dodge to partner with Gillett-Evernham Motorsports, give a single-car owner some of the benefits of a multiple-car shop. McClure said a return to racing would be contingent on having that kind of alliance and seemed confident that that opportunity would still be there. In addition, McClure said the team had purchased engines from a team that was switching brands. (“You can imagine who that was,” McClure said.) Joe Gibbs Racing switched from Chevy to Toyota for the 2008 season. “We made a large investment to go really fast,” McClure said. The owner added that a realistic goal would be for the team to return at the midway part of the season if things go well.(Long Island Press)(2-29-2008) Comment here

    • Carmichael to run East series for Schrader: Motocross legend Ricky Carmichael will be running for a championship this season in the Camping World East Series for Ken Schrader Racing with backing from Hendrick Motorsports, his manager Scott Taylor said Thursday. Carmichael will be sponsored by Monster energy drink. Carmichael, 28, who retired from full-time motocross racing after 2006 is trying to make his way up the rungs of the stock racing ladder. Carmichael had been under contract as a driver last year with former Sprint Cup Series team owner Bobby Ginn and raced about 15 Late Model events around Florida last summer. Carmichael won 10 consecutive AMA national motocross championships from 1997 – 2006. Carmichael, who began competing in Motocross at age 5, said he was feeling unchallenged by Motocross when he made the decision to retire. He competed part time in 2007 but said his only interest now is as a test rider for Suzuki. The Camping World East Series runs 13 events this season. Carmichael may also run selected events in the Camping World West Series.(Hartford Courant) on ESPN2's NASCAR Now it was reported that DEI and Ricky Carmichael were trying to work on a deal to have Carmichael run the Camping World East Series, but they couldn't work out a deal and they parted ways.(2-29-2008) Comment here

    • Kyle Busch on pole at Las Vegas: #18-Kyle Busch won the Coors Light Pole for the UAW-Dodge 400 at his hometown track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a speed of 182.352mph for his 1st pole of 2008 and the 3rd of his career. #99-Carl Edwards [who won the last race at Calif] qualified second with the rest of the top-10 being: #8-Martin, #24-Gordon, #27-Skinner [best of the go-or-go homers], #16-Biffle, #66-Riggs, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #2-Busch and #19-Sadler. 2007 Cup champ qualified 33rd. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #27-Skinner, #2-Busch, #10-Carpentier, #00-Reutimann, #44-Jarrett, #49-Schrader, #55-Waltrip and #83-Vickers [gets the final spot on speed since the past champs prov was not needed by Busch or Jarrett]. For qualifying results and the starting lineup see my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(2-29-2008)

    • Four do not qualify [DNQ] for the UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: #84-Allmendinger, #78-Nemechek; #34-Andretti and #21-Sauter [who wrecked on his first lap. #08-Burney Lamar withdrew before qualifying.(2-29-2008)

    • Garmin signs with GEM as a sponsor on #19: Garmin International Inc. announced that it will become an associate sponsor of the #19 Gillett Evernham Motorsports team in the 2008 Sprint Cup series with driver Elliott Sadler. Electronics retailer Best Buy is the car's primary sponsor. Garmin is partnering with Best Buy Racing for the second year in a row. The #19 car will sport a prominent Garmin logo that will also be found on driver and crew uniforms, and it will appear on other supporting vehicles throughout the 2008 race season. During the season, an interactive Garmin kiosk will be available in the Best Buy Fun Zone Technology truck as it makes race day appearances. Garmin will serve as the primary sponsor when NASCAR heads to Dover on June 1, 2008, and on September 28, when drivers compete at Kansas Speedway. Garmin is the premier provider of GPS (Global Positioning System) enabled devices and a leading designer and manufacturer of consumer electronics.(PR Newswire)(2-29-2008)

    • Former motorcoach driver re-files discrimination suit: David Scott, a black motorcoach driver who worked for Penske Racing, has re-filed his discrimination complaint against NASCAR stemming from a highly publicized 1999 incident at New Hampshire International Speedway. The incident occurred when Scott was greeted by a pair of motorcoach drivers, one of whom was wearing a white pillow case over his head as if he were a member of the Ku Klux Klan. NASCAR indefinitely suspended the two motorcoach drivers involved. Scott claims NASCAR and sister company International Speedway Corp. discriminated against him by not granting him a vendor contract he sought and that NASCAR discriminated against him for not following through with an alleged promise to hire him following the incident. The new suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, lists NASCAR, ISC, NASCAR President Mike Helton and former Chief Operating Officer George Pyne as defendants and claims $40 million in damages. Scott had to re-file the lawsuit after a judge ruled in January that the statute of limitations had passed for other allegations. The new complaint details conversations between Scott and Helton and Scott and Pyne in the days and months after the incident where he says he was promised a job by NASCAR. In past court filings, NASCAR says that Scott was given several work opportunities that were declined and he was not qualified for the racing official job he wanted. In the new complaint, Scott alleges that NASCAR and ISC conspired with Penske Racing to keep him from suing – he had signed a severance agreement with Penske where he was given a two-year severance package as long as he didn’t talk about the incident nor sue. He alleges the confidentiality agreement was broken because Pyne knew about the agreement. Scott claims damages of $10 million and asks for punitive damages against NASCAR, ISC, Pyne and Helton of $27 million. He indicated he also has incurred legal costs of $3 million.( Comment here

    • ASA creates new short track national championship; JGR test part of prize: The American Speed Association (ASA) is breaking new ground once again, by unveiling plans for an innovative Short Track National Championship. The new plan allows competitors in any ASA Member Track's premier division to compete against each other, regardless of geographical location. ASA will create East and West divisions, with an ASA Short Track Divisional Champion crowned in each. The one driver who accumulates the most points will be named the ASA Short Track National Champion. With the title comes a cash reward, and the ultimate dream - a test session with Joe Gibbs Racing.( Comment here

    • "Dale" the best selling sports DVD: "Dale," the NASCAR Media Group/CMT Films documentary film about the life of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, is believed to be the highest-selling sports DVD ever, according to Jay Abraham, the chief operating officer of NASCAR Media Group. "To best of our knowledge, it's the largest selling sports DVD," Abraham said. contacted Billboard Magazine and its DVD-sales tracker, Nielsen VideoScan, to confirm the report, but those outlets don't track Wal-Mart sales. To date "Dale" has only been available at Wal-Mart stores. Not that that hasn't proven successful. According to Abraham, the film has moved more than 800,000 copies. And it promises to get better. Electronics stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City will begin selling the movie soon.( Comment here

    • Las Vegas Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be running the same tire codes at Las Vegas this weekend . . . this is the first time that teams have run a race on either of these two tire codes . . . teams in these two series did run these codes during open testing at Las Vegas in January . . . Goodyear's tire recommendation for this year's Las Vegas events offers an increase in traction over the tire combination for last year's repaved surface. . . the 2008 tire combination incorporates improvements found during Goodyear's tire test in December . . . the tread compound for the left side tire offers a significant increase in traction, and the revised left side construction has consistently demonstrated more predictable response . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Las Vegas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage (Sprint Cup).(Goodyear PR), see the full report, codes, pressures on my Las Vegas Race Info page and also the Tire Notes by Tracks page.(2-29-2008)

      News from February 28, 2008

    • Official - IRL and Champ Car unify: Indy Racing League CEO Tony George shared in the relief and reveled in the significance the past five days. On Feb. 27, George joined Champ Car World Series co-owner Kevin Kalkoven at a news conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway to celebrate the accord and provide additional information about the fast-approaching 13th IndyCar Series season and beyond. The season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway March 29.(

    • California considering reconfiguring to a restrictor-plate track UPDATE denied: The Fontana [Auto Club (formerly California) Speedway] facility needs to do something to change its image. Rebuilding the racing surface to make it a new version of Talladega or Daytona would brings loads of attention and far better action on the track. Of course, there are some issues, like money. We're talking millions of dollars to reconfigure the racetrack. Texas Motor Speedway rebuilt its 1.5-mile oval in 1998 at a cost of $3 million. The cost of this project would double that amount, at least. The price tag to do it might be as high as $10 million. Not cheap, but goodness knows ISC can afford it. And Fontana officials may need to rebuild the turns anyway because of the water seepage issues that caused problems last weekend. But plate racing is NASCAR's version of torture for many drivers. They hate racing in large packs inches apart with little throttle response from the choked-down engines. However, it is exciting to watch, which is why many fans can't wait to see every plate event. Tell the people in Southern California they have the modern version of Talladega and you have something to sell. Auto Club Speedway, which hasn't managed to sell out its two Cup races, needs a dramatic change. There's nothing more dramatic in NASCAR than restrictor-plate racing.(see full story and quotes by Michael Waltrip at
      AND Auto Club Speedway President Gillian Zucker said Monday that engineers will arrive this week to determine what can be done to correct drainage problems on the 2-mile track. Water seeping up through seams in the asphalt played havoc with track drying efforts during the Auto Club 500 race weekend, delaying the completion of the Sprint Cup Series race by one day. The seepage, referred to as “weepers,” was also blamed for two accidents during the early laps of the Cup event. “A leaky race track is unacceptable,” Zucker said. “We will have engineers here [Tuesday], and we will fix it.”(, plus a report refuting the restrictor plate news at FoxSports, their pole is 20% in favor)
      MORE: Auto Club Speedway president Gillian Zucker said engineers are on their way to the Fontana track to take a look at what was behind the "weeper" problem that plagued the Auto Club 500 this past weekend. Weepers are caused when ground water starts to leak through cracks in the pavement. They were blamed for causing two crashes in the opening laps of the rain delayed race, involving Dale Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears and Deny Hamlin. She said it's not known at this time if construction will be necessary or if future events will have to be postponed or rescheduled.(Orange Country Register)(2-27-2008)
      UPDATE: Gillian Zucker, president of Auto Club Speedway, believes reconfiguring the 2-mile Fontana, Calif., oval into a restrictor-plate track is an idea worth considering seriously. "I love it," Zucker said Tuesday. "It's a game-changer. Michael Waltrip told me his idea about it Saturday night. It was funny at first, but I thought, 'Sure. Why not?' " Zucker said they are going to rebuild part of the racing surface to repair the water seepage problems, commonly known as weepers, that arose last weekend. Heavy rain caused water to push up through the seams in the turns. "If we are going to tear it up anyway to fix the drainage, let's make it a lot more interesting," Zucker said. "It could be a very dramatic thing for us." Zucker said she hasn't spoken to anyone at NASCAR or International Speedway Corp., the track's parent company, about the idea yet. Zucker said she wants to know what fans think before she makes a decision.(
      UPDATE 2: A senior spokesman for track operator International Speedway Corp. said Wednesday that there are no plans to turn Auto Club Speedway into a restrictor-plate configuration or otherwise modify the layout of the 2.0-mile facility that hosts two NASCAR race weekends annually. ISC owns the track and ultimately would be the entity approving and paying for any track changes. But none are forthcoming, an ISC official confirmed. But Wes Harris, ISC’s senior director, corporate and investor communications, said Wednesday there are no plans for such an extreme and costly makeover. In fact, Harris said, it isn’t even in the discussion phase, nor is it likely to be.( Comment here

    • Las Vegas Rookie Notes: For the first time in NASCAR’s modern-era (since 1972), three drivers share the lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings: Sam Hornish, Jr., Dario Franchitti and Regan Smith. Each driver has 20 points entering the March 2 UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. By leading the Auto Club 500 once for one lap, Franchitti became the first Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the Sprint Cup Series this season. He was one of 15 different drivers to lead the race. Smith was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the February 24 Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway, scoring a 31st-place finish. Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne share the best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in 10 previous Cup Series races at Las Vegas. Busch placed second in 2005, 1.661 seconds behind race winner Jimmie Johnson while Kahne finished second in 2004, 3.426 seconds behind winner Matt Kenseth. Ryan Newman was the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five at Las Vegas, claiming a fourth-place finish in 2002. Only three Raybestos Rookies have scored top-five finishes at Las Vegas: Busch, Kahne and Newman. In 2000, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-10 finish at Las Vegas. He was also the first Raybestos Rookie driver to lead a lap (four times for 42 laps). The most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie at Las Vegas is 49 by Newman in 2002.(Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR), see full rookie notes, history and more on my Rookies Page.(2-28-2008)

    • Sadler running the flames scheme at Vegas: This weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the #19 Stanley Dodge of Elliott Sadler won't be hard to find. The team will debut the Stanley Tool paint scheme on the Gillett Evernham Motorsports entry with red, yellow and orange flames on a black #19 background.(GEM PR), see my #19 Team Schemes page for some images of the car.(2-28-2008)

    • Labonte and The King go snowmobiling: Communication between driver and crew chief is one of the most important factors in developing a successful race team. This takes time to develop and can only be accomplished by both driver and crew chief working to get to know each other. Bobby Labonte and Jeff Meendering, driver and rookie crew chief on the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, are attempting to accelerate this learning process. After the extended race weekend in Fontana, Labonte and Meendering broke away from racing to have some fun and find out more about each other. The two, along with "The King" Richard Petty, visited "The King's" Alpine, Wyoming home to ride snowmobiles. It is trips like these that promote a great relationship between the driver and crew chief.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(2-28-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR heads to South America in March: Brian France and a contingent of NASCAR executives will visit Colombia next month together with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates officials to support Juan Pablo Montoya's charity Foundation. Montoya and his wife Connie will host the executives, which will include members of Kyle Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp. One of the visits will be to Montoya's Formula Smiles Foundation in Cartagena on March 10. "NASCAR's visit to Colombia is something extremely important for both Formula Smiles and our country," Montoya said. "Being part of the NASCAR community has enabled us to raise thousands of dollars that have permitted us to continue helping under-privileged kids in my home country. This visit gives us the opportunity to show the NASCAR community what we do and educate them on the reality of the situation in our country, and why we need as much support as possible." NASCAR will donate $25,000 through the NASCAR Foundation to Montoya's charity, which helps children in need throughout Colombia educating them in sports to improve their quality of life. "On behalf of the NASCAR community I am proud to have the opportunity to work with caring people like Juan Pablo and Connie Montoya," said NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France. "Their efforts, like so many driver charities, benefit those less fortunate and in need. Formula Smiles is a terrific charity that will help children to excel in both academics and athletics." In 2003 and 2005, Montoya staged the Race of Stars karting event in Cartagena, where Formula One, IRL and Champ Car drivers competed to help raise funds for his charity's projects.(Cup Scene Daily)(2-28-2008) Comment here

    • Boy Scouts turn 100 in 2010, could include NASCAR: The Boy Scouts of America, about to turn 100, have turned to one of their own as part of a marketing campaign to celebrate the anniversary and try to reverse a membership slide. A logo designed by Philip Goolkasian, a 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Fresno, Calif., was picked from more than 4,000 entries for anniversary events. The 100th anniversary is still two years away. It will be marked at the 2010 Jamboree in Fort A.P. Hill, Va. — the quadrennial event was pushed back a year to coincide with the anniversary. Scouting officials expect the event to draw 100,000 Scouts and visitors, and they plan to arrange satellite feeds to beam the proceedings around the country to boys who can't make the trip to Fort Hill. In the meantime, the Irving, Texas-based organization is looking to strike partnership deals with NASCAR and a half-dozen major corporations to promote its work. It hired a public-relations firm, and budgeted more than $4 million for the anniversary and events leading up to it.(Associated Press)(2-28-2008) Comment here

    • Sad News - Boyd Coddington: Car-building legend Boyd Coddington, whose testosterone-injected cable TV reality show "American Hot Rod" introduced the nation to the West Coast hot rod guru, has died. He was 63. Coddington died at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in suburban Whittier at 6:20 a.m. Wednesday. His La Habra office spokeswoman Amanda Curry wouldn't disclose the cause of death. Coddington, who started building cars when he was 13 and once operated a gas station in Utah, set a standard for his workmanship and creativity, with his popular "Cadzilla" creation considered a design masterpiece. The customized car based on a 1950s Cadillac was built for rocker Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Coddington was a machinist by trade, working at Disneyland during the day and tinkering with cars in his home garage at night and on weekends. His rolling creations captured the imagination of car-crazy Southern Californians and soon he was building custom cars and making money. Most often, he customized 1932 Ford "little deuce coupes." Coddington also surrounded himself with talent. Alumni from his shop include Jesse James and Chip Foose, who went on to open their own shops and star in reality TV shows. Coddington twice won the Daimler-Chrysler Design Excellence Award and he was inducted into the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame, the National Rod & Custom Museum Hall of Fame and the Route 66 Wall of Fame.(San Francisco Chronicle/AP))(2-28-2008)

    • Federal-Mogul Introduces NASCAR MOOG ‘Problem Solver of the Race’ Award: Federal-Mogul Corporation’s MOOG brand of steering and suspension components has established a weekly and annual awards program to honor the best-performing crew chief following each 2008 Sprint Cup Series event and at the conclusion of the 2008 season. The MOOG “Problem Solver of the Race” Award, presented for the first time following the season-opening Daytona 500 to Pat Tryson of Penske Racing, builds upon the brand’s decades-long leadership in all forms of NASCAR competition. Every NASCAR Cup Champion since 1966 has driven to victory using MOOG steering and suspension products. The Problem Solver of the Race Award is presented to the crew chief whose team finishes in the top 10 and posts the largest increase in average lap speed from the first half to second half of a race. “This level of improvement is commonly due to the crew chief’s work in solving a variety of chassis issues and other problems that exist earlier in the race,” Nelson explained.(

      News from February 27, 2008

    • Noting the UAW-Dodge 400
      Only seven drivers have competed in all 10 Sprint Cup events at LVMS. They are Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett, Sterling Marlin, Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte and Joe Nemechek.
      No driver has ever won the UAW-Dodge 400 from the pole position.
      Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to start in the top five and win. He won from the third starting spot in 2006.
      Jack Roush has posted wins at LVMS with three different drivers (Martin, J. Burton and Kenseth).
      Chip Ganassi, who won with Sterling Marlin in 2002, is the only car owner other than Roush or Hendrick to win at LVMS.
      Jeff Burton (2000) is the only driver to sweep both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide races at LVMS.
      Jeff Burton also is the only driver running at the finish of every Sprint Cup event at LVMS.
      Juan Pablo Montoya used LVMS as his test track before winning the 2000 Indianapolis 500.
      Both Sam Hornish Jr. and Patrick Carpentier will be making their first stock-car starts at LVMS. Hornish competed at LVMS in the IRL in 1999 and 2000, while Carpentier competed in Champ Car races in 2004 and 2005.
      Carpentier is the only current Las Vegas resident competing in the Sprint Cup Series. Brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch were born in Las Vegas but now reside in North Carolina. There will be three former Indy 500 winners in the race (Dario Franchitti, Juan Pablo Montoya and Hornish)(2-27-2008)

    • Wood skips Vegas, Sauter to run #21: Jon Wood told Mike Bagley and David Poole this morning on "The Morning Drive" (Sirius NASCAR Radio 128) that he will step aside for this weekend's Sprint Cup UAW Dodge 400 at Las Vegas. Jon feels he is not ready to drive his family's car this weekend due to lack of experience in NASCAR's new race car. He has elected to take a pass and let Johnny Sauter take the wheel. The Wood Brothers decided to put Sauter in the car because they feel he is the best qualifier that was available. Bill Elliott was unavailable for this weekend's event due to other commitments. Wood's next Sprint Cup race is scheduled to be the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowes Motor Speedway in May.(Sirius NASCAR Radio)(2-27-2008) Comment here

    • Bad Boys Mowers is back on the #27: The #27 Toyota Camry of Mike Skinner will feature the decals of Bad Boy Mowers again this weekend. 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. Visit for more information.(BDR PR), see an image of the car on my #27 Team Schemes page.(2-27-2008)

    • Special scheme on the #43 at Vegas MORE: This weekend at Las Vegas Bobby Labonte is running a special Cheerios "Circle of Helping Hearts" paint scheme on the #43 Petty Racing Dodge. More info about at Racing PR)(2-27-2008)
      MORE: Bobby Labonte knows the importance of a number. He races the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, one of the most famous and recognizable numbers in the history of the sport. Veteran media members, Wendy Venturini [SPEED Channel Reporter], Jenna Fryer [Associated Press Motorsports Journalist] and Krista Voda [Fox Sports Pit Road Reporter/SPEEDtrucks host] are also familiar with an important number. They each know that their cholesterol number is vital for them to continue to live a strong and healthy life. This weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Venturini, Fryer and Voda will be wearing Cheerios “Circle of Helping Hearts” stickers to help raise awareness for women to “Know Your Number” and get cholesterol checks. Women’s heart disease is the number one killer among women today, making it more important for all females to “Know Your Number” and help take care of their heart. The Cheerios racing team will be doing their part on the track. Labonte will carry the “Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts” logo on the hood for this weekend’s race. The “Cheerios Circle of Helping Hearts” is a reminder to help a heart and make a difference. Fans can enter a code found inside specially marked boxes of Cheerios cereal or on containers of 8th Continent soy milk. Cheerios and 8th Continent will donate a $1.00 for each code entered. Through the code program, Cheerios and 8th Continent soy milk will donate up to $300,000 to WomenHeart, the nation’s only patient advocacy organization serving women with heart disease, to provide free cholesterol screening for communities of women in need. Together with 8th Continent soy milk, Cheerios is donating an additional $200,000 to WomenHeart, bringing the total possible contribution to $500,000.(Breaking Limits/General Mills PR)(2-27-2008) Comment here

    • Pop Tarts featured on #5 at Vegas: This weekend, Pop-Tarts, Kellogg's most popular morning food product, will adorn the hood of the #5 Chevy of Casey Mears for the first time. The Pop-Tarts brand, created in the early 1960s, is more than 40 years old, putting the product in the same age bracket as just six members of the #5 team, which averages a very young 34 years old.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(2-27-2008) Comment here

    • USG scheme returns to the #17: MattKenseth will run the USG Sheetrock paint scheme on the #17 Ford at Las Vegas on Sunday for the first of three times this season. The other two USG Sheetrock races in 2008 are Chicago in July and Atlanta in October.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), see the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(2-27-2008) Comment here

    • Toyota Doing Better in 2008: With #18-Kyle Busch and #20-Tony Stewart leading the way, Toyota is putting its 2007 struggles in the past. Toyotas have now led 155 laps in the first two Sprint Cup races this year, with 17 at Fontana and 138 at Daytona. They led 166 laps in 16 CoT races all of last year.(Press Enterprise)(2-27-2008) Comment here

    • Thousands of Fans "Stand Up for Robby" with Jim Beam: Jim Beam Bourbon announced the brand will continue the "Stand Up for Robby" initiative, begun this past weekend at Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. Originally intended to be a one-weekend show of support for Gordon and the team, overwhelming fan reaction has encouraged Jim Beam to continue the campaign enabling fans to offer their opinions and sign a petition requesting NASCAR reduce or overturn recent penalties imposed against the #7 Jim Beam Dodge race team. "Standing up for what is right is more than a philosophy for Jim Beam, it is a mantra we live by," said Sam Seiller, Senior Director, Whiskies Group, Beam Global Spirits & Wine. "Getting behind our driver is the right thing to do in this situation. We are pleased to see so many fans on the same page and voicing their support for a guy who showed grit, determination and character in driving to an 8th-place finish in the Daytona 500." Gordon and the #7 Dodge race team last week filed an appeal to NASCAR officials in response to a 100-point penalty and six-race suspension and $100,000 fine for crew chief Frank Kerr announced by NASCAR. Fans attending last weekend's NASCAR events in Fontana, Calif. and throughout the country were encouraged via a grassroots and online public relations effort to join the "Stand up for Robby" cause. To date, more than 8,500 fans have visited and signed a petition to be distributed to NASCAR in advance of the appeal hearing. Upon the team's notification of the appeal hearing date, Jim Beam will announce the timing of submission of the petition to NASCAR officials. In addition to circulating the petition and distributing the letter to NASCAR, Jim Beam printed and distributed "Rally for Robby" t-shirts to fans in attendance during the NASCAR race weekend at Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. Throughout the race weekend, fans wearing the shirts showed their support for the #7 Jim Beam team. Gordon expressed appreciation for the encouragement provided by Jim Beam and fans throughout the country, and said his team's focus is on competing well on the track and awaiting a fair hearing at the appeal. "It's great to know we have a sponsor like Jim Beam that has our back," said Gordon. "Jim Beam has stuck by our race team for four years and believes we made an honest mistake. I'm also happy to see fans jumping onboard to support our team." At track and online activities will continue this week as the Sprint Cup Series visits Las Vegas. Fans attending the events can buy "Rally for Robby" shirts at the Robby Gordon Motorsports merchandise hauler. Fans elsewhere looking to show their support can purchase the t-shirts and sign the petition online at Beam Racing PR)(2-27-2008) Comment here

    • 2nd Thoughts by Reiser UPDATE: For the past 12 years, between the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, Robbie Reiser [former #17 crew chief] was in the midst of the buzz as Kenseth's crew chief. His adrenalin would be flowing in anticipation of all the calls he would have to make to get his driver into Victory Lane. "I don't like it that much," he said of his new job as general manager at Roush Fenway Racing. "If somebody came up and said you can do your old job again, I'd probably take it in a heartbeat." Daytona was Reiser's first weekend in his new role. He spent most of Sunday bouncing between each of team owner Jack Roush's five haulers, making sure the crew chiefs had everything they needed for the Daytona race and this weekend's Sprint Cup race at California Speedway. Reiser says he'll give this role a few months before deciding if it'll become permanent. If he decides it's not for him, he won't hesitate to look for another crew chief job, at Roush Racing or another organization. "When we get to April and May, I'll look at it," Reiser said. "If I still can't stand it, I'll go talk to Jack." Adjusting to all the management meetings has been Reiser's toughest chore. He would rather have his head under the hood getting his hands greasy than pushing a pencil.(full story and more at
      UPDATE: Former crew chief Robbie Reiser, who now oversees Roush Fenway Racing's Cup program, told last week that he doesn't like his new role as general manager. Car owner Jack Roush was asked about Reiser's comments Monday. "He's not yet got comfortable with his new job,'' Roush said. "One of the things that happens is that between the driver and me, there's a crew chief. [He] would intercede for the driver and, by the same token, the driver would intercede for the crew chief if things aren't as they might be. Right now, it's Robbie and I. There's no buffer. Some days I think that may be not as comfortable as what he had. He's got a real big job. He's doing a good job at it. If he had a choice today between going back and being a crew chief and being a manager, he'd probably go back, but we're not going to give him that choice.''(Roanoke Times)(2-27-2008) Comment here

    • Nicorette scheme for the #24 at Las Vegas UPDATE: Jeff Gordon will run the special #24 DuPont Nicorette Chevy paint scheme for the first of six races in 2008 at Sunday's UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "It is rewarding to be involved with a sponsor such as Nicorette that focuses on making a difference in people's lives and helping people achieve better health by quitting smoking," said Gordon. "Nicorette continues to be an excellent partner and I look forward to a big weekend in the special DuPont Nicorette paint scheme at Las Vegas." The special paint scheme coincides with one of the most unique sponsorships in motorsports history with Nicorette helping race fans and crew members quit smoking through its QUIT Crew program. Nicorette's QUIT Crew program is currently helping over 300 NASCAR team members from 19 different racing organizations quit smoking through counseling, support, and the proper use of the smoking cessation products Nicorette, NicoDerm CQ and Commit. Quit smoking support is also available to NASCAR fans throughout race weekend at Nicorette's interactive Winner's Circle Exhibit located in the LVMS fan area. At the exhibit, Nicorette's certified smoking cessation coaches will be on hand to provide individuals with free, quit smoking counseling. For more information about Nicorette's racing program and on how to quit smoking, visit Marketing PR)(2-26-2008)
      UPDATE: Gordon is scheduled to drive the #24 DuPont/Nicorette Chevy at Las Vegas, Phoenix [4/12], Chicago [7/12], Richmond [9/6], Atlanta [10/26] and Texas [11/2]. Nicorette also sponsors the Nicorette 300 Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 8. see an image of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page.(2-27-2008) Comment here

      News from February 26, 2008

    • Osborne named WYPALL Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race” in California: Bob Osborne, crew chief of the #99 DISH Network/Office Depot Ford Fusion driven by Carl Edwards, was named “Crew Chief of the Race” Monday in Fontana, California for his team’s win in the Auto Club 500. Bob, who is a 2008 WYPALL Wipers crew chief representative, made the WYPALL brand proud Monday leading his team to a dominant win in the rain delayed two-day affair. Osborne will receive a $1,000 check as a result of his leadership and strategic thinking during the race. 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 Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto PR)(2-26-2008) Comment here

    • Lots of Jet Fuel used at Calif: During the weekend, the jet dryers that circled Auto Club Speedway for more than 10 hours during several rain delays consumed more than 6,500 gallons of fuel. They burned 3,000 gallons on Sunday night as they tried in vain to dry the track. There were reports that the track ran out of fuel and had to have some trucked in from nearby Ontario International Airport on Sunday night. What could an airline do with that much fuel? According to Virgin Atlantic Airlines statistics, a Boeing 737-800 can fly 3,383 miles on 6,875 gallons of fuel. Jet dryers from Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Sonoma's Infineon Raceway were used during the weekend.(Orange County Register)(2-26-2008) Comment here

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Auto Club 500
      Total number of commercials: 143
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 61
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 50
      Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 26
      Sunday, February 24, 2008
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 6:00 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 9:30 PM
      Monday, February 25, 2008
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 1:00 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 3:15 PM
      Total minutes: 343
      Minutes of race broadcast: 273
      Minutes of commercials: 70
      Number of missed restarts: 1 (and two near misses)
      See full report and breakdown at CawsnJaws.(2-26-2008) Comment here

    • Kyle Busch having quite a 2008 start: #18-Kyle Busch had quite a weekend ... again. Busch logged top 5 finishes in the Truck, Nationwide and Cup races in California. Busch pulled of the same feat at Daytona a week ago, making him the first driver to do so since Mark Martin in 1996. Terry Labonte did it in 1995. Busch is also the first driver to ever lead the Cup and Truck standings at the same time.( Comment here

    • California Rookie Notes: #01-Regan Smith claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the first time this season. He was credited with a 31st-place finish. For the first time in NASCAR’s modern era, three drivers are tied for the lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings in the Sprint Cup Series. Smith, #40-Dario Franchitti and #77-Sam Hornish Jr. all have 20 points entering next week’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. By leading the Auto Club 500 once for one lap, Franchitti became the first Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the Sprint Cup Series this season. He was one of 15 different drivers to lead the race. He is the first Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the Auto Club 500 since J.J. Yeley led once for two laps in 2006.(Raybestos/Camp & Assoc PR), see my Rookies Page for how rookies are scored, history and more.(2-26-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR Angels TV show's Las Vegas episode to include School racing program: NASCAR Angels, a nationally-syndicated half-hour weekly TV show, will be filming at the Dr. C. Owen Roundy Elementary School in Las Vegas on February 25. The filming will include the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model driven at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by Jim Petrie of Henderson. NASCAR Angels is syndicated in 200 markets and focuses on helping people in need with car repairs from brakes to complete overhauls. While in Las Vegas, they will help the entire staff of Roundy Elementary with new tires and oil changes for their vehicles. Petrie's H-Town Racing team kicked off its Race to Success reading program last September at Roundy Elementary and Sewell Elementary. The program concludes with the Race to Success Reading Program Night at The Bullring at LVMS on May 10.(PR)(2-26-2008) Comment here

      News from February 25, 2008

    • Edwards wins at California: #99-Carl Edwards won the Auto Club at Auto Club Speedway for his first win of 2008 and 8th win of his career. Edwards led 64 of 250 laps [#48-Johnson led the most]. #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd followed by #24-Jeff Gordon, #18-Kyle Busch [new points leader], #17-Matt Kenseth, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #20-Tony Stewart, #29-Kevin Harvick, #9-Kasey Kahne and #12-Ryan Newman. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished the race after his early race wreck and finished 40th, 47 laps down. There were 33 lead changes among 15 drivers and 12 caution flags for 44 laps.
      See some notes and lucky dogs posted on my California Race Info Page
      Race Results on my California Race Results/Awards Page
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after California page(2-25-2008)

    • The Unofficial Points Standings [after California, race 2 of 36]:
      1) #18-Kyle Busch 335
      2) #12-Ryan Newman 329 -6
      3) #20-Tony Stewart 316 -19
      4) #2-Kurt Busch 299 -36
      5) #99-Carl Edwards 296 -39
      6) #9-Kasey Kahne 294 -41
      7) #29-Kevin Harvick 268 -67
      8) #48-Jimmie Johnson 267 -68
      9) #16-Greg Biffle 262 -73
      10) #31-Jeff Burton 261 -74
      11) #83-Brian Vickers 257 -78
      12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 253 -82
      of note: #7-Gordon is now 32nd, without the 100pt penalty
      Gordon would be 12th
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after California page.(2-25-2008)

    • NASCAR defends postponing races at Calif: NASCAR officials felt they were always on the brink of getting the Auto Club 500 resumed late Sunday night at Auto Club Speedway but finally had to give up battling the weepers and dew at about 1:55am/et. NASCAR spent 4 hours, 42 minutes trying to dry the track. “The places that got dry, by the time [workers] got back to them on another lap, 20 minutes or so later with another set of dryers, it had already picked up moisture again,” a dejected NASCAR Vice President Robin Pemberton said as the cars were being rolled into the Sprint Cup Series garage. “It was dew basically. The weepers will always be an issue – at a lot of race tracks that we go to, we have that from time to time. But even just on the regular surface, it was quite wet.” A chorus of boos rang from the few thousand fans who had waited out the rain. NASCAR had spent about four hours drying the track. “It quit raining, and we owe it to the fans who are here to try to do our best to get the show in,” Pemberton said. “Many times it’s only an hour, an hour and a half to try to dry the race track, and we worked at it 4 1/2 hours and still couldn’t get it dry. … Tonight, it just didn’t work out. We could have stayed after it and maybe have gotten it in another couple of hours and [the East Coast] could have watched us while they ate breakfast. But that wasn’t going to be fair, either. You just try. You try, you think you’re making a dent in it, and it just went south on us.” Another issue was that NASCAR already had postponed the Nationwide Series event to Monday. “Trying to put on two shows tomorrow isn’t going to be easy either, but we’re going to do it,” Pemberton said Sunday night. “To try to get one show in today is what our goal is going to be.” Pemberton knows NASCAR will receive criticism for waiting so long before postponing the event. “You can be upset at us for trying if you want to be, and that’s fair, but we’re always going to put our best foot forward,” Pemberton said. “With the lights here and everything, we thought we could get it pulled off, and it didn’t work.”(SceneDaily)(2-25-2008) Comment here or Conversation: Auto Club Speedway

    • Some Engine News: Hendrick Motor Sports had apparently found a way to squeeze more power out of their engines, according to dyno numbers, but actually had to dial back some. Yet, it’s not Hendrick that has Cory DeMarco, front tire changer for Yates Racing. "Toyota has the most power out there right now," DeMarco said during one of the several rain delays the NASCAR Sprint Cup series endured trying to get the Auto Club 500 concluded Sunday night at the newly renamed Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. "Especially now that they have Gibbs [Racing] on board; those guys are doing most of the engine development." DeMarco is pleased with the strength being shown by the Roush-Yates engine program. "The engines are strong," DiMarco said, especially when you look at what Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards were doing Sunday. "From and engineering standpoint, we’re just a little behind last year." DeMarco pointed out that NASCAR has pretty much taken away much opportunity to change anything on the cars. "It’s all chassis development and suspension parts to get the cars to grip better," he said. "The sport is going where it’s all engineering."(Ford Racing)(2-25-2008) Comment here

    • Force gets Glick Award: John Force, the winningest driver in the NHRA, was selected winner of the Justice Brothers Shav Glick Award on Sunday before the Auto Club 500. Force was in Phoenix, where his four John Force Racing teams competed in the Powerade Drag Racing Series. Force's other three daughters accepted the award named after the late motor racing writer for The Times, a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame. The award recognizes Californians who have made distinguished contributions to motor sports. "Being nominated for an award with Shav's name on it is an honor by itself," Force said in a statement, "but to be with people like Robert Petersen, Chris Pook and Jimmie Johnson, the NASCAR champ, makes it even more special. I wish I could have been there myself. . . . It'll go right in my museum. Shav was the first real writer to ever do a story on me." Petersen, who died last year, founded a number of auto-related magazines as well as the Petersen Automotive Museum; Pook founded the Grand Prix of Long Beach and Johnson won the last two Nextel Cup championships.(Los Angeles Times)(2-25-2008) Comment here

    • Sad News -Tim Sullivan: Timothy Joseph Sullivan III, 83, of Ormond Beach, Fla. (formerly of Richmond, VA), passed away February 24, 2008, at 2:06 p.m., at Halifax Hospital, Daytona Beach, Fla. The former General Manager of Motor Racing Network held several other positions in racing after serving his country in Iwo Jima during World War II. Mr. Sullivan had struggled the last four months to get over pneumonia and other pre-existing conditions. He suffered cardiac arrest on February 22 at 2 a.m., and wasn’t able to recover. A loving husband, brother, father and grandfather, he leaves behind his devoted wife of 14 years, Betty Coulter Sullivan; sons Timothy Michael Sullivan, Cornelius, N.C., and Patrick Kelly Sullivan, Daytona Beach, Fla.; step-sons W. Jay Coulter III, Simpsonville, S.C., and Joseph Douglas Coulter, Richmond, Va.; sister Rachel Robinson, Richmond, Va.; two grandsons, William Patrick and Jacob Riley; and granddaughters Madison Owens, Ashley Douglas and Morgan Stewart, in addition to numerous nieces and nephews in Virginia. He was preceded in death by his first wife of 20 years, Marilyn Kelly Sullivan, and his parents, Timothy Joseph Sullivan II and Marie Cottrell Sullivan. Initially serving in numerous capacities at both Southside Speedway and Richmond International Raceway, Mr. Sullivan’s career also included serving as a Founder and Director of Racing at the now defunct West Virginia Speedway, Director of Auto Racing Telecasts for Teleprompter Broadcasting, General Manager of Motor Racing Network (MRN), Director of Auto Racing (NASCAR Division) for Valvoline Oil Company, Public Relations Director of Special Projects for Daytona Beach Community College (DBCC), Founder of the Richard Petty Fund for Automotive Education (DBCC), Founder of the National Conference for Automotive Technology (DBCC). During his retirement, he served as President of Motor Racing Heritage, and as a member of The Auto Racing Legends (ARL), where he recently received the honor of ARL Honor of Legend Emeritus. He was also a member of the Living Legends of Auto Racing. Mr. Sullivan was recently honored by the Eastern Motorsports Press Association (EMPA) with its Hall of Fame Award for his public relations work in the motorsports industry. For services and more info, see my Sad News page.(2-25-2008)

    • Sad News - Jimmy Johnson: Fayetteville, NC native Jimmy Johnson, who ran Hendrick Motorsports from 1986-98, died Friday night following a stroke earlier in the week. Mr. Johnson was 61. Mr. Johnson suffered a stroke about 5:30 a.m. Monday, according to his brother, Billy “B.J.” Johnson. He said Mr. Johnson died about 9 p.m. Friday at Carolinas Medical Center here after being taken off life support around 1 o’clock. Mr. Johnson was a graduate of Massey Hill High School. During his tenure, Hendrick drivers won 76 races, four championships and more than $45 million. Mr. Johnson’s funeral arrangements are incomplete except that his funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, his brother said. Mr. Johnson is survived by his wife, Priscilla, and their son Dustin. He has two other sons, Jamie and Ryan.(Fayetteville Observer/Hendrick Motorsports)(2-23-2008)
      SERVICES: James “Jimmy” Charles Johnson, 61, of Teeter Farms Drive, died Friday, Feb. 22, 2008, at Carolinas Medical Center. Born July 23, 1946, in Whiteville, he was the son of the late James Luther and Mildred “Skeet” Moore Johnson. He was retired from Hendrick Motorsports, where he served as vice president/general manager. He is survived by his wife, Priscilla McKenzie Johnson; sons, James “Jamie” Charles Johnson II and Ryan Patrick Johnson, both of Fayetteville, and Dustin Reid Johnson of Mooresville; and brother, William “B.J.” Patrick Johnson of Hope Mills. Funeral services will be held at 11am/et Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008, at Williamson’s Chapel United Methodist Church with the Rev. Darrol Hood officiating. Burial will be private. The family will receive friends Monday evening from 6 to 8:30pm/et at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 6000 Fairview Road, Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28210; or to Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317. The family of Mr. Johnson is being served by Cavin-Cook Funeral Home of Mooresville.(Fayetteville Observer, condolences can be left there)(2-25-2008)

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