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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    MARCH 10-16, 2008


      News from March 16, 2008

    • Burton wins at Bristol: #31-Jeff Burton won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in the AT&T Chevy for his first win 2008 and 20th of his career in a green-white-checked finish. #29-Harvick finished 2nd and #07-Bowyer finished 3rd, for the first ever Richard Childress Racing 1-2-3 finish. #16-Biffle, finished 4th followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr., #11-Hamlin [who led with 2 laps to go but had a bad restart], #9-Kahne, #8-Almirola [his best career finish in seven starts], #38-Gilliland and #17-Kenseth. Points leader #18-Kyle Busch finished 17th. #44-Dale Jarrett in his final points race of his career, finished 37th, 10 laps down. There were 10 cautions for 86 laps and there were 17 lead changes among 8 drivers.
      See race results, awards, laps led and more on my Bristol Race Results page.(3-16-2008)

    • The Unofficial Points Standings [after Bristol race 5 of 36]:
      1) #18-Kyle Busch 782
      2) #16-Greg Biffle 752 -30
      3) #29-Kevin Harvick 749 -33
      4) #31-Jeff Burton 745 -37
      5) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 686 -96
      6) #9-Kasey Kahne 674 -108
      7) #20-Tony Stewart 656 -126
      8) #12-Ryan Newman 635 -147
      9) #07-Clint Bowyer 606 -176
      10) #2-Kurt Busch 605 -177
      11) #17-Matt Kenseth 604 -177
      12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 595 -187
      other chase contenders
      13) #48-Jimmie Johnson 581 -201
      14) #24-Jeff Gordon 574 -208
      15) #11-Denny Hamlin 568 -214
      16) #99-Carl Edwards 548 -234
      For the points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(3-16-2008)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Martinsville
      2008 owners points now take effect for the next race and the rest of the season. The teams are NOT locked in past the next race at Martinsville as the owners points change after each race.
      31) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing 386 +34
      32) #70-Mayfield/Haas CNC Racing 374 +22
      33) #5-Mears/Hendrick Motorsports 368 +16
      34) #44-Reutimann/Waltrip Racing 367 +15
      35) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing 356 4 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
      36) #26-McMurray/Roush Racing 352 4 points out of 35th
      37) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis 334 -22
      38) #40-Franchitti/Ganassi Racing 319 -37
      39) #01-Smith/Dale Earnhardt Inc 317 -39
      40-) #45-Petty/Petty Racing 296 -60
      For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(3-16-2008)

    • Bristol Motor Speedway - Fast Facts
      .. Jeff Burton won the Food City 500, his 20th victory in 480 Sprint Cup Series races.
      .. This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in 2008.
      .. This is his first victory and 12th top-10 finish in 29 races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
      .. Kevin Harvick (second) posted his 10th top-10 finish in 15 races at Bristol.
      .. Clint Bowyer (third) posted his third top-10 finish in five races at Bristol.
      .. This is the first-ever 1-2-3 finish for Richard Childress Racing.
      .. Regan Smith (26th) was the highest finishing rookie.
      (NASCAR Statistics)(3-16-2008)

    • GWC factoid: There have been 24 green-white-checkered [GWC] finishes in Sprint Cup history, and only six times has the leader lost the lead on those final two laps.
      #01-Mark Martin led in the 2007 Daytona 500, #29-Kevin Harvick passed him as a huge wreck took place behind them and beat Martin to the line by 2/1000th's of a second.
      #17-Matt Kenseth led 146 laps at Las Vegas in 2006, #48-Jimmie Johnson passed him at the line and won by 1/2 a car length, only leading 1 lap to win.
      #17-Matt Kenseth led at Talladega in Oct 2005, Dale Jarrett passed
      #16-Greg Biffle won at Darlington after #12-Ryan Newman led heading into the green-white-checkered in May 2005
      Biffle won the final race of 2004 when #20-Tony Stewart had fuel problems at Homestead.
      #11-Denny Hamlin led with 2 to go, had a slow restart, #31-Jeff Burton passed him and won at Bristol, March 2008
      (3-16-2008)

    • Jarrett fan's odyssey on its final leg in Bristol: Last fall when Dale Jarrett announced his plan to retire from Sprint Cup Series competition after the first five races of the 2008 season, Cathy Tanner decided she had to see her man wheel it one last time. Or five. Tanner, a fan of Jarrett's for more than a decade, took a seven-week leave of absence in February from her position as an elementary school teacher's aid and hit the road. From her Florence, Ala., home to Daytona Beach, Fla., to Fontana, Calif., to Las Vegas, Nev., to Hampton, Ga., to Bristol, Tenn. Just her and her gray tabby cat, Baby, in a 27-foot RV. She'll head back to Florence following Sunday's Food City 500. "The next time somebody tells us they're a DJ fan we'll have to call BS on them," laughed Jarrett's son, Jason. "We know who the biggest one is now."
      "It's just something I wanted to do -- to see (Jarrett) race these final races," said Tanner, via phone from a perch in the Bristol Motor Speedway grandstand, Cup cars blaring by in the background. "And I didn't want to go by myself so I had to bring my cat with me." She returns to school Friday. Tanner was introduced to NASCAR years ago when her daughter chose the sport as the topic for a high school term paper. They'd go to the library together and read about the sport, and watch races with Cathy's father on Sunday afternoons. She cheered for Jarrett and Terry Labonte, but Jarrett ultimately won her devotion. "I went with Dale because we have the same birthday," Tanner said. "I always thought that was sort of strange." Tanner is uncertain how much she's spent on the trek, or how many miles she's driven (MapQuest says 6,065). She fills the RV up twice a day on the road. She used a portion of her inheritance from her father's death to pay for the trip. NASCAR Sundays afforded father and daughter a special bond, so she felt he'd approve.(see full story by Marty Smith at ESPN.com, Thanks to Nancy Osterhoudt for the info for this article, Nancy runs my Truck Series site)(3-16-2008)

    • 2nd Darlington tire test scheduled...no Toyota..again: Goodyear is going back to Darlington Raceway for another test on the newly paved surface, and once again a Toyota won't be involved. #16-Greg Biffle (Ford), #24-Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet) and #12-Ryan Newman (Dodge) will all return to Darlington in two weeks to help Goodyear find a suitable tire for when the series races there in May. Speeds inched toward 200 mph during the two-day test earlier this week, and Goodyear must find a tire capable of withstanding the speeds. Toyota officials were irked they were the only manufacturer not included in the initial test, and they grew angrier when they learned of the second session. But Goodyear officials said the participants are on a rotation, one manufacturer is always left out of the testing and having four teams at a session is overkill for the engineers. "We really don't need four cars to get the work done that we need to get done," said Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales. "We're going to go to Indianapolis in a few weeks, there will be a Toyota there and there won't be a Ford there. That's the way that it plays out. We're going to try to spread the work out among the teams that give us the best results." Brian Vickers is expected to represent Toyota in Indianapolis. But inclusion there did little to satisfy the Toyota camp, which feels the other three makes will be ahead of its teams because of data it gathers during the test. And, because the surface has been repaved, the other teams have a baseline for setups that Toyota will not have when it arrives in Darlington for the race. Toyota officials declined to comment on the exclusion.(Associated Press)(3-16-2008)

    • What happened to NASCAR’s ethanol program? from a Tom Jensen column.... Great question. I [Jensen] spoke with NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp late Friday afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway and he said NASCAR is deep into alternative-fuel research at its R&D center in Concord, N.C. But making the change requires an awful lot of input from teams, fuel suppliers, engine builders, etc., and NASCAR tries not to rush into these things. I think within the next couple of years, there will be some alternative fuel in NASCAR, but it’s not ready yet.(SPEEDtv.com)(3-16-2008)

    • Wypall Wipers Increases Stakes at Bristol: Wypall Wipers is going to make a certain pit crew extremely happy as well as treat a special young man to a once-in-a-lifetime experience this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. In addition to the $1,000 which goes to the Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race,” for Sunday’s Food City 500, a bonus of $1,000 will be awarded to the winning pit crew for their efforts. While they celebrate in Victory Lane with the extra cash, fifth grader Michael Castro will have already lived an unforgettable day. Castro, a student at Stonewall Jackson Elementary in Bristol, VA., is Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief of the Classroom.” A member of the Bristol Boys and Girls Club, the youngster will be an honorary “Crew Chief for a day,” and will shadow Todd Berrier, crew chief of the #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevy, before the race. The Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race” is a part of the Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief Challenge,” a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup Series garage. Go to Wypall.com to find out more about Wypall Wipers.(Wypall PR)(3-16-2008)

    • The King Hands Over Keys of 'Cat Chopper': Jeff Green [not the NASCAR driver] compared his winning bid on the customized Cat Chopper motorcycle to enjoying a dish of Neapolitan ice cream. "I got the Cat Chopper, I met a true racing legend, Richard Petty, and I got to help a worthy cause like Victory Junction Gang," said Green, a resident of Peoria, Ill. The winning bid was $100,000. Petty handed Green the keys to the Cat Chopper during a Caterpillar Inc. customer event at Caesar's Palace. The event was part of ConExpo-Con/Agg, one of the largest construction trade shows in the world. Green, whose family owns 11 vehicle dealerships in Illinois, plans to exhibit the Cat Chopper at Green Chevrolet Hummer and Finish Line Ford, both in Peoria, and at various community events. The Cat Chopper was constructed for Caterpillar in 2005 during two episodes of cable TV's American Chopper. The 150-horsepower, six-speed show bike toured 32 states and up into Canada before Caterpillar donated it to Victory Junction Gang last May. In February, Victory Junction Gang auctioned the Cat Chopper on eBay. All proceeds are going to the organization's 72-acre camp in North Carolina. The camp, founded by the Petty family, caters to children with chronic medical conditions and serious illnesses. The Cat Chopper was constructed by Orange County Choppers (OCC) in New York and customized to reflect Caterpillar and its industry, including the signature yellow color, a bulldozer-like exhaust pipe and bolted front and rear wheels.(MCG Sports PR)(3-16-2008)

    • There will be a competition caution on lap 50 of the Food City 500 today at Bristol Motor Speedway. With heavy rains overnight washing the rubber off the 0.533-concrete oval, NASCAR officials announced the addition of the competition caution so teams can check tire wear. Teams were told during the pre-race drivers meeting that they would not be allowed to add fuel prior to the competition caution. No rain is expected during the race, which is scheduled to get the green flag at 2:14pm/et.(SceneDaily.com)(3-16-2008)


      News from March 15, 2008

    • Robby to sell? UPDATE 2 denied: hearing that Alex Gillett [George Gillett's son - AG Motorsports?] has purchased Robby Gordon Motorsports [#7 Dodge] and will run it as a separate entity from Gillette-Evernham Motorsports. Plans are to eventually expand it to a multi-car team. Assuming Robby Gordon will stay on as driver...if this is true. Currently Gordon owns the team, but has a technological and marketing partnership with Gillett Evernham Motorsports and is 24th in driver/owners points.(3-10-2008)
      UPDATE: "On Feb. 1, Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Robby Gordon Motorsports announced a technical, manufacturing and marketing agreement. Nothing has changed since that announcement."(GEM PR)(3-11-2008)
      UPDATE 2: One of the hot rumors last week was the sale of Robby Gordon Motorsports to Alex Gillett, son of Gillett Evernham Motorsports primary owner George Gillett Jr. On Friday at Bristol, the owner/driver Gordon said it was business as usual for him. "I haven't sold my race team," Gordon said. "People talk and there are a lot of interesting things going on, but right now, it's business as usual. I bet last year, 20 people came to me asking me if I was interested in selling my team, so it is what it is."(NASCAR.com)(3-15-2008) Comment here

    • Why no Elliott at Bristol? UPDATE: Bill Elliott is not running the #21 Wood Brothers Little Debbie Ford at Bristol Motor Speedway this week, supposedly Elliott asked to switch the Bristol race [scheduled for Elliott] with Martinsville on March 28-30th, so the team hired Jeff Green to run at Bristol. Green has won a pole at Bristol in August 2001.(3-14-2008)
      UPDATE: Wood Brothers Racing and the #21 Team spent the week tapping every available resource looking for answers on how to get the car to perform better and make races.  They were excited about their findings and were looking forward to qualifying for this Sunday's Food City 500. Earlier in the week, the decision was made to ask Bill Elliott to drive the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway, a race he was not scheduled for, instead of Bristol. This resulted in the team finding another driver for the Bristol race. Wood Brothers asked Jeff Green to pilot the #21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion and he agreed. Green is a proven Nationwide and Sprint Cup series veteran who has a history of top finishes and poles at the infamous short speedway. With Green behind the wheel, the #21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion finished the only practice before qualifying as the ninth fastest car overall. The team was confident that if Jeff and the car qualified as they had practiced the #21 would be in the race on Sunday.  It appeared as though the #21 Team was going to have the kind of weekend their efforts merited. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans. Around noon, the rain clouds arrived at Bristol Motor Speedway and loomed overhead most of the afternoon. NASCAR did its best to try to get qualifying in, but it just wasn't meant to be. After several delays and efforts to dry the track, NASCAR made the call at 5:00 pm to cancel qualifying. As the rain continued, they set the field according to last year's owner points, past champions and the top teams remaining according to this year's owner points.  This meant that the #21 Wood Brothers Racing Team and Jeff Green would not be racing this weekend. While missing the race is a grave disappointment, the depth of which is only truly appreciated by those actually missing the race, Wood Brothers Racing leaves Bristol knowing they put forth a car that was fast enough to make the race on speed.(Wood Brothers racing PR)(3-15-2008) Comment here

    • Time for a drivers Union? UPDATE: The always boisterous Tony Stewart led a loud parade of outrage aimed at Goodyear's engineers after Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. If Stewart had thought about it long enough, he might have realized that there is much more that he and his fellow drivers can do. This is the perfect time for the drivers in the Sprint Cup Series to form a union. Then they can have real leverage on matters such as tires, safety and races. NASCAR has always said the drivers are "private contractors," so there has never been a need for a union. Plus, in the old days, any talk of forming a union could have seriously jeopardized a driver's career. See full story at the Delaware News Journal.(3-13-2008)
      UPDATE: Major League Baseball has a union. The NFL has a union. The NHL has a union. Is it time for NASCAR to have one? Would a union help settle issues such as the Goodyear tire controversy at Atlanta last weekend? Jeff Gordon isn't sure. "I've seen the unions run things in the ground," Gordon said during a rainy Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "It bugs the heck out of me when I think of the strikes that have happened in baseball. Look at the strike that just happened with the writer's strike in Hollywood. While there are positives for the people they're representing, sometimes if you look at the sport as a whole or an industry I've seen where it's done a lot of damage. I see it happening right now with General Motors." Gordon said a union is a good thing only if the right people are managing it and the proper intent is there. The problem, he said, is nobody can guarantee that. We all have so many different agendas and ideas, to see them all come together as one could be tough," he said. Gordon said NASCAR would be better suited to have a quarterly meeting in which all drivers are brought together to discuss hot topics.
      NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said the current system remains effective. "NASCAR always has had an open-door policy and always will," Tharp said. "Drivers, owners, and crew chiefs are regularly in communication with our sport's leadership. It is a system that has worked and continues to work well." Dale Earnhardt Jr. said the drivers need a spokesperson to represent them as his father once did. Dale Jarrett would like to see a panel of three to five drivers, and not necessarily the same every year, become the voice of the garage. "We won't use that word union," said Jarrett, who is driving in his final points race this weekend. "That gets people stirred up. Does there need to be a panel? Yes, it could be really helpful."(ESPN.com)(3-15-2008) Comment here

    • Tony Stewart meets with Goodyear's Stu Grant at Bristol: The following are statements from NASCAR driver Tony Stewart and Goodyear General Manager of Worldwide Racing Stu Grant, respectively, following a meeting between the two this afternoon at Bristol Motor Speedway.
      Tony Stewart: "I'm glad the weather gave us a break in the schedule that allowed us to meet this afternoon, and I appreciate Stu taking the time to meet with me. We're hoping that Goodyear will now work with us a little better on the racing side of things and rely on our input a little more, because we are the ones driving the cars. It was a good meeting, but at the end of the day, it's up to Goodyear to make it right. If having this meeting helps to make things better down the road, then this meeting was a success. My comments last week (following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway) were made in frustration and made to get Goodyear's attention. But what I overlooked when I made those comments was that they affected people who had nothing to do with the racing program. I want to apologize to the people who work in the factories and the union workers at Goodyear. We realize that they're working hard just like everybody else, and we realize that Goodyear as a whole works hard too. But our comments last week were not meant to offend those people, because they're not the ones making the decisions about the racing tires we use here at the track. A lot of the people that Goodyear brings to the track aren't necessarily engineers and they don't make the decisions on what compounds and constructions (of tires) that we'll race on, but they're the people who are here as early as the teams are and leave as late as the teams do because they're here mounting and dismounting tires and unloading and loading trucks. A lot of those people have become friends over the years, and that's another group of people we didn't mean to offend with our comments. Our comments were strong to get somebody's attention high up in corporate at Goodyear. It wasn't meant to offend anyone else."
      Stu Grant: "I was very pleased with the meeting that I had with Tony. It was an excellent meeting. It was constructive. It was extremely worthwhile to sit down and have a discussion with him. Tony was able to express his concerns and I listened to his concerns. I was able to explain our process, and we both talked about how moving forward, we can improve the process of developing tires for NASCAR Sprint Cup racing together."(Goodyear PR)(3-15-2008) Comment here

    • McCumbee to test at Gateway for Petty's Chad McCumbee is scheduled to test a Petty Enterprises Sprint Cup Series Dodge Tuesday and Wednesday at Gateway International Raceway. Test sessions will be closed to the public.(PR)(3-15-2008)

    • Congrats: Talladega Superspeedway Public Relations Director Kristi King and husband David welcomed William Noah into the family on Friday, March 7. Will weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces and measured 20 ¾ inches long. Will is still a patient at St.Vincent's Women & Children Center. Mommy and Daddy are looking forward to bringing him home soon. Well wishes can be sent to 308 Paradise Isles, Riverside, AL 35135.(3-15-2008)

    • Drivers celebrities join resort advisory board: Sheridan Ridge Private Reserve, a more than 1,400-acre upscale resort community located in Southwest Virginia, announced the joining of top NASCAR celebrities Tony Stewart, Elliott Sadler, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Hammond and Greg Zipadelli to the project¹s Advisory Board. The Advisory Board members¹ duties will include weighing in on the property¹s planned amenities, as well as introducing individuals to the unique lifestyle of Sheridan Ridge. Each Advisory Board member will have a vacation home on the property. Sheridan Ridge will also introduce interested individuals around the country to the beauty of Southwest Virginia. More info at sheridanridgeva.com.(3-15-2008)

    • Happy Hour Practice for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is over, just as the practice ended, the rain and lightning started, the fastest were:
      #9-Kahne 121.198
      #00-Reutimann 120.930
      #88-Earnhardt Jr. 120.770
      #31-Burton 120.755
      #11-Hamlin120.755
      slowest: #55-Waltrip 118.131 and 78-Nemechek 118.320.
      no speed listed for #70-Mayfield, #12-Newman as both teams changed engines
      #43-Labonte scraped the wall pretty good, pancaking the right side of the car.
      most laps run: #00-Reutimann 75; #41-Sorenson 65
      (3-15-2008)


      News from March 14, 2008

    • Final Atlanta TV Ratings are up: Fox's broadcast of last Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earned a final 6.4 Nielsen Media Research rating and a 15 market share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 23.1% higher than the 5.2/12 Fox earned for the Atlanta race last year.(SceneDaily.com)(3-14-2008)



    • Thanks DJ, A Champion, A Legend, A Friend: This weekend as a symbol of appreciation, Michael Waltrip Racing will run a special decal for Dale Jarrett on the #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry and the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry during the Food City 500 weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway that states "Thanks DJ, A Champion, A Legend, A Friend." This is the beginning of a long celebration of Dale Jarrett's accomplishments during his illustrious career. Bristol Motor Speedway is his last race until making his final Sprint Cup Series appearance on May 17 in the Sprint All-Star event at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "We are very grateful for everything DJ has done not only for MWR, but for NASCAR," Waltrip said. "He has been an invaluable resource to Michael Waltrip Racing as we launched three brand new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams in 2007 and he will continue to be. Having the decal on our #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS and #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camrys is a way for us to thank Dale for everything he has done and to tell him that we will miss him. It's a symbol of our gratitude. We will celebrate his memorable career leading up to the his final ride in the #44 UPS Toyota Camry during the Sprint All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway." In 1999 the Hickory, N.C.-native become a Sprint Cup Series champion after posting an impressive four wins, 24 top 5s, and 29 top 10s. Since his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Martinsville Speedway in 1984, Jarrett has amassed 32 victories, 16 pole awards, 163 top 5, 260 top 10 finishes.(MWR PR)(3-14-2008) Comment here

    • Bristol Qualifying rained out for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, so the field was set by the rules book, 2007 Owners points for the top-35 [the last week the 2007 owners points are used], race winners in this or the current season [#2-Busch], past series champs [#44-Jarrett, his final points race], then 2008 race attempts with ties broken by 2008 Owners Points standings [#83-Vickers, #00-Reutimann, #55-Waltrip, #49-Schrader, #78-Nemechek and $84-Skinner]. Missing the race were #21-Jeff Green, #34-John Andretti and #10-Patrick Carpentier.
      The top 10 will start as follows: #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon, #07-Bowyer, #17-Kenseth, #5-Mears, #20-Stewart, #77-Hornish Jr., #31-Burton, #99-Edwards and #29-Harvick.
      See the starting lineup on my Bristol Qualifying Page.(3-14-2008)

    • Almirola to make season debut: When asked of what it's been like to have not competed in a race in more than four months, Aric Almirola gave a succinct response. "Painful," stated Almirola, who will turn 24 on Friday (March 14). Well, Almirola's wait to jump into the #8 U.S. Army Chevy that Mark Martin has driven in the first four Sprint Cup races of the season will soon be over. As part of his 12-race Cup schedule in 2008, Almirola will drive the Dale Earnhardt Inc. entry at the next two races -- this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway and March 30 at Martinsville Speedway. “The guys on the Army team are great and they are just as excited as I am,” added Almirola. “That makes me happy.” The last time Almirola competed in a NASCAR race (Cup, Nationwide or Truck) was last fall in the Nov. 11th Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway. The only driving he has done since then was some testing in the #8 Chevy at Daytona, California and Phoenix. "I'm appreciative of the opportunity I have with DEI and learning from Mark Martin," explained Almirola. "But it's been very hard for me to watch the races on top of the pit box. It's not any fun being a spectator. I want to be in the action as a driver and mix it up." Almirola's finish (26th) in Phoenix last fall was his best in six career Cup starts. The Bristol event will be Almirola's second Cup race at the half-mile bullring. His first race there -- August 2007 -- was also his maiden ride with DEI and the U.S. Army. He started 35th and finished 36th.(DEI PR)(3-14-2008)

    • More tire stuff. Firestone not interested in NASCAR: During a lengthy, unflattering critique of the tires that Goodyear supplied the drivers at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Tony Stewart said that other tire companies would do a better job in NASCAR. While Stewart really was not calling for a tire war, his words surely hit a nerve in Daytona Beach and Akron, Ohio, cities where NASCAR and Goodyear have their headquarters. That’s because for racing series and tire companies, tire wars are often viewed as a potential Armageddon. “No,” Ramsey Poston, NASCAR managing director of corporate communication, said, “we are not interested (in a tire war). Goodyear has been a remarkably good partner.” Most major forms of auto racing in the world have gone through tire wars — times when more than one brand of tire is available to competitors. The last tire war in NASCAR occurred in 1994, when Hoosier came in and challenged Goodyear for status and customers. Geoffrey Bodine won three races on Hoosiers that year. Cars using Hoosiers won 12 pole positions. But the move was not made without controversy. Concern was expressed by some teams and some drivers. They were worried that a tire war could adversely affect safety as the companies, in a quest to be faster than the other, would go with softer and softer rubber compounds and the result would be blown tires. Some thought the tire war would drive up costs. The 1994 tire war lasted one season. Hoosier did not come back in 1995, as it just proved too costly for a company that, compared with Goodyear, was mom-and-pop. A new tire war in NASCAR would be impossible to mount right now as the series does not have an open-tire policy — NASCAR has an exclusive contract with Goodyear. No other tire company could enter the sport until the Goodyear contract expires. For the time being, Firestone, the American company that is probably best suited to go after Goodyear’s contract when it expires, is not interested in approaching NASCAR. “Obviously,” Al Speyer, motor-sports executive director for Firestone, said, “NASCAR is a very successful form of motor racing. But, we are really, really busy with open-wheel racing.” Might that change when Goodyear’s contract with NASCAR expires [2012]? Speyer said, “We are always looking at all motor sports, and we have ongoing analysis, but we could never comment on pending business ventures.”(Kansas City Star)(3-14-2008) Comment here

    • 200 mph at Darlington: What a difference a paving makes: 200 miles per hour. That's how fast the Sprint Cup Series cars ran during Goodyear tire tests earlier this week at historic Darlington Raceway. That's not a miss-print. The Chevrolet of Jeff Gordon, the Ford of Greg Biffle and the Dodge of Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman were all clocked unofficially at 200 mph at the end of this old track's smooth, newly re-paved backstretch. Darlington Raceway President Chris Browning almost couldn't believe it himself. "We had some of the telemetry numbers from the teams and I couldn't believe it when they told me they were hitting 200 mph at the end of the backstretch," said Browning. "That's incredible!" Jeff Gordon, a seven-time winner on the tricky, treacherous, 1.366-mile, egg-shaped oval, said the track was fast and smooth. "The old humps and bumps are gone," said Gordon. "It's still Darlington. It's just a lot smoother and a lot faster." Order tickts now by calling 1-866-459-RACE.(Darlington Raceway PR)(3-14-2008)

    • NASCAR represented in Sports Emmy Nominations: The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) announced the nominees for the 29th Annual Sports Emmy Awards at the IMG World Congress of Sports at the St. Regis Hotel in Monarch Bay/Dana Point, California. At the 29th Annual Sports Emmy Awards, winners in 30 categories including outstanding live sports special, sports documentary, studio show, play-by-play personality and studio analyst will be honored. The Awards will be given out at the prestigious Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center located in the Time Warner Center on April 28th, 2008 in New York City. Many of the leading sports broadcasters, personalities and television professionals will be presenters at the event. American Airlines and Thomson Grass Valley are the official sponsors of the 29th Annual Sports Emmy Awards. Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal is the exclusive magazine partner.
      The list NASACR related shows nominated
      Outstanding Live Sports Special: NASCAR on FOX: Daytona 500, FOX
      Outstanding Live Sports Series: NASCAR on FOX, FOX
      Outstanding Live Event Turnaround: Quest for the Cup, NASCAR Images
      Outstanding Sports Documentary: Dale, NASCAR Images
      Outstanding Studio Show Daily: NASCAR Now, ESPN2
      Outstanding Open / Tease: Indianapolis 500, ABC
      Outstanding Technical Team Remote: ESPN NASCAR, ABC / ESPN / ESPN2 & NASCAR on FOX, FOX
      Outstanding Technical Team Studio: NASCAR on FOX, FOX
      Outstanding Music Composition / Direction / Lyrics: Dale, NASCAR Images
      Outstanding Live Event Audio / Sound: NASCAR on FOX, FOX
      Outstanding Graphic Design: ESPN NASCAR, ABC / ESPN / ESPN2
      The George Wensel Technical Achievement Award: ESPN NASCAR, Draft Track ABC / ESPN / ESPN2.(emmyonline.org)(3-14-2008) Comment here


      News from March 13, 2008

    • Pocono Testing May 27-28...open to public: Pocono Raceway officials announced that ticket holders for Pocono Raceway's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends in 2008 will be able to attend a special 2-day NASCAR test at Pocono Raceway on May 27 and May 28, 2008 for no charge. This 2-day test will be the first opportunity NASCAR teams will have to test the new Sprint Cup Series race car (formerly known as the COT) at Pocono Raceway. Approximately 50 Sprint Cup Series teams are expected to attend, which shows the importance of this test. 2008 Pocono NASCAR ticket holders will be eligible to receive up to four (4) FREE tickets to the test session. A mail-in coupon for the test and additional information will be sent to all ticket holders who have purchased their NASCAR race tickets prior to May 9, 2008. Fans that are not current ticket holders for either of Pocono Raceway's 2008 Sprint Cup Series or the ARCA Re/Max Series events will be able to purchase test tickets for $5.00 each by calling the Pocono Raceway Ticket Office at 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929), or they can be purchased at Gate 8 on each day of the event. Tickets for the Pocono 500 weekend, June 6-8, 2008 and the Pennsylvania 500 weekend, August 1-3, 2008 are still available but are selling fast. For more information or to order race tickets, call toll-free 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929) or online at www.poconoraceway.com.(Pocono Raceway PR)(3-13-2008) Comment here

    • Jeff Gordon Featured on Cover of EA Sports NASCAR 09: Electronic Arts announced Jeff Gordon, legendary NASCAR driver of car #24, will be featured as the cover athlete for EA SPORTS NASCAR 09. NASCAR 09 is scheduled to ship in North America on June 10 and will offer an authentic, exhilarating stock car driving experience for racing fans of all ages. "It's exciting being on the cover of NASCAR 09," says Gordon. "The game is as real as it gets and it's been great being involved with it on this level. I look forward to helping gamers in NASCAR 09." Gordon's prestigious reputation aligns with the new NASCAR 09 career mode, "Sprint for the Cup." Gordon will bring the game to you as a guide and a mentor to help you build your reputation to become the next Sprint Cup Series champion. With a completely rebuilt handling model, the game will be more accessible to newcomers while continuing to offer options that will challenge even the most experienced virtual driver. NASCAR 09 is an authentic NASCAR experience that will appeal to every type of NASCAR enthusiast. Developed in Orlando, Florida by EA Tiburon, NASCAR 09 will be available for the Playstation 3 and Playstation 2 computer entertainment systems and the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system.(Electronic Arts PR)(3-13-2008) Comment here

    • Bristol Tire Notes: Teams in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be running the same tire codes at Bristol this weekend . . . this is the first time that teams have run a race on either of these two tire codes . . . based upon the results of last August's races on the reconfigured Bristol track, the new concrete surface proved to be less severe than originally predicted . . . this spring's recommendation utilizes new tread compounds on both left-side and right-side tires, aimed at increasing overall grip . . . on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams do not run inner liners in any tire position . . . Bristol is unique in that regard, with teams being required to run inner liners in their right-side tires at the high-banked short track . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 130-140 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), se full notes on the Bristol Race Info page or the codes/pressures for each race this year at the 2008 Tire Codes page.(3-13-2008)

    • #28 Ford to Carry "11 Million" at Bristol: The 2008 NASCAR TV season is already off to a great start with an average of more than 11 million people per race day watching the #28 Yates Racing Ford during FOX's coverage. This three-race average doesn't include the 33.5 million viewers that watched the Daytona 500. With TV ratings up, and the #28 team still looking for sponsorship, it only makes sense to highlight one of the many benefits of a primary sponsorship with Yates Racing and the #28 team by placing "11 Million" on the hood of the Ford Fusion. Driver Travis Kvapil thinks it's a unique approach to attracting sponsorship and hopes that he can get his #28 "11 Million" Ford to the number one position this Sunday at Bristol. Chassis #464 is the chassis the #28 Yates Racing team will be running this weekend for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Yates Racing purchased this chassis from Roush Fenway Racing in 2008. This is the same chassis that Carl Edwards won the 2007 Sharpie 500 with.(Yates Racing PR)(3-13-2008) Comment here

    • Marathon Oil back on the #45: Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil is on the hood of Kyle Petty's #45 Dodge for the first time this season this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway(Petty Racing PR), see images of the scheme on the #45 Team Schemes page.(3-13-2008)

    • Charter colors for Carpentier at Bristol: Patrick Carpentier is looking forward to his first trip to Bristol Motor Speedway for this weekend's Food City 500. Carpentier has never even set eyes on the legendary bull-ring. It will be his sixth start in the Sprint Cup Series and the team's second race sporting the Charter Communications colors. The #10 Charter Dodge is currently ranked 46th in Owner Points. They are currently 153 points out of the top-35. This will be his first attempt at qualifying and racing at Bristol. Being outside the top-35 in [46th] owner points, Carpentier will have to qualify on time.(GEM PR), see image of the scheme on the #10 Team Schemes page.(3-13-2008)

    • Bristol Rookie Notes: #77-Sam Hornish, Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the March 9 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Hornish Jr. scored a 25th-place finish and claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the second time this season. No other driver has captured the honor more than once in 2008. #40-Dario Franchitti leads the Raybestos Rookie standings by two points (41-39) over Hornish Jr. entering the March 16 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap at Bristol is Kevin Harvick. Harvick led three times for 137 laps, more than any other driver, in the 2001 Food City 500. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the Food City 500 came in 1979 when Dale Earnhardt scored his first career win. Since Earnhardt’s victory, only three drivers have finished in the top-five in the spring race: Morgan Shepherd (fourth in 1981), Dick Trickle (fifth in 1989), and Greg Biffle (fifth in 2003). Tony Stewart is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole at Bristol in his rookie season. Stewart took the top spot in the 1999 Sharpie 500 (August race). He is also the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in a race at Bristol, leading that same race once for 225 laps. Only once since 1975 have three Raybestos Rookies finished in the top-10 in a race in Bristol. In 1979, Dale Earnhardt scored his first career win in the Food City 500 and was joined in the top-10 by Terry Labonte (seventh) and Joe Millikan (eighth).(Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR), see my 2008 Rookies page for more notes, history, standings.(3-13-2008) Comment here

    • More comments by Stewart about Goodyear; NASCAR's Helton responds: Monday night on "Tony Stewart Live" on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, hosts Stewart and Matt Yocum discussed the race this past Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the controversy over the performance of Goodyear's racing tires. NASCAR President Mike Helton was a guest on the show and discussed the issue with Stewart.
      Stewart: "I'm not overreacting about Goodyear tires. This was my opinion about what we had. I'm the only driver that is in all this that has raced in Sprint car and Midget racing, Silver Crown racing, modifieds, super modifieds, the IRL with Indy cars and stock cars. I'm one of the few guys that has run enough of this stuff to actually know what it is like to have driven for Firestone, to have driven for Hoosier tires, you name it. We've even drove for Goodyear in some of these series but what we had yesterday at this level of competition was not acceptable. We've complained for years on numerous occasions behind closed doors to Goodyear and the problem doesn't get solved. So maybe this was one of these cases where maybe finally something good will come out of this. And if it sounds like we're whining about it it's because we're trying to get their attention. For Goodyear to say that they were satisfied with that, if they truly believe that they were satisfied with the way the race went yesterday I'm more disappointed than ever. And I can't believe that NASCAR, at the end of the day, is truly, honestly, happy with the results. We invited Goodyear to come on [the show] and state their side of it two different times in the last 24 hours and they graciously declined. I think that basically covers what we're dealing with here."
      NASCAR President Mike Helton was a guest on last night's show and discussed the tire issue with Stewart.
      NASCAR President Mike Helton: "Tony, we're all well aware of your opinion and you're right to express your opinion, albeit, I think maybe a little bit too strong in this case. What NASCAR asks for Goodyear to do this year as we completely run this new chassis from racetrack to racetrack is, first and foremost, bring a safe tire, a tire that is safe for the competitors to race on. And then bring one that is durable. And certainly bring one that is consistent so that everybody up and down pit road has the same tire as they compete in the events every weekend. I think what we did have in Atlanta was a tire that did not fail and we had a tire that was safe from that aspect and that it delivered in an environment that is a challenge right now because we're going back to a lot of places in '08 with a new chassis, new configurations underneath them by the crew chiefs and the engineers that are throwing challenges at Goodyear. And Goodyear all along the way has stepped up. They have been responsible. They have made a major commitment to put the right tires under NASCAR's national series and we're proud of our relationship with them. I think it is a little bit too much to blame whatever your opinion on Sunday was completely on Goodyear because we're all in this thing together, every crew member up and down pit road, every car owner, every driver, every supplier like Goodyear in the sport that wants it to do good, wants their product to be right. And I think Goodyear has made a commitment to that for NASCAR and for the competitors. Now that doesn't mean we're going to be exactly right every weekend. Sometimes NASCAR does things wrong. We make mistakes and we go back and we learn from them and we fix them.
      Stewart: "You can understand from [NASCAR's] standpoint, listening to Mike, what their objective is and what they feel like Goodyear's objective is but I think they would feel totally different about it if we made every one of the high-ranking NASCAR officials ride in the right seat this past Sunday and feel what we felt. I think they might have a little different opinion about it."
      "Tony Stewart Live" airs every Monday (8-10pm ET) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128. Monday's show re-airs tonight at 11pm/et and Thursday at 10pm/et.(SIRIUS PR), see the full transcript of the tire segment on my Tires Sponsor News page.(3-13-2008)


      News from March 12, 2008

    • Petree to Drive at Martinsville Truck race? Hearing that current ESPN analyst Andy Petree was testing a #92 Harris Trucking Toyota at Martinsville and plans to run the CTS race on March 29. Petree has run seven career CTS races, the last coming in 2004 at Martinsville.(3-12-2008) Comment here

    • #99 Roush Fenway Racing team will not appeal: Roush Fenway Racing announced today that it will not appeal the penalties imposed by NASCAR following its post-race inspection of the #99 car at Las Vegas. “We have conducted a thorough internal investigation and have found no evidence whatsoever that anyone intended for the bolt/nut fastener to fail to secure the lid for the entire race,” said Jack Roush, team owner. “We have subsequently added protective measures to insure that the lid will remain fastened even if a failure of this type should again occur.” Geoff Smith, president of Roush Fenway Racing said, “We realize in the NASCAR system of penalty administration that simple negligence, by itself, is never sufficient grounds to overturn or reduce a penalty. Consequently, no appeal will be made of the penalties assessed by NASCAR.”(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(3-12-2008) Comment here

    • The Hartford & Ganassi Racing to Launch Partnership at BMS: With its iconic stag logo taking its place on the hood of an 800-horsepower racing machine, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., announced that it will sponsor #40 Dodge Charger on March 16 at the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with driver Dario Franchitti. "For a company like The Hartford, with a nationwide network of independent agents, we know how important it is to be associated with an outstanding team," said Michael Concannon, senior vice president, personal lines. "That's why a partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) is a great fit." Bearing The Hartford's distinctive colors, the maroon and yellow race car will feature The Hartford's branding on the hood, tv and quarter panels. Franchitti will wear a maroon and yellow firesuit featuring The Hartford and the stag logo. In addition to the primary paint scheme in Bristol, The Hartford will continue to be featured on the #40 Dodge as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2008 season. Furthermore, Franchitti and Ganassi's IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon will both carry The Hartford's iconic stag logo on their fire suits throughout the Sprint Cup and IRL IndyCar Series seasons, respectively. More info about The Hartford at thehartford.com..(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(3-11-2008)
      IMAGE see an image of the schemne on my #40 Team Schemes page.(3-12-2008) Comment here

    • Jarrett making his last points start in Food City 500: When #44-Dale Jarrett starts the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway March 16 it will be the 668th start in a successful 24-year career. It also will be the former Sprint Cup champion’s last points race as the North Carolina native hangs up his helmet this year. The 51-year-old Jarrett opted to return this year, but only to run the first five races of the season. His last race actually will be the All-Star event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May, but BMS will be the last place he races for points. As a former BMS winner – he captured the Goody’s 500 (Aug. 23, 1997) – Jarrett says it is fitting that the World’s Fastest Half-Mile, where he made his first start in 1986, will cap what has been a very successful career.
      “I was pleased whenever I saw the number (the fifth race) and as I started counting down to see exactly where it was going to be,” he said. “When I realized it was Bristol, I was pleased about that and it worked out too because I think it’s very fitting. It’s a place that I enjoy racing and there’s going to be so many fans there – and I know there’s 160,000 people there –but it seems like so many more than that. So it will be a fitting way for me to finish my racing as far as points racing goes.”
      Jarrett says he’s always enjoyed being at Bristol, whether it was as a racer or as a kid, coming to the races to see his father, Ned, race. “Everybody, I think, that has ever raced there has had things happen to them because of how exciting the race track is,” he said. “I look at the positive side of it. What a great facility. From the very first time that I remember going there and watching my dad race there and win, I think that was 1965. Then the change of the race track (1969 to a steeper banking) and going back as a teenager and sitting in the grandstands to watch the Late Model Sportsman races at that time. Then as a competitor, getting my first Busch Grand National victory at Bristol (1991). I thought at that time, everybody really wanted to win at Bristol. Then in 1997, when I was able to win the night race –that was probably one of the top victories of my career.”
      The Food City 500 will be Jarrett’s 44th start at BMS. He says he’s made peace with this being the last time he’ll race for points. “I think that’s a race that I always looked at – even when I was battling for the championship – it was always a wild card kind of race,”said the 1999 series champion. “You wanted to do well and there was always so much action going on. I don’t know that I’ll look at it as a points race. I’ll just look at it as my last time in a race that is really going to mean a lot to the race team and myself.”
      Jarrett says there’s not much chance that he’ll be able to keep his emotions in check on race day at Bristol. “I think it’s going to be (emotional),” he said. “Probably as the race gets closer, it will become even more so because I am going to have a lot of family and friends around, so I think that will help add to it, on top of it just being Bristol. I know I’ve said that a number of times but it is a special place to race.”
      Jarrett has always said that if he had to buy tickets to any race track on the circuit, Bristol would be the place. He says he still feels that way. “I do still feel that way, mainly because I still own tickets to Bristol,” he said. “It has always been such a huge request from family and friends, them wanting tickets to Bristol. When the race became so popular to everyone else, there just weren’t tickets to be had. I was fortunate that my good friends at Bristol called me and said ‘look, we have these six tickets opening up. We hate that we have to ask you to purchase them but that’s the deal.’
      “So for about seven years now we have owned six tickets to the Nationwide Series races and the Sprint Cup series races. So I still have those and it is still the most requested ticket that we have.”
      After capturing a championship and 32 career wins, Jarrett says he doesn’t feel he’s missing much, if anything, from his resume. “I can’t really see anything,” he said. “Would I have preferred to have gotten a second championship? Yes, and I came close to having a couple and that was great to be able to battle for that, but I’ve been blessed and I couldn’t imagine asking to add anything to a career that I’ve been very fortunate to have.”
      Dale Jarrett at Bristol Motor Speedway: Jarrett collected his only Bristol Motor Speedway Cup Series win during the Goody’s Headache Powder 500 (August 23, 1997). He started the event from third position, his best Bristol qualifying effort, and passed pole winner Kenny Wallace and second place starter Jeff Gordon to lead the first lap of the event. Gordon and Jarrett battled for the win all night before an accident knocked Gordon out of contention. With Gordon out of the race, Jarrett cruised to the checkered flag, leading 210 laps on his way to Victory Lane. He finished the race 0.102 sec. ahead of Mark Martin.
      Jarrett has one win, nine top-fives, 19 top-10s and has led 544 laps during his Bristol Motor Speedway Cup Series career.
      To date, Jarrett has started 43 races at Bristol and Martinsville, more than any other tracks on which he has competed.
      Jarrett has banked over $2.2 million dollars in winnings from his Cup Series efforts at Bristol.
      Jarrett’s first Sprint Cup start at Bristol occurred in the 1986 Busch 500. He qualified 28th and finished 29th in the 30-car field. He completed 69 laps and retired from the race due to a vibration in his car. He earned $990 for the day’s work.
      In 30 Nationwide Series starts at BMS, Jarrett has one win, 11 top-fives and 12 top-10s.
      Jarrett’s Nationwide Series win at Bristol came in the Jay Johnson 250 (August 1991). He started the race from 11th position and won $19,375. An all-star cast followed Jarrett across the line with Bobby Labonte in second, Jeff Gordon in third, and Davey Allison in fourth.(BMS PR)(3-12-2008) Comment here about DJ's career

    • Jarrett backs Stewart's comments about tires: Dale Jarrett on Tuesday called on Goodyear to listen carefully to Tony Stewart's complaints about the tires the company has produced this season. Although some drivers believe Stewart went overboard in his criticism of Goodyear following Sunday's race in Atlanta, Jarrett said the manufacturer needs to start constructing a better tire for Sprint Cup racing. "I have no problem with what Tony Stewart said. I'm a huge supporter of Goodyear and all that they have done over the years, but somebody needs to wake up right now and listen to these guys," said Jarrett, the former series champion who is retiring following Sunday's race in Bristol. "We're talking about race drivers that have a huge amount of talent and very seldom complain about things like that."(see full Associated Press report for more)(3-12-2008) Comment here

    • New colors for Kenseth at BMS: Matt Kenseth and the #17 team will sport the colors of Dish Network this weekend. He is the second Roush Fenway Racing driver to race the red, black and white Dish Network paint scheme this year. Carl Edwards recently won back-to-back races in the Dish Network car. Greg Biffle will carry the colors later this season. The trio are dubbed the Dish Network All-Stars.(RFR PR)(3-12-2008)

    • Goodyear to use same tire compound at Texas as last year: Texas Motor Speedway officials were informed by Goodyear that the tire manufacturer will utilize the same tire compound that produced dramatic racing in both Sprint Cup Series races last season for the upcoming Samsung 500 on April 6. Following several driver complaints at Sunday’s event at Atlanta Motor Speedway where the new Sprint Cup car (formerly the Car of Tomorrow) competed for the first time, Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage reached out to Goodyear because that Speedway Motorsports, Inc. sister track is nearly identical to TMS. Both are 1.5-mile ovals with 24-degree banking in the corners, among the fastest tracks on the circuit and play host to the new car for the first time in competition. “I called Goodyear and they told us they never planned to use the same tire they used in Atlanta for our upcoming race,” Gossage said. “The tire they will use for the Samsung 500 will be effectively the same tire they used in Texas last year, and those two races resulted in a last-lap pass in April and a side-by-side duel for the lead down to the finish in November. Both the left-side and right-side tires will effectively use the same compound as in 2007, but with a slightly different construction for the new car. The engineers feel quite good about their plans.” Once again as Gossage did last week with NASCAR, he will make Texas Motor Speedway available to Goodyear should they be interested in additional testing prior to the Samsung 500. Sprint Cup drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Clint Bowyer participated in a two-day Goodyear test Jan. 15-16 at TMS.(TMS PR)(3-12-2008) Comment here

    • Sad New - Bobbie Tripp Goldsmith: Bobbie Southerlin Tripp Goldsmith [Jason Keller's Mother-in-Law], 64, of 201 Tigerville Rd., went home to be with the Lord on Monday, March 10, 2008 at her home. Surviving are her husband of 27 years, Dean Goldsmith of the home; daughter, Deborah Tripp Keller and husband, Jason, of Travelers Rest; son, Ricky Lewis Tripp and wife, Larie, of Travelers Rest; sisters, Jeanette Brookshire of Travelers Rest and Linda Stone of Sunset, S.C.; brother, Carroll Southerlin of Greer; grandchildren, Chelsea Tripp, Ha'lle Tripp, Joe Keller and Jade Keller. Along with her parents, Mrs. Goldsmith was predeceased by her first husband, William Ernest Tripp; and a brother, Charles Frank Southerlin. Funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Renfrew Baptist Church with burial to follow at Grandview Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Howze Mortuary. Memorials may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 5401 Kingston Pike, Suite #230, Knoxville, TN 37919 and/or Interim Hospice, 775 Spartan Blvd., Spartanburg, SC 29301. Condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting www.thehowzemortuary.com. The Howze Mortuary and Cremation Service, Travelers Rest, is in charge of arrangements. (864)834-8051.(3-12-2008)


      News from March 11, 2008

    • Did you know that it has been 32 years since Chevrolet has been shut out of the first four races of the season and a Chevy driver went on to win the title in the same year? In 1976, Cale Yarborough won his first of three straight Championships. But the Chevy camp was held winless through the first four races of the season. Once the ball started rolling for Cale, he would win race #5 at Bristol and eight more races that season. This year, Dodge, Ford and Toyota have all posted wins, keeping the powerful Chevy contingency out of victory lane. This is only the sixth time in the modern era (since 1972) that Chevy has been winless after four races. This other years this occurred were:
      2002 – Tony Stewart won the title in a Pontiac
      1992 – Alan Kulwicki won the title in a Ford
      1976 – Cale Yarborough won the title in a Chevy
      1973 – Benny Parsons won the title in a Chevy
      1972 – Richard Petty won the title in a Plymouth & Dodge.
      The last time Chevrolet went winless for an entire season was in 1970.(LTPicks.com)(3-11-2008) Comment here

    • Congrats: Mike Ellershaw, #44 tire changer, and his wife Beth welcome a baby boy on March 9th, 6lb and 15oz and 18inches long.(3-11-2008)

    • Steve Addington named Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race” in Atlanta: Steve Addington, crew chief of the #18 Snickers Toyota driven by Kyle Busch, was named the Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race” for his team’s first place finish in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Addington helped his team’s assault to the front of the field in Sunday’s race by leading 173 of the 325 laps, giving Toyota its first official victory in NASCAR’s top series. Addington will receive a $1,000 check as a result of his leadership and spirited effort 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 www.Wypall.com.(Wypall PR)(3-11-2008)

    • Robby to sell? UPDATE "nothing changed": hearing that Alex Gillett [George Gillett's son] has purchased Robby Gordon Motorsports [#7 Dodge] and will run it as a separate entity from Gillette-Evernham Motorsports. Plans are to eventually expand it to a multi-car team. Assuming Robby Gordon will stay on as driver...if this is true. Currently Gordon owns the team, but has a technological and marketing partnership with Gillett Evernham Motorsports and is 24th in driver/owners points.(3-10-2008)
      UPDATE: "On Feb. 1, Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Robby Gordon Motorsports announced a technical, manufacturing and marketing agreement. Nothing has changed since that announcement."(GEM PR)(3-11-2008) Comment here

    • Petty donates two Cup cars to VT: Petty Enterprises has donated two #43 Nextel Cup race cars to the Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering and Research (VIPER). Richard Petty and son Kyle have donated the race cars to VIPER as research tools for mechanical engineering students pursuing graduate degrees. The Petty's decision was prompted by the Nextel Cup's retirement of the cars in preparation for the move to the "Car of Tomorrow" in 2008. Petty Enterprises General Manager Robbie Loomis noted in an ESPN.com article that the first donation would be to Virginia Tech for use at VIPER, primarily due to the research already underway there with a well-known motor sports team. "In this sport we need an area where we can groom and shape engineers to really fit the racing model. There always seems to be a disconnect between the book engineer and the actual applications engineer at the racetrack. So we hope we can bring that together for the future," said Loomis. VIPER Director Steve Southward couldn't agree more. "We are thrilled to have the race cars in the lab for hands-on experience. Working with these cars on our eight-post shaker rig allows our students to put what they learned about chassis engineering in class into practice in a way that leads to real know-how," said Southward. The VIPER program in mechanical engineering began in 2005. The institute offers unique programs, including testing of commercial vehicles.(Danville Register)(3-11-2008) Comment here

    • updated images for the #10: Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper returns to the Sprint Cup Series with Gillett Evernham Motorsports for the 2008 season. A new driver and a new paint scheme will adorn the #10 Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Dodge Chargers. Patrick Carpentier will take to the driver's seat for races at Dover International Speedway [Bumper-to-Bumper] on June 1 and Daytona International Speedway [Autovalue] on July 5. For more information on Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Quality Parts & Services see 800autotalk.com.(MMI PR), see my #10 Teams Schemes page.(3-11-2008)


      News from March 10, 2008

    • Goodyear Tire Test at Darlington March 10th UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon [Chevy], #16-Greg Biffle [Ford] and #12-Ryan Newman [Dodge] are scheduled to be at Darlington Raceway participating in a Goodyear tire test on Monday, March 10, 2008. The test is not open to the public.(Darlington Raceway PR)(3-5-2008)
      UPDATE: The roar of racing engines could once again be heard at Darlington Raceway on Monday as three of NASCAR's top teams participated in a Goodyear tire test at the track "Too Tough to Tame." Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman took to the track shortly after 12:30pm/et, and it did not take long for them to get acclimated to the new surface. "The basic transitions, the banking and the walls haven't changed," said seven-time Darlington winner Jeff Gordon. "The bumps are gone, the grip level is high and it's awesome, they did a great job."
      "I'm happy with the new surface, they have done a nice job, said two-time Darlington winner Greg Biffle. "There are no bumps or dips anywhere that we have noticed; I was pretty impressed with how smooth it was. The car was really stable and I was happy with the first few laps." Before embarking on the $10 million capital improvement project track officials consulted several drivers and crew chiefs about the track's surface. The response was unanimous, don't change Darlington. In response engineers utilized over 4 million reference points around the track's surface to ensure that the integrity of Darlington Raceway's original design remained the unchanged, a fact that did not go unnoticed.
      "They really didn't change anything," said Gordon." One of the neat things I heard from them was that they wanted to keep the history, keep the shape, the banking and everything the same as it has been throughout this track's history and I think they did a great job with that."
      "Darlington has always been my favorite track because you are always adjusting," said 2008 Daytona 500 champion Ryan Newman. "You adjust to the tires, the bumps, the character of the track, the fact that you are running right next to the wall is challenging. It's the most challenging track that we have and that is why I enjoy it the most." Monday's test marked the first time that race cars had returned to the track since off-season capital improvement projects that included a new racing surface, new infield access tunnel and the addition of SAFER barrier walls on the interior walls down the frontstretch and backstretch.(Darlington Raceway PR)(3-10-2008) Comment here

    • Goodyear Statement on Atlanta Race Tires: Based on Goodyear’s tire testing at Atlanta last August, October and December, we provided what we believed were the best possible products for the races this past weekend. We had no tire failures and no problems with heat or wear. We supplied the same tires for both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, and received zero complaints about our tires after the Nationwide race on Saturday.
      We believe that our engineering, research and tire development is second to none. We accept that drivers will have their own opinions about our tires. NASCAR president Mike Helton told us Monday that "NASCAR is very grateful for the commitment Goodyear has made on behalf of building a good and safe product for our competitors, including this past weekend at Atlanta. NASCAR stands by our relationship and is proud to have Goodyear as a partner."
      Even though both Goodyear and NASCAR were satisfied with the tire’s performance in Atlanta, if the drivers are not happy, then Goodyear’s not happy. Now that we know how this tire combination performed, we’ll go back and retest for the fall race. We have the same goal as the drivers and NASCAR: to put the safest, best performing tires on these cars.
      There will be many instances this year when the new car is on a particular track for the first time, as was the case in Atlanta. That makes it tougher than usual to get a read on how the tires will perform. But if there is ever any doubt about the recommendation, we will always err on the conservative side.
      Finally, we would like to correct an erroneous comment made by Tony Stewart. Goodyear decided to leave other racing series only because of the escalating costs of competition in those series. At least one other tiremaker has done the same. For Goodyear, the enormous investment required to compete in those other forms of racing far outweighed the benefits derived from our participation. We see tremendous benefits in our 54-year relationship with NASCAR as the organization’s longest continuing supplier. We remain fully committed to, and are proud of, our relationship with NASCAR.(Goodyear PR)(3-10-2008)

    • Overnight TV Ratings up for Atlanta: NASCAR on Fox TV Ratings hit a five-year high for the second straight week. This time the good news came from Atlanta, where yesterday's race earned a 5.6/12 [overnight/fast], Fox's top Atlanta race rating since 2003 and a +19% gain over last year's 4.7/10. Remarkably, FOX's 5.6/12 for the race nearly matched the combined ratings of head-to-head competition on ABC, CBS, and NBC (5.7/12), and when national ratings are released it's likely that FOX will beat that three-network total. For the season-to-date, NASCAR On FOX is averaging a 6.8/13, a +5% gain over last year's 6.5/13. Excluding the rain-impacted Fontana race, FOX has now aired five Sprint Cup programs this year, and all five have been either flat or up in the metered markets.(FoxPR), for the full season of ratings and chart, see my 2008 TV Ratings Page(3-10-2008) Comment here

    • #27 team suspends operations: Slugger Labbe, crew chief of the #27 Toyota for Bill Davis Racing told Mike Bagley and David Poole on The Morning Drive (Sirius NASCAR Radio 128) that the team has suspended operations due to lack of funding. The #27 may run Talladega but sponsorship money is needed to keep this team afloat.(Sirius NASCAR Radio 128)(3-10-2008) Comment here

    • Special Pennzoil scheme for Harvick: #29-Kevin Harvick is scheduled to run a Platinum Pennzoil scheme at the Sprint All-Star race in May and the August race at Bristol. See am image of the scheme on the #29 Team Schemes page.(3-10-2008)

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Kobalt Tools 500:
      Total number of commercials: 133
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 74
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 35
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:51 PM
      Total minutes: 231
      Minutes of race broadcast: 171
      Minutes of commercials: 60
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      Number of debris cautions where debris not shown: 1
      See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(3-10-2008) Comment here

    • Vickers clinches top 35....after next race: With #83-Brian Vickers team being 211 points ahead of the team 36th in Owners Points, #77-Hornish Jr., he could fail to qualify for the race at Bristol this coming weekend and still be locked in the top-35 and guaranteed a spot at Martinsville Speedway on March 30th. #2-Kurt Busch is also locked in after race 5 [Bristol] but is guaranteed to make the race at Bristol by having a past champions provisional to use. Other teams that were not locked into the Top-25 for the first fivee races but are curretnly in the top-35 are: #00-Reutimann [27th], #44-Jarrett [Reutimann takes over after Bristol, 32nd] and #55-Micheal Waltrip [33rd only 23 points out of 36th]. Five teams that started the 2008 season locked in the top-35 but are now sitting outside the current Top-35 are: #77-Hornish Jr. [switched owners pts with the #2 and is 18 pts out of 35th], #22-Blaney, #40-Franchitti, #01-Smith and #45-Petty [81 points out in 40th]. See my Drivers/Owners Points after Atlanta page for the standings.(3-10-2008) Comment here

    • Petty could be out of top 35, is points swap with #43 possible? #45-Kyle Petty is optimistic that even though he is 40th in owners points that he could get back into the top 35. He believes his Petty Enterprise Dodge has been better than a year ago and mechanical gremlins have hurt the finishes as he sits 81 points out of the key 35th-place spot. “We had three bad races but I am more encouraged where we’re at than I was last year. and that is no joke,” Petty said Friday. “Our car has driven good at all three races.” With the top 35 reverting to this year’s owners points following Bristol next week to determine the guaranteed spots in the lineup week to week, Petty does have another option to get back into the top 35 – he could swap owners points with teammate #43-Bobby Labonte. Labonte, as the 2000 Cup champion, would have access to a past champions provisional, if needed. Labonte, who is 14th in owners points, would still keep his driver points [with #44-Dale Jarrett retiring and #2-Kurt Busch 10th in owners points, Labonte would be guaranteed to make the races unless he used up his 6 past champion provisionals]. “It’s something we’ve thought about, but we haven’t talked about it [with everyone],” Petty Enterprises Executive Vice President Robbie Loomis said Sunday. Petty said the decision would be made by Loomis: “I haven’t thought about it because I’m not worried about it,” Petty said. The top-35 situation also could impact who eventually replaces Petty when he steps out of the car for six races to be in the booth for TNT’s Cup telecasts. The team used Chad McCumbee for one race and John Andretti for the others last year and it likely will be at least another month before those plans are settled. “We’re kind of waiting on this point deal to shake out,” Loomis said. “We have had a lot of drivers contact us about doing it. … I’m really, really big on McCumbee.(SceneDaily)(3-10-2008) Comment here

    • Bill Elliott's son wins title: Twelve-year-old Chase Elliott, son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, won his first major racing title Saturday by clinching the Young Guns division of Atlanta Motor Speedway's Winter Flurry. The Winter Flurry is a six-race competition for eight divisions of Legends, Bandolero and Roadsters. Other champions crowned Saturday were Bubba Harry (Roadsters), Kyle Plott (Bandits), Trey Maughan (Outlaws), Rawlin West (Chargers), Justin Swilling (Semi-Pro), Jeff Haynie (Masters) and Billy Fulson (Pro). Elliott's crew chief is his father Bill, who said he was just "tickled to death that nothing fell off the car" during the race. But he shouldn't start looking for a full-time gig in that arena, according to his son. "He climbed out and said, 'It's junk,'" Bill Elliott said. "I guess he must have got that from me. But he's doing a good job. Right now, it's just been a good way to spend time with him. I didn't get to spend too much time with my other kids, and I regret that." Chase Elliott, from Ballground, Ga., also sees these early races as a stepping stone for his future. "It was fun," Chase Elliott said. "We're just working hard, having a good time. We're moving in to a Legends car this summer and just want to keep moving up. I guess my goal is to get to Cup one day." His mother, Cindy, is bracing herself for that. "I tried to deter him when he was younger; I gave him golf lessons, tried to get him involved in baseball," Cindy Elliott said, laughing. "But ever since he's been old enough to talk, he's wanted to be a race car driver. And he's doing a great job, having a lot of fun. I'm so proud of him."(AMS Pit Notes)(3-10-2008) Comment here

    • Another NASCAR themed movie? Gary Ross has made a deal with Universal Pictures to develop and direct an untitled drama set against the world of NASCAR racing. Script is being written by Terence Winter, the "Sopranos" exec producer who most recently adapted "The Wolf of Wall Street" for Martin Scorsese at Warner Bros. NASCAR has agreed to cooperate, so Ross will be able to use the circuit's tracks and footage of actual races and drivers, as well as shoot scenes during races. Pic will be produced by Ross, Scott Stuber, Mary Parent and Jimmy Miller in a co-production between their Larger Than Life, Stuber/Parent and Mosaic Media Group banners. Miller, who developed relationships with NASCAR when he secured the circuit's cooperation on "Talladega Nights," was instrumental in bringing NASCAR into the fold. The NASCAR drama will focus on an up-and-coming driver who scratches his way into the circuit and develops a mentor/rival relationship with the driver he grew up idolizing. The dynamic is made more complex because the vet racer's son drives for his father's team.(Variety)(3-10-2008) Comment here



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