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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    APRIL 7-13, 2008


      News from April 13, 2008

    • Robby Gordon and Central Europe Rally on DIRECTV's The 101: Team Dakar USA announced the acquisition of the United States broadcast rights for the Central Dakar Rally. DIRECTV will air a daily half-hour show on channel 101, the in-house channel available throughout the United States on the satellite television service. The show airs April 19-26 featuring 13 minutes of overall rally coverage plus nine minutes dedicated to the American efforts of Team Dakar USA. The program airs at 7 pm then re-broadcast at 12:30 am/et. When terrorist threats cancelled the 2008 Dakar Rally in January, the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) moved quickly to schedule the Central Europe Rally as a replacement event for all the teams, fans and sponsors of the legendary Dakar Rally. The Central Europe Rally was already in the works as part of the Dakar Series set to debut in 2009. Beginning in Budapest, Hungary, the varied and technical route covers 2,972 kilometers, about 1,846 miles, in seven days. The route includes a stint in Romania before concluding at Balaton Lake in Hungary. Team Dakar USA Owner and driver Robby Gordon is no stranger to logistical challenges, but the Central Europe Rally may prove to be the greatest challenge yet. Gordon, a fulltime Sprint Cup driver, plans to fly to Paris after Saturday's Sprint Cup race in Phoenix. In Paris he'll join members of Team Dakar USA program then drive the race and support vehicles over 1,300 kilometers to Budapest for the rally's start. At the rally's conclusion on April 26, Gordon will fly back to the United States to compete in the Sprint Cup race at Talladega on April 27th.
      "Timing is everything with this event. First, I'm very grateful to the ASO for coming up with a solution for all the fans and sponsors. The schedule that they selected has made it possible for us to compete. I also have to thank Chris Long at DIRECTV for helping televise this event. He and The 101 team have mobilized quickly, and I think motorsports fans everywhere will have something to get excited about," said Gordon. Team Dakar USA fields two identically prepared purpose-built race Hummers in the Central Europe Rally. In the 2007 Dakar Rally, Gordon in his same Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Hummer H3 finished first in the open class, eighth overall and scored a stage win. It was Gordon's third stage win in three years and allowed Hummer to become the first American manufacturer to win a Dakar Rally stage. For additional rally coverage please visit robbygordon.com and robbysuprising.com where Team Dakar USA will have daily updates, the twitter micro blog feed, and videos.(RGM)
      AND P.J. Jones will sub in Robby Gordon's #7 Dodge during practice and qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway in two weeks. Gordon will be competing in the postponed Central Dakar Rally. Jones could race if Gordon's return from Hungary is delayed.(Arizona Republic)(4-13-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR President defends NASCAR Drug Testing Policy: The call earlier this week for regular random drug testing by some of NASCAR's biggest stars apparently will not change the sanctioning organization's current policy of testing only for "reasonable suspicion." But NASCAR president Mike Helton said the reaction by the drivers to the published report that former truck and Nationwide driver Aaron Fike used heroin the same day he drove in some races is a positive sign for the stock car sport. Referring to the story in the April 21 edition of ESPN The Magazine, Helton said, "When you have a headline like that and the other athletes rare up on it and react like they did, that's a positive thing. The [NASCAR] community polices the community," Helton added in an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway. "The positiveness of all the drivers talking and everything, I think, echoes the responsibility that exists in this sport to avoid all that and to police all that. That's why we think that the reasonable suspicion policy works as an umbrella from a NASCAR perspective." Helton said he does not know of any policy that can guarantee that no driver will ever race while under the influence of some substance any more than anyone could guarantee that an athlete in another sport will not abuse something on game day. The other part though is the fact that when we do find a situation and we do authenticate the abuse of a substance, it is a severe reaction," Helton said. "It's not just a couple of weeks off, it's a very severe, career-changing reaction from us that I think speaks loudly." Helton added the substance-abuse policy that NASCAR has had in place for more than two decades has worked very well, with the help of the teams and the drivers. "There are a lot of random drug testing policies or substance-abuse policies in our sport and they come through the car owners," he said. "We're different than other sports where we have multiple layers of independence. That's why we feel like the reasonable suspicion element that NASCAR implements has served its purpose and works well. But we know of car owners that have random testing programs with their employees. So those elements are already there. ... There's a lot of ways to attack this animal and a lot of ways to do it, but the shared responsibility between the competitors, the car owners and NASCAR, I think, works."(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(4-13-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR still evaluating McDowell's car and data: G-force readings [no number given] from #00-Michael McDowell’s grinding crash at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend were lower than other major wrecks in NASCAR, but Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said the nature of severe crashes in the new car has changed so much that G-force readings don’t mean as much as they once did. NASCAR has begun the process of thoroughly examining McDowell’s battered Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in its Research & Development Center, Darby said, adding that the G-force numbers were “pretty low.” But that wasn’t totally unexpected, because the design of the new car and the SAFER barrier has changed crash dynamics. “G-forces overall have been reduced,” Darby said. “But when you look at the big picture, the G-force is the least significant number anyway.” The significant number is the change in velocity, which Darby said was “substantial” with McDowell’s car. “They weren’t the worst we’ve ever seen by any means,” Darby said. “But part of the process of building a safer race car is to reduce all those numbers as best we can. Even when we understand completely the final numbers – which ultimately will be lower than what we’ve seen in the past – that’s what we’re looking for.” McDowell’s crash, dramatic as it was, wasn’t as severe as the wreck suffered by Jeff Gordon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when his #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet slammed the inside wall along the track’s backstretch. “It wasn’t as big a hit as the 24 took,” said Cal Wells, executive vice president for business operations for MWR. “The 24 hit a concrete wall and it jerked the motor and the transmission. ... Everything [on McDowell’s car] performed extraordinarily close to design.”(SceneDaily)(4-13-2008) Comment here

    • Stremme expected to be named Penske test driver: Expect an announcement this coming week that David Stremme has agreed to join Penske Racing as a test driver for the organization's Sprint Cup program. Team owner Roger Penske has a seat open in one of his Indianapolis 500 entries, and if Penske and current Cup rookie Sam Hornish Jr. agree that Hornish should compete at Indy, where he won the 500 in 2006, that opens up the seat of Penske's #77 Sprint Cup Dodge, which is currently 33rd in owner points through eight races with Hornish behind the wheel. Penske's entry blank for the Indy 500 reportedly lists Helio Castroneves in the #3 car and Ryan Briscoe in the #6, but there's a "TBA" beside the #77. It's all speculation at this point, but if Hornish should decide he'd rather run up front in the reunified IndyCar Series (he's a three-time IndyCar champion) than fight to stay on the lead lap in a stock car, Penske would have a test driver -- Stremme -- ready to fill the void. Stremme, who finished 10th in Friday night's Nationwide Series race at Phoenix, already has turned down at least two offers to drive for current Cup teams.(NASCAR.com)(4-13-2008) Comment here


      News from April 12, 2008

    • Special Helmet for Sadler: For the month of April, Elliott Sadler is wearing a specially-designed Autism Awareness helmet in every race. In May, that very same helmet will belong to whoever wants it most. To raise funds and awareness, Sadler had the helmet designed with the colorful, jigsaw Autism puzzle pieces. During the Texas, Phoenix and Talladega races in April, the driver of the #19 Dodge will be wearing the colorful concoction in competition. See more info on my Racing Charities page.(4-12-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR again...NO Changes to the COT planned: For drivers hoping for a change to the new Sprint Cup model car, series director John Darby burst their bubble Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. Darby said NASCAR doesn’t plan on making any alterations to the car, though some drivers, notably defending series champion Jimmie Johnson, called for changes after last week’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Darby noted that this is only the second year with the new model and Texas was only the third race on a high-banked, 1.5-mile track. “We still call it the new car, right?” Darby said. “But it’s looked at as an old car, one that’s been around forever, and that’s not the case. There’s nothing broken, there’s nothing that we need to jump in and fix. It’s just a matter of continuing to race them and let the teams do what they do best.” Darby said he was open to adding an additional test to the NASCAR test schedule this year if the garage area wanted one. But he doesn’t think adding a day to existing races would be of any benefit to teams. “I would rather just go test somewhere rather than tack a day on to an event because you can’t test properly when it’s attached to an event,” Darby said. “If you’re the crew chief or the driver, you know you’re testing in the car you’ve got to race the next day. You’re always fearful of trying something new, damaging the car, losing an engine that would affect the event because it’s the next day.”(SceneDaily)(4-12-2008) Comment here

    • Johnson wins at Phoenix: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Subway Fresh Fit at Phoenix International Raceway for his 1st win of the 2008 season and 34th of his career [is now alone in 16th in all time wins]. #07-Clint Bowyer finished 2nd [Bowyer and Johnson stayed out and didn't get a late splash of fuel and made it...barely] then #11-Hamlin, #99-Edwards, #8-Martin, #31-Burton, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #1-Truex Jr., #16-Biffle and #18-Busch. The pole sitter, #12-Ryan Newman lost an engine early and finsihed last/43rd. There were only 10 lead changes among 4 drivers [Johnson, Martin, Earnhardt and Newman] and there were 8 caution flags for 42 laps.
      For race results, awards and more, see my Phoenix Race Results page.(4-12-2008)

    • Unofficial Drivers Points Standings [after Phoenix race 8 of 36]:
      1) #31-Jeff Burton 1215 [1 win]
      2) #18-Kyle Busch 1135 -80
      3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1129 -86
      4) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1116 -99 [1 win]
      5) #29-Kevin Harvick 1115 -100
      6) #11-Denny Hamlin 1078 -137 [1 win]
      7) #20-Tony Stewart 1057 -158
      8) #07-Clint Bowyer 1044 -171
      9) #99-Carl Edwards 1041 -174 [would be 2nd if no 100pt penalty][3 wins]
      10) #16-Greg Biffle 1039 -176
      11) #9-Kasey Kahne 929 -286
      12) #12-Ryan Newman 915 -300 [1 win]
      other chase contenders
      13) #24-Jeff Gordon 907 8 pts out of 12th
      14) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 897 -18
      15) #17-Matt Kenseth 869 -46
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix page.(4-12-2008)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Talladega
      A couple changes, #44-Reutimann is back in and #96-Yeley falls out and must qualify by speed at Talladega.
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      31) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing 644 +93
      32) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing 621 +70
      33) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing 605 +54
      34) #44-Reutimann/Waltrip Racing 567 -16
      35) #01-Smith/Dale Earnhardt Inc 554, 3 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
      36) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing 551, 3 points out of 35th
      37) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis 546 -8
      38) #70-Mayfield/Haas CNC Racing 542 +12
      39) #40-Franchitti/Ganassi Racing 514 -40
      40) #84-Skinner/Red Bull Racing 443 -111
      For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(4-12-2008)

    • Phoenix Fast Facts
      .. Jimmie Johnson won the Subway Fresh Fit 500, his 34th victory in 227 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
      .. This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2008.
      .. This is his second victory and eighth top-10 finish in 10 races at Phoenix International Raceway. He also won at Phoenix last fall and became the fifth driver to score repeat victories at Phoenix. All five scored back-to-back wins.
      .. Clint Bowyer (second) posted his second top-10 and career-best finish in six races at Phoenix.
      .. Denny Hamlin (third) posted his third top-10 finish in six races at Phoenix and tied his career-best for the second time.
      .. Sam Hornish Jr. (20th) was the highest finishing rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(4-12-2008)

    • Who got a lap back on each caution at Phoenix: (and their finish)
      Caution 1: no cars a lap down
      Caution 2: no cars a lap down
      Caution 3: #5-Mears, 11th
      Caution 4: #43-Labonte, 12th
      Caution 5: #24-Gordon, 13th
      Caution 6: #99-Edwards, 4th
      Caution 7: #38-Gilliland, 15th
      Caution 8: #2-Busch, 23rd
      (4-12-2008)

    • Jeff Gordon celebrates 200 wishes granted: In 1995, a young driver named Jeff Gordon won his first NASCAR Cup Series championship. That same year, he also granted his first wish to a child with a life-threatening medical condition in partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Now 13 years later, Gordon is still collecting wins and still bringing smiles to Make-A-Wish kids through his strong commitment to wish granting – he passed the 200-wish mark earlier this season. The Make-A-Wish Foundation will celebrate his efforts when Joshua, 15, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., meets Gordon at Phoenix International Raceway for his wish before Saturday's Subway Fresh Fit 500. Joshua will receive VIP treatment during the race weekend: In addition to his wish meeting Friday, he will take part in some of the pre-race activities with his favorite driver Saturday and then watch Gordon race for the checkered flag in the #24 car. Gordon will also present Joshua with special mementos of his wish. While he has fulfilled so many wishes, Gordon says that the number doesn't matter. He works with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant kids' heartfelt wishes nearly every weekend during the race season because of the profound effect these kids have on his life. Those who would like to support these efforts may donate in honor of Gordon's 200-plus wishes by visiting The Jeff Gordon Foundation Web site at www.jeffgordonfoundation.org or the Make-A-Wish Foundation Web site at www.wish.org. The NASCAR Foundation is also recognizing Gordon's wish-granting commitment by designating proceeds from the online sale of NASCAR Day pins this weekend to help fulfill future wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Visit www.NASCAR.com/NASCARDay to learn more.(4-12-2008) Comment here

    • Logo added to #21 Hood: The #21 Motorcraft Ford Fusion of Bill Elliott will be sporting an additional logo on its hood in Phoenix. Ford Motor Company held a contest for the dealerships in its West Division. Landmark Ford of Tigard, Oregon won the grand prize of placing their company name on the hood of the #21 race car for this weekend’s race event. The greater Portland area dealership also won two additional prizes for second and third which awarded race tickets and garage passes. The landslide win is recognized by Ford Motor Company as a great accomplishment. Ford Motor Company’s Sales and Marketing Manager for the West Hub, John Ulrich, commented on the dealership’s contest sweep. Ulrich said, “Landmark Ford was the highest performer out of eight dealerships who participated in the contest. They exceeded their objectives in parts and retail service excellence. Ford Motor Company is very proud of the dealership and we are very excited that they used a Ford Motor Company contest to motivate their people.”(Wood Bros Racing)(4-12-2008) Comment here

    • "The Greatest" at the track: Muhammad Ali watched Friday's action from Octane, PIR's turn-one hospitality club.(Arizona Republic)(4-12-2008) Comment here


      News from April 11, 2008

    • Tire test scheduled at Indy: Goodyear has scheduled a NASCAR tire test at IMS for April 22-23. Data learned from #48-Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet), #2-Kurt Busch (Dodge) and #83-Brian Vickers (Toyota) will be used by Goodyear to select the tires it brings to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 27.(Indianapolis Star)(4-11-2008) Comment here

    • Yellow car for Stewart at Phoenix UPDATE: #20-Tony Stewart will run a Subway sponsor #20 Toyota in the Subway Fit Fresh 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend, the car will be yellow with green strips, Subway logo on hood and Home Depot on the 1/4 panels, see images of the scheme on my #20 Team Schemes page.(4-9-2008)
      UPDATE: UPDATE: Furthering its relationship with Tony Stewart and Joe Gibbs Racing, SUBWAY Restaurants will serve as primary sponsor of the #20 Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series for three races in 2008. Longtime sponsor The Home Depot will adorn the quarterpanels of the #20 Toyota, while SUBWAY will have signage on the rest of the car. The #20 SUBWAY/Home Depot Toyota will make its debut April 10-12 during the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway, and will return to the track Aug. 29-31 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., and again Oct. 3-5 at Talladega Superspeedway. SUBWAY Restaurants has a yearlong associate sponsorship of the #20 Home Depot Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series and a personal services agreement with Stewart.(True Speed Communication/Joe GibbsRacing)(4-11-2008) Comment here

    • Goodyear still has rain tires: Rain (tires) won't go away: Fans looking for something different during the Nationwide Series events in Mexico City and Canada should pray for rain. Greg Stucker, Goodyear Racing's director of race tire sales, said the manufacturer has not abandoned its rain-tire program. "We've had it for road-racing since the mid-1990s," Stucker reminded. "It's just never happened that NASCAR wanted to utilize it in a race condition. But we have had it available and conducted race sessions with it. And we'll continue to have it available. If you look at the Nationwide Series now, they go to Mexico City and to Canada. We don't have a lot of versatility in our dates there. If we get rain, we want to make sure we can put on a show for those folks."(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(4-11-2008) Comment here

    • Triad Racing Development did its job on McDowells Texas car: The chassis that Michael Waltrip Racing driver #00-Michael McDowell wrecked during Friday's qualifying session at Texas Motor Speedway was built by Triad Racing Development, in High Point NC. Even with McDowell's wreck resulting in the car being completely destroyed, the safety innovations Triad Racing Development implemented in the chassis enabled McDowell to walk away from the incident under his own power. Triad Racing Development specializes in putting together a product that is not only efficient on the track but also uses the latest technology to protect the driver within the car. Triad Racing Development has been in business since 2003, and is led by Todd Holbert, son of legendary sports car racer Al Holbert. Todd and his staff specialize in chassis development, as well as component construction innovation.(BDR)(4-11-2008) Comment here

    • Kenseth's son racing: Ross Kenseth, Matt's 14-year-old son, plans to race regularly this season in the Big 8 Series for limited late models, beginning Sunday at Rockford (Ill.) Speedway. "I was in La Crosse when he ran up there (last fall), and he did a really good job up there," Matt said. "So we'll see."(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(4-11-2008) Comment here


      News from April 10, 2008

    • NASCAR official killed in car accident MORE: Brienne Davis, one of NASCAR's few full-time female inspectors, was killed in a car accident Tuesday night. She was 28. Davis joined NASCAR in 2004 and traveled every weekend to inspect carburetors and manifolds. She was scheduled to work this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. A Louisiana native, Davis relocated to North Carolina in 2002 as an engine builder for Dale Earnhardt Inc. She took the job after spending a year in Houston participating in an automotive technology training program that included six weeks of a NASCAR-approved curriculum on racing.(ESPN.com/AP)
      NASCAR Statement: "We are deeply saddened at the loss of NASCAR Sprint Cup official Brienne Davis. She was a key member of our team of inspectors and will be missed by the NASCAR community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends."(4-9-2008)
      MORE: The Transport Drivers of Motorsports Association plans on raising money in honor of NASCAR engine inspector Brienne Davis, who was killed in a traffic accident near Huntersville, N.C. on Tuesday. The funds will go to her alma mater in Jonesville, La. The organization wants to raise enough money to donate at least five computers and plant a tree in her name at the school. For information on how to donate, contact Shelia Lumpkin (404.484.9097) secretary for TDMA or TDMA President Robby Maschhaupt at 704-746-7945.(SPEEDtv)(4-10-2008)
      SERVICES: Brienne Nicole Davis, 28, of Mooresville, NC died April 8, 2008 as result of an automobile accident. She was born on June 4, 1979 in Natchez, MS to Terri Emrick Bridges. Brienne was a graduate of the Automotive Technical Institute in Houston, TX and worked four years with the Dale Earnhardt Enterprise. Over the last four years, she has been an engine inspector for NASCAR; the love of her life was working on cars. She will be missed by all of her friends and her NASCAR family. She loved cars and she loved her cat, Floyd. She is survived by her parents, Mark and Terri Bridges of Newport News, VA; grandmother, Sandra Emrick; Uncle Keith Emrick and his family Michelle, Heith and Harleigh of Baton Rouge; and Aunt Pamela Emrick of Anchorage, AK. She is preceded in death by her grandfather, Louie Emrick.
      The family will receive friends at Raymer Funeral Home from 5:30-7 PM Tuesday, April 15, 2008, and a service will follow in the chapel at 7 PM with Rev. Lonnie Clouse officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Victory Junction, 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, NC 27317. Raymer Funeral Home is serving the family.(4-10-2008)

    • Target leaving Ganassi at end of 2008? There are persistent rumors that Chip Ganassi may be in financial deep water, with his long-time sponsor Target [sponsor of #41-Reed Sorenson and sometime sponsor of #40-Dario Franchitti] likely announcing by the end of the year it will be ending its association with the race team.(Yahoo!Sports - NOTE, it seems this part of the 'blog' was removed for some reason, no idea why. It was there when originally posted)(4-10-2008)
      UPDATE: Steve Eastman, Target Vice President: "The 19-year partnership between Target and Chip Ganassi Racing is one of the longest consecutive partnerships in motor sports. Our race program has proven successful and we in fact have a solid base of sponsors in place. We continue to build on the excitement and momentum around the program and look forward to celebrating our 20th anniversary next year... Any rumors regarding an end to the partnership are simply without merit."(Target Communications)(4-10-2008) Comment here

    • Drivers upset over lack of drug testing: Sprint Cup drivers Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne say they never have undergone a drug test as NASCAR competitors. "In the 10 years that I've raced, I've never been drug-tested," Harvick said. "To me, that's not a proper drug policy for a professional sport. We haven't made any headway whatsoever on the drug-testing policy." Harvick and Stewart were reacting to an ESPN The Magazine story this week in which former driver Aaron Fike said he competed in Craftsman Truck Series races while he was on heroin. "I have been in a race with him and I know for a fact that he's not the only one," Harvick said. "There's another driver that was suspended that I can almost guarantee you was in the race car while he was under the influence, and that pisses me off. I'm sure I'll be blasted for saying what I feel, but I don't want to be on a race track with people like that. It's irresponsible more than anything." All four Cup drivers said they are in favor of regular testing.
      "I would love it,'' Stewart said. "I've never been asked to take one yet. I think it should be mandatory to have random drug testing. I think it's a great idea. The Fike situation shows that as an organization, we're not doing a good job of seeing this before it happens." NASCAR's substance-abuse policy includes the right to test any driver at any time, but officials only do so if they believe a competitor might have a problem. "The responsibility here rests across the board -- with the drivers and competitors, owners, teams and NASCAR," said Kerry Tharp, NASCAR's director of communication. "We test an individual when we have reasonable suspicion. A positive test results in severe consequences and is a career-changing moment for that person. NASCAR's policy is also supported by the various policies that the teams have in place that are required under the driver/owner agreements. No system is flawless, but we believe our zero tolerant policy that is in place has served the sport well."
      Fike was arrested last year in Ohio for possession of heroin.
      "I had a long talk with NASCAR about this last year," Harvick said. "It almost seems like it fell on deaf ears. They were more mad that I had a reaction to the situation than they were about trying to move forward. They heard what I said, but my name's not Jeff Gordon. I'm disappointed that we have to react and answer all these questions again."
      Tharp said NASCAR officials always take it seriously when drivers come to them with questions or complaints. "Let me assure you that no issue or conversation that we have with a driver, owner or team member ever falls on deaf ears," Tharp said. "Now, they might not always come out of the meeting with the answer they're looking for, but we listen." Harvick wants to see NASCAR test drivers and crew members several times a year. "I'm sure I'll have to do it for speaking my mind," Harvick said. "But if I have to pee in a cup 15 times a year, I'm happy to do it. The bad part is it isn't fair to the 95 percent of his garage that is clean. But I want everybody in the world to know our sport is clean. I want fans and sponsors to know this garage is clean." Harvick and his wife, DeLana, own truck series and Nationwide Series teams at Kevin Harvick Inc. Harvick does not conduct drug tests for his employees. "I don't right now and maybe we need to change the way we look at it, too," he said. "But in the end, it's the responsibility of [NASCAR] to make sure all the drivers are clean." Harvick said Fike drove a couple of races for KHI several years ago. "There was no reason to think something was wrong," Harvick said. "I don't know about drugs, to tell you the truth. But I want to know about the guy racing next to me and not have to wonder if he was out the night before and isn't clean."
      Kahne said he had suspicions about Fike. "I definitely wondered about Aaron, so I'm sure others did," Kahne said. "When he said he did heroin before a race, that's incredible that no one knew. As much money as there is in this sport, I think we should take a little more effort to make sure every driver is clean." Harvick believes NASCAR should have changed its substance-abuse policy long ago. "You can tell I'm a little bit frustrated about the situation," he said. "As someone who respects the sport and respects my sponsors, I'm upset that I have to answer questions about Aaron Fike. It really ticks me off, because every driver in this garage should be taking random drug tests." Harvick believes NASCAR needs to do a better job of staying ahead of the curve. "It's just like the safety thing back in 2001," he said. "We didn't react until that situation happened [with Dale Earnhardt's death]. With drug-testing, there's no reason in the world today not to be proactive. "This is about forward thinking about how the drivers are perceived from a public standpoint. If I'm a fan, I don't want to think, 'Are they really clean?' This always has been perceived as a clean sport. Let's not let that change now, because it is. But let's prove it."(ESPN.com)
      See my article link page for many other opinions and articles on the drug subject.(4-10-2008)

    • Texas TV Ratings down: NASCAR on Fox earned a 5.4/12 (8.6 million viewers) this weekend for racing from Texas, down -4% from last year's 5.6/12. This marks the first time this season that a regularly scheduled Fox NASCAR event has declined from last year's rating. The primary factor in this weekend's NASCAR decline was competition from the season's first full Sunday afternoon MLB schedule. There are 25 MLB home markets in the U.S., and Sunday's NASCAR race was down in 19 of them. Despite being down year-to-year, Sunday's Texas race was still easily the highest-rated event for the day on any broadcast network. Season-to-date, NASCAR on FOX is averaging a 6.6/14 (11.1 mllion viewers), up +3% over last year's 6.4/14.(Fox PR), see the other races ratings and more on my TV Ratings page(4-10-2008) Comment here

    • Community college hires a Motorsports Coordinator: The huge presence of motorsports in Iredell County [NC] is impacting Mitchell Community College, too. The college has hired Hope Smith as Motorsports Coordinator for the Small Business Center, based in Mooresville, NC. Smith will focus on assessing the motorsports community's needs, such as training, and implementing programs and seminars in conjunction with local organizations and those within the motorsports industry, which is one of the fastest growing industries in Iredell County. Smith will also work with small business owners on networking and developing business plans. She was formerly a manager with Lowe’s Companies, Inc. in Mooresville.(Mooresville Tribune)(4-10-2008)

    • Ford to sponsor Kvapil at Phoenix: Yates Racing, which has soldiered on for most of 2008 with no sponsorship for Travis Kvapil, got some good news this week as Ford Motor Co. has stepped up to sponsor Kvapil’s #28 Fusion. Full details are expected later today from Phoenix.(SPEEDtv)
      AND: This weekend, racing fans across the country will see and hear many of Ford Racing’s stars talking about Drive one, Ford’s new and far-reaching message about improved vehicle quality, fuel economy, safety advances and smart technology. Ford Racing cars will sport a variety of Drive one logos starting with this weekend’s events in Avondale, Ariz. (NASCAR), and Las Vegas (NHRA), highlighted by the #28 Drive one Ford Fusion, driven by Yates Racing’s Travis Kvapil. Yates Racing, which is still searching for a full-time sponsor for its cars, is helping Ford with the Drive one launch by offering up Kvapil’s car, which will be seen by millions of viewers this weekend on Speed and Fox. “Yates Racing is honored to have the opportunity to run the Drive one paint scheme on the #28 Ford Fusion this weekend,” said team owner Doug Yates. “We have a great driver in Travis, along with top-of-the-line equipment and technology courtesy of Ford. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the chance to participate in the development of Ford cars and engines from the racing side and I can’t think of a better manufacturer to be affiliated with,” he said. Drive one is the inside story of Ford, chronicling in television, print and digital media how Ford employees have closed the gap with Asian competitors regarding quality, advanced vehicle safety, made vehicles more fuel efficient and led the industry in developing in-car connectivity. People are also invited to drive a Ford vehicle and experience for themselves the company’s vehicles’ performance. “I’m really thrilled to drive the #28 Drive one Ford Fusion this weekend at Phoenix,” said Kvapil. “Being a Ford driver myself, I can tell you that they are committed to the four key points of this campaign: quality, fuel-efficiency, safety, and technologically-advanced vehicles. Ford is integrating Drive one into Ford’s racing program to reach out to Ford loyalists, so they can help spread the word about the company’s gains in areas that matter most to customers. In addition to the primary sponsorship logos on the #28 Fusion this weekend, Drive one logos will be featured on the b-pillar of each of Ford NASCAR Sprint Cup cars. In addition, in- car camera and roll cage shots will feature the new logos, and both Yates Racing and Wood Brothers Racing drivers and crew members will wear special Drive one baseball caps. The Fox Fusion 360 car, an important part of every NASCAR on Fox broadcast, will also feature Drive one logos. Additionally, the special NASCAR Ford Fusion that analyst Darrell Waltrip drives in Fox pre-race features will also switch to the Drive one logos.(Ford Racing), see an image of the scheme on my #28 Team Schemes page.(4-10-2008)

    • Wheeler Encourages NASCAR to Schedule an Open Sprint Cup Test at LMS: Looking to increase competition, H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway, is encouraging NASCAR to host an open Sprint Cup Series test at the 1.5-mile superspeedway prior to the May 17 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race . "It's our intention to have the best racing possible here during the month of May and I have always believed that preparation is the key to great racing," Wheeler said. "You can compute, work the post machine and microscope the car until your tools bleed, but nothing, absolutely nothing, is as valuable as track time. So, we have offered NASCAR at least two days, May 5-6, to bring the teams in so they can test the new car. We'll have the track open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. so they can experiment with chassis set-ups during both daytime and nighttime conditions," Wheeler added. "Then, if further testing is needed, dates closer to the May 17 Sprint All-Star Race can be provided." If NASCAR accepts Wheeler's offer, the test session would take place on Monday and Tuesday following the Saturday night race at Richmond International Raceway and prior to teams heading to nearby Darlington Raceway for another Saturday night event. 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 the track ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS)(4-10-2008)

    • Phoenix Goodyear Tire Notes: The tire set-up for this weekend's races at Phoenix is very similar to that raced at the track in 2007 . . . the tread compounds are identical to last year's combination, but an incremental improvement in durability has been incorporated into the right side construction . . . Sprint Cup teams ran this set-up during an open test session at Phoenix on March 3-4 . . . other NASCAR tracks at which this exact combination of left- and right-side tires are scheduled to be run are Richmond, New Hampshire, Milwaukee and Memphis . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Phoenix. the estimated pit window is every 75-80 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear), see the full notes, codes, pressures on my Phoenix Race Info page, Goodyear section.(4-10-2008)

    • McDowell Takes Off in F-16 Falcon before Phoenix Race: This week is a special homecoming for #00-Michael McDowell as he received a once in a lifetime opportunity to take flight in an F-16 Falcon on Wednesday thanks to the 56th Fighter Wing and Phoenix International Raceway at Luke Air Force Base. McDowell went through Egress training and participated in a media event at Luke Air Force Base before taking off with Capt. Thomas "Wild Bill" Juntunen, 310th FS instructor pilot.(MWR)(4-10-2008)

    • Kurt Busch and team keeping busy: #2-Kurt Busch, crew chief Pat Tryson and team will be busy testing during the next few weeks. “We know that test time is extremely important in our effort to get better with this car and we’re committed to doing what it takes to be competing up front,” said Tryson. “We’ve already scheduled a test at Nashville (Nashville Superspeedway, the 1.33-mile D-shaped concrete track near Lebanon, Tenn.) next Tuesday (April 15) and are set to test for Goodyear at Indy (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) on April 22nd and 23rd.(TRPR)(4-10-2008)

    • Phoenix Rookie Notes: #10-Patrick Carpentier was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the April 6 Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, the first time he has taken the honor in 2008. Carpentier scored a 28th-place finish, his best on an oval in his seven-race Sprint Cup Series career. #01-Regan Smith holds a one-point lead (68-67) over #77-Sam Hornish Jr. in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the April 12 Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix. Four different drivers have claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors in seven races this season. Smith, Hornish, Jr., and McDowell are the only members of the Raybestos Rookie class with a guaranteed starting spot at Phoenix. Two Raybestos Rookies entered in this weekend’s race at Phoenix do not have a guaranteed starting positions: Franchitti and Carpentier. Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart are the only Raybestos Rookies to win in 23 Sprint Cup races at Phoenix. Stewart won the 1999 fall race from the pole, beating Mark Martin to the checkered flag by 2.081 seconds. Busch captured the 2005 fall race by .609 seconds over Greg Biffle. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in three spring races at Phoenix is fifth by Clint Bowyer in 2006. The best qualifying effort by a Raybestos Rookie in three previous spring races at Phoenix is sixth by Denny Hamlin in 2006. Stewart is the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps at Phoenix, leading three times for 150 laps in 1999. Three Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions at Phoenix, all coming in the fall race: Stewart, Casey Atwood (2001) and Ryan Newman (2002). Ryan Newman holds the all-time Raybestos Rookie record for most poles (6), most top-fives (14) and most top-10s (22). Denny Hamlin is the only Raybestos Rookie to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup since the program was created in 2004.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos)(4-10-2008), see full notes, standings, history on my 2008 Rookies page.

    • Thursday practice for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway is over, the top five were:
      #12-Newman 132.411
      #48-Johnson 132.081
      #8-Martin 131.979
      #18-Busch 131.791
      #5-Mears 131.776
      the slowest: #21-Elliott 128.064 and #34-Andretti 128.132
      most laps run: #6-Ragan 41; #2-Busch 38
      See all the speed on my Phoenix Practice Page.(4-10-2008)

    • Almirola, Menard, Smith Test at Infineon Raceway: Three DEI drivers visited Infineon Raceway on Wednesday to hone their skills on the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course. #8-Aric Almirola, #01-Regan Smith and #15-Paul Menard came to the track for a one-day test session before the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series event in the Sonoma Valley, June 20-22. The drivers piloted GT America stock cars supplied by Pioneer Motorsports out of Lake Oroville. They were coached by road-course veteran Chris Cook and completed approximately 100 laps combined in the full-day test. Smith is the only driver among the three with any Cup Series race experience at Infineon Raceway. He finished 30th in last year's event. Almirola, who shares driving duties with veteran Mark Martin in the #8 U.S. Army Chevy, is currently in his second partial season of Sprint Cup Series competition. This marked his first visit to the Sonoma Valley road course. "This track is tough, but it's fun," said Almirola. "The elevation changes and blind turns make it really difficult. It's definitely something different." Cook said all of the drivers took well to the road course, and he enjoyed working with all three teammates. "I think Aric was most focused being his first time here, and he made big gains by the end of the day," said Cook. "Paul and Regan were a lot more disciplined with the track, and we worked on shifting points and braking points." For ticket information on the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 20-22, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(4-10-2008) Comment here

    • Special schemes for two Ganassi cars at Phoenix: This weekend the bright and fun yellow color of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit will adorn the #40 CGRFS Dodge driven by Dario Franchitti. This year Wrigley has been serving as a primary partner sponsoring Juan Pablo Montoya and the #42 CGRFS NSCS team. This will be Franchitti's first time representing the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company which is the world's largest manufacturer and marketer of chewing gum. The Wrigley's Big Red brand will adorn the hood of the #42 Dodge this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway for the eighth race of the 2008 season. This will be the third time this season the driver and team will wear the signature bold colors of Big Red.(CGRFS), see images of the #42 on my #42 Team Schemes page.(4-10-2008)

    • some Dale Jr. off track news: The public grand opening for #88-Dale Earnhardt's newest business venture -- a nightclub, Whiskey River -- will be held April 18. The club is located at 210 East Trade Street in Charlotte's EpiCenter. Patrons can eat, drink, listen to a mixture of rock and country music and even ride a mechanical bull. Log onto www.whiskyrivercharlotte.com for more information.
      In an effort to enlighten himself and his fans, Earnhardt has decided to forego the role of interviewee to play reporter for his official Web site. The interviews will be conducted monthly and featured exclusively on www.dalejr.com. Earnhardt's first interview was with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. and is available now. Look for his next installment -- an interview with Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick -- to be posted soon.(HMS)(4-10-2008) Comment here

    • New sponsor for BAM Racing: BAM Racing announced MetaLogix, Inc as an official Diamond Sponsor of the #49 Sprint Cup Series team for the 2008 season. "We're excited to welcome MetaLogix, Inc as a Diamond Sponsor for 2008," commented team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau. "In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, it is the support from sponsors that makes it possible for teams to compete every week. We are excited to share the excitement of Sprint Cup racing with MetaLogix, Inc." The Diamond Sponsorship Program is an associate sponsorship program exclusive to BAM Racing.(Centre Daily Times)(4-10-2008) Comment here


      News from April 9, 2008

    • Firestone interested in NASCAR: If Goodyear were to leave NASCAR, the executive director of Firestone Racing says his company would be interested. Goodyear is NASCAR's exclusive supplier through 2012. "There's a lot of people in our organization that would love to be running NASCAR," Firestone's Al Speyer says. "Our engineers can do a very good job there." Although Firestone has been the exclusive supplier of Indy car racing for several years, stock cars are part of its history. Speyer says the company won many races in NASCAR's first decade (1948-58) before leaving the sport in the late 1960s.(USA Today)(4-9-2008) Comment here

    • Season In Review - Week 8: Five different drivers have posted victories in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008, led by #99-Carl Edwards with three (California, Las Vegas and Texas). #12-Ryan Newman (Daytona), #18-Kyle Busch (Atlanta), 331-Jeff Burton (Bristol) and #11-Denny Hamlin (Martinsville) are the other race winners. Three drivers lead all others with five top-10 finishes: Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart. 27 different drivers have posted at least one top-10 finish in 2008. Jeff Gordon leads all other drivers with three DNFs in seven races in 2008. 61 drivers have attempted to qualify for at least one Sprint Cup Series race this season. 49 drivers have qualified for at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this season. There have been four different pole winners in 2008: Jeff Gordon (two), Jimmie Johnson (one), Kyle Busch (one) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (one). Qualifying was canceled due to weather at the Auto Club Speedway and Bristol. Jeff Gordon won the pole at Atlanta – making this his 16th consecutive year with a pole. Gordon is third on the all-time list for consecutive years with a pole, behind David Pearson (20) and Richard Petty (17). 30 different drivers have posted at least one top-10 start. Jeff Gordon is the only driver to start from the top 10 in six of the seven races. Only one driver has completed every lap raced this season: Jeff Burton. 29 drivers have led at least one lap this season. No one has led in every race. Ford leads the manufacturer point standings with 44 points. Chevrolet has 43, Toyota 39 and Dodge has 28. Ford has three victories this season. Toyota has two while Chevrolet and Dodge each have one.(NASCAR PR)(4-9-2008)

    • #8 scheme to pay tribute to U.S. Army Reserve at Phoenix: Mark Martin's #8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevy will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the United States Army Reserve in this weekend's Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. The hood on Martin's Impala SS will be covered with the Army Reserve's 100th anniversary logo and tag line -- Army Reserve, 100 Years Strong. The history of the Army Reserve dates back to April 23, 1908 when Congress established the Army's first federal reserve force. The Army Reserve began as a small force of approximately 160 medical professionals. Today, the Army Reserve consists of 205,000 soldiers and is an operational, expeditionary and domestic force that is an essential piece of the U.S. Army. Joining the Army Reserve contingent for Saturday night's Cup race will be a local hero -- Staff Sgt. Christopher Cruse, a Phoenix native who received multiple honors for his service in Iraq, including the Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge and the Army Commendation Medal. Cruse was severely injured when his humvee was struck by an anti-tank mine on July 25, 2004. He is currently back in Phoenix, serving as an Army Recruiter in the Glendale area. Taking into account how Martin has performed in Phoenix, there's a good chance the Army Reserve car will run up front. In 22 races at the one-mile oval, Martin has one win, eight top fives and 14 top 10s. In addition, the veteran has led a track-high 608 laps, including 137 in the last three races.(DEI), see an image of the scheme on my #8 Team Schemes page.(4-9-2008) Comment here

    • Bill France Sr. To Be Inducted Into U.S. Business Hall of Fame: NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. will be inducted posthumously into the U.S. Business Hall of Fame on Wednesday night in Nashville, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. France, who died in 1992, founded NASCAR in 1947 and was the sanctioning body’s first president, serving in that capacity until 1972 when he was followed by his son Bill France Jr. France is part of an illustrious 2008 class of inductees that also includes: USA Today founder Al Neuharth; Thomas Frist, Jr., M.D. Chairman Emeritus, Hospital Corporation of America; Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of the RLJ Companies and the Black Entertainment Network; John E. Pepper Jr., retired chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble; and Meg Whitman, president and CEO of eBay. France’s grandson, J.C. France – who races Daytona Prototypes in the Rolex Sports Car Series – will accept the induction honor on behalf of the France family. J.C. France is the son of NASCAR vice chairman and executive vice president Jim France.(NASCAR PR)(4-9-2008) Comment here

    • Mayfield out of the #70 ride UPDATE 2: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway is reporting that Jeremy Mayfield is out as driver of the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet, and will be replaced by former Haas CNC driver Johnny Sauter, effective immediately.(4-7-2008)
      UPDATE: Haas CNC Racing announced today that the team and Jeremy Mayfield have mutually agreed to part ways. The team is exploring several scenarios regarding a replacement driver. "Jeremy's proven resume behind the wheel of a Cup car was a real benefit to our team," team general manager Joe Custer said. "He stepped into the seat and did everything we asked him to and more. Ultimately, we were unable to provide him with the right balance, handling and speed he needed to be successful," he added. "We wish Jeremy nothing but the best for his future."(Haas CNC Racing)(4-8-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Johnny Sauter told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway Tuesday that he is signed to drive the #70 only this weekend in Phoenix, but hopes to land the ride full-time. "We've got a week off after Phoenix," said Sauter, "so they've got a little time to look around and figure out what they want to do down the road."(4-9-2008) Comment here

    • Special FedEx Kinko's/March of Dimes for Hamlin at Phoenix: Denny Hamlin, FedEx Kinko's and the March of Dimes will race a very special FedEx Kinko's/March of Dimes #11 Toyota Camry in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The car focuses attention on the March of Dimes and the annual March for Babies walk - an organization and event FedEx has long supported at both the local and national level. As part of the car unveiling event, Hamlin was presented with a specially designed helmet by five year-old Dallas native Tiffany Bell-Nunez. Bell-Nunez was born eleven weeks premature and weighed only 2 lbs 13 oz. and much of the care that led to a successful recovery for Tiffany was aided by research funded by March of Dimes. Tiffany is now a very healthy five year-old and her mother Vicki, a FedEx Kinko's employee, remains an active advocate for March for Dimes. In an additional show of support, FedEx has set up a special portal on fedexracing.com for those interested in supporting the charity and FedEx Racing in the upcoming March for Babies.(FedEx Racing/Weber Shandwick), see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(4-9-2008) Comment here

    • Newman's car too high UPDATE 2: Penske Racing's #12-Ryan Newman finished fourth in Sunday's Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, but his Dodge did not clear postrace inspection. According to Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby, the right rear of the car was too high following the Sprint Cup Series race. The car was one-eighth of an inch beyond the allotted half-inch tolerance. Any potential penalties will be announced Tuesday.(SceneDaily.com)(4-6-2008)
      UPDATE - Penalty: NASCAR has issued penalties and fines to the #12 team that competes in the Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rule infractions found last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. The #12 car driven by Ryan Newman was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 12.8.1C (right rear quarter panel height did not meet the required specification; too high in post race inspection) of the 2008 NASCAR rule book. As a result, Newman and car owner Roger Penske have been penalized 25 championship driver and 25 championship owner points, respectively. Crew chief Roy McCauley has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR PR)(4-8-2008)
      STATEMENT: Michael Nelson's, Vice President of Operations for Penske Racing South, statement on the penalty given to the #12 team following Sunday's NASCAR Cup race at Texas. "We had an issue in post-race inspection on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. It is always our intention to follow NASCAR's rules, and we regret this mistake. We look forward to getting back to the track this week and are focused on having a strong run in the #12 Alltel Dodge at Phoenix International Raceway."(Penske Racing)(4-9-2008) Comment here

    • BDR sues former sponsor: Bill Davis Racing alleges that Rockford-Montgomery Labs has paid only $25,000 of the $14 million it was supposed to pay for sponsorship of the #36 Cup entry last season, according to a lawsuit filed April 2 in North Carolina Superior Court in Winston Salem, N.C. RML is the maker of 360 OTC, a line of hangover and headache medicine. The sponsorship was a three-year deal that was scheduled to increase to $14.5 million in 2008 and $15 million in 2009. There was a sponsor’s option for 2010 for $15.5 million. According to the lawsuit, RML also did not pay any of the $3 million it owed as a primary sponsor for the #36 truck and $1 million it owed to be primary sponsor for 10 races of the #23 truck. This is the latest in a series of lawsuits against RML, which has been sued by Just Marketing, which was handling the NASCAR sponsorship, as well as by the World of Outlaws and World Wrestling Entertainment. An attorney who represents RML in the World of Outlaws and the WWE case did not immediately return a request for comment.(see full story at SceneDaily)(4-9-2008) Comment here

    • Orange colors for Harvick at Phoenix: Reese's, a major associate sponsor of RCR's #29 Chevy, kicks into high gear this weekend in Phoenix as Harvick and the #29 team transform their bright yellow-and-red Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet into a bright orange Reese's racing machine for the Subway Fresh Fit 500. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are peanut butter-filled chocolate cups. They were created in 1928 by H.B. Reese, a former dairy farmer and foreman for Milton S. Hershey. The H.B. Reese Candy Co., established in the basement of Reese's house in Hershey, Pa., went on to merge with The Hershey Company in 1963 due to the popularity of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Today, Reese's has become the No. 1 selling candy bar in the United States and the Reese's brand is the most successful brand owned by The Hershey Company.(RCR), see an image of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes page.(4-9-2008) Comment here

    • DIRECTV colors for Bowyer at Phoenix: Clint Bowyer's #07 Chevy will feature a blue and white DIRECTV paint scheme this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). Jack Daniel's, Bowyer's traditional primary sponsor, will be featured on the car's deck lid and lower-rear quarter panels. DIRECTV will strategically place four Mobile Pit Boxes throughout the PIR concourse and display area for fans to enjoy a free preview of NASCAR HotPass Only on DIRECTV. At the Mobile Pit Boxes, fans also have the opportunity to play DIRECTV's Spin to Win game. With one spin of the prize wheel, fans will win one of five great prizes: a DIRECTV Hat, a DIRECTV Diecast Replica Car, a free Fanview rental for the weekend - an exclusive DIRECTV offer, or the chance for an instant seat upgrade to the DIRECTV Zone. Winner's who are upgraded to the DIRECTV Zone will enjoy a bird's-eye view of the track from outside turn three, complete with catering, the chance to meet Bowyer, and watch NASCAR HotPass Only on DIRECTV on one of nine flat screen High Definition TVs at the Zone.(RCR), see images of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(4-9-2008) Comment here


      News from April 8, 2008

    • New crew chief for Petty: The #45 team welcomes new crew chief Stewart Cooper onboard this week. Cooper comes to Petty Enterprises from the #38 NASCAR Nationwide Series team. Billy Wilburn, former crew chief for the #45, is now heading up the test team for Petty. Wells Fargo will adorn the hood and sides of the #45 this weekend for the fourth time this season. Quotes from Kyle Petty: “Stewart Cooper is going to take over as my crew chief on the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge this weekend. Stewart is that new breed of crew chief that couples a mechanical engineering education with a lot of practical at track experience. With the success he has had as a crew chief in the Nationwide Series, I know Robbie (Loomis) has been trying to get him in the organization for some time. The 45 team is a talented race team and we’ll benefit from having a guy like Stewart at the helm. Something that should not be lost in the crew chief change is the fact that Billy Wilburn will remain with Petty Enterprises. Billy’s going to take over as crew chief of our test team and he will be a huge part of improving the product that we take to the race track. With the addition of Derrick Finley in the off season as our technical director, and the addition of several other talented people in our engineering department, we really have a lot of great information coming out of this group. Billy’s experience will help validate new ideas at the track and give our crew chiefs more options for the races. To really learn this new car you need to be on-track as much as possible and we have devoted more resources to track testing this year. It is great to have somebody of Billy’s experience level to lead this team.”
      Quotes from Stewart Cooper: “It’s an honor to come onboard a race team like Petty Enterprises. Everyone here is committed to making this #45 Wells Fargo Dodge competitive on a weekly basis. If we do that, the points thing will take care of itself. Petty Enterprises has the pieces and they are all in place, we just have to put the pieces to work. Our first priority is to qualify Kyle into the show this weekend and then perform well on Saturday evening. Kyle, Billy and the team participated in the test at Phoenix last month so we have a nice book of notes to help us accomplish that. Billy Wilburn and Robbie (Loomis) have assembled a good team here and I’m looking forward to working with these guys.”(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(4-8-2008) Comment here

    • PRN and MRN fighting over NHMS rights: Speedway Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corp. are suing each other over the radio broadcast rights at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. ISC has had a long-standing contract with the track to broadcast the races on its Motor Racing Network. SMI, which bought the track in January, wants the races on its own Performance Racing Network. The current contract awarding MRN the option to broadcast races at the track was signed in 2000 and required a three-year notice of termination. MRN agreed to give the track 25 percent of its advertising revenues from the events it broadcasts, and in the last seven years, MRN has paid the track more than $750,000, according to court documents. According to court records, SMI claims the contract is not enforceable and that MRN didn't exercise its option in time to broadcast the Nationwide-Cup weekend June 28-29 and the Cup race Sept. 14. "MRN purportedly took the 'exclusive' right to broadcast all NASCAR events held at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway," SMI Chairman Burton Smith wrote in a Feb. 7 letter to ISC that is part of the court file. "However, in this very same document, MRN left it open for itself to choose whether or not it would, in fact, broadcast any such events. As a result, there is no mutuality in the Agreement, and, the Agreement is … unenforceable and void. I cannot in good faith allow New Hampshire Motor Speedway or SMI to be subjected to this one-sided document which leaves them in limbo, subject to the whims of MRN." An ISC letter in response to Smith, written by NASCAR Chairman Brian France as part of his role as a member of the ISC board of directors, states: "MRN has a three-year binding contract to produce those events, and it is impossible for them to simply walk away. Additionally, they have already started packaging and selling advertisements to these events." MRN claims it has contracts with advertisers from at least 11 major companies for New Hampshire broadcasts, according to court documents. ISC spokesman Wes Harris said Monday that "Just because the facility has changed hands doesn't mean that agreements are not supposed to be honored" and that time is of the essence. MRN has more than 500 affiliates for some of its Cup races, while PRN has more than 750 affiliates. "There's a lot of confusion in the marketplace, with these sponsors and affiliates," Harris said. "We need to get it resolved ASAP. … It¹s not just impacting MRN and New Hampshire Speedway, it's impacting all these affiliates, it's impacting the various sponsors and advertisers. It's definitely a challenging situation." The lawsuit PRN filed is pending in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire with no hearings currently scheduled. The lawsuit MRN has filed is pending in Florida state court in Orlando, with a hearing for a temporary injunction scheduled for Wednesday.(SceneDaily)(4-8-2008) Comment here

    • Kenseth set to make 300th start at Phoenix: Matt Kenseth, 2003 NASCAR Cup Series Champion and driver of Roush Fenway Racing’s #17 Ford Fusion will make his 300th Sprint Cup Series start this weekend, under the lights, at Phoenix International Speedway. Sporting the black DEWALT NANO Technology paint scheme, Kenseth will reach the impressive milestone this Saturday evening in the Subway Fresh Fit 500. "It’s hard to believe I’ll be making my 300th start,” said Kenseth. “It doesn’t seem that long ago when I was racing for the Reiser family in the Busch Series, with no sponsor, just hoping I could have the opportunity to race in this series some day. I’ve been very fortunate throughout my career. It’s pretty cool to have lasted this long in such a competitive series, but I could not have done it without the support of a lot of great people and a great sponsor like DEWALT.” Since his 1998 Cup Series debut, Kenseth has accumulated three poles, 16 wins, 80 top-five and 146 top-10 finishes. The Cambridge, Wis., native has logged 113,328.6 miles on NASCAR tracks and led a total of 4,973 laps.(Roush Fenway Racing)(4-8-2008) Comment here

      .
    • Reiser & Andrews named the Wypall Wipers “Co-Crew Chiefs of the Race” in Texas: For the first time in its history, the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief award will go to two men, Roush Fenway Racing’s Robbie Reiser and Chris Andrews. The tandem showed the power of teamwork Sunday as they helped Carl Edwards and his #99 Aflac Ford score the win in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday. The Crew Chief team made the right pit calls and set up Carl Edwards’ car perfectly as he dominated the 500-mile race Sunday in Fort Worth, TX, his third win of the season. Reiser and Andrews will receive a $1,000 check as a result of their leadership and teamwork. Reiser, the General Manager of Roush Fenway Racing and Andrews, head of the engineering department at RFR, are sharing Crew Chief duties while Bob Osborne, Crew Chief of the #99 Ford Fusion, is on suspension from NASCAR. Osborne returns to the helm of the #99 team in three weeks at Richmond [May 3rd]. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to victory lane, but the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team. Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/Speed television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of the Richard Childress Racing #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of the Roush Fenway Racing #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead, FL. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(PR)(4-8-2008)

    • Special Salute the troops schemes at LMS in May: Memorial Day Weekend is always thrilling for race fans at Lowe's Motor Speedway. This year, a special celebration of America's military personnel takes place with the Salute the Troops program. Dale Earnhardt Jr and Hendrick Motorsports join the celebration of America's heroes with a special National Guard paint scheme on the #88 Chevy. This special paint scheme features the Salute the Troops logo on the hood, as well as the lower side panels. Salute the Troops will be an on-track program based around strength, patriotism and philanthropy. By positioning this program around Memorial Day, Motorsports Authentics and the teams involved will look to celebrate and honor one of the greatest federal holidays for Americans all year long. The program calls for teams to carry the "Salute the Troops" insignia and/or showcase a special paint out featuring a branch of the United States military. The Salute the Troops program will be on track in May for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. This program will celebrate the history and tradition of the military branches on this Memorial Day weekend. The pre-race show for Memorial Day will include a military demonstration for the fans and then followed by a concert for the troops. In support of this program, Motorsports Authentics will create a unique and collectible line of Salute the Troops merchandise. Motorsports Authentics will create a line of Salute the Troops die-cast and collectables that will raise money for military families. In addition, MA will work with corporate sponsors to raise money and awareness for the men and women of the armed forces.
      Scheduled Participating Sprint Cup Drivers:
      #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. - Carrying the logo on hood and rear quarter panels
      #24-Jeff Gordon - Carrying the logo on the decklid
      #8-Mark Martin - Full military paint out with program logos
      #21-Jon Wood - Full military paint out with program logos
      #07-Clint Bowyer - Carrying the logo on the rear spoiler, along with Toast the Troops logo on the deck lid
      Scheduled Participating Nationwide Seires Drivers:
      #88-Brad Keselowski - Full military paint out
      See the schemes on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(4-8-2008)

    • Special Pepsi scheme for Gordon at Talladega: #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to run a special Pepsi Stuff decorated paint scheme in the Aaron's 499 at the Talladega Superspeedway. This special paint scheme features a black and equalizer blue flame design with the Pepsi Stuff logo on the hood. See an image on my #24 Team Schemes page.(4-8-2008) Comment here

    • McDowell Feeling Fine Following Race at Texas: Michael McDowell was in New York all day fulfilling national media obligations to talk about Friday's terrifying accident during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway. Before departing for the city Sunday night, McDowell handled 500 miles like a pro at the 1.5-mile track. He posted a 33rd place finish in his #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry. "I started out the race sore and in a little pain, but it wasn't too bad," McDowell said. "It didn't take very long until I felt it. I really want to thank my crew for absolutely everything. They did a great job with what they were faced with on Friday. This is only our second race and we are only in the beginning stages. We are just going to keep plugging away to make our cars better at the 1.5-mile tracks." Following the Samsung 500 Sunday, McDowell departed to Statesville (N.C.) with all of Michael Waltrip Racing's Cup teams to board Michael Waltrip's King Air for New York. Because McDowell's accident garnered national attention, he and his wife were invited to the set of The Today Show for an interview with Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira this morning. Afterwards, McDowell went in studio at MSNBC and Inside Edition. Tomorrow [Tues], he will travel to Burbank, Calif. to be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.(MWR)(4-8-2008) Comment here


      News from April 7, 2008

    • Management Reorganization at BDR: Bill Davis, President of Bill Davis Racing (BDR), announced a reorganization of the company's management team. Davis, who with wife Gail has fielded teams in NASCAR for over 20 years, has added several key personnel and shifted several others within the organization. All changes are effective immediately. NASCAR veteran Marty Gaunt has been named Vice President of Bill Davis Racing. Gaunt, a native of Toronto, Ont., Canada, began his tenure in NASCAR in 1996 and has held similar positions at Penske Racing and Team Red Bull. Gaunt was also part owner of Red Horse Racing. "It's an honor for me to able to be a part of Bill Davis Racing with Bill and Gail," stated Gaunt. "Bill has fielded teams for 21 years now and to be considered to be a part of the reorganization is a great opportunity. I'm excited about the tasks at hand and ready to get started."
      Mark Chambers, who previously served as team manager of BDR's Craftsman Truck Series effort, will now assume the role of the general manager of Bill Davis Racing. Chambers, who has been with the team since 2006, takes over the GM role from Mike Brown, who will move into the position of Chief Financial Officer.
      "I'm confident the modifications we've made to our management and front-office staff will make our entire organization stronger," stated Davis. "Our Truck Series program continues to thrive, but there isn't any doubt that the Cup Series program has struggled this year. Our partnership with Caterpillar is over 10 years strong, and we owe it to them and to ourselves to make sure we have the best possible people in the most important positions. We have great partners in Caterpillar and Toyota and we hope to continue our affiliation with them for many years to come. I'm confident the changes we've announced today will ensure a strong future for this team." In addition, Davis has hired Jim Thomas as the organization's Director of Marketing. Thomas, a Florida native, has been the Director of Business Development for Sullivan Worldwide Marketing Group, a leading strategic marketing and planning agency to the United States motorsports industry. Prior to that, he spent several years within the financial arm of Southeast Toyota.(BDR)(4-7-2008) Comment here

    • Menard and Crafton help the community: NASCAR drivers Paul Menard and Matt Crafton are taking part in the construction of a Habitat for Humanity home today in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The drivers will help by installing insulation donated by Johns Manville. Menard and Crafton will be in Fort Wayne to give of their time and help raise awareness for the organization, while shining a light on the first green build home in Fort Wayne Habitat for Humanity history. In addition to their volunteer efforts, Menard and Crafton will sign autographs for fans in celebration of the grand opening of a new Menards store location in Fort Wayne. Menard heads to Indiana on the heels of a 17th place run in yesterday's Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. Crafton is coming off his career best finish of second place in last weeks Craftsman Truck Series event at Martinsville Speedway. Both drivers represent Menards in their respective series.(Co-Pilott Motorsports Marketing)(4-7-2008)

    • No changes planned in COT: NASCAR's Jim Hunter, one of the sport’s top officials and a 40-year veteran at the tour’s tracks, said that drivers and crews shouldn’t be expecting any rules changes for the winged car any time soon: “At least for a period of time. “I think Robin (Pemberton) and John (Darby), they’d say ‘Let’s go some more races and see where we are.’” Pemberton and Darby are NASCAR’s top two competition officials under president Mike Helton. “Actually I can remember a lot of guys saying they couldn’t run side-by-side in the old car, when they had a hell of a lot of downforce,” Hunter said. “Carl Edwards got out of his car today and said ‘It’s a great feeling when your hands hurt after a race.’ You just have to get up on the wheel. And that was the whole purpose of this thing ... secondary to safety.” The next midsize track debut for the stock car will be at Concord in a few weeks. But the Mother’s Day weekend race at just-repaved Darlington could also present some similar issues, with its sudden 200-mph speeds, even though the car raced there last spring.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-7-2008) Comment here

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Samsung 500:
      Total number of commercials: 125
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 69*
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 42
      Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 39
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:03 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods:5:51 PM
      Total minutes: 228
      Minutes of race broadcast: 168
      Minutes of commercials: 60
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      Number of 'mystery debris cautions': 1
      See full report at CawsnJaws.com and see more about Commercials on my 2008 Commercials page.(4-7-2008) Comment here

    • Hamlin nearly faints after race: #11-Denny Hamlin was talking with reporters on pit road about his fifth-place finish in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway when he nearly fainted and collapsed Sunday. It brought an abrupt end to the interview, as a wobbly Hamlin staggered to a nearby golf cart with the assistance of team personnel. He then was whisked away to be given fluids and to rest, after which team officials insisted he was fine. "He'll need to get some fluids in him, and he'll be all right." Hamlin stood off to the side for several minutes before even attempting to answer questions, taking sips from a water bottle and having a cold towel applied to the back of his neck. He then answered three questions before nearly collapsing, with one of his answers being about his physical condition. "I didn't feel well [during the race]," Hamlin said. "It's just the heat, the long runs. So I'll try to get better. It really hit me when I got out of the car. I was just really dizzy and I knew I needed to sit down."(NASCAR.com)(4-7-2008) Comment here

    • Sad News: Shane Hammond NorthEastern Midget Association driver Shane Hammond was killed in an accident Sunday at Thompson International Speedway, the Connecticut State police confirmed. Hammond, 27, of Halifax, Mass. was involved in a crash on the fourth lap of a scheduled 25-lap NEMA Midget feature. Hammond's car made contact with the car driven by Chris Leonard of Pelham, N.H. heading into turn 3. Hammond's car ended up going over the concrete wall at the entrance to the corner and through a loose banner billboard above the wall. It was unclear if Hammond's car impacted directly with the stanchion holding the banner billboard upright. Hammond's car was entirely over the wall and caught in the billboard when rescue personnel arrived at the scene of the crash. The accident took place at 1:06 p.m. Rescue personnel spent about 12 minutes extricating Hammond from the car. The ambulance carrying Hammond left the track at 1:18 p.m. headed to Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam. Track officials said they expected that Hammond would be airlifted to a trauma center from Day Kimball. State police dispatcher Jay Robillard at Troop D in Danielson said Hammond was pronounced dead at Day Kimball. Robillard said only that Hammond sustained "traumatic injuries"(Hartford Courant)(4-7-2008)

    • Almirola, Menard to Test at Infineon: Sprint Cup Series drivers #8-Aric Almirola and #15-Paul Menard will come to Infineon Raceway on Wednesday, April 9, for a one-day test session. Almirola, who shares driving duties with veteran Mark Martin in the #8 U.S. Army Chevy, has never competed on the Sonoma Valley road course in the Sprint Cup Series. Neither has Menard, who drives the #15 Menards Chevy. Almirola and Menard are expected to test the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in late-model stock cars provided by a Northern California-based race team. They will be coached by road-course veteran Chris Cook, who has also worked with NASCAR drivers David Reutimann, Johnny Sauter and AJ Allmendinger. Both will return for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR weekend, June 20-22, at Infineon Raceway. For tickets, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(4-7-2008)



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