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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    JUNE 16-22, 2008


      News from June 22, 2008

    • Jimmy Spencer to be Honored at New Hampshire: As part of a season-long celebration of 60 years of Modified champions, two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titlist Jimmy Spencer will be honored at the New England 100 on June 28 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Spencer, who currently works for SPEED TV as a co-host for "NASCAR Raceday" and "NASCAR Victory Lane," became the first driver to earn back-to-back NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championships in 1986 and 1987. He is one of just three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers to capture consecutive titles. NASCAR plans to honor each of its 31 all-time Modified champions throughout the season. The celebration began with the recognition of Frankie Schneider, Donny Lia and Richie Evans at Thompson on April 6. Since the season-opener Red Byron, Jeff Fuller, Ernie Gahan and Mike Stefanik have also been recognized. (NASCAR PR)(6-22-2008)

    • Kyle Busch wins at Infineon: #18-Kyle Busch won the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway for his 5th win of 2008 and the 9th of his career. He came from the 30th spot at the start and led 78 of the 110 laps. #38-Gilliland finished 2nd [his career best finish], followed by #24-Gordon, #07-Bowyer, #5-Mears, #42-Montoya, #12-Newman, #17-Kenseth, #99-Edwards, and #20-Stewart. There were 6 cautions for 14 laps and their were 6 lead changes among 6 drivers.
      For race results, awards and more, see my Infineon Race Results Awards Page.(6-22-2008)

    • Infineon Raceway Fast Facts:
      .. Kyle Busch won the Toyota/Save Mart 350, his ninth victory in 130 Sprint Cup Series races. It is his first on a road-course. Busch has now won on all four type tracks on NASCAR’s premier circuit.
      .. This is his fifth victory and 11th top-10 finish in 2008.
      .. This is his second top-10 finish in four races at Infineon Raceway.
      .. David Gilliland (second) scored his career-best finish and posted his first top-10 finish in three races at Infineon. It is his second top-10 finish in 2008.
      .. Jeff Gordon (third) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 2008 and his 12th in 16 races at Infineon.
      .. Michael McDowell (21st) was the highest finishing rookie.
      .. The five foreign-born drivers in this race marks the most ever for a Sprint Cup Series event. Three foreign-born drivers was the most that had competed in a series event previously which occurred eight time, most recently in this race in 2007.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-22-2008)

    • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Infineon race 16 of 36]:
      1) #18-Kyle Busch 2408 [5 wins]
      2) #31-Jeff Burton 2305 -103 [1 win]
      3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2256 -152 [1 win]
      4) #99-Carl Edwards 2150 -258 [3 wins]
      5) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2079 -329 [1 win]
      6) #24-Jeff Gordon 2041 -367
      7) #16-Greg Biffle 2019 -389
      8) #11-Denny Hamlin 2008 -400 [1 win]
      9) #9-Kasey Kahne 1958 -450 [2 wins]
      10) #07-Clint Bowyer 1924 -484 [1 win]
      11) #20-Tony Stewart 1908 -500
      12) #17-Matt Kenseth 1892 -516
      other chase contenders
      13) #29-Kevin Harvick 1890 -518 [2 pts out of the chase]
      14) #6-David Ragan 1848 -560 [-44]
      15) #83-Brian Vickers 1788 -620 [-104]
      16) #12-Ryan Newman Dodge 1787 -621 [-105]
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Infineon page. (6-22-2008)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at New Hampshire:
      no changes in the top 35, but the #41 & #7 teams are closer to falling out
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      30) #01-Smith/DEI, 1,263, +55
      31) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing, 1,257 +49
      32) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing, 1,251, +43
      33) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing, 1,248, +40
      34) #7-Gordon/Gordon, 1,239 +31
      35) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing, 1,228, +20 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
      36) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing, 1,208, -20 points out of 35th
      37) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing, 1,099 -129
      38) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing, 972 -256
      39) #40-Franchitti/Ganassi Racing 947 -281
      For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(6-22-2008)

    • Infineon Penalty Report:
      Car #, Reason, Penalty, Lap Issued
      #60, Excessive speed - Exiting pits, PT, 32
      #31, Excessive speed - Exiting pits, PT, 67
      #15, Excessive speed - Exiting pits, TE, 70
      #60, Excessive Speed-Entering pits, TE, 71
      #55, Excessive speed - Exiting pits, TE, 71
      #01, Pitting before Pit Road is Open, TE, 105
      #41, Pitting before Pit Road is Open, TE, 108
      PT – Pass through
      TE – Tail end of the longest line
      SG – Stop and Go
      OL – One lap
      ND – NASCAR discretion
      MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-22-2008)

    • Who got a lap back on each caution at Infineon: (and their finish)
      Caution 1: #8-Almirola, 28th
      Caution 2: #11-Hamlin, 27th
      Caution 3: #78-Nemechek, 26th
      Caution 4: none awarded with 10 or less laps to go in the race
      Caution 5: none awarded with 10 or less laps to go in the race
      Caution 6: none awarded with 10 or less laps to go in the race
      (6-22-2008)

    • No Sponsor for Robby Gordon at Infineon; UPDATE 2: Camping World & DLP: Robby Gordon and the #7 Dodge have been selected to carry an in-car camera for Sunday's TNT broadcast, showing fans his moves as he battles the ten-turn track. Front tire changer, Bobby Burrell, will also be displaying the crew cam, giving fans a chance to see live pit action. For the second year in a row, Gordon will be a featured driver on DirecTV's Hot Pass. Despite Gordon's dominance at Infineon Raceway, the #7 will sporting the "back in black" paint scheme for the second time this season. In last year's race, Gordon led the most number of laps - 48 of 110 laps, but fuel mileage cost the #7 a chance at the checkered flag. In his ten starts at the 1.99-mile road course, Gordon owns one victory, two top-five and three top-ten finishes as well as five top-ten starts. Gordon's strong performance earned his sponsors in excess of $3 million dollars of exposure in last year's Sonoma race. Primary sponsorship opportunities are still available for this weekend's race, and interested parties can contact the team via robbygordon.com.(RGM PR)(6-19-2008)
      UPDATE: Although Robby Gordon Motorsports arrived at Infineon Raceway with an unsponsored car for this weekend’s Toyota/SaveMart 350, it should come as no surprise that when the green flag drops later today the #7 Dodge will feature the familiar blue and yellow colors of Camping World. King Taco has also signed on as an associate sponsor for the race.(RobbyGordon.com)(6-22-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Hall of Fame Racing officials announced that the logo of the team's primary sponsor, DLP HDTV, will appear on the #7 car of Robby Gordon during Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350k in Sonoma. The appearance of the DLP logo on the #7 car is only for the Toyota/Save Mart 350k.(HOF Racing PR)(6-22-2008)Comment here


      News from June 21, 2008

    • NASCAR monitoring heat and carbon monoxide inside cars: The thermometer hovered at 102 degrees just prior to Friday's qualifying at Infineon Raceway, which means the temperature inside the Sprint Cup cars was much hotter. Not to worry. NASCAR is monitoring the situation. The governing body began last week at Michigan International Speedway monitoring the heat inside the new cars after several drivers complained that they were hotter than the old cars. They also began doing random tests for carbon monoxide to guarantee nobody was at risk. The findings were just what officials anticipated, that cars with proper ventilation, vents and insulation had no problem. For example, the temperature inside the car of Brian Vickers was 130 degrees, compared to 105 for another. "You start looking at the cars and say how can this be, they're all the same?" series director John Darby said. "Well, the 105 degree car didn't have a lot of vents and stuff in it, but they did take the time to insulate the floorboard and put insulation around the exhaust pipes. There's so many little things that make a difference that if you want to do them you can do them." Darby said none of the eight to 10 drivers tested for carbon monoxide at Michigan showed a dangerous level.(ESPN.com)(6-21-2008) Comment here

    • RCR close on fourth driver: Richard Childress said he has a short list of three to four drivers and that he should have an announcement by Aug. 15. He said the list includes drivers who are and are not in the Cup series but would not reveal any names. "We're very close," Childress said on Friday at Infineon Raceway. "We're just trying to find the right person that will be a good fit with General Mills." Sources close to the situation said Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr. are on the list but considered longshots. Dale Earnhardt Inc. has picked up the option for Truex next season. Unless he can get out of that he will return to the #1 car. Scott Wimmer is on the list, but considered on the lower end. Childress has hinted he may go with a younger driver with star potential. "He could be anywhere from 21 to 33 or 34," he said. Not on the list is Dave Blaney, who hopes to re-sign with Bill Davis Racing next season. Blaney's car is without sponsorship for 2009 after Caterpillar announced earlier this week it would sponsor Jeff Burton's car at RCR.(ESPN.com)(6-21-2008) Comment here

    • BDR to have new look for #22 in 2009 and a 2nd team: UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced that Caterpillar, the team's sponsor for the past 10 seasons, will not return as primary sponsor of the #22 Bill Davis Racing team following the conclusion of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season. "Caterpillar and Bill Davis Racing have enjoyed a long and successful partnership throughout the last 10 seasons, and we are proud of everything we've accomplished together, including wins in both the Daytona 500 and Southern 500," stated Team Owner Bill Davis. "This is an exciting time for our team, and we are looking forward to the future." The #22 Bill Davis Racing team continues to impress on the track, and the team remains in the 29th spot in the Sprint Cup Series Owners' point standings. The team, led by veteran crew chief Tommy Baldwin, picked up 10 championship point positions over the course of five events and has posted two top-10 finishes and six finishes of 22nd or better in the past eight races. An announcement regarding the second Bill Davis Racing car for 2009, the #23 Sprint Cup Toyota, will take place in the coming weeks.(BDR PR)(6-18-2008)
      UPDATE: BDR's Chief Financial Officer Mike Brown told SPEEDtv.com on Friday that the team expects to have a replacement for Cat on Dave Blaney's #22 next season and another new sponsor for the team's second car, which will carry #23 in 2009. No decision has been made on whether Jacques Villeneuve will return to the team or be replaced by another driver, Brown added. (SPEEDtv.com)(6-21-2008) Comment here

    • Sad News - NHRA driver Scott Kalitta: Scott Kalitta died Saturday when his Funny Car burst into flames and crashed at the end of track during the final round of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The NHRA said the 46-year-old Kalitta - the 1994 and 1995 Top Fuel season champion who had 18 career victories, 17 in Top Fuel and one in Funny Car - was taken to the Old Bridge division of Raritan Bay Medical Center, where he died a short time later. Kalitta's Toyota Solara was traveling at about 300 mph when it burst into flames.(Associated Press)(6-21-2008)


      News from June 20, 2008

    • Biffle-Roush close to a deal UPDATE 2: 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)
      UPDATE 2: Greg Biffle has reached an agreement on a three-year deal with Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle met with Roush Fenway officials this week to iron out final details. He said a formal announcement, including a new deal with 3M, could be unveiled next week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.(ESPN.com)(6-20-2008) Comment here

    • Marlin Fined by State of Tennessee: Sterling Marlin has agreed to pay fines for two instances of allowing fill dirt to be dumped into a stream, according to a state order. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Marlin came to an agreement Tuesday for Marlin to pay $8,655 for violating water quality laws, spokesperson Meg Lockhart said. According to TDEC’s order, Marlin’s development on Nashville Highway and Columbia Rock Road dumped fill dirt into Haley Branch. The violation was discovered at a TDEC inspection on Feb. 14, 2007. Marlin’s construction operation stopped dumping fill dirt into the stream by March 2007 and a permit was issued by TDEC. Marlin and his Nashville attorney William Penny met with TDEC officials and agreed on the fine for the Nashville Highway violation and one other on Cranford Hollow Road, Lockhart said.(Columbia [TN] Daily Herald)(6-20-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR Members Club Launches NASCAR Competition Art Series: Official NASCAR Members Club artist Eric Soller launched his Competition Art Series titled "Pit Road" via an exclusive distribution agreement with Pit Road Prints. The Competition Art Series portrays authentic and detailed images of NASCAR competition from an insider's perspective and is an exclusive product of the Official NASCAR Members Club, whose mission is to bring NASCAR fans closer to the sport they love.(NASCAR Members Club PR)(6-20-2008) Comment here

    • Kahne on pole at Infineon: #9-Kasey Kahene won the Coors Light Pole for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway with a speed of 92.153mph for his 2nd pole of 2008 and 16th of his career. #48-Johnson will start 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #43-Labonte, #24-Gordon, #19-Sadler, #21-Marcos Ambrose, #7-Gordon, #12-Newman, and #16-Biffle. The go-or-go homers who made the race: #21-Ambrose [7th], #45-Labonte [11th], #60-Said [14th], #78-Nemechek [24th], #66-Papis [28th], #10-Carpentier [34th], #84-Allmendinger [37th], and #34-Simo [41st]. Missing the race: #96-Yeley, #70-Riggs, #40-Franchitti, and #02-Ash.
      For starting lineup, qualifying results, pole progression, see my Infineon Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results Page.(6-20-2008)

    • Infineon Raceway Qualifying Fast Facts:
      .. Kasey Kahne won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 with a lap of 77.740 seconds, 92.153 mph.
      .. This is his 16th pole in 160 career Sprint Cup races; his first on a road course.
      .. This is his second pole and 10th top-10 start in 2008.
      .. This is Kahne’s third top-10 start in five races at Infineon Raceway.
      .. Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his 13th top-10 start of 2008 and his second in seven Infineon races.
      .. Kurt Busch (third) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2008 and his sixth in eight races at Infineon.
      .. Marcos Ambrose (seventh) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time and qualified for his first career Sprint Cup Series race. Ambrose would have attempted to qualify at Watkins Glen in 2007, but not get the opportunity and did not make the field when qualifying was canceled due to weather.
      .. Sam Hornish Jr. (16th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-20-2008)

    • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
      Dodge: #9-Kahne, 92.153, starts 1st
      Chevy: #48-Johnson, 92.040, starts 2nd
      Ford: #21-Ambrose, 91.819, starts 7th
      Toyota: #11-Hamlin, 91.207,starts 13th

    • Infineon Goodyear Tire Notes: Sprint Cup Series teams will run the same tire code (D-4110) on all four tire postions at Infineon Raceway this weekend . . . this is the same tire code that teams ran at Infineon last season . . . Sprint Cup teams are also scheduled to run this code at the other road course on the circuit -- Watkins Glen . . . this code also serves as the right-side tire for Cup teams at Martinsville . . . as on all NASCAR road courses, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Infineon.(Goodyear PR), see pressures, codes and more on my Infineon Race Info page.(6-20-2008)


      News from June 19, 2008

    • Michigan TV Ratings same as 2007: Sprint Cup racing posted a 3.3/9 (5.1 mill.) this Sunday for racing from Michigan on TNT. In its first fair comparison to last year (last week's comparison was impacted by rain in 2007), NASCAR on TNT was flat among all Homes (3.3) and down among M18-34 (-13%), M18-49 (-8%), and average audience (-3%).(PR), for more TV Ratings, see my 2008 TV Ratings page and chart.(6-19-2008) Comment here

    • Ice Road Truckers and RCR's #07: To capitalize on DIRECTV's partnership with the History Channel's hit reality television program Ice Road Truckers, several members of RCR's #07 team will be featured in mini-documentary interstitials during this season's run of Ice Road Truckers. The interstitials will feature comparisons between RCR's #07 DIRECTV Chevrolet and the equipment the team uses each week to compete in the Sprint Cup Series and the big rigs on the show. The June 15 episode featured tire specialist Charles Moles while engine tuner Cameron Brown will be part of this Sunday night's show. Bowyer, crew chief Gil Martin, a handful of other members of the #07 team and additional RCR employees will be highlighted throughout the season. Season two of Ice Road Truckers airs on the History Channel Sunday nights at 9pm/et.(RCR)(6-19-2008)

    • Crew Chief Richert hired by SPEED: SPEED has hired veteran NASCAR crew chief Doug Richert to provide analysis for multiple NASCAR programs, with a lead role during the Chase for the Sprint Cup in the weekly news program The SPEED Report. "I'm thrilled to death to have a shot at this side of the sport," said Richert, who, as a 20 year old, won the Sprint Cup Series championship in 1980 with legendary driver Dale Earnhardt. "This is something my wife and I have always talked about, but the timing and the demand of the crew chief position didn't let it work." Richert, who served as crew chief for three-time champ Ron Hornaday and 2003 NCTS Rookie of the Year Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, also will work in the SPEED booth for select NCTS races, spelling Michael Waltrip.(SPEED pr)(6-19-2008)

    • Sonoma Rookie Notes: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 15 LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, scoring a 22nd-place finish. Hornish Jr. claimed top rookie honors for the sixth time this season and for the third time in the last four races. He led the race twice for two laps, the first time he has led in 17 career Sprint Cup Series starts. #01-Regan Smith holds a one-point lead (146-145) over Hornish Jr. in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 22 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway [Smith will not be running the race]. Only two Raybestos Rookies have led a lap in 19 Sprint Cup races at Infineon Raceway: Juan Pablo Montoya (once for seven laps in 2007) and Scott Pruett (twice for 10 laps in 2000). Montoya is the only Raybestos Rookie winner in 19 previous Sprint Cup race at Infineon Raceway and is also the only freshman driver to score a top-five finish. The best start by a Raybestos Rookie at Infineon Raceway is second, shared by Jerry Nadeau (1998) and Tony Stewart (1999).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see more news on rookies, history and standings on my 2008 Rookies page.(6-19-2008)

    • Johnson foundation scheme returns at Calif: the 2008 Jimmie Johnson #48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation paint scheme is scheduled to run at the Auto Club Speedway in August. This is the second year that Johnson has used his home track to pay tribute to his foundation, which is dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. See an image of the car on my #48 Team Schemes page.(6-19-2008)


      News from June 18, 2008

    • Guitar Hero to be featured on #40 at New Hampshire..image: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced it has partnered with Activision and its long-time sponsor Target to feature the latest version of the Guitar Hero series, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, on Dario Franchitti’s #40 Dodge in the Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) on June 29. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, which will be released June 29, is the latest installment from the Activision franchise that was the top-selling video game in 2007. The game puts players in the shoes of Joe Perry (guitar), Brad Whitford (guitar) and Tom Hamilton (bass), as they rock out alongside front man Steven Tyler and drummer Joey Kramer. Gamers will experience Aerosmith’s Grammy winning career, from their first gig to becoming rock royalty while jamming to the band’s top songs.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the scheme on my #40 Team Schemes page(6-18-2008) Comment here

    • CAT leaves BDR for RCR #31: Caterpillar Inc. and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) have agreed to a multi-year partnership for the #31 Chevy driven by Jeff Burton beginning with the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. Burton, a 20-time winner in Sprint Cup Series competition, is currently second in the 2008 point standings with one victory, four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in the season's first 15 races. The #31 team has made the "Chase for the Championship" the past two seasons, finishing seventh in 2006 and eighth last year. "To represent a well-known global brand like Caterpillar is an honor," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. "Cat products have played a big part over the decades in construction projects at RCR, Childress Vineyards and Yadkin River Angus. Jeff and I look forward to meeting the Cat dealers and customers who loyally follow NASCAR racing." The 2009 season will mark Caterpillar's 17th year of sponsorship in NASCAR. It will also be Richard Childress' 40th anniversary in the sport. “Success in the highly competitive environment of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series requires substantially greater levels of technology and investment than even a few years ago,” said Jim Parker, vice president of Caterpillar’s North American Commercial Division. “Joining Richard Childress and his team matches two organizations that share common values, as well as high levels of success. I'm confident this new partnership will excite Caterpillar's customers, dealers and employees."(RCR PR), AT&T is the #31 current sponsor, but must leave the series after 2008.(6-18-2008) Comment here

    • NAPA doubles up at Infineon: NAPA (National Automotive Parts Association) takes pride in team effort, expectations and results and so does Michael Waltrip and his #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry team. On Sunday at Infineon Raceway, Waltrip will have fans seeing double with Michael McDowell carrying the NAPA shield on his #00 Toyota Camry as a sign of gratitude for NAPA's continued support. "We are taking Michael McDowell to Infineon Raceway in a NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry because it is a chance to say thanks to NAPA and all the fine people who represent them," Waltrip said.(Michael Waltrip Racing), see an image of the car on my #00 Team Schemes page.(6-18-2008) Comment here

    • SI.com interview with former NASCAR race official Grant Mauricia "Mo" Grant spent nearly three years as a race official in the Nationwide Series, working for NASCAR as the only African-American female in such a role. Now she's at the center of a $225 million lawsuit filed against the organization, in which she alleges sexual and racial discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. She claims she was called demeaning names, subjected to sexual advances -- including two male co-workers allegedly exposing themselves to her -- and made the brunt of graphic and lewd jokes. In her first face-to-face and most extensive interview since the lawsuit became public, Grant, 32, spoke to SI.com this week about some of the background of the suit. During the two-hour, sometimes emotional interview (including an animated discussion about last week's NASCAR race at Michigan), her passion for the sport was evident. See full interview at SI.com - Grant paints picture of 'ignorant' NASCAR culture.(6-18-2008)

    • New look for #40 at Infineon: Chip Ganassi Racing welcomes two familiar sponsors to the #40 Dodge of Dario Franchitti, Texaco/Havoline and The Hartford. The Hartford is back after having sponsored the car at Bristol with Franchitti behind the wheel. Texaco/Havoline, one of the primary sponsors on the #42 Dodge driven by Juan Pablo Montoya, will also sponsor the #40 car this weekend.(CGRFS PR)(6-18-2008)

    • Jeff Gordon DVD: Sports fans can get behind the wheel with one of NASCARs biggest stars as ESPN Home Entertainment, in conjunction with Genius Products, LLC, presents the most comprehensive look at Jeff Gordon to date. Following the successful franchise launch of ESPN INSIDE ACCESS with Derek Jeter in April, ESPN has scoured the vaults to bring fans rare Gordon race footage, exclusive interviews and off-the-track features with ESPN INSIDE ACCESS: Jeff Gordon. The DVD hit stores nationwide on June 10, 2008, available for $19.95 SRP. Gordon has also been selected as the cover athlete for the NASCAR 09 game from EA Sports concurrent with the DVD release. More info at the espnshop.com site.(6-18-2008)

    • Newman waiting on team performace before making plans: Ryan Newman has an agreement to revisit his latest contract offer with team owner Roger Penske after an undisclosed deadline, but said he will not return to his current NASCAR Sprint Cup team unless his #12 Dodge program shows significant improvement soon. Newman’s season has been mostly a disappointment after he opened with a victory in the 50th Daytona 500. He’s 17th in points with five top-10s but four finishes of 30th or worse, two because of engine failures. “It’s a performance issue,” Newman, 30, said at a pre-Coke Zero 400 media event at Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday.(St Petersburg Times)(6-18-2008) Comment here

    • Zippy has an out if Stewart leaves, but may not: #20 crew chief, Greg Zipadelli insists he doesn't know what Tony Stewart will decide about his future, which, according to his contract, should include at least another year at JGR. But Zipadelli believes a decision is all but made and sounds like a man resigned to a split. "I truly have tried not to get wrapped up in that, questioning about the unknown in my mind,'' he said. "When that comes, I'll worry about that. Right now, I need to worry about me, my guys, my family and this race team and being in the top 12 in points.'' Should Stewart leave, Zipadelli could go with him and extend the longest crew chief-driver reign in Cup. The long-term extension he signed with JGR last season has outs in it if Stewart is not with the organization. But Zipadelli doesn't sound like a man seeking to start over as Stewart would be doing to some degree if he joined a fledgling race team such as Haas. He is happy at JGR and enjoys the security the company offers him and his family, which expanded by one this past Wednesday with the birth of his second son and third child.(ESPN.com)(6-18-2008)

    • Sad News - Tom Davies: Thomas J. Davies, 76, passed away June 13th, son of the late Thomas and Helen (Johnson) Davies. He owned and operated Thomas Davies Ford in Cortland, N.Y. In 1976 he moved to this area and for many years worked as a security guard for Daytona International Speedway. An avid NASCAR enthusiast, he enjoyed racing and belonged to Living Legends of Auto Racing. Donations may be made in his memory to Florida Hospice Oceanside, 264 S. Atlantic Ave., Ormond Beach, FL 32176. See more info at the Daytona Beach News Journal.(6-18-2008)

    • Vickers wins at Golf: #83-Brian Vickers won the second round of the HP Tee Shot Tour on Thursday at The Grande Golf Club in Jackson, Mich. On the lighted 395-yard par 4 first hole, Brian proved he can drive more than a race car when he won the driver and team categories. Brian once fired a 79 on the high school golf team and claims his longest drive ever is 300- plus (with some roll). He was paired with Kevin Bullard, who’s a regular in the power golf series with long drive professionals and NASCAR drivers that include Marcos Ambrose, Stephen Leicht, Kyle Petty, David Ragan, Elliott and Hermie Sadler and J.J. Yeley. The winning cumulative score at the end of six events will have $25,000 donated in their name to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The next Tee Shot Tour event is scheduled for July 9 at Joliet Country Club in Joliet, Ill.(Red Bull Racing PR)(6-18-2008)

    • Many teams testing at Kentucky UPDATE: on Tuesday June 17th and Wednesday, June 18th, many Sprint Cup and NNS teams are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway, including R&D Test teams of Michael Waltrip Racing, Gillett Evernham Motorsports, Hendrick Motorsports [Landon Cassill] and Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates; Joey Logano in the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing/Gamestop Toyota; Scott Wimmer in the #29 Holiday Inn RCR Chevy Chevy, #43-Bobby Labonte for Petty Enterprises, #45-Chad McCumbee for Petty Enterprises. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(6-17-2008)
      UPDATE: Drivers testing at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday were Clint Bowyer, A.J. Allmendinger, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, David Reutimann, Reed Sorenson and Michael Waltrip.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(6-18-2008)

    • Eury Jr. named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Michigan: Tony Eury Jr., crew chief of the #88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevy driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday’s LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Starting from the third position, Earnhardt ran in the top-15 throughout the entire 203-lap race. Late in the race many of the lead lap cars came up short on fuel and ducked onto pit road. Eury Jr. decided to take a chance and stretch their fuel mileage to the finish. Following the sixth caution of the day on lap 199, Eury Jr. instructed Earnhardt to cut off his engine and coast so he would have every ounce of fuel for a two-lap, green-white-checkered flag finish. 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.(PR)(6-18-2008)

    • Dale Jr. and team to visit base: On Wednesday, June 18th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #88 team will visit the Camp Butner National Guard training center, a 4,750-acre facility located outside of Durham, N.C. Earnhardt and his team will participate in training at the rifle range and observe how National Guard recruits prepare to serve their country. The team also will unveil its special paint scheme for the July 5 race at Daytona International Speedway to the soldiers at the base.(HMS PR), see am image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(6-18-2008)


      News from June 17, 2008

    • Pruett in for Sorenson at Infineon UPDATE hearing road course specialist Scott Pruett will drive the #41 Target Dodge for Chip Ganassi racing in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, replacing regular driver Reed Sorenson. The #41 team is 32nd in Owners Points, only 29 points from being 36th and out of a guaranteed starting spot.(6-17-2008)
      UPDATE: CGRFS announced the team’s road-racing veteran driver Scott Pruett will make the switch from Daytona Prototypes to stock cars to compete in the first Sprint Cup Series road course race of the season at Infineon Raceway this Sunday. Pruett, the California native who currently leads the Rolex Sports Car Series championship for CGRFS with teammate Memo Rojas, will pilot the #41 Target Dodge entry for the Cup race around the 1.99-mile track in Sonoma, Calif., on Sunday.(CGRFS PR)(6-17-2008) Comment here

    • CHP scheme for the #28 at Sonoma UPDATE 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 #28 Team Schemes page.(6-13-2008)
      UPDATE: The Sprint Cup series will make its only Northern California stop for the 2008 season this upcoming June 22 for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, and the #28 Yates Racing Ford will feature quite an interesting paint job: It will be wearing the colors and design of a California Highway Patrol vehicle. The California Highway Patrol is excited for the car's debut, which should help with the agency's current "very energetic recruitment push," said Mark Garrett, public affairs recruitment sergeant for the CHP's Southern Division. "We know how effective and influential NASCAR is," he told Inside Line. The black-and-white CHP-design Fusion will be driven by 2003 Craftsman Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil. A set of gold-and-black Goodyear Eagle tires almost perfectly matches the CHP logo that decorates the hood. This will be the California Highway Patrol's first venture into Cup sponsorship. At this point, the plan is to back the Yates Racing Ford for only one race.(Edmunds.com), see images on my #28 Team Schemes page(6-17-2008) Comment here

    • Army looking for new team in 2009? The U.S. Army is examining it options for 2009 and beyond, and could leave Dale Earnhardt, Inc., for another team. The Army sponsorship is a year-by-year affair, and is renegotiated at the end of each season for the next year. Sources close to the situation tell Sirius Speedway that while the Army could still return to the DEI camp next season, officials are talking to at least one other Sprint Cup Series team, including one from the Toyota camp. Mark Martin has steered the US Army Chevrolet to a pair of Top-5 and five Top-10 finishes this season, and stands 24th in points despite running only 12 of the 15 races to date. Aric Almirola has made the other three starts in the car, with one Top-10 finish.(Motorsports Soapbox)(6-17-2008) Comment here

    • Vickers says NASCAR admitted scoring mistake: NASCAR admitted to #83-Brian Vickers that it made a mistake in placing the Red Bull Racing driver behind Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #8-Mark Martin prior to a restart during the waning laps of the LifeLock 400 Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. For Vickers, that admission was important. Vickers said he had passed Martin two laps prior to the caution coming out. He believes he could have had a chance to win the race if he hadn't had to restart behind Martin. Vickers went to the NASCAR hauler after the race to talk to NASCAR officials. “They said, ‘We made an honest mistake – the 8 car [of Martin] was supposed to be behind you,’ ” Vickers said Tuesday during a NASCAR teleconference. “That’s all you can ask for. It’s like when a driver on the race track gets into you, it makes all the difference in the world if they call you the next day and say, ‘Man, I’m sorry. I messed up. I’m sorry. Let’s just move forward from here on.’ And I totally respect that. I’ve made many, many, many mistakes in my life, and I probably will make many more. The important thing is to just own up to it and move on.” Vickers ended up finishing fourth. “I was pretty upset by it and rightfully so,” Vickers said. “I wanted an explanation of why that took place. I felt like in a lot of ways it cost us a shot at the race. There’s no guarantees what would have happened, but it definitely hurt us.” So what can NASCAR do? Not much, Vickers said. “Unfortunately in our sport, and if I was sitting in the tower, I couldn’t do it any different – you can’t just call timeout and go look at the replay and sort it out,” Vickers said. “You look at a football gamem and they get a bad call on the field, they call a timeout and they look at the replay, they fix it, and they move on. That’s one call. For those guys, it’s 43 calls up in the tower; they have 43 positions to sort out every caution, not one. It’s a tough job, and they can’t just halt the race. They’ve got guys running out of fuel, the race is coming to an end, and it’s time to go green and get the checkered out there.”(SceneDaily)(6-17-2008) Comment here

    • Another F-1 driver attends Cup race: Formula One Toyota driver Jarno Trulli snuck into Michigan International Speedway on Sunday without the fan crush he's accustomed to when he races in Europe. "A few people asked me for autographs when I first arrived but it basically cooled down," Trulli said. "In Italy or France, you would basically be surrounded." Trulli, an Italian, competed in the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal this month, where he finished sixth, and decided to stick around and pay a surprise visit to former F1 drivers Juan Pablo Montoya (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) and Scott Speed (Bill Davis Racing), who are running in NASCAR. "They were the first two people I visited with," Trulli said. "They were surprised to see me." Trulli, eighth in F1 points, said he watches NASCAR on television, but Sunday's was the first stock car race he'd attended. Would he take a crack at ovals if given a chance? "Maybe one day -- a test or something," said Trulli, who began his F1 career with Minardi in 1997. "I like the U.S. and having another (racing) experience would be good." Though Trulli has never raced a stock car, he drove at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., in 1994. "I competed in the Race of the Americas karting series in 1994 and 1995 on the road course at Charlotte," Trulli recalled. "I finished first and second."(Detroit Free Press)(6-17-2008)

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the LifeLock 400 at MIS:
      Total number of commercials: 101
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 50
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 20
      Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 19
      Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 2 min. 50 sec.
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:06 PM
      Total minutes: 186
      Minutes of race broadcast: 138
      Minutes of commercials: 48
      Number of missed restarts:0
      Number of 'beer can' cautions: 1
      For more see my TV Commercials 2008 page.(6-17-2008) Comment here

    • Stewart to help out hometown flood victims UPDATE: When #20-Tony Stewart returned to his hometown of Columbus, Ind., late Sunday night after the race at Pocono. There, Stewart, a 1989 graduate of Columbus North High School saw his town under water. With people displaced and many homes severely damaged if not destroyed, Stewart quickly found a new perspective on true sorrow and disappointment. On Monday, he visited the Columbus Public Works garage and thanked all those who had been working around the clock to help restore the town’s infrastructure. He also stopped by his old junior high school, which the American Red Cross had converted into a shelter for flood evacuees. There, Stewart chatted with those who had to call the gymnasium floor their temporary home, and allowed them a short distraction from the headaches and worry that came when rising flood waters significantly altered their lives. There were so many stories of hardship, Stewart wondered where to even start. The answer: Sunday’s LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Whatever Stewart’s portion of the race winnings are in the LifeLock 400, he’ll donate them to the American Red Cross in Columbus, with the money specified for flood assistance. Those wishing to join Stewart in helping those affected by the floods throughout Indiana can call 812-379-9551 or send checks payable to The American Red Cross, 931 Repp Drive, Columbus, IN 47201. If writing a check, write “Indiana Flood & Tornado Relief” on the memo line. How is your home in Columbus? “My old house by the high school is good. The farm is just wet, absolutely saturated. You can’t get on it. You can’t do anything. And we’re getting baby deer now. We have four little ones, and we’ve got them on the deck in a small pen because you can’t get on the ground to put them anywhere. They’re so young, you don’t want them to get stuck.”(True Speed Communication/JGR PR)(6-13-2008)
      UPDATE: Others who felt that #20-Tony Stewart’s fifth-place effort at Michigan served as a win were those in Stewart’s hometown of Columbus, Ind. The area was ravaged by flooding last weekend, and Stewart’s portion of the $136,986 [approx 40%] he earned by finishing fifth in the LifeLock 400 will be donated to the American Red Cross in Columbus, with the money specified for flood assistance. Those wishing to join Stewart in helping those affected by the floods throughout Indiana can call 812-379-9551 or send checks payable to The American Red Cross, 931 Repp Drive, Columbus, IN 47201. If writing a check, write “Indiana Flood & Tornado Relief” on the memo line. “I’m happy we got a top-five for everyone in Columbus, Indiana, and that we can do something to help our community out,” Stewart said. “It’s been on my mind all weekend. That’s what this top-five is for. When it’s your own community and your own neighbors, it’s good to generate a good amount of winnings for them.”(True Speed Communication/JGR)(6-17-2008) Comment here


      News from June 16, 2008

    • Lawyer behind discrimination suit talks: But Benedict Morelli -- the lawyer for Mauricia Grant in the $225 million discrimination lawsuit against NASCAR -- took note that there was one other intriguing headline over the weekend: Nationwide Series officials 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] were both suspended, with pay, for what the sport's CEO, Brian France, called "violations in NASCAR policy." France didn't give specifics on what prompted the action while defending his company on Saturday, but both are accused in the lawsuit of exposing themselves to Grant -- an African-American co-worker of theirs who was fired in October 2007. In a 45-minute interview with SI.com before those suspensions, Morelli shared some of his thoughts on the case. "I look at this as an opportunity [for NASCAR]," he said from his offices in Manhattan. "There are a number of things that have to go on. NASCAR ultimately has to pay a lot of money -- but they have to do more than that. They have to try to legitimately change the culture. In a lot of ways, a lawsuit like this could benefit them if they make the necessary changes." Morelli says his client is willing to take a stand, and knows it will be a long fight. See the full story at the Sports Illustrated site.(6-16-2008)

    • Busch gives up full time Nationwide run: #18-Kyle Busch said on TNT's pre-race show he won't race a Nationwide car next weekend in Milwaukee. The Cup series is in Sonoma, Calif., and getting back and forth is taxing on drivers. Busch also mentioned he won't compete in the Nationwide event at Memphis, which is the same October weekend the Cup series is in Atlanta. Busch said he's cutting back his schedule slightly because he's too far back to win the Nationwide title, so there's no need to make such trips.(Roanoke Times)(6-16-2008)

    • No word from Alltel: Car owner [#2,#12,#77] Roger Penske said he has not had any conversations with Alltel officials since the recent announcement Verizon will buy Alltel, a deal that could force Penske to find another sponsor. NASCAR officials indicate that Verizon won't be able to replace Alltel as sponsor for Ryan Newman's car. Only wireless companies already in the sport were allowed to remain when Nextel, which later became Sprint, took over as series sponsor. Penske says he hasn't needed to talk with Alltel officials until the company decides how the new version will be branded. If the Alltel brand goes away, so, it appears, will the sponsorship.(Roanoke Times)(6-16-2008) Comment here

    • Some drivers upset with Dale Jr. passing pace car: Several drivers were upset that #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was allowed to speed up and pass the pace car during a caution so he could save gas to make it to the finish line. The running start gave Earnhardt enough momentum to allow him to turn his engine off and coast halfway around Michigan International Speedway. "I just didn't know you could pass the pace car," third-place finisher #17-Matt Kenseth said. NASCAR rules prohibit anyone from passing the pace car during a caution, but Earnhardt was allowed to pull in front of the pace car at least twice to save fuel. The sanctioning body eventually warned him not to do it, but by then he had saved enough to win the LifeLock 400 on fumes. Earnhardt admitted he stretched the rules -- and NASCAR's patience -- but not enough to give the victory back. "I got a little greedy," he said. "I can understand how it looked, especially if you're not a Dale Jr. fan. But I got the trophy; I got the points."(Augusta Chronicle)(6-16-2008) Comment here

    • Harvick breaks his own DNF record: #29-Kevin Harvick has been running at the finish in 59 consecutive races, the longest current streak and now the record for the modern era [1972-present. Harvick had the record at 58 (10/3/2002-8/1/2004). The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF [did not finish] is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963.(6-16-2008)



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