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PAGES 2008

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    MAY 19-25, 2008

      News from May 25, 2008

    • Kahne wins Coca-Cola 600: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway for his 1st win of 2008 and his 8th career win, leading 66 laps and becoming the 6th driver to win both the All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same year. #16-Biffle finsihed 2nd followed by #16-Biffle, #18-Busch, #24-Gordon, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #31-Burton, #17-Kenseth, #19-Sadler, #99-Edwards and #44-Reutimann. #48-Johnson lost an engine late and finished 39th. There were 11 cautions for 50 laps and 16 drivers led a lap with 39 lead changes.
      Race Results on my Charlotte Race Results/Awards Page.(5-25-2008)

    • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Charlotte race 12 of 36]:
      1) #18-Kyle Busch 1860 [3 wins]
      2) #31-Jeff Burton 1766 -94 [1 win]
      3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1721 -139
      4) #11-Denny Hamlin 1596 -264 [1 win]
      5) #07-Clint Bowyer 1578 -282 [1 win]
      6) #99-Carl Edwards 1538 -322 [would be 4th without 100 pt penalty][3 wins]
      7) #29-Kevin Harvick 1517 -343
      8) #20-Tony Stewart 1511 -349
      9) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1493 -367 [1 win]
      10) #24-Jeff Gordon 1486 -374
      11) #16-Greg Biffle 1483 -377
      12) #9-Kasey Kahne 1454 -406 [1 win]
      other chase contenders
      13) #6-David Ragan 1398 -462 [56 pts out of the chase]
      14) #12-Ryan Newman 1366 -491 [1 win]
      For the drivers points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(5-25-2008)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Dover:
      just some changes in order and Hornish in now only out of the top 35 by 3 pts
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      31) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing, 969, 39
      32) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing, 945, +14
      33) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis, 941, +11
      34) #01-Smith/Dale Earnhardt Inc, 941, +11
      35) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing, 933, 3 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
      36) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing, 930, -3 points out of 35th
      37) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing, 779, -154
      38) #40-Mayfield/Ganassi Racing 760, -173
      39) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing, 757, -176
      40) #70-Leffler/Haas CNC Racing, 737, -196
      For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(5-25-2008)

    • Winners of both the All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600:
      2008-Kasey Kahne - 12th in points after 12 races
      2003-Jimmie Johnson - 2nd in the Cup Championship
      1997-Jeff Gordon - won the Cup Championship
      1993-Dale Earnhardt - won the Cup Championship
      1991-Davey Allison - came in 3rd in Drivers points
      1985-Darrell Waltrip - won the Cup Championship (5-25-2008)

    • Lowe’s Motor Speedway Fast Facts:
      .. Kasey Kahne won the Coca-Cola 600, his eighth win in 156 career Sprint Cup Series starts.
      .. Kahne became the sixth driver to win both the Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same season. The last to do so was Jimmie Johnson in 2003.
      .. This is Kahne’s first points win since October 14, 2006 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He ends a 52-race winless drought.
      .. This is Kahne’s first top-five and sixth top-10 of the season.
      .. This is Kahne’s third career points win and fourth top-10 finish at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
      .. Greg Biffle (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish of the season.
      .. Kyle Busch (third) posted his ninth top-10 finish of 2008.
      (NASCAR Statistics)(5-25-2008)

    • Stewart/Logano/Gibbs...the latest: As Joey Logano's first sponsor for his first Nationwide Series race next weekend at Dover was being announced on Saturday one question begged to be asked. Is the 18-year-old sensation being groomed to replace Tony Stewart in the Sprint Cup series? As much as Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs loves Logano his preference is to groom him to be the driver of a fourth Cup team instead of having him replace one of Gibbs' current drivers. Gibbs said negotiations to extend Stewart's contract beyond 2009 are ongoing. "We're still just trying to feel out exactly where he is and exactly how he feels," Gibbs said. "We want him to be here. I want him to be here for a long period of time. At the end of the day all we can control is through next year." Gibbs has said he will hold Stewart to the last season of his contract. Stewart has said he has not asked out of next season despite reports he has. The only thing Stewart has confirmed is many teams are pursuing him and ownership has been part of the enticement for one team, Haas CNC Racing. Sponsorship also will be part of the equation. Home Depot, Stewart's sponsor since he came into NASCAR's premiere series, reported a 66% decline in first-quarter earnings. There have been rumblings about the company's long-term future in the sport. "They really are in a lot of ways the decision maker," Gibbs said. "We want to make sure whatever we do is something that encourages them. We wouldn't do anything unless they were on board and excited about it." As for Logano, Gibbs said he will compete in 18 to 19 Nationwide events and possibly a few ARCA races the remainder of this year. "The Cup thing, we're in no hurry," he said. "We're just going to watch and wait. When the time is right, we'll all be ready to go."( Comment here

    • Jenkins honored: Broadcaster and race historian Bob Jenkins received the Bob Russo Founders Award from the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association on Saturday. Jenkins, one of the first announcers hired by ESPN when the cable network debuted in 1979, later served as host and play-by-play announcer for the Indy Racing League and the Indy 500.(AP/Sports Illustrated)(5-25-2008)

    • Logano turn 18: Joey Logano is legal. Now let the hype begin for NASCAR's most talked-about young driver. Joe Gibbs Racing unveiled a giant birthday cake and owner Joe Gibbs sang to Logano, who turned 18 on Saturday. That makes him eligible to compete in the Nationwide Series, and Logano will make his debut next weekend at Dover in a car sponsored by video game retailer GameStop. "It's a very big day for us," Gibbs said. "I kept telling Joey, 'Cheat. Pay something, move it up, find another birthday.' We couldn't wait to get him on the race track." Logano started racing in quarter-midgets at age 6 and later became the youngest champion in Legends Car history. A month after Gibbs signed the then-15-year-old to the team's development program, Logano won a Hooters Pro Cup race. He continued his success through lower forms of racing, and won an ARCA race earlier this month. "I feel like I'm ready to go out there and win races," Logano said. "I've been waiting on this birthday forever."(AP/ Comment here

    • Leffler to test #70 at Pocono, could run Dover: Jason Leffler said Saturday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway that the “tentative plan” is for him to drive Haas CNC Racing’s #70 Sprint Cup Chevy at Dover next weekend. Leffler drives Braun Racing’s #38 Toyota in the Nationwide Series but has gotten permission to drive in Cup. Leffler said he tested for Haas CNC at Nashville Superspeedway recently, the first time he’s driven NASCAR’s new model car. Leffler will also test the #70 at Pocono Raceway next week [May 27-28], he said. Leffler’s deal is for one race, but he could do more.(SceneDaily)(5-25-2008) Comment here

    • PME repeats as top engine builders: "Mahle Engine Builder Showdown" that took place Tuesday, May 20th at the NASCAR Technical Institiute. Every year, a selection a NASCAR's top engine builders are invited to participate to see who can build, fire up ans run their 357-cubic inch Ford racing engine the fastest. For the second year in a row PME Engines took home the trophy. Last year PME engine builders Dennis Borem & Darrell Hoffman beat out a team of Hendricks engine builders with a time of 16:25. This year PME beat out the Roush/Yates team of Jim Snyder & Mike Kasch and broke their own record with a time of 15:59! PME is owned by Mark Smith and currenty builds engines for 8 truck teams in the Craftsman truck series, including KHI, MRD, TRG, Xpress Motorsports, and Thorsport. About 1500 students and guests were in attendance. At this weekends race in Mansfield the #71 TRG Motorsports team surprised PME with Congradulations decals on their truck and team wearing PME t-shirts. THEN won the race at Mansfield. NASCAR Tech [NTI] also has an open house scheduled for June 21st, more info at Comment here

    • Wood Brothers' Salute the Troops Goes On; The #96 Car: Wood Brothers' "Salute the Troops" message will pay tribute this Memorial Day weekend, thanks to the generosity of Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel, co-owners of Hall Of Fame Racing and the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry, driven by J.J. Yeley. On Thursday, the Wood Brothers #21 Air Force Ford Fusion failed to qualify for the Coca Cola 600. Immediately following qualifying, Tom Garfinkel offered to display the Salute the Troops decal, as well as the Air Force logo on their race car. Eddie Wood noted, "It's tough not being in the top 35. We felt Jeff and Tom truly appreciate our Armed Forces and the difficulty of this sport. We feel their offer to help came from the heart." The Salute the Troops decals were to be placed on the # 21 car this Memorial Day weekend to honor members of the Air Force, as well as the rest of the Armed Forces for their service to our country.(Wood Brothers Racing PR)(5-25-2008) Comment here

    • Decorated NC Soldier to be Guest of #8 U.S. Army NASCAR Team: Staff Sgt. Michael Gainey, a decorated war hero from Albemarle, N.C., will be a guest of the #8 U.S. Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc. team for Sunday's running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Gainey, who currently serves in the Army Reserve, was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with Valor for his actions Oct. 22, 2007 in Iraq. Gainey was a gunner in a Humvee when his unit was under attack from sniper fire near Baghdad. Though he was injured with a burned neck from shrapnel, Gainey continued to fight by repelling the enemy and getting his fellow soldiers to safety. He was awarded the Purple Heart for being wounded in combat and the Bronze Star with Valor for his courageous actions under fire. Gainey is now a policeman in Mint Hill, NC. Attending the race with Gainey will be his wife Anne Marie.(US Army Racing PR)(5-25-2008) Comment here

      News from May 24, 2008

    • #00 gets primary sponsor for Dover IMAGES added: Microsoft is continuing on its commitment to connect its Small Business Specialist Community with the more than 21 million small and home-based businesses in the U.S. by announcing an additional NASCAR sponsorship opportunity with Michael Waltrip Racing. In conjunction with California-based advertising agency RainMakers International, this sponsorship will provide an affordable marketing platform for Microsoft's Small Business Specialist Partners, service providers and Small Business+ customers on both a local and national level by helping to dramatically increase their exposure. Microsoft announced in April an associate sponsorship on Michael Waltrip Racing's #00 Toyota Camry entry, driven by rookie Michael McDowell. To kick off this exciting new opportunity, the Michael Waltrip Racing #00 car will feature a full car Microsoft Small Business and SBSC primary sponsorship design for the June 1st race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, DE. In addition, the Microsoft Across America Mobile Event Experience Truck will be in the newly designed "Fan Zone" at Dover International Speedway throughout the race weekend where fans can come to view and learn more about Small Business offerings from Microsoft and this sponsorship. All three of Michael Waltrip Racing's (MWR) cars (#00, #44, #55) are in the top 35 in owner's points, which means they are guaranteed to be on the track for the upcoming races of the 2008 NASCAR season. In the event the #00 car is not in a race for whatever reason, MWR will put the SBSC Blue Badge onto one of its other two cars for that race, so it continues to have on track presence throughout the entire 2008 NASCAR season. This opportunity follows on Microsoft's earlier NASCAR sponsorship with BAM Racing.(MWR PR), See images of the scheme on my #00 Team Schemes page.(5-24-2008) Comment here

    • Ganassi working to calm Montoya: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya posted the second slowest qualifying lap out of 48 entries and dejectedly climbed from his car. "What did you expect?" he asked. "Seriously, what did you expect?" Montoya is still reeling from the midweek firing of Jimmy Elledge, a personnel decision that's given the former Formula One driver his third crew chief in a month. Frustrated that his opposition to the dismissal went unheeded, Montoya is now worried that his team is ill-prepared for Sunday's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Because new crew chief Brian Pattie had just two days to dissect Elledge's setup on the No. 42 Dodge, changes were made on the fly during a difficult Thursday practice session that saw Montoya post the 45th slowest speed. It didn't improve during qualifying, when Montoya was 47th out of 48 cars and will start next-to-last in the Coca-Cola 600. Team owner Chip Ganassi sympathizes with Montoya's frustration, but said Elledge's dismissal was warranted after the crew chief engaged in a heated argument with competition director Steve Hmiel during last week's All-Star race. "We had an employee step over the line, and I'm sorry it happened because I like Jimmy personally, but it had to be done," Ganassi said. "I know Juan is upset and he comes out on the short end of this deal. I apologize for that, but unfortunately it was unavoidable collateral damage." Elledge declined to comment on his dismissal, but Montoya has been vocal in his opposition of the decision. Elledge had only been atop his pit box for four races, dating back to an earlier crew chief swap that sent Donnie Wingo over to Reed Sorenson's slumping team.(AP/ Comment here

    • Stewart’s monkey, Mojo, finds new home: Mojo, a 3-year-old patas monkey previously owned by #20-Tony Stewart and Krista Dwyer, recently made the Louisville Zoo his home. When Stewart and Dwyer noticed Mojo maturing and becoming aggressive, they sought help. They contacted the head of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) patas monkey Species Survival Plan who recommended the Louisville Zoo as a great fit for Mojo. “The transfer of Mojo from an environment where he’s been a pet to Louisville Zoo’s Gorilla Forest is a win-win situation,” Louisville Zoo Gorilla Forest supervisor Roby Elsner said. “Mojo gets to experience a social life typical for his species, and AZA’s North American captive population of patas monkeys, which needs to grow, is increased by one.” Mojo and Dwyer arrived in Louisville via a private jet Aug. 24, 2007. Since that time Mojo has gotten acquainted with his new home and has also been introduced to the Zoo’s three female patas monkeys. He will be on exhibit for the first time tomorrow, Friday, May 23. “Tony and I know bringing Mojo to the Louisville Zoo was the best thing for him,” Dwyer said. “We want Mojo to be happy and live a good life.” Stewart agrees. “The Louisville Zoo and staff are first-rate,” Stewart said. “They are very passionate about the animals they care for and truly believe in their mission. I know Mojo is in terrific hands.” Dwyer said saying goodbye to Mojo was the hardest thing she has ever had to do. “We will miss him, but we know this is the best thing for him. We have to let Mojo grow up and be the best patas monkey he can be,” she said, “and that means being with other patas monkeys. I love Mojo but want people to know that primates and wild animals don’t make good pets.” Dwyer and Stewart plan to visit Mojo often. For more, see the site.(5-24-2008)

    • WoO Champ considering NASCAR: Donny Schatz doesn't have to prove to anyone how good he is behind the wheel. He's won back-to-back World of Outlaws titles, making him the king of dirt tracks. Yet when Schatz agreed to drive for Tony Stewart this year, he had to prove to his new boss that he has what it takes to three-peat -- and, maybe, compete in either the Nationwide or Sprint Cup series. Schatz said yesterday that he'll consider all options if Stewart decides to leave Joe Gibbs Racing to form a NASCAR team. Stewart acknowledged last month that he has considered opting out of the final year of his contract with JGR to explore ownership options. "I don't know exactly what Tony is thinking of doing," Schatz said. "If something else comes along, I'll evaluate it and maybe want to make a move. The main focus for us right now is to be on the dirt [tracks]. I feel like I can race with those [NASCAR] guys, and sure it's in the back of my mind. It's not something I'm dead-set on doing, and I'm not going to trade the ranch for it, but it's definitely something I would try given the right opportunity."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-24-2008)

    • Athletes Join NASCAR Drivers to Launch New Collectible Olympic-Themed Cans: Before the green flag drops to start this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, one pit crew performance will stand head and shoulders above the rest - literally. Seven-foot, six-inch international basketball star Yao Ming and two-time U.S. Olympic taekwondo gold medalist Steven Lopez will be introduced to the world of NASCAR as honorary pit crew members for Kyle Petty's #45 Coca-Cola team - including the opportunity to join the crew in conducting simulated pit stops. In return, the two Olympians will give members of the Coca-Cola Racing Family a glimpse into their world - with Yao challenging some of NASCAR's top stars at basketball and Lopez teaching Taekwondo moves to a few drivers. Yao and Lopez will be on hand to mark the launch of Coca-Cola's new summer program celebrating the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, which invites fans to "Connect With the World Over a Coke." The program features a series of limited edition, Olympic-themed collectible cans bearing the iconic Coca-Cola logo in different languages. The five different cans highlight the languages of Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, the U.S. and China, giving Americans a "taste" of how Coca-Cola is recognized around the world. With new designs appearing every few weeks, the cans mark the first appearance of the Coca-Cola script in different languages in the U.S.(Fast Horse PR)(5-24-2008)

    • Happy Hour practice for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway is over, the top 5 fastest:
      #83-Vickers 180.735
      #20-Stewart 179.904
      #22-Blaney 179.832
      #2-Busch 179.772
      #16-Biffle 179.766
      slowest: #45-Petty 174.104 and #70-Sauter 174.374
      most laps run: #2-Busch 49; #20-Stewart 46
      See speeds, laps run and ave speed on my Coca Cola 600 Practice Page.(5-24-2008)

      News from May 23, 2008

    • Selects Top 25 All Time Drivers: has asked a panel of 19 experts and former drivers to vote for the top drivers that piloted anything with wheels and an engine, and from those votes has compiled a list of the Top 25 drivers of all time. Spanning a wide range of racing disciplines the list is being revealed in segments this week on the leading sports site. The feature package launched Monday, by revealing the 25-21-ranked drivers and will reveal five drivers a day for the rest of the week, unveiling the 5-1-ranked drivers on Friday, leading into the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. The list so far:
      25. Steve Kinser
      24. Nigel Mansell
      23. Don Garlits
      22. Niki Lauda
      21. Shirley Muldowney
      20. Darrell Waltrip
      19. Emerson Fittipaldi
      18. Alain Prost
      17. Bobby Unser
      16. Tony Stewart
      15. Al Unser
      14. Cale Yarborough
      13. Jackie Stewart
      12. John Force
      11. Rick Mears
      10. Jeff Gordon
      9. Juan Manuel Fangio
      8. Jim Clark
      7. David Pearson
      6. Richard Petty
      5. Ayrton Senna
      4. Michael Schumacher
      3. Dale Earnhardt
      2. Mario Andretti
      1. A.J. Foyt
      See the stoty, list and driver links at Comment here on the Top 25

    • Latest on Stewarts 'plans': From a Toyota Motorsports Post-Qualifying PR, #20-Tony Stewart talked about his future plans:
      Do you have any updates on your talks?
      “Not yet. I’m getting close, that’s the good thing. I feel like I’m on the back side of the hill of getting everything done. We’re a lot closer than we were.”
      Have you gotten your release from Joe Gibbs Racing and have you asked for it? “No, I have not asked for it.”(Toyota PR)(5-23-2008) Comment here

    • Sorenson a free agent also: #41-Reed Sorenson is in the final season of his Sprint Cup Series contract, but he's not too worried about discussing his future yet. Instead, Sorenson is working on improving his performance in races. Sorenson and his team got off to a slow start to this season, resulting in a crew chief swap with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya in which Jimmy Elledge left Sorenson to partner with Montoya and Sorenson gained Donnie Wingo. Elledge has since left the organization. Sorenson said that he's not focused on his contract talks right now, preferring instead to let his racing speak for itself. "It is a contract year for me," the 22-year-old said. "Trying to do the best I can right now to try to see what we can do the next couple of months to try to get some good finishes." Asked whether he was in talks or not, Sorenson said that he and team owner Chip Ganassi had discussed it "a little bit." As to whether or not he's in discussions with other teams as well, Sorenson simply reiterated that he's focused on his own group's performance right now. If he can get that heading in the right direction, the rest will take care of itself.(SceneDaily). other 'free agent' drivers include: #16-Greg Biffle, #6-David Ragan, #1-Martin Truex Jr. [but DEI says they have an option], #12-Ryan Newman.(5-23-2008) Comment here

    • Toyota & MWR team up for diversity apprenticeship: Toyota Motor Sales and Michael Waltrip Racing have joined forces to offer a one year apprenticeship to a deserving diversity graduate of Toyota’s Technician Training and Education Network (T-TEN) program. The selected diversity candidate will be relocated to North Carolina and placed in a technical position within the MWR organization, directly involved with the teams’ NASCAR participation. The candidate will have a strong technical background and will be assigned to a specific department within the MWR race shop, depending on the winner’s skill set. The application process, including pre-screening and final candidate selections will be administered by Educational Testing Service’s Scholarship & Recognition Programs (SRP) beginning immediately.(MWR PR) More info on my Driver Development News page.(5-23-2008) Comment here

    • Earnhardt Jr. leads in Generating Television Exposure:Despite a third-place standing in the driver's championship battle and joining a new team this season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. stands alone in terms of generating television exposure for his sponsoring brands through the first 10 events of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. Altogether, Earnhardt's sponsors amassed $150 million of comparable television exposure value from being associated with the popular driver, some $24 million more than the next driver's overall sponsorship figure. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc.- which specializes in measuring the impact of sponsorships across all forms of media - 33 brands appearing on locations such as Earnhardt's car, uniform and support crew's uniforms have appeared clear and in-focus for a total of 12 hours, 45 seconds (12:00:45) during television coverage of NASCAR's first 10 official points races. Additionally, the sponsors have been mentioned by Earnhardt or the announcers 33 times. Exposure value is calculated by comparing the on-screen time and mentions to the estimated cost of a commercial spot during each respective race telecast throughout the season. Earnhardt's top sponsors, AMP Energy and National Guard, combined for nearly $78 million of exposure value, or 52% of the total in-broadcast exposure associated with Earnhardt thus far. Kyle Busch, meanwhile, led all drivers in delivering TV time for the most brands with 59 sponsors appearing in conjunction with the driver. Busch's sponsors also enjoyed the most verbal recognition as a group, with his backing brands having been mentioned a total of 92 times. Of the top-10 exposure-producing drivers, four are associated with Chevrolet, while Toyota (three drivers), Ford (two) and Dodge (one) are also represented by the leading drivers. Jimmie Johnson had the single largest contribution to an auto manufacturer, generating $15.2 million of exposure value for Chevrolet.(See the full story and top 10 at the Joyce Julius site)(5-23-2008) Comment here

    • Kurt Busch featured on AMW: #2-Kurt Busch will be featured on this Saturday [May 24th] night’s edition of “America’s Most Wanted,” the popular FOX- TV show hosted by John Walsh. “John was at the track filming on Friday and it was great to meet him and do the filming,” Kurt said of the shoot held Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “I was in my Miller Lite fire suit and we did a nice little interview first. Then I did the introduction to a segment where they are looking for a woman named Jenny Liang. She was living in Vegas and working at the Mirage Casino when she supposedly murdered her boyfriend and then went on the run. I really enjoyed spending the time with John and I hope that our efforts add support in helping them capture this woman. John has an entourage of about 20 people, with two armed guards following him at all times. With his show helping take down nearly 1,000 dangerous fugitives in the past 20 years, it’s pretty easy to understand why he has that kind of support crew.”(TRPR)(5-23-2008) Comment here

    • Testing at Road Atlanta: Robby Gordon has earned a reputation for being one of NASCAR's dominant road racers. To make sure that his #7 Dodge matches his driver skills in the upcoming road course events, the Robby Gordon Motorsports team headed to Road Atlanta on Wednesday for the first of two road course tests scheduled this season. After just two runs through the course, Gordon was very satisfied with the performance of his race car. "This thing is fast. We can load it up," Gordon stated. Fellow Dodge driver Patrick Carpentier also took a spin in the #7 and stated that it was "very smooth and predictable." After a total of 50 laps, Gordon's times were more competitive than the eight other teams on the track that day, including cars from Roush Fenway Racing (#16,#17,#99), Gillett Evernham Motorsports, and Michael Waltrip Racing. Gordon will make one more road course test before heading west to Sonoma, California to master Infineon Raceway.(RGM PR)(5-23-2008)

    • New Spotter for #2 Team: Chris Osborne debuted in his new role as spotter for Kurt and crew in last weekend’s Sprint All-Star Race action. The High Point, N.C., native is perhaps best known for his years of spotting for Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Hendrick Team. Chris replaces Jesse Walker, who served as spotter since the beginning of the 2007 season. Jesse has returned to his fulltime position as operations manager at KBI.(TRPR)(5-23-2008) Comment here

    • Montoya named first-quarter winner of NMPA Pocono Spirit award: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya has been named the first quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association Pocono Spirit Award. Montoya was recognized by NMPA members for the work he and his wife, Connie, do in support ofJuan Pablo Montoya their Formula Smiles Foundation in Colombia. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and a number of NASCAR executives visited Cartagena, Colombia, in March, where they saw one of the sites where Montoya's charity is helping children in need, teaching them sports and providing them with the facilities and resources to develop their learning. As part of NASCAR's support, France presented Montoya and his wife Connie a $25,000 from the NASCAR Foundation, to help the efforts of Formula Smiles. The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is selected by a vote of the NMPA membership. The 2008 overall winner will be announced during the NMPA's annual convention and awards ceremony in January 2009. Also receiving votes in the first quarter were NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray, Motor Racing Outreach founder Max Helton and longtime NASCAR photographer T. Taylor Warren.(Pocono Raceway)(5-23-2008) Comment here

      News from May 22, 2008

    • Kyle Busch on pole at LMS #18-Kyle Busch wons the Coors Light Pole for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a speed of 185.433mph for his 2nd pole of 2008 and 4th of his career. #9-Kahne will start 2nd, followed by #83-Vickers, #16-Biffle, #6-Ragan, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #8-Martin, #2-Busch, #19-Sadler and #48-Johnson.
      The eight go-or-go homers who made the race are: #77-Hornish Jr., #40-Marlin, #84-Allmendinger, #33-Schrader, #10-Carpentier, #96-Yeley, #45-Petty and starting 43rd will be #70-Sauter [43rd goes to a past champ if needed or the 8th fastest of the go-or-go homers]
      Missing the race are: #34-Green, #50-Barrett, #21-Wood, #78-Nemechek and #08-Sauter.
      See the starting lineup, qualifying results and order and the pole progression see my Coca-Cola 600 Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(5-22-2008)

    • 'Crabby' cars may be scaled back by NASCAR UPDATE:: 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)
      UPDATE: NASCAR sent a memo to Sprint Cup teams this week putting a limit on the amount of rear adjustment being made to create more sideforce. The adjustment basically has the back tires turned to the right with a rear toe adjustment, allowing the car to enter the turns with more speed. It's not visibly noticeable on the turns, but on the straightaways the car appears to be crabbing down the track sideways. Darby said teams have been adjusting the rear end in excess of two degrees. NASCAR limited the adjustment to one degree.( this rule takes effect as of the race at Dover next weekend.(5-22-2008) Comment here

    • Martin Ready to Salute the Troops in More Ways Than One: In the true spirit of Sunday's Memorial Day weekend classic at Lowe's Motor Speedway -- the Coca-Cola 600 -- Mark Martin’s #8 U.S. Army Chevy will feature photos of eight soldiers on the outside of the car. The unique paint scheme is part of the USO Salute the Troops Memorial Day tribute to the armed forces. Despite his limited schedule in 2008 and having missed three of 11 events, Martin’s two top fives are as many or more than 21 drivers who have competed in all 11 races. His four top-10 finishes are more than 19 drivers who have taken part in every event this season.(U.S. Army Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #8 Team Schemes page.(5-22-2008)

    • Brian France Interview: Heading into Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR CEO and chairman Brian France, 45, spoke to USA TODAY on Wednesday about the state of the sport:
      What is the status and future of drug testing in NASCAR?
      "We have a very thorough policy that, like anything else, is going to get a review to see if we can improve it. The high points of our policy … are that we can test anybody we want at any time, and the punishments … are very significant. If we can improve it, we'll announce something, probably later in the summer."
      What concerns do you have about the viability of your series sponsors?
      "We're optimistic (on Sprint). They have a different management team that has taken them in a different direction. … We're very confident they're going to be around for a long time. … Craftsman is leaving at the end of this year, so we're … looking at a replacement for that national (truck) series. Nationwide is beginning a seven-year agreement with our second series."
      Is there a legitimate fear that a manufacturer like Dodge might decide to pull out, or others scale back?
      "That's always possible. But … they realize this is one of the few places where they can showcase their products in a way that's very different from any other marketing opportunity. So while their business challenges are significant … we play a nice role in giving them a good marketing opportunity."(see the full interview at USA Today)(5-22-2008) Comment here

    • Kyle Busch on pole at LMS #18-Kyle Busch wons the Coors Light Pole for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a speed of 185.433mph for his 2nd pole of 2008 and 4th of his career. #9-Kahne will start 2nd, followed by #83-Vickers, #16-Biffle, #6-Ragan, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #8-Martin, #2-Busch, #19-Sadler and #48-Johnson.
      The eight go-or-go homers who made the race are: #77-Hornish Jr., #40-Marlin, #84-Allmendinger, #33-Schrader, #10-Carpentier, #96-Yeley, #45-Petty and starting 43rd will be #70-Sauter [43rd goes to a past champ if needed or the 8th fastest of the go-or-go homers]
      Missing the race are: #34-Green, #50-Barrett, #21-Wood, #78-Nemechek and #08-Sauter.
      See the starting lineup, qualifying results and order and the pole progression see my Coca-Cola 600 Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(5-22-2008)

    • Lowe’s Motor Speedway Qualifying Fast Facts
      .. Kyle Busch won the Coors Light Pole for the Coca-Cola 600 with a lap of 185.433 mph/29.121 seconds.
      .. It is his fourth pole in 126 Sprint Cup Series races.
      .. This is Busch’s second pole of the year. His previous pole this season came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is his fourth top-five and ninth top-10 start this season.
      .. This is Busch’s first pole and first top-five start at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He had only one other top-10 start in his LMS career – a sixth-place start in the 2005 Coca-Cola 600.
      .. Kasey Kahne (second) posted his seventh top-10 start of 2008 and sixth at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
      .. Brian Vickers (third) posted his second top-10 start of 2008 and second at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
      .. Sam Hornish Jr. (20th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time. Hornish was also the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-22-2008)

    • Schrader and Herman finish 1-2: Ken Schrader and Kenny Wallace gave the crowd exactly what it was looking for Wednesday night at Peoria Speedway. The two NASCAR drivers finished 1-2 in the 20-lap UMP Modified, with Schrader winning his second race in a row after taking the feature at Fairbury on Tuesday night. "It's simple," Schrader said. "You have to go where they're not. You don't just get to drive wherever you want to." Schrader started fifth, finally catching Wallace with two laps remaining.(Peoria Journal Star)(5-22-2008)

    • Castroneves considering moving to NASCAR UPDATE Denied: Helio Castroneves, who is seeking to win his third Indianapolis 500 this weekend, said he is considering following several other open-wheel racers and moving to NASCAR but has made no decision yet. "I won't deny that I'm thinking about it," Castroneves said Monday night. "It would be great to one day try the [stock] cars. But at this point I'm focusing on Indy cars and winning the Indianapolis 500 again." IndyCar is making a stepped-up effort to market its drivers, much as NASCAR already does, especially Castroneves and Danica Patrick, who last month became the first woman to win an Indy car race. Castroneves said the renewed interest in the IndyCar Series sparked by the merger and Patrick's victory is one reason why he might not switch. However, Castroneves said he's also intrigued how other open-wheel drivers have migrated to NASCAR and is debating whether such a move is appropriate for him. "It depends on the opportunity," he said. "It's all about the timing and I'm not sure if the timing is right." Castroneves' opportunity is better than many other drivers, though. He now drives for Team Penske, whose owner Roger Penske already has a three-car Sprint Cup team and could add one more under NASCAR's rules. And one of Penske's stock cars is driven by three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr., Castroneves' former teammate, who switched to NASCAR this season. (Penske's other Cup drivers are Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.) Hornish was the latest big name former open-wheel racer to jump to NASCAR, a growing list that includes Juan Pablo Montoya, 2007 Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti and Patrick Carpentier. Castroneves said his contract with Team Penske is up for renewal after this season. Asked if he had talked to Roger Penske about his interest in NASCAR, Castroneves said, "We're going to talk after Indy."(Los Angeles Times)(5-21-2008)
      UPDATE: Castroneves said Wednesday he doesn't plan to leave the IRL's IndyCar Series for NASCAR any time soon. Refuting a story in Wednesday's editions of the Los Angeles Times that speculated on Castroneves following former IRL stars Sam Hornish Jr. and Dario Franchitti to NASCAR as early as the 2009 season, Castroneves said his comments were taken out of context. "It's kind of strange to print a statement like that," said Castroneves, who will start fourth in Sunday's 92nd running of the Indy 500. "I did not understand much. I found my English is apparently getting worst. (They) definitely took it out of context."(

    • Charlotte Rookie Notes: #00-Michael McDowell was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 10 Dodge Challenger 500 at Darlington Raceway. McDowell scored a 28th-place finish and captured top rookie honors for the first time this season. #10-Patrick Carpentier led the race at Darlington twice for four laps and was the only rookie driver to lead a lap in the event. Carpentier became the first driver to lead at Darlington since Kasey Kahne in 2004. #01-Ragan Smith leads the Raybestos Rookie standings by two points (107-105) over #77-Sam Hornish Jr. entering the May 25 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Matt Kenseth is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Coca-Cola 600. Kenseth captured the 2000 race by .573-seconds over Bobby Labonte. Jimmie Johnson is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the pole in 48 previous Coca-Cola 600 races. Johnson took the top starting spot for the 2002 race.(Camp and Assoc/Raybestos), see more rookie notes, history and standings on my 2008 Rookies Page.(5-22-2008)

    • Childress Honored by Davidson County Chambers of Commerce: NASCAR champion car owner and Davidson County (N.C.) businessman Richard Childress was presented with the "Are You With Me" Exemplary Award by the Davidson County Chambers of Commerce. The honor was bestowed upon Childress as part of the chamber's fourth annual Davidson County Business Showcase, held at Davidson County Community College. The award is presented annually to a Davidson County business that believes in the principles of good business, doing business locally whenever possible, job creation, innovation, and community involvement. In addition to Richard Childress Racing (RCR), Davidson County is also home to Childress Vineyards and Yadkin River Angus, Childress' Black Angus cattle ranch.(RCR)(5-22-2008)

    • Crew Chief change at the #42 UPDATE: Been told that Jimmy Elledge has been released as crew chief from the #42 Juan Pablo Montoya Dodge at Chip Ganassi Racing. Brian Pattie will assume the crew chief role for Lowe's Motor Speedway and beyond. No plans on Elledge's plans.(5-20-2008)
      UPDATE: Juan Pablo Montoya heads into this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 with his third crew chief in less than a month after Jimmy Elledge was released by Chip Ganassi Racing on Tuesday. And the racer isn't happy about it. Elledge came aboard in late April when Ganassi moved Donnie Wingo, who had guided Montoya's transition from Formula One into NASCAR, to Reed Sorenson's team. Montoya got Elledge and was pleased with the direction his #42 Dodge was headed. But in what Montoya described as a "management decision," Elledge was let go and Brian Pattie was moved from one of the Nationwide Series crews to run Montoya's team. "I wasn't really part of it, so, I am pretty frustrated," Montoya said. "They told me 'We are thinking of getting rid of Jimmy' and I said 'Don't do it.' Next thing I knew, they did. That's what happened. You are going to have to ask somebody else about it, because I wasn't involved in this." Although he didn't think he needed to lose Wingo when that move was made, Montoya said he understood it because he believed Wingo could help Sorenson save his struggling season. And even though the results weren't there yet with Elledge -- they were second in their debut race at Talladega, but struggled in the three after that -- Montoya liked the direction Elledge was taking the team. "We were taking a very different route, and I was willing to see where it led," he said. Montoya said he's spoken several times with Ganassi in the 24 hours since Elledge was let go, and expressed his frustration with the situation. "We talked, and I told him how I felt and that's it really," Montoya said. Montoya said he's got faith in Pattie, "He's a really smart guy," he said, but worries that all the changes over the past month are unsettling to the entire race team. He expects more movement behind the scenes.( Comment here

    • #5 to salute the troops: Casey Mears' #5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Chevy will run a special "Salute the Troops" decal in front of each rear wheel for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The decal is in honor of all military men and women.(HMS)(5-22-2008)

    • Johnson's car to honor troops: In honor of Memorial Day, Jimmy Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy will feature a special "Salute the Troops" logo on its deck lid during Sunday's Sprint Cup Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(GMR Marketing PR)(5-22-2008)

    • Special Scheme for Gordon: During Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon’s #24 DuPont Chevrolet will carry a “Salute the Troops” decal while DuPont’s Kevlar brand fiber and Nomex brand fiber businesses appear on the TV panel.(Performance Plus PR)(5-22-2008)

    • Thursday practice for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway is being over, the top five:
      #6-Ragan 181.622
      #16-Biffle 181.549
      #88-Earnhardt Jr. 181.330
      #9-Kahne 181.281
      #8-Martin 181.281
      slowest: #08-Raines 174.323 and #28-Kvapil [in a backup] 175.234
      #28-Kvapil wacked the wall on his first lap and the team has pulled out the backup car.
      #40-Marlin slid off turn 4 and thru the infield grass, but no real damage to the car.
      #50-Barrett drift up and slapped the wall, pancaked the right side of the car.
      See the speeds on my Practice Speeds Page.(5-22-2008)

    • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Charlotte
      if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
      #77-Sam Hornish Jr., 15th
      #84-A.J. Allmendinger, 21st
      #78-Joe Nemechek, 24th
      #70-Johnny Sauter, 25th
      #96-J.J. Yeley, 30th
      #33-Ken Schrader, 31st
      #40-Sterling Marlin, 40th
      #10-Patrick Carpentier, 41st
      if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
      #34-Jeff Green, 42nd
      #50-Stanton Barrett, 43rd
      #21-Jon Wood, 44th
      #45-Kyle Petty, 46th
      #08-Tony Raines, 48th/last
      See the speeds on my Practice Speeds Page.(5-22-2008)

      News from May 21, 2008

    • Humpy Wheeler to retire from LMS/SMI UPDATE 2: Humpy Wheeler, the "P.T. Barnum" of NASCAR promotions, will retire and step down as president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway, The Associated Press has learned. This weekend's Coca-Cola 600 will be Wheeler's last race for Lowe's Motor Speedway, two people familiar with the decision told the AP. They requested anonymity because an official announcement, which could come as early as Wednesday, has not yet been made. It was not immediately clear who will succeed Wheeler, who has managed the track for the past 33 years and was named president in 1980. Candidates include track owner Bruton Smith's son, Marcus, the executive vice president of sales and marketing for Speedway Motorsports Inc., and Lauri Wilks, executive vice president of management and administration for LMS. Nicknamed "Humpy" because of the camel's hump on a pack of Camel cigarettes his father was caught smoking, Wheeler was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006.(Associated Press/Jenna Fryer/
      UPDATE: Speedway Motorsports, Inc. announced today that H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, chief operating officer and president of Speedway Motorsports and president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway, is retiring from both positions following the Coca-Cola 600. A decision will be made on Wheeler's successor in the near future by the Speedway Motorsports, Inc. board of directors. "While it is with sadness that I announce my retirement from Speedway Motorsports and Lowe's Motor Speedway, it is time for me to move on to other things," said Wheeler. "I have devoted my entire life to racing and I don't intend on leaving it, just serving it in different ways. I have made arrangements with a well-known author to co-write a unique book interweaving my various experiences in the sport with the wonderful human drama and rich characters that abound in it. I will resume the 'Humpy Show' on SPEED Channel and look forward to being chairman of the Charlotte Regional Partnership in 2009. I also look forward to other endeavors, including lecturing and working with the motorsports management program at Belmont Abbey College."(LMS PR)(5-21-2008)
      UPDATE 2: The announcement was scheduled to be made next Wednesday, but was pushed up after a disagreement between Wheeler and Bruton Smith, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. that owns LMS. "The suddenness was not my idea," Wheeler said. "I would have liked to have stayed around a little bit, just eased out a little easier. … Maybe in a part-time role." The 69-year-old promoter that was hired by Smith before the October race in 1975 said no part-time offer was made. Asked if he was given that option Wheeler said, "No." Asked if he would remain with the track in any capacity Wheeler bluntly said, "None." Smith, who did not attend the press conference that was thrown together quickly after news of the retirement leaked out Tuesday night, said Wheeler was offered the chance to stay as a consultant. "To my knowledge, nothing has changed," he said. Smith said Wheeler was offered a consultant's salary for five years beyond the $12,500 a month that SMI has agreed to pay him over the next 10 years. He added that Wheeler holds 151 shares of stock options with the company and that he has to stay involved to execute them. Smith said he did not attend the press conference because he was not invited and because he didn't want to take away from Wheeler's moment. "It was his press conference," he said. "Not mine."(see full stor yand comments at
      AND Marcus Smith, the executive vice president of sales and marketing for Speedway Motorsports Inc., is the leading candidate to be voted to replace Lowe's Motor Speedway president and general manager H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler next week. Several sources close to the situation said the son of SMI owner Bruton Smith is the "appropriate choice" to replace Wheeler. Marcus Smith, attending Wednesday's news conference to announce Wheeler's retirement, was noncommittal.(

    • New crew chief for the #01 team: Doug Richert, crew chief for Regan Smith, has left Dale Earnhardt Inc. and will be replaced on the #01 team by Kevin Buskirk this weekend, a team spokesman confirmed Wednesday. Richert joined DEI this season after leaving Red Bull Racing in 2007. Smith is 33rd in the Sprint Cup points standings, lowest among the four DEI drivers. Buskirk, who has been leading DEI’s testing program, will be the crew chief in this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and a full-time replacement will be named later.(SceneDaily)(5-21-2008)

    • Office Depot to MWR? UPDATE 3 AFLAC to be primary for #99 in 2009: hearing Office Depot, currently the sponsor for #99-Carl Edwards, is considering a move to Michael Waltrip Racing with driver #00-Michael McDowell. UPS has been rumored as a possible sponsor for Edwards and Roush Racing in 2009.(5-8-2008)
      UPDATE Exclusive negotiation period ends between Roush & Office Depot: The exclusive negotiating period between Office Depot and Roush Fenway Racing in regards to sponsorship of Carl Edwards beyond his season has expired, Office Depot Public Relations Director Mindy Kramer confirmed Friday afternoon. "We're looking at options for 2009, including Carl and other things at Roush ­ nothing to report yet," Kramer said at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "When you're talking about a significant investment, it's difficult to get those things done in a short period of time," said Kramer, who declined to say whether Office Depot had started talking to other teams besides Roush Fenway. "Carl was not signed until almost the very end of our period of exclusive talks, so that was a hindrance to us being able to have some meaningful discussions. How do you have meaningful discussions with a team when he may have ended up somewhere else?" The company, which has official NASCAR status as well, wants to stay in the driver sponsorship side of the sport. "We like this sport; we don't want to drag this out," Kramer said. "It's an important decision, and there's a lot to go into it. We don't pay attention to the rumors and speculation out there. ... We just try to focus on what's going to be right for our business in 2009 and beyond. Obviously we've had a great four-year relationship with Carl and have had tremendous success." Office Depot sponsors the car for 23 races, and other companies, including some Office Depot business partners such as Aflac, fill out the rest of the schedule.(
      UPDATE 2 - AFLAC signs to be Edwards full sponsor in 2009? hearing that AFLAC, already a sponsor of Carl Edwards, also had an exclusive window of negotiation once Office Depot passed on sponsorship with Roush Fenway and AFLAC has signed to become the new full-time sponsor of the #99 Ford in 2009.(5-19-2008)
      UPDATE 3: Aflac Incorporated announced its signing of a full-season multi-year primary sponsorship of Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards and the #99 Ford Fusion. Additionally, Aflac continues its relationship as the official supplemental insurance company for Roush Fenway Racing and Carl Edwards. Racing fans can visit for exclusive videos, track analysis, merchandise, promotions, screen savers and other features. Racing fans can also watch Edwards and the #99 Aflac Ford Fusion at the remaining 2008 races, including: June 8 at Pocono; July 5 at Daytona; July 27 at Indy; Aug. 31 at Auto Club Speedway; Oct. 11 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(PR Newswire)
      AND Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal estimated the deal at $78 million over three years ($26 million per year). Edwards had recently signed a reported three-year deal that will keep him at Roush Fenway at least through 2011.(5-21-2008) Comment here

    • Sad News - Joe Whitley: Mr. Joseph "Joe" Edward Whitley Jr., age 58 of 581 Sandringham Place, passed away Monday May 19, 2008 at Alleghany County Hospital. Funeral services will be held on Thursday at 11:00 AM at Center United Methodist Church, with Rev. Jerry Hagler and Rev. Don Newman officiating. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 PM on Wednesday at Wilkinson Funeral Home and will be at the home the remaining time. A burial will be held on Friday at 1:00 PM at Buckhorn United Methodist Church Cemetery in Rock Ridge (Wilson), NC. The family will receive friends after the graveside service. He worked in NASCAR for 25 years and currently was the manager for Pro Cal Professional Decals. Survivors include his wife, Beverly Long Whitley; daughter, Taylor Whitley and son, Joseph (Jed) Edward Whitley, III, both of the home; sisters, Carol Whitley Cox and husband, Larry, Dianne Whitley Barnes and Beth Whitley Glover and husband, David, all of Wilson; mother-in-law, Audrey Long White of Rockingham. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Beverly Whitley Memorial Fund c/o Suntrust Bank, 818 Church Street North, Concord, NC 28025.(

    • Mayfield goes on 12-day tour of Iraq; ride at Dover?: Jeremy Mayfield left May 6 for 12 days where even if he got offered another NASCAR ride, he wouldn’t be able to accept it until he returned. Mayfield took a 12-day tour of Iraq where he, along with a few drag racers, visited three to seven bases a day to talk to troops stationed over there. Mayfield said he was impressed with what the soldiers are currently doing in Iraq in trying to rebuild the country. “I thought it would be a depressing deal, but it really wasn’t,” Mayfield said in a phone interview Tuesday. “All the soldiers, everybody from the guy on the front line through the commanding general, was just really upbeat, in a great mood. Everything was positive. … What got me was how many people re-enlisted to come back over.” A two-time Chase participant, Mayfield drove for Haas CNC Racing for the first seven events this year before parting ways with the team. He has had a few talks with other teams, but when the idea was presented to him, he opted to go on the goodwill trip to Iraq. “It’s something I am proud to say I did,” Mayfield said. “It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I met a lot of great people there. As far as my career, I’ll go from here and see what happens. The timing was perfect on it. I was sitting here not having a ride, and I went and did it. I think I made a difference. I think it was more important than waiting around hoping somebody calls me. It’s hard for me to sit here and tell you what it means to the guys over there.” Many of the soldiers wanted to talk about racing with him, but Mayfield couldn’t stay awake to watch the races with the troops, which were televised in the early morning at bases that had television capability. I couldn’t believe there were that many Mayfield fans over there to start with, and on top that there were so many huge NASCAR fans,” Mayfield said. “It definitely was a humbling experience.” The driver admitted he was a little nervous about making the trip. He would see troops going to and from combat. The group of racers would take Blackhawk helicopters to each base, going from Baghdad to remote outposts in northern Iraq. “There were things that go on like we all expect,” Mayfield said. “Every day, there’s some kind of maneuvers with some of the insurgents where they will cover up a bomb here or there, and once in a while one of those would go off. About every night or so, outside in the desert, three or four guys would launch a rocket over into a base, and 99.9 percent of those either don’t make it or get blown away. … Overall I felt secure, but you still wonder because it’s busy there 24 hours a day nonstop, so you never know when you lay down to go to sleep at night. I got pretty used to it.” Now back home, Mayfield seems willing to wait for the right opportunity to get back in a race car. A 15-year veteran of the sport with five wins, Mayfield feels as if he has something to offer to a team. “I was part of the reason why I don’t have one – I’d rather not have one than run like I was running every week,” he said. “I’ve come to realize that. I don’t want any pity. When you go to Iraq, you really understand the true meaning of feeling sorry for something when you go into one of the hospitals. There’s a lot of people have got it worse off than we do. Going over there was very humbling. It makes you look at life a little bit different.”(SceneDaily), supposedly Mayfield will run the #40 Dodge at Dover on June 1st.(5-21-2008)

    • Aaron's back on the #00 at LMS: Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership has signed on for primary sponsorship of the #00 Toyota Camry for this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway with Michael McDowell. Since testing Lowe's Motor Speedway, McDowell hasn't slowed down. On Friday, he tested at Rockingham (North Carolina Speedway) and Monday he turned laps at Nashville Superspeedway. On Wednesday, he travels to Road Atlanta with David Reutimann and then tests at VIR (Virginia International Raceway) the first week of June. The following week he is at the Milwaukee Mile for a two-day test.(MWR PR)(5-21-2008)

    • #07 Toast to the Troops: Clint Bowyer's #97-Jack Daniel's Chevy will feature a special USO Toast to the Troops paint scheme for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Jack Daniel's and the USO joined together, beginning in 2005, to present the "Toast to the Troops" campaign, which gives Americans the opportunity to send special messages of support to the men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces. These "toasts" are included in care packages the USO delivers to troops deploying to Afghanistan, Iraq and other overseas locations, as well as troops arriving and departing on rest and recuperation (R&R) flights. The care packages include an assortment of items specifically requested by service members, such as prepaid international calling cards, toiletries, sunscreen, playing cards, a disposable camera and snacks. Special "stuffing parties" have been held on military installations across the country where military spouses, USO volunteers and Jack Daniel's employees added the "toasts" to care packages along with the other items. Since the "Toast to the Troops" campaign began, Jack Daniel's and the USO have collected more than 60,000 messages of support that were included in care packages assembled at Fort Campbell, Ky., Fort Gillem/Fort McPherson, Ga., Fort Hood, Texas, Scott Air Force, Mo., Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., Jacksonville Naval Station, Fla., and Quantico Marine Base, Va. In some instances, the care packages and messages were handed to service members as they were boarding planes for overseas deployment.(RCR PR)(5-21-2008)

      News from May 20, 2008

    • Elliott Sadler to Visit Charlotte School: #19-Elliott Sadler will visit a Charlotte-area high school this week to celebrate the formation of the first Student Club for Autism Speaks (SCAS) in the southeast. The driver of the #19 Best Buy Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series will meet with students of the Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology in Charlotte on Wednesday. Sadler will not only honor the students for their past volunteer efforts on behalf of Autism Speaks, but also recognize the establishment of a new student club at the school that will continue to raise awareness and funds for autism research. Sadler, whose niece has autism, has helped raise funds for autism organizations for several years now. He says it's inspiring to see how involved students across the nation are becoming with such an important cause.(Best Buy Racing PR)(5-21-2008)

    • Lumber Liquidators to Sponsor #28 at Coke 600: Lumber Liquidators, the largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring in the United States, announced that it will sponsor Travis Kvapil, driver of the #28 Yates Racing Ford at the 2008 Coca-Cola 600. The May 25th race at Lowe's Motor Speedway will mark the first primary sponsorship for Lumber Liquidators in Sprint Cup Series in 2008 [they sponsored a few races on the #99 and #16 Roush Fenway Racing cars in 2007]. Kvapil finished eighth in the May 10th race at Darlington Raceway, his third top-10 finish of the season. He currently sits 18th in the NASCAR driver point standings.(Yates Racing)(5-20-2008) Comment here

    • M&M's searching for NASCAR's most colorful fan: M&M's will launch an 18-week NASCAR promotion next month that will include prizes from two other sponsors in the sport, The Home Depot and Tissot, as well as trips to Miami for the season-ending Sprint Cup event in November. The promotion, designed to identify the "Most Colorful Fan in NASCAR," will debut June 8 on with support that will include print advertising and other online buys at Yahoo! and But the promotion's home for 18 weeks will be, where fans will enter the sweepstakes by submitting photos of themselves in their most colorful fan gear. M&M's is a product of Mars, the primary sponsor of Kyle Busch's #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, and Busch will vote along with visitors to the site for the most colorful fans. Five finalists will win trips for two to the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Each finalist also will win a $100 gift certificate to The Home Depot, another sponsor at Gibbs with driver Tony Stewart. The ultimate winner will receive a Tissot limited-edition watch. Busch will drive in the June 8 Sprint Cup event at Pocono with a special "Most Colorful Fan in NASCAR" paint scheme to help build awareness for the promotion.(SportsBusiness Journal/Sporting News)(5-20-2008)

    • Kenseth top sport different colors at LMS: This weekend, Matt Kenseth will sport the colors of R+L Carriers in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. R+L Carriers will serve as a primary sponsor for the Kenseth’s #17 Ford Fusion four Sprint Cup Series races in 2008 - Daytona (July), California (August) and Martinsville (October). Kenseth has carried the R+L Carriers paint scheme just seven times since 2006. In his seven previous starts in the #17 R+L Carriers Ford, Kenseth has achieved seven top-12, five top-10 and three top-five finishes.(Rousch Fenway Racing), see images of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(5-20-2008)

    • Record TV Ratings for All-Star Race: SPEED scored its highest rating in network history, earning a Nielsen Media Research mark of 3.74 (2,701,000 households), up 6% from last year's 3.53 (2,480,000 Households), making it the No. 1 network in basic cable during its coverage of Saturday's Sprint All-Star Race XXIV. The event, in its second of eight seasons on SPEED, peaked at 4.75 (3,430,000 households) and drew a network record four million viewers. SPEED pre- and post-race programming also delivered larger audiences in 2008 as Nielsen Ratings for both NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane were up from 2007. NASCAR Victory Lane jumped 20% from a 1.03 (721,000 households) to a record 1.28 (926,000 households) and NASCAR RaceDay has been up double digits from 2007 all season long. The Craftsman Truck Series race from Lowe's Motor Speedway scored an average Nielsen Household Rating of 1.13 (817,000 households), a 41-percent increase over the 2007 event, which scored a .80 (563,000 households). The race peaked at 1.54 (1,112,000 households). An average of 1.1 million viewers watched the race, the most ever for the Charlotte event. Nielsen ratings for NCTS races on SPEED in 2008 are up 18% from 2007.(SPEEDtv PR), for TV Ratings for each race and news on Ratings, see my 2008 TV Ratings page/Chart.(5-20-2008) Comment here

    • DEI testing road course: been told that Dale Earnhardt Inc [DEI] is testing today [May 20th] at Carolina Motorsports Park with drivers Ron Fellows and #15-Paul Menard. No word if Fellows will drive for DEI at Infineon Racway or Watkins Glen for DEI.(5-20-2008)

    • A Golden Anniversary Fit for "The King": Petty Enterprises announced the plans to celebrate "The King" Richard Petty's 50th anniversary in NASCAR. The plan includes Petty getting back into a racecar and turning laps at Chicagoland Speedway. On July 12, 1958, Petty made his first NASCAR start in the old Convertible Division at Columbia Speedway in Cayce, South Carolina. On July 12, 2008, Petty Enterprises and the entire NASCAR community will celebrate the anniversary of that race at the Chicagoland Speedway, where the Sprint Cup Series is competing in the Life Lock 400. Petty Enterprises will be marking the anniversary with numerous special events and promotions. The team has extended an invitation for the CEOs of their sponsors and partner companies to come to Chicago to help them commemorate the anniversary. As part of the activities, Petty will return to a racecar to give some of his special guests a ride around Chicagoland Speedway in a Richard Petty Driving Experience stockcar. As a tribute to Petty and the anniversary of his first race, the #43 and #45 will be featuring special throwback paint schemes for the Life Lock 400. The paint schemes feature the Petty Blue color made famous by Petty and in a nod to the 60's and 70's, racing strips. Each will also carry the 50th anniversary commemorative logo on the hood of both cars. The 50th anniversary of Petty's first race is an opportunity for Petty Enterprises, the NASCAR community, and all NASCAR fans to honor him for his achievements and for the countless contributions he has made to the sport.(MCG Sports PR), see an image of the #43 Car on my #43 Team Schemes page.(5-20-2008)

      News from May 19, 2008

    • Sad News - Lloyd Moore: Lloyd Moore, 95, who was the oldest living NASCAR driver passed away peacefully while sleeping at 3:32pm Sunday, May 18th surrounded by his family in his and Virginia's home just outside of Frewsburg, NY. Lloyd would have been 96 on June 8th. Arraignments will be announced by the Peterson Funeral Home, Frewsburg, NY.(Obit at the Post Journal), Moore ran 49 races in the now Cup Series from 1949-1955, winning 1, 13 top 5's and 23 tens. PLus see an interesting article and image at
      Petty Comment Richard Petty Comments on the Passing of Lloyd Moore: "I was saddened to learn of the passing of Lloyd Moore yesterday. He was a joy to be around. Lloyd was a connection to the origin of NASCAR. Talking to him was like taking a trip down memory lane, for me, because he raced against my dad. I still have memories of those races. He would come by the house after a lot of the races because he and daddy were good friends. So I knew Lloyd from the time I was a young kid and I am proud to say that we developed a great friendship over the years. Lloyd was a great driver and a great person. He will truly be missed."(MCG PR)(5-19-2008) Comment here

    • Sad News - Gene Glover: Gene Glover 73, father of Ganassi Racing's Tony Glover, passed away yesterday [May 18th]. Glover won the 79 NASCAR Late Model Sportsman divison and over 300 races throughout his career. Survivors include his loving wife of 34 years, Reba Light Glover, of the home; son, Tony Glover and wife, Christy of Mooresville, NC; granddaughters Brittany Nicole Glover and Ashton Brooke Glover of Charlotte, NC; brothers, David L. Glover and wife, Brenda and Delmer Glover and wife Linda of Kingsport, TN; sisters-in-law, Nan Light and Patsy Willis, both of Kingsport, TN; and a very special cat, Samantha. More info on services and Glover at The family requests that memorial donations be made in Eugene Glover's name to Victory Junction Camp.(5-19-2008)

    • JR Motorsorts could move to Cup UPDATE Stewart involved?: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. from a weekly top 12 drivers press conference:
      THE OWNERSHIP THING, WHEN YOU’RE OUT THERE RACING WITH BRAD KESELOWSKI, ARE THERE THINGS THAT GO THROUGH YOUR MIND AND ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT HIM OR ABOUT THE RACE? “Well, I get mad when he messes up and I see him in a wreck or something. But normally I just hope he’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing and running good and having a good night. But his night doesn’t go right or something happens to the car, it’s sort of bums you out a little bit and it’s hard to revert back to concentrating on what you’re trying to do with your car.”
      IS THERE ANY CHANCE YOU’LL MOVE UP TO THE CUP LEVEL WITH THAT TEAM ANYTIME? “I used to say no way, no way. But it’s almost as expensive to run in the Nationwide Series. And their going to bring a CoT in and we won’t be able to race in the Nationwide Series with the CoT probably. That’ll just be too expensive to switch all that over.”
      WOULD YOU DO IT AS EARLY AS NEXT YEAR? “Yeah, maybe. If the right opportunity comes along with the right sponsorship and driver, we’d love to do it. And it would cost the same amount of money to do that, as it is to run the Nationwide Series. It’s harder to get sponsorships. And the CoT program is going to be too expensive for me to justify creating a whole new program with CoT stuff, so I’d just as soon go into the Cup Series or get out of the Nationwide Series altogether.”
      COULD YOU GET MARTIN TRUEX JR. IN THAT CAR? “No. Why would he want to come drive for me? He’s in good stuff now and he’s going to have great opportunities from other people. And I would never do that to him (laughter). For the first year coming out of the box, man we’ll struggle like hell. Come on, man. He’s going to have deals offered to him by these great companies around here and from DEI. I’ll be at the bottom of that list, right there with Haas and a couple of other people (laughter). I don’t know with Tony (Stewart) if he goes over there (Haas), he might be able to talk Martin into it. But I don’t know man. I mean no way would I even do that to Martin, even if he wanted to.”(GM Racing PR)(5-17-2008)
      UPDATE - Stewart? Tony Stewart, who is exploring options outside of Joe Gibbs Racing, reportedly could be a partner with JR Motorsports. But Stewart's contract doesn't expire until after the 2009 season and team president J.D. Gibbs has said he will hold Stewart to it. "I don't know with Tony. If he goes over there [Haas CNC], he might be able to talk Martin into it. But I don't know. I mean no way would I even do that to Martin, even if he wanted to." Stewart has acknowledged that Haas CNC is one of several organizations to have offered part ownership as an incentive to join the team. JR Motorsports merged with the Nationwide program at Hendrick Motorsports this year after Earnhardt went to drive for HMS. The engines and chassis already are supplied by Hendrick and that could continue with a move to the Cup series.( Comment here

    • Testing at Milwaukee: #8-Aric Almirola is testing a DEI Chevy at The Milwaukee Mile Monday May 19 & Tuesday May 20.(Milwaukee Mile site)(5-19-2008)

    • Kahne Races in Iowa after winning All-Star race: Two hours. That's how much sleep Kasey Kahne managed between Saturday night's improbable $1 million Sprint Cup Series All-Star Challenge win at Lowe's Motor Speedway and flying in to race Sunday at Iowa Speedway in Newton, IA. "I'm starting to feel it catching up to me," Kahne said at 11am as he prepared for the U.S. Cellular 200 NASCAR Camping World Series race at the-mile asphalt track. "I'll be fine once I get in the car, but, man, I was starting to get tired." Kahne, who finished third in Sunday's race [won by Brian Ickler], said the postrace celebration Saturday lasted as long as his subsequent slumber session. "It just went on and on and on with everything you do when you win a race at Lowe's (Motor Speedway) — especially an All-Star race," said Kahne, who needed the fans' vote to gain entry into the All-Star Challenge. "(That's) good, it's all fun stuff. I got done with that and about 12:30 got to my motor home, left the track at about 1:45, took a shower when I got home, got to bed at three, woke up at five. Flew here, got here at 7:15 and went to the driver's meeting."(Des Moines Register)(5-19-2008) Comment here

    • No Age Change in 2009: NASCAR officials won't alter the minimum age limit for drivers in the Cup series for next season. Series officials talked before the season about possibly raising the minimum age limit from 18 to 21 but decided against it.(Roanoke Times)(5-19-2008) Comment here

    • Gibbs tested own engines in All-Star race: Joe Gibbs Racing used its engines in the all-star race as opposed to the engines it receives from Toyota Racing Development. The team plans to go back to TRD motors for the Coca-Cola 600. Since the all-star race is a non-points race, it provides teams a chance to test equipment without fear that a failure will hurt them in the points.(Roanoke Times), #20-Stewart had to change engines before the race, #11-Hamlin and #18-Busch both lost engines during the All-Star race, all three had rocker-arm problems.(5-19-2008) Comment here

    • More changes at Robby Gordon Motorsports? hearing that General Manager Ed Guzzo and #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports have parted ways recently. Plus been told that RGM is looking for primary sponsorship opportunities on the #7 Dodge for races at Infineon Raceway [expect him to run upfront there] and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Contact the team at

    • The MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown on Monday and Tuesday: Four teams of a record 23 have made it to the semi-finalists after the first two rounds of the ninth annual MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown held May 5 - 8. Competing in this year's Showdown semi-finals set for Monday at the NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) in Mooresville, N.C., are:
      1. Trey Davis and Brian Buttrick from Roush Yates Racing Engines versus Dennis Borem and Darrell Hoffman from Pro Motor Engines
      2. Jim Snyder and Mike Kasch from Roush Yates Racing Engines versus Mike Maiwald and Shane Parsnow from Hendrick Motorsports
      The two winning teams will face each other on Tuesday at the Showdown finals, also at NTI. The MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown, presented by MAHLE Clevite Inc., pits top NASCAR engine builders in a race to build and successfully run a Sprint Cup 357-cubic inch Ford engine in the shortest time possible. Through a process of three rounds of preliminary and semi-final eliminations, the competition culminates in a final showdown between the two fastest teams. MAHLE Clevite presents the winning team with the Showdown's grand prize - the prestigious Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy, plus a cash prize of $26,000. The Showdown runner-up team receives $9,000. Overall, the competition awards a total prize package of over $50,000. MAHLE Clevite hosts all preliminary rounds of the MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown at the NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI), in Mooresville, NC. The final round of the competition takes place on May 20, also at NTI. More info at and MotorAge. NASCAR Tech [NTI] also has an open house scheduled for June 21st, more info at

    • Kurt Busch Superdome at Victory Juntion opens Tuesday: The official ribbon-cutting and "Grand Opening" of the new Kurt Busch Superdome at the Victory Junction Gang Camp is set for Tuesday, May 20 at 2:00pm/et. "It is a day that we've been looking forward to for almost two years now," said Busch. "When we made the announcement of the original endowment for this project back in May of 2006, we envisioned the construction of a multi-purpose building that we would all be proud of. That is certainly the case in that we now have an indoor sports facility with a climate-controlled environment that the kids will utilize and enjoy for many years to come. The Kurt Busch Superdome is a 15,000-square-foot climate-controlled gymnasium, complete with scoreboard, bleachers and a specialty floor that can accommodate wheel chairs. It offers a completely allergy-free environment. Busch announced the formation of his foundation on May, 19, 2006, at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Kyle and Pattie Petty joined Busch at the announcement to discuss details of the Superdome, the Kurt Busch Foundation's initial project. The Las Vegas native pledged that day the first $1 million toward the construction of the camp's new gymnasium. Several entertainment and sports figures are expected to attend Tuesday's "Grand Opening" including members of the Carolina Panthers and Ryan Newman. Members of the Petty Family, representatives of the Richard Petty Driving Experience as well as the team mascots from the Charlotte Bobcats, Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Knights and Kannapolis Intimidators are also expected to be in attendance.(TRPR)(5-19-2008) Comment here

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