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MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
APRIL 14-20, 2008
News from April 20, 2008
- Ragan has blood type on his uniform: David Ragan has an “O+” by the name on his uniform, designating his blood type. Drivers occasionally put their blood type on their firesuits in case they are in an accident and are rushed to a hospital. Ragan said his suit maker Sabelt asked him for his blood type before it started making suits for him this year. The Roush Fenway Racing driver isn’t the first driver in NASCAR to have his blood type on the uniform but it is fairly rare to have that.(SceneDaily.com)(4-20-2008) Comment here
- Schrader, other notables, planning to run Rockingham ARCA race: The Carolina 500, ARCA's May 4 race at Rockingham Speedway, has drawn the attention of several drivers who don't typically participate in the ruling body's races. Bobby Hamilton Jr. and Ken Schrader have recently joined the list of entrants. Schrader has won 15 ARCA races during his career. Other notable entries have been filed in the names of drivers Joey Logano by Joe Gibbs Racing, Austin Dillon by Richard Childress Racing, Scott Speed by Eddie Sharp Racing, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. by Roush Fenway Racing, Michael Annett by Bill Davis Racing, Chad McCumbee, Bobby Gerhart and Matt Carter. Dillon is Childress's grandson. Speed is a former Formula One driver. Carter is the son of famed NASCAR mechanic Travis Carter.(Gaston Gazette)(4-20-2008) Comment here
- Robby Gordon Second in first stage of Central European Rally: ARobby Gordon and his Monster Energy Toyo Tire blazed to a second place finish in the first stage of the inaugural Central European Rally. The stage began before a large crowd at Hero's Square in Budapest where the teams were introduced to the spectators. The competitors then drove to beginning of the special 58km away in Dabas. More like a WRC style rally course rather than the marathon wide open stages of the Dakar, Gordon and navigator Andy Grider laid siege to the tight twisty tree lined narrow track. The rally now heads for Baia Mare in Romania for the second stage which will feature two specials – both 76km. The terrain is reported to be muddy and rocky. Coverage of the Central Europe Rally can be seen in the United States on DirecTV. The half hour show will be aired twice – first at 7p.m. est and then again at 12:30a.m. Additional rally coverage can also be found on robbygordon.com and robbysuprising.com where Team Dakar USA will have daily updates, the twitter micro blog feed, and videos.(Robby Gordon PR)(4-20-2008) Comment here
News from April 19, 2008
- Ford improving over 2007: Ford had only one victory in 2007's first eight events, that by #17-Matt Kenseth in Week 2. In three races with the Car of Tomorrow, the manufacturer was winless with only four top-10s, none better than fifth. Rival Chevy had seven wins, including all three races in the COT and 23 top-10s in the new car. Hendrick Motorsports, the top Chevy team, had five wins and was so dominant in the COT the rest of the competition looked clueless. These are much happier times for team owner Jack Roush and Ford exec Dan Davis. "I really felt like we didn't have the engineering base that they had at Hendricks," Davis said. "I felt like, 'OK, it's going to be a struggle all year, and we've got to work really hard to catch up.'" That they did. Two-thirds through the 2007 season, Ford -- specifically Roush Fenway -- had all but eliminated the deficit it faced in the new car. And eight races into the 2008 season, despite Jimmie Johnson's win last weekend at Phoenix to give HMS its first win, one could even argue Ford has taken over the top spot. Edwards' victory at Texas was Ford's third in seven races. Two top-10s at Phoenix gave the manufacturer 18, including eight top-5s, in the new car, which was fully implemented for this season.(ESPN.com)(4-19-2008) Comment here
- Phoenix TV ratings share match 2007: Fox's broadcast of last Saturday night's Subway Fresh Fit 500 Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.4 and an 8 market share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating matches the 4.4 Fox earned last year, while the market share dropped from a 9 in 2007.(SceneDaily), for more info on TV Ratings, see my 2008 TV Ratings page.(4-19-2008)
- Pocono test sched revised again: Pocono Raceway officials, at the direction of NASCAR, announced a second revision to the on track schedule for the two day Sprint Cup Series test at Pocono Raceway on May 27-28, 2008. The test, which is open to the public, is now scheduled to be run on Tuesday May 27 from 12:30 PM to 7:00 PM and Wednesday May 28 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Grandstand gates will be open to spectators one hour prior to the start time of the test each day. This important test will be the first opportunity NASCAR teams will have to test the new Sprint Cup Series race car at Pocono Raceway. Approximately 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are expected to attend. 2008 Pocono NASCAR ticket holders will be eligible to receive up to four (4) FREE tickets to the test session. A mail-in coupon for the test and additional information will be sent to all ticket holders who purchase their NASCAR race tickets prior to May 9, 2008. Fans who are not current ticket holders for either of Pocono Raceway's 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series or ARCA Re/Max Series events will be able to purchase test tickets for $5.00 each by calling the Pocono Raceway Ticket Office at 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929), online at poconoraceway.com or tickets can be purchased at the Pocono Raceway Gate 8 Ticket Booth each day of the testing. Tickets for the Pocono 500 weekend, June 6-8, 2008 and the Pennsylvania 500 weekend, August 1-3, 2008 are still available but are selling fast. For more test day information or to order race tickets, call the Raceway ticket office toll-free at 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929) or online at www.poconoraceway.com.(4-19-2008) Comment here
- Robby Gordon's sister to run race: #7-Robby Gordon's sister, off-road racer Beccy Gordon is scheduled to race in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race April 19, one of six events to be run in conjunction with the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Despite it being her first pavement start, Gordon will participate as one of six racers in the professional category that start the race 30 seconds behind the celebrity division. She will compete against the likes of NFL Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman, "That 70's Show" star Wilmer Valderrama, "Dancing With the Stars" winner Drew Lachey, former NBA star John Salley, ESPN NASCAR reporter Jamie Little and fellow pro's NASCAR driver Mike Skinner, Tony Pedregon and Whit Bazemore, both NHRA Funny Car champions, as well as former Olympic gold medal cyclist Marty Nothstein. In addition to the on-track competition, Gordon also will be helping to raise money for "Racing For Kids."(Toyota Motorsports PR)(4-19-2008)
News from April 18, 2008
- Dickies to be associate sponsor of #29 Team: Dickies, the leading global workwear brand, and Richard Childress Racing (RCR), are expanding their partnership to include an associate sponsorship position on the #29 Shell-Pennzoil team with driver Kevin Harvick in the Cup Series. Dickies and RCR began their partnership in 2006 as the official provider of work apparel for RCR. The opportunity to increase their involvement into team partnership with RCR was the next logical step in a successful relationship.(RCR PR)(4-18-2008) Comment here
- NASCAR Sued for Contract Breach: NASCAR was sued by a maker of automotive wet wipes for breach of a license agreement. Sellars Absorbent Materials Inc., a manufacturer of automotive car products, said NASCAR refused to approve packaging and marketing materials in connection with its automotive disposable wet wipes. The company paid NASCAR $1.5 million for the exclusive right to use the NASCAR logo to market its products, including wipes that will protect the surface and interior of cars, according to a lawsuit filed April 11 in federal court in Orlando, Florida. NASCAR contends that Sellars can't market the wipes as a protectant due to an exclusive license agreement it has with 3M for "protectants," according to the complaint. Sellars alleges that NASCAR granted it the exclusive right to use its logo for the wipes and is now attempting to "retroactively limit the scope of the license rights." "Although Nascar identified certain limitations and exceptions in the license agreement and amendments," Sellars said in court papers. "NASCAR did not create an exception for 'protectants.'"(Bloomberg News)(4-18-2008) Comment here
- Hornish, Franchitti will not run Indy 500: Sprint Cup rookies Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish Jr., the men who won the last two Indianapolis 500s, will not compete in the race next month. Their NASCAR team owners -- Chip Ganassi for the #40 Dodge Franchitti drives and Roger Penske for the # 77 Dodge Hornish drives -- both said the Indy 500 is not part of the plan this season. The two Cup rookies will concentrate on the Coca-Cola 600 Cup race that day (May 25) at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Penske, who is traveling in Europe this week, called Rusty Wallace on Tuesday from England to tell him Hornish would not race at Indy this year. Penske wanted to end the speculation that David Stremme would replace Hornish in the Coca-Cola 600 so Hornish could race at Indy. The speculation about Hornish also brought rumors about Franchitti possibly returning to the Indy 500 next month to defend his victory from last season. But Ganassi made his feelings clear: "No way we're doing that," Ganassi said. Ganassi also said that Franchitti is totally committed to his move to NASCAR.(ESPN.com), see previous rumors about Hornish on my #77 Team News page.(4-18-2008) Comment here
- Fans To Decide One Driver's Entry Into The Sprint All-Star Race: Sprint announced the return of the Sprint Fan Vote, a voting competition powered by fans to award one team a starting spot in the May 17 Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Voting began April 17 and closes at 7 p.m. EDT May 17. Race fans may vote multiple times. New this year, as a bonus to Sprint customers, votes placed on Sprint phones will count twice. Voting is available through the following channels:
*On Sprint phones text "NASCAR" to 7777 and follow the received directions (standard text messaging and data rates apply)
*At participating Sprint stores
*Trackside at the Sprint Experience
Past Fan Vote winners include Ken Schrader (2004), Martin Truex Jr. (2005), Kyle Petty (2006) and Kenny Wallace (2007).
To be eligible for the Sprint Fan Vote, drivers must have been in the top 50 in Sprint Cup Series driver point standings in 2007 or have attempted to qualify for a 2008 Sprint Cup Series race prior to March 10. The driver with the most votes who finishes the Sprint Showdown on the lead lap will transfer to the prestigious field. The Sprint Fan Vote winner will be announced following the completion of the Sprint Showdown. Tune in to SPEED May 17 at 7 p.m. EDT to see who will win the 2008 Sprint Fan Vote.(Sprint PR)(4-18-2008) Comment here
- Marlin Running at Music City Motorplex: Sterling Marlin has no plans to compete for a Music City Motorplex Late Model points championship this season. He will race for a cause. Marlin said he will split his winnings from his six Motorplex races between Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University and the Nashville Rescue Mission. First place pays between $1,100 and $3,000, depending on the race. "My grandson was in (the children's hospital) and they took really good care of him," said Marlin, a Columbia resident and two-time Daytona 500 champ. "I wanted to try and take care of some kids and some people that have had misfortune. We eat well at Thanksgiving and Christmas and I know some of those people at the mission may not know where their next meal is coming from. I figured I'd try and help them out a little bit." Marlin will race May 10, June 14, Aug. 8, Aug. 30, Sept. 20 and Oct. 11. Marlin also is racing a partial Sprint Cup schedule with Phoenix Racing. He will attempt to qualify for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega next week and Richmond the following week.(Tennessean)(4-18-2008) Comment here
- NASCAR Revs Up New York: a FREE outdoor fan event celebrating NASCAR Sprint All-Star weekend featuring: Live Race Coverage, Race Simulators, NASCAR Stock Cars, Tire Changing Competitions, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Trophy, Games and Prizes for all ages, Pocono Raceway Ticket Package Giveaways and much, much more! More info on my 2008 All-Star Race page.(4-18-2008)
News from April 17, 2008
- Mayfield wants to be in ride that can win, in any series: Jeremy Mayfield's not sure what's next, though as a racer he wants to race. But his choice, whether it's in Sprint Cup, Nationwide or the Craftsman Truck Series, is going to be something that can win. He's been there and knows he can get it done again. Right now, he's not sure how much time he'll be spending at racetracks in the short term. The conversations on future possibilities have been flowing in both directions, he said. But he won't be sitting still, either. When the Sprint Cup Series is at Richmond and Darlington, Mayfield will be part of an entourage touring United States military installations in Iraq and supporting the troops.(NASCAR.com)(4-17-2008) Comment here
- Chevy pushing for alternative fuels in NASCAR: Chevrolet is continuing its effort to have NASCAR make alternative fuels a priority. “We’re pushing hard – we probably are the instigators a little bit,” Chevrolet Vice President Brett Dewar said during the Texas race weekend. “We believe in green racing, and we believe it is very appropriate to do that … We believe it’s time. We think racing can also be green, and we would like it to be biofuels.” NASCAR executives have indicated that alternative fuels are a priority. “They’re definitely receptive,” Dewar said about NASCAR. “They’ve got fuel providers, and it’s a transition, and I don’t want to mitigate the fact that some work has to get done. There’s modifications to the engines, but we do it to our vehicles today. … We have to reduce our dependency on petroleum products. We just have to. Economically we need to do it, and we’re willing to do it.” General Motors is building cars that can be run on alternative fuels as well as electric vehicles. Dewar said the chairman of General Motors has been among those who has talked with NASCAR officials about alternative fuels. Could that happen in two or three years? “It could be sooner if we all rode together and worked together,” Dewar said. “It’s just a matter of bringing each other [together]. We’re going to meet with them soon to see how their development is coming. but we’re invited to this party. We’re proud to be a member with them from the beginning, General Motors with NASCAR, and we’re very supportive of that. We have to make good decisions.”(SceneDaily)(4-17-2008) Comment here
News from April 16, 2008
- ESPN the Magazine: Answers to your questions about Aaron Fike by Ryan McGee.(4-16-2008)
- Water closes Kentucky Speedway: Soggy conditions below ground, however, left Kentucky Speedway track workers dealing with water seeping onto portions of the 1.5-mile track that led to the cancellation Tuesday of a scheduled ARCA RE/MAX Series test session. Track officials reacted swiftly and announced that the track will be closed to any on-track testing for at least the next two weeks. "We want to make sure it's safe for the race car drivers and the teams," Kentucky Speedway spokesman Tim Bray said. "We're taking a proactive approach to it. We have everybody's interests in mind. The track is fine. There's just been so much water that we just need to make sure that what's under the track is dried out." The snow and rain that have flooded parts of the region since February is being blamed. Track workers spent several hours Tuesday trying to dry the surface and concentrated their efforts on problem spots in Turns 3 and 4. Thirteen ARCA RE/MAX Series drivers were at the track Tuesday. The speedway will open its 2008 season with the ARCA RE/MAX Series May 10. "The test session will not be rescheduled, based on our schedule, what we're looking at ahead here," ARCA RE/MAX Series spokesman Don Radebaugh said. The temporary shutdown comes as nine Sprint Cup teams were scheduled to spend today [Wednesday] testing their cars at the speedway. Joe Gibbs Racing, Penske Racing, Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Gillett Evernham Motorsports, which tried to test last week at the track but could not because of the seepage, were among those scheduled. "We're monitoring it and want to make sure we're ready when the bell rings," Bray said. "Today was just unfortunate. It's not a huge deal because we're aware of it, and we are taking every step to make sure it's ready to go when we go racing."(Cincinnati Enquirer)(4-16-2008) Comment here
- Schrader to the #70 at Talladega? hearing Ken Schrader may drive the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevy at Talladega. #49 BAM Racing is skipping Talladega and moving to a part-time schedule.(4-15-2008)
UPDATE: Haas CNC Racing is pleased to announce that Ken Schrader will drive the #70 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevy during the upcoming race weekend at Talladega. "I'm definitely very excited about the opportunity to drive for Haas CNC Racing," Schrader said. "It is a younger team that is going through the growing process but yet has all of the elements in place. The team has an outstanding relationship with Hendrick Motorsports, and we know they have a proven engine program," he added. "We certainly don't have to second guess the equipment."(Haas CNC Racing)(4-16-2008) Comment here
- Joe Gibbs Racing Test at Rockingham: The Joe Gibbs Racing test team spent all day on Wednesday April 16th at the Rockingham Speedway gathering information for all of their Sprint Cup Series race teams. The Joe Gibbs Racing Test team used JGR developmental driver Joey Logano throughout the comprehensive test day.(Rockingham Speedway PR)(4-16-2008) Comment here
- Stanton Barrett Hires His Dad to Drive at Mexico: In an apparently unprecedented move, Stanton Barrett has hired his 65-year-old father, Stan Barrett, to drive the SBM Motorsports #31 in this weekend’s Nationwide Series event in Mexico City. Stan Barrett, a former driver and Hollywood stuntman, will attempt to make the field for Sunday’s Corono Mexico 200 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. The first man to break the speed of sound on the ground in 1979, will pilot the Stanton Barrett Motorsports #31 Chevy while his son, Stanton, will drive the team’s #30 entry.(SceneDaily.com), Stan Barrett has made 19 Cup starts with 2 top 10 finishes, his best being a 9th at Talladega in 1981, this will be Barrett's Nationwide Series debut.(4-16-2008) Comment here
- The King's Hat Makes Visit to Troops in Iraq: With 200 wins and seven championship in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition, "The King" Richard Petty is firmly woven into
the fabric of Americana as a true icon. While those numbers place him at the top of his profession, "The King" is dually noted for his generous giving of time and energy in support of others. As a member of the Dodge Motorsports family, Petty routinely takes part in Dodge's satellite conference calls over the Freedom Calls Satellite network. The video conference calls connect men and women on the front lines of Iraq with their favorite Dodge NASCAR drivers before certain races. While at the Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway in March, Petty was involved in one such call with a group of United States Army engineers from the Coalition Network Operations and Security Center (CNOSC). When the group commented on Petty's signature cowboy hat, he made sure that the group had one of their own. "Our soldiers sacrifice so much to allow us to live in a free country," said Petty. "When they asked me to send them one of my Charley One Horse hats I thought that was the least I could do. It meant the world to me that one of my hats could provide them with a little relief from what they deal with on a daily basis."
Petty is also heavily involved with the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). The PVA works to maximize the quality of life for its members and all people with spinal cord injury and dysfunction (SCI/D) as a leading advocate for health care, SCI/D research and education, veterans' benefits and rights, accessibility and the removal of architectural barriers, sports programs, and disability rights. "Race car drivers are often called heroes, but the men and women of our military are the real heroes," continued Petty. "Not only do they need our
support when overseas, but also when they return to their lives back home."(MCG Sports/Petty Enterprises)(4-16-2008) Comment here
- Special Tribute For NASCAR's 60th Anniversary Honors Champions Past and Present: The past and present of NASCAR will converge on stage during the International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 24. Standing side-by-side will be Raymond Parks, owner of the car driven by Robert "Red" Byron to the first NASCAR championship in 1949, and Jimmie Johnson, the driver who won the most recent NASCAR Cup title in 2007. Both Parks and Johnson will have their championship trophies with them during the presentation. The moment will be the highlight of a special tribute honoring the 60th anniversary of NASCAR's formation. After a short video tribute, all of the past
champions who are members of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame - both drivers and car owners - will be recognized. Those who will be present for the ceremony include NASCAR legends Ned Jarrett, David Pearson, Bobby Allison, Junior Johnson, Ray Fox, Red Farmer and Everett "Cotton" Owens, who is also being inducted into the IMHoF that night as a member of the Class of 2008. Past Inductees that will also be in attendance include Carroll Shelby, Johnny Rutherford and Mel Kenyon. Parks was an active car owner from 1938 to 1955 and one of the most successful owners during the early days of NASCAR. Parks' teams won all five beach races held at Daytona Beach, Fla., in 1945 and 1946, as well as the first NASCAR-sanctioned race in 1948. A native of Georgia, Parks teamed up with a number of stock-car racing's driving pioneers, including Lloyd Seay, Roy Hall, Bob Flock, Fonty Flock, Ed Samples, Jack Smith, and Gober Sosebee. But it was Parks' relationship with Byron that proved to be the most successful. In 1949, Byron competed in six of the eight official NASCAR races held that year, winning two and finishing in the top-five in two others. He won $5,800, earned 842½ points and went into the record books as the first NASCAR champion, beating out eventual three-time champ Lee Petty. Ironically, Byron is one of the six people being inducted into the IMHoF this year. He and Owens are joined in the Class of 2008 by land speed record breaker Art Arfons, drag racing guru Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, car fabricator Frank Kurtis and Winston promoter Ralph Seagraves. Opened in April of 1983, the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history of motorsports. Each year, the annual International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is held on the grounds of the museum to honor those men and women chosen for induction from among the greatest names in all of motorsports. The 2008 ceremony will be held April 24, at the SPEED Channel Dome, adjacent to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Individual tickets for the evening are $125 and a table of eight may be reserved for $1,000. Tickets and tables are available by calling 1-256-362-5002. For more information on tickets for the upcoming Aaron's Dream Weekend, guests should call the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office at 1-877-Go2-DEGA, (1-877-462-3342) or visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.(TSS)(4-16-2008)
- Penske hires Stremme as test driver; Hornish rumors? UPDATE: In an effort to enhance its NASCAR Sprint Cup testing program, Penske Racing announced that David Stremme has joined the team as a test driver, effective immediately. In this role, Stremme will participate in Penske Racing's comprehensive testing program in an effort to accelerate the understanding of the new Sprint Cup Series Dodge Charger that made its full-season debut in 2008. "It's a rare opportunity to have someone of David's caliber to work with Kurt, Ryan and Sam to help us improve our NASCAR Sprint Cup program," said Tim Cindric, president, Penske Performance, Inc. "David raced the new car and understands what it takes to compete at the highest levels." Stremme, 30, grew up in a racing family in South Bend, Indiana. After competing successfully in local and regional events throughout the Midwest, he moved to national NASCAR competition in 2003. Stremme has made 74 starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 2005. In 2008, Stremme has made seven starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, posting two top-five and three top-ten finishes. "It's an honor to be working with an organization with as much history and heritage as Penske Racing," said Stremme. "I look forward to a lot of productive testing so I can assist their NASCAR teams to run up front, make the Chase and hopefully win many Championships in the future." Stremme will continue his role as a driver for Rusty Wallace, Inc. where he will be running the majority of the NASCAR Nationwide Series races during the 2008 season.(Penske Racing)
AND: And there have been hints that Penske’s newest driver, Indy star #77-Sam Hornish Jr. may not be having all that much fun on the NASCAR tour. Hornish is 33rd in the standings and has yet to have a really decent run. Speculation is that if Hornish decides to return to Indy-car racing, then Penske would have Stremme standing by to fill the ride.(Winston Salem Journal)
AND MORE: Sam Hornish Jr. back to the IRL? That was the wild story floating amongst the media at Phoenix last weekend. And the announcement that Penske Racing had hired David Stremme as a test driver only added fuel to the fire. Listen up, conspiracy theorists. Here's the real deal: Hornish is doing just fine in NASCAR. As a rookie, he's been able to keep his car in the top 35, keep his nose clean and gain the respect of his fellow drivers. NASCAR is where both he and boss Roger Penske want him to be. Back in February, Hornish told me [Yahoo's Bob Margolis] that if he could get back behind the wheel of an Indy car it would only be for the Indy 500 - the race - as far as both himself and team owner Penske are concerned.(more at Yahoo Sports)(4-16-2008)
UPDATE: David Stremme told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway Tuesday that he has not discussed anything but testing with Penske Racing. Asked about rumors of Sam Hornish, Jr., returning to the Indy 500, Stremme said, "I don't know anything about that. I think Sam is doing a heck of a job (in the Sprint Cup Car), and nobody has talked to me about filling in for him; at Lowe's Motor Speedway or anywhere else."(4-16-2008) Comment here
News from April 15, 2008
- Sprint Cup Series Test Session Added for Lowe's Motor Speedway:
NASCAR announced the addition of a Sprint Cup Series test session May 5-6 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. On May 5 practice times are set from 9am – 12 noon; 1pm – 5pm; and 6pm – 9pm. On May 6 practice times are set from 9am – 12 noon and 1pm – 5pm. Teams may test a maximum of four of those five practice segments. NASCAR visited with the teams this past weekend at Phoenix about the possibility of adding a test to further prepare for the remaining 17 events the series has at intermediate tracks the rest of the season, including next month’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The extra test gives the series seven sanctioned test sessions this year, the same number the teams had in 2007. “We received input from the teams last weekend at Phoenix and a vast majority of them were receptive to adding a test next month at Lowe’s,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition. “We always strive to work with the teams and do what is in the best interest of the competitors. We have 17 events ahead of us on intermediate tracks and the additional test allows the teams the opportunity to learn more about the new car, work on their setups and adjustments, and apply that information to these future races.”(NASCAR PR)(4-15-2008) Comment here
- #41 and #42 crew chief swap: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced that Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) crew chiefs Donnie Wingo and Jimmy Elledge will change roles, with Wingo assuming duties on the #41 Target Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson and Elledge on the #42 Texaco/Havoline/Juicy Fruit Dodge driven by Juan Pablo Montoya, respectively. "I really feel that these changes can be instrumental in moving Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates to the next level," said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. "I have a lot of respect for both Donnie and Jimmy and the jobs that they do and they both agree that this move can be very beneficial to the entire organization. I have said all along that I believe us to be a championship organization and that Felix and I will do whatever we can to make us better. This is toward that end." Wingo will call his first race for the #41 team with Sorenson, and Elledge with the No.42 team and Montoya, following the NSCS off weekend in Round 9 of the season at Talladega Superspeedway on April 27.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(4-15-2008) Comment here
- BAM goes to a part time schedule: Open letter from BAM Racing owner, Beth Ann Morgenthau: "Our recent switch to Toyota is a strong testament to our focus andcommitment to become more competitive. Even though we were disappointed it became necessary to miss two races to complete the transition to Toyota. We
were excited about the potential for the balance of the 2008 season. That excitement was abruptly interrupted this past week by news that a primary sponsorship deal once planned for the majority of the 2008 season had been reduced to a fraction of a season and that fraction will likely be in the fall. The private company has been in the process of raising funds in the equity market for working capital which included a portion going to a product launch using the #49 race car. Due to the uncertainty of the stock market raising the capital is taking longer than expected. With no other primary sponsor currently in place to fill the void the harsh reality of this most recent news is that we are forced to reduce our 2008 participation to a partial season. Our marketing groups are working hard to fill the sponsorship void so we can get back on the track sooner than later. When new primary sponsorship is secured you will be one of the first to know! It is of little consolation that we are not alone in this plight. The uncertain economic times affecting our sponsor are affecting sponsorships throughout NASCAR and are having a winnowing affect on the number of teams showing up each week to compete. We're confident that with the decreasing numbers of teams, with the competitive cars we produce and with the horsepower Toyota engines provide, we will be able to step back into competition effectively and successfully on short notice--and we are making every effort to make our sabbatical as short as possible.(BAM Racing)(4-15-2008) Comment here
- New BDR VP hopes to keep CAT as sponsor and get #22 back in Top 35: Marty Gaunt's first priority as the new vice president of Bill Davis Racing is to try to get the #22 team back in the top 35 in owners points. “There’s a lot of good people and resources at Bill Davis Racing,” said Gaunt, who was with Red Bull Racing last year. “If you look down the road at [BDR affiliate] Triad and their capabilities [with Toyota], everything is there. It’s just going over there and trying to get the puzzle all back together.” While the #22 team is the top priority and obviously Gaunt wants the successful truck programs to continue to thrive, he also wants to get a second Cup car eventually back on the track. BDR had hoped to field a second car this season for Jacques Villeneuve but that project fell through when sponsorship fell through. Stabilizing the BDR program is important as it tries to convince long-time sponsor Caterpillar to remain with the team. Not only was Gaunt brought in as vice president, but BDR has shuffled its management team with Mark Chambers moving from his role as the truck series program manager to team general manager and the hiring of a director of marketing in Jim Thomas. “It’s all of our responsibilities is to make sure we keep all of our partners in-house and keep them happy, but I think with the restructure going on we have at Bill Davis Racing and with the top priority getting performance back up, we can squash all those rumors [about Caterpillar leaving],” Gaunt said.(SceneDaily)(4-15-2008) Comment here
- Mattioli makes ARCA debut: 18 year-old Chase Mattioli, the grandson of Pocono Raceway patriarchs, Dr. Joe and Dr. Rose Mattioli, finished 12th in his very first ARCA RE/MAX event, Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 at Salem Speedway. He was able to dodge a number of wrecks, with the aid of his crew chief, Dave McClure, and spotter Charlie Vest, part of Andy Hillenburg's Fast Track Racing Team. This spring Mattioli, an honor student, will graduate from Scranton Preparatory High School and plans to attend Fordham University this fall. In the meantime he plans to attempt to qualify for 9 other events this season, including 4 more ARCA RE/MAX races. ARCA RE/MAX Series veteran Justin Allgaier fought off Sprint Cup Series veteran Ken Schrader in the final laps Sunday to claim the win.(PR)(4-15-2008) Comment here
- Racing Resources Says.....
* Jimmie Johnson won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, the 24th Sprint Cup race at Phoenix.
* Johnson scored the first victory for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008.
* This was the third straight Hendrick Motorsports victory at Phoenix.
* A Chevrolet has won eight of the past nine races at Phoenix.
* Johnson has scored 10 straight top-15 finishes in his 10 races at Phoenix.
* Johnson has scored six straight top-10 finishes at Phoenix.
* Johnson scored his 34th career victory in 227 career races.
* Johnson posted his fourth top-10 finish this season, all top-5s.
* Johnson climbed from sixth to fourth in the points standings.
* Johnson led 120 of the 312 laps raced, including the final 11.
* The 120 laps that Johnson led were the most laps that he has led in his 10 races at Phoenix.
* Two drivers have scored top-10 finishes in six of the eight races this season: Jeff Burton (finished sixth) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (finished seventh).
* Burton is the only driver to score top-15 finishes in all eight races this season.
* Burton has scored six straight top-10 finishes.
* Burton has scored 15 straight top-15 finishes at Phoenix.
* Jeff Gordon (finished 13th) has scored 14 straight top-15 finishes at Phoenix.
* Clint Bowyer (finished second) has scored five straight top-10 finishes this season.
* Earnhardt has scored seven top-15 finishes in eight races this season.
* Denny Hamlin (finished third) has scored six straight top-15 finishes.
* Hendrick Motorsports tied Roush Fenway Racing for first in owner wins at Phoenix, with five victories (Johnson with, and Terry Labonte, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon with one each).
* Matt Kenseth (finished 38th) made his 300th Sprint Cup Series start.(ESPN/Racing Resources)(4-15-2008)
- Dunkin' Donuts teams up with Fenway Sports: As it expands nationally, Dunkin' Donuts is teaming up with a high-powered group of local sports marketers to bring in new customers. Dunkin’ now has 5,500 stores, but plans to triple that number over the next two decades, targeting markets like Dallas, Cleveland and Nashville that are outside its Northeast base. The Canton-based chain has hired Fenway Sports Group to help devise a national sports marketing campaign. That could mean rolling out Dunkin' ads featuring sports stars in some of its new markets across the country, said Mark Lev, executive vice president at Fenway Sports Group. The Dunkin' deal is a major coup for FSG, which has been building a broad portfolio of deals ranging from a 50% stake in a top NASCAR race team to consulting deals with a range of companies.(Boston Herald)(4-15-2008) Comment here
- Pedestrian, driver ID'd in fatal accident at PIR: The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is investigating how a suspected drunken driver fatally struck a 39-year-old Milwaukee woman Friday outside Phoenix International Raceway. According to the Sheriff's Office, Heidi McCallister was crossing Avondale Boulevard south of Southern Avenue on foot with her boyfriend about 9:36 p.m. when a northbound 2007 Chevy pickup truck struck her. McCallister was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, where she died. Deputies arrested Michael William Nagle, 48, of Phoenix, on suspicion of DUI. No other citation was issued because the woman was crossing mid-block, said Capt. Paul Chagolla, a Sheriff's Office spokesman. NASCAR races were held Thursday through Saturday at PIR in Avondale. A DUI patrol working in the city on Saturday arrested 11 people on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Avondale police said the West Valley DUI Task Force arrested eight people on suspicion of DUI. Three were arrested for extreme DUI, or having a blood-alcohol content of more than 0.15 percent.(Arizona Republic)(4-15-2008)
News from April 14, 2008
- Gil Martin named the Wypall Wipers’ Crew Chief of the Race in Phoenix: Gil Martin, crew chief of the #07 Jack Daniels Chevy driven by Clint Bowyer, was named Wypall Wipers’ “Crew Chief of the Race” for his team’s second place finish in Saturday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to victory lane, but the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team. Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/Speed television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of the Richard Childress Racing #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of the Roush Fenway Racing #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead, FL. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(Wypall PR)(4-14-2008)
- Harvick exploring options in drag racing as an owner: #29-Kevin Harvick and his wife DeLana have teamed with NHRA drag racing veteran Bob Vandergriff Jr. to explore the option of fielding a Top Fuel dragster in NHRA competition. The proposed Harvick-Vandergriff Motorsports will specialize in offering its sponsors marketing opportunities in NHRA, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Craftsman Truck, and the Nationwide Series. "I think we have a unique opportunity to provide unprecedented reach for companies looking to achieve their objectives through motorsports," Vandergriff said. "As this deal evolves, we want to offer the companies aligned with Harvick-Vandergriff Motorsports the chance to use the best of NHRA and NASCAR through the same program. We'll have the capabilities to provide something no other team can offer." Vandergriff and Harvick plan to begin assembling a race team and all of the necessary components and people within the next two months as they prepare for a 2009 debut. Announcements regarding the driver and sponsors will be forthcoming. See full story at NHRA.com.(4-14-2008) Comment here
- Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Subway Fresh Fit 500
Total number of commercials: 106
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 69
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 41
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:55 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods: 12:06 AM
Total minutes: 191
Minutes of race broadcast: 139
Minutes of commercials: 52
Number of missed restarts: 0
Number of 'mystery debris cautions': 1
Total race brdcst time 139 Total comm. brdcst time 52
See full report and more at CawsnJaws.com.(4-14-2008) Comment here
- Pressley adds page to family's GPS legacy: Asheville's [NC] Coleman Pressley became the first third-generation driver to see the checkered flag at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. "This is my biggest win, ever," Pressley said. "I have been trying so hard here. My grandfather won here, and my dad [former Busch and Cup driver Robert] won here, and this is just terrific. We got flames (on his car) this week, and maybe they made the difference. I've been trying so hard and we finally got it all together." Richard Childress's grandson, Austin Dillon was third. See full story at the Greenville Pickens Speedway site.(4-14-2008)
- Childress Vineyards named one of America's Top 25: Wine Enthusiast magazine has selected Childress Vineyards as one of America's Top 25 Tasting Rooms. In the May issue, the magazine asked its editors and contributors to suggest tasting rooms that were memorable to them for a number of reasons. Wine quality was the top criteria considered, followed by décor, staff savvy, amenities and overall uniqueness. Reporter Lynn Seldon wrote that Childress Vineyards, founded by NASCAR team owner Richard Childress in 2004, has "quickly become a stand-alone destination in the Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area." The write up encourages readers to "go for the Signature Tasting to reveal winemaker Mark Friszolowski's best work to date. The Reserve Syrah and the Signature Meritage are both sublime, as is the setting - a stone and stucco building, terra-cotta style roof and large tasting room, shop and The Bistro restaurant, all reminiscent of Tuscany." Childress Vineyards is open daily for tours, tastings and lunch at The Bistro. Tastings range in price from $10 to $15 and include a souvenir glass. Free tours are conducted at Noon, 2 and 4 p.m. each day.(RCR)(4-14-2008) Comment here