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    MARCH 17-23, 2008

      News from March 23, 2008

    • Not all drivers took the weekend off: A pair of veteran NASCAR drivers spent part of their Easter weekend racing in north Georgia Saturday evening. Bill Elliott finished fifth in a Legends race in the Masters class at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton. About 50 miles to the north on Interstate 85, Ken Schrader wound up fourth in the Super Late Model at Lavonia Speedway. And Kasey Kahne finished 14th at a spring car race at Williams Grove in Mechanicsburg PA on Friday and on Saturday at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown PA, he failed to make the feature and declined a provisional start. Also six Nextel Cup regular's ran the Nationwide Series Race in Nashville: Bowyer, Edwards, Kyle Busch, Reutimann, Ragan and Hamlin, which was won my Scott Wimmer.(3-23-2008)

    • Testing at Greenville: no word which drivers will test, but hearing the Dale Earnahrdt Inc, will test at Greensville Pickens Speedway [SC] on Monday, March 24th.(3-23-2008)

    • Sad News - Hazel Parsons: Hazel Parsons, mother of Phil and the late Benny, passed away today at Carolinas Medical Center. Tomorrow would have been her 85th birthday. Thoughts go out to the Parsons family.(3-21-2008)
      MORE" Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, March 25, 2008 at 2:00 PM at the Boone Family Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Rex Eldreth and Rev. Ken Pardue officiating. Burial will follow in the Stony Hill Baptist Church Cemetery, 406 Summit Road, Purlear, NC. Mrs. Parsons was born on March 22, 1923 in Wilkes County. She and her late husband Harold Parsons owned and operated a Taxi Cab Company in Detroit, Michigan. Mrs. Parsons is survived by two sons, Steve Parsons and wife, Donna, of Rochester, Michigan and Phil Parsons and wife, Marcia, of Cornelius, NC; a daughter, Patty Severt and husband, Rex, of West Jefferson, NC; one brother, Ritz Beshears of Purlear, NC; four sisters, Nancy Fletcher and Denton McNeill of West Jefferson, NC, Frances Cheek of Fleetwood, NC and Bernice Eller of Albemarle, NC; eleven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and a daughter-in-law, Mrs. Terri Parsons of Parsonsville, NC also survive.
      She was preceded in death by two sons, infant, Richard Allen Parsons and Benny Parsons and her husband, Harold Parsons.
      The Parsons family will receive friends Monday, March 24, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Boone Family Funeral Home, 2005 Mount Jefferson Road, West Jefferson, NC 28694. In Lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Connie F. Parsons Scholarship Fund, PO Box 443, Ellerbe, NC 28338 or the Ashe County Humane Society, 1175 Old Highway 16, Jefferson, NC 28640.(Charlotte Observer)(3-23-2008)

      News from March 22, 2008

    • How much do you know about the National Stock Car Racing Commission? Until recently, most fans might not have even known there was an independent board that handles hearing procedures for appealing NASCAR penalties. See the full story at

    • DW's Pipes To 'Idle' During Sprint Cup Off-Week: NASCAR on Fox lead analyst Darrell Waltrip, who lost his voice during last week's race at Bristol, was diagnosed with severely inflamed vocal cords on Wednesday of this week. This prompted a visit to Dr. Katherine Garrett (aka the "Voice Doctor To The Stars") at the Vanderbilt Voice Clinic where she treated DW with a steroid. Dr. Garrett, who has treated Charlie Daniels and other Nashville singing stars, has DW under strict orders to severely limit his speaking. He is expected to return to the booth March 30 in Martinsville. "It took eight years, but I finally figured out a way to get more air time," quipped DW's pre-race colleague and former crew chief Jeff Hammond.(Fox PR)(3-22-2008) Comment here

      News from March 21, 2008

    • Top 12 after five races..a year ago: and where they finished:
      1) #24-Gordon [2nd]
      2) #31-Burton [8th]
      3) #48-Johnson [1st] 4) #17-Kenseth [4th]
      5) #29-Harvick [10th]
      6) #5-Kyle Busch [now #18] [5th]
      7) #01-Martin [now #8][part time 27th]
      8) #07-Bowyer [3rd]
      9) #11-Hamlin [12th]
      10) #99-Edwards [9th]
      11) #40-Stremme [not in Cup this year][24th] 12) #20-Stewart [6th]
      drivers who made the chase, who were not in top 12 after 5 races:
      #2-Kurt Busch [was 20th finished 7th]
      #1-Martin Truex Jr. [was 25th finished 11th]
      So by race 5, ten of the twelve chasers were in the top 12, with 21 races to go.(3-21-2008) Comment here

    • Testing at Kentucky: #48-Jimmie Johnson and Regan Smith, in the #8 DEI Chevy, are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Monday, March 24th and Tuesday, March 25th. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway)(3-21-2008)

    • Motorcoach driver lawsuit fails again: A U.S. District Court Judge has dismissed a second lawsuit that David Scott, a black motorcoach driver who worked for Penske Racing, had filed 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 had claimed 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 lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in New York City. Judge Deborah Batts ruled in January that the statute of limitations had passed for all of the allegations except for the vendor-contract situation. The judge had ordered Scott to re-file the lawsuit to assert a plausible claim and the grounds for it. The judge then dismissed the remainder of the case Wednesday, ruling that the new complaint did not expand on the original one. “[Scott] was given explicit direction as to what set of facts could survive another motion to dismiss but chose not to change a single word in the description of the underlying events,” Judge Batts wrote. 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. Scott can ask the judge to reconsider her ruling and also can appeal the judge’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.(SceneDaily)(3-21-2008) Comment here

    • Trickle skipping races this season UPDATE: Dick Trickle had plans to run select races in the Midwest this summer, but those plans will be put on a hold. has been told Dick Trickle had to have heart surgery in which 2 stents/shunts were put in. Trickle won't be able to wheel a car this season per doctor orders. Trickle has drove a car prepared by Tim Rothe over the last couple a seasons and has told Tim Rothe not to prepare a car for him as he will be taking this year off.(
      UPDATE: Dick Trickle is touched by everyone who is concerned about his health. Or maybe the better word is overwhelmed. He's just fine for a 66-year-old man who underwent heart catheterization last week, his daughter, Vicky Trickle Bowman, said Thursday. (Factor in caffeine and nicotine addictions, chronic sleep deprivation and a nearly 50-year history of high-speed crashes and the Wisconsin short-track racing legend is downright great.) Besieged by questions about his heart this week, Trickle begged out of a slew of interviews, and instead Bowman offered this update: Trickle began to experience chest pains shortly after hip replacement surgery in November. Numerous medical tests turned up nothing until doctors performed a catheterization last week to check blood flow to his heart. They found two blockages and put in stents - tiny wire tubes designed to keep the arteries open - during an outpatient procedure. Because Trickle is taking blood thinners and cannot take unnecessary risk of internal injuries, he won't race this season. "He's fine," Bowman said. "It's nice that people care."(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel )(3-21-2008) Comment here

    • Final Bristol Cup TV Ratings up: NASCAR on Fox Final National TV Rating for Sunday's race from Bristol earned a 5.5/13 (8.9 million viewers). That's an +8% gain over last year's 5.1/12 and a nice increase on a day when the competition came up stronger than expected. For the season-to-date, including the rain-impacted Fontana race, NASCAR on Fox is averaging a 7.1/14 and 12.1 million viewers. That's up +4% over last year on rating (vs. 6.8/14) and up +7% on average audience (vs. 11.4 mill.). Excluding that one rain-impacted race, NASCAR on Fox is up +7% on rating (7.3/15 vs. 6.8/15) and +10% on viewership (12.4 mill. vs. 11.2). So far this season, FOX has aired six Sprint Cup programs that were not impacted by rain, and all six of them have posted better ratings than last year (Bud Shootout, Daytona qualifying, and four points races). This is the first time in FOX's history that six consecutive NASCAR events have enjoyed a year-to-year increase. Saturday's Nationwide race from Bristol aired on ABC and earned a 2.0/5, down -5% compared to last year's 2.1/6 for the same race.(Fox PR)(3-21-2008) Comment here

    • Cup teams test at New Smyrna: Mike Skinner was at New Smyrna Speedway [FL] on Wednesday testing at the half-mile oval in the #84 Red Bull Racing Toyota, a car normally occupied by AJ Allmendinger. Skinner has been given the wheel for a short span of Sprint Cup races in an attempt to get the second-year race team a bit more competitive. That's it. "I'm a consultant," he said after dozens of test laps at NSS. "I'm trying to bring all my years of experience to help them find a balance in the car. I don't want AJ's job. Allmendinger was in attendance, dressed in street clothes, watching the telemetry screens, monitoring the chatter between Skinner and the crew. Skinner was running this show on pit road. "They're getting a lot of test data," said Skinner, who calls Daytona Beach home. "We're trying to give them a thicker notebook, a bigger playbook." The #84 car was joined at the session by the Red Bull test team, with Tim Fedewa behind the wheel, and the #43 Petty Enterprises Inc. Dodge, jockeyed by Bobby Labonte.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-21-2008)

    • Tix for sale to see the Pit Crew Challenge in May: Tickets for the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman, featuring competition between the top 24 pit crews in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, are on sale now. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased online at or by calling the Charlotte Bobcats ticket office at (800) 495-2295. The NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge is set for Thursday, May 15 at 7 p.m. at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena and will be aired at 9 p.m. that evening on SPEED. Now in its fourth year, the competition is a signature lead-in event to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday, May 17 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(JHE Production Group PR)(3-21-2008)

    • Sad News - Teresa Ellen Burton: Teresa Ellen Burton died on March 18, 2008, surrounded by her loving family. Her death follows a brave and cheerful fight against non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She was the aunt of NASCAR drivers Ward and Jeff Burton. More info and service times at the Richmond Times Dispatch.(3-21-2008)

    • Motorcoach driver lawsuit fails again: A U.S. District Court Judge has dismissed a second lawsuit that David Scott, a black motorcoach driver who worked for Penske Racing, had filed 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 had claimed 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 lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in New York City. Judge Deborah Batts ruled in January that the statute of limitations had passed for all of the allegations except for the vendor-contract situation. The judge had ordered Scott to re-file the lawsuit to assert a plausible claim and the grounds for it. The judge then dismissed the remainder of the case Wednesday, ruling that the new complaint did not expand on the original one. “[Scott] was given explicit direction as to what set of facts could survive another motion to dismiss but chose not to change a single word in the description of the underlying events,” Judge Batts wrote. 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. Scott can ask the judge to reconsider her ruling and also can appeal the judge’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.(SceneDaily)(3-21-2008)

    • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Reality to sponsor racing team: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Realty has teamed up with Glacier Bear Racing for entire 2008 year as Primary Sponsor on race truck. 17 year old WKA Multi-Champion Jessica Brannam and NASCAR Car Engineer Tiffany Daniels have been approved by Dale Jr. to drive Glacier Bear Racing race truck in the Best in the Desert Racing Association Off Road Truck Series.(Glacier Bear Racing PR)(3-21-2008) Comment here

      News from March 20, 2008

    • Dale Jr. featured on ESPN The Magazine cover: Five-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is among a select group of professional sports stars featured on unique covers for ESPN The Magazine's 10th anniversary issue, released this week. The double-sided special edition features 10 covers, five on each side and in random order. The front half highlights athletes who have dominated their respective sport in the last 10 years -- baseball's Ichiro Suzuki, NFL running back LaDainian Tomlinson, pro basketball player Tim Duncan, tennis sisters Venus and Serena Williams, and professional snowboarder Shaun White. The flip side is devoted to athletes believed to shine over the next 10 years -- Earnhardt Jr., pro basketball player LeBron James, hockey star Sidney Crosby, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and NFL quarterback Vince Young. Earnhardt Jr.'s cover was shot by photographer Matt Jones, who shows the driver not in typical NASCAR attire but in a single-breasted Armani suit and tie. This marks the third time Earnhardt Jr. has appeared on the cover of ESPN The Magazine. He and Matt Kenseth shared the cover for the 1999 NASCAR Preview, and he alone was the subject of a cover story in the Feb. 18, 2002 edition. "It was a real honor to be included in this 10th anniversary project for ESPN The Magazine," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It's humbling to be among athletes of this caliber. I hope ESPN is correct in that we can generate a few headlines in the next 10 years. I feel like we can." In addition to the 10 covers, each athlete was photographed in settings of special meaning or personal significance for the inside pages. In homage to the history of NASCAR and his racing roots, Earnhardt Jr. took ESPN The Magazine to his vintage gas station in Mooresville, N.C., where photographer Sarah Friedman shot Earnhardt Jr. and his 1972 Camaro. "I have a great appreciation for the history of NASCAR where I grew up in Kannapolis," Earnhardt Jr. said. "This old-school gas station reminds me of that town, where the old cotton mill was the big industry. It's all torn down now, and I'm real nostalgic for it." ESPN The Magazine's 10th anniversary edition is on newsstands now. Fans can also log on to for behind-the-scenes footage of each athlete at their respective photo shoots, as well as prominent feature articles that have appeared in the magazine during its first 10 years of publication.(HMS PR)(3-20-2008) Comment here

    • Testing at Greenville: hearing that #77-Sam Hornish Jr. and #07-Clint Bowyer tested Tuesday at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina.(3-20-2008)

    • Petree to drive Truck at Martinsville? UPDATE 2 denied: Image added: 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 7 career CTS races, the last coming in 2004 at Martinsville.(3-12-2008)
      UPDATE: Image of the #92-Harris Trucking Toyota tested by Andy Petree at Martinsville is posted on the 2008 Paint Scheme Gallery page.
      UPDATE 2: Petree said on Wednesday's NASCAR Now [ESPN2 6pm/et] that he would not be running the race, he got his racing fix out of his system testing the truck at Martinsville.(3-20-2008)

    • Said picks up a two race NNS deal: Team Rensi Motorsports announced the signing of Boris Said to drive the #25 No Fear Energy / Smithfield Foods Ford for the two Nationwide Series international races -- in Mexico City and Montreal. Frank Stoddard will work with Said and Team Rensi Motorsports for both Nationwide Series events.(Team Rensi PR)(3-20-2008)

    • Said to own car dealership: #60-Boris Said is teaming up with one of the country's largest automotive retail operations to bring Boris Said's BMW of Murrieta to the Temecula Valley [Calif] in 2009. A joint venture between Said and Charlotte, N.C.-based Hendrick Automotive Group, the more than 50,000-square-foot facility will open off of Interstate 15 at the future French Valley Parkway exit in the fall of 2009. Hendrick Automotive Group will co-own and operate the dealership. Occupying more than eight acres of property at the Murrieta Auto Mall, Boris Said's BMW of Murrieta will provide sales and service to what has been an under-represented region for the automaker. Construction will begin in the fall of this year. Hendrick Automotive Group currently owns and operates five BMW Centers in three different states that have achieved the manufacturer's Pinnacle CSI (customer satisfaction index) award 12 times since 2002. The honor is earned annually by the top 8 percent of BMW retailers in the United States.(Hendrick Automotive Group PR)(3-20-2008)

      News from March 19, 2008

    • Lowe's Motor Speedway and UPS to Honor Dale Jarrett at All-Star Race: Dale Jarrett will finally "race" the truck and Lowe's Motor Speedway is offering a special two-day ticket package for just $44 so fans can be on hand Saturday night, May 17, when Jarrett's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered Tour" culminates at the Sprint All-Star Race. Those are just two of several events and promotions that officials from UPS and Lowe's Motor Speedway announced Wednesday in preparation for the 1999 Sprint Cup champion's final career start. Jarrett unveiled the #44 UPS Toyota Camry he will drive in the Sprint All-Star Race which features a special paint scheme that pays tribute to several of the North Carolina native's career accomplishments. The unveiling marked the first time Jarrett viewed the metallic-gold design which unites the past with the present. The car displays design elements from both Jarrett's current #44 UPS Camry as well as the #88 Quality Care entry that he drove during the 1999 championship season.
      But, before Jarrett straps into the #44 UPS Toyota Camry for the final time, he'll do something fans have eagerly anticipated, he's going to "race" the truck. After Jarrett is introduced prior to the Sprint All-Star Race, he will step into the UPS Race Truck from the UPS ad campaign and take one lucky fan for a ride around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. In honor of Jarrett and in appreciation of the fans who have supported him, Lowe's Motor Speedway officials have created "DJ's Deal," a special Friday-Saturday (May 16-17) All-Star Weekend ticket package for only $44. The "DJ's Deal" package and tickets for all May events at Lowe's Motor Speedway, including the May 17 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the May 25 Coca-Cola 600, can be purchased by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at PR), see images of the car on my #44 Team Schemes page.(3-19-2008)

    • Raines to attempt to make Martinsville in the #08: EM Motorsports owner John Carter announced that Tony Raines would pilot the #08-Rhino’s Energy Drink Dodge Charger in the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 on March 30, at Martinsville Speedway.  Raines is a veteran of six Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville.  Raines’ best finish at the historic half-mile track was a 10th place finish in last October’s Subway 500.  Raines qualifies well at the track with an average starting position of 17.3 in his 6 races. EM Motorsports is based in Toccoa, Georgia and is led by owner John Carter, Crew Chief Charles Swing and Marketing VP Doug Barron.(EM Motorsports PR) Carl Long attempted to make the Daytona 500 with the team and Burney Lamar had made a few attempts. Long had been scheduled to run at Bristol, but the team didn't make an attempt there.(3-19-2008)

    • No Roush Points swap: Roush Fenway Racing spokesman tells me that Roush Fenway Racing has no plans of swapping points from the #17 Matt Kenseth team to the #26 Jamie McMurray team, who is 36th in onwers points and nees to race his way into the race at Martinsville.(3-19-2008) Comment here

    • No Petty Racing points swap for Martinsville: Petty Enterprises officials say they will not ask NASCAR to approve a points swap between drivers Bobby Labonte and Kyle Petty. That means that Petty will need to qualify based on speed for the March 30 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway. The team could have swapped points between the drivers, helping get both into the field. Petty is outside the top 35 in owners points this season, with the locked-in field being set based on this season’s points starting with the Goody’s Orange Cool 500. Since Labonte is the 2000 Cup series champion, he would have been eligible for the past champions provisional as the most recent past champion outside the top 35. Instead, the team is not requesting a change, leaving Labonte 18th in points and Petty 40th.(SceneDaily)(3-19-2008) Comment here

    • Johnson tests at The Rock: #48-Jimmie Johnson tested at Rockingham Speedway on Tuesday, March 18th.
      AND It has been a long time since the Rockingham Speedway garage was filled with over 40 cars and team transporters. This Friday and Saturday, March 21st and 22nd, the Rockingham Speedway is hosting an open test session for the Carolina 500 [ARCA Series] and 42 teams have already signed up to participate. Fans will be admitted into the grandstands and infield for free to watch the two-day test session. Grandstand and infield gates will open at 9:00am/et both days, the same time cars will roll onto the track each morning. The test will end at 5:00pm/et. The ARCA RE/MAX Series teams will be testing for next month's Carolina 500 on May 4th the first race at "The Rock" since Andy Hillenburg purchased the track and reopened it last fall. Some of the drivers expected for the open test are: Scott Speed, Bobby Gerhart, Bryan Silas, Mario Gosselin, Joey Lagano, Marc Davis, Austin Dillon, Matt Carter, Gabi DiCarlo along with many others. For more information about the open test or to order tickets for the ARCA RE/MAX Series Carolina 500 on May 4th and the Hooter's Pro Cup American 200 on November 1st, contact the speedway at (910) 205-8800 or visit their website at Comment here

    • Miller named Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race” in Bristol: Scott Miller, crew chief of the #31 AT&T Mobility Chevy driven by Jeff Burton, was named the Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race” for his team’s first place finish in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Although Burton only led two laps throughout the entire race, it was the “final” two propelling him to his first career victory at Bristol. Miller will receive a $1,000 check as a result of his leadership and successful strategy calls during the most critical moments of the race. At both Bristol races this season, not only does the winning crew chief receive $1,000, but a $1,000 bonus is awarded to the winning pit crew as well. The #31 AT&T crew received a $1,000 check during the post-race ceremonies in Victory Lane. 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 who 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, make up the panel of judges. The crew chiefs include 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. 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. For more information, log onto PR)(3-19-2008)

    • Fuel Cell Problems at JGR? #11-Denny Hamlin says a potential flaw in the design of the fuel cells at Joe Gibbs Racing may have contributed to Sunday's loss at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hamlin was leading on the green-white-checkered restart, but his car stalled because not enough fuel reached the engine. That allowed #31-Jeff Burton to blow past Hamlin for his first win at the half-mile track and set up a 1-2-3 finish for Richard Childress Racing. Hamlin, who got his car going after gas swashed into the engine in the corners of the track, finished sixth. It wasn't the first time this has happened. "Anytime we get low on fuel, especially with a banked race track like Bristol, all of our fuel drains in the cell to where we don't get any in the engine," Hamlin said Tuesday. "Once we do take off all we're using is fuel in the lines. There's a bubble in there and the car stalls." Hamlin said team owner Joe Gibbs met with engineers all day Monday looking for answers. He said officials are also looking into why the gearbox in his car failed the previous week at Atlanta and the one in teammate Kyle Busch's car failed with him in the lead at Bristol. "He blew the top seal out of his," Hamlin said. "Mine blew the bottom seal. As far as knowing exactly what's causing it, I don't know yet. Between steering boxes and fuel, it's aging me pretty bad." Hamlin said there are several ways to design a fuel cell. One is so that it always works well with low fuel; another is where under green-flag conditions a car can "suck out the gas to where there's only one drop left."( Comment here

      News from March 18, 2008

    • Stewart gets waxed...see images: Last night [3/17] on "Tony Stewart Live" on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, Stewart and Kevin Harvick discussed their run-in in the final laps of Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. While running second and third, Harvick's and Stewart's cars came together, spinning Stewart out and knocking him back to a 14th place finish. Immediately after the accident, words were exchanged between spotters for the #20 and #29 teams.
      Kevin Harvick: "I think for me the biggest thing is just Bristol brings out the best in everybody. I was mad when I got out [of the car]. The spotter was mad when I got into the side of Tony and the emotions run so high. And it's not the spotter's fault. It's not anybody's fault. It's just part of our sport. It won't be the last time we probably run into each other but we get better at handling it amongst each other as you learn more about the situations and things like that. The spotters didn't have anything to do with me running into the side of him."
      Tony Stewart: "That's the thing about our sport that you don't see in other sports. We don't get a cool-down period. You get that pure, raw emotion and a lot of times it doesn't give us all a chance to compare notes. Like we were talking about earlier, I had called Kevin and I didn't even know what had happened and this was 6 o'clock at night by the time I got home. It just shows how passionate I think everybody is. The crew guys are just as passionate about what is going on as we are. In our case my spotter is also head of our chassis department so when I crash something he's the guy that has to fix it."
      Stewart: "Obviously, I was disappointed that we were in a wreck but I know, of all people, I trust Kevin more than anybody else on that racetrack. I know that anything that happens with us, just like what happened yesterday, I knew it wasn't intentional."
      Later in the show, Stewart made good on a longtime bet with his buddy Harvick. After some teasing about his hirsute torso, Stewart said a year ago on SIRIUS that if Harvick was able to raise $100,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp, he would agree to have his back waxed. Having reached the stated goal with fan donations and a matching contribution from Harvick himself, Stewart made good on his promise, undergoing the painful procedure last night live on SIRIUS as Stewart's co-host, Matt Yocum, and Harvick provided rip-by-rip commentary for SIRIUS listeners nationwide. Thanks to late donations by Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs, who pledged $15,000, and Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, who donated $10,000, the total raised for Victory Junction Gang Camp surpassed $125,000. Asked during the procedure if the pain was worse than hitting the wall at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Stewart laughed and said, "Yeah, it does actually. It does hurt worse than hitting the wall at Vegas. It just isn't lasting as long." To hear audio clips and see photos from last night's show, visit Last night's show re-airs tonight at 11pm/et, Thursday at 10pm/et, Saturday at 10pm/et and Monday at 8pm/et on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128.(Sirius PR))(3-18-2008) Comment here

    • Changes at the #96? UPDATE 3 Boyer Named Crew Chief: hearing there could be a crew chief change coming at the #96 Hall of Fame Racing team...Slugger Labbe could be coming over from the now idle #27 Bill Davis Racing team. Brandon Thomas is the current crew chief for J.J. Yeley at Hall of Fame Racing. There tend to be some changed during the first of weekend every season.(3-16-2008)
      UPDATE: been told that Labbe was seen at Bristol in a Bill Davis Racing sweatshirt and been told by BDR rep that Labbe is still with BDR and will help out the #22 CAT team in testing the next couple weeks.(3-17-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Richard “Slugger” Labbe, who was crew chief of the #27 Bill Davis Racing car, has parted ways with the team, a BDR spokesman confirmed Monday.(SceneDaily)(3-18-2008)
      UPDATE 3: Hall of Fame Racing officials announced that Steve Boyer will serve as crew chief for driver J.J. Yeley and the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry beginning with the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 Sprint Cup Series race weekend March 29-30 at Martinsville. Boyer, who has worked within the engineering department at HoFR since December 2007, takes over for Brandon Thomas, who had served as crew chief since October 2006. Boyer is no stranger to the top of the pit box, as he was Sterling Marlin’s crew chief at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for the last six races of the 2004 Sprint Cup Series season and the entire 2005 campaign.(HOF PR)(3-18-2008)

    • McCumbee to test at Gateway for Petty's UPDATE: 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)
      UPDATE: Chad McCumbee and the Petty Enterprises team has cancelled their test session at GIR due to weather. There are no plans to re-schedule.(GIR)(3-18-2008)

    • Terry Labonte could return to racing? Two-time Cup champion Terry Labonte has enjoyed his cameo appearances at the track and would do so again. "A couple of years ago I ran some races for a team and they called me about this race and that race," Labonte said Monday, chuckling while recalling the story. "I said, 'Man, I've already got a fishing trip planned, and invited a bunch of my friends and stuff. They've already made their plans. I can't change them.'" Labonte and his past champion provisional would be available, under the right circumstances. Labonte subbed three times for Michael Waltrip in 2007 to help guarantee the #55 Camry a spot in the field, and told the Richmond Times-Dispatch last year he would've helped old boss Rick Hendrick had Casey Mears fallen out of the top 35. But Labonte made it clear that an appearance would be less about a past relationship and more about running at tracks that he enjoys. He admitted that he'd love to compete at the road races, where his proficiency is well-noted, and he also mentioned short tracks like Richmond as a preference. More than anything, he doesn't want to have a negative effect wherever he goes. "Like I told one guy, the only way I'd be interested in doing it is if everybody's onboard with it," Labonte said. "'Cause I don't want this [driver] to think I'm trying to take his job, because the last thing I want is his job. If I could help them, I would." With Dale Jarrett's retirement from points competition, his provisional is out of play. Labonte's past champion provisional from his 1996 title would take precedence over Bill Elliott's crown from 1988. Teams are considering switching owner points with past champions to guarantee spots in the field-Matt Kenseth/Jamie McMurray and Terry's brother Bobby Labonte/Kyle Petty serving as examples-but the champs are running well enough that racing their way in on speed is likely, giving Terry Labonte's provisional value.(Long Island Press)
      AND [Petty Racing] Team officials planned to meet Monday afternoon to discuss options for the #45 car, including the possibility of putting another driver temporarily behind the wheel. Petty Enterprises could switch points between Petty and Bobby Labonte, who could get in on a past champion's provisional if he failed to make it on speed. But their obligations to sponsor General Mills, which backs Labonte's car, make that a long shot. A more viable option might be calling on another Labonte -- Bobby's brother Terry, also a past champion, who Petty Enterprises was thinking of putting in the #45 car for road course events anyway. "We could do the Bobby thing, but we don't want to do that because of the sponsor thing," team vice president Robbie Loomis said Sunday. "We could call on brother Terry. He might be willing to help us out a little bit. We could use him to start the race. He's got the championship status like they have with Bill [Elliott] and with Dale Jarrett. So that's an option for us, too. But ultimately, we'd like to leave Kyle in there as the driver of the car, and have him make the race."( Comment here

    • MWR Installs Jet Edge Waterjet Cutting System: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) has installed a Jet Edge precision waterjet cutting system at its fabrication shop in Cornelius, N.C. MWR plans to use its Jet Edge system to cut parts for its three Sprint Cup Series teams and Nationwide Series team. MWR and Jet Edge also announced their new technical partnership, which will give MWR access to Jet Edge’s latest waterjet-cutting technology and position Jet Edge as a leading waterjet technology supplier to the $19.5 billion performance racing industry. With construction of its new fabrication shop completed, MWR has begun increasing its in-house manufacturing capabilities, explained Dr. Eric Warren, MWR’s vice president and technical director. One of its first steps was to acquire waterjet-cutting capabilities that have become essential to NASCAR teams as they race to fabricate parts under extremely tight deadlines.(MWR PR)(3-18-2008) Comment here

      News from March 17, 2008

    • 1-2-3 finishes: Richard Childress Racing [#31-Burton, #29-Harvick, #07-Bowyer] pulled off a feat Sunday that's not quite as easy as 1-2-3. With its first sweep in team history, RCR also became the first team to finish in the top three spots since Roush Fenway Racing did so four times in 2005.
      Last 1-2-3 Finishes
      2008: Bristol, RCR
      2005: Homestead, Roush*
      2005: Texas, Roush
      2005: Kansas, Roush
      2005: Richmond, Roush
      1997: Daytona, HMS
      *Finished 1-2-3-4

    • Bristol TV Ratings Up: NASCAR on Fox posted a 5.0/11 for racing from Bristol Sunday, a +2% gain over the same race a year ago and the third straight week that NASCAR has posted a year-to-year increase in the metered markets. Season-to-date, NASCAR on Fox is now averaging a 6.5/13 in the metered markets, a +7% boost over last year's 6.1/12.(Fox PR)(3-17-2008) Comment here

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Food City 500 at Bristol
      Total number of commercials: 127
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 63
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 42
      Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 4 min. 30 sec.
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:01pm/et
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:17pm/et
      Total minutes: 196
      Minutes of race broadcast: 138
      Minutes of commercials: 58
      Number of missed restarts: 1 (and one near miss)
      Total race brdcst time 138 Total comm. brdcst time 58
      See full report at Comment here

    • DW presented #11 Mountain Dew Buick Regal: Three-time Cup champion Darrell Waltrip, who leads all drivers with 12 wins at Bristol Motor Speedway, received a surprise gift from Ralph Santana of PCNA VP Sports , Media and IMG, on behalf of the Mountain Dew Racing. Waltrip, who is currently a television analyst form FOX, was presented the #11 Mountain Dew Regal he drove during back-to-back championship seasons in 1981-1982. During those two years, he captured 24 captured flags, 12 in 1981 and another dozen in 1982. His streak of seven consecutive victories at Bristol Motor Speedway began with a sweep of both Cup events in 1981 along with both Bristol events in 1982 and 1983 along with the spring race in 1984. The Owensboro, Kentucky native garnered 84 career wins in 809 starts and he sat on the pole 59 times with career winnings of $19,416,618. Waltrip’s 84 victories ties him with Bobby Allison for third in series wins. He has also been named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers.(TriCitiesSports)(3-17-2008) Comment here

    • Jarrett Honored Sunday: #44-Dale Jarrett received a standing ovation in the drivers' meeting in honor of his final points race. He then told the drivers to enjoy their careers "because we all have one time in this, and mine has been fantastic." The 1999 Cup champion also was honored during prerace introductions, receiving a "Tennessee Volunteer" rifle similar to the ones used by settlers in this area during the Revolutionary War's Battle of Kings Mountain. An avid golfer, he also received 668 Titleist Pro V1 golf balls to commemorate his career Cup starts. Jarrett's father, Ned, waved the green flag to start the race. The race was anti-climactic, though, as Jarrett finished 37th, 10 laps off the pace. "Well, it wasn't the finish I would have liked," he said. "I'm able to go out with the best sponsor in the business in UPS and I would have liked to have had a better day for them, but I really can't be too upset when you take into consideration the kind of career I have been fortunate to have."( Comment here

    • Changes at Red Bull, Labbe?: Guenther Steiner is no longer the director of competition for Team Red Bull. Officially, Steiner is on "vacation." However, sources close to the team say he's gone and there's been no replacement named. It's all part of the shakeup underway at the team now that Jay Frye has been put in charge. I [Yahoo's Bob Margolis] also hear that Slugger Labbe [who parted ways with BDR on Monday] could be on his way over to Red Bull to be reunited with Frye.(Yahoo Sports)(3-17-2008) Comment here

    • Testing at Kentucky this week CANCELLED: #48-Jimmie Johnson and #78-Joe Nemechek are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedwy on Tues/We March 18-19 along with R&D teams of Joe Gibbs Racing with Joey Logano, Stanton Barrett's team, the CTS Bill Davis Racing team with Mike Skinner and on Wed Petty Racing will test with driver TBA. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.
      CANCELLED: All race teams scheduled to test Kentucky Speedway March 18-19 have canceled their sessions due to a rain-filled weather forecast.(Kentucky Speedway)(3-17-2008) Comment here

    • Almirola Soldiers to Impressive 8th-Place Finish in Bristol: #8-Aric Almirola sure didn't look like a driver who had not competed in more than four months. In only his seventh career Sprint Cup start the 24-year-old U.S. Army driver took on one of NASCAR's toughest tracks Sunday and psoted an eighth-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. "Awesome, just awesome," said crew chief Tony Gibson. "Aric drove the wheels off that Army Chevrolet. We had a decent car, not a great one. But Aric drove both patiently and hard. He has talent. The team believes in him and he believes in us. He is in the future and we're just happy that he is driving our stuff." Almirola's last Cup race was in November in Phoenix. "These guys on this Army team deserve the credit," said Almirola, who celebrated his 24th birthday on Friday. "I had a good car with a lot of speed and didn't have to hustle it. It was a lot of fun out there and I want to thank the U.S. Army, DEI, Tony (Gibson) and all the guys on this team for believing in me. The pit stops were excellent all day." Almirola will also drive the #8 Chevy in the next Cup race at Martinsville Speedway (March 30) as part of his 12-race schedule with Dale Earnhardt Inc. He is sharing the ride with veteran Mark Martin. Almirola started the race from the 16th position and drove in the top 15 for nearly the entire race. Almirola's previous best finish in a Cup race was 26th in Phoenix last fall.(DEI PR)(3-17-2008) Comment here

    • Points Swapping could happen for Martinsville: If needed, Michael Waltrip Racing could swap its owner points to ensure that drivers David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip are locked into the top 35 beginning at Martinsville. With MWR set to have different drivers in two of its cars after Dale Jarrett’s final points race on Sunday, rookie driver Michael McDowell said he’ll likely inherit the owner points of the car that is outside the top 35, if necessary. All three MWR cars are currently in the top 35, but McDowell knows it makes little sense to have the unsponsored #00 locked into the field with David Reutimann and the #44 UPS car or Michael Waltrip and the #55 Napa car on the outside. As for finding a sponsor, McDowell said the only thing he can do is get the best finishes possible once he debuts at Martinsville. Aaron’s has sponsored the #00 and Reutimann through the first five races.(
      AND other teams may swap points depending on how they stand after the race at Bristol as the 2008 Owners Points will be used for the the Top-35 guaranteed spots at Martinsville March 30th. Just to be clear, the Top-35 would only be locked in for Martinsville, not the rest of the season, the Top-35 can change from race-to-race all the way thru the last week at Homestead.
      Other teams/drivers that MAY switch: #45-Kyle Petty and #43-Bobby Labonte [Petty is currently 40th on OWNERs pts, 60 out of 35th and the #43 is 19th after Bristol], Labonte would have the past champions provisonal to use...up to 6
      #2-Busch [10th] and #77-Hornish [made it in at 35th, so doubt they would switch now]...again, with Busch still having 5 champion provisionals left to use.
      #17-Kenseth [11th] and #26-McMurray [36th] could swap, but have not heard anyone from Roush metnion it
      NASCAR would have to approve any of these points swaps.(3-15/16-2008)
      UPDATE: Petty Enterprises will decide in the next week whether to swap the owners' points between Bobby Labonte and Petty to assure Petty a spot at Martinsville. Petty is 40th in points. Labonte, who would be guaranteed a spot as a past champion (2000), is 18th after finishing 38th on Sunday.(
      UPDATE 2: Petty Enterprises could petition NASCAR for a swap of points between Petty and the 19th-ranked Dodge of teammate Bobby Labonte, who would be in the field as a past champion. But Robbie Loomis, the team's vice president of operations, said he might be comfortable with Petty qualifying on speed at Martinsville.(USA Today)(3-17-2008) Comment here

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