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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    JULY 7-13, 2008




      News from July 13, 2008

    • NASCAR testing proposal gives 24 tests to each organization: NASCAR handed teams a draft of a new testing policy Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway. The sanctioning body will take more input from teams before finalizing it. The proposal gives each organization 24 test days at tracks where the Sprint Cup teams compete, with a maximum of two cars per test. All of the team’s drivers can test, but no driver can test for a team for which he does not drive. New teams would get test days depending on how much they race. There is typically a week blackout period before a race and a blackout period from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15. The Daytona tests will remain and not be included. There is no rookie provision.(SceneDaily.com)(7-13-2008) Comment here

    • Chicagoland Lifelock 400 Commercial breakdown:
      Total number of commercials: 115
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 53
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 29
      Total number of magic tricks: 1
      Total number of focuses on Kyle Petty's tie: 1
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:00 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:17 PM
      Total minutes: 197
      Minutes of race broadcast: 140
      Minutes of commercials: 57
      Number of missed restarts: 1
      Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
      See the full report, featured drivers, past rundowns on my 2008 TV Commercials page.(7-13-2008) Comment here

    • Hall of Fame Racing facing penalty for lead water bottle: UPDATE: No The #96 team with driver J.J. Yeley was penalized before the first lap of Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway was completed. The team faces further penalties from NASCAR next week. Officials found two water bottles filled with lead weighing approximately 15 pounds each in the car as it was rolled onto pit road prior to the race. The move was done to make the car lighter when the bottles were replaced with water and skirt the mandatory weight minimum. The car was then put back through inspection and given a pass-through penalty on the first lap, putting Yeley a lap down.(ESPN.com)(7-12-2008)
      UPDATE: After the race, NASCAR met with Hall of Fame racing co-owner Tom Garfinkel and apparently cleared the team of any wrongdoing. “NASCAR had reason to believe we were doing something we shouldn’t have been doing – and we weren’t doing it,” Garfinkel said. “But they had sufficient reason to believe that because of some mistakes in procedure that we made.” Yeley said that each week, his team uses a drink system that requires crew members to put a cold water bag into the car before the race. If they put it in early, it gets too hot and isn’t drinkable. But NASCAR apparently felt something was amiss, and ran the car through inspection both with and without the water bag to address weight concerns. Officials apparently suspected that the #96 team had gone to the old trick of putting lead in the water bag to make extra weight. After the race, Pemberton said the team had “served our penalties. We’re done with them,” he said. “We’re comfortable with that team and we feel like they weren’t trying to pull the wool over our eyes.”(SceneDaily.com)(7-13-2008) Comment here

    • Gibbs Focusing on Logano to Replace Stewart: Top management of Joe Gibbs Racing wouldn't come out and say on Saturday that Joey Logano will replace Tony Stewart in the Sprint Cup series next season, but they didn't say anything to indicate otherwise. Team owner Joe Gibbs and president J.D. Gibbs both agreed Logano will play a huge part in the organization going forward. They oozed with compliments for the 18-year-old phenom, who won his third Nationwide Series start and has three top 10s in four events. They talked about his maturity. They reminded that Stewart, who announced on Thursday he will leave the organization after this season to become the driver/owner at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009, didn't have a win when he partnered with Home Depot in 1999. "We're going to look at everything out there before we make a decision," J.D. Gibbs said before the Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. "Generally, guys that are really gifted and real good show it right away. We've had a lot of drivers at JGR. All the good ones have popped right away. He has that."(ESPN.com)(7-13-2008) Comment here

    • Truex doesn't rule out driving for Stewart: UPATE: As far as his contract status with DEI, which intends to pick up his option, Truex said those talks took a backseat after the Daytona infraction. "Certainly, last week . . . I said to myself, this isn't the first thing on my list," Truex said of his contract. "Through this week, we've had great meetings about what happened, how we want to fix it, the direction we're headed as a race team, and so hopefully this week we'll get back to talking about the rest of that stuff. It's been going well. There's just been a lot of other things on the plate as a race team to figure out." He did not rule out he could be a candidate for the second team at the newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing. "I guess if you look around the garage, anybody who doesn't have a contract signed for next year you have to look at as a candidate . . . for that deal right now," Truex said. (ESPN.com)(7-12-2008)
      UPDATE: Sources confirmed to [Captain Thunder] that Newman is a done deal and an announcement is coming soon. What [Captain Thunder] also learned, is that Martin Truex Jr. may be joining Newman and Stewart. Sources said, Stewart is now looking to field a powerhouse three-car team, and sponsors are lining up to be a part of the newly formed venture. According to sources close to the situation, the Office Depot and Old Spice deals are set, but sources also said Burger King and UPS are working diligently with Stewart to sponsor his second and third racecars, if they can convince Truex Jr. to come along for the ride with Stewart HAAS Racing. Although DEI is working very hard to re-sign Truex Jr. and are throwing some huge numbers at the driver of the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy, Stewart is trying to convince Truex Jr. to join him and Newman at the newly formed Stewart HAAS Racing in hope of forming a powerhouse racing team. And, Truex Jr. may be ripe for the picking.(Captain Thunder Racing)(7-13-2008) Comment here

    • Obama Campaign to sponsor BAM at Pocono? UPDATE 2: BAM statement SI.com has learned that for the first time in history, a major presidential candidate may sponsor a race car in NASCAR's premier series. According to sources, Barack Obama's campaign is in talks to become the primary sponsor of BAM Racing's #49 Sprint Cup car for the Pocono race on August 3. Details of the agreement are expected to be worked out over the coming days. A BAM spokesperson has revealed the team will hold a press conference July 23 in Miami to reveal the partnership, currently a proposed one-race deal with an option to continue.(Sports Illustrated)(7-11-2008)
      UPDATE: NASCAR's BAM Racing team has presented Barack Obama's presidential campaign with a potential sponsorship deal in the Sprint Cup series later this year, but it doesn't look like an Obama car will be burning rubber on the track anytime soon. BAM team spokesman Rhett Vandiver told The Associated Press on Friday that the team made a sponsorship proposal to the Democratic presidential hopeful's campaign, and has made similar proposals to the campaign of Republican John McCain and at least one third-party candidate. Late Friday, the Obama campaign said there would be no sponsorship.(Associated Press)(7-12-2008)
      UPDATE 2: BAM Racing team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau issued the following statement to clear up any confusion from the past few days. "An independent agent, knowing BAM Racing was seeking corporate sponsorship to return to the track, requested permission to connect BAM Racing with all three presidential campaigns. BAM agreed to explore the options. The same independent agent referred to as, 'a BAM spokesperson' in the recent Sports Illustrated article, 'revealed' what was only tentative, exploratory talks. BAM Racing has decided to heed the advice of the overwhelming response by fans to keep politics out of racing and continue to focus on several other exciting sponsorships soon to be announced."(BAM Racing PR)(7-13-2008) Comment here

    • Ganassi Racing gets 100th win: Scott Dixon's win in the IndyCar Series Nashville Superspeedway race Saturday marked the 100th overall win for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. Chip Ganassi created his own one-car IndyCar team in 1990 and established a partnership with a new sponsor, Target. Today, his teams include two IRL IndyCars, and along with Felix Sabates he has two cars in the Sprint Cup Series, one entry in the Nationwide Series and a Daytona Prototype in the world of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series racing.(Ganassi Racing PR)(7-13-2008)


      News from July 12, 2008

    • Kyle Busch wins at Chicago: #18-Kyle Busch won the Lifelock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway for his 7th win of 2008 and the 11th of his career. He took the lead from #48-Jimmie Johnson coming to the white flag after a restart with 2 to go. #48-Johnson got loose coming to the checkerd flag but held on for second place. The rest of the top-10 were #29-Harvick, #16-Biffle, #20-Stewart, #83-Vickers, #17-Kenseth, #6-Ragan, #1-Truex, Jr. and #12-Newman. There were 9 cautions for 34 laps and their were 16 lead changes among 10 drivers.
      For race results, awards and more, see my Chicago Race Results Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Chicago page.(7-12-2008)

    • Chicago Race Fast Facts:
      .. Kyle Busch won the LifeLock.com 400, his 11th victory in 133 Sprint Cup Series races.
      .. This is his seventh victory and 13th top-10 finish in 2008.
      .. This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in four races at Chicagoland Speedway.
      .. Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish in seven races at Chicago. It is his ninth top-10 finish in 2008.
      .. Kevin Harvick (third) posted his sixth top-10 finish in eight races at Chicago.
      .. Patrick Carpentier (30th) was the highest finishing rookie.
      .. Kyle Busch leads the point standings by 262 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr.
      .. This is the first weekend sweep since Busch won the Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck Series races at Atlanta in March of this year. It is the first Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series weekend sweep since Busch won both at Phoenix last November.
      .. The Busch brothers have now won four consecutive races: Kyle (three) and Kurt (one). The last time that four brothers won four straight was by Tim (three) and Fonty (one) Flock between Sept. 11 and Oct. 6, 1955. Twice before that four consecutive races had been won by brothers: all three Flock brothers Tim (two), Bob (one) and Fonty (one) combined for four straight wins between July 20 and Sept. 1, 1952; while Herb (three) and Donald (one) Thomas combined to win the final four races of that season.(NASCAR Statistics)(7-12-2008)

    • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Chicago race 19 of 36]:
      1) #18-Kyle Busch 2881 [7 wins]
      2) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2622 -259 [1 win]
      3) #31-Jeff Burton 2593 -288 [1 win]
      4) #99-Carl Edwards 2509 -372 [3 wins][would be 3rd w/out 100pts penalty]
      5) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2494 -387 [1 win]
      6) #24-Jeff Gordon 2384 -497
      7) #16-Greg Biffle 2318 -563
      8) #17-Matt Kenseth 2317 -564
      9) #29-Kevin Harvick 2308 -573
      10) #20-Tony Stewart 2305 -576
      11) #9-Kasey Kahne 2292 -589
      12) #11-Denny Hamlin 2283 -598 [27 pts ahead of 13th]
      CHASE contenders
      13) #07-Clint Bowyer 2256 -625 [1 win][27 pts out of 12th]
      14) #83-Brian Vickers 2188-693
      15) #6-David Ragan 2185 -696
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Chicago page.(7-12-2008)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Indy:
      no changes in the top 35, but the spread between 35th and 36th is down to 13 points
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      32) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing: 1545 +142
      33) #01-Smith/DEI: 1497, +94
      34) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 1422 +19
      35) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing: 1416 13 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
      36) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 1403 13 points out of 35th
      37) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing: 1294 -122
      38) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing: 1256 -160 (could have a penalty coming)
      For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(7-12-2008)

    • Chicagoland Speedway Penalty Report:
      Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
      1 #96 Disobeying a NASCAR request MCI 1
      2 #00 Running over/under equipment S&G 5
      3 #31 Excessive speed - Exiting pits TE 37
      4 #31 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 49
      5 #11 Excessive speed - Exiting pits TE 50
      6 #28 Commitment Line Violation TE 104
      7 #2 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 104
      8 #45 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 111
      9 #1 Excessive speed - Exiting pits TE 113
      10 #55 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 143
      11 #00 Excessive Speed-Entering pits/Excessive speed - Exiting pits TE 144
      12 #45 Excessive speed - Exiting pits TE 144
      13 #55 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 180
      14 #99 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 226
      15 #55 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 227
      16 #78 Non-compliant refueling (overflow container) TE 238
      17 #43 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 245
      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)(7-12-2008)

    • UPS to #07? UPDATE 5: UPS to Stewart Haas? hearing UPS could move #07-Clint Bowyer of Richard Childress Racing, if so, no word where Jack Daniel's sposnorship would go, or if they would leave the sport.(7-1-2008)
      UPDATE Among the hot but unconfirmed rumors making the rounds in the Sprint Cup garage this week are that Richard Childress Racing will land UPS as a sponsor for Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevrolet. Multiple sources indicated that Bowyer’s car was the favorite to take the sponsorship over from Michael Waltrip Racing and David Reutimann. One source close to the negotiations said RCR initially offered UPS #31-Jeff Burton, 41, but the delivery company wanted a younger driver with whom it could create a long-term identity and Bowyer is just 29. Burton, instead, will be sponsored next year by Caterpillar.(SPEEDtv)(7-6-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway has learned that UPS will move from Michael Waltrip Racing’s #44 Toyota to the quarterpanels of Clint Bowyer’s #07 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in 2009, leaving Jack Daniels in search of a new driver. That driver will be Ryan Newman, who is set to sign-on with Stewart at Haas CNC.(Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway)(7-7-2008)
      UPDATE 3: The following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, regarding recent unsubstantiated reports in the media about Jack Daniel's leaving RCR after the 2008 season.: "Jack Daniel's and Richard Childress Racing have a contract through the 2009 season. Any reports in the media to the contrary are simply not accurate."(RCR PR)(7-10-2008)
      UPDATE 4: From Richard Childress' Press Conference Thursday at Chicago:
         CAN YOU TALK ABOUT JACK DANIELS AND THEIR FUTURE AND WHAT THEY HAVE MEANT FOR YOU AS A SPONSOR?
         "Jack Daniels is a great sponsor, and we have them on the car for next year and that is all about I can say about it right now."
         WHY DO WE KEEP HEARING ABOUT UPS BEING ADDED TO THAT CAR?
         "I don't know, I don't write those things."
         WILL UPS BE INVOLVED WITH RCR NEXT YEAR IN SOME CAPACITY?
         "Right now I can't comment on anything with UPS because I am not involved right now with all of that."(GM Racing PR)(7-11-2008)
      UPDATE 5: been told that UPS will NOT be going to Richard Childress Racing as a sponsor on any of their cars but will head to Stewart Haas Racing in the 2nd car with Ryan Newman as the driver. Look for Newman to be named as Stewart's team mate at Indy when SHR announces Office Depot as the sponsor for Stewart, but UPS won't be announced until a later date.(7-12-2008) Comment here

    • Drivers to appear on American Dream with Jim Cramer Sunday night: CNBC's Jim Cramer, host of "Mad Money W/ Jim Cramer" and one of the best minds on Wall Street, heads to NASCAR's Pit Road for his first NBC special "The American Dream with Jim Cramer" premiering on July 13th at 7pm. With high gas prices, plummetting home values and shrinking nest eggs, too many Americans feel like the American Dream is fading. But, in this one-hour special CNBC's Jim Cramer reminds viewers that it is still alive and well and that he, himself, is living proof. Cramer helps Americans unlock the wealth of money-making opportunities everywhere, even in their favorite pastime.
      Cramer had an unprecedented, all access pass to NASCAR, and the best part about it is you never know who you are going to bump into.... Cramer spent time talking cars, dreams, winning and yes, money with some of NASCAR's brightest and most magnetic stars including Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton and Casey Mears.(NBC PR)(7-12-2008)

    • 3rd Annual Blood Drive announced: The NASCAR Foundation announced that series sponsor Nationwide Insurance has joined the efforts encouraging fans to roll up their sleeves to help save a life for The NASCAR Foundation Third Annual Blood & Marrow Drive Presented by Nationwide Insurance on Sept. 11, 2008. The drive is a partnership between The NASCAR Foundation, Jimmie Johnson Foundation, Hendrick Marrow Program and 30 NASCAR Nationwide, NASCAR Sprint Cup and local NASCAR Home Tracks.(NASCAR PR) for more info, links and the PR, see my Racing Charities page.(7-12-2008)


      News from July 11, 2008

    • Earnhardt Jr. not interested in buying DEI: Dale Earnhardt Jr. wanted at least 51 percent of Dale Earnhardt Inc. last season before he opted for a fresh start at Hendrick Motorsports. If the company were up for sale now? "I don't mean this in a bad way, but I would not have any interest in purchasing it," Earnhardt said following Thursday's first practice at Chicagoland Speedway. "I would not have any interest in purchasing any race team, just to have the ownership." The subject was broached because of an Internet report earlier in the week that claimed DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt had commissioned the investment banking firm Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. to locate a buyer or financial partner. DEI president Max Siegel refuted the report, saying the company is not for sale.(ESPN.com), previous rumors about the sale are posted on my #1 Team Page.(7-11-2008) Comment here

    • Reutimann to take over #45 for Petty in 2009? UPDATE 2: Look for David Reutimann to be announced soon as the replacement for Kyle Petty in the #45 car, something the Petty folks would rather we not know about just yet.(Yahoo Sports)(7-10-2008)
      UPDATE: "David is currently under contract at Michael Waltrip Racing and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship with him," Calvin Wells III said. "He made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start with Michael Waltrip Racing in 2005 and has been with the Waltrip family since making his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race in 2004 with Darrell Waltrip Motorsports. He has had success driving for the Waltrips and we look forward to having him back with the team next year."(MWR PR)(7-9-2008)
      UPDATE 2: David Reutimann disputed a report he was leaving Michael Waltrip Racing after the season to drive the #45 car at Petty Enterprises. Reutimann acknowledged MWR has an option on him for next season. "I feel like I will be back," he said. "I'm just trying to keep from getting my head kicked in every week." Petty Enterprise officials said there have been no discussions with Reutimann about replacing Kyle Petty.(ESPN.com)(7-11-2008) Comment here

    • Lowe's and #48 Team "Racing for Relief" in July: Lowe's and Jimmie Johnson will be "Racing for Relief" at the Chicago and Indianapolis races this month to raise funds for the American Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of the recent Central U.S. floods and tornadoes. As part of Racing for Relief, the Red Cross logo will be displayed on the deck lid of the#48 Lowe's Chevy. Lowe's will donate $48 for each lap Johnson completes in the Chicagoland 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway on July 12 and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In addition, if Johnson wins either race, Lowe's will donate $4,800 per victory.(GMR Marketing PR)(7-11-2008) Comment here

    • Chase notes: #16-Greg Biffle's last place finish at Daytona dropped him three more spots, now in 11th only 10 points ahead of Kevin Harvick in 13th. Biffle has dropped six spots over the last five races, managing only 495 points in that period. What once looked like a waltz into his second Chase now looks like a struggle. Biff doesn't have a top 10 in his last four starts at Chicago. Biffle's teammate, #17-Matt Kenseth, dodged all the carnage at Daytona to finish 3rd and climb all the way from 13th to 9th. The #17 will be hard to dislodge from the Top 12 down the stretch, starting at Chicago where he finished 2nd last year. If you measure it by number of drivers within a one-race margin of either dropping out or getting in The Chase, 2008 ranks second only to 2005. With Truex's penalty knocking him out, there are still 10 drivers inside that margin, including a record seven inside The Chase at the present time, but within one race of dropping out. The last four races at Chicago, Kasey Kahne has finishes of 36th, 41st, 23rd and 32nd place. See the Chase stats and history on my Chase Stats after Daytona page.(7-11-2008)

    • Labonte in #45 instead of McCumbee: Chad McCumbee was expected to be in the driver's seat for the #45 car and attempt to qualify for Saturday night's Nextel Cup LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. But Terry Labonte, who is locked into the field because of a past champion's provisional, will drive the car as a part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Richard Petty's first race. "We wanted to ensure the #45 was in the field," said David Hovis, spokesman for the #45 team. "Chad was on board with it."(Myrtle Beach Sun)(7-11-2008) Comment here

    • Franchitti to meet with Ganassi on Friday: Understandably, Dario Franchitti has not been in the best mood. He is a little more than a week removed from being informed by team owner Chip Ganassi that his Sprint Cup team, with no sponsorship, would be shut down. "It was a big shock that it happened," Franchitti said Thursday. "Myself and 70 people lost their jobs in Concord. A lot of people are upset right now, but I understand if there's no money, there's no money. Franchitti is racing again for Ganassi this weekend -- in the Nationwide series. The two men are expected to meet Friday to discuss Franchitti's future with the team. Meanwhile, Franchitti said his phone has been ringing, and he has been hearing about options from a number of "different places." "Tomorrow is quite a big day with this meeting with Chip," Franchitti said. "We're starting to look around, starting to talk, [but] nothing is going to happen until I talk to Chip and see what his plan is for the future and see if it's something I'm interested in. I certainly owe Chip that much." Franchitti also believes that if possible, he owes it to himself to remain in the Sprint Cup series.(ESPN.com)(7-11-2008) Comment here


      News from July 10, 2008

    • Qualifying cancelled at Chicago due to rain: Rain washed out qualifying for the Lifelock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, so the field was set by the NASCAR Rules books and by owners points [top-35], two past champs and the remaining by race attempts with ties broken by owners points standings. So #18-Busch starts 1st followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr., #31-Burton, #99-Edwards, #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #9-Kahne, #17-Kenseth and #07-Boweyer. Two drivers will miss the race: #34-Raines and #08-Sauter.
      See the starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(7-10-2008)

    • 1st Thursday practice for the Lifelock 400 at Chciagoland Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #16-Biffle 179.748
      #48-Johnson 179.623
      #1-Truex, Jr. 179.301
      #88-Earnhardt, Jr 178.814
      #9-Kahne 178.737
      slowest: #08-Sauter 172.491 & #34-Raines 171.865
      rain: the practice session was delayed briefly about an hour in, due to some lightning in the area and NASCAR ended the session about 12 minutes early due to continued lightning.
      For the speeds and laps run, see my Chicago Practice Speeds page.(7-10-2008)

    • Stewart Joins Haas to form Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009: Two-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has set his NASCAR future, and it's as an owner and driver with Stewart-Haas Racing beginning in 2009. Stewart-Haas Racing is the new partnership between Stewart and Haas CNC Racing, with the revamped entity slated to run two cars full-time in the Sprint Cup Series. Haas CNC Racing operates out of a 140,000-square foot shop in Concord, N.C., and is owned by Oxnard, Calif.-based Haas Automation Inc. The company has been involved with motorsports since 1995 through various technical partnerships with teams in the IRL IndyCar Series and NASCAR, including Hendrick Motorsports, which will continue to provide chassis, engines and technical support to Stewart-Haas Racing. News regarding sponsors of Stewart-Haas Racing, as well as the complete driver lineup and corresponding car numbers for the two-car team, will be announced at a later date.(TrueSpeed Communication PR)
      Transcript: The complete press conference transcript is posted on the Haas CNC Racing site.(7-10-2008)

    • DEI to Appeal #1 Team Penalties: Dale Earnhardt Inc. is appealing at least the suspensions of #1 team crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion and car chief Gary Putnam. Manion and Putnam were working in the garage at Chicagoland Speedway today, and suspended personnel are not allowed at the track unless their penalty is being appealed. DEI Vice President John Story confirmed Thursday afternoon that the team will appeal. The appeal will be heard July 21. “We’ve been granted an opportunity for appeal and anything we have to say about the appeal will be done during the hearing we’ve been granted,” said Story, who would not elaborate on the scope and basis for the appeal.(SceneDaily.com), for earlier inforamtion on the penalty, see my #1 Team Page.(7-10-2008) Comment here

    • RCR Unveils #31 Caterpillar Chevy: Richard Childress Racing unveiled at Chicagoland Speedway the #31 Caterpillar Chevy to be driven by Jeff Burton in the Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2009. Caterpillar Inc. and RCR announced June 18 that they had entered into a multi-year partnership for the #31 Chevy team and Burton. Next season marks Caterpillar's 17th year of sponsorship involvement in NASCAR. It will also be Richard Childress' 40th anniversary in the sport.(RCR PR)(7-10-2008), see an image of the car on my #31 team paint schemes page.

    • Daytona TV Ratings: After two weeks out of the top spot, NASCAR on TNT finally returned to is accustomed spot atop the weekly cable ratings. The Coke Zero 400 drew a 3.8 final rating with 6.4 million viewers on TNT Saturday night, flat in ratings and up 4% in total viewers from a 3.8 with 6.2 million last year. The race was easily the most watched program on cable for the week, beating the next best show (WWE Raw on USA Network) by over 1 million viewers. TNT's NASCAR post-race show finished #4 for the week, drawing a 3.0 with 4.9 million viewers. With only one race left to televise, TNT is averaging a 3.6 rating with 5.8 million viewers for five NASCAR races, up 6% and 3% from a 3.4 with 5.6 million last year.(PR), for ratings on each race and the chart, see my 2008 TV Ratings page.(7-10- 2008)

    • New engine from Dodge close: Dodge is moving closer to running its new engine in a Sprint Cup race. Tommy Wheeler, engineering services director for Gillett Evernham Motorsports, says he hopes to begin extensive track testing next month with the goal of having the engine debut sometime during the Chase in a Dodge car not competing for the title. Wheeler said he'd like to see the new engine used in at least five races this season before all Dodge teams begin using it next year.(Roanoke Times)(7-10-2008) Comment here

    • #01 car soon to be 'sidelined'? other DEI stuff: ....however Regan Smith, the promising rookie who may not have any sponsorship next season at DEI, will apparently soon be sidelined; Mark Martin is leaving DEI at the end of the season to join Rick Hendrick; Martin Truex Jr. is trying to leave DEI at the end of the year, though that legal issue is still up in the air; and Paul Menard’s wealthy father John is reported talking with Ford’s Jack Roush apparently about moving his financial NASCAR stake there, presumably with Paul Menard driving a Roush-Yates Ford in 2009. That only leaves DEI with newcomer Aric Almirola.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-10-2008) Comment here

    • Hammond Featured on ESPN2's Driven to Hunt Sunday: Former NASCAR crew chief Jeff Hammond will be featured on an episode of the ESPN2 series Driven to Hunt on Sunday, July 13, at 7am/et. The program repeats at 9:30am/et. Hammond heads to the mountains of New Mexico for a Rocky Mountain Elk hunt. The third day finds him in a stalk of his life for a once-in-a-lifetime bull. Each week, Driven to Hunt will invite a prominent NASCAR personality on a once-in-a-lifetime hunt. From drivers to team owners to the over-the-wall gang, hunting is what they dream about. Guests this season include drivers Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Terry and Bobby Labonte and Kerry Earnhardt, and NASCAR team owner Richard Childress.(ESPN PR)(7-10-2008)

    • Breakfast between team owners...mean anything? It was probably just an innocent breakfast. Then again ...On the morning of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, there was an eye-catching breakfast gathering at Doc Bales' restaurant in the Hilton Ocean Walk hotel. The group at a large table, front and center, included Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates, owners of the NASCAR organization that bears both their names, along with Michael Waltrip Racing executive vice president Cal Wells and Michael Waltrip's partner and money man, Rob Kauffman. "Rob Kauffman said he wanted to meet Chip and me," Sabates said matter-of-factly at the Speedway later that afternoon.
      Perhaps we should consider the backdrop. Ganassi recently shuttered his No. 40 Dodge Cup team, leaving open-wheel star Dario Franchitti to ponder his future in the sport. That left Ganassi with two active Cup teams and roughly 70 fewer employees, with more layoffs reportedly in the offing. There have been layoffs and a realignment of personnel at MWR. To Kauffman, that's a natural process for a team that raced for the first time in 2007. The issue of sponsorship is fundamental. UPS will leave Waltrip at the end of this season, likely finding a new home with Clint Bowyer at Richard Childress Racing, now that Bowyer has extended his contract with RCR. That leaves Waltrip with NAPA on his #55 car and Aaron's as part-time sponsor of Michael McDowell's #00. If additional sponsorship isn't forthcoming, Waltrip will have funding for two cars, the same number Ganassi now has.
      Would it be too far-fetched to speculate that Waltrip and Ganassi might benefit by joining forces in some way, each bringing two teams to the table? Asked whether he might find a deal with Ganassi intriguing under the right circumstances, Kauffman deflected the question. "That's a highly speculative, theoretical thing," he said. "We just wanted to have breakfast with Felix and Chip, more than anything. We have a lot of common friends down in the North Carolina area. ... I think getting MWR on the right track and solidifying our position on the grid and improving our performance -- that's job one, two and three." Kauffman asked rhetorically whether the group would have met openly if they were talking about a deal. Probably not.(in part from the Sporting News)
      NOTES: heard from one source the 'meeting' was nothing more then discussion over selling personal items and another source saying there is somethign to this and Ganassi and Waltrip could merge and become a four car team in 2009, no word if they would become a Dodge team [Ganassi] or a Toyota team [Waltrip]. Currently with five teams in the top-35 of ownes points, one could be sold off for points. Other rumored mergers include: Red Bull Racing and Ganassi Racing; Bill Davis Racing and Red Bull Racing.(7-10-2008) Comment here

    • Newman and the Mummy team up at Chicago: UPDATE: #12-Ryan Newman is scheduled to race aspecial paint-schemed car during the LifeLock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 12th. Kodak and Universal Pictures have teamed up and will run the special movie scheme: The Mummy - Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.(5-2-2008)
      UPDATE: Eastman Kodak Company and Universal Pictures have partnered to promote the latest epic adventure in the blockbuster global Mummy franchise at the Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 12. Through Kodak’s partnership with Penske Racing and NASCAR driver Ryan Newman, the Kodak #12 Dodge will feature a bold paint scheme from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Kodak will also have its branding on the car. Ryan Newman will wear a Kodak-The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor branded firesuit and helmet as will his pit crew.(Kocak PR)(7-10-2008) See the image on my #12 Team Schemes page.

    • Penske Racing Pays Tribute to Employee: This weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, all three Penske Racing NASCAR Cup Series entries will carry a special decal in memory of employee Bill Passwater. The decal will also be on Penske IndyCar Series entries at Nashville Superspeedway and the American Le Mans Series entries at Lime Rock. Passwater, 33, passed away on Wednesday morning. He is survived by his wife, Heather, and their baby daughter, Lyla Grace. Passwater had been employed at Penske Racing since 2005. He was the transportation coordinator for the NASCAR Cup Series teams.(Penske Racing PR)(7-10-2008)

    • Special scheme for Jeff Gordon at Chicago: Jeff Gordon will drive a specially painted #24 DuPont/Nicorette Chevrolet Impala SS this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. See images of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page. Also this weekend at the Nicorette Winner's Circle Exhibit at the Chicagoland Speedway, race fans have the opportunity to join the Nicorette QUIT Crew and pledge to quit smoking. For more information, go to www.quit2winracing.com or www.US99.com.(PR)(7-10-2008)

    • Chicago Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this tire set-up to Chicagoland, though teams in these two NASCAR series have raced on it already in 2008 . . . this exact combination of left- and right-side tire codes has been run by Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams earlier this season at Texas . . . in addition, this left-side tire code (D-4134) was also run with a different right-side code at Dover (both series), Michigan (Sprint Cup only) and Kentucky (Nationwide only) . . . these teams are also scheduled to run this specific tire combination at Homestead in November . . . compared to what was run at Chicagoland last season, this tire set-up features a revised construction on both sides and a tougher right-side compound for better wear .. . as on all NASCAR's ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Chicagoland . . .air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full tire notes with pressues, codes and more on my Chicago Race Info Page.(7-10-2008)

    • Chicagoland Rookie Notes: #10-Patrick Carpentier was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 5 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Carpentier scored a 14th-place finish, his best in 18 Sprint Cup Series races, and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the second time this season. For the second consecutive race, Two Raybestos Rookies qualified in the top-10. #01-Regan Smith started eighth in the Coke Zero 400 while Carpentier grabbed the 10th-place starting position. Carpentier won the pole for the June 29 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway while Dario Franchitti claimed the seventh-place starting position. Regan Smith leads #77-Sam Hornish Jr. by three points (167-164) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the July 12 LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Kevin Harvick is the only Raybestos Rookie to win in seven Sprint Cup races at Chicagoland. He won the 2001 LifeLock.com 400 by .649 seconds over Robert Pressley. He is also the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in a race at Chicagoland, leading the 2001 event five times for 113 laps. The record number for Raybestos Rookies to finish inside the top-10 at Chicagoland is three in 2006: Reed Sorenson (seventh), Clint Bowyer (ninth) and J.J. Yeley (10th). A Raybestos Rookie has led at least one lap in five of the seven Sprint Cup races at Chicagoland.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see full rookie notes, history, stnadings on my 2008 Rookies page.(7-10-2008)

    • Dale Earnhardt car on display at IMHOF: UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt scored his first victory at Talladega Superspeedway behind the wheel of the #15 Wrangler Ford Thunderbird on July 31st, 1983. To celebrate the upcoming 25th Anniversary of that historic first win, officials for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum (IMHOF) recently unveiled the famous car that started Earnhardt's winning ways at Talladega. The car comes to the IMHOF at a fitting time, as the 25th Anniversary of Earnhardt's win coincides with the 25th Anniversary of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum. Along with 10 Sprint Cup Series wins (a series record), Earnhardt also collected one Nationwide Series victory and three IROC wins, making him the most successful driver in Talladega Superspeedway history. Visitors to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum will find the #15 Ford Thunderbird on display in the Union 76 building through December.(TSS PR)(7-10-2008)
      UPDATE: A car unveiled at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on Tuesday and touted as the car Dale Earnhardt drove to his first victory at Talladega Superspeedway is not that car, the car's owner and Hall of Fame officials confirmed Wednesday. The 1982 Ford Thunderbird unveiled Tuesday was driven by Earnhardt but is not the car in which he won the 1983 Talladega 500. (Birmingham News)(7-10-2008)

    • Venturini wins NASCAR Raceday Bus Race at LMS: In the Fourth Annual "NASCAR RaceDay" School Bus Challenge Tuesday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway Summer Shootout, Jimmy Spencer sputtered; Kenny Wallace wobbled; John Roberts retired; and Rutlege Wood was just happy to be here. But in the end, second-generation racer Wendy Venturini celebrated on the victory podium. The SPEED Channel personalities joined Lug Nut, the world's fastest mascot, and "Mean Megan" Hazel in a seven-bus slobberknocker on the quarter-mile frontstretch oval. Spencer started at the rear of the field, but quickly made his way to the front and traded the point with Kenny Wallace early in the race. But when Roberts stalled in Turn 4 because of engine problems, Venturini pushed her purple flower-power machine past Wallace and cruised to her second career School Bus victory. Wallace settled for second with Lug Nut coming in third in the eight-lap special event.(LMS PR) Saturday's NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED (4:30pm/et) will showcase the rain-delayed grudge match.(7-10-2008)


      News from July 9, 2008

    • New crew chief for McDowell Michael Waltrip Racing announced Peter Sospenzo will take over as crew chief of the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota beginning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the remainder of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season. Bill Pappas, who previously served as Michael McDowell's crew chief, will advance to head of engineering.(MWR PR)(7-9-2008) Comment here

    • New crew chief for Allmendinger: Red Bull Racing Team formally announces Jimmy Elledge as crew chief of the #84 Red Bull Toyota piloted by AJ Allmendinger, effective this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Elledge’s most recent Sprint Cup Series crew chief duties were with #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, so he’s quite familiar with translating open-wheel lingo. Elledge’s resume includes stints with drivers Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson, Kenny Wallace, Bobby Hamilton and Dale Jarrett. AJ Allmendinger on the addition of Jimmy Elledge: “Of all the crew chiefs in the Cup garage, Jimmy is one of the only ones I’ve spoken to and had a chance to get to know. When I drove a few Nationwide races at Ganassi last year, Jimmy was always helpful. He’s a guy with a lot of crew chief experience and has a good knowledge of these race cars, so I’m looking forward to turning this season around together.”(Red Bull Racing PR), former #84 crew chief Ricky Viers will stay with the team in an undisclosed position.(7-9-2008) Comment here

    • Mears or Stremme to the #12? UPDATE: It appears to be a two-man race for Ryan Newman’s soon-to-be-vacant [#12] seat at Penske Racing, with Casey Mears and David Stremme in the running. Stremme is making a strong bid for the ride, doing yeoman work as Penske Racing’s test driver this season. In fact, Stremme’s name is being linked with as many as three different Cup openings next year.(Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway)(7-7-2008)
      UPDATE - McDowell to Penske? There's still the issue of a replacement for Ryan Newman at Penske [in the #12 if Newman goes to Stewart Haas Racing], also rumored to be Casey Mears, but I [Yahoo's Bob Margolis] hear #00-Michael McDowell could be in play there as he's somehow lost favor with the Michael Waltrip folks.(Yahoo Sports)(7-9-2008) Comment here

    • Statements about Stewart leaving Joe Gibbs Racing: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and Tony Stewart have agreed to part ways upon the conclusion of the 2008 season. Stewart will finish the 2008 Sprint Cup season with JGR behind the wheel of the #20 Home Depot Toyota. Stewart will also compete for JGR in the two Nationwide Series races still remaining on his original, nine-race Nationwide Series schedule – July 11 at Chicagoland Speedway, and Aug. 16 at Michigan International Speedway. Stewart will pilot the #20 Old Spice Toyota in those two events.
      “We’ve had a lot of success with Tony in our 12 years here at Joe Gibbs Racing,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. “While this moment is bittersweet, we’re parting on good terms and we know that each of us has benefited greatly from the other. We grew to two teams in the Sprint Cup Series with Tony and The Home Depot in 1999, and two championships and 32 wins followed. While our time together is coming to an end, we know there’s still a lot of racing left this season and we plan to make the most of it. On behalf of everyone at JGR, we’re proud of everything we’ve accomplished together with Tony and we wish him the best in pursuing his dream of NASCAR team ownership.”
      “I cannot thank Joe and J.D. Gibbs enough for the opportunity they gave me and for the support they’ve given me throughout my entire NASCAR career,” Stewart said. “I’ve learned so much from them and have a tremendous amount of respect for what they’ve built. I’ve modeled my USAC and World of Outlaws teams the same way they built their NASCAR team, and I made it a point to find good people to run those programs. If I’ve learned anything from my time at Joe Gibbs Racing, it’s that Joe Gibbs’ saying of, ‘You win with people,’ is incredibly true. They always surrounded me with not just good people, but great people, and the results speak for themselves. My crew chief, Greg Zipadelli, is the best example of that. We’ve accomplished so much in our 10 years together on the track, and off the track, he’s been like a big brother to me. It’s a friendship I cherish and expect to continue, even while he stays at Joe Gibbs Racing and I move on. I also want to thank The Home Depot. We’ve had a fantastic run with them, and it’s not over yet. We can still win races and compete for a championship and go out on top. For 2008, that’s my number one goal.”
      Stewart’s parting from JGR at the conclusion of the 2008 season will end the longest active driver/crew chief relationship in the Sprint Cup garage. “No matter what, Tony and I will remain close friends,” Zipadelli said. “I know when it comes to the No. 20 team, things will obviously be a lot different next year, but I remain as committed as ever this year to winning races with Tony and securing our spot in the Chase to contend for a third championship.”
      “The 20 car has been one of the all-time great partnerships in NASCAR for the last decade with the combination of Tony, Zippy, The Home Depot and Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “While we are losing one piece of the puzzle, we think the No. 20 team will remain strong for many years to come.”
      Statement from Frank Bifulco, Chief Marketing Officer of The Home Depot regarding Tony Stewart’s departure from Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the 2008 season: “The Home Depot has had a remarkable relationship with Tony Stewart and Joe Gibbs Racing since our sponsorship commenced back in 1998. With two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships and 32 race wins, Tony is a true competitor and an excellent ambassador for our company. Details regarding our future plans will be announced at a later date.”

      Statement from Lee White, President and General Manager, Toyota Racing Development: "We fully support the decision of Joe Gibbs and J.D. Gibbs regarding this arrangement between Joe Gibbs Racing and Tony Stewart. We thank Tony and wish him the best in his future endeavors. He has been synonymous with Joe Gibbs Racing and has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success with the team. In our first year together, Tony has been a valuable asset to the Toyota program. We will continue to work diligently to get Tony and his Camry to 'Victory Lane' as often as possible in the Sprint Cup Series during the remainder of this season. Our hope is that he will be able to qualify for the 'Chase' and contend for another championship."(in part from Joe Gibbs Racing site)(7-9-2008)

    • Office Depot to Stewart UPDATE 3 Stewart granted release from Gibbs: been told that Office Depot will be the sponsor for Tony Stewart in 2009 when he drives for Haas CNC Racing which is will buy in to. Hearing the announcement of the buy and deal will be made in Indianapolis the week NASCAR is in Indy for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, July 27th.(7-3-2008)
      UPDATE: Tony Stewart is expected to announce a 2009 move to Haas-CNC Racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in three weeks. Reliable sources tell Sirius Speedway that Stewart will also announce sponsorship from Office Depot and Old Spice as part of a new, multi-year package with Haas CNC, and that Penske Racing’s Ryan Newman will join him as a teammate, with sponsorship from Jack Daniels. That surprise move comes as the result of an enviable situation at Richard Childress Racing, which now has five potential sponsors for next season, and only four teams. Sirius Speedway has learned that UPS will move from Michael Waltrip Racing’s #44 Toyota to the quarterpanels of Clint Bowyer’s #07 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in 2009, leaving Jack Daniels in search of a new driver. That driver will be Newman, who is set to sign-on with Stewart at Haas CNC.(Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway)(7-7-2008)
      UPDATE 2: #20-Tony Stewart has been granted a release from the final year of his driving contract with Joe Gibbs Racing after 10 seasons with the team. "We've had a lot of success with Tony in our 12 years here at Joe Gibbs Racing," J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, said in a statement. "While this moment is bittersweet, we're parting on good terms and we know that each of us has benefited greatly from the other." On Thursday at Chicagoland Speedway, Stewart will formally announce a move to Haas/CNC Racing as co-owner and driver, sources close to Stewart said. Sources close to both sides told ESPN.com the deal will make Stewart the highest-paid driver in NASCAR. Sources also said the Stewart Haas cars will carry different numbers. The #14, made famous in IndyCar racing by Stewart's hero, A.J. Foyt, is available, but sources would neither confirm nor deny that as his choice. Sources said Stewart will own a 50% stake in the organization, but his financial investment in attaining it was not disclosed. Per Stewart's agreement with JGR, he will not attempt to hire away any members of his current team. This was a significant key to making the deal happen because the only way that Gibbs felt comfortable with putting Joey Logano in the Cup Series so quickly was to surround him with Greg Zipadelli's established, experienced crew. As ESPN.com's David Newton initially reported, Office Depot will have a role in sponsoring Stewart's car. Ryan Newman remains the lead candidate to drive Stewart Haas' second car, sources said, though no deal had yet been finalized Tuesday night. Stewart Haas will continue to receive chassis and engines from Hendrick Motorsports. Haas/CNC's current drivers, Scott Riggs and Johnny Sauter, are ranked 36th and 44th, respectively, in the owner point standings. If the team's performance fails to improve its points position during the second half of 2008, Stewart's champion's provisional will guarantee him a slot in the field for the first five races next season, presuming NASCAR doesn't change the rule.(ESPN.com)(7-9-2008)
      UPDATE 3: Joey Logano acknowledged on Wednesday that he is a candidate to replace Tony Stewart in the #20 Sprint Cup car at Joe Gibbs Racing next season. "It has been brought up a few times," Logano said as he arrived at JGR for a morning workout. Logano wasn't shocked to hear that Stewart will be released from his final year at JGR next season to pursue other opportunities. Stewart was scheduled to tell his team on Wednesday that this will be his last season, then announce on Thursday in Chicago that he has bought into Haas CNC Racing and will drive for that team with another driver -- Ryan Newman, according to sources, is all but a done deal -- next year. Stewart will unveil his new car with Office Depot as the primary sponsor at a news conference in Indianapolis in two weeks, sources said. Logano, 18, said he will focus the rest of this season on his Nationwide Series ride and hope to get into a few Cup races before the end of the year to prepare him for next season.(ESPN.com)(7-9-2008) Comment here

    • Special schemes for Petty cars: This weekend the #43 Dodge of Bobby Labonte and the #45 Dodge of Terry Labonte are carrying the Richard Petty’s 50th Anniversary logo to honor the anniversary of ‘The King’s’ first race.(Petty Racing PR) See images of the cars on my #43 Team Schemes page and the #45 Team Schemes page.(7-9-2008)


      News from July 8, 2008

    • Robby adds petition site to Jim Beam hood at Chicago..see image: Robby Gordon will run the #7 'SaveOurName.com' Jim Beam Dodge this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Gordon, a subject of Jim Beam Bourbon's "The Stuff Inside" campaign, learned Jim Beam unveiled a "Save Our Ballpark's Name" billboard outside Wrigley Field in an effort to keep the national landmark's name intact and offered to show his support by adding the website www.saveourname.com to the hood of his car. SaveOurName.com urges fans to sign a petition to save the name, Wrigley Field. The name of Chicago's legendary Cubs' stadium is in jeopardy, much to the chagrin of Chicago natives and baseball fans alike. Built in 1914, Wrigley Field is the second-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. Representing quality and character, Wrigley Field stands for the same traits that Jim Beam is committed to when it comes to its bourbon. "This is right in line with Beam's mission to champion people with 'The Stuff Inside,'" said Gordon. "I know what it is like when Jim Beam gets behind something. They supported me earlier this year with the 'Rally for Robby' initiative, giving fans a voice while my team awaited a ruling from NASCAR. They are creating the same buzz with Wrigley Field. Putting SaveOurName.com on the hood of the car is my way of showing support for the Chicago community and I'm excited to help spread the word." Jim Beam is in its fourth year of partnership with Robby Gordon Motorsports and is the primary sponsor for 16 Sprint Cup Series races in 2008. The remaining Jim Beam primary races are Chicago, Watkins Glen, Michigan, Richmond, New Hampshire, Atlanta, Phoenix and Homestead.(Jim Beam Racing/Robby GordonMotorsports PR), see an image of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(7-8-2008)

    • Shootout to get new name? There's a chance the annual running of the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway could play the name game. The non-points race has been the season starter for NASCAR's premiere series since 1979 when it was known as the Busch Clash. Sources tell News 13 that routine negotiations are underway for naming rights to the 2009 race, and it's not yet certain that Budweiser will return as title sponsor.(News 13), well....Coor's Light took over as the official beer of NASCAR and the Bud Pole Award is now sponsored by Coor's Light and called the Coor's Light Pole Award. It could end up the Coor's Light Shootout, but when the sponsorship was announced last season it was mentioned that NASCAR’s agreement with Coors does not include the Bud Shootout race, which is a separate entitlement with Daytona Interntional Speedway. See more about the race and pole award on my 2009 Shootout Page.(7-8-2008) Comment here

    • Statement from Dale Earnhardt Inc. Regarding #1 Team Fine: Following NASCAR's announcement that it has fined the Dale Earnhardt Inc. #1 car 150 car owner points, 150 driver points and issued a $100,000 fine for crew chief Kevin Manion, as well as a six-race suspension for Manion and car chief Gary Putnam, Dale Earnhardt Inc. vice president of motorsports operations John Story issued the following statement: "We are still trying to understand how the car fit our templates multiple times at the shop, but we respect NASCAR's determination that one of our cars did not exactly conform to their template at the track. We have not decided if we will pursue our options to appeal. Under NASCAR's rules, we have 10 days to notify the sanctioning body of any appeal."(DEI PR)(7-8-2008)

    • #1 car doesn't fit templates, seized by NASCAR UPDATE 3 DEI will appeal: During opening day technical inspection Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR seized the #1 DEI Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr. NASCAR said that during the tech inspection the car did not fit the roof templates. The team was allowed to try again and when they failed again the car was seized and will be taken to NASCAR’s R&D center for further evaluation. The team was told to bring their back up car out for inspection.(Cup Scene Online)(7-3-2008)
      UPDATE: #1-Martin Truex Jr. was furious with his Dale Earnhardt Inc. team Thursday after was car was seized by NASCAR officials because it failed to fit the critical roof templates, which are keys to the aerodynamic performance of the car. The immediate effects were obvious enough: Truex was forced to go to a backup after his primary car was taken prior to Thursday’s opening round of practice for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. His DEI team could not get the car ready in time to make the first of only two rounds of practice, which put Truex far behind the other drivers. In fact, of the 45 cars entered in Saturday’s race, Truex’s #1 DEI Chevy was the only one that failed to make a single lap in the first practice session. And that had the Mayetta, N.J., native irked. Asked what the team told him was the problem, Truex said, “Something about the roof template. I don’t know. I guess NASCAR wasn’t happy with the way it fit. It’s their ballgame, it’s their call. They took the car. We’re trying to get our backup (car) ready, they had to put an engine in it and get everything ready.” And he made it clear he was not happy with his team. “Somebody made a big mistake,” said Truex, who is expected to leave DEI after his contract expires at the end of 2008 [Haas/Stewart? Penske? RCR?]. “That shouldn’t happen at this level of auto racing, but people make mistakes. We’ll go on. Hopefully we’ll make the second practice.” [Happy Hour was rained out, so Truex got no practice](SPEEDtv), also expect Truec and the team to be penalized by NASCAR, usually announced on Tuesday, looking at at least a 100pt penalty, which could kill their Chase hopes as Truex is now 71 points back going into Daytona.(7-4-2008)
      UPDATE 2 - PENALTIES: NASCAR has issued penalties, fines and suspensions to the car #1 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rules infractions found last week at Daytona International Speedway. The car driven by Martin Truex Jr., was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-3.8A (roof of the car does not conform to the specifications) of the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rule book. As a result, Truex Jr. and car owner Teresa Earnhardt have been penalized 150 championship driver and 150 championship owner points, respectively. Both the crew chief, Kevin Manion, and the car chief, Gary Putnam, have been suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, suspended from NASCAR until Aug. 27 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Additionally, Manion has been fined $100,000. The infractions were discovered July 3 during opening day inspection.(NASCAR PR), the penalty moves Truex from 14th in drivers pts, -88 out of the Chase to 18th in drivers points, 238 points out of the Chase. See revised points standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Daytona page.(7-8-2008) Comment here

    • Teresa Earnhardt Looking to sell DEI? UPDATE 2 Reports Refuted: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway is reporting today that Teresa Earnhardt has enlisted the services of Bear, Stearns and Company [actally there is no more Bear Stearns as JP Morgan aquired them] to find a buyer -- or at least a major financial investor -- for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Bear Stearns is an investment bank, securities trading and brokerage firm based in New York City, and has been charged with finding a buyer for the entire operation. Barring that, Earnhardt is said to be interested in selling at least a minority interest in the team. DEI President of Global Operations Max Siegel declined to comment on the story when contacted earlier today.(Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway)(7-7-2008)
      UPDATE: Max Siegel, President of Global Operations at DEI is currently in negotiations with major investors to buy Teresa Earnhardt out of DEI, a source close to the negotiations said Monday. It appears now that Teresa is finally willing to sell, and Siegel is working diligently with a number of potential investors to take the company over. Sources said Siegel would not just be buying a portion of DEI or a controlling interest, rather, he would be buying the entire company. Sources said, Teresa has agreed to walk away from the company entirely for the right price. That price is supposedly somewhere between $115-$130 million dollars. With one exception...Teresa would retain the rights to all "Dale Earnhardt' and 'Intimidator' rights and merchandise sales. Siegel would only be buying the DEI race teams, and real estate including all race shops and the DEI headquarters in Mooresville, NC. Sources said Siegel is very serious about the purchase and appears to have investors salivating over the opportunity to own the legendary team. In addition, Teresa has grown more frustrated with NASCAR nation following her fall-out with the sports most popular driver, and wants nothing more than to be out of the public eye for good.(Captain Thunder Racing)(7-8-2008)
      UPDATE 2 reports refuted: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. is not for sale -- right now. DEI president Max Siegel on Tuesday refuted an Internet report that company owner Teresa Earnhardt had commissioned investment banking firm Bear, Stearns & Co., Inc. to locate a buyer or financial investment partner. "We have not engaged Bear, Stearns or Goldman Sachs or anyone else," Siegel said. "We are contacted all the time by outside firms about getting involved in the sport. We are not for sale right now. Nothing is imminent. Are we constantly weighing that as an option? Does that make sense? Quite frankly, we don't know," Siegel said. "Every team is looking for a way to bring in appropriate resources. Every single one. We haven't engaged anybody. People obviously approach us -- they're approaching everybody. We're looking to be around for a long time in future. We're feeling pretty damn good about where we're going, competition-wise." Siegel was forced to approach his driving corps with assurance that the team is currently not for sale. "I have assured them it's not true," Siegel said.(ESPN.com)(7-8-2008) Comment here

    • Special Office Depot scheme for Edwards at Chicago: When Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Office Depot Ford in the Sprint Cup Series, competes in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 12, he'll have some special passengers along for the ride. For this race only, Office Depot will showcase a one-of-a-kind 'Taking Care of Business' paint scheme featuring the individual signatures of close to 8,000 Office Depot associates from around the world. The signatures collected from all regions of the world are representative of the fact that Office Depot associates serve customers in more than 40 countries across the globe. The Office Depot 'Taking Care of Business' paint scheme features the unique signatures of associates from Office Depot sales offices, retail stores, distribution centers, crossdocks, corporate and administrative offices in Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. More info at officedepotracing.com.(Office Depot site), see an image of the scheme on my #99 Team Schemes page.(7-8-2008)

    • Most Wins after 18 races UPDATE: interesting stat.....In NASCAR Sprint Cup history, 20 drivers have won six or more races through the first 18 events – 14 have gone on to win the series championship. Bill Elliott holds the record for the most after 18 races, with 9 wins, he won 2 more the rest of the season. #18-Kyle Busch has 6 in 2008 after 18 races, the first driver to do so since Jeff Gordon in 1997.(ESPN's NASCAR Now only listed 3 drivers since 1980, see NASCAR.com for the full list of drivers)(7-8-2008)

    • Truex to re-sign with DEI? Mark Martin’s new deal with Hendrick Motorsports will make it much easier for DEI to re-sign #1-Martin Truex Jr. Early Sunday morning, sources close to Truex Jr. said Martin’s release from the team at the end of the 2008 season would free up more than $8 million dollars. That money now appears to be spearheaded for Truex Jr. DEI has said they have an option on Truex Jr for 2009, an option that Truex Jr has discounted. Mark Martin was being paid more than $8 million dollars to drive part-time according to sources within the DEI organization. Now that Martin has agreed to terms with Hendrick Motorsports to drive the #5 car full-time next season and part-time in 2010, this money has become available for Truex Jr. Sources said DEI and Truex Jr. are closer than ever to announcing a contract extension that would lock in the New Jersey native through 2012 in the #1 car.(Captain Thunder Racing)(7-8-2008) Comment here

    • FreeCreditReport.com to sponsor the #28 also: FreeCreditReport.com will sponsor both Yates Racing cars at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend. #28-Travis Kvapil will sport the FreeCreditReport.com colors at Chicago as he did at #38-David Gilliland has had FreeCreditReport.com as his sponsor most of the season.(Yates Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #28 Team Schemes page and the #38 Team Schemes page.(7-8-2008)

    • Hard Rock to sponsor a DEI car? DEI is also working diligently to lock up sponsors for next season. Rumors have been swirling that they may lose their U.S. Army sponsorship on Martin’s #8 car, a car that will be driven by rookie Aric Almirola next year, to Red Bull and Scott Speed. If that happens, DEI hopes to be ready with another sponsor to step in. That sponsor may be the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s. Sources said early Sunday that Max Siegel, President of Global Operations for DEI, had met throughout the weekend in Daytona Beach, FL with representatives from the Hard Rock about possible sponsorship opportunities with DEI. They could replace the U.S. Army should they bail and head to Red Bull, or they could end up on the #01 of Regan Smith.(Captain Thunder Racing)(7-8-2008) Comment here

    • Johnson speaking in Washington DC: #48-Jimmie Johnson will be speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, July 8. The reigning Sprint Cup Series Champion will discuss his life experiences as a leading NASCAR driver and influential philanthropist.(GMR Marketing/Lowe's Racing PR)(7-8-2008)


      News from July 7, 2008

    • UPS to #07? UPDATE 2: hearing UPS could move #07-Clint Bowyer of Richard Childress Racing, if os, no word where Jack Daniel's sposnorship would go, or if they would leave the sport.(7-1-2008)
      UPDATE Among the hot but unconfirmed rumors making the rounds in the Sprint Cup garage this week are that Richard Childress Racing will land UPS as a sponsor for Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevrolet. Multiple sources indicated that Bowyer’s car was the favorite to take the sponsorship over from Michael Waltrip Racing and David Reutimann. One source close to the negotiations said RCR initially offered UPS #31-Jeff Burton, 41, but the delivery company wanted a younger driver with whom it could create a long-term identity and Bowyer is just 29. Burton, instead, will be sponsored next year by Caterpillar.(SPEEDtv)(7-6-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway has learned that UPS will move from Michael Waltrip Racing’s #44 Toyota to the quarterpanels of Clint Bowyer’s #07 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in 2009, leaving Jack Daniels in search of a new driver. That driver will be Ryan Newman, who is set to sign-on with Stewart at Haas CNC.(Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway)(7-7-2008) Comment here

    • 100 Wins for Joe Gibbs Racing: Denny Hamlin's win in Friday night's Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway accounted for more than just his eighth career Nationwide Series victory and his third of the season. It marked Joe Gibbs Racing's (JGR) 100th professional NASCAR victory.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(7-5-2008)
      AND #18-Kyle Busch;s win in the Daytona Cup was win 101, 65 have come in the Sprint Cup Series which is 8th in all-time owner wins.(7-7-2008)

    • Testing this week at Kentucky: Sprint Cup teams are scheduled to test this week at Kentukcy Speedway, the teams scheduled on Monday 7/7: #12-Newman, #77-Hornish Jr. and the R&D Test team of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. On Tuesday 7/8: #18-Kyle Busch; #11-Hamlin, #22-Michael Annett in for Blaney, #5-Mears, R&D Test Hall of Fame Racing, R&D Test of DEI, R&D Test of Michael Waltrip Racing and Brad Keselowski in a R&D Test team for Hendrick Motorsports. On Wednesday 7/9: #22-Michael Annett in for Blaney, J.J. Yeley and Brad Coleman for Hall of Fame Racing; R&D Test team of DEI and the R&D Test team of Michael Waltrip Racing. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site an Team PR's)(7-7-2008)

    • Villeneuve could run for Robby: #7-Robby Gordon is in talks with Jacques Villeneuve and Barry Green, for Villeneuve to run for Robby Gordon Motorsports in the Nationwide Montreal race on August 2nd and possibly a Sprint Cup ride in 2009. "I will send a car Nationwide Series in Montreal, no matter what happens," said Gordon. Much of the Nationwide deal and Cup ride deal depends if Villeneuve and Green can bring a sponsor along with the deal.(rough tranlation from Le Journal de Montreal/Canoe Sports)(7-7-2008) Comment here

    • Daytona Coke Zero 400 Commercial breakdown:
      TNT was the broadcaster for this event. This presentation was their 'Wide Open Coverage': limited commercials, as well as commercials running concurrently with the race broadcast. Sponsors' logos were shown in the bottom left-hand corner, and the commercials were shown in a pop-up window in the lower right-hand portion of the screen. During a normal race broadcast, commercials usually take just shy of one hour. Combine that with the crawlers and brief promos usually shown during the race, and you can expect a full hour's worth of plugging and pitching. During this 'Wide Open Coverage' broadcast, you watched just over 50 minutes of plugging and pitching, both during the broadcast, and the ads that ran as breaks from it.
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:00pm/et
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:16pm/et
      Total minutes: 196
      Minutes of race broadcast: 179
      Minutes of commercials that left broadcast: 17
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
      See the full report, featured drivers, past rundowns on my 2008 TV Commercials page.(7-7-2008)

    • GEM names new CFO: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced the promotion of Gregory D. Park to chief financial officer of the NASCAR team. "Greg has been a key contributor to the development of our team as well as a leader in the financial management, analysis and control of our business" said Tom Reddin, chief executive officer of Gillett Evernham Motorsports. I am very proud of the business team that we have assembled here. Having worked with Greg over the past few months, I know that he will be a strong chief financial officer, and that his management skills will be a great asset to the organization." Park joined GEM in 2005 as the team's director of systems and financial reporting. Prior to that, Park served as chief financial officer at MB2 and MBV Motorsports. He was also the corporate controller and director of systems and reporting for Action Performance Companies Inc. Park is a certified public accountant holding master's and bachelor's degrees from the University of Utah.(GEM PR)(7-7-2008)

    • Racing Resources Says …
      * Kyle Busch won the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. Busch started ninth in the race. He scored his 10th-career series victory in 132 races. He remained first in the standings with an unofficial points lead of 182 points over second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr., the largest points lead of the season. It was his sixth series victory in 2008, the most among all drivers. It was his first victory in eight races at Daytona and was his second career restrictor-plate win. He also won Talladega in April. Busch became the sixth different race winner in the last six races at Daytona. Busch scored his fourth top-5 finish in the last five races at Daytona. He led 31 of the 162 laps raced including the final seven. Busch's last win was at Infineon two races ago.
      * Toyota scored its seventh victory in 2008. Dodge and Chevrolet each have four while Ford has three.
      * This was Joe Gibbs Racing's fourth series victory at Daytona. Gibbs Racing has seven wins in 2008, the most of any team.
      * 15 of the 18 races in 2008 have been won from a top-10 starting position. The only three races in 2008 that were not won from a top-10 starting position were at Richmond when Clint Bowyer won from the 31st starting position, at Infineon with Kyle Busch winning from 30th and New Hampshire where Kurt Busch started 26th.
      * Carl Edwards finished second, scoring his eighth top-10 finish in the last nine races. He remained fourth in the standings.
      * Matt Kenseth finished third, posting his seventh top-10 finish in his last eight races.
      * Kenseth climbed from 13th to ninth in the points standings, his highest points position in 2008. He now is 23 points ahead of 13th-place Kevin Harvick. Kenseth ranked 22nd eight races ago after Richmond.
      * A mere 34 points separate eighth-place Kasey Kahne from 13th-place Harvick with eight races remaining in the race to the 12-driver Chase.
      * Harvick is just two points behind 12th-place Tony Stewart.
      * Martin Truex Jr. is 14th, 88 points behind 12th-place Stewart.
      * Kurt Busch finished fourth, posting his second top-5 finish in as many weeks. He only has four top-10 finishes this season.
      * David Ragan finished fifth, posting his second top-five restrictor-plate finish this season. He finished fourth at Talladega in April.
      * Robby Gordon (sixth) posted his best finish of the season. It was his best finish since he finished fifth at Watkins Glen last August.
      * Patrick Carpentier (14th) posted his career-best finish.
      * Pole winner Paul Menard led 19 laps in the s race. He had led just eight laps in his previous 56 career races.
      * Stewart became ill and did a driver change on Lap 73, being replaced by J.J. Yeley. Stewart was running ninth prior to the switch and Yeley restarted 33rd still on the lead lap.
      * Winner Kyle Busch had a "steering problem" on Lap 82 dropping from third to 37th which actually was the result of contact with teammate Denny Hamlin.
      * Jeff Burton spun on Lap 123 while running 11th and dropped to 36th, the last car on the lead lap and somehow never touched anyone as he spun down. He crashed again on Lap 139. Burton dropped from second to third in the points standings. Burton ended a streak of 23 straight top-15 finishes since Lowe's last October.
      * David Reutimann got the "free pass" -- earning his way up a lap -- five times tying the all-time record for the most free passes in a race set by Kyle Busch at Watkins Glen in 2006.
      * A last-lap crash ended the race under caution.
      * This was the sixth green-white-checkered finish in 2008.(ESPN.com)(7-7-2008)



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