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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    JUNE 23-29, 2008


      News from June 29, 2008

    • Sad News - Jason Arden: Jason Michael Arden, 28, died in a tragic motor vehicle accident on Thursday, June 26, 2008. Born March 6, 1980 in Libertyville, IL, he was the son of Donna Smith Mason. Jason was currently employed as a Car Chief for Stanton Barrett. In recent years he also worked for Michael Waltrip Racing, Robbie Gordon Motorsports, among others in Mooresville, NC. Jason started his career working in Sprint Cars in Wisconsin. In addition to his mother, he is survived by his brother, Adam T. Arden and his companion, Jennifer; nephew, Jason Arthur Arden; and niece, Paige Nicole Arden. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 PM on Monday, June 30 at the Michael Waltrip Racing Center, 20310 Chartwell Center Drive, Cornelius, NC 28031 with Rev. Kenny Crosswhite officiating. The family will receive friends following the service. Memorials may be made to the Perception Ministry, 736-D St. Andrew's Road #136, Columbia, SC 29210, to help with the cost of the funeral. Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the Arden family.(Charlotte Observer)(6-29-2008)

    • Martin to Leave DEI, Almirola Full Time Next Season: UPDATE 3 announcement at Daytona? Mark Martin will have a new racing home in 2009, ESPN.com has learned. Martin was unavailable for comment Sunday. Officials for Martin's current team, Dale Earnhardt Inc., would neither confirm nor deny the speculation, but did confirm that young Aric Almirola would run a full-time schedule in 2009. "Aric is ready for a full-time ride," said John Story, DEI vice president of motorsports operations. Almirola has shared the #8 U.S. Army Chevy with Martin for the past two seasons. "Were talking to Mark about what his objectives for the future are, and trying to marry that with our own, with Aric Almirola, to make sure Aric has an opportunity to run full time next year. We're going through the process right now of trying to make sure that we get something for Aric that provides him a 36-race schedule, and at the same time that Mark is in a good situation."(ESPN.com)(6-22-2008)
      UPDATE: Casey Mears and Mark Martin look to be on the move, and their futures might be linked. Mears' future with Hendrick Motorsports appears in jeopardy, ESPN.com has learned. Although Mears has one year left on his contract, team owner Rick Hendrick would not commit to the driver of the #5 car beyond this season. "I'm committed to him right now," Hendrick said on Sunday at Infineon Raceway. "I'm committed to him making that car run better right now." Earlier on Sunday, sources told ESPN.com that Martin would leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. Later, ESPN.com learned that he would replace Mears, making one last full-time run at a championship.(ESPN.com)(6-22-2008)
      UPDATE 2: The speculation comes as rumors swirl about Mark Martin's future with Dale Earnhardt Inc. He's previously been mentioned as a candidate to split the Cup schedule with Scott Speed at Red Bull Racing, but there could also be a similar role for him in the #5 car for Hendrick. One scenario could have Martin splitting the seat time with Brad Keselowski, who currently drives a Nationwide Series car for JR Motorsports. Hendrick is partners with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in that venture, and Martin occasionally drives a car for them in that series. Martin is currently splitting a ride with Aric Almirola for DEI, but the team wants Almirola in a full-time ride in 2009. "Aric is ready for a full-time ride," said DEI vice president John Story. "We have to get him in a car full time somehow, someway."(Associated Press)(6-23-2008)
      UPDATE 3: SPEED's Wendy Venturini reported that sources say Mark Martin could announce his 2009 plans next week at Daytona.(SPEED)(6-29-2008) Comment here

    • Dale Jr. plans to race in Australia: Dale Earnhardt Jr. plans to make his Australian racing debut in a V8 Supercar at Sydney’s Oran Park this December [2008]. Earnhardt will race a Holden Commodore in V8’s junior feeder category, the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series, at Oran Park’s curtain-closing Grand Finale before it is torn down to make way for redevelopment. Fujitsu V8 series team boss Scott Loadsman confirmed on Monday he will expand his current one-car team to two cars. He has purchased a Commodore from Paul Morris Motorsport, nicknamed ‘Gidget’. With Loadsman’s existing driver, series leader Steve Owen, more likely to use this newer chassis, Earnhardt is set to drive Owen’s current car. Coincidentally, its nickname is ‘Earnhardt’. Earnhardt first visited Australia at the 2007 V8 Grand Finale at Phillip Island during his end-of-season holiday as a guest of former V8 champ Marcos Ambrose. Morris gave Earnhardt a test in a V8 Supercar ride car at his facility on the Gold Coast, and Earnhardt has since remained in contact with the V8 driver. With the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race being held on November 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Earnhardt will be able to fly to Australia in time for Oran Park on December 4-7.(Wheelsmag.com)(6-29-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR considering open testing policy: John Darby, NASCAR's Sprint Cup director, had a nice surprise for the series crew chiefs Saturday, offering them the opportunity to guide the sanctioning organization in setting next year's testing policy. "NASCAR's the policy-maker, but one thing that's really reliant on the teams' input is what we test, how many times we test and where we test," Darby said after a brief meeting with the crew chiefs in the garage area at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "In the past, it's just been a matter of, 'Here, select your race tracks and let's go.' This year, I felt it was time that we just sat down with everybody and talked and said, 'Look, we're open to any suggestions you have,' from leaving our testing policy exactly like it was in '08, all the way to going to what I'm going to call wide-open testing, no limits -- any track, any week, any time, as many times as you want to go. We're prepared for either way, it doesn't matter to us. We'll listen to what all of the teams come back with for suggestions and formulate a test plan for '09 and go forward." Darby said his offer was met with some disbelief from the assembled crew chiefs. "There was a pretty good gasp of air when you got to talking about wide-open testing because the immediate perception is, 'Holy cats, we're going to be testing 38 weeks a year,' " he said. NASCAR officially allowed seven open tests this season at tracks where the Cup teams race. The teams can also opt to hold private tests as often as they like at tracks where the Cup cars do not race. Darby said he expects the crew chiefs to go back to their teams and talk to the owners and others in their organizations to come up with their own ideas.(ESPN/Associated Press)(6-29-2008) Comment here

    • Hill unveils 2007 All-Star print signed by Harvick: The annual NASCAR Sprint All Star Race has been an enduring part of the NASCAR experience since 1985. It's a go-for-broke, show-me-the-money, run-what-you-brung-and-hope-you-brung-enough showdown that has produced some of the most memorable finishes in motor racing history. For more than two decades, renowned motorsports artist Garry Hill has captured the electricity of the May Classic in an ongoing collection of artwork, aptly entitled the "All Star Series." Prior to each year's event, he unveils an original painting honoring the most recent winner, with each illustration being made available to the public as a limited edition fine art print. The unveiling of Hill's latest masterpiece -- "2007 NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge" -- was televised on SPEED's NASCAR Live on May 16. Commissioned by Nextel/Sprint, this riveting artwork catches Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing/Pennzoil Platinum Chevrolet flashing under the checkered flag at the conclusion of last year's All Star speed fest. See more at nascar.com or garryhill.com.(6-29-2008)

    • KURT Busch wins at New Hampshire: #2-Kurt Busch won the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 for his 1st win of 2008 and the 18th of his career and Busch has now won at least a race a year for ther last 6 years. His last win came at Michigan in August 2007, 29 races ago. The race was called on lap 284 of 301 after a wreck, then the rains came. #55-Michael Waltrip finished 2nd, his best finish and first top five since a 5th at Pocono in June 2005. #96-J.J. Yeley was 3rd for his 2nd career top-five finish and best finish since a 2nd at Charlotte last October. #1-Truex Jr. and #19-Sadler rounded out the top five. #41-Sorenson finished 6th, followed by #5-Mears, #11-Hamlin, #48-Johnson and #43-Labonte. #99-Edwards was the best finishing Ford driver at 17th. #20-Stewart led the most laps with 132 but a late caution before the rain came, mixed up the field and he finished 13th. #88-Earnhardt Jr. wrecked and finished 24th. #18-Kyle Busch was never in contention during the race, was running around 17th when he and #42-Montoya tangled AFTER the caution, spinning both, with Busch finishing 25th and his points lead drops to 64 points over #31-Burton, who finished 12th. #42-Montoya finished 32nd and was penalized two laps for rough driving [he admitted on TV he spun Busch on purpose]. Pole sitter #10-Patrick Carpentier finished 31st. There were 7 cautions for 33 laps and their were 9 lead changes among 8 drivers.
      For race results, awards and more, see my New Hampshire Race Results Awards Page.(6-29-2008)

    • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after New Hampshire race 17 of 36]:
      1) #18-Kyle Busch 2496 [5 wins]
      2) #31-Jeff Burton 2432 -64 [1 win]
      3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2352 -144 [1 win]
      4) #99-Carl Edwards 2262 -234 [3 wins]
      5) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2220 -276 [1 win]
      6) #24-Jeff Gordon 2171 -325
      7) #11-Denny Hamlin 2150 -346 [1 win]
      8) #16-Greg Biffle 2119 -377
      9) #20-Tony Stewart 2042 -454 [41 pts]
      10) #9-Kasey Kahne 2031 -465 [2 wins][30 pts]
      11) #07-Clint Bowyer 2021 -475 [1 win][20 pts]
      12) #29-Kevin Harvick 2016 -480 [15 pts ahead of 13th
      other chase contenders
      13) #17-Matt Kenseth 2001 -495 [15 pts out of the chase]
      14) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 1945 -551 [-71]
      15) #12-Ryan Newman 1905 -591 [-111]
      16) #83-Brian Vickers 1903 -593 [-113]
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after New Hampshire page.(6-29-2008)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Daytona:
      no changes in the top 35, but the #00 and #77 drop to 25 points ahead
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      30) #22-Blaney/Davis Racing: 1394 +125
      31) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing: 1378 +109
      32) #01-Smith/DEI: 1345, +76
      33) #7-Gordon/Gordon: 1329 +60
      34) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 1294 +25
      35) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing: 1294 20 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
      36) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 1269 25 points out of 35th
      37) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing: 1137 -157
      38) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing: 1133 -159
      For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(6-29-2008)

    • New Hampshire Motor Speedway Penalty Report:
      Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
      1 #40 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 87
      2 #70 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 140
      3 #40 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 205
      4 #16 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 206
      5 #6 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 273
      6 #6 Safety violation MCI 274
      7 #8 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 281
      8 #88 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 281
      9 #18 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 281
      10 #8 Safety violation MCI 284
      11 #42 Safety violation - rough driving 2 Laps 284
      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)(6-29-2008)

    • Who got a lap back on each caution at New Hampshire: (and their finish)
      Caution 1: #78-Nemechek, 20th
      Caution 2: #10-Carpentier, 31st
      Caution 3: #8-Almirola, 23rd
      Caution 4: #41-Sorenson, 6th
      Caution 5: #19-Sadler, 5th
      Caution 6: #16-Biffle, 21st
      Caution 7: #7-Gordon, 26th
      (6-29-2008)

    • New Hampshire Motor Speedway Fast Facts
      .. Kurt Busch won the Lenox Industrial Tools 301, his 18th victory in 273 Sprint Cup Series races.
      .. This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in 2008.
      .. This is his third victory and sixth top-10 finish in 15 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
      .. Michael Waltrip (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in 25 races at New Hampshire. It is his first top-10 finish in 2008.
      .. J.J. Yeley (third) posted his first top-five and third top-10 finish in 14 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
      .. Regan Smith (27th) was the highest finishing rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-29-2008)

    • Carpentier only 2nd foreign born driver to win a pole in the Sprint Cup Series history when #10-Patrick Carpentier won the pole at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The other driver was Lloyd Shaw, from Toronto, Canada. Shaw won the pole at Langhorne, PA in June 1953 and finished 23rd in his only Cup start.(6-29-2008) Comment here

    • NHMS Walk raises $30k: #99-Carl Edwards and a few hundred fans walked a lap around New Hampshire Motor Speedway following the Camping World RV Sales 200 as part of the Speedway Children's Charity/NASCAR Foundation Track Walk. The walk raised $30,000 for Speedway Children's Charities, the Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Foundation, Victory Junction Gang Camp and the NASCAR Foundation. Each organization provides vital services to children in need. The Irwin foundation and Victory Junction Gang Camp also honor the memories of two NASCAR drivers, Kenny Irwin Jr. and Adam Petty, who were killed in crashes at NHMS in 2000.(New Hampshire Union Leader)(6-29-2008)


      News from June 28, 2008

    • Pit Stall selections: pole sitter #10-Patrick Carpentier got the first pit stall selection for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and chose the 1st pit stall. Outside pole sitter, #43-Bobby Labonte chose the next stall with an opening in front of it, stall 19, #29-Harvick chose stall 18. See the full pit stall selections on my New Hampshire Pit Stall Selection page.(6-28-2008)

    • Happy Hour practice: for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #42-Montoya 127.316
      #48-Johnson 127.202
      #41-Sorenson 127.163
      #29-Harvick 127.159
      #16-Biffle 126.977
      slowest: #45-Labonte 125.154 and #22-Blaney 125.191
      See laps run, best speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds Page.(6-28-2008)

    • The first Saturday practice: for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #42-Montoya 126.829
      #40-Franchitti 126.698
      #41-Sorenson 126.669
      #18-Busch 126.542
      #24-Gordon 126.509
      slowest: #45-Labonte 124.065 & #22-Blaney 124.801
      See laps run, ave speeds, best speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds Page.(6-28-2008)

    • Robby gets a sponsor for New Hampshire: When the #7 Dodge Charger hit the track earlier this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, it was sporting the all too familiar “back in black” paint scheme. But when the Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 starts, Robby Gordon’s #7 Dodge will feature the blue and gold Camping World paint scheme. For the second consecutive weekend, Camping World has offered their support to Gordon and his team. It will also mark their fifth race of the 2008 season as Gordon’s primary sponsor. “I want to thank Camping World for sponsoring our team again this weekend. It was disappointing for our team to unload another black car this weekend, so it means a lot to have a sponsor like them that continues to support and strengthen our program,” commented Gordon. “I got my first NASCAR win here in 2001, so I think that the Camping World Dodge will finish well on Sunday.” Camping World offers over 8,000 quality products geared toward the RVing community through 65 nationwide SuperCenters, a well-established catalog call center, and an award-winning website. Camping World is the industry leader in RV accessories and services. In addition to RVs, Camping World provides its customers with high-quality products and services to help enhance their life on the road.(RGM PR), see images of the car on my #7 Team Schemes page.(6-28-2008) Comment here

    • Dale Jr. not looking to talk about JR Motorsports moving to Cup: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. got a little testy Friday when asked again about future plans to move his Nationwide Series team up to Sprint Cup. "I shouldn't have said anything about that, man," Earnhardt said. "I should have kept it to myself, because I don't want to talk about it in the press. That's personal to me, what I do with my business, and I'm damn sure ain't going to air my timeline out over the media. If we feel like we want to do that, we'll do it. We'll let you know and that will be that. I don't want to answer questions about it every week. My [Nationwide] team is doing great. I'd be foolish to make too many changes right now."(ESPN)(6-28-2008) Comment here

    • Terry Labonte back in the #45 at Chicago? during Sprint Cup qualifying at New Hampshire on SPEED, Larry McReynold's mentioned that Terry Labonte, who is running the #45 Petty Dodge in five races while regular driver Kyle Petty broadcasts the races on TNT, may run the car at Chicagoland Speedway. Labonte was scheduled to run five races, Pocono in June thru Daytona in July with Chad McCumbee in the car at Chicago.(6-28-2008) Comment here


      News from June 27, 2008

    • "Smoke" screen or is Stewart interested in the #5 ride? #20- Tony Stewart said Friday the new opening at Hendrick Motorsports could affect his decision about where he drives next season. Hendrick Motorsports announced that Casey Mears would not return in the #5 Chevrolet. "There's no one in the garage area that's not going to look in that direction," Stewart said. "You've got to look at it. Absolutely." Stewart has said he is exploring an ownership option to become the co-owner and a driver for Haas/CNC Racing. He was asked Friday when he might have a decision on his future. "At this morning's announcement [on the #5 car], I don't know," he said. "It may be pushed back even more. We'll wait and see. It's however long it takes to make the right decision. There's a lot of variables to look at. We've got all the information except what happened today. The good news is we still have time to look at it." Stewart is under contract with Joe Gibbs Racing through the 2009 season. JGR officials have said they plan to hold Stewart to his contact obligations in the #20 Toyota. Hendrick did not say who will drive the #5 Chevy next season, but ESPN.com reported Sunday Mark Martin will join the team and take over for Mears full time in one final attempt to win a Cup title.(ESPN)(6-27-2008) Comment here

    • Bowyer re-signs with RCR: #07-Clint Bowyer said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that while he is flattered to be in the rumor mill and having other teams interested in him, he has signed with Richard Childress Racing for three more years [thru 2011?] to run the #07 Chevy.(PRN's Garage Pass)(6-27-2008) Comment here

    • Wheldon not coming to NASCAR: Dan Wheldon has left the door open for some time regarding a move over to NASCAR. Wheldon said this week that door has closed. "Up until this year, I really did consider NASCAR and the reason I did is I'm a driver," Wheldon said. "I like to be on track and I like the fact they race so much. But with the merging together of both open-wheel series, the series is really fun to drive in right now." Wheldon is in the final year of his contract with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and said he has talked with Ganassi about an extension of his original three-year deal. Wheldon said the deal isn't done yet, but he hopes it will be done soon. "When you have more cars like that, it's definitely fun to drive," Wheldon said. "So I would say with the fact I think they're going to continue to build the schedule and from what I understand they're going to allow more testing during the season . . . that's what I'm looking for. . . . I definitely think I will be in IndyCars for certainly the next three years after this one."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-27-2008) Comment here

    • More on Stewart and Haas CNC UPDATE done deal?: Tony Stewart is shopping for car sponsorships in anticipation of a potential partnership with Haas CNC Racing, multiple sources told ESPN.com. Although Stewart has a year left on his contract at Joe Gibbs Racing and JGR officials insist he hasn't asked for a release, the two-time Sprint Cup champion appears prepared to share ownership of Haas Racing's two-car team in 2009. One source close to the situation said there have been discussions with Ryan Newman as the second driver. Newman has said he will not return to Penske Racing if the performance of that team doesn't improve quickly. Newman's name definitely would help draw sponsorship to Haas. "He's talking to every major sponsor that is available out there for this Haas deal," one source said of Stewart and his representatives. "I don't know if it's done, but it sounds like it's very close." Office Depot and Old Spice have emerged as the favorites for at least one of the cars. Office Depot lost its bid to remain with Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing when Aflac was chosen as the primary sponsor of the #99. Sources said there have been discussions with Stewart's representatives that would make Office Depot and Old Spice co-primaries with Office Depot as the lead sponsor. Old Spice already has a relationship with Stewart in the Cup and Nationwide Series. Stewart would not address his future following Sunday's race at Infineon Raceway. JGR president J.D. Gibbs insisted Stewart had not closed the door on signing a long-term deal with the company that brought him to Cup racing in 1999 and helped him win titles in 2002 and 2005. But there is widespread speculation that the reason JGR has rushed Joey Logano into the Nationwide Series is to prepare him to take Stewart's place should Stewart leave. Stewart admitted two months ago there had been inquiries from other teams. He acknowledged there had been talks with Haas CNC that included ownership.(ESPN.com)
      AND: am hearing that Stewart leaving JGR and buying into Haas CNC Racing is a done deal, supposedly the 2nd driver could be Martin Treux Jr. Hearing the sponsors could be UPS and Bass Pro Shops.(6-26-2008)
      UPDATE: supposedly the deal is done, earlier Friday, a source close to the situation said that Chevrolet has agreed to terms with Joe Gibbs Racing to buy Tony Stewart out of his contract with the #20-Toyota Sprint Cup racing team. Stewart will indeed be making the move to Haas CNC Racing, a rumor that has been circulating for months. Supposedly Stewart’s new sponsor will be Office Depot and terms have been finalized regarding the impending sponsorship. In addition, Stewart will be joined by current #12 Penske Racing driver Ryan Newman, who would be sponsored by Burger King. No word yet on what car numbers the drivers will run and an announcement could come as early as next week at the Daytona International Speedway.( Captain Thunder)(6-27-2008) Comment here

    • Biffle-Roush close to a deal UPDATE 3 It's OFFICIAL..done: 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
      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)
      UPDATE 3: Greg Biffle announced today that he has signed a three-year extension of his contract with Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle has been with Roush Fenway Racing since 1998. During his 10 years at Roush Fenway Racing, Biffle has accumulated 46 wins, 166 top-five finishes and 250 top-10 finishes in 496 starts. Biffle is looking forward to the continued relationship with Roush Fenway Racing as well as a long-term partnership with 3M. “I’m extremely happy and relieved to have this contract complete,” said Biffle. “I have a team that can contend for the championship this season and for future seasons as well. 3M has been an incredible partner for several years now and having them on board made the decision even easier. All the elements are in place: the resources of Ford and Roush Fenway, the excellent team, the outstanding cars and having a great primary sponsor like 3M for the next few years.” In addition to Biffle’s Cup Series program, he is also running a partial schedule in the #16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion in the Nationwide Series this season. “I would like to run another partial schedule in the CitiFinancial Ford next season,” Biffle said. “We’re still working out the schedule but I have always had fun racing in the Nationwide Series so I’d say it’s likely you’ll see me there in 2009.”(Roush Racing)(6-27-2008) Comment here

    • Toyota's Aust retires end of June UPDATE: Jim Aust is retiring June 30 as vice president of motorsports for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., and president and chief executive officer of Toyota Racing Development, U.S.A. Aust joined Toyota in 1987 and held assorted management positions before moving to motorsports in 1998. He guided Toyota into NASCAR in 2004 when it entered the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and helped lead Toyota in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series in 2007. Toyota's U.S. racing boss was on hand Sunday at Infineon Raceway to attend the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, where Pitpass caught up with him. See interview and quotes at the Toyota site.(6-24-2008)
      UPDATE: Toyota announced today that effective July 1, Lee White will become president and general manager of TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) and that motorsports activities at Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., will be consolidated under Ed Laukes, TMS corporate manager of motorsports marketing. White and Laukes will replace Jim Aust, who previously announced his plans to retire on June 30, from his position as vice president of motorsports at TMS and president at TRD. “As the Toyota racing program continues to grow and we enhance our motorsports marketing activities, these changes will allow Lee and Ed to focus on their key areas of responsibility, both on and off the track,” said Dave Illingworth, TMS senior vice president, chief planning and administrative officer. White, who will report to Illingworth, will be responsible for all TRD activities in the U.S., including engine development, manufacturing, chassis design/development, team/manufacturer relationships, manufacturer/sanctioning body relations and engineering support for Toyota teams participating in NASCAR, USAC, NHRA, Grand-Am and Off-Road competition.(Toyota PR)(6-27-2008) Comment here

    • Ford Racing Boss to Step Down: Dan Davis, Director of Ford Racing Technology, will resign his position effective August 1, 2008. When Dan Davis steps down from his position as Director, Ford Racing Technology on Aug. 1, Ford and NASCAR will lose a passionate advocate of racing and the benefits competition returns to companies involved in racing. As head of Ford Motor Co.’s North American Racing operations since Oct. 31, 1997, Davis has overseen the company’s involvement in NASCAR’s top three series, as well as the NHRA, USAC, Grand Am and myriad other forms of racing. And in a time of unparalleled economic strife among the Big Three Detroit automakers, it was Davis’s job to make sure Ford’s racing dollars were used wisely.(see full story at SPEEDtv)
      AND Brian Wolfe, a 26-year Ford veteran who has held a series of management positions within Ford’s powertrain operations, has been named the new director of Ford Racing Technology, the company announced today. Wolfe will replace Dan Davis, who has overseen the company’s racing efforts the past 11 years. Davis will retire after 32 years with the company on Aug. 1. “Dan has done a great job for the company and its racing program, and he’s going to be a tough act to follow,” said Wolfe. “I look forward to the challenge of taking the program forward and continuing the record of success he brought to us.” Wolfe, 47, has been director, Powertrain Calibration and Controls, Product Development, since 2002.(Ford Racing)(6-27-2008) Comment here

    • Carpentier on pole at New Hampshire: #10-Patrick Carpentier won the Coor's Light Pole for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a speed of 129.776mph for his first career pole in 17 races. Carpentier is the first rookie to win a pole since Denny Hamlin captured the top starting spot for the 2006 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway (62 races ago). Qualifying was delayed an hour and 45 minutes due to rain, 24 cars had made qualifying runs up to that point. #18-Kyle Busch was on the tracks when the rain came and was allowed to take his run over. #43-Labonte will start 2nd followed by #29-Harvick, #66-Riggs, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #41-Sorenson, #40-Franchitti, #1-Truex Jr., #17-Kenseth and #84-Allmendinger.
      The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #10-Carpentier, #66-Riggs, #40-Franchitti, #84-Allmendinger, #96-Yeley, #45-Labonte, #70-Sauter and #78-Nemechek. Missing the race are #34-Raines and #21-Ambrose.
      For the starting linup, qualifying results, order, pole progression, see my New Hampshire Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(6-27-2008) Comment here

    • New Hampshire Motor Speedway Qualifying Fast Facts
      .. Patrick Carpentier won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 with a lap of 29.349 seconds, 129.776 mph.
      .. This is his first pole in 17 career Sprint Cup races. He was also the highest qualifying rookie.
      .. This is his second top-10 start in 2008 and was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
      .. This is Carpentier’s first career race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
      .. Bobby Labonte (second) posted his best start since he started second in the 2003 season finale at Homestead. It is his fourth top-10 in 2008 and his 14th in 26 races at New Hampshire.
      .. Kevin Harvick (third) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2008 and his eighth in 15 New Hampshire races.
      .. Dario Franchitti (seventh), also making his first career start at New Hampshire, posted his career-best start.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-27-2008)

    • Rookie of the Year Candidates: how fast were they and where do they start:
      #00-Michael McDowell, 126.846, starts 38th
      #01-Regan Smith, 127.872, starts 25th
      #10-Patrick Carpentier, 129.776, starts 1st
      #40-Dario Franchitti, 128.251, starts 7th
      #77-Sam Hornish, 128.251, starts 20th

    • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
      Chevy: #29-Harvick, 128.976, starts 3rd
      Dodge: #10-Carpentier, 129.776, starts 1st
      Ford: #17-Kenseth, 128.624, starts 9th
      Toyota: #84-Allmendinger, 128.624, starts 10th

    • Friday practice for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #29-Harvick 128.697
      #48-Johnson 128.558
      #42-Montoya 128.550
      #07-Bowyer 128.459
      #9-Kahne 128.433
      slowest: #00-McDowell 123.952 and #55-Waltrip 124.601
      See the practice speeds, laps run, bets lap and ave speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds page.(6-27-2008)

    • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
      if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
      #40-Dario Franchitti, 13th fastest
      #10-Patrick Carpentier, 18th
      #84-A.J. Allmendinger, 20th
      #70-Johnny Sauter, 28th
      #96-J.J. Yeley, 31st
      #78-Joe Nemechek, 37th
      #66-Scott Riggs, 39th
      #45-Terry Labonte [PC1], 40th
      if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
      #34-Tony Raines, 42nd
      #21-Marcos Ambrose, 43rd
      See the practice speeds, laps run, bets lap and ave speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds page.(6-27-2008)

    • New Hampshire Tire Notes: Teams in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire codes at New Hampshire this weekend . . . this is the first time that Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to New Hampshire, though teams do have experience on this tire set-up . . . with this being Goodyear's intermediate/flat track set-up, teams in these two series have run these tire codes at Phoenix, Richmond and Milwaukee (Nationwide only) already in 2008 . . . Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series teams will also run this tire combination at Gateway, Indianapolis Raceway Park and Memphis this season . . . as on most NASCAR's one-mile ovals, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at New Hampshire. The estimated pit window is every 75-80 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR). See more on the tire notes on my New Hampshire Race info page of the 2008 Goodyear Tire Notes page.(6-27-2008)

    • ESPNs Outside the Lines Examines Economys Impact on NASCAR: Sundays Outside the Lines (ESPN 9:30am/et; ESPNEWS 12noon/et) will examine how NASCAR is being affected by todays struggling economy. Transporting equipment and personnel cross country has never been costlier due to escalating fuel prices, which have also impacted fans traveling to races. The economy has made sponsors more vital, yet hard to secure, prompting long-time team owners to seek outside investors: Boston Red Sox owner John Henry became co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing (2006); Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillette became primary owner of Gillette Evernham Motorsports (2007); Boston Ventures, an equity firm, took control of Petty Enterprises (May 2008). Mike Massaro reports.
      From Sundays Outside the Lines: "We could see six or so teams shut down if they are not funded. Nobody is going to run this out of their own pocket for too long, myself included, so it is a serious situation". -- Doug Yates, owner of Yates Racing
      "Before, let's say five years ago, a top echelon team, you were looking at $10-15 million. All of a sudden, now, I'm told, because of driver salaries and all the other factors that affected the cost of going racing, that top tier team now is $24-30 million" -- Larry Camp, motor sports marketing expert
      "I know this is a sports story, but this is not a sport anymore, except on Sunday afternoon from about 1-to-5 in the afternoon. It's a business six days a week". Kyle Petty, driver for Petty Enterprises and son of NASCAR legend Richard Petty
      "We are committed to getting through this year, but I got to be able to see into 09 something a little more positive than I see today. I think well make it, but the economy and the struggles the other teams are seeing are the same as ours. It is a tough, tough world out there right now in NASCAR". Doug Yates.(ESPN PR)(6-27-2008)


      News from June 26, 2008

    • Sad News - Linda Braun: Yesterday afternoon Braun Racing lost one of its most beloved members of its team. Linda Braun, lovingly known as Mama B, mother of Nationwide Series owner, Todd Braun, passed away suddenly of natural causes in her hometown of Winamac, Indiana. As a tribute to "Mama B" both Braun Racing entries, the #38 Toyota driven by Jason Leffler and the #32 to be driven by Denny Hamlin, will go entirely black, void of all sponsor decals, in Saturday afternoon's Camping World 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made on behalf of Linda Braun to the Dove House Children Advocacy Center. Dove House Children's Advocacy Center, PO Box 825, 328 E. Broad Street, Statesville, NC 28687. For information about funeral arrangements and visitation please visit frainmortuary.com and click the obituaries tab for that information.(Braun Racing PR)(6-26-2008)

    • Atlas Copco Compressors Primary Sponsor of the #70 at New Hampshire: Atlas Copco Compressors LLC will sponsor the #70 Haas Automation Sprint Cup Series car for the second consecutive year at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 29. “We are excited about our continuing partnership with Haas CNC Racing,” said Jim Bruce, Atlas Copco’s Eastern Regional Vice President. “Our two organizations share a passion for innovation and a commitment to developing technology that will improve everyday lives.” Crucial to this racing partnership is Atlas Copco's global experience with wind tunnel and leading edge technologies, as well as local engineering support provided through Atlas Copco Compressors, whose North American headquarters is located in Rock Hill, S.C. The partnership between Atlas Copco and Haas CNC Racing extends off the track through the recent construction of a state-of-the-art, $40 million wind tunnel in Concord, N.C. The wind tunnel is the only one of its kind available for rent by racing teams and manufacturers. The wind tunnel features a single belt rolling road system, the first of its kind in North America. A continuous steel belt running under the vehicle simulates the road beneath a race car. It is the most accurate and aerodynamic road simulation possible in the industry today and it offers repeatability that is critical to gathering valid, usable data. Data gathered in the controlled conditions of a wind tunnel can be applied by racing teams to improve the aerodynamics of racecars. “With fierce competition in the Sprint Cup Series, drivers and teams look for every possible advantage,” said Johnny Sauter, who drives for Haas CNC Racing. “Our relationship with Atlas Copco gives us the ability to test and refine design concepts in the wind tunnel so they’re already at a high state of development the first time they see a speedway.” Atlas Copco is a world leading provider of industrial productivity solutions. More info about Atlas Copco at atlascopco.com, airforwinners.com or classzero.com.(Atlas Copco PR), see images of the car on my #70 Team Schemes page.(6-26-2008)

    • Red Sox scheme for Ragan at NHMS UPDATE: #6-David Ragan will run at AAA Insurance/Boston Red Sox scheme at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday. See the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page.(6-24-2008)
      UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing announced that two Ford Fusions bearing the Boston Red Sox marks will compete at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in Loudon, N.H. on Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29. The #6 AAA/Red Sox Ford Fusion driven by Roush Fenway Racing’s David Ragan, will compete in NASCAR’s LENOX Industrial Tools 301 Sprint Cup Race on Sunday, June 29 and the #60 Under Armour/Red Sox Ford Fusion driven by Roush Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards will race in the Nationwide Camping World RV Sales 200 presented by RVs.com on Saturday, June 28. This announcement marks an evolution of last year’s successful cross-sports promotional program between NASCAR and Major League Baseball (MLB) that featured Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards racing a special #99 Red Sox/Lumber Liquidators/Gillette Ford in 2007’s Sprint Cup Series’ LENOX Industrial Tools 300. As Red Sox sponsors, AAA Southern New England and Under Armour had a special opportunity to utilize Boston Red Sox marks for marketing and promotional activation at this weekend’s NASCAR races in Loudon through a regional sponsorship agreement with Roush Fenway Racing. These rights allow the two companies to leverage their association with the team to feature the Red Sox mark on the #6 and #60 cars. In addition to being featured on the Roush Fenway Racing entries, the sponsors will activate their sponsorship by tapping into Roush Fenway Racing’s public relations and marketing services to reach a broader audience of NASCAR fans. AAA Southern New England is leveraging its relationship with Roush Fenway Racing and the Red Sox to increase visibility for its safe-driving programs, generate exposure for its new AAA mobile navigational application and to connect with Red Sox Nation and NASCAR fans throughout its New England territory. Earlier this week, AAA Southern New England launched a program designed to capitalize on the synergy between the Red Sox and Roush Fenway Racing fan base with the “Races & Bases” online sweepstakes. This integrated promotion provides one lucky fan with the opportunity to watch a Red Sox game with #6 driver Ragan and attend the September race at NHMS. Nationally, AAA is the primary sponsor of Roush Fenway Racing’s #6 car and the official auto insurance for International Speedway Corp. tracks.(Roush Racing) See the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page(6-26-2008) Comment here

    • Sonoma TV Ratings down: NASCAR Sprint Cup on TNT posted a 3.7/8 (6.0 mill.) this Sunday for racing from Infineon Raceway, down -8% from last year's 4.0/9. Sprint Cup Racing on TNT is averaging a 3.7/9 (5.8 mill) through three races. That's a +9% increase over 2007 which includes the rain delayed race at Pocono.(PR)(6-26-2008) Comment here

    • Sadler's #19 to feature movie: In conjunction with Best Buy and Sony Pictures Entertainment, the #19 Dodge of Elliott Sadler will carry the movie title "Hancock" on the hood and rear bumper in New Hampshire. Starring Will Smith and Charlize Theron, the movie debuts in theaters on July 2. All Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodges will carry a decal in New Hampshire honoring NHRA driver Scott Kalitta who died last weekend in a racing accident.(GEM PR)(6-26-2008)

    • Waltrip Expresses his Gratitude for the Bahre Family at New Hampshire: When Michael Waltrip reminisces about people who have had a positive impact on his career, Dick Bahre and his family are at the top of his list. Thanks to Bahre taking a chance on a 22-year-old originally from Owensboro, Kentucky in 1985, Waltrip made his Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) debut and over the years became an accomplished driver, a two-time Daytona 500 winner and an owner himself. To show his appreciation, Waltrip will run a special decal on two Michael Waltrip Racing cars at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 this weekend in honor of the Bahre family. "We want to say thanks to the Bahre family and show our gratitude by placing decals on Michael McDowell's #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota and the #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota," Waltrip said.(MWR PR)(6-26-2008)

    • Sylvania on the hood of the #15 at NHMS: Menards Racing will feature Sylvania on the hood of it's #15 Menards/Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevy that Paul Menard will drive during this weekend's LENOX Industrial Tools "301". Sylvania is based in nearby Danvers, Massachusetts and has been a partner sponsor of Menards Racing since 2004.(Co-Pillott PR). See image of the scheme on my #15 Team Schemes page.(6-26-2008)

    • France To Deliver Keynote Speech at APSE National Convention: Brian France, NASCAR's Chairman and CEO, will serve as the keynote speaker Thursday afternoon at the annual Associated Press Sports Editor (APSE) National Convention, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Minneapolis, Minn. France accepted an invitation from APSE President Mike Fannin of the Kansas City Star, 10 years after his late father, Bill France, spoke to the same organization’s national convention in Richmond, Va. Topics France plans to address include the changing landscape of the newspaper business, with special emphasis on the move toward increased online coverage – and the NASCAR-related content available to assist that coverage. Fannin, meanwhile, cited the evolving NASCAR landscape as a reason for inviting France. “We had Brian’s dad speak in 1998 and a lot has changed in NASCAR since then,” Fannin said. “And yet, the France family is still making auto racing ‘go’ in America. We wanted to hear from the man who’s taking the sport into new places and adapting it for the 21st-century marketplace.”(NASCAR PR)(6-26-2008)

    • New Hampshire Rookie Notes: #00-Michael McDowell was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 22 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. McDowell scored a career-best 21st-place finish in his 11th Sprint Cup Series start. He claimed top rookie honors for the second time in the last three races and for the third time this season. For his efforts in the race, McDowell won a unique trophy from Raybestos Brand Brakes, a piece that featured a mounted replica wine bottle and barrel. #77-Sam Hornish Jr. holds an eight-point lead (154-146) over #01-Regan Smith in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings entering the June 29 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Only two Raybestos Rookies have scored top-five finishes in 15 previous July races at New Hampshire: Ryan Newman (fifth in 2002) and Kyle Busch (fourth in 2005). The best start by a Raybestos Rookie at New Hampshire is third by Jeff Gordon in 1993. Two or more Raybestos Rookies have finished in the top-10 just once 15 summer Sprint Cup races at New Hampshire. In 1993, Gordon finished seventh while Bobby Labonte placed 10th.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see rookie history, standings and more on my 2008 Rookies page.(6-26-2008)

    • No Sponsor for Robby Gordon at New Hampshire: Robby Gordon and the #7 Dodge will be sporting the "back in black" paint scheme once again this weekend. Primary sponsorship opportunities are still available for this weekend's race, and interested parties should contact the team via robbygordon.com.(RGM PR)(6-26-2008) Comment here


      News from June 25, 2008

    • Chase Notes: With the second year in the 12-team Chase format, more current members of the top 12 are within one race of dropping out than this time last year, 7 to 2. More outside the top 12 are within one race of the top 12, 5 to last year's 2. Even though there's 10 long races to go, #17-Matt Kenseth finally made it to the top 12 with his 8th at Infineon. Just five races ago, Kenseth had fallen back to 20th place, but was still only 153 points out. He's just two ahead of #29-Kevin Harvick, but momentum seems to be with the #17 as they bid to join #48-Jimmie Johnson and the #48 as the only two teams to make all five Chases. Harvick is in a free fall, having dropped four spots and being outscored by Kenseth by 283 points over the last five. Loudon is a good track for the #29 and they desperately need a strong finish. #9-Kasey Kahne fell back from a pole start to a 33rd finish, losing 67 points to 13th place. Hamlin turned in a 27th after a late mishap and lost 54 points. Both are within one race of dropping out of the top 12. Hamlin won the first New Hampshire race last year and a top five Sunday would rejuvenate his team at just the right time. See full chase stas on my Chase Stats after Sonoma page.(6-25-2008)

    • Interesting Stat - only one Birthday winner: been told that Cale Yarborough is the only Cup driver to ever win a points paying race on his birthday, which is March 27. In 1977 at North Wilksboro Speedway and 1983 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. NOTE, since I got email on it, I will cover a few items, since folks are guessing: Richard Petty never won on his birthday (July 2nd) [in Cup] and neither did Jeff Gordon [August 4th]. In fact, the Brickyard 400 has only been held on Gordon's birthday once, in 2002, when Bill Elliott won. Gordon's first Brickyard 400 came on August 6, 1994.(8-6-2004)
      Two drivers have birthday's this Sunday, while Cup races at New Hampshire: #1-Martin Truex Jr. and #31-Jeff Burton.(6-25-2008) Comment here

    • Brad Daugherty starting truck team in '09? UPDATE JTG Racing...to CUP?: After discussion surrounding the recent announcement of Randy Moss' possible entry in the Truck Series [supposedly the Morgan-Dollar team] during ESPN's NASCAR Now television broadcast on Wednesday night, analyst Brad Daugherty announced he too is going racing in 2009 with his own Craftsman Truck Series team. [No details given.](The Daly Planet)(5-1-2008)
      UPDATE: As part of an article about Kelly Bires, ESPN's Mark Ashenfelter reports...It's been a hectic year for JTG, which ended its relationship with Wood Brothers Racing on the competition side prior to the season. Since the year started, teammate Marcos Ambrose has swapped crew chiefs and the team has, at least temporarily, closed its Craftsman Truck Series team. And Brad Daugherty, a former team owner turned broadcaster, has bought into the team. [JTG Racing fields the #47 and 59 Nationwide teams and had fielded the #20-truck which has since ceased operations. [No word on if/when truck team will return to the Truck Series]. For complete article visit: ESPN.com.(6-24-2008)
      UPDATE 2: hearing JTG Racing could move up to Sprint Cup in 2009 with Marcos Ambrose driving and the team could switch from Ford to Chevy, no idea if Daugherty would be part of this deal. Other rumors have Ambrose going to the #21 of the Wood Brothers in 2009, that team would remain a Ford. Ambrose is schedule to run eight races this season in the #21 and four in the #47 Ford fielded by JTG Racing.(6-25-2008) Comment here

    • LENOX scheme for Burton at NHMS: LENOX's associate sponsorship of RCR's #31 Chevy kicks into high gear this weekend in New Hampshire as Burton and the #31 team transform their bright orange #31 AT&T Chevy into a red, white and blue LENOX racing machine for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301. LENOX produces band saw blades, sawing fluids, hand power tool accessories in over 70 countries around the world. In addition to the added mile in this weekend's LENOX Industrial Tools 301, LENOX has kicked off their Extra Mile Hero contest where LENOX customers can nominate the hero in their life who have gone the extra mile either in their job or community. The contest winner could receive up to a half a million dollars with a matching gift awarded to their charity of choice. Complete LENOX Extra Mile Hero contest details are available at www.lenoxhero.com.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(6-25-2008)

    • #17 to carry Celtics decal: In honor of the Boston Celtics 17th NBA title, Matt Kenseth’s #17 DeWalt Ford will carry a special congratulatory decal. The #17 crew will also don pit caps to celebrate the occasion. On Wednesday, June 25, Kenseth along with his Roush Fenway Racing teammates and the Boston Red Sox will celebrate Roush Fenway Day at Fenway Park.(Roush Racing PR)(6-25-2008)

    • Ford Driven scheme for Kvapil at NHMS: Travis Kvapil will be driving the #28 "Ford Drive one" Ford Fusion for the second time this season when the green flag falls in Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The paint scheme, which encourages consumers to drive any Ford product, debuted at Phoenix in April and finished 22nd.(Ford Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #28 Team Schemes page.(6-25-2008)

    • Truex still talking to DEI about contract: #1-Martin Truex Jr. was on the weekly NASCAR teleconference and spoke about his contract situation:
      Q. Your name has been thrown up a lot in the garage as far as your future goes – can you give us any indication right now what you're thinking about for the future?
      MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Way to start it off. You know, I'm not sure. Right now we're working hard with DEI to put some things together for next year. Really it's just a lot of – it's taken a little bit longer than expected for both of us, both sides - on my side and on DEI's side. We're just trying to get through the details. For me, it's just trying to get comfortable and be comfortable in the position I'm in . what they're doing and the direction they're headed for the future, so I can make sure that we can be together for a long time.
      Q. What are you looking for as far as comfort? Is it the fact that you want race victories? What else are you looking for?
      MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Well, a lot of things. You know, good direction for the future of a championship. I think obviously there are some things going on with our race cars and other teams that I'm not quite sure what's happened with them. So just a lot of things here and there. The performance hasn't been as good as it's been this year for whatever reason. We've had an okay season. We've run really well at times and we've run not so well at times. So we've had a lot of bad luck spread throughout the season, especially the beginning part of the year which has got us in this position right now. We really just need to dig deep for now and try to get a win or two before the Chase starts. We really just need to get some points and try to make the Chase and battle for that championship like we did last year.
      Q. Do you have a timetable for that decision?
      MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: No. But we're working on it every day, really, so just as soon as we can get it all ironed out.(NASCAR)(6-25-2008)

    • Ambrose back in the #21 at NHMS: Marcos Ambrose will be in the #21 Little Debbie Honey Buns [not Motorcraft] Ford Fusion this weekend in Loudon, N.H., attempting to qualify for his second consecutive Cup race. Ambrose, a two-time Australian V8 Supercars champion, made his Sprint Cup debut last weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.(Ford Racing PR)(6-25-2008)

    • Steve Letarte Joins ESPN NASCAR Team at New Hampshire: Steve Letarte, crew chief of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet driven by Jeff Gordon in the Sprint Cup Series, will join ESPN's NASCAR team for coverage of Saturday's Nationwide Series Camping World RV Sales 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Letarte will report from the ESPN Tech Center as a fill-in for ESPN analyst Tim Brewer, who has the weekend off. Letarte, a native of Maine, has been Gordon's crew chief since September, 2005, and has been with Hendrick Motorsports for 14 years. During the race, he will work with the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car and the other parts, pieces and visuals in the Tech Center to illustrate and explain technical aspects of the event. The telecast airs at 2:30pm/et on ABC and in high definition on ABC HD.(6-25-2008)


      News from June 24, 2008

    • Menard expected back at DEI: "while rumors have circulated about #15-Paul Menard and the Menard's sponsorship being courted by other teams, sources expect the driver to remain at dei through 2009 with primary sponsorship staying put as well.(6-24-2008) Comment here

    • Testing at Kentucky: Jeff Gordon turned his first test laps at Kentucky Speedway today attempting to create the elusive balance between speed and comfort in his #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Gillett Evernham Motorsports driver #19-Elliott Sadler and DEI's #01-Regan Smith also turned test laps this afternoon.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(6-24-2008)

    • Testing at Nashville: David Stremme for Team Penske, Brad Coleman for Hall of Fame Racing, and Tim Fedewa for Red Bull Racing held a closed test at the Nashville Superspeedway on Tuesday, June 24, 2008. David Stremme hit the wall in turn three half way through the test session but was not injured. Penske did not test the remainder of the test session. Hall of Fame Racing and Red Bull Racing are expected to test Wednesday.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(6-24-2008)

    • Testing at Milwaukee today: Penske Racing's #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch, Ganassi Racing's #41-Reed Sorenson testing today, Tuesday, June 24 at The Milwaukee Mile. Grandstands will be open free to the public between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.(The Milwaukee Mile)(6-24-2008)

    • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick has been running at the finish in 60 consecutive races, the longest current streak and a NEW modern era record, next up is #07-Bowyer at 53 consecutive races. 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 held the modern era (1972-present) record at 58 (10/3/2002-8/1/2004) unil he broke it himself in 2008. Next up is Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(6-24-2008)

    • Kyle Busch to drive for Manion at NHIS modified race UPDATE: #18-Kyle Busch and Kevin Manion, crew chief for #1-Martin Truex Jr. in the Sprint Cup Series, are fierce competitors on race weekends. That will all change during Saturday's New England 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when Busch pilots Manion's #7 entry in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event.
      UPDATE: Busch will not run the modified race, the team and driver decided there was too much going on to run the race.(6-24-2008)

    • Carpentier out of the #10 for Pocono UPDATE: Patrick Carpentier will concentrate on racing in the Nationwide Series race at Montreal on August 2. The Sprint Cup Series will be in Pocono the same weekend and Gillett Evernham Motorsports has asked Carpentier to leave his seat in the # 10 Dodge for the race in order to ensure the best possible finish in Montreal. The replacement for Carpentier has not yet been determined, but Bill Elliott could be considered.(Translated thru Google from Canoe Sports)(6-22-2008)
      UPDATE: Gillett Evernham Motorsports has announced that SUBWAY restaurants will sponsor Patrick Carpentier's #9 Dodge in the Aug. 2 Nationwide race at Montreal. Tom Reddin, CEO of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, said Carpentier will focus solely on the Montreal race during the weekend instead of racing in both Montreal and the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono the same weekend. Reddin said the new relationship with SUBWAY restaurants is part of the team's overall plan to build a solid foundation for the future.(Gillett Evernham Motorsports PR), NO word on who will drive the #10 at Pocono.(6-24-2008) Comment here

    • Toyota's Aust retires end of June: Jim Aust is retiring June 30 as vice president of motorsports for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., and president and chief executive officer of Toyota Racing Development, U.S.A. Aust joined Toyota in 1987 and held assorted management positions before moving to motorsports in 1998. He guided Toyota into NASCAR in 2004 when it entered the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and helped lead Toyota in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series in 2007. Toyota's U.S. racing boss was on hand Sunday at Infineon Raceway to attend the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, where Pitpass caught up with him. See interview and quotes at the Toyota site.(6-24-2008)


      News from June 23, 2008

    • Army looking for new team in 2009? UPDATE 3: 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)
      UPDATE: Angelique Chengelis reported during ESPN's "NASCAR Now" that the U.S. Army is likely to be on Bill Davis Racing's second car next year.(6-22-2008)
      UPDATE 2: The U.S. Army, who has sponsored Martin’s DEI #8 Chevy for the last two season, is shopping other teams now, although [DEI VP of Motorsports Operations John] Story insisted DEI is still in the running to retain the deal. “We are talking to them on a regular basis,” Story said of the U.S. Army. Army officials have not yet decided which team they want to go with next year, multiple sources confirmed on Sunday. One published report had them moving to Bill Davis Racing next season, which was roundly denied by several sources close to the situation. (SPEEDtv.com)(6-23-2008)
      UPDATE 3: In a related story, ESPN’s Angelique Chengelis reported yesterday that the Army sponsorship is likely to move from DEI to Bill Davis Racing's #23 Toyota next season. That report has been denied by several sources, however, and Sirius Speedway has learned that Red Bull Racing is actually a leading candidate for the Army deal. Red Bull General Manager Jay Frye first brought the Army sponsorship to NASCAR during his tenure at MB2 Motorsports, and is said to be in serious discussions to secure that sponsorship once again in 2009. There is no word on whether the Army would replace Red Bull as sponsor of either Brian Vickers or AJ Allmendinger next season, or if a third car will be added to the team for former Formula One and current Craftsman Truck Series star Scott Speed.(Motorsports Soapbox)(6-24-2008) Comment here

    • Martin to Leave DEI, Almirola Full Time Next Season: UPDATE 2: Martin Replacing Mears? Mark Martin will have a new racing home in 2009, ESPN.com has learned. Martin was unavailable for comment Sunday. Officials for Martin's current team, Dale Earnhardt Inc., would neither confirm nor deny the speculation, but did confirm that young Aric Almirola would run a full-time schedule in 2009. "Aric is ready for a full-time ride," said John Story, DEI vice president of motorsports operations. Almirola has shared the #8 U.S. Army Chevy with Martin for the past two seasons. "Were talking to Mark about what his objectives for the future are, and trying to marry that with our own, with Aric Almirola, to make sure Aric has an opportunity to run full time next year. We're going through the process right now of trying to make sure that we get something for Aric that provides him a 36-race schedule, and at the same time that Mark is in a good situation."(ESPN.com)(6-22-2008)
      UPDATE: Casey Mears and Mark Martin look to be on the move, and their futures might be linked. Mears' future with Hendrick Motorsports appears in jeopardy, ESPN.com has learned. Although Mears has one year left on his contract, team owner Rick Hendrick would not commit to the driver of the #5 car beyond this season. "I'm committed to him right now," Hendrick said on Sunday at Infineon Raceway. "I'm committed to him making that car run better right now." Earlier on Sunday, sources told ESPN.com that Martin would leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. Later, ESPN.com learned that he would replace Mears, making one last full-time run at a championship.(ESPN.com)(6-22-2008)
      UPDATE 2: The speculation comes as rumors swirl about Mark Martin's future with Dale Earnhardt Inc. He's previously been mentioned as a candidate to split the Cup schedule with Scott Speed at Red Bull Racing, but there could also be a similar role for him in the #5 car for Hendrick. One scenario could have Martin splitting the seat time with Brad Keselowski, who currently drives a Nationwide Series car for JR Motorsports. Hendrick is partners with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in that venture, and Martin occasionally drives a car for them in that series. Martin is currently splitting a ride with Aric Almirola for DEI, but the team wants Almirola in a full-time ride in 2009. "Aric is ready for a full-time ride," said DEI vice president John Story. "We have to get him in a car full time somehow, someway."(Associated Press)(6-23-2008) Comment here

    • DEI could cut back to 3 teams in 2009: Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s Vice President of Motorsports Operations John Story said Sunday morning at Infineon Raceway that the team ... is still looking for a sponsor for the #01 Chevy driven by Regan Smith. If no sponsor is found, Story said, the team will cut back to three cars.(SPEEDtv.com)(6-23-2008) Comment here

    • Berlin City Auto Group to sponsor #10 at NHMS: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that Berlin City Auto Group - serving consumer automotive needs in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont - will sponsor Patrick Carpentier's #10 Dodge at the June 29 Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "It's really special to have a company the New England race fans will immediately recognize on our car," said Carpentier, an open wheel veteran in his first full NASCAR season. "We plan to put on a good show and help them sell some cars." The Berlin City Auto Group, with dealerships throughout New England, specializes in the sales, service and parts for eighteen automotive manufacturers and pre-owned vehicles. The Berlin City Auto Group ensures their excellence in customer service with their over the top care by down to earth people. "We are excited to be part of the New England community and to serve the automotive needs of its residents. We're proud to sponsor the #10 Gillett Evernham Dodge at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and wish Patrick the best," said Rod Buscher, president of Berlin City Auto Group.(GEM PR)(6-23-2008) Comment here

    • Roush Fenway hopes to have drivers locked in soon for ’09: Roush Fenway Racing hopes to soon solidify its current driver lineup in the same positions for 2009, team president Geoff Smith said Sunday at Infineon Raceway. The first item would be locking in #16-Greg Biffle, who said Friday he expects to complete the deal this week. As far as #6-David Ragan, Smith also was optimistic. “We’re working through a final contract now with a sponsor, and unless Tony Stewart puts a wheel under us [in his sponsorship quest], it should be over very shortly,” Smith said. The team’s other three drivers – #99-Carl Edwards, #26-Jamie McMurray and #17-Matt Kenseth – are already signed for next season. Roush Fenway Racing can have five teams in 2009 but will have to cut down to four for the 2010 season.(SceneDaily.com)(6-23-2008) Comment here

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of Infineon Raceway:
      Total number of commercials: 118
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 45
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 25
      Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 3 min. 25 sec.
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 5:00 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 8:31 PM
      Total minutes: 211
      Minutes of race broadcast: 157
      Minutes of commercials: 54
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
      See the full report on my 2008 Commericals page.(6-23-2008) Comment here

    • Georgia Racing Hall of Fame class of 2008 chosen: This year’s inductees are former NASCAR vice president of competition Bill Gazaway, short track racer Jack Jackson, 1965 NASCAR rookie of the year Sam McQuagg, Peach Bowl champion Charles Padgett, drag racing pioneer Randy Payne, NASCAR legend Wilbur Rakestraw, car owner Dub Smith, and track promoter Mike Swims. The eight inductees were chosen from the initial “Sweet 15” nominees, who had been whittled down from over 40 nominees that were submitted to the Hall of Fame voting committee.(Georgia Racing Hall of Fame PR)(6-23-2008) Comment here



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