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    MARCH 31-APRIL 6, 2008

      News from April 6, 2008

    • Edwards wins at Texas: #99-Carl Edwards won the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway for his 3rd win of 2008 and the 10th of his career. He domanated the race, leading 122 laps and surviving and green white checker finish. #48-Johnson was 2nd, followed by #18-Busch, #12-Newman, #11-Hamlin, #31-Burton [who continues to lead the points], #20-Stewart, #8-Martin, #17-Kenseth and #07-Bowyer. #24-Gordon wrecked early and finished 43rd, only the second time in his career that he has finished last [the other being Texas in 1999]. There were 16 lead changes among 6 drivers and 6 cautions for 27 laps.
      Race Results on my Texas Race Results/Awards Page.(4-6-2008)

    • REVISED Unofficial Drivers Points Standings [after Texas race 7 of 36]:
      1) #31-Jeff Burton 1065
      2) #29-Kevin Harvick 1006 -59
      3) #18-Kyle Busch 1001 -64
      4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 978 -87
      5) #20-Tony Stewart 957 -108
      6) #48-Jimmie Johnson 821 -144
      7) #11-Denny Hamlin 913 -152
      8) #16-Greg Biffle 901 -164
      9) #99-Carl Edwards 881 -184
      10) #12-Ryan Newman 876 -189
      11) #07-Clint Bowyer 874 -191
      12) #9-Kasey Kahne 874 -191
      other chase contenders
      13) #17-Matt Kenseth 820 -245
      14) #24-Jeff Gordon 783 -282
      15) #2-Kurt Busch 763 -302
      16) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 755 -310
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Texas page. (4-6/8-2008)

    • Ganassi promises changes if Cup teams don't improve: Chip Ganassi wasn't pleased with his NASCAR teams long before #40-Dario Franchitti failed to qualify for Sunday's race at Texas Motor Speedway. Just how unhappy the car owner actually is became clear Saturday when he unleashed a blistering indictment of his team's performance so far this season. "Frankly, there are 46 cars there and if you can't beat three of them, that's pretty pathetic," Ganassi said on Sirius Satellite Radio. "I certainly have all the faith in the world in (Franchitti's) driving abilities. I don't think it's that. The fact of the matter is, we didn't give him a car that was capable of doing it." Although he praised the work Montoya and his # 42 crew has done to rebound from a slow start to the season, Ganassi was particularly upset with the performance of Sorenson's #41 team. The third-year driver has four finishes of 31st or worse."The 41 team, it's the same old things that take them out," he said. "One week its this, the next week it's that, and it's sort of this combination of all of the above. Everybody on the 41 team is going to have to take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are prepared for what's coming down the pike." Ganassi, who was in St. Petersburg, Fla., with his IRL teams, said later Saturday he won't hesitate to make personnel changes if that's what it will take to get his teams turned in the right direction. (Associated Press/CBS Sports)(4-6-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR to Examine McDowell's Car: Before Michael McDowell's totaled #00 Toyota winds up in the salvage yard, NASCAR's research and development team wants a chance to inspect the damage. McDowell was able to walk away from an accident in Friday's qualifying session that later took Texas Motor Speedway crews three hours to replace a 28-foot section of the SAFER barrier that was severely bowed by the impact. The battered hulk of what remained of McDowell's machine was placed under a tarp and will be on its way to the R&D facility in Concord, N.C., next week. NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton said it's standard procedure for NASCAR to evaluate how its safety initiatives hold up in severe crashes, particularly the advancements that have been made in the new car. Pemberton said NASCAR engineers may be particularly interested in this crash, because it should provide some valuable telemetry to show forces and loads on the car when it impacted the SAFER barrier and then tumbled at least eight times. An initial inspection of the car by NASCAR officials following the accident seemed to indicate that all of the safety features on the car performed as expected, according to Pemberton. ( Comment here

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Phoenix
      A couple changes, #77-Hornish back in and #70-Sauter falls out and must qualify by speed at Phoenix.
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      31) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing 588 +98
      32) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing 530 +40
      33) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing 505 +15
      34) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing 502 +12
      35) #01-Smith/Dale Earnhardt Inc 496, 6 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
      36) #70-Sauter/Haas CNC Racing 490, 6 points out of 35th
      39) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis 473 -23
      37) #44-Reutimann/Waltrip Racing 458 -38
      38) #40-Franchitti/Ganassi Racing 447 -49
      40) #84-Skinner/Red Bull Racing 364 -132
      For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(4-6-2008)

    • Villeneuve seeking sponsors overseas: Jacques Villeneuve is still hopeful of returning to NASCAR and is currently seeking sponsors overseas to try to secure the budget that would see him back behind the wheel in the US. "Well we still have a few months to get the budget," said Villeneuve. "It's hard going. I'm working on my own now and actually working with Barry Green. Craig was working hard on buying a team in NASCAR, but that didn't work out and at the same time it closed some doors last year with teams that might have seats. So now I have to start again and keep going." The Canadian has secured a deal to compete in the last two events of the new Speedcar Series, which features former Formula One drivers in NASCAR Nationwide type machines. He says the opportunity will not only help him get some valuable seat time in preparation for an eventual return to NASCAR on a road course event, but also to find sponsorship on new markets like Dubai, where he is set to race next weekend.(

      News from April 5, 2008

    • Only four drivers left: Only four Sprint Cup drivers have ran all fifteen Sprint Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway including the race Sunday: #8-Mark Martin, #31-Jeff Burton, #24-Jeff Gordon and #43-Bobby Labonte. Martin and Burton have won at the track.(4-5-2008)

    • Petty will skip Dover race for daughter's wedding: Kyle Petty said Friday at Texas that he will miss the June 1 Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway because of the wedding of his daughter. Montgomery Lee Petty will marry Randy Schlappi on May 31, a spokesman for Petty Enterprises said Friday. Petty is already skipping six Cup races later this year because he will serve as an analyst on TNT’s race broadcasts, and Petty is not driving this weekend’s race at Texas. Montgomery Lee Petty is Kyle and Pattie’s only daughter.( Comment here

    • Petty, Loomis differ on who made call for McCumbee; Petty Would Consider Driving for Another Team: Kyle Petty isn't happy about the decision to replace him with rookie Chad McCumbee at Texas. He made it clear on Friday that it was not his decision to step aside even though Robbie Loomis, the vice president of competition at Petty Enterprises, said it was. "I don't care what he said,'' Petty said. "I said it wasn't. Why would I get out of a car?'' Petty would not say who made the decision, whether it was Loomis or his father, seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty. He referred to the decision-maker only as "they.'' "Quite frankly, Kyle is the one that came up with the idea,'' said Loomis, adding Petty will be back in the car next week at Phoenix. "On Monday, Kyle and Richard came to the shop and talked to me and said, 'Hey, I know you're trying to strengthening this team up. Let's try to leave as much as that intact as you can right now and let's put Chad in there and give him a chance.''' That didn't mesh with Petty's story. "I told them I'll do whatever it takes to make this team better,'' he said. "They felt in order to make this team better was me being out of the car and somebody else being in it. If that's the way they feel then that's their option because they run the place. "Do I think I'm the problem?'' he said. "No, I don't think I'm the problem, but I'm pretty arrogant on that side…I think we have problems, but I don't think Kyle Petty is the problem.''(
      AND: Kyle Petty said he would consider driving for a different organization if "there's not a place for me here" at Petty Enterprises. The 47-year-old veteran replied "Oh, yeah" without hesitation when asked Friday afternoon whether a new race team could be in his future if it is determined that Petty Enterprises wants to go in a different direction. "Even though you think I make a living running my mouth, I try to make a living driving," he said. "And if there's no place for me here, then you'd have to go someplace else." Petty emphasized that such a move would not be made until his current team has chosen the direction it will take. Therefore, a change is not imminent. ( Comment here

    • Allmendinger now expected back in #84 at Talladega: AJ Allmendinger, originally expected back in the seat of the #84 Red Bull Racing Toyota April 12 at Phoenix, said Friday he will not return until the following week at Talladega. Mike Skinner made his first appearance in the # 84 at Las Vegas and has a best finish of 27th (at Atlanta) in four starts entering Texas. "He's said the same things that I've been saying, so just more than anything there's a peace of mind of getting back in the car and [saying], 'OK, so I'm not crazy. I am feeling the right things," Allmendinger said. He has tested for the team at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and Nashville during his hiatus from competition.( Comment here

    • Petty Enterprises don't expect to lose Labonte: Petty Enterprises lost the sponsor of its famed # 43 car to Richard Childress Racing on Tuesday, but officials don't expect the driver to follow. STP was the sponsor of the #43 car that Richard Petty drove to 200 victories. Now with General Mills moving on, the car needs a sponsor again. Robbie Loomis, the vice president for racing operations at Petty Enterprises, said the organization is in the final stages of negotiating a deal that would keep 2000 Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte there for the remainder of his career. He said losing General Mills, the current sponsor of Labonte's car, will have no bearing on that. "I'm not worried about that at all," Loomis said of losing Labonte to RCR. "I feel as good about it as anything I've felt about in a long time." ( Comment here

    • Biffle Doesn't Consider Childress a Future Option: Greg Biffle, a sought-after Sprint Cup star in a contract year, doesn't foresee the recently announced #33 Richard Childress Racing Chevys as an option for his future. Biffle, who last week said he was "90 percent" sure he would sign a contract extension with his current team, Roush Fenway Racing, for 2009 and beyond, cited the fickle nature of the top-35 rule as a key deterrent from considering Childress' fourth car. "I don't really see that being an alternative for me," Biffle said. "The one thing a guy's got to look at is, I'm third in points [now] and have a chance to make the Chase right now, and I'm running fairly well. And to go to a team that has no points and try to qualify for the Daytona 500, and go to Las Vegas and try to qualify, and California, on time, and dodge rainouts -- we see all these teams struggle to get in the top 35. I don't see that as a smart career move for myself."( Comment here

    • Both Yates cars bare: Yates Racing drivers #38-David Gilliland and #28-Travis Kvapil are 22nd and 24th, respectively, in the points standings heading into tomorrow's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Both cars are unsponsored this weekend and are displaying Comment here

    • McMurray Kicks Off "National Autism Awareness Month" at Texas: This weekend, at Texas Motor Speedway, Jamie McMurray will help promote autism awareness through a special paint scheme, as well as the launch of a month-long online auction with all proceeds going towards the research and support of autism and families coping with this neurobiological disorder. McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Ford in this weekend's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Along with the black and gold paint scheme, the rear quarter panels and the television panel of the # 26 Ford Fusion will don the autism awareness puzzle pieces. The Jamie McMurray Foundation's month-long auction also launches this weekend and will run through the end of April. Fans can bid on all kinds of memorabilia with all proceeds benefiting autism research and support.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(4-5-2008) Comment here

      News from April 4, 2008

    • LifeLock Sponsoring Carpentier for 8 Races: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that LifeLock, the nation’s leading identity theft protection service, will sponsor the #10 Dodge with driver Patrick Carpentier in eight races in the 2008 Sprint Cup Season. LifeLock will sponsor Carpentier at Phoenix on April 12, Talladega on April 27, Richmond on May 3, Darlington on May 10, Charlotte on May 25, Michigan on June 15, Chicagoland on July 12 and Kansas on Sept. 28. Gillett Evernham Motorsports CEO Tom Reddin said the addition of LifeLock to the existing sponsorship lineup at the #10 of Valvoline, Auto Value/All Pro Bumper-to-Bumper, Charter and Cintas mean there are few unsponsored races remaining on the #10 Dodge in 2008.(Gillett Evernham PR)(4-4-2008) Comment here

    • 70 team picks up a sponsor: Hunt Brothers Pizza announced a sponsorship test with Haas/CNC Racing and the #70 Jeremy Mayfield car in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. The test sponsorship with the Haas/CNC racing team will include the following: Secondary sponsor for the upcoming Samsung 500, April 6 at the Texas Motor Speedway and primary sponsor at the Aarons 499, April 26 at the Talladega Speedway. "At Hunt Brothers, we are committed to becoming a strong national brand, especially within the C-Store Industry," said Scott Hunt, executive at Hunt Brothers Pizza. "Our involvement in NASCAR sends a strong message to C-Store Owners, C-Store Chains, and Oil Companies that we are a serious player, and we are committed to driving product awareness on the national level and ultimately boosting sales for our C-Store partners." For more information about Hunt Brothers Pizza, see Wire), see an image on my #70 Team schemes page.(4-4-2008) Comment here

    • Garmin to sponsor #19 for two races: Elliott Sadler is scheduled to drive the #19 Garmin Special paint scheme at Talladega Superspeedway on April 27. 2008 & at Kansas Speedway on September 28, 2008, see an image on my #19 Team schemes page.(4-4-2008) Comment here

    • Smith continues as #21 crew chief: Mike Smith will be the interim crew chief for Wood Brothers Racing and driver #21-Bill Elliott again this weekend for the Samsung 500 Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. Smith debuted in the role last weekend, and he is optimistic about the car the team is bringing for Elliott, who has 11 starts at Texas with one pole position and one top-10.(SceneDaily).(4-4-2008) Comment here

    • Earnhardt Chevy to sponsor Kennedy in Florida series: Dale Earnhardt Chevrolet will sponsor Ben Kennedy in the Florida-based Advance Auto Parts Pro Truck Series. Kennedy, the great-grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and son of International Speedway Corp. president Lesa France Kennedy, will run the #96 Silverado based out of Mark Martin Performance in Daytona Beach. Kennedy will race more than 25 events at New Smyrna Speedway and Orlando Speedworld.(DEI)(4-4-2008)

    • Hendrick's Langenstein to be honored: Charlie Langenstein, who works at Hendrick Motorsports will be honored as Mechanic of the Year Award during Northeast Modified Hall of Fame 2008 Induction Ceremonies on Sunday, May 25. Langenstein has molded a successful career that has carried him from the Syracuse Mile in New York State to the superspeedway of Daytona International in Florida. Currently residing in North Carolina, the New Jersey native first ventured to Nazareth, Reading and Flemington (NJ) Fair Speedway in 1972 and over the next two decades surfaced as one of the top wrenches in the Northeast. From 1976-82 Langenstein accompanied George Smith’s Statewide Racing team with Jimmy Horton behind the wheel, then joined forces with big-Block star Brett Hearn before building a car for notorious owner Tony Ferraiuolo and his driver Ken Brenn Jr. to close out the 80s. Charlie relocated to the Tar Heel State and helped Rob Moroso capture the NASCAR Grand National title in 1989 before working at the Kneisel Speed Shop in Pennsylvania from 1992-95 and serving a one-year stint with Team Freightliner owner Ray Bramall. Today, he is the technical supervisor for Hendrick Motorsports on the Cup circuit, overseeing everything mechanical for the cars driven by internationally acclaimed touring stars Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. More info at

    • Aflac Sponsoring Edwards at Texas & Phoenix: Aflac, the number one provider of guaranteed-renewable insurance in the United States, will be the primary sponsor of Carl Edwards’ #99 Roush Fenway Racing team this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Additionally, Aflac will also be the primary sponsor next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Edwards will drive the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion in a total of eight races throughout the 2008 season.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), See images of the scheme on my #99 Team Schemes page.(4-4-2008) Comment here

    • Reutimann doesn't anticipate driver switch if he fails to qualify: #44-David Reutimann faces another weekend where he has to qualify on speed, and he is not looking forward to it. Reutimann said Thursday he wouldn’t anticipate that Michael Waltrip Racing would put him in the car driven by #00-Michael McDowell if he doesn’t make the field. If Reutimann misses the race, the team could replace McDowell with Retuimann, but Reutimann said that hasn’t been discussed. “The #00 is the car that Michael McDowell drives, and as far as I know, if I don’t get in, I’ll be watching,” Reutimann said. “I wouldn’t want to do that. My job is to get the 44 car in. If I can’t get that car in, then I don’t need to be in the race.”( Comment here

    • Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears Airs Saturday on ESPN2: Race fans who missed original airings of the television series Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears, chronicling the move of Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Hendrick Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series, will have a chance to watch again. ESPN2 airs a one-hour episode Saturday, April 5, at 1:30pm/et, leading to live coverage of the Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The series provides viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at the personal, corporate and competitive ramifications involved with the five-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver award recipient leaving Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the team founded by his late father. Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears is produced by Earnhardt Jr.’s Hammerhead Entertainment, a division of JR Motorsports, in cooperation with Hendrick Motorsports and is presented by the National Guard. The final two episodes air on ESPN in prime time the week of the July 27 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, ESPN’s first live Sprint Cup event of the season.(ESPN)(4-4-2008)

    • Earnhardt, Jr. wins pole at Texas: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the Coors Light Pole for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with a speed of 190.907mph for his first pole of 2008 and his first for Hendrick Motorsports. #99-Edwards qualified second with the rest of the top-10 being: #18-Busch, #12-ewman, #48-Johnson, #44-Reutimann [best go-or-go homer], #6-Ragan, #17-Kenseth, #84-Skinner, and #9-Kahne. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #44-Reutimann, #84-Skinner, #77-Hornish, #10-Carpentier, #21-Elliott, #22-Blaney, #34-Andretti, and #78-Nemechek. #00-Michael McDowell got loose going into turn one on his second lap, the car veered head first into the wall and rolled over 8-9 times through turn 2. He got out of the car under his own power, but the session was delayed for one hour and 12 minutes while NASCAR made repairs to the SAFER barrier. See the starting lineup on my Texas Qualifying Page.(4-4-2008)

    • Three do not qualify [DNQ] for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway: #40-Franchitti, #45-McCumbee, and #08-Lamar.(4-4-2008)

    • Qualifying Notes:
      .. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Samsung 500 with a lap of 28.286 seconds, 190.097 mph.
      .. This is his eighth pole in 298 career NASCAR Sprint Cup races. His most recent pole was at Pocono in August 2007.
      .. This is his first pole and fourth top-10 start in 2008.
      .. Earnhardt posted his second pole and sixth top-10 start in 12 races at Texas. It is his first start better than seventh in his last 10 races here.
      .. Carl Edwards posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 28.498 seconds, 189.487 mph. This is his first start better than 10th in seven Texas races.
      .. Kyle Busch (third) posted his second top-10 starts in seven races at Texas. His other top-10 start was fifth in April 2007 when qualifying was canceled.
      .. David Reutimann (sixth) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
      .. Sam Hornish Jr. (17th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
      (NASCAR Statistics)(4-4-2008)

    • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
      Chevy: #88-Earnhardt, Jr, 190.907, starts 1st
      Ford: #99-Edwards, 189.487, starts 2nd
      Toyota: #18-Busch, 189.069,starts 3rd
      Dodge: #12-Newman, 189.043, starts 4th

      News from April 3, 2008

    • TWO Race Tracks Jeff Gordon has never won a CUP race at: There are TWO current race tracks the Sprint Cup Series runs on that #24-Jeff Gordon has not won at [a Sprint Cup race]:
      Texas 0 for 14 with a best of 2nd in 2002
      Homestead 0 for 8 with a best finish of 3rd 2004
      Gordon has won at 22 [20 active] of 24 tracks he has raced on including two not on the circuit any longer, North Wilkesboro and Rockingham.
      Gordon won at Phoenix in April to finally knock that track off the list in his 17th try there.(4-3-2008)

    • Wood Brothers Racing Texas Preview Motorcraft Primary Sponsorship Debut: Wood Brothers Racing will unveil Motorcraft’s black, white and red paint scheme as the primary sponsor for this weekend’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Bill Elliott will drive #21 Ford Fusion in the Samsung 500 on Sunday, April 6th. Geoff Smith, Motorcraft’s Motorsports Manager, explained why Motorcraft chose to debut their primary sponsorship at Texas Motor Speedway. He stated, “Motorcraft is excited to launch our 2008 sponsorship season in Texas this weekend.  Texas is a very large and important market for Ford and Motorcraft parts. The Texas NASCAR race will afford us the opportunity to continue to grow our brand image given NASCAR's popularity and exposure.   We will provide trackside hospitality to reward local dealer and distributor contest winners who will attend the race as our guests.” “Team 21” is looking forward to racing a newly built chassis. Crew Chief, Mike “Andretti” Smith commented on this week’s preparation. He noted, “We went to Ford [Racing] this week to work on the 7-post shaker rig with the actual Texas race car. We think we came up with something really good.” He admited that they will focus on both qualifying and race runs during the initial practice on Friday because they are using a setup that is different from what they have tried at other tracks that resemble Texas, such as Atlanta.  For more information on Motorcraft , please visit Brothers Racing)(4-3-2008) Comment here

    • Interstate back on the #18: The green and black colors of Interstate Batteries will be back on the #18 Toyota of Kyle Busch at Texas this week.(JGR PR), see images of the car on my #18 Team Schemes page.(4-3-2008)

    • Texas Soldier Honored for Heroism: Mark Martin and the United States Army NASCAR team will have an added incentive at this weekend's Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. Along with the Army's prerace pageantry for Sunday's Samsung 500, the #8 team will be introduced to a special guest - Staff Sergeant Kenneth Thomas -- a hometown hero from Utopia, Texas, located approximately 85 miles northwest of San Antonio. Thomas, 23, a member of the Army's 1st Cavalry Division out of Ft. Hood, Texas, was awarded the Silver Star, a decoration for gallantry in combat. Thomas' heroic action on Feb. 16, 2007 resulted in a number of his comrades’ lives being saved while his boat patrol platoon was under attack by heavy enemy fire on the Tigris River -- 20 miles north of Baghdad. Thomas will be accompanied to Sunday's race by his platoon sergeant in Iraq -- Sgt. 1st Class Allen Johns. The Army will also have a visible presence during Sunday's national anthem. The 36th Infantry Division Band out of Austin, Texas will play The Star Spangled Banner while 50 Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers from Ft. Worth will hold the 30-by-60-foot flags of the United States and Texas. The 1st Cavalry Division from Ft. Hood will provide the color guard for the national anthem along with 56 soldiers, who will hold the state and territory flags.(DMF Communications/US Army PR)(4-3-2008)

    • Diamondbacks logo on the #96: That weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, J.J. Yeley's #96 Camry will sport an Arizona Diamondbacks 10th anniversary logo. Hall of Fame owners are Diamondbacks chief executive officer Jeff Moorad and chief operating officer Tom Garfinkel.(USA Today)(4-3-2008)

    • Cheez-It on the #5 at Texas: Cheez-It, the world's largest-selling cheese cracker, will adorn the hood of the #5 Chevy of Casey Mears this weekend at Texas. "The Big Cheese" will make its debut this Sunday and decorate the hood of the #5 Chevy for four races [Texas, Pocono [Aug], Michigan [Aug], California [Aug]]this season. The Cheez-It/CARQUEST Chevy finished third the last time it raced, which was last September at the Auto Club Speedway of Southern California.(HMS)(4-3-2008)

    • Martin, McElreath inducted into Texas Motor Sports HOF: NASCAR veteran driver Mark Martin and open-wheel star Jim McElreath were inducted into the Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame in ceremonies held tonight at The Speedway Club at Texas Motor Speedway. In addition, Texas Motor Speedway and Happy Hill Farm Academy honored Jimmie Johnson, the two-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion and defending Dickies 500 winner; Sam Hornish Jr., a three-time IndyCar Series champion and last season's Bombardier Learjet 550k winner; and Indy-car veteran Arie Luyendyk, who won the first nighttime Indy car race at Texas Motor Speedway in 1997, with special awards during the ceremony. McElreath and Martin join previous inductees A.J. Foyt (2003), Johnny Rutherford (2003), Terry Labonte (2004), Lee Shepherd (2004), Kenny Bernstein (2005), Jim Hall (2005) and Eddie Hill (2006) into the Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame. The Bruton Smith Legends Award, a lifetime achievement award given to a legendary figure in motorsports, was presented to Luyendyk. Luyendyk is a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner (1990, '97) and three-time Indy 500 pole winner. Johnson was honored as the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year. Hornish Jr., now a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie after an illustrious IndyCar Series career, was recognized with the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award. Hornish Jr.'s charitable contributions to Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter have not gone unnoticed. For the past three years, Hornish Jr. has hosted the Sam Hornish Jr. Celebrity Bowling Tournament prior to the Bombardier Learjet 550k race weekend.(TMS)(4-3-2008)

    • A new map to race shops in NC: A new pull-out map featuring all of North Carolina's Sprint Cup race shops is now available from the Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau as part of its free, newly released annual Visitors Guide. The map contains directions to the race shops, a description of each, and the hours the race shops are open to visitors. Also included on the map are descriptions of major stops along The Dale Trail, a self-guided tour of landmarks relating to Dale Earnhardt's life and NASCAR career in and around Kannapolis, the NASCAR legend's hometown. For more information or a free copy of the new Cabarrus County NC visitors guide and pull-out map to the race shops, phone 800-848-3740 or visit

    • A Look At The 2008 Season: Five different drivers have posted victories in the Sprint Cup Series in 2008: Ryan Newman (Daytona), Carl Edwards (California and Las Vegas), Kyle Busch (Atlanta), Jeff Burton (Bristol) and Denny Hamlin (Martinsville). Dale Earnhardt Jr. has posted five top-10 finishes - more than any other driver. Five drivers have posted top-10 finishes in four of the six races. Burton is the only one of the six with a victory this season. Chevrolet and Toyota are tied for the lead in the manufacturer point standings, each with 37 points. Ford has 35 points. Dodge has 25. Ford and Toyota each have two victories this season. Chevrolet and Dodge each have one.(NASCAR PR)(4-3-2008)

    • Johnson to unveil new 'Concourse of Champions' at TMS: Two-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will officially christen Texas Motor Speedway’s new “Concourse of Champions” display Friday by unfurling his 2007 Dickies 500 champion’s banner on the frontstretch concourse. Johnson will join Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage for the debut of the Concourse of Champions, a display that will feature 8-foot-by-10-foot banners to celebrate every driver in the Sprint Cup Series and Indy Racing League IndyCar Series that has won at Texas Motor Speedway since it opened in 1997. The display will go the length of the concourse beneath the frontstretch grandstands, from Gate 1 to Gate 7, and consist of 32 banners of former champions. The event will begin at 10:40 a.m. Friday in the concourse area located at Gate 4 with a designated media area with Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, and Gossage. All the gates are scheduled to open at 11 a.m. CT Friday, but Texas Motor Speedway will be opening Gate 4 for ticketed fans who are interested in watching or photographing the event with the two-time series champion at 10:30 a.m. The first 200 fans who arrive early for the unveiling ceremony will receive a free Lowe’s key chain.(TMS)(4-3-2008)

    • Texas Goodyear Tire Notes: The tire combination for this weekend's inaugural COT race at Texas is the result of a Goodyear tire test at the speedway in January . . . Juan Pablo Montoya and Clint Boyer performed the driving duties and provided the feedback during the test . . . the left side tire incorporates the same tread compound as raced in 2007 and a revised tire construction which has been incorporated into many left side tires in 2008, including Las Vegas, Bristol, and Atlanta . . . the right side tire utilizes the same construction as raced in 2007, with a slightly reformulated tread compound to provide a wear improvement for the aging Texas surface and the tougher right side conditions of the COT . . . this specific combination is currently also scheduled for use at Chicagoland . . . the left side tire will also be used in conjunction with a different right side tire at Dover, Michigan, and Kentucky . . . the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series will be using the same tire combination this weekend in Texas. . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Texas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated Pit Window: Every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear), see full report, tires codes and more on my Texas Race Info Page.(4-3-2008)

      News from April 2, 2008

    • Cask No. 16 scheme returns at Texas: This weekend at Texas, Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Ford Fusion. The #26 Ford will also sport the autism puzzle pieces in support of autism awareness and the Jamie McMurray Foundation. McMurray will have two special guests with him at the track this weekend – Chris Dake and Dawn Litteken from Springfield, Mo., who bid more than $4,200 for a VIP weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The auction helps kick off “National Autism Awareness Month.”(Roush Fenway Racing), see image of the car on my #26 Team Schemes page(4-2-2008)

    • Prilosec OTC colors for Burton at Texas: Prilosec OTC's major associate sponsorship of RCR's #31 Chevy kicks into high gear this weekend in Texas as Burton and the #31 team transform their bright orange #31 AT&T Chevy into a purple Prilosec OTC racing machine for the Samsung 500. Prilosec OTC, marketed exclusively by Procter & Gamble, is available in food, drug, mass, and club stores in the U.S. Prilosec OTC is available over-the-counter for the treatment of frequent heartburn, with one pill taken every day for 14 days and is the No. 1 selling over-the-counter heartburn medication. Prilosec OTC Victory of a Lifetime Sweepstakes winner Kathryn Cooley continues her ultimate NASCAR Fan's season at Texas Motor Speedway's Samsung 500 this weekend. This will be Kathryn's fifth race of her 20-race schedule with RCR's #31 Cup Series team and will be a race that Kathryn's husband, Jack Cooley, will not soon forget. This weekend Jack will truly become part of the No. 31 team as an honorary pit crew member. Jack will dawn his very own Prilosec OTC pit crew uniform and firesuit as he takes a spot in the pits with the rest of the #31 crew. And while Jack is working hard in the pits, Kathryn and her guest will enjoy a bird's eye view from one of Texas Motor Speedway's exclusive luxury suites.(RCR PR), see image of the car on my #31 Team Schemes page(4-2-2008)

    • BAM Racing withdraws from Texas UPDATE 2: One week after announcing a sponsorship program with Microsoft Small Business and qualifying seventh at Martinsville, BAM Racing's #49 Toyota was withdrawn from this weekend's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. No details were available as to the reasons behind the decision by owner Beth Ann Morgenthau, who has operated a team in NASCAR's premier series since 2002. The #49 was 42nd in owner points following a 37th-place finish at Martinsville, having made three of six races this season. Driver Ken Schrader finished 21st at Las Vegas and 41st at Bristol earlier in 2008.(
      UPDATE: been told the team will return to the track next weekend at Phoenix and Microsoft Small Busisness Systems Center will next sponsor the car at Talladega in April. Added some images of the car from Martinsville to my #49 Team Schemes page.(4-2-2008)
      UPDATE 2: BAM Racing has decided to skip the next two Sprint Cup races in Texas and Phoenix. Team co-owner Tony Morgenthau released the following statement about the decision: "Switching manufacturers was a taller order than we initially realized. While BAM Racing has a very strong short track program, our intermediate track program needs some work. Since we haven't had time to adequately test the cars on shaker rigs and pull down rigs; since historically we don't run that well at either Texas or Phoenix - even with a proven, tested racecar; since we intend to improve our on-track performance and not to take a step backwards; our organization has decided to take the next three weeks to focus on the remainder of the racing season. We recognize that we will sacrifice our 42nd position in owner's points, but that only guarantees our team a spot if qualifying is rained out. Ultimately every car that is 36th or lower must qualify on time in order to race. While skipping the next two races will hurt our points position in the short term, returning to the track at Talladega ready to move forward with fully-tested Toyota Camry's will enhance our program overall. This has been a very difficult, "big picture" decision; by taking a little time to regroup now, we should be a much stronger team for the rest of the year. Finally, for all the naysayers who may predict this to be the death knell for one of the few remaining independent teams in Sprint Cup . . . wait until Talladega, then tell us if we're dead or not!"(BAM Racing PR)(4-2-2008) Comment here

    • Bobby Labonte Comments on Remainder of 2008 Season: Bobby Labonte continues to be totally focused on returning Petty Enterprises back to victory lane. He will concentrate on those efforts for the remainder of the 2008 season. Contrary to reports, he has made no contractual agreements with any team beyond 2008. “I’m very humbled by the level of interest in my future, but at this time I’m concentrating all my efforts in getting Petty Enterprises back to victory lane. I feel good about all the positive steps that Petty Enterprises has made and continues to make. General Mills has been a huge part of making the 43 team what it is today. I worked diligently with Petty Enterprises to continue General Mills involvement with the team. Today, we all learned they have made a decision. I truly appreciate all they have done to contribute to our success at Petty Enterprises. Moving forward, I’m going to work hard each week to win races. I want to do the best I can for Petty Enterprises and everyone who puts great cars under me each week. That’s our focus, and that’s what I feel is the right thing to do for all our partners. At this time, I have no intention to talk about my plans after 2008 because of the immediate tasks at hand. I respectively ask for everyone’s patience in this matter and, again, am humbled by everyone’s interest.”(Breaking Limits PR)
      AND: Petty Enterprises lost the sponsor of its famed #43 car to Richard Childress Racing on Tuesday, but officials don't expect the driver to follow. Robbie Loomis, the vice president for racing operations at Petty Enterprises, said the organization is in the final stages of negotiating a deal that would keep 2000 Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte there for the remainder of his career. He said losing General Mills, the current sponsor of Labonte's car, will have no bearing on that. "I'm not worried about that at all," Loomis said of losing Labonte to RCR. "I feel as good about it as anything I've felt about in a long time." Meanwhile, Childress is left with finding a fourth driver. Scott Wimmer is a potential candidate. He already has a Nationwide Series win for RCR this season and is scheduled to drive a handful of Cup races in a fourth RCR car.(

    • TI DLP to re-sign with HOF Racing, Staubach retiring UPDATE: DLP HDTV is expected to sign a contract extension through 2009 to continue as the primary sponsor of the #96 car. Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman became minority owners in Hall of Fame Racing, a Sprint Cup organization, when a group led by Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel bought controlling interest late last season. Aikman plans to invest in the team and attend some races every year. Staubach said he's ready to retire from racing, probably after this season. "It's not a goal of mine to continue," said Staubach, who made it clear he likes the new management of Hall of Fame Racing. "They've given me an opportunity to stay involved, but I told them I've got a lot going on. I don't like to be partly involved in things." Aikman also has other business interests, including his job as analyst for Fox's No. 1 announcing team. He said his role this Cup season isn't much different than what it was the first two years of the team's existence. Aikman was a majority owner, but Bill Saunders ran the daily operations. Now Garfinkel handles much of that role. Aikman will also be around at least through 2009 because he trusts and respects Moorad, Aikman's agent and longtime friend. Aikman said he's proud of what the one-car team has done. But to consistently finish in the top 20, it needs to get a second car and more resources. Moorad and Garfinkel plan to provide that. The second car could run as early as next season [supposedly with Brad Coleman as the driver].(Dallas Morning News)(4-1-2008)
      UPDATE: DLP HDTV officials announced that they will extend their sponsorship of the #96 Hall of Fame Racing Toyota driven by J.J. Yeley in the Sprint Cup Series. DLP HDTV, which has been the primary sponsor on the #96 car since its inception in 2006, will remain in that role through the 2009 season. "We've been extremely pleased with our sponsorship of the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota," said Dave Duncan, sponsorship marketing manager, DLP Products, Texas Instruments.(Hall of Fame Racing PR)(4-2-2008) Comment here

    • Mike Ford named Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race”: Mike Ford, crew chief of the #11 Fed Ex Freight Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin, was named the Wypall Wipers “Crew Chief of the Race” for his team’s first-place finish in Sunday’s Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway. After Hamlin fought an ill-handling car for most of the race, Ford’s direction for a combination of air pressure, wedge and track bar adjustments paid off with Hamlin running consistently in the top five for the last 100 laps of the race and eventually taking the lead for good with 74 laps to go. Ford will receive a $1,000 check as a result of his leadership and successful strategy during the most critical moments of 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 event, 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 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 display 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. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto PR)(4-2-2008)

    • Thomas to Red Bull? UPDATE: Brandon Thomas, who recently was replaced by Steve Boyer as crew chief for #96-J.J. Yeley at Hall of Fame Racing, is apparently bound for Red Bull Racing, though his exact duties remain to be seen.(SPEEDtv)(3-31-2008)
      UPDATE: hearing that Thomas will go to Red Bull Racing as Chief Design Engineer.(4-2-2008)

    • Sprint Cup Series testing at Kentucky Speedway: some Sprint Cup drivers are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday, April 2 Infield, including Jason Keller of Gillett Evernham Motorsports Research & Development Team; #84-Mike Skinner [also will test a truck for Bill Davis Racing]; #01-Regan Smith of DEI; #45-Chad McCumbee of Petty Enterprises [will also test a truck for MRD Motorsports]; #34-John Andretti of Front Row Motorsports. Fans can view test sessions from the designated area outside the Fan Center in Turn 3. The Fan Center is located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 North. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(4-2-2008)

    • Foyt says Firestone just as bad: #20-Tony Stewart doesn't think much of the job Goodyear is doing in NASCAR, and A.J. Foyt is no fan of Firestone's performance in the Indy Racing League. Asked before Saturday night's Gainsco Indy 300 what he thought of Stewart's rant about Goodyear a few weeks ago after NASCAR's Atlanta race, Foyt took aim at the IRL's tire supplier. "Firestone's just as bad," he said. "We've got junk for tires. They've got one heat cycle, and they screwed us up the other day for qualifying; they fall off two or three tenths." Foyt, who will compete in next weekend's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg as a team owner for Darren Manning, was a Goodyear driver through much of his legendary racing career. Arch-rival Mario Andretti ran on Firestones. Stewart raced Firestones in the IRL when both tire companies were in the league. "I have no love for Firestone, they have no love for me," Foyt said, adding that the tires made by Bridgestone Firestone in Japan are "a lot better" than those built domestically.(Tampa Tribune)(4-2-2008)

    • Hamlin, FedEx Kinko's and March of Dime Team up in Texas: #11-Denny Hamlin will be in Texas early this week, on hand to make a special announcement with FedEx Kinko's and the March of Dimes. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, April 2 at White Rock Lake Park in Dallas. As part of the announcement, Hamlin will be presented with a specially designed helmet by five year old Dallas native Tiffany Bell-Nunez and will unveil the start/finish line for the 2008 March for Babies - to be held at the park later this month.(JGR PR)(4-2-2008)

    • Harvick leads March Madness Picks: #29-Kevin Harvick currently leads the celebrity NCAA tournament pick challenge. Harvick has a one-point lead over second place Byron Mouton (former University of Maryland Basketball player) and a five-point lead over third place Antawn Jamison (Washington Wizards All-star Forward). Harvick has the University of North Carolina (UNC) and University of Memphis meeting in the finals with UNC winning the National Championship.(RCR PR)(4-2-2008)

      News from April 1, 2008

    • Labonte/General Mills to RCR in 2009? UPDATE General Mills to RCR in 2009: Richard Childress acknowledged that his organization is close to fielding a fourth team in the Sprint Cup Series, and Yahoo! Sports has learned that the driver of that car beginning in 2009 likely will be Bobby Labonte [currently #43 Petty Enterprises]. Sources close to the deal point to General Mills, Labonte's current sponsor with Petty Enterprises, coming along with him to RCR. According to Childress, he will field a fourth car sometime this season, though he wouldn't set an exact time frame. He did say things were progressing well and that he was pleased with how plans were coming together. "We're looking at entering a few races before the end of the season," Childress said. Childress entered a fourth car (#33) in selected races in 2007 with Scott Wimmer as the driver. Wimmer likely is the choice to be behind the wheel when the car makes it back onto the track this season. However, Labonte likely will be the full-time driver in 2009. Hiring Labonte would be an ace up the sleeve for RCR. Labonte is a past champion, which means he would get a champion's provisional that would guarantee him a spot in the field at the start of the '09 season. Labonte already has a relationship with Childress, having signed with RCR this year to drive the #21 Nationwide car on a part-time basis this season.(Yahoo Sports)(2-23-2008)
      UPDATE - RCR to Field Fourth Cup Team in '09 with General Mills Sponsorship: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and General Mills have agreed to terms on a multi-year partnership for the world's sixth-largest food company to sponsor the #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevy beginning with the 2009 Cup Series season. The driver for the #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevy will be announced at a later date. "RCR is honored to represent General Mills and its Cheerios, Hamburger Helper and many other brands in the NASCAR Cup Series," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "The partnership is another step in RCR's continued association with blue-chip global brands and companies. General Mills has a great history of activating its NASCAR programs so our focus now turns to the short list of drivers we feel will help continue that tradition as well as be at the same competitive level on the track as our current drivers and teams."
      The 2009 season will mark General Mills' 13th year of sponsorship involvement in NASCAR as well as Richard Childress' 40th anniversary in the sport. RCR has earned 11 NASCAR championships, including six in the Cup Series with the legendary Dale Earnhardt, four in the Nationwide Series, and one in the Truck Series. Next year will be the first time RCR will run a fourth fulltime NASCAR Cup Series team.(RCR PR and updated at Yahoo! Sports)(4-1-2008) Comment here

    • Petty Enterprises looking for a sponsor of #43: Since 1949 Petty Enterprises has forged a legacy as the most successful organization in American motorsports history by forming lasting partnerships with trusted sponsors based on the Petty family principles of hard work, integrity, dedication and charity. These core values have produced some of the most enduring and successful partnerships in all of sports. In 2009 primary sponsorship of the famed #43 Dodge will become available for only the second time since .The King., Richard Petty partnered with STP in 1972—a relationship that continues to this day. Petty Enterprises‘ current partner, General Mills, has been the primary sponsor of the #43 for the past nine seasons and will continue through the end of the year. .We value our relationships with all of our sponsors,. said Robbie Loomis, Executive Vice President, Operations. .We appreciate everything that General Mills has helped us accomplish over the past nine seasons both on and off of the track, and we wish them well in their future plans. The #43. driven by .King. Richard and his record 200 wins is synonymous with success not just at the highest levels of motorsports, but across all sports. 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte, continues that tradition today. .Bobby is one of the most marketable and popular drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,. said Brian Moffitt, Vice President, Marketing. .He and his family share the ideals and values of the Petty organization and he remains a key component to the long-term future of Petty Enterprises. While there is substantial sponsorship interest in Bobby and Petty Enterprises we will carefully consider our options to ensure the continuation of our rich tradition and to build on current momentum. Prospective partners are well aware of the special power of the .Petty. brand, as numerous surveys and marketing groups have identified Richard Petty as one of the most iconic brands in all of sports.. .I am proud of our organization‘s rich tradition.. said Richard Petty "We look at bringing in fresh resources and new partners as a real opportunity to further grow and improve the Petty organization. Especially those who share in the same core values of integrity, dedication and winning that have come to define Petty Enterprises.(Petty Enterprises/MCG Sports PR)(4-1-2008) Comment here

    • UPS Moving to another team? will stay in NASCAR: on SPEED's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain [3-30-2008], Zak Brown, CEO of Just Marketing International, reported that sponsor UPS, currently sponsoring the #44 Toyota that David Reutimann drives, that UPS plans to stay in NASCAR and is reviewing it's sponsor program and is evaulating probably five teams, including the team they currently sponsor, #44 Michael Waltrip Racing and Reutimann. UPS should formalize their NASCAR plans within the next 60 days. No word on those teams, but UPS says they want to run for a championship and have a "Rock Star" type of driver like they had with Dale Jarrett. Roush Fenway Racing had been rumored in the past with Greg Biffle and hearing that Carl Edwards, if signed, could be the new UPS driver in 2009.(4-1-2008)

    • Retro Mountain Dew scheme for Dale Jr. UPDATE: hearing that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a retro #88 Mountain Dew scheme sometime in 2008, supposedly at Darlington in May, see an image on my #88 Team Schemes page.(3-5-2008)
      UPDATE: Fans who attend the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway will not only see some of the most exciting racing of the 2008 season, they will also see a special one-time-only throwback paint scheme on the #88 Mountain Dew AMP Energy/National Guard entry driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. To kick off Mountain Dew's "Old School New School" promotion, Earnhardt will pilot the #88 Mountain Dew AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy with a throwback paint scheme modeled after the 1981-82 entry driven by Darrell Waltrip. "I'm so excited about this paint scheme. To run a paint scheme like the Mountain Dew one is a tribute to the history of the sport and the heritage at Darlington," said Earnhardt. "I can't wait to see how the car looks on the track because it looks awesome on paper." The folks at Mountain Dew think Darlington luck could be in Earnhardt's future, and that's why they've chosen Darlington as the race to launch the Mountain Dew and AMP Energy "Old School New School" promotion that will give consumers the chance to win "Cars, Kicks and More." You can learn more about Mountain Dew "Old School New School" by going to Raceway PR)(4-1-2008) Comment here

    • McCumbee to race #45 Dodge at Texas for Petty: Quotes from Kyle Petty: “Chad McCumbee is going to step into the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge this weekend at Texas. Texas is a good track for him. He had a strong run going in the truck race there last year. At Pocono, he did a great job filling in for me when I went into the booth. Everyone at Petty Enterprises believes in Chad and his abilities. Texas gives us a chance to get another good look at Chad without throwing him to the wolves. He should be relaxed because he knows he can get the job done there.”
      Quotes from Chad McCumbee: “I feel comfortable around the #45 team. Billy Wilburn and I work well together. We had a great race last year at Pocono. I’m hoping for more of the same this weekend. Kyle is going to be there, giving me advice and pointers. That means a lot to me. I’ve learned a lot from him already. I’m anxious to do my part to help this team. We’re planning on going to Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday for a test. Just to help me get used to the new car. The two races last year were in the old car, so there will be a little bit of an adjustment period there. I don’t have a lot of experience in the old car either, so maybe that will be a positive.”
      In 2007, McCumbee competed in two Sprint Cup Series races for Petty Enterprises, with a high finish of 25th coming in the “spring” race at Pocono. McCumbee is currently 13th in the Craftsman Truck Series point standings. McCumbee, 23, won an ARCA event last June at Pocono Raceway on the same weekend that he made his Sprint Cup Series debut in the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge. In the Truck race at Texas Motor Speedway last fall, McCumbee started second and led four laps but finished thirteenth after an accident forced him out of the race.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(4-1-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR Foundation Launches 2008 NASCAR Day Program with The Home Depot: The NASCAR Foundation has announced that fans can visit participating The Home Depot stores to make a $5 donation and get their 2008 NASCAR Day collectable lapel pin. This is the second year that The Home Depot, the “Official Home Improvement Warehouse of NASCAR,” has made pins available in more than 1,900 stores across the continental United States. Last year, as a result of its NASCAR Day initiative, The Home Depot raised $400,000 for The NASCAR Foundation with a portion of those funds benefiting KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. The week prior to NASCAR Day, The NASCAR Foundation, The Home Depot and KaBOOM! will partner for a special playground build in Charlotte, N.C., as part of The Home Depot’s “Racing to Play” program. Annually held on the Friday prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Challenge in May, NASCAR Day has become one of the most important and fastest-growing traditions in the NASCAR Family. In 2007, NASCAR Day raised more than $1.6 million through the combined fundraising efforts of NASCAR fans, NASCAR partners and companies worldwide. Fans interested in learning more about NASCAR Day and where to find their local The Home Depot store may visit On Friday, May 16th, The NASCAR Foundation will hold the second annual NASCAR Day Telethon at the Sam Bass Gallery in Concord, N.C. To show your support and make your donation on NASCAR Day, just dial 1-888-MAY16TH.(NASCAR PR)(4-1-2008) Comment here

    • Hornish to be honored: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. will be honored with the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award at the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala on Wednesday, April 2, 2008, in recognition of his annual celebrity bowling tournament benefiting Speedway Children's Charities. Over the past three years, the tournament has raised $308,500. Penske Racing Director of Marketing Wally McCarty will accept on Hornish Jr.'s behalf.(Penske Racing PR)(4-1-2008)

    • Petty finds investor? UPDATE 3: Yahoo! Sports has learned through two independent sources that Richard Petty [#43, #45] will soon announce that he has struck a deal with a major investor that should keep the Petty name in the sport it has been so instrumental in building. While it's obviously good to keep the Petty name alive in NASCAR, it also signals the beginning of the end of an era.(Yahoo!Sports)(3-9-2008)
      UPDATE: Richard Petty says he is further along in the process of finding an investor for his Petty Enterprises organization than he was last year when he was in talks with George Gillett. “We ain’t signed a thing," Petty said Friday at Martinsville Speedway. “But we are working on it. We’ve agreed to more things, but we’re not there yet.” Petty indicated that his family would still have control of the "racing parts” of the team. He also said the investors have been to the races. An announcement likely won’t come in the next couple of months, but Petty indicated that he is comfortable with where negotiations are. “If we decide to do it today, it’s going to take three months to get all the stuff done – it’s going to be a little while,” Petty said. “We ain’t got down to signing it. Until it’s signed, it’s [hard to predict]. We’ve done the leg work. … I wouldn’t have gotten this far if I haven’t felt pretty confident at this point.”(SceneDaily)(3-28-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Since it first was reported by Yahoo! Sports earlier this month, additional details have emerged on what could be a ground-breaking deal for Petty to enter into a partnership that will secure his family-owned business' future in NASCAR. Sources close to both parties have told Yahoo! Sports that Petty is in the final stages of negotiations with a group called Medallion Financial, based in New York City. Although hesitant to acknowledge details of the pending negotiations at this time, The King himself has acknowledged he's confident a deal with a new partner could be finalized within the next 90 days. Negotiations have been taking place for months between Petty and New York financial entrepreneur Andrew Murstein, the president of Medallion Financial. Although Medallion Financial specializes in niche financing, its primary business comes from the financing of taxicab medallions, which is where it gets its name. The company also provides business loans. Murstein's plan calls for Petty Enterprises to be established as a public company, which would sell shares of stock and seek to grow the Petty brand. That's not the current model for ownership in NASCAR. Teams generally are privately owned, although some are structured to integrate with one or more of the team owners' businesses. Going public also means the team will be opening its books to public scrutiny, thus revealing the wherewithal of a NASCAR Sprint Cup team.(Yahoo Sports)(3-31-2008)
      UPDATE 3: Medallion Financial Group President Andrew Murstein acknowledges speculation that his company's Sports Properties Acquisition Corp. might be a potential business partner with Petty Enterprises, but he won't confirm or deny the reports. Medallion Financial has formed an entertainment/sports acquisition company, Sports Properties Acquisition Corp., which completed an initial stock offering in January on the American Stock Exchange. The gross proceeds were $200 million. “There has been speculation of our interest in Petty Enterprises for Sports Properties Acquisition Corp,” Murstein said in a statement Monday. “We are looking to invest several hundred million dollars in the sports, leisure or entertainment-related industries. We are very interested in investing in NASCAR and the motorsports industry in general should the right deal come along.” Medallion nearly completed a deal with Robert Yates Racing in 2006, and Murstein confirmed last year that he had talked with at least five NASCAR teams about a possible investment opportunity.(SceneDaily)(4-1-2008) Comment here

      News from March 31, 2008

    • JR Motorsports being sued over accident: A local [Florida] family is sueing JR Motorsports and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. following a rear end crash by a tractor trailer. In November 2006, Michael Harris and his son, 21 year old Chris, were driving in their pick up truck headed south on Interstate 95 in St. John's County [FL]. Harris was several cars in front of a Champion tractor trailer. Traffic started to back up and slow down on the interstate. Harris' lawyer, Charles Sorenson, says he slowed down to, going about 15 miles per hour and then pulling on to the shoulder. The only problem, Sorenson says is the semi didn't slow down with everyone else. Sorenson says the impact was so severe, the bolts in the pickup's seat, which hold it down to the floor, were broken. Both father and son were wearing seatbelts, but both went to the hospital. Both are still being treated for neck and back injuries. According to the lawsuit, JR Motorsports is the owner of the tractor trailer. The owner of JR Motorsports belongs to NASCAR's Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Sorenson says Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will most likely be deposed in the case. JR Motorsport's team told First Coast News it has received the lawsuit, but will not make any other comment at this time. The driver of the semi, Ricky Mace, is also being sued.(First Coast News)(3-31-2008) Comment here

    • Martinsville overnight TV Ratings same as 2007: NASCAR on Fox tallied a 4.9/10 yesterday for racing from Martinsville. Yesterday's 4.9/10 is flat with last year's Martinsville rating [4.9/11], but in this case that's good news given the dramatically tougher competition faced by this year's race. Yesterday's race came against a pair of NCAA Regional Finals, including the strong Davidson-Kansas game, while last year's race aired on the Final Four weekend and faced no NCAA basketball. By matching last year's rating, FOX maintains its streak of seven straight NASCAR events this year that have been at least flat with last year in the metered markets (this excludes the Fontana race because of rain). Los Angeles has emerged as the surprise market of the year for NASCAR. Yesterday's race earned a 2.8/7 in LA, a +65% gain over last year's 1.7/5. For the season-to-date, Sprint Cup racing on FOX is averaging a 6.2/12, including Fontana, a +5% bump over last season's 5.9/12.(Fox PR), for TV ratings news so far in 2008, see my 2008 TV Ratings page.(3-31-2008) Comment here

    • Sad News - Max Max Helton, who 20 years ago helped begin a Christian ministry in the NASCAR garage that grew into the Motor Racing Outreach organization, died Sunday afternoon at his home in Huntersville, N.C. Mr. Helton was diagnosed with brain cancer in August. He is survived by his wife, Jean, along with four daughters and nine grandchildren. Funeral arrangements had not been finalized Sunday night. Mr. Helton was working at a church in Glendora, Calif., in 1988 when he met Darrell and Stevie Waltrip at a race in Riverside, Calif. Helton told the Waltrips that he felt he was being called to lead a racing ministry. The Waltrips, along with Lake Speed and Bobby Hillin Jr. and their wives, were looking for a spiritual leader for a Bible study group they had formed. Within a year, Mr. Helton had moved his family to North Carolina to begin MRO, which conducts chapel services at the track each weekend and also provides counseling and support services to people in racing. Helton led Bible study and counseling sessions at dozens of NASCAR drivers' homes and race team shops before leaving the organization in 2002. Since then, Mr. Helton had formed World-Span, an organization to serve the spiritual needs of racing series around the world. Before his illness, Mr. Helton traveled extensively, helping spread his message of “personal evangelism” and teaching others to serve as spiritual leaders and teachers. “A lot of lives and a lot of things have changed in our sport because of Max.Helton,” Darrell Waltrip said.(Charlotte Observer)(3-31-2008)
      Services: A memorial service is planned for Wednesday, April 2 at 3pm at Grace Covenant Four-Square Church. (17301 Statesville Rd, Cornelius, NC 28031 - Exit 25 off of I-77). There will be a visitation and viewing on Tuesday evening, April 1, from 7-9 pm at Raymer Funeral Home,(16901 Old Statesville Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078 (704) 892-9669) located at Hwy 73 and Old Statesville Road in Huntersville.) The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorials contributions may be sent to: Worldspan Ministries, P.O. Box 681117, Charlotte, NC 28216.(MRO Site)(3-31-2008)

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Goody's Cool Orange 500:
      Total number of commercials: 118
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 65
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 41
      Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 33
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:52 PM
      Total minutes: 232
      Minutes of race broadcast: 178
      Minutes of commercials: 54
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      Total race brdcst time 178 Total comm. brdcst time 54
      See full report and stats at Comment here

    • Photographer honored at Martinsville: T. Taylor Warren, a longtime racing photographer and Martinsville resident, was honored Sunday during pre-race ceremonies of the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Warren, 83, received the H. Clay Earles Award, given in honor of the Martinsville Speedway founder to recognize individuals who have made an impact on the sport of NASCAR through their life’s work. During post-race ceremonies in Victory Lane, track officials had Warren pose with winner Denny Hamlin so the moment could be commemorated on film, something the photographer has done countless times in his career. Warren covered his first race in 1948, a midget-car event held in Milwaukee, Wis. Since that time, he’s become a fixture at racetracks across the country, well known for his timely shots of on-track action as well as pit-road scenes. Warren has photographed all 50 runnings of the Daytona 500, and he has been the official photographer for Goody’s Headache Powders for 31 years, dating back to the product’s first association with NASCAR. Warren was working at Martinsville Speedway over the weekend, something he’s done at virtually every race since 1952. As usual, he was clad in a photojournalist’s vest loaded with equipment that has become a virtual trademark of the legendary photographer. During pre-race ceremonies, Warren also received the Doug Agee Award, given annually at the speedway to a person or persons who most embodies the value and spirit of Agee, a pioneer of racing promotions. He was a longtime employee of Goody’s. Karen Parker, business development and partnerships director at the Martinsville Speedway, also received the Doug Agee Award. Though Warren is perhaps best known for a 1959 finish-line photo that helped decide the winner of the first Daytona 500, he was hesitant to claim one picture as the best of his career. Warren gave no indication he has retirement plans.(Martinsville Bulletin)(3-31-2008)

    • NASCAR to return to Australia? Marcus Marshall, a driver in Australia's V8 Supercar Series, said Saturday that countryman Marcus Ambrose's success in NASCAR has boosted the sport's popularity in the country, and sparked rumors that a dormant 1½-mile track might get active again. The track hasn't been used for about eight years, he said. "It was pretty popular and now there are rumors at the moment of it opening up again, so that kind of fits with NASCAR maybe looking to be more international and Australia as a place to maybe take a round of one of their affiliated championships." Queensland, Australia, is already a destination of the Indy Racing League.( Comment here

    • RFR working on driver contracts: Greg Biffle’s contract extension with Roush Fenway Racing is nearly complete, and the team is working on extensions for David Ragan and Carl Edwards. Using Biffle’s words from earlier in the week, Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith said that the contract with Biffle is 90% along. He said the fact that Biffle is running second in points has not accelerated the deal. “We wanted to get it done over the winter,” Smith said Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. “We like to get them done so they don’t become a distraction of the team in terms of the race season.” The contracts for Edwards and Ragan, as well as those with the companies sponsoring [AAA announced they would leave at the end of 2008] their cars, end after the season is over. Smith indicated that the team would like to sign the sponsor and driver at the same time. He said the team also is working with a sponsor to finalize the Biffle deal. “For us, there’s a money equation that has to be met,” Smith said. “The sponsor has to pay [a certain amount] in order for us to pay the driver and so forth. We close all of that out at the same time.” Smith doesn’t anticipate having trouble finding sponsorship for Edwards. His organization currently is looking for sponsorship for the two Yates Racing cars. “It’s pretty early,” Smith said about the sponsor search. “Carl Edwards, even in this down economy, he’s the hottest property in the garage. We’ve got all the sponsorship we can handle for him. David, and Travis [Kvapil] and David Gilliland, they’re all in the mix. We’re hoping the economic climate improves here shortly and typically May and June are big months for significant prospects to come forward for us. We’re about to find out if that’s true.”(SceneDaily)(3-31-2008) Comment here

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