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    JULY 14-20, 2008

      News from July 20, 2008

    • Mayfield hoping for another chance: Give him good equipment and Jeremy Mayfield believes he can return to the form that got him into the Championship Chase in 2004 and 2005 at Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Unfortunately for Mayfield, his phone is silent. His name is not on the short list of drivers to fill slots at Stewart-Haas Racing, Penske Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing. It's not there even though his credentials -- five wins, 96 top-10s and two trips to the Chase -- are better than at least half the drivers in the current 43-car field. "I'm the first one to admit I've made mistakes," he said. "Whether it's the Ray's deal and I talked too much or what happened at Penske. … It was little stuff. Nothing big, but it all adds up and that's why I'm sitting here today." Mayfield doesn't know how he's going to recover from the two worst years of his career, made worse by his father's death in 2007. He hopes when everything shakes out there'll be an owner with decent equipment willing to give him a chance. If not, he might start a Craftsman Truck Series team. "I've got to make a decision somewhere down the line to do that," he said. "But once you make that move you know you probably won't be back in Cup." And Mayfield wants to be back in Cup so badly that he's willing to work without a contract and for a percentage of his winnings without a guaranteed salary. He'd love for that to be at Penske. He said leaving that organization was the worst mistake he's made, slightly ahead of losing his friendship with Evernham.( Comment here

    • Gibbs Focusing on Logano to Replace Stewart UPDATE: 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."(
      UPDATE: Joey Logano says he isn't campaigning to drive the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup car next season. Even so, the 18-year-old JGR Nationwide Series driver contends that he is interested in the ride, which will be vacated at season's end by Tony Stewart. "Nothing has really changed," said Logano at Gateway International Raceway. "It's pretty much the same deal. If they offer it to me, I'd take it. It's something that has been talked about but I'm not in a position to say anything. I don't really know what I'm going to do yet. ... I'm focused on the # 20 Nationwide car right now and from there that is [team owner] Joe [Gibbs] and [team president] J.D.'s [Gibbs] deal."( Comment here

    • Kyle Petty Charity Ride Concludes: The 14th Annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride ended Saturday night in Savannah, GA after starting the final leg Saturday morning in Peachtree City, GA. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. For more information on the ride, see my Racing Charities page.(7-20-2008) Comment here

      News from July 19, 2008

    • NASCAR Drivers Headline M&Ms Night of Stars at I-55 Raceway July 23: Traditionally, it has been one of the biggest nights in racing in the St. Louis area and this year's M&Ms Night of Stars at I-55 Raceway isn't going to disappoint. In addition to drivers such as I-55 Raceway co-owner Ken Schrader and defending Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday, two-time Sprint Cup Series champion and Eldora Speedway owner Tony Stewart is scheduled to race the high-banked 1/3-mile track on Wednesday, July 23. Stewart and his NASCAR comrades are racing UMP Modifieds that night with proceeds from the event benefitting the Special Olympics. In addition to Stewart, Schrader, and Hornaday, other drivers scheduled to appear are: Ken Schrader Ricky Carmichael and Craftsman Truck Series veterans Brendan Gaughn, Rick Crawford, and Dennis Setzer.
      AND: Two-time Sprint Cup Series champion Terry Labonte has been added to the stellar cast of stars scheduled to participate in I-55 Raceway's M&M NASCAR Night of Stars. Also added to the bill are Justin Labonte, Steve Wallace, and former World of Outlaws champion and Chili Bowl winner, Dave Blaney. Gates open at 4 p.m. on July 23 with practice starting at 6 p.m. and racing kicking off at 7 p.m. For ticket information, call 636-479-3219 or visit them on the Web at Side Media PR)(7-19-2008) Comment here

    • Hitachi Sponsoring Kvapil for 6 races: IMAGE Yates Racing announced that Hitachi Power Tools, a world-wide leader in professional grade power tools and accessories, will sponsor the #28 with driver Travis Kvapil for a total of six races in the remaining Sprint Cup Series schedule. The primary sponsorship will debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27th and the race will mark the first time Hitachi Power Tools has been a primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series. The remaining five races of the primary sponsorship will include the Sprint Cup Series events at: Pocono, Richmond, Dover, Charlotte, and Atlanta..(Yates Racing PR)(7-16-2008) Comment here
      IMAGE: See an image of the car on my #28 Team paint schemes page.(7-19-2008)

    • Bodine Returns to Victory Lane at Music City Motorplex: Friday night´s Old School Shootout at the Music City Motorplex was truly a look into the track´s incredible history as Geoff Bodine, the winner of the last NASCAR Sprint Cup race held at the Motorplex in 1984, made his return to victory lane in dramatic fashion. Competing against other NASCAR greats such as Harry Gant, Sterling Marlin, Randy LaJoie, Dave Marcis and Charlie Glotzbach, Bodine proved that he still knows his way around the high banked 5/8th mile track. The results: 1) Geoff Bodine; 2) Sterling Marlin; 3) Randy LaJoie; 4) Harry Gant; 5) Lake Speed; 6) Joe Ruttman; 7) Dave Marcis 8) Charlie Glotzbach; 9) Larry Pollard; 10) D.K. Ulrich; 11) Jack Ingram.(Music City Motorplex PR)(7-19-2008) Comment here

    • Gillett Evernham hosts National Guard Unit: The final off-weekend of the 2008 Sprint Cup season saw many Gillett Evernham Motorsports employees put in a little extra time at the team's race shop Friday night. But it wasn't to work on race cars. The employees played host to soldiers from a local North Carolina National Guard unit that plans to deploy overseas in 2009. More than 100 uniformed troops and their families enjoyed food, pit stop demonstrations, entertainment and employee tours of the race shops that are home to Kasey Kahne's Budweiser Dodge, Elliott Sadler's Best Buy/Stanley Tools/McDonald's Dodge and Patrick Carpentier's Valvoline/LifeLock Dodge. The guard unit detachment is from the Alpha Battery 1-113 Field Artillery Unit of the North Carolina Army National Guard. The battery is headquartered in Lincolnton, N.C. while the detachment calls Statesville home. Friday night's event marks the first public effort of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports Soldier Outreach committee. The committee plans future fundraisers to aid the unit and its families while the troops are overseas. (Gillett Evernham Motorsports PR)(7-19-2008) Comment here

    • Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Day 6: The Kyle Petty's Annual Charity Ride drew closer to its conclusion Friday. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. Friday's route began in Charlotte, NC and ran to Peachtree City, GA. The ride concludes on Saturday. For more information on the ride, see my Racing Charities page.(7-19-2008) Comment here

      News from July 18, 2008

    • Shootout to get new name? UPDATE: 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.(7-8-2008)
      UPDATE: The sale of Anheuser-Busch Inc. to Belgian brewer InBev will not affect its NASCAR marketing program. And in fact, the Budweiser motorsports program is expanding in 2009, according to the company's senior marketing team. Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch vice president of sports marketing, told on Thursday that A-B has signed a multi-year extension to continue its longstanding tradition as sponsor of the season-opening Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. The length of the new deal was not disclosed. Budweiser will also upgrade its sponsorship of Kasey Kahne's World of Outlaws team from secondary to primary, Ponturo said.(

    • Speed aiming for Sprint Cup debut: Scott Speed is confident that he can make his Sprint Cup debut before the end of this season. The Red Bull-backed American will test a Cup car for the first time later this month, and has been racing in the ARCA and Craftsman Truck series this season after losing his Formula One drive with Toro Rosso 12 months ago. He hopes to continue full time in Craftsman Trucks next season but also wants to include several Sprint Cup outings. "I'm about to start testing, proper testing, in a Cup car with (Red Bull's lead driver) Brian Vickers," Speed told this week's Autosport magazine. "The car is quite a bit different from the Truck, but if it goes well, and I think I should be able to adapt, then we can go racing."( Comment here

    • Newman gets his own road: Move aside, Abraham Lincoln: Ryan Newman’s taking over a stretch of your road. A stretch of Lincoln Way West in the driver’s hometown of South Bend, Indiana has been rededicated for the winner of this year’s Daytona 500. It will not be renamed for now. During a ceremony Wednesday, Newman noted the half-mile stretch near South Bend Regional Airport has a speed limit of 45 mph. Said Newman: “I’m kind of wondering if maybe we can up the speed limit in that stretch.” (Associated Press/Indianapolis Star)(7-18-2008) Comment here

    • Hendrick tests at Rockingham: The Hendrick Motorsports test team was at Rockingham Speedway on Thursday with Brad Kesolowski driving.(Rockinghmam Speedway PR)(7-18-2008)

    • Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Day 5: Thursday was day 5 of Kyle Petty's Annual Charity Ride. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. Thursday's route was scheduled to begin in White Sulphur Springs, WV and conclude in Charlotte, NC. For more information on the ride, see my Racing Charities page.(7-18-2008) Comment here

      News from July 17, 2008

    • Dale Jr. - Shifting Gears Returns to ESPN with Final Two Episodes: Dale Jr. - Shifting Gears, the sports documentary chronicling NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his unprecedented move from the team founded by his father to Hendrick Motorsports, will return to ESPN for the final two episodes on Tuesday, July 22 and Friday, July 25, at 7 p.m. ET. The new episodes, each one hour in length, are the fourth and fifth installments of a five-part series and air during the week leading up to ESPN’s live coverage of the Sprint Cup Series Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 27, at 1 p.m. from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The July 22 debut of the new episode will feature, among other things, reaction to the emotional conclusion of the Crown Royal 400 in May at Richmond International Raceway. It will segue into the July 25 finale, which highlights the driver’s popular Father’s Day victory at Michigan International Speedway. The original airings will be simulcast on ESPN MobileTV. The first of the two new episodes re-airs Thursday, July 24, at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, and again Sunday, July 27, at 2 a.m. on ESPN2. The final episode re-airs Sunday, July 27, at 3 a.m. on ESPN2.(ESPN PR)(7-17-2008) Comment here

    • GM cuts could hit all levels of racing: UPDATE: Nothing at GM is off-limits-including its high-profile NASCAR program - company executives warned as the automaker went public Tuesday in Detroit with its latest round of cost-cutting measures. With the auto industry in North America taking a beating, GM racing director Mark Kent said that every level of motorsports that GM supports-from the giant stock-car racing series NASCAR to the grassroots Sports Car Club of America-is being evaluated. GM also competes in the NHRA, USAC midgets/sprints and the American Le Mans Series. "Racing is not exempt (from cuts)," Kent said last week. "We are looking at ways to be even more efficient ... looking to see if they are genuinely positioned for a positive return on investment." Troy Clarke, president of GM North America, added: Motorsports "have not gone without scrutiny. I'm not going to get into specifics about NASCAR. But there will be modifications-changes in our marketing footprint-in this area." GM's NASCAR program, which has enjoyed great success and supports 12 Chevy teams, is under review, as is all of the racing GM supports, Kent said. "NASCAR, SCCA club racing-we are looking at where we need to be." Funding a championship-winning team such as Chevy's Hendrick Motorsports and drivers of the caliber of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. costs GM at least $30 million a year.(The Oylmpian)(7-16-2008)
      UPDATE: Troubled General Motors has notified two racetracks that run NASCAR events that their current contracts will not be renewed as part of an overall $10 billion cost-cutting program. That seems to be just the first step in what could be a huge drop in support by GM, Ford and Chrysler for tracks and teams in NASCAR's top three professional divisions, the NHRA and other racing series in the face of the weakest U.S. auto sales in a decade. Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns eight tracks that hold NASCAR events, already has been told GM will not renew contracts at two tracks - New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. GM has contracts with 12 of the 22 tracks where NASCAR's top Sprint Cup series races and is the title sponsor for the fall race at Richmond International Raceway. GM also is the official vehicle provider for Daytona International Speedway, owned by International Speedway Corp., and a track spokesman said they have not been notified of any impending change.(Associated Press/
      AND: Richmond International Raceway is not one of the two tracks [having contracts not renewed]. GM is the title sponsor for the fall NASCAR Sprint Cup race at RIR -- The Chevy Rock and Roll 400. Aimee Turner, spokeswoman for RIR, said Wednesday that Chevy's partnership with the track runs through 2010. That deal includes not only naming rights for the September race, but also Chevy's status as the official vehicle of the track.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-17-2008) Comment here

    • Johnson wins Best Driver ESPY: Jimmie Johnson, the two-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion, earned his first ESPY award on Wednesday. The driver of the #48 Chevy was honored with the Best Driver ESPY award during the 16th annual ESPN-hosted sports award show at Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. The award was determined by fans who voted online, and the competition was stiff. Johnson was competing for the fans' votes against current points leader Kyle Busch; 2007 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti; 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon; Formula One standout Lewis Hamilton and four-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher. The ESPY Awards will be televised at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday on ESPN.(Hendrick Motorsports PR) (7-17-2008) Comment here

    • AT&T Proudly Showcases Team USA athletes on # 31 AT&T Car: The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are fast approaching and Team USA swimmer Michael Phelps, 23, is in rare form. At the 2008 U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Neb., Phelps set two world records (200 individual medley, 400 individual medley) and one U.S. Open record (200 freestyle), ultimately qualifying to compete in eight events in Beijing (5 individual and 3 relays). To drive excitement and show support for Team USA, AT&T recently announced a new paint scheme for Richard Childress Racing´s (RCR) #31 AT&T Chevy, driven by Jeff Burton. Featured on the car is an image of Phelps along with Nastia Liukin, a rising star in her own right from Team USA´s gymnastics squad. The custom paint scheme will run during the Pennsylvania 500 on Aug. 3 at Pocono Raceway.(AT&T Racing PR) see images of the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(7-17-2008)

    • Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Day 4: Wednesday was the fourth day for Kyle Petty's Annual Charity Ride. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. Wednesday's route was scheduled to begin in Lexington, KY and run to White Sulphur Springs, WV. For more information on the ride, see my Racing Charities page.(7-17-2008) Comment here

      News from July 16, 2008

    • Chase Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin's early race problems doomed him to a 40th place finish at Chicagoland, dropping him five positions and 70 points closer to being out of the Top 12. Clint Bowyer and the #07 team never seemed to get a handle on the race track and his 22nd dropped him out of the Top 12, 27 points out. #9-Kasey Kahne's 15th lost him three positions back to 11th, but he did pick up five points on 13th. Still, the #9 team's performance of late predicts a rough road to staying in the Top 12, especially if the challengers stay consistent. Kurt Busch's 28th at Chicagoland puts his Chase hopes in serious jeopardy and is now 245 points out in 18th place. #83-Brian Vickers continued his strong challenge for the Top 12 with his sixth at Chicagoland, moving up one position and 17 points. The Red Bull driver now lurks 95 points out of 12th. #16-Greg Biffle gave himself slight breathing room in the Top 12 with his fourth at Chicagoland, but he's only 62 points ahead of Bowyer in 7th place, and his last three Indy finishes are 21-33-15. See the full Chase stats so far and comparisons with each year on my Chase Stats after Chicago page.(7-16-2008)

    • Kenseth Wins Fourth Miller Lite Nationals Title at Slinger Speedway: Matt Kenseth wasn't completely sure how he won the 29th Miller Lite Slinger Nationals. Runner-up Jeremy Lepak credited Kenseth’s experience at Slinger Speedway. Third-place Dennis Prunty thought a stronger engine played a big role. But why didn’t really matter, so much. As the fireworks exploded over Slinger Speedway on a sticky Tuesday night, Kenseth was crowned the newest four-time champion of the prestigious late-model event.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-16-2008) Comment here

    • JTG CUP? UPDATE: YES 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)
      UPDATE: JTG Racing owner Tad Geschickter said Friday he hopes to move Marcos Ambrose to the Sprint Cup Series next season, in addition to having Nationwide and truck series teams in 2009. The Australian Ambrose, in his second season in NASCAR’s No. 2 series, made his Cup debut at Infineon Raceway last month for Wood Brothers Racing. Ambrose is slated to drive four Cup races later this year under the JTG banner. JTG currently fields two cars in the Nationwide Series, for Ambrose and Kelly Bires. Geschickter said Bires would stay in the Nationwide Series in 2009, with Coleman Pressley to drive for the team in the truck series. The team currently fields Fords but Geschickter said the manufacturer the team will be affiliated with next year is open.(
      UPDATE 2: Nationwide Series racer Marcos Ambrose will become a full-time Sprint Cup driver next season, thanks to a new partnership former NBA player Brad Daugherty has with JTG Racing. Daugherty, now a NASCAR analyst for ESPN, has become a part-owner of JTG Racing. The team will be renamed JTG Daugherty Racing. It will continue to field two Nationwide Series entries, but add a full-time Sprint Cup entry next year with Ambrose at the wheel. "I have a tremendous passion for racing," Daugherty said Tuesday. "This gives me another avenue to be involved in the sport. It's a big stake to do this at the Cup level, and I hope it opens doors in the sport for other minorities and women." Little Debbie snack cakes will sponsor the car, which will use #47.( Comment here

    • SK Telecom in Talks to Acquire Sprint: K Telecom, the largest provider of wireless phone service in South Korea, is in talks to acquire Sprint Nextel, the troubled U.S. wireless carrier, according to people familiar with the talks. SK Telecom, which is smaller than Sprint, would be joined in any deal by private equity firms that would contribute cash towards the purchase, sources told CNBC. A deal is not imminent and while the talks are on-going, participants caution that any agreement would at best be weeks away. The board of Sprint, which has been struggling with significant subscriber losses, is divided about whether to sell the company as some of them hold a belief that a turnaround for the company may not be far off, according to people briefed on its position. Any deal with SK Telecom would have to be friendly. The Koreans have no plans to pursue Sprint should it not wish to be acquired. The talks have not reached a crucial phase, and specific negotiation on price has yet to take place, but they have heated up in recent days.(, , No word on how or if this would effect the Sprint Cup sponsorship.(7-16-2008) Comment here

    • Bartelli named Chief Marketing Officer of Petty Enterprises & Richard Petty Driving Experience: Petty Enterprises announced that Michael Bartelli has been named Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer of the legendary race team and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Bartelli will further strengthen the race team marketing group led by Brian Moffitt and the Richard Petty Driving Experience efforts led by President Brian Flynn. Bartelli joins Petty Enterprises from Millsport's Charlotte-based motorsports division where he spent eight years, and was most recently, its President. Prior to Millsport, Bartelli served as Vice President, Business Development for Action Performance Companies, the world's largest manufacturer of licensed motorsports merchandise at the time. He began his industry career in Daytona Beach, FL where he served as Director, Marketing Partnerships for International Speedway Corporation.(Petty Enterprises PR)(7-16-2008) Comment here

    • Hamlin named Wypall Crew Chief of the Race in Chicago: Kevin Hamlin, crew chief of the #83 Red Bull Toyota driven by Brian Vickers, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Saturday night's 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. The Hamlin-led team gambled on pit strategy all night as Vickers' battled a lose race car. It paid off as the field cycled through green flag stops and the No. 83 team caught a break when the caution came out for debris on lap 143 to put them back on the same pit cycle as every one else. Short pitting and staying out have been calls that Kevin Hamlin has pretty much mastered over the past few weeks to keep Vickers in the top 20 in the Sprint Cup Series standings. The No. 83 team was consistently one of the top cars on the track all night, leading the pack for two laps and eventually finishing in the 6th position. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn't necessarily the crew chief that goes to Victory Lane, but the crew chief that makes the biggest difference for his team. Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/SPEED television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR's top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of Richard Childress Racing's #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of Roush Fenway Racing's #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of Gillett Evernham Motorsports' #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto

    • Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Day 3: Tuesday was the third day for Kyle Petty's Annual Charity Ride. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. Tuesday's route was scheduled to begin in Lombard, IL and end in Lexington, KY. For more information on the ride, see my Racing Charities page.(7-16-2008) Comment here

      News from July 15, 2008

    • Sad News - Steve Peterson: NASCAR Technical Director Steve Peterson, 58, was found deceased today at his home from what appears to be natural causes. Steve began his NASCAR career in January, 1995 and led many of NASCAR’s safety initiatives including development and installation of SAFER Barriers, management and approval of head and neck restraints and improved seat belts, and coordination of the safety features in NASCAR’s new car. “Steve’s accomplishments to increase driver safety will continue to be a benefit to every NASCAR driver that gets behind the wheel for generations to come,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Steve’s family and friends; he will certainly be missed throughout the NASCAR community.” Funeral arrangements will be announced later.(NASCAR PR)(7-15-2008)

    • Kobalt to Sponsor Truck Series? Kobalt Tools, a Lowe's brand, has emerged as the leading candidate to sponsor the truck series, industry sources say. Craftsman has been the title sponsor since the series was launched in 1995, but the Sears brand will not renew after its deal with NASCAR runs out this year. NASCAR is believed to be selling the truck title rights in the mid- to high seven-figure range annually, with an advertising commitment on Speed, the broadcast home of the series, at close to seven figures. Stanley Tools and NAPA also have been involved in discussions with NASCAR. Kobalt Tools' presence in NASCAR has previously been tied to Sprint Cup driver Jimmie Johnson, whose primary sponsor is Lowe's. If NASCAR and Kobalt Tools eventually reach an agreement, the deal could have many tentacles. In addition to the title sponsorship, the deal likely would include status for Kobalt as the official tool of NASCAR, replacing Craftsman. Lowe's, represented by GMR Marketing, also could be moving into the official home improvement store category that currently is occupied by The Home Depot, whose deal with NASCAR runs out this year.(Sporting News), see more information on my Truck Series page.(7-15-2008) Comment here

    • Kyle Busch testing Late Models this week: Kyle Busch will be shaking down his super late model stock car at The Milwaukee Mile on Wednesday, July 16. This short track car is what he'll be driving at The Mile on Sunday, August 24 in the "Wisconsin All-Star 100 With Matt Kenseth" race, one of four stock car races on The Mile's Governor's Cup weekend August 22-24. Grandstands on Wednesday will be open, free to public, enter Grandstand Gate 8. More details about Governor's Cup weekend at Mile PR)(7-15-2008)
      AND: Kyle Busch plans to run a test session Thursday at the Iowa Speedway. Busch is running in Sunday's ASA late model series race in Newton. Fellow NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth also plans to run on Sunday. He is scheduled to test this weekend prior to the race. The Iowa Speedway plans to open the public viewing area for Busch's practice run.(

    • Newman says he has 4 options for 2009: UPDATE: Ryan Newman was "Mummy" on whether he will leave Penske Racing after this season. Newman, promoting the soon-to-be-released movie "Mummy" on his car in Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway, is considered the leading candidate to join Tony Stewart next season at newly-formed Stewart-Haas Racing. Sources have told that deal to join the Indiana natives is close to done and could be announced in two weeks at Indianapolis. Newman said he has three serious options outside of Penske and that ownership is part of at least one of the options. He also said re-signing with Penske is an option. Asked if ownership could be an option at Stewart-Haas, where Stewart was given 50 percent of the company, Newman said, "I won't answer that." Newman said last month he would not re-sign with Penske unless the performance of his team improved significantly. He said the team has made some strides to improve, but not enough to convince him it is ready to challenge for a championship. (
      UPDATE: Newman acknowledged on Saturday in Chicagoland that he has three serious options outside of Penske. A source close to the situation said Newman has been in discussions with Stewart Haas, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing. The source added there is a firm offer from Stewart-Haas and that potential sponsors are set, but that the deal is not done. Newman said one of his options included ownership of equity in the company. Stewart-Haas general manager Joe Custer said his company is not looking to give up any more ownership than the 50 percent already given to Stewart. JGR officials have consistently said they are not interested in giving up ownership. Team owner Joe Gibbs and president J.D. Gibbs talked on Saturday as though 18-year-old sensation Joey Logano could replace Stewart in the #20 Home Depot car next season. RCR, looking for a driver for a fourth team sponsored by General Mills, and GEM already are divided into partnerships.( Comment here

    • Truex or Stremme to the #12? Penske has offered no hints as to who might replace Ryan Newman. Martin Truex Jr.’s name has been mentioned, but Truex’s current contract with DEI is still the subject of legal debate, and it is unclear if DEI will indeed force Truex to return for another season or give him his release. Truex has been pushing quietly to become a free agent. David Stremme, who drove for fellow Dodge owner Chip Ganassi until being released at the end of last season, has been a Penske test driver this season, and Stremme could also be under consideration.(Winston-Salem Journal)(7-15-2008) Comment here

    • Kyle Petty Charity Ride, Day 2: Monday was the second day for Kyle Petty's Annual Charity Ride. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. Monday's route was scheduled to begin in Elkhart Lake, WI and conclude in Lombard, IL. For more information on the ride, see my Racing Charities page.(7-15-2008) Comment here

    • Testing at Nashville: Beginning a two day practice at the Nashville Superspeedway Tuesday were the test teams of Chip Ganassi Racing with drivers Bryan Clauson and Kevin Hamlin, Gillette Evernham Motorsports with Chase Miller, Petty Enterprises with Chad McCumbee, and Richard Childress Racing.(PRNs Garage Pass)(7-15-2008)

    • Racing Resources Says …
      * Kyle Busch won the 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Busch posted his 11th career win in his 133rd start. He posted his seventh win of the 2008 season; his last win came at Daytona last week. Busch scored his first victory at Chicagoland Speedway in his fourth start. He became the sixth different driver to win at Chicagoland Speedway. Busch led five times for 165 laps, setting a new record for the most laps led by a driver in a Chicagoland race.
      * Busch has now led 1,065 laps this season, the most of all drivers.
      * Toyota scored its eighth win of the 2008 season, the most of all manufacturers.
      * Joe Gibbs Racing scored its third victory at Chicagoland Speedway, the most of all teams. JGR has won eight of the 19 races this season, the most of all teams.
      * Busch scored his 14th NASCAR win in 2008: seven Sprint Cup, five Nationwide and two Craftsman Truck.
      * The Busch brothers (Kyle and Kurt) have now won four consecutive races; three by Kyle and one by Kurt. Kyle Busch has won six of the past 11 NSCS races; including three of the past four.
      * Busch swept both the NNS race and the NSCS race at Chicagoland; the last time a driver swept both races at a track was in February 2007, when Matt Kenseth swept both races at Fontana, Calif.
      * Toyota scored its first win at Chicagoland Speedway, ending a four-race streak of Chevrolet victories at the track.
      * Busch and Jimmie Johnson both led in the race. Both drivers have now led in 14 of the 19 races this season, the most of all drivers.
      * Busch became the 17th different driver to win seven of the first 19 races of the season. Ten of the 16 drivers to do it before have gone on to win the championship.
      * Busch won the race from the first starting position, marking the first time a driver has won a race from a top-five starting position at Chicagoland.
      * The race featured 16 lead changes among 10 drivers.
      * The race featured nine cautions for 33 laps.
      * The top 10 consisted of three Toyotas, three Fords, three Chevys and a Dodge.
      * The highest-finishing rookie of the year contender was Patrick Carpentier, who finished 30th.(

    • Rookie class not faring too well in 2008: The Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates have had a rough season, accumulating ZERO (0) Top 10 finishes in 2008 (#8-Aric Almirola has a Top 10 from Bristol, but he is not a candidate and not running for the award in 2008 and will have too many races to run for the award in 2009). No rookie class in the modern era (1972-present) has gone this deep into a season without a single Top 10 finish. In fact, you need to go all the way back to 1961 – when the schedule stretched 62 races deep – for the last time all the ROTY candidates were shut out of the Top 10 nineteen races in. So far in 2008, the best finish by any of the five drivers running for the award is a 13th place by Sam Hornish, Jr. at the Coca-Cola 600 in May. And in case you're wondering, at Chicagoland the best run any of the first year drivers could muster was a 30th by #10-Patrick Carpentier.(Frontstretch Newsletter), see more about the rookies on my 2008 Rookies page.(7-15-2008)

      News from July 14, 2008

    • Newman and Penske to part ways at end of season: UPDATE: Penske Racing and Ryan Newman have mutually agreed to move in new directions at the conclusion of the 2008 season. "We want to thank Ryan for his hard work and contributions to Penske Racing over the past nine years," said team owner Roger Penske. "We wish Ryan all the best for the future and we'll continue to focus our efforts on making the Chase with Ryan and the Alltel Dodge team this season." The driver of the Penske Racing #12 Alltel car for the 2009 NASCAR Cup season will be announced in the near future.(Penske Racing PR)(7-14-2008)
      Statement from Alltel: "From the early days in the ARCA series to our team celebration in Victory Lane at this year's Daytona 500, Alltel Wireless has enjoyed a memorable, eight-year relationship with Ryan Newman," said Jeff Fox, chief operating officer, Alltel Wireless. "Ryan has been an outstanding representative on- and off-the track, and we're very proud of the results the partnership has delivered to our brand. We remain committed to our sponsorship of the #12 Alltel Dodge and look forward to having Ryan behind the wheel for the rest of the 2008 season. We wish him all the best in his next endeavor."(Alltel PR)(7-14-2008) Comment here

    • Windshear to hold grand opening Thursday [not Tues]: Windshear Inc., located in Concord, N.C., will hold a grand opening event on Thursday, July 17, at 4:00pm/et. Windshear operates the only commercially available full-scale, single-belt, rolling road wind tunnel in the world. The firm's clients include top-level motorsports organizations and auto manufacturers. Remarks will be given by the following: Bob Murray, Haas Automation General Manager; Jay White, Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners Chair; Gene Byrd, NC Department of Commerce; Scott Padgett, Concord Mayor; and Jeff Bordner, Windshear General Manager. A grand opening celebrating the launch of the only commercial 180-mph hour rolling road wind tunnel in North America will be held at Windshear Inc. located at 1050 Ivey Cline Road, Concord, N.C., 28027. Windshear Inc., an independent subsidiary of California-based Haas Automation, will be opening its wind tunnel to customers officially at the end of July. This celebration and event will allow those connected to the motorsports industry, as well as federal, state and local officials, to tour the facility and learn how it will enhance North Carolina's robust motorsports sector.(Windshear PR), more info at

    • Braun to make first Cup start at Watkins Glen: UPDATE: Denied On this week's SPEED Report, Bob Dillner reported that Colin Braun [#6 Con-way Freight Roush Fenway Ford Truck in the CTS] is scheduled to make his first start in the Sprint Cup Series at Watkins Glen. Braun will be driving a car from the Yates Racing stable and not Roush Fenway. Dillner didn't say if it would be a third car or one of the current cars #28-Kvapil or #38- Gilliland, but can't image either sitting since they are decent in points and Gilliland finished 2nd at Watkins Glen.(7-14- 2008)
      UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing folks denied that Colin Braun running the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen and say Braun will be racing in the Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway.(Roush Fenway Racing)(7-14-2008) Comment here

    • Gibbs wants to keep team in the family: Joe Gibbs says he's not about to join the trend of offering ownership in his race team in order to retain drivers. Tony Stewart received 50% ownership in making the jump from Joe Gibbs Racing to Stewart Haas Racing. Drivers Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards (who re-signed with Roush Fenway Racing) and Ryan Newman (entertaining offers for 2009) say they've received offers that include a share of team ownership. But JGR is a family operation, and Gibbs, the family patriarch, says he plans to keep it that way. "We have eight grandchildren," Gibbs said. "I'm not worried about (sons) J.D. or Coy. But (the business) is going to be for the grandkids if I have anything to say about it."(USA Today)(7-14-2008) Comment here

    • Testing at Milwaukee: Michael McDowell and Josh Wise are testing Monday at the Milwaukke Mile for Michael Waltrip Racing. Grandstands are open, free to public to watch from the grandstands, enter at Gate 8.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(7-14-2008)

    • Carpentier gets a sponsor for 2 Cup races: Gillett Evernham Motorsports has a new sponsor for #10-Patrick Carpentier. "Tow Truck in a Box" will appear as the sponsor during 2 Sprint Cup races and 1 Nationwidse race. Micahel Mann, CEO of Porter Prescott (manufacturer of Tow Truck in a Box) was at Chicagland Speedway to sign the agreement. Tow Truck in a Box will appear on the car at Michigan and Talladega in the Nextel Cup Series and the Nationwide Watkins Glen race.(translated from Canoe Sports via Google Translate)(7-14-2008) Comment here

    • Budweiser bought: Anheuser-Busch reportedly has agreed to be acquired by Belgian brewer InBev for about $52 billion. The deal being reported by The Wall Street Journal would create the world's largest brewer and put the iconic American beer maker in the hands of the Belgian-based company behind Stella Artois and Beck's beers. The newspaper cited anonymous sources who said Anheuser-Busch-InBev would be the new company's name and Anheuser would have two seats on the company board.(CNN Money), No word on how or if this will effect the sponsorship of Kasey Kahne and the #9 GEM Dodge.(7-14-2008) Comment here

    • Kyle Petty Charity Ride Gets Underway: Kyle Petty kicked off his fourteenth Chick-fil-A Charity motorcycle Ride Across America on Sunday. The annual Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America raises funds for charities that support chronically ill children and engages celebrities, ride sponsors, motorcycle enthusiasts and fans. Since 1995, more than 5,700 riders have logged 7.2 million cumulative motorcycle miles and donated more than $10.5 million to children’s charities. Sunday's route was scheduled to began in Traverse City, MI and end at Elkhart Lake, WI.(7-14-2008)

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