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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    MAY 12-18, 2008


      News from May 18, 2008

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the NASCAR All Star Race:
      Total number of commercials: 99
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 61
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 27
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 7:24 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 10:47 PM
      Total minutes: 203
      Minutes of race broadcast: 152
      Minutes of commercials: 51
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      Total race brdcst time 152 Total comm. brdcst time 51
      See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(5-18-2008)

    • 'Crabby' cars may be scaled back by NASCAR: Expect NASCAR to tell Sprint Cup teams that they've gone far enough - and in some cases, too far - with making crooked cars. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said Saturday that teams will get a memo, likely this week, telling them to "clean up" the way they're turning their wheels to help the cars handle better. "They need some of that, but there are some of them that have pushed it," Darby said. The rear wheels on some of the cars were turned to the point that some were having difficulty being pushed onto the scales used in inspection.(Charlotte Observer)(5-18-2008) Comment here

    • Marlin expected to run #40 car in Coke 600: Chip Ganassi didn't enter his #40 Dodge in the All-Star race activities because driver Dario Franchitti is still nursing a broken left foot. The car will be back for next week's Coca-Cola 600 here at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but Ganassi believes Sterling Marlin will be behind the wheel instead of Franchitti. He was injured earlier this month in a wreck at Talladega, and has missed three Cup starts because of it. "It's the same old thing -- drivers think they aren't that hurt when they're hurt," Ganassi said. "They think they'll be back in a week, and so we all kind of said 'OK, great, it's going to be a week or two. I think he's starting to realize that it's not going to be that quick and it looks like Sterling Marlin is going to be driving the car here next week for the 600 and we're kind of taking it one day at a time after that." Ganassi didn't rule out Franchitti participating in the test at Pocono Raceway in two weeks, or the June 1 race in Dover.(Associated Press)(5-18-2008) Comment here

    • Landscaper pulled from lake at Jarrett home UPDATED passes away: A landscaper working at #44-Dale Jarrett's Lake Hickory [NC] home was pulled unconscious from the water Friday and was in cardiac arrest when he was rushed to the hospital, authorities said. The man, whom authorities would not name, was mowing the lawn at Jarrett's waterfront house in Hickory, said Catawba County Emergency Services Director David Weldon, when the riding lawnmower went into the lake. The man was pulled from the water, Weldon said, and had gone into cardiac arrest when emergency rescuers arrived. He was not breathing when he was taken to the hospital, authorities said. The lawn worker's condition was not available Friday evening.(Charlotte Observer)(5-17-2008)
      UPDATE: A man mowing a lawn at NASCAR star Dale Jarrett’s Hickory lake house died Friday after he toppled into the water and his lawnmower fell on top of him. The man was mowing the lawn on a riding lawnmower at the home on Forty-sixth Avenue, NE, at about 2:45 p.m. Friday when he ended up in the water and underneath the mower, said Capt. Josh Randolph, with the St. Stephens Fire Department. “His coworkers pulled him out of the water and onto the lawn before we got there,” Randolph said. “I’m not sure how long he was under water.” Randolph said the young man, who worked for a lawn care company, was not breathing and had no pulse. He was taken to Frye Regional Medical Center, where a hospital official later confirmed he had died.(Hickory Record)(5-18-2008)


      News from May 17, 2008

    • Kahne wins All-Star Challenge: #9-Kasey Kahne, who won the Fan Vote, won the Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway after the team chose not to change tires on the last pit stop. Kahne becomes the first Fan Vote winner and the 3rd driver to transfer from the Sprint Showdown to win the race. #16-Biffle finished 2nd, followed by #17-Kenseth, #48-Johnson, #20-Stewart, #12-Newman, #77-Hornish Jr., #88-Earnhardt Jr., #8-Martin and #99-Edwards. Pole sitter #18-Busch, lost an engine towards the end of the 2nd segment and finished 24th. Kahne won the fan vote, 2nd was #7-Robby Gordon with #19-Elliott Sadler finishing third. See results and rundown of each segment on my 2008 All-Star Challenge Page or my All-Star Race/Showdown Results Page.(5-17-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race - Fast Facts:
      .. Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, his first victory in five tries in the annual all-star race.
      .. Kahne, who won the Fan Vote, to gain entry into the all-star race, became the third driver to win after transferring from the Sprint Showdown. He joined Michael Waltrip and Ryan Newman and is the first to win from the Fan Vote entry.
      .. Kahne’s margin of victory was 1.327 – just the fifth MOV of more than one second in the 24-year history of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
      .. Kyle Busch won segment 1 after leading all 25 laps. He was followed by Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch as 23 cars finished the segment on the lead lap.
      .. Carl Edwards took the lead on lap 39 and won segment 2, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth. Busch dropped out at the end of the segment with engine failure.
      .. Greg Biffle took the lead from Earnhardt, who led lap 51 through 64 and won segment 3. Earnhardt finished second with Kenseth third.
      .. The restart for Segment 4: 48, 9, 11, 16, 17, 12, 99, 77, 8, 20, 24, 07, 88, 2, 43, 42, 29, 84, 1, 5, 31, 26.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-17-2008)

    • Allmendinger wins Sprint Showdown: #84-A.J. Allmendinger won the Sprint Showdown at Lowe's Motor Speedway advancing to the All-Star Challenge along with #77-Sam Hornish Jr. who came in 2nd. #9-Kasey Kahne advances after being voted in by the fans, 2nd was #7-Robby Gordon with #19-Elliott Sadler finishing third. For results and info, see my 2008 All-Star Page or my All-Star Race/Showdown Results Page.(5-17-2008)

    • Drivers to Light 'Em Up During Inaugural Pennzoil Victory Challenge: An all-star lineup is set to do battle in the inaugural Pennzoil Victory Challenge Saturday evening, prior to the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. #16-Greg Biffle, #07-Clint Bowyer, #18-Kyle Busch, #29-Kevin Harvick and #48-Jimmie Johnson-will prove who is best at celebrating a victory. The competition will test the skill and style of each driver as they execute a smoky burnout; perform two spectacular donuts; and then continue the burnout as they drive into "Victory Lane." The winner will be determined by a combination of style points and elapsed time, and his designated charity will receive a $10,000 donation. The competition will take place at 6:15pm/et on the frontstretch of the 1.5-mile superspeedway and will be televised live during SPEED's pre-race coverage of the Sprint All-Star Race. Good seats, in various price ranges, are still available for Saturday' Sprint All-Star Race and tickets include the 3 Doors Down pre-race concert. Tickets start at $40 and may be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS)
      AND The event is NASCAR's take on the NBA's Slam Dunk contest and Major League Baseball's Home Run Derby. Each participant will begin from a standing start and complete a drag-racing style tire burnout. Upon completion of the burnout, each driver will execute complete 360-degree donuts before racing to a designated Victory Lane marked on either side with traffic cones and into the "Finish Box," stopping the clock. A time penalty will be accessed for hitting lane marking cones or the end cone. The winner will be determined by the fastest time after penalties (if any) are accessed. Each driver will be in similarly prepared Richard Petty Driving Experience cars wrapped with Sprint All-Star Race decals.(RCR)(5-14-2008)
      RESULTS:
      #07-Clint Bowyer was first with contest winner Chad Simpson, did 2 donuts, drove thru, didn't stop in the box, took 23.971 seconds, plus the 5 sec penalty for a total of 28.8=971 seconds, then he added two more donuts at the end
      #16-Greg Biffle was next with Tank from Austrailia in the car, did his donuts and stopped in the box, but supposedly didn't keep the tires spinning for 5 seconds and a total of 25.046 seconds
      #48-Jimmie Johnson went out third with Quaker State contest winner Neil Liker [sp?] and kind of just did what hee wanted, just do donuts, then started hitting cones and blew out the rear tires, along with the 20 second penalty, had a total time of 69.017 seconds
      #29-Kevin Harvick was next with Pennzoil contest winner, Kelly Bartik [from Fox in CHarlotte, did his two donuts, but they were long slow donuts and he got the car in the box in a time of 31.916 seconds, then put the nose of the car against the outside wall and blew out the rear tires.
      Up last was crowd fave, #18-Kyle Busch with USA Today reporter Seth Livingstone, did a slow burnout, two slow donuts, then slow burn to the box in 40.550 seconds, then got out of the car and saluted the fans.
      WINNER was Greg Biffle, winning the $10,000 which will go to the Greg Biffle Foundation.(5-17-2008) Comment here

    • Childress Inducted into N.C. Sports Hall of Fame: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) president and CEO Richard Childress and six others were honored in Raleigh last night at the 45th Induction Banquet for the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. The evening's event, which took place at the North Raleigh Hilton, was a who's who of some of the greatest sports figures in North Carolina history. Those inducted in addition to Childress, who was the 258th inductee of the now 260-member group, were former Duke University Athletic Director Tom Butters, former Duke University quarterback Leo Hart, sportswriter and promoter Bill Hensley, former UNC and NFL offensive lineman Ken Huff, former Guilford College men's golf and basketball coach Jack Jensen, legendary former Harlem Globetrotter Fred "Curly" Neal, and current University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill men's basketball head coach Roy Williams. "It was a very humbling experience and an honor for me to be nominated and inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame," said Childress. "Only in America can a kid with a dream to drive a race car be fortunate enough to be inducted into the hall of fame of his home state. I'd be remiss if I didn't give Dale Earnhardt a lot of credit for my induction. I also have to thank all of the long-time team members at RCR and the current team members who are keeping the RCR heritage strong. Racing is a team sport and I've been fortunate to have been able to surround myself over the years with people who are committed to success." Childress, an 11-time NASCAR championship-winning team owner, including six Cup Series titles with the legendary Dale Earnhardt (1986-87, '90-'91, '93-'94), is the ninth member of the motorsports fraternity to be honored by the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. The others include Lee Petty (1966), Richard Petty (1973), Ned Jarrett (1990), Buck Baker (1992), Junior Johnson (1992), Herb Thomas (1992), Dale Earnhardt (1994), and H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler (2004).(RCR)(5-17-2008) Comment here

    • Evernham still involved in GEM: Ray Evernham says he is still an essential part of Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Rumors have been circulating that the 50-year-old Evernham had sold his remaining interest in the organization that fields Cup teams for drivers #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler and #10-Patrick Carpentier. Evernham sold a majority interest in Evernham Motorsports to businessman George Gillett in August 2007 and the company was subsequently renamed Gillett Evernham Motorsports. “The way that whole program worked, I sold 80% of the company and I will continue to own 20% of the company until George and I decide we’re not going to be partners or whatever,” Evernham said May 10. Evernham says his position isn’t one that requires him to be in the office each day or at the track each weekend – earlier this year he agreed to serve as an analyst for ESPN’s NASCAR coverage, and he says his new schedule has allowed him to spend more time with his son, Ray J.(SceneDaily)(5-17-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR Angels honor fallen firefighters: In a tribute to fallen Salisbury firefighters Victor Isler and Justin Monroe, "NASCAR Angels," a reality-based TV show, restored a 1979 Corvette and presented it to Isler's son, 15-year-old Vic Isler. Isler Sr. had bought the car for his son, planning a restoration project for the two of them. Isler died fighting the March 7 fire at Salisbury Millwork. Show hosts Rusty Wallace and Shannon Wiseman surprised Vic and his mother with the car, driven by Kevin Harvick, during a taping of the show at a Salisbury fire station. The Corvette was restored by "NASCAR Angels" and Griffin Brothers Tires, Wheels, and Auto Repair, and Goodyear Gemini repair shop.(Charlotte Observer and more at the Salisbury Post and 'NASCAR Angels' leave Vic Isler Jr. a big surprise)(5-17-2008)

    • Couple to have marriage proposal featured on the #99: Phillip Pruzensky and Janice Scarfe of Orange County, Calif., will have their marriage proposal featured on the back of Carl Edwards’ #99 Office Depot Ford during the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and receive a VIP prize package worth more than $10,000. The couple were chosen as winners of the “Say Yes To A Winning Proposal” national contest sponsored by Harlequin, a leading publisher of women’s fiction worldwide, and Office Depot. In addition to having their proposal highlighted on the back of Edwards’ #99 Office Depot Ford, Pruzensky and Scarfe will also receive a diamond ring, customized stationery provided by the Office Depot Design, Print & Ship Depotä and a romantic trip for two to Red Rock Country in Sedona, Ariz.(Office Depot PR)(5-17-2008) Comment here


      News from May 16, 2008

    • NASCAR & Home Depot announce call of nominations: The Home Depot and NASCAR announced the call for nominations for the second annual NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award. The Humanitarian Award celebrates an individual within the NASCAR community who has shown extraordinary dedication to serving others and improving communities through meaningful service efforts. More info on my Racing Charities page.(5-16-2008)

    • Kyle Busch to test F-1 car: Kyle Busch will test a Formula One car with Toyota later this year in Japan. As teams get ready for Saturday’s Sprint All-Star Challenge, Busch said Formula One is something that appeals to him, but not on the near horizon. "I'm planning on retiring at 30 and going Formula One racing,” the 23-year-old Busch said at Lowe's Motor Speedway. He also revealed his plan to drive an F1 car for the first time at the end of this year when he goes to Japan to do NASCAR exhibition runs for Toyota. "We're working on a test session right now at the end of November, or the beginning of December, sometime going to Japan and doing a little exhibition, to see what it's like," he said. "We'll take a Cup car over there too and just run around there at either Twin-Ring or somewhere like that to show them what the Cup cars are like and try to get into a Formula One car too. We'll see how well I test first, we'll see if my neck can stand the g-forces of braking and everything. I wouldn't mind. If I can do it and if I'm good at it then I'll give it a shot and try it." However, Busch admitted however that the actual racing part of F1 appeals the least to him. "It seems as though the racing isn't all that great," he said. "They get stuck in line, the aero takes over everything and Toyota is not necessarily one of those companies at the moment that's like Ferrari or McLaren, or like Renault was a couple of years ago. I don't think it's only a driver that you put in the seat that's going to make it go, you know. You need a little bit more of a car."(CupScene)(5-16-2008) Comment here

    • Vickers Red Bull Racing team wins Pit Crew Challenge: The #83 Red Bull Toyota pit crew of Brian Vickers entered the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge as the 24th – and final – eligible team, but left on top after dominating the competition and the record book. The team posted the quickest time in each of the five rounds and edged the #11 FedEx Toyota crew of Denny Hamlin in a photo finish in the Finals to take the title. The #83 team changed four tires, filled the car with fuel and pushed it 40 yards to the finish line in 22.902 seconds, besting the #11 crew by 0.109 seconds. Each of the five times put up by the #83 crew was under 23 seconds, with its top time of 22.572 seconds coming in the second round. The previous record was 23.35 seconds, set last year by the champion #12 Alltel Dodge team in the quarterfinals. “I can’t say enough about this team,” said pit crew coach Greg Miller. “Words can’t describe this group, the effort they put in day-in and day-out. It’s all about them.”
      The team was one of three in the event that has not secured a position in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Each of the 21 teams in the all-star race competed in the Pit Crew Challenge, with the three final positions going to the top available teams based on owner’s points. If the #83 Toyota makes the all-star race by finishing in the top two in the Sprint Showdown, it will have its choice of pit stalls.
      The team includes several former collegiate athletes, a trend that has become commonplace in the sport. Catch can man Mike Metcalf played football at Appalachian State University, while front tire changer Brian Haaland and jackman Shaun Peet are former minor league hockey players. The other members of the championship crew are gas man Doug Newell, front tire carrier Aaron Schields, rear tire changer Danny Kincaid and rear tire changer Jake Brzozowski. Two new records were also set in the individual skills competition.
      #24 Dupont Chevrolet gas man Caleb Hurd and catch can man Jamie Frady combined to fill the car with 18 gallons of fuel in 10.031 seconds, shattering the previous record of 14.20 seconds. Eric Wilson, jackman of the #9 Budweiser Dodge finished with a time of 5.431 seconds, topping last year’s record of 5.94 seconds. Other skills competition winners were #17 DeWalt Ford rear tire changer Dave Smith and carrier Jason Binger and #18 M&M’s Toyota front tire changer Nick O’Dell and carrier Brad Donaghy. O’Dell also won last year’s individual competition while with the #9 crew.(NASCAR PR/Teamredbull.com), more info at pitcrewchallenge.com. Missed it on TV? SPEED is scheduled to re-air it on Sat. May 17th at 330am/et.(5-16-2008) Comment here

    • Biffle intends to re-sign with Roush: #16-Greg Biffle said on Thursday he remains 100% committed to re-signing with Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle's commitment to signing a new deal was questioned after he criticized his team following Saturday night's race at Darlington Raceway. He had the fastest car the first half of the race, but fell back because of a loose wheel and then was sidelined when the timing belt broke. "That had nothing to do with my contract," he said before the All-Star Pit Crew Challenge at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena. "I was mad my stuff was broke." Biffle said negotiations are continuing and he hopes to finish a deal by mid-summer. "That is my focus," he said. "My focus hasn't changed."(ESPN.com)(5-16-2008) Comment here

    • Labonte close to decision on future: #43-Bobby Labonte said he is no longer agonizing over whether he will stay at Petty Enterprises or drive for someone else next season. Labonte said he is likely within two or three weeks of having final answers concerning his driving career beyond this season. “We’re trying to get things squared away at Pettys, like I’ve always said,” Labonte said. “But obviously we have to get that done. In a couple of weeks, three weeks maybe, we’ll have a lot more answers. … Right now, I’m pretty much at ease.… It’s just a matter of things happening that’s going to take place, whether you like it or not. I’m about to the point if it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t, you do something different. I’m not worried about that as much as the talk about it from the outside trying to make sure that the guys that come to work, that they don’t read the paper and say, ‘What’s going to happen?’ Nothing is done yet – nothing that can be [said] because of the implications [on] people,” Labonte said. “We can’t implicate people that are doing things that will [mess] them up and our own position. I have nothing to report yet. Hopefully in the next few weeks, it will be a lot more well known." Petty Enterprises has been entertaining offers from investors. Labonte, the 2000 Sprint Cup champion, said it’s his understanding those talks are continuing.(SceneDaily)(5-16-2008)

    • VIR Stock Car Road Race Tests Open to Fans: Fans of stock cars and road racing are invited to attend the Stock Car Open Test Day at VIRginia International Raceway on June 3. “Last year’s test attracted over two dozen cars over two thousand fans,” stated track general manager Josh Lief. “Our guests and the teams all had a good time and we intend to continue this tradition.” Tickets to the spectator areas are available at the gate and only $10. Teams testing last year included Hendrick, Joe Gibbs, Evernham and others. Teams use the VIR North Course in preparing cars and drivers for the Sprint Cup Series races in California [Infineon Raceway] and New York [Watkins Glen]. Nationwide Series teams test at VIR as well, and these teams are invited to attend. Fans who attend the Stock Car Open Test day will be eligible for rides in the VIR Volkswagen R32 Pace Cars at the end of the day or at lunch if time permits. Food and VIR souvenirs will also be available. VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River between Danville and South Boston, Virginia. Reopened in 2000, VIR hosts a wide range professional and amateur auto and motorcycle racing and track events, and is well established as “America’s Motorsport Resort.” In addition to its historic 3.27 mile natural-terrain road racing circuit, VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club, America's first motorsports country club; the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park and Motorsports Technology Park, which includes the Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering and Research (“VIPER”); the Plantation Valley Kart Track, a 5/8 mile paved natural terrain karting circuit; an expanding variety of on-site lodging (including 45 hotel rooms and the trackside Villas which are for sale); Camp Motorsport for enthusiasts of all ages; and the Oak Tree Tavern, a full-service restaurant located within the circa-1840 Plantation Clubhouse. For information on the track and other event schedules, call 434-822-7700 or check our web site at www.virclub.com.(VIR PR)(5-16-2008) Comment here

    • Kyle Busch wins pole for All-Star Race: #18-Kyle Busch won the pole for the Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a time of 121.950 seconds, Busch went out last and took the pole from #24-Jeff Gordon, who will start 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #1-Treux Jr., #16-Biffle, #26-McMurray, #31-Burton, #12-Newman, #07-Bowyer and #43-Labonte. #44-Dale jarrett, who will retire after the race, will start 18th. Drivers penalized: #5-Mears [5 seconds for crew leaving the wall too early]; #29-Harvick [5, lug nut]; #44-Jarrett [5, lug nut]; #99-Edwards [20, too fast pit road]; #11-Hamlin, too fast pit road]; #48-Johnson, time disallowed for getting service outdie the pit box]. For qualifying results, qualifying order, starting lineup, see my All-Star Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(5-16-2008)

    • Sadler wins pole for Shootout: #19-Elliott Sadler won the pole for the Sprint Showdown at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a speed of 185.014mph. #83-Vickers will start 2nd, followed by #6-Ragan, #84-Allmediner, #7-Gordon, #22-Blaney, #78-Nemechek, #77-Hornish Jr., #66-Riggs and #28-Kvapil. #19-Carpentier spun off turn 4 during his 1st lap, but didn't hit anything. Not so lucky was #37-Kenny Wallace, who lost it in turn 2 on his 2nd lap and backed hard into the wall, the team has withdrawn from the race, so there will be 27 cars in the race. For qualifying results, qualifying order, starting lineup, see my All-Star Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(5-16-2008)

    • All-Star Race Vote Close: Unique to NASCAR, the Sprint All-Star Race lineup has three spots remaining to be filled -- and on-track competition -- the winner and runner-up of the Showdown -- will take care of two of the openings. The third will be determined by fans' voting. This is the fifth year in which a driver will be voted-in to the field. Ken Schrader won the inaugural Fans' Vote, in 2004. Other fan-vote winners include Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace. More than 285,600 votes have been cast with drivers like #7-Robby Gordon, #9-Kasey Kahne [SPEED qualifying coverage says Kahne is leading], #19-Elliott Sadler, #37-Kenny Wallace and #55-Michael Waltrip among the top vote-getters. Voting ends at 7pm/et Saturday [May 17th]. The winner will be announced on NASCAR.COM and also during SPEED's All-Star Saturday coverage, which includes the Showdown (green flag at 7:40pm/et) and All-Star Race XXIV. Fans can vote on NASCAR.COM, not sure where Patrick Carpentier stands in the voting, over the weekend in Darlington he said if he won the vote he would "I would run naked down pit road". New this year, the driver does not have to finish on the lead lap but the car must be raceable and in good condition.(5-16-2008) Comment here

    • BAM Racing & Petty Racing team up for Sprint Showdown UPDATE: Chad McCumbee will run the #49 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge in the Sprint Showdown and will have a Petty Enterprises crew and Billy Wilburn will serve as crew chief. Quotes from Chad McCumbee: “I just want to thank everyone at Petty Enterprises and BAM Racing for giving me the opportunity to race in the Sprint All-Star Showdown. Hopefully we can have a good run and race our way into the all-star race. That would be a dream come true. Being one of the few drivers from North Carolina, I know how big that race has become. Lowe’s Motor Speedway is our backyard and the race is for bragging rights as much as anything else. I like the 1.5-mile tracks, like Lowe’s, so I’m confident that we will be competitive on Saturday. Billy (Wilburn, crew chief) and I have developed a great relationship over the last three races that I’ve run for Petty Enterprises. We have a lot of confidence in each other and that’s important when you are racing for all or nothing. That’s how we have to approach it. It’s win or go home. At the same time I’m going to go out there and do what I can to help my teammates. Kyle and Bobby have bigger fish on the line with the Coca-Cola 600. If there is something that I can try, something that may help them win next Sunday, then I am all for it. They have helped me tremendously in my time at Petty.” Petty Enterprises announced this week that McCumbee will pilot the #45 Dodge for two races this summer while Kyle Petty works in the broadcast booth for TNT.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing)(5-13-2008)
      IMAGE: see an image of the car on my #49 Team Schemes page.(5-15-2008)
      UPDATE 2: BAM Racing team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau announced a one-race association with Petty Enterprises for the upcoming Sprint Showdown on Saturday, May 17, 2008. According to Mrs. Morgenthau, "Before our move to Toyota, we were a Dodge team and we have worked closely with the Petty's for years. NASCAR's rules state that a team must be in the top 50 in owner's points from the previous year in order to compete in the Sprint Showdown. As I understand it, Kyle was looking to get Chad McCumbee some valuable seat time at Lowe's and wanted to enter a third car. Since our team is hard at work trying to secure sponsorship and return our Toyota to the track a little later in the year, we were glad to help them out. While the car for the Sprint Showdown will be listed as BAM Racing's #49, it will be a Petty Dodge and will be run out of their shop with their crew. I suppose you could say that when the King asks for a favor, we listen! BAM Racing is committed to return to the Sprint Cup series and we have several potential marketing partners that we're very excited about. We should be able to make an announcement soon."(BAM Racing PR)(5-16-2008) Comment here

    • LMS Goodyear Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes throughout Charlotte Speedweeks . . . this is the first time NASCAR teams will race on these tire codes at Charlotte . . . teams in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series successfully tested on this tire set-up at Charlotte over the past several weeks . . . compared to the tire codes run at Charlotte in 2007, this left-side code (D-4128) has more grip, while this right side code (D-4130) contains incremental changes to enhance durability . . . Charlotte is the only track at which NASCAR teams are scheduled to run this specific combination of left- and right-side tires this season, though teams in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series raced on this right-side code with a different left-side at Darlington . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Charlotte . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window for Sprint Cup cars is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes, codes, pressures on my Chalrotte Race Info Page or Tire Notes page.(5-16-2008) Comment here

    • Hill to unviel 2007 All-Star race painting: NASCAR Aritist, Garry Hill, is scheduled to appear on SPEED's NASCAR Live between 3:00 - 3:30pm/et to unveil the most recent painting in the All-Star series commemorating Kevin Harvick's win in last year's race commissioned by Sprint/Nextel. This is the 21st year that Hill has created the official artwork for NASCAR's All-Star race. All the 500 limited edition prints and 50 artist proof prints will be autographed (hand signed) by Harivck and signed and numbered by Hill. For more info on Hill and his work and to see the #29 painting, see GarryHill.com.(5-16-2008)

    • Final Practice for the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #8-Martin 181.751
      #18-Busch 181.714
      #16-Biffle 180.923
      #99-Edwards 180.584
      #29-Harvick 179.485
      slowest #44-Jarrett 174.469 and #1-Truex Jr. 176.056
      See the speeds and average speeds on my All-Star Practice Page.(5-16-2008)

    • Final Practice for the Sprint Showdown at Lowe's Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #19-Sadler 183.256
      #7-Gordon 181.745
      #28-Kvapil 181.141
      #70-Sauter 180.929
      #77-Hornish Jr. 180.711
      most laps run; #9-Kahne 46; #83-Vickers 45
      slowest: #46-Long 159.269 [3 laps run] and #37-Wallace 167.240 [2 laps run]
      inciedent: #08-Raines smacked the wall and pancaked the right side
      See the speeds and average speeds on my All-Star Practice Page.(5-16-2008)


      News from May 15, 2008

    • Final Darlington TV Ratings up 14%: NASCAR on Fox tallied its third straight year-to-year increase with a 4.8/10 (7.8 million viewers) for Saturday primetime racing from Darlington. That's a +14% gain over last year's 4.2/12 for the same event, and that +14% increase is Fox's largest jump for a NASCAR race in two months, since the Atlanta race posted a +23% gain. Note that last year's Darlington race was rained out of its scheduled window and run on a Sunday afternoon. Nearing the end of Fox's portion of the Sprint Cup season [13 races], NASCAR on Fox is all but assured of finishing the year with increased ratings. NASCAR has averaged a 6.0/12 to date on FOX, a +5% improvement over last year's 5.7/13 with only two races to go. Key demographics have been a mixed bag, with Men 18-34 down for the season-to-date (-7%, 2.8 vs. 3.0), but Men 18-49 flat (4.6) and Men 25-54 up +4% (5.7 vs. 5.5).(Fox PR), for ratings by race and the Ratings chart, see my 2008 TV Ratings page.(5-15-2008) Comment here

    • Kyle Busch could set record: If #18-Kyle Busch wins the Sprint All-Star race on Saturday night, he will become the youngest winner of the event. Busch will be 23 years, 15 days old. Jeff Gordon's first victory occurred when he was 23 years, 9 months, 18 days old.(Gaston Gazette)(5-15-2008)

    • Gordon going for win record at All-Star race: Saturday night’s All-Star event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is a “Sprint” race, and Jeff Gordon believes there is only one way to approach the annual event. “Go ‘all out.’” Gordon is currently tied with the late Dale Earnhardt for most victories in the non-points event for race winners. Each of Gordon’s three victories, coincidentally, occurred in years he won the NASCAR Cup Series championship (1995, 1997 and 2001). In 1995, he won all three segments en route to his first victory in the event. He won again in 1997 and, in 2001, he drove a backup car to victory after being involved in a first-lap crash [when it rained and over half the field was wiped out].(Performace Plus PR)(5-15-2008)

    • Drivers help build playground: About 500 volunteers spent Wednesday in building a playground at the Kennedy Campus of Elon Homes for Children. It was the 31st playground -- and first in Charlotte -- built by Racing to Play, a program sponsored by Home Depot, the NASCAR Foundation, Joe Gibbs Racing and KaBOOM!, a nationwide organization that creates places where children can play near their homes. After descending on the site Wednesday morning, the army of workers sawed, painted, poured concrete, shaped walkways, molded mounds of mulch and hoisted playground equipment into place. Now, kids can climb on a racing-themed jungle gym that stretches at least 20 feet long. They can sail through space -- well, just above the ground -- hanging by their hands from a monorail. They can play tetherball. When all that wears them out, they can relax in the shade. The construction crew included NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Johnny Sauter; former racer Rusty Wallace; and Craftsman Truck Series drivers Stacy Compton, Brian Scott, Scott Lagasse Jr., Sean Murphy and Colin Braun. Stopping work to sign autographs, Stewart said the new playground offers children more than recreation. "They'll build social skills and relationships that will last a lifetime," Stewart said. Racing to Play has built playgrounds in 22 cities on the NASCAR racing circuit. In October, volunteers will install another in Mooresville.(Charlotte Observer)(5-15-2008)

    • #40 Team skipping Sprint Showdown: Dario Franchitti and the #40 CGRFS Dodge team will sit out this weekend's NSCS All-Star events at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Franchitti, who continues to recover from an ankle injury he received in the NNS event at Talladega Superspeedway last month (April 26) has yet to receive clearance from his doctor to return to racing competition. Franchitti was fitted for a carbon fiber brace earlier this month but will take another weekend off to give his ankle more time to heal. His status behind the wheel of the #40 Dodge will continue to be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-15-2008) Comment here

    • Nintendo's Wii to sponsor #40 in Coca-Cola 600: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams announced it has partnered with Nintendo and its long-time sponsor Target, to have Nintendo's newest video game, Wii Fit, as the sponsor of 1,100 miles of auto racing on Sunday, May 25. Nintendo and Wii Fit become the primary sponsors on Alex Lloyd's #16 Dallara Honda in the Indianapolis 500 and later in the day along with Target on the team's #40 Dodge in the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, N.C. By sponsoring the Wii Fit 1,100, Nintendo follows Target as one of the only sponsors that will have cars competing in both races as Target has Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon starting one-two in the Indy 500 and Reed Sorenson competing in his third Coke 600 The 500 mile Indianapolis 500 is the longest race on the IndyCar Series schedule while the 600 mile Coca-Cola 600 is the same in the Sprint Cup Series. Dario Franchitti, who would normally pilot the #40 Target/Wii Fit Dodge, is still recovering from a fractured ankle he suffered three weeks ago in a Talladega Superspeedway racing [Hationwide Series] incident. A final decision on Franchitti's status has not been made nor has a replacement been named in the event Franchitti cannot compete in the Coke 600. Last year over Memorial Day weekend, Franchitti captured the Borg Warner trophy in the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He went on to capture the 2007 IndyCar Series championship before beginning his transition to stock cars at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS). Franchitti is one of three former Indy 500 winners running in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the scheem on my #40 Team Schemes page.(5-15-2008) Comment here

    • Dilner wins media title: SPEED's Bob Dillner' and his BDI Racing team took top honors in Wednesday's Sprint Cup Celebrity Challenge presented by SPEED in Charlotte, NC. The victory caps off a week when the team also won their first PASS South race with driver Zach Stroupe at Virginia's Motor Mile Speedway. Dillner (jackman), Matt "Duke" Kentfield (gasman), Bob Bachner (rear tire changer) and Dustin Archer (front tire changer) survived three tough rounds to take the overall team title, going up against teams made up of NASCAR media, local celebrities and dignitaries. Highlights of the Celebrity and Media Pit Crew Challenge will be shown during Thursday's Sprint Pit Crew Challenge on SPEED at 9:00pm/et Thursday.(Speed51.com)(5-15-2008)

    • All-Star Race Rookie Notes: No Raybestos Rookie points will be awarded in either the Sprint All-Star or Sprint Showdown races. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000) and Ryan Newman (2002) are the only Raybestos Rookies to win the Sprint All-Star race. Tony Stewart was the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish in the Sprint All-Star race. He placed second behind race winner Terry Labonte in 1999. Jeff Burton was the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-10 finish in the Sprint All-Star race. Burton finished sixth in 1994 driving the Raybestos-sponsored Ford for Stavola Brothers Racing. Three Raybestos Rookies have won the pole for the Sprint Showdown: Brett Bodine (1987), Jeff Gordon (1993), and Joe Nemechek (1994). No Raybestos Rookie is currently eligible for the 2008 Sprint All-Star race. The first Raybestos Rookie to compete in the Sprint All-Star race was Davey Allison in 1987. Allison started third and finished 12th, completing 134 of the 135 laps. At least one Raybestos Rookie has qualified for nine of the 23 Sprint All-Star races.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestoes PR), for standings, history and more see my 2008 Rookies Page.(5-15-2008)


      News from May 14, 2008

    • Dale Jr. in gray colors at the All-Star race: This Saturday, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy will pay tribute to the Army National Guard with a special paint scheme inspired by the 3 Doors Down song "Citizen Soldier." The band's name and song title will appear on the hood. Lead singer Brad Arnold was moved to write the song after watching 50,000 everyday citizens become active members of Guard units and provide disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. On May 20, 3 Doors Down will release its new, self-titled album that features the song "Citizen Soldier." The #88 National Guard Citizen Soldier/AMP Energy Chevy will resemble the "Gray Ghost" that Buddy Baker drove to win the 1980 Daytona 500. The car earned its nickname because the colors made it difficult to see on the track, and a camouflaged Baker would sneak up and overtake the competition. After Baker's Daytona win, drivers complained to NASCAR, and Baker had to put reflector strips on his car.(HMS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(5-14-2008) Comment here

    • Kyle vs. Kurt after 125 races...Kurt leads: Even though 23-year-old #18-Kyle Busch is definitely the hottest driver on the circuit right now, but the truth is that big brother #2-Kurt Busch had won more races at the same point in his career. Saturday night's Darlington race was the 125th career Cup race for Kyle. Here's the way the Busch Brothers' statistics compare at the same point in their careers:
      Kurt Busch completed the 125th race of his Cup career on 5/15/04 at Richmond
      Kyle Busch completed the 125th race of his Cup career on 5/10/08 at Darlington
      After 125 races Kurt Busch had 9 wins, 25 top-5s, 45 top-10s, 20 DNFs and 2 poles
      After 125 races Kyle Busch had 7 wins, 37 top-5s, 59 top-10s, 16 DNFs and 3 poles
      (Tom Roberts PR)(5-14-2008) Comment here

    • Humpy picks Edwards to win All-Star race: H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler named Carl Edwards as his pick to win Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Wheeler revealed his selection today in uptown Charlotte with assistance from a pack of four-legged friends, including Princess, the back-flipping dog. "Carl Edwards is a racer's racer in the mold of Dale Earnhardt and Cale Yarborough," said Wheeler. "He will put his car in places angels fear to tread and beneath that big smile and his trademark back flip, Carl has an abnormal fire in his heart to win that I have seldom seen. Known for his promotional flair and Karnac-type ability, Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway, has correctly picked the winner of the Sprint All-Star Race 10 times in the past 19 races. While Edwards' burning determination was key in Wheeler's decision, it was the early season performance of the #99 Office Depot Ford that proved to be the determining factor [Wheeler also picked Edwards to win in 2006, he finished 4th]. In preparation for making his selection, Wheeler analyzed early season race results and studied Sprint Cup Series testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway. His final decision came down to a choice between Edwards and Kyle Busch. Each year since 1994, Wheeler has also named a dark-horse selection who he thinks could pull off a surprise victory. This time he's going with #20-Tony Stewart to fill that role. Good seats, in various price ranges, are still available for Saturday's Sprint All-Star Race and include the 3 Doors Down pre-race concert. Tickets start at $40 and may be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(5-14-2008) Comment here

    • Coca-Cola scheme for Petty at LMS: Quotes from #45-Kyle Petty: “I’ve been a part of the all-star weekend since it began and I always look forward to that date on the schedule. It seems like only yesterday that Davey Allison and I were spinning across the finish line in the first all-star race under the lights. I really believe that it was that night that began the aura of this race. Strange things happen under the lights at Lowe’s. We’re obviously going into the All-Star Showdown with the intention of qualifying our way into the Sprint All-Star race. But we are also looking at the big picture, which is the Coca-Cola 600. There are some pieces of this new car that we still need a better grasp of and the all-star weekend gives us a chance to do that. So while we are going for the money, we’re also using it as another test session. The next two weekends are special for me because I get to run an awesome Coke paint scheme. Coke has been a partner of mine for a long time and they’ve used the all-star race and the Coke 600 to promote special events or products. This year the car will promote the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Summer is always different when it’s an Olympic summer. I’m just waiting on stock car racing to become an Olympic sport. I think we would have a pretty good chance at gold in that event.”(MCG SportsPetty Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #45 Team Schemes page.(5-14-2008) Comment here

    • Harvick goes Platinum for All-Star race: #29-Kevin Harvick is going platinum for the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The defending All-Star champion winner will transform his bright yellow and red Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet into a shining platinum colored paint scheme in recognition of his sponsorship from Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil. Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil has adaptive molecules to manage the constant mechanical stresses inside an engine. For more information visit: www.pennzoilplatinum.com. Harvick also will switch his existing racing seat to a Hendrick Motorsports Carbon Fiber seat this weekend during the Sprint All-Star Race. The Bakersfield, Calif., native spent two days at the HMS complex to get fitted for his new seat that will make him safer and more comfortable in the cockpit of the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy. The HMS seat will cost approximately $10,400 for the main section and $1,200 for the headrest. The Carbon Fiber seat is designed to withstand 90G which is 10G more than NASCAR requires for certification.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes page.(5-14-2008) Comment here

    • Jarrett's enshrined In LMS's Court of Legends: NASCAR champions Ned and Dale Jarrett were inducted into Lowe's Motor Speedway's Court of Legends Tuesday afternoon as part of the week-long festivities leading up to Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. The Jarretts are the first father and son to be enshrined in the speedway's Court of Legends and the induction ceremony included having their signatures, footprints and handprints immortalized in concrete near the track's main entrance. They are the 21st and 22nd members of the Court of Legends, joining fellow NASCAR legends such as Richard Petty, David Pearson, Benny Parsons, Bobby Allison, Junior Johnson, Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte. Dale Jarrett's induction came just four days before he climbs into the #44 UPS Toyota Camry for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, his final career start in stock car racing's premier division. More info and a list of those enshrined, see lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS)(5-14-2008) Comment here

    • Addington named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Darlington: Steve Addington, crew chief of the #18 M&M’s/ Indiana Jones Toyota driven by Kyle Busch, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following last Saturday’s Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway. After starting sixth, Busch and the entire #18 team faced several setbacks throughout Saturday night’s 500-mile race including a loose lug nut in the pits that sent Busch back to 29th only 60 laps in. The newly resurfaced 1.366-mile oval also added new challenges to the already treacherous track, deemed “Too Tough To Tame.” In an effort to improve track position and overall performance, the Addington-led crew continuously made air pressure, track bar and wedge adjustments to stay on top of the ever-changing track conditions. His clear and accurate direction led Busch and the #18 team to victory at the historic “Lady in Black.”
      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 makes the biggest difference for 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 Richard Childress Racing’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of 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, Fla. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(PR)(5-14-2008) Comment here


      News from May 13, 2008

    • Sad News - DJ Smith: Condolences go out to former Ultra Motorsports Championship team owner Jim Smith on the recent passing of his father, Delwin James Smith [DJ] Smith. The funeral will be held on Monday, May 19 at 11:00 at Forest Lawn located at 4471 Lincoln Avenue in Cypress, California. Thoughts and prayers go out to Smith and his family.(5-13-2008)

    • Sprint Showdown Entries: Twenty-Nine drivers are entered for the Sprint Showdown race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The winner and 2nd place driver will advance to the Sprint All-Star Race, along with one driver who gets voted in by the fans [must finish on the lead lap], a few drivers on the list: David Reutimann moves back to the #00 as Dale Jarrett will run his final race in the #44 car; Bill Elliott is in the #21; Jeff Green in the #34; Kenny Wallace in the #37 Chevy; Dario Franchitti is listed in the #40, but doubtful he will race and Sterling Marlin may be back in the car; Kyle Petty is listed in the #45 sponsored by Coca-Cola; Chad McCumbee is in the #49 BAM Racing Toyota with Marathon Oil as the sponsor; #50-Stanton Barrett is entered; and Johnny Sauter is listed in the #70. See my 2008 All- Star Page for the entry list.(5-13-2008)

    • Pit Crew Lineup Set for the Pit Crew Challenge: The final three teams have been added to the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman, featuring competition among the top 24 pit crews in the Sprint Cup Series. The three additional teams are #6-David Ragan’s Roush Fenway Racing crew, the Red Bull Racing squad of driver #83-Brian Vickers and the #9-Kasey Kahne’s Gillett Evernham crew. The NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge takes place May 15 at 7 p.m. at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena and will be aired at 9:00pm/et that evening on SPEED. The competition is a signature lead-in event to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday, May 17 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. To compete in the pit-crew event, teams must be eligible for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race or be the 2007 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Champion. Sprint All-Star Race eligibility includes all NASCAR Sprint Cup race winners from 2007 and 2008, NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winners from the past 10 years and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions from the past 10 years who are active drivers and have competed in at least one series event during the 2007 or 2008 season. The three additional teams were added because they were ranked highest in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series owner point standings as of May 13.(SPEEDtv), more info and the eligible teams posted on my Pit Crew News page and see my Pit Crew Charts for names of members [as updated as possible].(5-13-2008)

    • Schrader to run 4th RCR car in Coca-Cola 600: Ken Schrader will attempt to qualify Richard Childress Racing's #33 Camping World Chevy for the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Schrader, 57, of Fenton, Mo, made his Cup Series debut in 1984 and ran his first full Cup Series season in 1985. After 20 full seasons in NASCAR's premier division, the veteran racer has tallied one win, six top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 44 starts at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Camping World's blue and gold paint scheme will adorn the #33 Chevrolet Impala SS.(RCR PR), see the #33 Team Schemes page for an image of the car.(5-13-2008) Comment here

    • Bank of America's First-Ever NASCAR-Themed TV Ad: Bank of America, the Official Bank of NASCAR, will rev up the excitement surrounding the 2008 racing season with the debut of the company's first-ever NASCAR-themed television commercial, which celebrates the passion fans have for their favorite drivers and promotes the bank's popular My Expression NASCAR Banking program. Created by BBDO New York, the 30 second spot is titled "Who's Your Driver?" and features footage of a number of top Sprint Cup Series drivers whose likenesses are available on NASCAR Banking check cards and credit cards. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Juan Pablo Montoya and Martin Truex Jr., are featured in the new ad and are among the most popular selling drivers featured in the bank's NASCAR Banking products. In addition to actual racing footage, the ad features fans demonstrating their passion for their favorite drivers at the racetrack and in their homes. One particular sequence captures a family of NASCAR fans with differing driver loyalties with a living room equally divided with one side supporting Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the other Jeff Gordon. The new TV ad will begin airing this week in Charlotte, with plans to run in Atlanta and Dallas in conjunction with upcoming Sprint Cup Series races. The ad will be complemented by print, radio, online and point-of-sale advertising, and is scheduled to air nationally on the Speed Channel and ESPN/ABC starting in July, running throughout the end of the racing season.(Bank of America and click here to view the ad)(5-13-2008)

    • Terry Labonte to Drive for Petty UPDATE: Terry Labonte will be a teammate to his brother Bobby at Petty Enterprises starting next month, pending sponsor approval. Terry (and Chad McCumbee) will drive the #45 when Kyle Petty gets out for the summer. Petty is scheduled to compete in the Coca-Cola 600 and then miss the next seven races (one for his daughter's wedding and the other six to work as an analyst for TNT). McCumbee likely will drive at Dover and Chicago. Terry Labonte likely will drive in the other five races. Labonte's addition is key for Petty Enterprises because the #45 car is not in the top 35 in car owner points. Labonte's second of his two titles came in 1996 -- that makes him the most recent champion not in the top 35 since Bill Elliott's title came in 1988. Thus, Labonte would be guaranteed a starting spot each time he starts, while the Wood Brothers would lose that even with Elliott in the seat. This would be the second time the Labonte brothers have run as teammates. Terry Labonte drove in five races for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2005 when Bobby Labonte was there. Terry Labonte ranks fourth in series history with 851 career starts. He won 22 races.(Roanoke Times)(5-11-2008)
      UPDATE: Petty Enterprises announces its driver lineup for the #45 Marathon/Wells Fargo/PVA Dodge for the races beginning with the June 1 event at Dover through the July 12 event at Chicagoland. Kyle Petty is scheduled to step away from the car at Dover to attend his daughter's wedding. Petty will also return to the broadcasting booth to cover the Sprint Cup events that will air on TNT Sports, which begin with the June 8 event at Pocono. Petty made his TNT Sports broadcasting debut in 2007 to rave reviews and accolades. Petty will return when the series makes its annual mid-summer trek to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chad McCumbee will bookend Petty's hiatus by getting behind the wheel of the #45 Dodge at Dover and Chicagoland. He previously filled in for Petty at Pocono and the Michigan International Speedway in 2007 and at the Texas Motor Speedway last month. McCumbee's best finish for Petty Enterprises came at Pocono when he came home 25th. "As a father there aren't many days more special than the day you get to give your daughter away in marriage," said Petty. "I appreciate Chad jumping in the car at Dover to allow me to do that. He is strong on the intermediate tracks and I'm confident that he will do a great job at Dover as well as Chicagoland. It's just another part of our evaluation process of him." For the remaining five races, Petty will turn the reins of the #45 Dodge over to a familiar friend and competitor. Two-time Sprint Cup Series champion, Terry Labonte, will become a teammate to his younger brother, 2000 series champion Bobby, for only the second time in their Sprint Cup careers [the 1st time was in 2005 when Terry ran the #11 FedEx car for JGR for 4 races]. The Labontes are the only brothers to both win the series championship and have combined to win 43 Sprint Cup races.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing)(5-13-2008) Comment here

    • Busch flips the bird? been asked about something posted in an AP article: Kyle Busch is NASCAR's most hated driver. And he loves it. Viciously booed during pre-race introductions, Busch soaked up the venom by encouraging Saturday night's crowd at Darlington Raceway to keep it coming. And when he heard a member of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew jeer him as he passed by on the parade lap, Busch smugly flipped him the bird.(Associated Press/ESPN.com), folks have been asking if NASCAR will fine Busch. I watched the beginning of the race and pre-race ceramonies and didn't see this make it on TV and have not heard if anyone from NASCAR saw the 'act', so I doubt there will be any penalties regarding this.(5-13-2008) Comment here

    • No new contract talks for Biffle UPDATE: #16-Greg Biffle said he's not had any new contract talks with Roush Fenway Racing, citing a busy schedule that had him testing for two days this week at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(Ronaoke Times)(5-10-2008)
      AND #16-Greg Biffle certainly didn't sound like a guy committed to Roush Fenway Racing when he blasted the faulty equipment that led to his last-place finish at Darlington Raceway. "All I want is equipment to drive that stays together," said Biffle, who started from the pole and led 95 laps Saturday night before loose wheels, a bad vibration and a broken timing belt ended his race early. It is really frustrating, but you know what, I've just come accustomed to expecting it because week after week it's something. Something breaks. Something falls off. I give it 110% as a driver all the time, and you just want your equipment to last and be able to win these races." Still, it was clear "The Biff" was sending a message with his biting remarks. Just what might that message be? Well, signing a contract extension with Roush might not be the slam dunk both sides have led everyone to believe. In fact, Biffle might finally be ready to test the free-agent market. Before Darlington, he seemed determined to stay at Roush. "My 100% intent is to work out an extension with Roush," Biffle said a week ago in Richmond. "I've sat back and thought about what else is out there. There are a lot of great teams and great opportunities out there ... but do you look at it as are they better than what I have now or how are they different than what I have now? I'm making my decision kind of how (Dale) Earnhardt Jr. did, and it's about winning races and championships and contending for the title and having good equipment. There are lots of teams that have that, but I feel comfortable where I'm at with Roush Fenway. I've been there 10 years and we've got great equipment." Then that same equipment failed him Saturday night in Richmond, and Biffle sure didn't sound as convincing. Compounding the situation is that Roush officials have openly questioned why, if Biffle is so certain he wants a contract extension, he's been absent of late from the bargaining table. Biffle's cited a busy schedule for the slow contract talks, but it's time to wonder if he maybe isn't taking a harder look at what's available across the garage. And of all the drivers still on the market, Biffle is the top choice. He's considered more talented than Ryan Newman, who is available, and Martin Truex Jr., who might be available, and both drivers are continuously mentioned for other rides.(see full story at Associated Press/ESPN.com)(5-13-2008) Comment here


      News from May 12, 2008

    • Harvick's DNF Record Remains in Tact: #29-Kevin Harvick was forced to bring his Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet to the garage mid-way through the Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway after hard contact with the outside retaining. Despite the heavy damage, the #29 crew was able to get Harvick back on the racetrack and grabbed two positions in the running order and gained six valuable championship points. Additionally, the hard work by the Shell-Pennzoil crew allowed Harvick to extend his streak of races without a Did Not Finish (DNF) to 55 consecutive races, the longest active streak in the Sprint Cup Series. Harvick holds the modern era record with 58 consecutive races without a DNF (10/3/02-8/1/04).(RCR)(5-13-2008)

    • Darlington overnight TV Ratings up 8%: A weekend of increases for FOX was highlighted by a 4.3/8 on Saturday night for Sprint Cup racing from Darlington. Saturday night's 4.3/8 is an +8% gain over last year's 4.0/8 for the Darlington race, which ran on Sunday afternoon due to rain. FOX's 4.3/8 for the night was good enough to narrowly win the Primetime battle. CBS was second with a 4.2/8. FOX's slight margin in the overnights will likely grow when national ratings are released tomorrow morning. After a brief mid-season swoon, NASCAR oOn Fox now appears to be back on track, as Fox's last three races have each posted year-to-year increases in the metered markets. For the season-to-date, NASCAR on Fox is averaging a 5.4/11 in the overnights, a tenth better than last year's 5.3/11 (+2%). FOX's next race - the Coca-Cola 600 during Memorial Day weekend - will be the last race of this season to count toward the year-to-year comparison because last year's Dover race was rained out, run on a Monday, and excluded from the total.(Fox), for ratings by race and the Ratings chart, see my 2008 TV Ratings page.(5-12-2008) Comment here

    • Tire testing at Daytona: Goodyear tire has a scheulded tire testing session for the 50th annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Saturday, July 5 ay Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday, May 13th and Wednesday, May 14, 2008. Drivers expected to participate in the test are #26-Jamie McMurray (Ford), #84-Mike Skinner (Toyota) and #19-Elliott Sadler (Dodge). No Chevy team is scheduled to test.(DIS)(5-12-2008)

    • Franchitti's status still unclear: #40-Dario Franchitti continues to heal from the broken left ankle he sustained during a Nationwide Series race at Talladega last month, with no firm timetable for his return. “There’s not really been any change,” Franchitti said Saturday. “I’m just waiting for the swelling to go down and the pain to go away, and for the fracture to heal. When those things go away, I’ll be able to drive the car again.” Sterling Marlin drove Chip Ganassi Racing’s #40 Dodge at Darlington, and could do so again at Charlotte if Franchitti is not ready. Franchitti has been monitoring the amount of pressure he puts on his ankle. After a couple hours of walking around, Franchitti elevates his leg and uses a boot that circulates cold water through it to alleviate the swelling. He had considered testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but the doctor nixed that idea. Franchitti obliged, remembering how he rushed back from injuries earlier in his career to mixed results. He recently traveled to Indianapolis – not to ponder racing in the Indy 500, where he is the reigning champion, but to get fitted for a carbon fiber brace that supports his ankle. He’ll use the brace when he returns to the car.(SceneDaily)(5-12-2008) Comment here

    • Nemechek's Mom OK: Martha Nemechek, Joe's mother [#78-Joe Nemechek], was not able to take part in Mother's Day ceremonies at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night as she had knee surgery Saturday morning. She is doing fine and thanks everyone for the well wishes.(Furniture Row Racing)(5-12-2008)



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