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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    JUNE 9-15, 2008


      News from June 15, 2008

    • First NC driver: With #88-Dale Earnhardt's win at Michigan, it is the first time a driver born in North Carolina has won a Cup race since Brian Vickers won at Talladega in Ocr 2006. The 2007 season was the first time in the history of the sport that no North Carolina drivers won at least one race in a season since it started in 1949.(6-15-2008)

    • Logano could run some Sprint Cup races late this season: Joey Logano, who in only his third Nationwide Series start won on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway, likely will compete in a few Sprint Cup races for Joe Gibbs Racing before the end of the season. "We would like to get him in some Cup stuff towards the end of the year," team owner Joe Gibbs said before Sunday's Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. "We want to make sure it's the good stuff and the right way." Gibbs said it was too late in the year to start a fourth Cup team for Logano to run fulltime next season. Asked if Logano might replace Tony Stewart should the two-time Cup champion leave for another team [rumored teams include Haas CNC, #5 Hendrick, 4th RCR team], Gibbs said, "I don't think we've gone in that direction yet. We're still trying to work things out." Stewart is being pursued by several teams, including at least one [Haas CNC Racing] that is offering ownership. Gibbs and his son, team president J.D. Gibbs, have been emphatic that they won't part with Stewart before his contract expires after 2009. They remain optimistic that he will re-sign with JGR and end his career there.(ESPN.com)(6-15-2008) Comment here

    • Fellows to run the #01 at Infineon: Veteran road course specialist Ron Fellows will pilot the Dale Earnhardt Inc. #01 Chevy in the Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 22 with a goal of scoring maximum car owner points in the event. Leading rookie-of-the-year candidate Regan Smith will be back in the car the following week at Loudon [New Hampshire]. "We're very proud of the job Regan is doing and our commitment to him has not changed," said John Story, Dale Earnhardt Inc. vice president of motorsports. "The progress of the No. 01 team has been significant. We have a team around Regan now that communicates well together and we expect to see more of the improvement they've already made in the second half of the season. Our goal for Regan remains winning the rookie of the year title and building momentum that we hope will carry us into 2009. Ron has a successful history with DEI and he certainly knows his way around Infineon. The opportunity to capitalize on his experience and abilities against some of the other road course experts is our objective." Fellows, who ran road courses for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2003-04, boasts 17 Cup starts in his career, with the majority coming on road courses. He finished second at Watkins Glen in 2004 and seventh in 2003 at Infineon, both in the DEI #1 car. The specialist ran both road courses last season, finishing inside the top 15 in both outings, including a fourth-place finish at Watkins Glen. Included as part of his esteemed career in road racing, Fellows boasts three wins in 12 starts in the Nationwide Series and two wins in the Craftsman Truck Series.(DEI PR)(6-15-2008) Comment here

    • Former official sues NASCAR over harassment claims UPDATE 2 two officials suspended: A former racing official is suing NASCAR, alleging racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Mauricia Grant worked as a technical inspector responsible for certifying cars in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series from January 2005 until she was fired last October. Grant, who is black, alleges she was referred to as "Nappy Headed Mo" and "Queen Sheba," by white co-workers. She also claims she often was told she worked on "colored people time," and was frightened by one official who routinely made references to the Ku Klux Klan. The lawsuit, which seeks $250 million, was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.(ESPN.com/Associated Press) and see a copy of the lawsuit at FoxSports (pdf format)(6-10-2008)
      UPDATE: NASCAR chairman Brian France says a former official who's suing the organization never reported discrimination or harassment claims to her supervisors. Mauricia Grant filed a $225 million suit against NASCAR on Tuesday, alleging racial discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliatory termination. France said Wednesday the detailed filing was the first NASCAR learned of her claims. "The disappointing thing is she makes a lot of claims, none of them reported," he said.(Associated Press)(6-11-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Two officials named in a $225 million racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit against NASCAR have been placed on administrative leave for violating company policy, The Associated Press has learned. The officials, who were not immediately identified, were sent home from Kentucky Speedway on Friday evening, a person familiar with the NASCAR investigation told the AP. The person requested anonymity because NASCAR's investigation is ongoing. NASCAR sent a team of investigators from its human resources and legal offices to Kentucky this weekend to interview those named in the suit. Of 27 interviews conducted away from the track Thursday and Friday, two officials were found to have engaged in behavior that violated NASCAR policy. Their leave is indefinite. In addition, investigators failed to uncover a single instance where Grant complained to her supervisors or other NASCAR employees about the way she was treated, the person familiar with the investigation told AP. Grant has said she followed the chain of command all the way to Nationwide Series director Joe Balash, but stopped short of telling human resources because she was reprimanded by that department for a separate incident two weeks after lodging her complaint. She said she viewed the reprimand, which included a threat of termination, as retaliation for complaining to Balash. Balash was not one of the officials placed on leave Friday. Grant's lawyer, Benedict P. Morelli of Morelli Ratner PC, was not immediately available for comment.(Associated Press)(6-14-2008)
      UPDATE 3: Two officials suspended by NASCAR are accused in a $225 million lawsuit of exposing themselves to a former co-worker, the Associated Press has learned. Tim Knox and Bud Moore [NOT the former car owner Walter "Bud" Moore, who owned the #15 Ford and others for years with 63 wins] have been placed on indefinite administrative paid leave. NASCAR will not reveal the identities of the officials sent home Friday from Kentucky Speedway, but a person familiar with the investigation confirmed to AP on Saturday that Knox and Moore were suspended. The person requested anonymity because NASCAR's investigation is ongoing. NASCAR did not give a reason for the men's suspension, and chairman Brian France cautioned against assuming the officials are being punished for allegations made in the lawsuit.(Associated Press)(6-15-2008)

    • Dale Jr. wins at Michigan: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his 1st win of 2008, first in 76 races (Richmond in May 2006) and the 18th of his career. #9-Kahne finished 2nd, followed by #17-Kenseth, #83-Vickers, #20-Stewart, #48-Johnson [led the most laps], #99-Edwards, #6-Ragan, #19-Sadler and #26-McMurray. The win gave Chevrolet its first triumph at MIS since Jeff Gordon's victory in 2001. Points leader #18-Busch finished 13th but increased his points lead to 32 as #31-Burton finished 15th. There were 7 cautions for 22 laps and their were 31 lead changes among 13 drivers.
      For race results, awards and more, see my Michigan Race Results Awards Page.(6-15-2008)

    • First NC driver: With #88-Dale Earnhardt's win at Michigan, it is the first time a driver born in North Carolina has won a Cup race since Brian Vickers won at Talladega in Ocr 2006. The 2007 season was the first time in the history of the sport that no North Carolina drivers won at least one race in a season since it started in 1949.(6-15-2008)

    • Michigan International Speedway Fast Facts
      .. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the LifeLock 400, his 18th victory in 306 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
      .. This is his first victory and 11th top-10 finish in 2008.
      .. This is his first victory and sixth top-10 finish in 18 races at Michigan International Speedway.
      .. Kasey Kahne (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in nine races at Michigan. It is his eight top-10 finish in 2008.
      .. Matt Kenseth (third) posted his 12th top-10 finish in 18 races at Michigan.
      .. Sam Hornish Jr. (22nd) was the highest finishing rookie.
      (NASCAR Statistics)((6-15-2008)

    • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Michigan race 15 of 36]:
      1) #18-Kyle Busch 2213 [4 wins]
      2) #31-Jeff Burton 2181 -32 [1 win]
      3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2129 -84 [1 win]
      4) #99-Carl Edwards 2007 -206[3 wins]
      5) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1959 -254 [1 win]
      6) #11-Denny Hamlin 1926 -287 [1 win]
      7) #9-Kasey Kahne 1889 -324 [2 wins]
      8) #16-Greg Biffle 1884 -329
      9) #24-Jeff Gordon 1876 -337
      10) #29-Kevin Harvick 1817 -396
      11) #20-Tony Stewart 1774 -439
      12) #07-Clint Bowyer 1764 -449 [1 win]
      other chase contenders
      13) #6-David Ragan 1754 -459 [10 pts out of the chase]
      14) #17-Matt Kenseth 1750 -463 [-14]
      15) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 1670 -543 [-94]
      16) #83-Brian Vickers 1667 -646 [-97]
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Michigan page.(6-15-2008)

    • Pressley to help out Ambrose: Marcos Ambrose said Robert Pressley would practice and qualify Ambrose’s #59 JTG Racing Nationwide Series Ford at the Milwaukee Mile next weekend should Ambrose qualify for the Sprint Cup race at Infineon Raceway. Ambrose will attempt to make the Toyota/Save Mart 350 in the Wood Brothers’ #21 Sprint Cup Ford. If he qualifies, Ambrose said Friday he would drive in both Cup practices next Saturday before trying to make it to Milwaukee in time for the Camping World RV Rental 250. “We got all the planes and helicopters and stuff that we need to get it done,” Ambrose said. “The first thing is to get that car in the race at Sonoma, and then we activate that plan. If we don’t, then I’ll just make my way to Milwaukee and practice and qualify the car and do the weekend as normal. We intend to try to do both, depending on how it works. If I get the 21 Wood Brothers car in the race, my focus is going to be primarily on that package.” Pressley, a 10-time winner in the No. 2 series, last ran a race in 2005. He’s a former driver for owner Tad Geschickter’s team and has served as a driver coach for JTG.(SceneDaily)(6-15-2008)

    • Kanaan visits MIS: Tony Kanaan, the only driver to win at MIS in both the Championship Auto Racing Teams series and the Indy Racing League, is at the speedway this weekend. "I just came here to support my friend, Dario Franchitti," Kanaan said. "This is my first time at a NASCAR race. I had my first victory at this place. I'll never forget this place. Every time I drive underneath the tunnel, I get good memories. It's a good place for me." Kanaan added that he was not considering a move to NASCAR. Kanaan won the CART race at MIS in 1999 and won the IRL race last August.(Michigan Live)(6-15-2008)

    • Logano wins 1st career NNS race; youngest ever: Joe Gibbs Racing rookie Joey Logano became the eighth different Nationwide Series race winner at Kentucky Speedway tonight in front of a track-record sellout crowd [eighth consecutive NNS sellout] of 73,195 assembled for the "Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo." The Middletown, Conn., driver known as "Sliced Bread" became the youngest victor in series history at age 18 years and 21 days as well as the third straight first-time series winner at the track after guiding his #20 GameStop Toyota across the finish line a series track-record 2.259 seconds ahead of Scott Wimmer in the #29 Holiday Inn Chevy.(Kentucky Speedway) Casey Atwood was the youngest Nationwide Series winner at 18 years, 10 months and 9 days winning at Milwaukee July 4, 1999. See results, points, news and more on my Nationwide Series site.(6-15-2008)


      News from June 14, 2008

    • Penske Racing Teams Up with Cunningham Motorsports: Helping to pave the way for its continued success in stock car racing, Penske Racing announced an official developmental partnership with Cunningham Motorsports. With the consistent growth of Penske Racing, which currently competes with three Dodge Chargers in the Sprint Cup Series and one Dodge Charger in Nationwide Series competition, the 2008 Daytona 500 championship team is eager to add to its history of motorsports success. As it looks for talented personnel to join the team in the future, Penske Racing will partner with Cunningham Motorsports, an established and proven team across the developmental racing ranks. Through this partnership, Penske Racing will work with the Cunningham Motorsports teams racing in USAC Midget, ARCA RE/MAX Series and Craftsman Truck Series competition. Penske Racing will also help develop the talented young drivers in the Cunningham Motorsports program as well as identify potential crew and team members to add to its staff in the future. In addition, the partnership will provide Penske Racing another source for testing as well as engine and chassis development as it continues to enhance its program.(Penske Racing PR)(6-14-2008)

    • Roush to be honored: Jack Roush of Roush Fenway Racing, was named a finalist for the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday. "The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame is certainly an organization that has a high standing in the community and is respected throughout the country, and if I'm up for an award, I feel honored by it," he said. Roush was nominated in the Contribution category. The inductees will be announced June 20. Roush is the chairman of the board of Roush Enterprises, the parent company for Roush Industries and Roush Performance, which are both headquartered in Livonia. Roush also calls Livonia home. Roush was inducted into the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.(Detroit News)(6-14-2008)

    • Pit Stall selections: #18-Kyle Busch starts first since he is the points leader and qualifying was rained out, the team chose the first pit stall, starting 2nd is #31-Burton and they chose the next opening, stall 11. The last pit stall was chosen by #6-Ragan. See the full pit stall selections on my MIS Pit Stall Selection page.(6-14-2008)

    • NASCAR Calls mandatory meeting for all Cup drivers Friday: NASCAR called a mandatory meeting for Sprint Cup drivers and owners before Friday's practice at Michigan International Speedway in which president Mike Helton encouraged everyone to keep the fans first. NASCAR officials and drivers both agreed this simply was a reminder that during these tough economic times when fans are paying $4 a gallon for gas to travel to tracks that drivers should be more positive about the sport. In other words stop complaining about the new car that has become a target for everything that is wrong in NASCAR's premier series, from creating boring races to being so hot that the drivers are at risk. "My interpretation was that the drivers should be thankful for the position they're in and should be more positive in where this car is going to be in a year or two," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. Jeff Burton agreed. "In today's conversation you could have heard whatever you wanted to hear," he said. "I bet if you asked every driver what they heard they would have said something different. What I heard was things aren't bad. Let's don't forget we can make things better."
      NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said this so-called "Come to Jesus" was a reminder of chairman Brian France's preseason back-to-basics message. That the timing was a few days after the lawsuit, he added, was merely coincidental and that the lawsuit wasn't discussed. "We remind them if it weren't for the fans we wouldn't be here," he said. "The fans are paying over $4 a gallon for gasoline. [We told them] to keep the fans in mind when you're talking, to show your appreciation to the fans. Without them this wouldn't be like it is." The criticism reached an all-time high last weekend at Pocono. Denny Hamlin and several others implied the car was much hotter than the older car and possibly put drivers at risk. Series director John Darby understands. He said there are a lot of things available to keep the cars cooler "that's not being used." He reiterated that NASCAR has no plan to change the car until it's been through an entire season.(in part from ESPN.com)(6-14-2008)


      News from June 13, 2008

    • Biffle-Roush close to a deal UPDATE: Roush-Fenway Racing is very close to signing driver #16-Greg Biffle to a new multi-year contract. “It looks like we’re down to the wire on it”; Biffle said following practice at Pocono. Biffle went onto say, “I suspect to have it wrapped up by Michigan I would think. You’ll see me in the 16 for a few years, that’s what it’s looking like. Roush has made a pretty strong offer…plus my cars are fast…all the things a guy wants…all the ingredients are there. I think that’s the decision I’m going to make."(PRN's Garage Pass)(6-6-2008)
      UPDATE: #16-Greg Biffle expects to sign a three-year extension with Roush Fenway Racing by the end of next week. Biffle recently canceled a trip outside of the country for a Tuesday brake test. He plans to use the free time around that to iron out the few remaining details on the deal. "We've basically agreed on everything else," he said on Friday at Michigan International Raceway. "It's just a matter of finding time for everybody to sit down and finish this thing." Biffle added that 3M will remain his primary sponsor, denying reports that Crown Royal would move from Jamie McMurray's car to his.(ESPN.com)(6-13-2008) Comment here

    • Forbes Rates the Most Valuable Teams In NASCAR: There's a widening gulf in NASCAR between stock car racing's biggest, most valuable teams and those hoping to hang on for just one more race. Since our first NASCAR valuation package two years ago, values have rocketed skyward, up 65% on average, to $119 million, thanks to a rash of investment in a sport whose radical growth over the past decade appears to be sputtering.
      The top-five MVT's are: Hendrick Motorsports at $335 million; Roush Fenway Racing $313 million; Joe Gibbs Racing $184 million; Gillett Evernham Motorsports $150 million; and Richard Childress Racing $130 million
      The top-five higest paid drivers listed by Forbes: 1. Jeff Gordon: $32 million; 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: $31 million; 3. Jimmie Johnson: $23 million; 4. Tony Stewart: $19 million; and 5. Kasey Kahne: $14 million.
      See full story with at Forbes.com and see the top paid drivers at Forbes.com.(6-13-2008)

    • Mother of 6 Soldiers to be Guest of U.S. Army Team at MIS: Mary Cay Thorrez-Wheeler, a mother of six soldiers, will be a guest of the #8 U.S. Army NASCAR team and driver Mark Martin for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). A resident of Jackson, Mich., Mary Cay will be joined at MIS by five of her Army sons. DJ, the oldest of the six family soldiers, was killed in Iraq during a patrol ambush in October 2003. He joined the Army following the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedies. "It will be an honor to meet Mary Cay and her sons," said Martin. "She is not only an inspiration to her family, but is also an inspiration to all parents who support and believe in their children's ambitions and dreams." The five soldier/siblings who will accompany Mary Cay to the LifeLock 400 NASCAR race are: Quentin (Army Reserve), Paul (Army, active duty), Spencer (Army, active duty), Dominic (Future Soldier) and Patrick (JROTC). Mary Cay and her sons are scheduled to participate in Sunday's U.S. Army birthday cake-cutting ceremony with Martin and Maj. Gen. Scott West, approximately 11:10 a.m. at the #8 hauler in the MIS garage. The U.S. Army, which was formed on June 14, 1775, is celebrating its 233rd birthday this weekend.(DEI PR)(6-13-2008)

    • Qualifying cancelled at MIS due to rain: rain washed out qualifying for the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, so the field was set by the NASCAR Rules books and by owners points [top-35], two past champs and the remaining by race attempts with ties broken by owners points standings. So #18-Busch starts 1st followed by #31-Burton, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #99-Edwards, #11-Hamlin, #48-Johnson, #16-Biffle, #24-Gordon, #9-Kahne and #29-Harvick. Two drivers will miss the race: #34-Raines and #70-Leffler. See the starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(6-13-2008)

    • #34 team gets assoc: Continental Fire & Safety will be an associate sponsor of the #34 Front Row Motorsports entry at various tracks during the reminder of the 2008 season. Continental was on the #34 entry driven by Tony Raines at Dover on June 1st of this year. They will also be on the car for the Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12th and the Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, September 21st. Additional races will be announced at a later date. Continental Fire & Safety - Your one stop solution for fire & safety products. They are committed to their customers by providing the most innovative and advanced fire, safety and suppression equipment and services available today to protect lives and property. "Continental Fire & Safety has partnered with us in the past and we appreciate the support they have given us", commented owner Bob Jenkins. "We are pleased to be associated with them for another year."(FRM PR)(6-13-2008)

    • Friday practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #48-Johnson 184.308
      #19-Sadler 183.383
      #7-Gordon 183.215
      #07-Bowyer 183.141
      #16-Biffle 182.829
      slowest: #34-Raines 174.817 and #70-Leffler 178.293
      incident: #78-Nemechek scraped the wall and did some minimal damage to the right side
      See the speeds run, ave speed, laps run on my Practice Speeds page.(6-13-2008)

    • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Michigan
      if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
      #40-Dario Franchitti, 9th fastest overall
      #10-Patrick Carpentier, 21st
      #84-A.J. Allmendinger, 23rd
      #55-Michael Waltrip, 24th
      #96-J.J. Yeley, 34th
      #45-Terry Labonte [CH1], 35th
      #78-Joe Nemechek, 42nd
      #21-Bill Elliott [CH2], 43rd
      if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
      #70-Jason Leffler, 44th
      #34-Tony Raines, 45th/last
      See the speeds run, ave speed, laps run on my Practice Speeds page.(6-13-2008)

    • CHP scheme for the #28 at Sonoma? images: hearing the #28 Yates Racing Ford of Travis Kvapil will run the CHP - California Highway Patrol colors at Infineon Raceway next weekend. See images on my Paint Scheme Gallery/Chart.(6-13-2008)

    • DuPont, Customers to Help Rebuild Town Leveled by Tornado: DuPont and #24-Jeff Gordon announced that DuPont will partner with customers and make an initial donation of more than 30 innovative products and services worth nearly $750,000 to help rebuild homes and businesses in tornado-ravaged Greensburg, Kan. The donation also includes funding for two Habitat for Humanity homes. The town was leveled by one of the largest tornados in U.S. history in 2007. Very few structures remained in the aftermath of the deadly EF5 tornado and more than 1,500 people, who were displaced, are waiting to return to their homes. Greensburg residents are rebuilding their town using sustainable materials. The materials, which include key end-use products from DuPont customers, will provide a number of benefits to homeowners in Greensburg for safety and energy efficiency, using sustainable materials for both inside and outside their homes. Greensburg will premiere on Planet Green on June 15 at 9:00pm/et/pt and will air every Sunday for 12 additional weeks. The series will document the story of a community coming together and the enormous scope of rebuilding a small city. The 13-part series also is the subject of featured programming on the Discovery Communications, Inc. sister networks Discovery Channel, Science Channel and TLC.(PRPLUS PR)(6-13-2008)


      News from June 12, 2008

    • LifeLock to Co-Sponsor Kahne at MIS and Indy: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that LifeLock, the nation's leading identity theft protection service, will co-sponsor the #9 Budweiser Dodge with driver Kasey Kahne when it races at Michigan Speedway this weekend [June 15th] and at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis on July 27. LifeLock also sponsors Gillett Evernham Motorsports driver #10-Patrick Carpentier in eight Sprint Cup races in the 2008 season. Team CEO Tom Reddin said the addition of two more races to the LifeLock schedule is another sign of the growing relationship between the two companies. LifeLock has held sponsorship deals in NASCAR, open wheel and sports car racing. Recently, it announced a three-year agreement to sponsor this weekend's Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan Speedway. LifeLock has created a special new offer for race fans interested in signing up for LifeLock's services. When signing up, fans will receive LifeLock services for free for the first 60 days by using the new promotional code "GEM". To sign up for LifeLock, fans can call 1-877-LIFELOCK or sign up online at www.evernham.com or www.lifelock.com.(GEM)(6-12-2008)

    • #16 Cask scheme for McMurray at MIS: In support of Father’s Day this weekend, Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Cask #16 Ford Fusion with a special Father’s Day message on the hood. McMurray’s father, Jim McMurray will have his name above the passenger door for this weekend’s race at Michigan.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(6-12-2008)

    • Montoya happier now with changes: As #42-Juan Pablo Montoya tried to explain his renewed commitment to Chip Ganassi Racing, the boss man walked up the stairs into the driver's motor home for a surprise visit. "Were your ears burning?" Montoya asked Ganassi. "No, why? Were you talking about me?" Ganassi answered. Before his star driver could reply, the owner had Montoya in a headlock as the two playfully greeted each other at Pocono Raceway. The relationship between the two is as strong as ever, surviving a rocky stretch last month when Montoya openly questioned the direction of Ganassi's NASCAR team. His criticism came after crew chief Donnie Wingo was transferred off his team, and a month later, replacement Jimmy Elledge was fired. It gave Montoya his third crew chief in just over a month, and despite the praise everyone around him had for Brian Pattie, the driver wasn't pleased with the change. Montoya wasn't convinced Pattie wanted the job, and didn't think the crew chief liked him very much. Three races and two test sessions later, he's had a complete change of heart. "A lot of people told me Brian would be good, but until it happens -- I've been told so many times in my career that things are going to be great and then they are not," Montoya said. "I'd rather wait and see. The way I've always been is if you expect great things, the fall is a lot bigger. This way I got to be pleasantly surprised." Montoya has been impressed with Pattie's dedication and focus on fostering the relationship. He praised Pattie for the frequent visits he makes to Montoya's motor home to go over notes, future setups and, more importantly, to bond with the driver. "He's the one making the extra effort to bond together and we go at it the right way," Montoya said. "It gives you a lot of confidence as a driver. You can see the guy trying hard and you'll do what he wants. You'll go the extra mile for him. With Wingo, we worked really hard, we worked really well together and I thought it was pretty good and we had a lot of respect for each other. With Elledge, I liked the guy because he was really aggressive and he was willing to try anything whether it was stupid or not. With this guy, he's a combination of both." And as for the rumors that Montoya might leave Ganassi to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing next season? Nothing to them, Montoya said. "I've got a deal with Chip, and I am 100 percent behind Chip," he said.(in part from the Associated Press)(6-12-2008)

    • Michigan Rookie Notes: #00-Michael McDowell was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 8 Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. McDowell logged a 27th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the second time in the last four Sprint Cup Series races. #01-Regan Smith holds a three-point lead (137-134) over #77-Sam Hornish Jr. in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 15 LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Smith started fourth at Pocono, his best qualifying effort in Sprint Cup Series races and equaled the best qualifying run by a Raybestos Rookie in 14 races this season (#10-Patrick Carpentier started fourth in the May race at Richmond). Three Raybestos Rookies have guaranteed starting positions at Michigan: Smith, McDowell and Hornish Jr. #40-Dario Franchitti and Patrick Carpentier must qualify for the race on speed. A Raybestos Rookie has finished inside the top-10 in three of the last four consecutive June races at Michigan. The most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in the LifeLock 400 is 25 by Jimmie Johnson in 2002. The only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in 39 previous LifeLock 400 races at Michigan is Loy Allen. Allen grabbed the top starting position for 1994 race.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see full report, history, standings and more on my 2008 Rookies page.(6-12-2008)

    • Michigan Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Michigan this weekend, though the Sprint Cup tires will be branded "Goodyear Eagle," while the Craftsman Tuck tires will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . . these teams ran this exact combination of left- and right-side tires at Dover two weeks ago . . . compared to the tire codes run at Michigan in 2007, there have been slight changes to the left-side construction to improve grip and performance, as well as to the right-side compound to improve treadwear . . .in addition to Michigan and Dover, Nationwide (this weekend) and Craftsman Truck (July 19) teams are scheduled to run this specific tire set-up at Kentucky this season . . . this left-side code (D-4134) will also be run with a different right-side code at Texas and Chicagoland . . . as on all NASCAR's ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Michigan . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.(Goodyear PR), see pressures, codes and more on my Michigan Race Info page.(6-12-2008)

    • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hosts 100th Episode of XM Radio Show: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will host the 100th episode of his XM Satellite Radio show "Dale Jr. Unrestricted" on June 12. The show airs Thursdays during NASCAR season at 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT on the XM Sports Nation channel (XM 144). Encores air on XM at various times through the weekend. For show number one hundred, Earnhardt and his friend and co-host Josh Snider will do their weekly round-up of the latest NASCAR news, and they will talk with professional golfer Boo Weekley, who recently won the Verizon Heritage tournament for the second year in a row. The first episode of "Dale Jr. Unrestricted" premiered on XM on February 13, 2006.(XM Radio)(6-12-2008)

    • Former NASCAR Crew Chief Escapes Injury In Boat Explosion: Former NASCAR crew chief Cliff Champion and three other people escaped serious injury Tuesday when the 80-foot charter boat Champion operates on Lake Norman exploded, but a 19-year-old man who was refueling the boat when the blast occurred was still missing at nightfall. Champion's company -- Championship Yacht Charters -- had just finished a graduation party cruise with about 60 people when the blast occurred. The partiers had exited the three-story boat and were getting into their cars when the 19-year-old man began refueling the yacht at Westport Marina. Champion was Benny Parsons' crew chief 1983-86 and it was during this time that the team he headed won the Ingersoll-Rand Pit Crew Championship. He also worked with Alan Kulwicki and long-time friend Ricky Rudd before deciding to start his charter business on Lake Norman about a decade ago. In his business, he worked closely with the racing community, providing charters for competitors, sponsors, race teams and Lowe's Motor Speedway. On May 17, he hosted an Appreciation Day for the Armed Forces, providing a day of cruises for troops from Fort Bragg and Fort Jackson and Marines from Camp Lejeune.(see full story at GoFastNews.com and updates at wsoctv.com)(6-12-2008)

    • EM Motorsports plans double duty at MIS UPDATE: EM Motorsports is competing in the both the ARCA RE/MAX Series Racing for Wildlife 200 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock 400 this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. James Hylton will be making his 32nd career start this weekend as he pilots the number #08 FUBAR Dodge Charger in ARCA RE/MAX competition. James made his first start at Michigan on June 15, 1969 in the Motor State 400. Hylton, driving the Hylton Motorsports 1969 Dodge Charger 500, finished in seventh place and collected $2,102 for his efforts.(EM Motorsports), no word who will drive the Sprint Cup car at MIS.(6-11-2008)
      UPDATE: been told that the #08 EM Motorsports has withdrew from the Cup race at Michigan.(6-12-2008)

    • NASA to host Daytona 500 media day at Kennedy Space Center: In honor of NASA's 50th anniversary and the 50th running of NASCAR's Daytona 500 in February, NASA's Kennedy Space Center will host a media day Tuesday, June 17, starting at 11:30am/et. The event will include the winner of this year's race, Ryan Newman. During the event, NASA will present NASCAR with two green racing flags that were flown last February aboard space shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station. One flag will be given to Newman, the second will be presented to Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig. A third flag that was flown will be kept by NASA for public display. At the event, Newman will drive the crawler-transporter, the huge tracked vehicle that carries space shuttles to the launch pad. The flag presentation ceremony will be at Launch Pad 39A. Following the ceremony, a news media question-and-answer session will be held at the pad. Afterward, there will be a separate interview opportunity for print media in Kennedy's news center auditorium. The connection between NASA and Daytona's International Speedway extends beyond their close proximity to one another. During recent years, technology developed for the space program has found many uses on Earth, including helping NASCAR drivers stay safe and increase performance.(PR)(6-12-2008)


      News from June 11, 2008

    • Labonte Signs Contract Extension with Petty: Petty Enterprises has announced the signing of 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte to a four-year contract extension. The contract will keep the veteran driver behind the wheel of the famed #43 Petty Enterprises Dodge through the 2012 Sprint Cup season. Labonte, 44, began driving the #43 Dodge in 2006. “I have known all along this is where I want to finish my racing career,” said Labonte. “The future is very bright for Petty Enterprises. As we continue to develop and learn from this new car we will increase our testing and engineering support. The investment from Boston Ventures will allow us to compete on the same level as the bigger Sprint Cup teams.” In Robbie Loomis, Jeff Meendering, Derrick Finley and others, we have some of the brightest minds in the garage area. They will continue to expand our resources which will continue to pay dividends for us both on and off of the track. After the initial meeting I had with Boston Ventures, it was evident they shared the same vision and desire to return Petty Enterprises to Victory Lane that we all have,” continued Labonte. “Their enthusiasm is contagious. When you can pair that with ‘The King,’ the confidence and success that he portrays, you have an organization that will be as strong as any in the Sprint Cup Series.” See full PR woth quotes and info on Baker and Davis at Pettyracing.com.(6-11-2008) Comment here

    • Petty Enterprises Names Zucker CEO: Petty Enterprises announced today that David Zucker has been named Chief Executive Officer of the legendary race team and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Zucker brings a wealth of business acumen and experience which will help grow and expand the Petty brand. Zucker has held prominent positions in the media, entertainment, sports and technology sectors, serving most recently as President and CEO of Midway Games, Inc., a publisher and developer of video games for home console and PC platforms. The company, based in Chicago, IL, had 900 employees and produced the Mortal Kombat and NBA Ballers series of video games. Zucker also spent 11 years with the Walt Disney Company, including eight years at ESPN, where he helped expand their motorsports strategy, directed the programming launch of ESPN2, championed the original X-Games and oversaw the growth of ESPN International to include 21 networks in 20 languages around the world. See full PR woth quotes and info on Zuckr at Pettyracing.com.(6-11-2008) Comment here

    • Boston Ventures Invests in Petty Enterprises: Boston Ventures, a leading middle market private equity firm, announced that it has agreed to a sizeable investment in Petty Enterprises and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. The infusion of capital will allow Petty Enterprises to significantly grow the organization with the goal of returning to the pinnacle of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and growing the Richard Petty Driving Experience into the safe driving and performance sectors. Barry Baker, Managing Director of Boston Ventures, will become Chairman of Petty Enterprises. Andrew C. Davis, Managing Director of Boston Ventures, will also serve on the newly formed Petty Enterprises Board of Directors. See full PR woth quotes and info on Baker and Davis at Pettyracing.com.(6-11-2008) Comment here

    • Promotion Dedicated to NASCAR Team Community Will Benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp: In honor of NASCAR's 60th anniversary and Father's Day, Tissot, the Official Watch and Timekeeper of NASCAR, will launch the Tissot Father's Day Charity Drive Contest to honor the unsung heroes of the NASCAR world. To demonstrate Tissot's commitment to the NASCAR community, the company has created a special photo contest to acknowledge and honor those who sacrifice time away from families -- the fathers, sons and daughters in the sport. The Tissot Father's Day Charity Drive Contest encourages NASCAR team members, including crews and race shop mechanics, to submit a photo with their fathers or their own sons or daughters to NASCARmembers.com. Each person submitting a photo is eligible to win a free Tissot watch. Tissot will select the best 60 photos in honor of NASCAR's anniversary. The owners of the chosen photos will win a Tissot timepiece valued at up to $495 and will have a choice of 8 styles from Tissot. For each photo received, Tissot will make a $60 donation to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Crew members can enter starting on Thursday June 12 through Friday August 1, 2008. All instructions and rules are contained on the NASCARmembers.com website. The Tissot Father's Day Charity Drive Contest will culminate with Tissot making a donation to Victory Junction Gang Camp founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty. The camp enriches the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.(6-11-2008)

    • MWR in trouble? UPDATE2 denied again: been hearing that there might be trouble over at Michael Waltrip Racing. It seems that they are laying people off, telling them that it is because of financial issues. The team currently fields three Sprint Cup cars, the #00, the #44 and the #55, and one Nationwide Series car, the #99. This year Waltrip brought on a partner, Robert Kauffman, after suffering huge losses on renovations for his Cornelius, NC race shop and a bad 2007 season. Primary sponsor UPS is also pulling out of the team at the end of this season.(NASCAR Insiders, a site that claims to be two NASCAR insiders, including a crew member and journalist, see a follow up on this there also: The MWR Discussion Continues…)(6-9-2008)
      UPDATE: from a Michael Waltrip Racing PR - There is a rumor that reports MWR has fallen on tough times and may go away. Is that true? Waltrip says, "I fancy myself as being a friend to one of the Web sites that is reporting that. But I have to say that the rumor is probably one of the most ridiculous things I have read on the internet. We are probably on as good of footing financially as anyone in the garage area. We are focused on the future. When you are a new team, a lot of times there is turnover. There is reorganization. That is what is going on at MWR and will continue to happen until we hit our stride. We are not in any peril as being reported. We are very into what we are doing and what we need to do to be successful."(MWR PR)(6-10-2008)
      UPDATE2: "In response to the baseless comments posted on an anonymous web site this week, I want to be clear that categorizing Michael Waltrip Racing as anything other than growing would be incorrect," said Calvin Wells III, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Michael Waltrip Racing. "The partnership formed between Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman last October has allowed MWR to meet our short-term objectives while setting the course for our long-term success. MWR is financially sound but fiscally responsible, as all race team owners should be. We have made some recent moves to re-allocate our funds towards areas which will maintain long-term success for MWR, including significant capital investments in equipment, continued expansion of our engineering staff, a more concentrated effort with our test team and the expansion of our Sales/Marketing division with the recent hiring of a Chief Marketing Officer, while broadening our alliances with Toyota Racing Development and other technology partners. In only our second year, MWR maintains a growth pattern towards success and continues to be a destination point for fans, employees, drivers and sponsors, just as Michael Waltrip believed it would be when he embarked on this life-long dream two years ago."(Michael Waltrip Racing)(6-11-2008) Comment here

    • Petty Enterprises Press Conference: Kyle Petty hosted the press conference at Lowe's Motor Speedway, with NASCAR's Brian France, #43 driver Bobby Labonte, Richard Petty, new CEO David Zucker and Andrew C. Davis, Managing Dorector of Boston Ventures were seated at the front table.
      The partnership between Petty Enterprises and Boston Ventures was announced.
      Zucker becomes the first non Petty to be in charge.
      Zucker says he plans to expand to more teams/cars in the future
      Boston Ventures would not say what percentage of Petty Enterprises they invested in
      No 2009 sponsor was named for the #43 or #45, General Mills/Cheerrios will leave the #43 after 2008 and head to a 4th RCR team.
      Bobby Labonte is signed to drive the #43 Dodge thru 2012 and says there are options for him to becomed more involved with the afterwards.(6-11-2008)

    • Same sponsor for the Labonte brothers at MIS: both Petty Enterprises will run similar paint schemes in the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway with #43-Bobby Labonte and #45 Terry Labonte running Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil schemes. Terry Labonte comments: "It's going to be cool to wear the Marathon colors this week, especially with this being close to their home in Findlay, Ohio. My brother, Bobby, and I are both running the Marathon colors. Our paint schemes will be mirrored. It will be easy for our dad to find us on Sunday. It has been a few years since I raced on Father's Day weekend. Sharing the track with my brother will make it special."(Petty Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page and #45 Team Schemes page.(6-11-2008)

    • Big Mac theme at MIS for Sadler: Elliott Sadler and the #19 Dodge team will make people in the Michigan International Speedway NASCAR garage and grandstands very hungry this weekend when they roll by them. Sporting the familiar McDonald's orange and yellow colors, the car has a very visual Big Mac theme to their paint scheme.(GEM PR) see an image of the car on my #19 Team Schemes page.(6-11-2008)

    • Both Yates cars to have same sponsor at MIS: FreeCreditReport.com, the regualr sponsor for Daivd Gilliland in the #38 Yates Racing Ford, will also sponsor teammate Travis Kavpil in the #28 Yates Racing Ford in the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Kvapil will also run FreeCreditReport.com at Chicago in July.(Yates Racing)(6-11-2008)

    • Testing at Nashville: Nashville Superspeedway hosted Richard Childress Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing Tuesday, June 10. Hendrick Motorsports will test at the track Wednesday. David Green will test the 24 car on the 1.33 mile concrete track.(NSS PR)(6-11-2008)

    • Special schemes for the #40 and #42 at MIS: This weekend, the Wrigley’s Brand’s will rev up the new Juicy Fruit and Big Red Slim Pack, sleek 15-stick envelope packages that are more durable and portable. New Slim Pack paint schemes on the Big Red and Juicy Fruit Dodges as well as the new Slim Pack television commercials will air and will run throughout the race on TNT. Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Dodge will feature Big Red, while his teammate Dario Franchitti will carry the Juicy Fruit logo on his #40 Dodge.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(6-11-2008)

    • Cup Series Drivers Complete Test at Infineon Raceway: Six Sprint Cup Series drivers completed a one-day test session on Tuesday at Infineon Raceway in advance of the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 20-22. For one of the drivers, it was a return to familiar surroundings, albeit in a different type of racecar. #77-Sam Hornish Jr. posted a career-best finish of fifth in three IndyCar Series starts in the Sonoma Valley. Getting behind the wheel of a NASCAR stock car may be a different story. "I've driven around this track before, but I've never seen this track configuration, so it's different," said Hornish, who tested in a Penske Racing Nationwide Series car. "Any track that I really liked in IndyCar, I don't seem to like in the stock car, so I'm trying to treat this like I'm coming out here for the first time. We'll see if that helps." Other drivers at the test included: #28-Travis Kvapil; #21-Marcos Ambrose; #96-J.J. Yeley; #6-David Ragan; and #38-David Gilliland. Yeley, Ragan, Ambrose and Kvapil tested in GT America stock cars supplied by Pioneer Motorsports out of Lake Oroville (outside Sacramento), while Gilliland piloted a NASCAR Camping World Series West car. For Ambrose, it was the first time he stepped foot on the Sonoma Valley facility. He is a regular in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Unlike Ambrose, Gilliland has had plenty of success at Infineon Raceway, winning the NASCAR Southwest Series event in 2004, and the Camping World Series West race in 2007. Gilliland's NASCAR Cup debut also came in Sonoma in 2006. For ticket information on the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 20-22, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway PR)(6-11-2008)

    • Victory Junction NASCARnival Night: On Tuesday, the Richard Childress Racing's Sprint Cup Series over-the-wall crews made a special visit to the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C. While at the camp, the crews ate dinner with the campers and demonstrated real-time pit stops. Additionally, RCR's over-the-wall teams took hot air balloon rides, played carnival games and made snow cones with the campers. All the campers this week suffer from Chron's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects an estimated 500,000 people in the United States.(RCR)(6-11-2008)

    • Vanity license plates: Earnhardt style: On Monday at a license plate bureau in Kannapolis, NC. Martha Earnhardt [Dale Earnhardt's mother] joined Dale Jr.’s mother Brenda Jackson, and his sister Kelley Earnhardt Elledge to show off their specialized NASCAR license plates. The state Department of Motor Vehicles offers 25 specialty NASCAR plates, including one with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s number 88. On the honor, Martha says, “I never thought I’d have a license plate for my grandson.” Hers reads, "GMAW," short for Grandma. Jackson’s reads "MOMA" and Elledge’s "1SIS." It was a charity that got the Earnhardt family involved in this effort. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the plates goes to the North Carolina Motorsports Foundation, which then funds programs and scholarships for students who want to work in the industry. Jackson hopes NASCAR fans get behind the effort, saying, “The whole thing is a win, win situation. You’ve got a nice looking tag that you can put your mark on and help a lot of kids out. So, I’m very excited about it.” The special plates add $30 to your yearly registration fee -- more if you want them personalized. Of that, $20 is sent to the foundation. In all, there are 25 drivers to choose from. The plates are on sale now through the state DMV website at www.ncdot.org/dmv.(WCNC.com)(6-11-2008)


      News from June 10, 2008

    • Pocono Ratings up 27% over 2007: Turner Sports hit the track this past Sunday with the first of it's six 2008 Sprint Cup Summer Series races on Turner Network Television (TNT). TNT's coverage of the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway earned a 3.9 US rating, up 27% over last year's coverage on the network. The race was also the top-ranked program for the week on cable among total viewers (6,098,000), households (4,393,000), adults 18-49 (2,780,000) and adults 25-54 (3,271,000).(TNT PR)(6-10-2008)

    • Testing at Milwaukee: Sprint Cup teams are scheduled to be testing at The Milwaukee Mile Tuesday June 10, Wednesday June 11, Thursday, June 12 and Friday, June 13. Free admission to grandstands for spectators between 9am and 5pm daily. Teams anticipated during Tuesday’s test include Hendrick Motorsports [Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Casey Mears], Richard Childress Racing [Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton], Roush Fenway Racing [Carl Edwards, David Ragan, Colin Braun], Bill Davis Racing [Michael Annett, Dave Blaney] and Haas CNC Racing [Johnny Sauter, Scott Riggs]. Among the expected teams to test through Friday of this week on various days include Team Red Bull, Petty Enterprises and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. These teams may elect to bring in test drivers rather than the well-known ‘Cup Series stars, and some drivers MAY NOT be driving/in attendance. There will be access to fans in the grandstands only. All activities subject to change without notice.(The Milwaukee Mile PR)(6-10-2008) Comment here

    • #66 Penalties uphead by NASCAR Commission: On June 9, 2008, the National Stock Car Racing Commission [Leo Mehl, Kevin Whitaker, George Silbermann, Chairman] heard and considered the appeal of Haas CNC Racing regarding the #66 car. The appeal concerned four penalties issued by NASCAR stemming from inspection on May 24, 2008 at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing” and Section 20.3.1.3A “Wing mounting locations were not as specified by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book.” The penalties assessed were:
      • Loss of 150 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points, and confiscation of the racecar, for car owner Joe Custer.
      • Loss of 150 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver Points for driver Scott Riggs.
      • $100,000.00 fine; suspension from NASCAR for the next six (6) Sprint Cup Series Championship Events; suspension from NASCAR until July 9, 2008, and probation until December 31, 2008 for crew chief Bootie Barker.
      • Suspension from NASCAR for the next six (6) Sprint Cup Series Championship Events; suspension from NASCAR until July 9, 2008, and probation until December 31, 2008 for team member Derick Jennings.
      The Appellants did not contest the rules violation, but argued that the penalties were too severe for the infractions. They also argued that the infractions did not involve illegal parts on the car, and that the resulting higher wing location was a disadvantage. The Commission found that the infractions resulted from what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to circumvent the inspection process. Accordingly, the penalties that were issued are warranted. Therefore, it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.(NASCAR PR)(6-10-2008) Comment here

    • #70 Penalties uphead by NASCAR Commission: On June 9, 2008, the National Stock Car Racing Commission [Dale Pinilis, Cathy Rice, George Silbermann, Chairman] heard and considered the appeal of Haas CNC Racing regarding the #77 car. The appeal concerned four penalties issued by NASCAR stemming from inspection on May 24, 2008 at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing” and Section 20.3.1.3A “Wing mounting locations were not as specified by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book.” The penalties assessed were:
      • Loss of 150 Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points, and confiscation of the racecar, for car owner Margaret Haas.
      • Loss of 150 Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver Points for driver Johnny Sauter.
      • $100,000.00 fine; suspension from NASCAR for the next six (6) Sprint Cup Series Championship Events; suspension from NASCAR until July 9, 2008, and probation until December 31, 2008 for crew chief David Skog.
      • Suspension from NASCAR for the next six (6) Sprint Cup Series Championship Events; suspension from NASCAR until July 9, 2008, and probation until December 31, 2008 for team member Thomas Harris.
      The Appellants did not contest the rules violation, but argued that the penalties were too severe for the infractions. They also argued that the infractions did not involve illegal parts on the car, and that the resulting higher wing location was a disadvantage. The Commission found that the infractions resulted from what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to circumvent the inspection process. Accordingly, the penalties that were issued are warranted. Therefore, it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.(NASCAR PR)(6-10-2008) Comment here

    • Hamlin named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Pocono: Kevin Hamlin, crew chief of the #83 Red Bull Toyota driven by Brian Vickers, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday’s Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. After starting 15th, Vickers led 18 laps and paced the field until eventual race winner Kasey Kahne passed him on fresher tires with 15 laps to go. Following a caution on lap 178, Hamlin instructed Vickers to stay out rather than come in for tires. And although the Red Bull team did not visit victory lane, Hamlin’s quick thinking and strategy awarded them a successful runner-up position, the team’s best career finish ever. 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 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. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(Wypall PR)(6-10-2008)

    • HANS advancements approved by NASCAR: HANS Performance Products announced that NASCAR has approved the use of the new Vision Advantage PLUS sliding tether system and the HANS Device Sport Series. The new Vision Advantage PLUS sliding tether system permits improvements in left and right visibility by allowing easy but controlled rotation of a racer’s helmet. The proven results are tethers that allow over four times the field of view of competing head and neck restraints. The HANS Device Sport Series provides drivers with class leading performance at a value price. Starting at $595 for youth sizes, the Sport Series features a revolutionary carbon fiber composite combined with an innovative and proprietary molding process. NASCAR did extensive testing to ensure their driver’s protection. Sales Director Howard Bennett said, “We’re very pleased that NASCAR approved the Vision Advantage Plus sliding tether and HANS Device Sport Series. We recognize they trust us to keep NASCAR participants secure.” Introduced at the PRI show in December of 2007, the Vision Advantage Plus sliding tether and HANS Device Sport Series have been approved by the SFI Foundation and the FIA.(HANS PR)(6-10-2008)

    • Petty Investor to be announced soon UPDATE 3 announc Wed: Petty Enterprises' yearlong search to find an investment partner seems to be in the final stages, with an announcement tentatively planned for next week to announce a deal with a private equity firm. Boston Ventures is expected to take over a controlling interest in the company, which has fallen behind NASCAR's top organizations and needs a boost to become competitive. Richard Petty declined to discuss the deal Saturday. "We're not even going there," he said. Robbie Loomis, vice president of racing operations, said Petty Enterprises is an attractive partner to any potential investors. "The Petty brand is such a clean brand and stands for so much, and we want to take it to the next level with the right company," Loomis said. Boston Ventures has invested six funds totaling $2.6 billion in capital commitments in its 22-year history. Some of Boston Ventures previous portfolio companies include American Media Inc., Motown Records, Six Flags Entertainment and Continental Cablevision.(ESPN/AP)(6-8-2008)
      UPDATE: not sure if this is a press conference for the investor, but Petty Enterprises will host a news conference on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 11:00am/et at Lowe's Motor Speedway Media Center with Richard Petty, Bobby Labonte, Kyle Petty and others attending. Hearing that Labonte's new deal with Petty could be announced and possibly a new sponsor.(6-9-2008)
      UPDATE 2: The future of Petty Enterprises will become clearer on Wednesday. NASCAR's most famed organization has called a news conference for 11am/et Wednesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Among the expected topics are a partnership with Boston Ventures Management and the re-signing of Bobby Labonte.(ESPN.com)
      UPDATE 2a: On Wednesday, Petty Enterprises will announce that Boston Ventures, a private equity firm, has acquired controlling interest in the 60-year-old racing operation which has produced 10 NASCAR champions but struggled to remain competitive the last two decades. Richard Petty will remain involved at a high level, but David Zucker, 45, will assume the role of CEO according to David Hovis, a spokesman for Petty Enterprises. Hovis also said it will also be announced that veteran driver Bobby Labonte has agreed to a four-year extension. Labonte will continue to drive for what is expected to remain a two-car Cup team for 2009. Until March, Zucker had been CEO of Midway Games, a Chicago-based producer of video games. In 2002, Zucker was named president and CEO of Playboy Enterprises. From 1988-1999 he was with the Walt Disney Corp., becoming executive vice president at ESPN. He also served as director of ESPN International, overseeing international operations. Petty said the initial deal is to run two cars but indicated he'd like to have a third Cup team running full time by 2010. Sponsorship, however, remains an issue. The team is losing its primary sponsor of the Labonte's #43 car. General Mills, to Richard Childress Racing next year. Hovis said a fourth component of the deal will be announced at a Wednesday press conference.(USA Today)(6-10-2008) Comment here

    • Ragan on TV show tonight: Roush Fenway Racing’s #6-David Ragan will appear on the Travel Channel series, “Lawerence of America,” Tuesday, June 10th at 11pm/et. The series is new to the Travel Channel and features Lawerence immersing himself in American culture. In the episode Lawerence will spend some time with Ragan and see what racing is all about. The two team up to drive some go-karts to give Lawerence a feel of what it’s like to be behind the wheel. "It was fun filming the show with Lawrence last fall,” said Ragan. “I think he learned a lot and it will be a great way to hopefully introduce the sport to some new fans to the sport. We had a good time at the go-kart track, but next time we’ll go the big track and see how he does.”(Roush Fenway Racing)(6-10-2008)

    • Racing Resources Says …
      * Kasey Kahne won the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, scoring his ninth career series victory in 158 races. He led the most laps, five times for 69 laps. He is the third multiple-race winner in 2008.
      * Five of Kahne's nine wins have come from the Coor's Light pole. Kahne is the 13th driver to win from a top-10 starting position in the 14 races in 2008. Kahne's last series victory came at Lowe's, two races ago.
      * This was Kahne's first victory in nine races at Poco#His previous best Pocono finish was third in August 2004. This marked his third top-10 finish at Pocono, and he became the 28th different race winner in 61 races at Pocono.
      * This is the second victory for Gillette Evernham Motorsports in 2008.
      * Brian Vickers (second) scored his best finish in 2008. It was his fourth top-5 finish at Pocono and best finish since joining Team Red Bull.
      * Denny Hamlin (third) scored his fifth top-10 finish in five races at Pocono.
      * Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 2008.
      * Jeff Burton (fifth) is the only driver to score a top-15 finish in each of the 14 races this season.
      * Carl Edwards (ninth) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 2008. Edwards has scored top-10 finishes in his past five races, extending a streak that began at Richmond.
      * A.J. Allmendinger (12th) scored his career-best finish.
      * Kevin Harvick (13th) extended the longest streak of running at the finish to 58 races; the streak began in October 2006 at Kansas.
      * Jeff Gordon (14th ) ended a streak of four straight top-10 finishes that began at Richmond. He dropped from sixth to eighth in points.
      * Kyle Busch (43rd) ended a seven-race streak of top-10 finishes that began at Texas.
      * Busch finished 43rd for the third time in his 128-race career. He last finished 43rd at Michigan on Aug. 21, 2005. He remains first in the points standings but lost 121 points. He now is just 21 points ahead of second-place Burton.
      * Elliott Sadler (34th) has been running at the finish in 19 straight races at Pocono, the longest current streak.
      * 34 cars finished on the lead lap.
      * Seven points separate 12th-place Tony Stewart from 13th-place David Ragan as the race to the chase continues with 12 events remaining.(ESPN.com)(6-10-2008)

    • Biffle to Be Honored by Long Island Animal Rescue Organization: #16-Greg Biffle and his wife Nicole will be honored for their life saving efforts on behalf of homeless animals at North Shore Animal League America’s Seventh Annual Lewyt Humane Awards Luncheon. North Shore Animal League America’s 7th Annual Lewyt Humane Awards Luncheon honors nine individuals and organizations who have helped to save lives and sustain the Animal League’s mission to rescue, nurture and adopt. The event will be held on Wednesday, June 11th, 12:00 to 3:00pm/et at the Garden City Hotel, 45 Seventh St., Garden City, NY. Along with the Biffles honorees are the Laura J. Niles Foundation, Dr. Laura Gay Senk of the LI Cat Project, animal rescuers Susan Ford and Kate Mizzoni, feline heroes Roxie and Molly, animal photographer Christopher Appoldt, New York Post, author and animal activist Jana Kohl, and Firstborn Multimedia. For additional information about North Shore Animal League America visit www.aninmal-league.org.(North Shore Animal League America PR)(6-10-2008)


      News from June 9, 2008

    • Win #200 for Dodge: with #9-Kasey Kahne's win in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, it was Dodge's 200th all-time win in NASCAR Cup racing with is third best of all the manufacturers since the sport began in 1949. Lee Petty won the first race for Dodge at Palm Beach Speedway in Feb 1953. Dodge last won the manufacturers championship in 1975 and was out of the sport from 1978 thru 2000. See the full list of manufacturers wins on the Dodge site and info on the manufacturers on my 2008 Manufacturers Championship page.(6-9-2008) Comment here

    • Zippy thinks Stewart has made his decision: While #20-Tony Stewart continues to play coy about his future, at least one person believes the two-time Cup champion already has decided what he plans to do. "I honestly think the decision's made, I just don't think we all know yet," crew chief Greg Zipadelli said. Stewart and Zipadelli are in their 10th season together at Joe Gibbs Racing in the longest active driver-crew chief combination in the garage.(ESPN/AP)(6-9-2008) Comment here

    • Newman talking future with Penske, but sponsorship could affect it UPDATE: #12-Ryan Newman already has been in discussions about his future with Penske Racing, and now the issue is complicated with the uncertainty over sponsor Alltel. Alltel and Verizon announced Thursday that Verizon has agreed to purchase Alltel, with the transaction completed by the end of the year pending approval from industry regulators. Verizon plans to drop the Alltel brand, and NASCAR officials are adamant that Verizon cannot replace Alltel on the car because Verizon was not grandfathered in when NASCAR signed Nextel as its premier series sponsor in 2003. Will the uncertainty of the sponsor impact negotiations? “Long term, yeah, it’s going to have an influence,” Newman said on Friday after qualifying at Pocono Raceway. “I don’t know what that influence is yet. Obviously, it’s new news to everybody, including most of the people at Alltel. I’ll keep doing what I usually do and see what happens.” Penske Racing has a long-term deal with Alltel beyond this season, and its status might not be determined until late in the season or early next year depending on when the deal is completed and when Verizon drops the Alltel name. Newman could sign a contract without a committed sponsor but that is rare for marquee drivers. “I don’t know,” Newman said when asked if he would sign without a sponsor commitment. “I have no idea how long things are going to take and what the situation is going to be like.”(SceneDaily)(6-7-2008)
      UPDATE: Team owner Roger Penske said he does not believe uncertainty surrounding primary sponsor Alltel will affect negotiations with driver #12-Ryan Newman. Communications company Alltel last week indicated it has agreed to sell to its business Verizon in a deal that should conclude by the end of this year. Verizon will not be able to replace Alltel as a sponsor on Newman's car, NASCAR officials said, citing the ATT/Cingular issue involving Richard Childress Racing and Jeff Burton's car last year. "We have not had any discussion strategically how that [sale] will affect the brand at this point," Penske said Sunday at Pocono Raceway. "They have a number of options. It's way too early for me to speculate what's going to happen with the sponsorship. We're waiting to see when the transaction, if it happens, when it gets executed and what's going to be the brand strategy." Penske said his team could absorb any financial issues if Alltel has to withdraw. "We have a long-term commitment with Alltel, and I'm certainly sure they wouldn't leave us high and dry," Penske said. "We're a team that can operate with or without a sponsor. We have done it in the past." Newman, who joined Penske Racing with Alltel in 2002, continues to negotiate with Penske Racing. Newman, whose contract expires at the end of this year, said he is not concerned about this future. "I know that once you're in this place [Sprint Cup racing], you're pretty much locked in unless you screw up," Newman said. "There's no point in being emotional about something that doesn't require emotion." Newman also said he is talking to other teams. "I have to do that to be fair to myself," Newman said. "I'm not leading the points, and if I was, it would be a no-brainer. It's not like marriage. It's not like we're locked in for life. You can stop with whoever you're dating and date someone else. You can have more than one phone number in your phone." Penske said the negotiations with Newman have been "very open." "I've talked to drivers, and drivers have talked to us," Penske said. "[Newman] and I have had very open conversations for several months. It's good that everybody gets a chance to see what's out there and what are the opportunities and at the time we've got to make a decision, we'll make it." Penske also addressed a rumor that he is interested in buying Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, saying there is nothing to it. "Chip's been a friend of mine for a long time, and I think that all came out of a comment, 'How can we work together to get better?' " Penske said.(ESPN.com)(6-9-2008) Comment here

    • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick has been running at the finish in 58 consecutive races, the longest current streak, next up is #07-Bowyer at 51 consecutive races.(6-8-2008)

    • DNF [Did Not Finish] Record: The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963. Kevin Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record at 58 (10/3/2002-8/1/2004) then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.

    • Petty expects Labonte back in 2009: Kyle Petty answering a viewer question submitted on NASCAR.com on what car Bobby Labonte will race next year: "This year Bobby Labonte drives the 43 car, which is obviously a teammate to the 45 car. I think Bobby Labonte will end up in the 43 car (next year). We feel very confident in where we've been and where we're going (with Bobby this year) and some of the things that Bobby has helped us do...Bobby is an integral part of Petty Enterprises, what Petty Enterprises is and where Petty Enterprises is going."(TNT PR)(6-9-2008) Comment here

    • Leffler back at MIS: Jason Leffler said he would run the [#70 Chevy] car next week at Michigan, while competing for Braun Racing, his regular team, in the Nationwide race at Kentucky.(SceneDaily)(6-9-2008) Comment here

    • More on Villeneuve; Davis still interested: Barry Green, business manager for Jacques Villeneuve, said the former Formula One champion definitely wants to be in the Sprint Cup series in 2009. Green, who denied reports last week that he and Villeneuve planned to start their own Cup team, said Villeneuve has turned down several offers to race in Europe. "He wants Sprint Cup," Green said. "We are far from having a deal for 2009 put together. We would like to see him do a handful of races this year." Green said "it's a given" Villeneueve will compete in the Nationwide race in Montreal on Aug. 2, but was not prepared to say which team he will be with. Villeneuve entered this season with Bill Davis Racing. He did not qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500 and never attempted another Cup race because he had no sponsorship. Villeneuve split shortly after with then-business manager Craig Pollock. Davis said he is interested in continuing the relationship with Villeneuve. "Barry is trying to salvage something," Davis said. "We've got a good relationship with Barry and Jacques, and if they get something worked out, we would be all ears."(ESPN.com)(6-9-2008) Comment here

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Pocono 500
      Total number of commercials: 151
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 78
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 36
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:27 PM
      Total minutes: 267
      Minutes of race broadcast: 198
      Minutes of commercials: 69
      Number of missed restarts: 1
      Number of 'mystery cautions': 1
      See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(6-9-2008)



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