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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    AUGUST 18-24, 2008




      News from August 24, 2008

    • Hall of Fame Racing looking at options UPDATE mergers and Mayfield? The joke among teams at the back of the garage is that it's the mergers and acquisitions section, a reference to all the talk of teams selling to investors or merging. "Just about everything you can imagine in this garage, people talking to people,'' said Tom Garfinkel, co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing [#96 Toyota], of all the possibilities. So, what about Hall of Fame Racing? "We're evaluating all our options for next year ... to be able to build a great team and be competitive in the future,'' Garfinkel said. Garfinkel said that the team would like to remain with Toyota, "but as we look at other team situations, some of them require different manufacturers and so we're having those conversations as well.''(Roanome Times)(8-24-2008)
      UPDATE: Hall of Fame Racing doesn’t have a full-time driver for the rest of 2008, and the team is looking at a variety of options for 2009 on both who will drive and how many cars the team will have. Those options include a possible merger/acquisition of another team, Hall of Fame Racing co-owner Tom Garfinkel said Saturday. “As we look at other teams’ situations, some of them require different manufacturers and we’re having those conversations as well,” Garfinkel said. As far as a driver, the team had Ken Schrader in the car at Bristol. It likely will put Joey Logano in the car later this year, but Garfinkel said he would not comment on those reports until after Joe Gibbs Racing’s announcement Monday, where it is expected that Logano will be named the full-time driver of the #20 Cup car next year. The team used Brad Coleman at Michigan and plans to use him more. He will participate in a Goodyear tire test this week at Kansas Speedway. As far as 2009, it could depend on whether Hall of Fame increases to two or more cars with a merger or acquisition. “We obviously still think a lot of Brad and [are] trying to get him ready,” said Garfinkel, whose team is outside the top 35 by 241 points. “At the same time … we want to put ourselves in the best position every weekend.”(SceneDaily) and also hearing Jeremy Mayfield could run some races in the #96 this season.(8-24-2008) Comment here

    • Childress may merge to get points for #33: from a GM Racing PR:
      RICHARD CHILDRESS, OWNER OF RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING, met with members of the media to announce the driver alignment for the #07 Jack Daniel’s Impala SS and the #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Impala SS for 2009. Highlights from the transcript:
      RICHARD CHILDRESS: “We have talked to the press several times over the last few months and said we are going to let you know, we are going to let you know, who is the fourth driver, what we are going to do. We did a lot of work, Mike Dillon, Ben Schlosser, our whole group. We looked at all the competition throughout RCR, we have picked Casey Mears as the driver of our fourth team, which all teams are equal, but he will be driving the Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet next year.”
      CHILDRESS: “There have been a lot of questions asked about what we are doing and the one I get a lot is the points on the #07, are we changing them, what are we doing? The points will stay with the #07. We have all the confidence in the world in Clint and his team that we’re going to be ok there. We have some things working there as well. Right now, like we do every year at this time, we start evaluating our competition. Where we are at with all of our teams. We use Jeff’s and Kevin’s input a lot. Kevin is doing an appearance but Jeff is here, glad to have you Jeff. We are just thrilled about next year. We have our work cut out for us the next three weeks and that is what we are concentrating on right now is to get in to the Chase and at that point we want to be a championship contender which I know we will be. We’ve got to get through that and once we do that, then we will start addressing other things.”
      RICHARD, ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A WAY TO GET OWNER’S POINTS FROM SOMEONE IN THE TOP-35? “We are going to be just fine. We’ve did a lot of research and looked in to a lot of different things. At this time, we really can’t say what the plan is, but we are definitely working on a few things.”
      CLINT, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT STARTING NEXT YEAR WITH NO OWNER’S POINTS? “It is like I told him (Richard), beats beatin’ dents in the body shop.”
      RICHARD, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT CREWS? “We are working on all of that at this time. Like I said, we aren’t going to get in to all of that. We are evaluating every direction, we have some really good plans. At this time, we’re not going to say what we are doing there because we have to concentrate on the next three weeks. This is really important, this is an important day for all of us. Bringing Casey on and Jack Daniel’s staying with us and General Mills with Laura Rather and her group over here, it is a special day. But, we all know what work we have cut out for us for the next three weeks. We have been working on this fourth team for quite a while and we have some great plans and no matter which way we go, it is going to be successful.”(GM Racing PR)(8-24-2008) Comment here

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Sharpie 500
      Total number of commercials: 104
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 63
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:02 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:28 PM
      Total minutes: 206
      Minutes of race broadcast: 159
      Minutes of commercials: 47
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      Number of 'mystery cautions' (debris not shown): 3
      Number of Guinness records broken ('biggest audience wave'): 1
      Total race brdcst time 159 Total comm. brdcst time 47
      See more and link to full report on my 2008 TV Commercials page.(8-24-2008) Comment here

    • Kyle Busch could be penalized: NASCAR officials will discuss on Monday if #18-Kyle Busch will be penalized for instigating an incident with winner #99-Carl Edwards on the cool-down lap of Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch, upset over contact from Edwards when he lost the lead with 30 laps remaining, rammed the right side of his car into the #99 as they came back towards the start/finish line after Edwards took the checkered flag for the sixth time this season. Edwards retaliated by spinning Busch out. NASCAR officials immediately summoned Busch to the hauler. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said the situation will be further evaluated. There is precedence for a penalty. Tony Stewart was fined $10,000 and placed on probation for five months after ramming Jeff Gordon's car on pit road in retaliation for a last-lap incident in the 2001 Bristol race. Edwards was not summoned by NASCAR, but he was stopped near the NASCAR hauler by Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs to talk about the exchange with his driver. "He just explained to me that you reap what you sow, which I believe," Edwards said. "I explained to him that's why that happened that way. That's it. I have a lot of respect for him and the organization. They do a really good job and I really look up to them, so that's that." Busch did not talk to reporters following the meeting with NASCAR president Mike Helton, Pemberton and series director John Darby. JGR owner Joe Gibbs, also in the meeting with NASCAR, said only that "NASCAR is smart at what they do. They handle everything the right way."(ESPN.com)(8-24-2008) Comment here


      News from August 23, 2008

    • Mears to RCR? Swap with Bowyer? UPDATE2: with Truex now re-signed with DEI to stay there for another year, it looks like Casey Mears is the front runner to be RCR's 4th driver BUT am hearing that Mears could end up in the #07 Jack Daniels's Chevy with Clint Bowyer moving over to the 4th team, sponsored by General Mills/Cheerios, supposedly using the #33. The teams could switch owners points so Bowyer is not out of the top-35 in owners points and Mears would have to qualify the #07 for the first five races of 2009.(8-9-2008)
      UPDATE RCR to announce 2009 plans: Richard Childress Racing is scheduled to make an announcement on Saturday [Aug 23rd] afternoon to outline their 2009 plans. This could be the announcement of the 4th Cup driver. Casey Mears is the latest rumored driver, with Mears taking over the #07 Jack Daniel's car and Clint Bowyer taking over the 4th car, the #33 General Miils/Cheerios Chevy. Part of the announcement could be announcing that Childress grandson, Austin Dillon, making his debut at RIR in the Nationwide Series.(8-22-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Richard Childress Racing announced today that Casey Mears will drive for its #07 Jack Daniel's team and Clint Bowyer will move to its new #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team for the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. With focus on having all three current RCR teams making the 2008 Chase for the Championship, RCR will continue its on-going process of evaluating team performance throughout the year to determine the crew chief, engineer and crew member lineups for the 2009 season.
      "We're always looking for ways to improve RCR and feel strongly that this driver lineup will improve our company as a whole with our move to four teams next year," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. "These changes will continue to raise the bar and we have every intention of getting all four teams into the Chase in 2009 with the ultimate goal of one of our teams winning the championship. RCR is very fortunate to have partners like Jack Daniel's, Shell-Pennzoil and AT&T, in addition to new sponsors Cheerios, Hamburger Helper and Caterpillar, that work with us and support our making the competition decisions necessary to provide them with the best on-track performance possible."(RCR PR) See the full PR on my #07 Team News and Links page.(8-23-2008) Comment here

    • Racing Resources Says …
      * Carl Edwards won the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway from the first-place starting position, the only series race he has won from the pole. Edwards scored his 13th career series victory in 145 career races. He has scored six victories in 2008, winning at California, Las Vegas, Texas, the second Pocono race, the second Michigan race and the second Bristol race. He scored his second victory in nine races at Bristol. Edwards led 84 of the 500 laps, including the final 31 laps.
      * Edwards remains second in the points standings and trails leader Kyle Busch by 212 points.
      * Roush Fenway Racing has scored 10 wins at Bristol, ranking second all time.
      * Ford scored its sixth victory in 2008. Toyota has nine wins, Chevrolet has five while Dodge has four in 2008.
      * Busch (who finished second) scored his 15th top-5 finish in 24 races this season, the most among all drivers. Busch has competed in 57 NASCAR races this season (Cup, Truck and Nationwide) and has led 3,321 laps. Busch is racking up a career's worth of points in a single season, winning 17 races so far (eight Cup, six Nationwide and three Truck). Busch led 415 consecutive laps during the Cup race, the most consecutive laps a driver has led during a race this season. Denny Hamlin led the first 206 laps at the first Richmond race earlier this season.
      * Busch's 415 laps were the most consecutive laps led in a race since Richard Petty led 461 in a row at Dover in September 1974. The 415 laps led by Busch are the most laps that Busch has led in a single series race during his career. He led 248 laps at Richmond in September 2006.
      * Hamlin finished third and posted his fifth third-place finish in 2008.
      * Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to pit on Lap 6 for passing at the start of the race before he reached the start/finish line. He lost a lap under the green-flag pass-through penalty. He finished 18th.
      * Jimmie Johnson had a flat right rear tire and struggled to get off the track after making contact with Sterling Marlin. Johnson lost 13 laps on pit road for repairs before rejoining the field. Johnson finished 33rd and dropped from third to fourth in the points standings.
      * The first 97 laps ran caution-free before 15th-place Martin Truex Jr. cut a right front tire, collecting A.J. Allmendinger on the track for the first caution of the night. Allmendinger was forced behind the wall, and lost 98 laps before returning to the race. Truex returned 100 laps down.
      * Elliott Sadler had a "bad seat belt" that came loose on Lap 113 while under green-flag conditions. Sadler lost eight laps for the repair and finished 32nd.
      * The second caution of the night involved Chase contender Jeff Burton, Marlin, Joe Nemechek and Sam Hornish Jr. on Lap 195. Burton was slowing for the spinning Marlin when Nemechek hit him from behind. Burton's car suffered severe damage. He posted his second DNF of the season in finishing 42nd, but remained fifth in the standings.
      * The Turn 1 accident on Lap 215 involving Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears, Robby Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Reed Sorenson, Michael Waltrip and Hornish resulted in a red flag on Lap 216. Kahne dropped from 11th to 14th in the points, finishing 40th. He is 56 points behind 12th-place Bowyer.
      * The race featured four lead changes from three drivers.
      * The race had eight cautions for 56 laps.
      * Busch and Edwards are 391 or more points ahead of 13th-place David Ragan and are mathematically locked in for the 2008 Chase.
      * Any driver with a 323-point lead over 13th-place Ragan is locked into the Chase if he starts the remaining two races. Based on the above, Earnhardt (third) and Johnson (fourth) are locked in the 2008 Chase if they start the final two races.(ESPN.com)(8-25-2008)



    • Edwards wins at Bristol: #99-Carl Edwards won the Sharpie 400 at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 6th win of 2008 and 13th of his career. #18-Busch finished 2nd followed by #11-Hamlin, #29-Harvick, #24-Gordon, #12-Newman, #07-Bowyer, #17-Kenseth and #6-Ragan. #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 18th after getting a lap down at the beginning of the race when he passed before the drop the green flag. #18-Busch didn't like the way he was passed late by #99-Edwards and ran into the #99 after the race, Edwards then came back down and wacked the #18 car and spun it, Busch went to chase down the #99, but NASCAR told Busch to get off the track, so he did. #48-Johnson lost a tire early and finished 33rd and #9-Kahne got caught up in a wreck and finished 40th, dropping him out of the chase with 2 races to go. #31-Burton got wrecked and finished 42nd but stays in 5th the points. There were 4 lead changes among 3 drivers and 8 cautions for 56 caution laps.
      For race results, awards and more, see my Bristol Race Results Awards Page.(8-23-2008) Comment here

    • UNOFFICIAL Drivers Points Standings [after Bristol race 24 of 36]:
      1) #18-Kyle Busch 3609 [8 wins]
      2) #99-Carl Edwards 3397 -212 [6 wins]
      3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3193 -416 [1 win]
      4) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3191 -418 [2 wins]
      5) #31-Jeff Burton 3117 -492 [1 win]
      6) #20-Tony Stewart 3013 -596
      7) #16-Greg Biffle 2984 -625
      8) #29-Kevin Harvick 2972 -637 [+129 pts ahead of 13th]
      9) #24-Jeff Gordon 2951 -658 [+108]
      10) #17-Matt Kenseth 2921 -688 [+78]
      11) #11-Denny Hamlin 2900 -709 [1 win][+57]
      12) #07-Clint Bowyer 2855 -754 [1 win][+12]
      CHASE contenders
      13) #6-David Ragan 2843 -766 [12 pts out of 12th]
      14) #9-Kasey Kahne 2799 -810 [-56]
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Bristol page.(8-23-2008)

    • If the Chase started now the drivers in:
      1) #18-Kyle Busch 5080 [8 wins x 10 bonus pts]
      2) #99-Carl Edwards 5050 [6 wins, 5 wins x 10 pts = 50pts*]
      3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5020 [2 wins]
      4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5010 [1 win]
      5) #31-Jeff Burton 5010 [1 win]
      6) #11-Denny Hamlin 5010 [1 win]
      7) #07-Clint Bowyer 5010 [1 win]
      8) #20-Tony Stewart 5000
      9) #16-Greg Biffle 5000
      10) #29-Kevin Harvick 5000
      11) #24-Jeff Gordon 5000
      12) #17-Matt Kenseth 5000
      * lost the bonus for win at Las Vegas due to penalty.(8-23-2008)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Auto Club Speedway:
      #66-Riggs moves up to 34th and Hornish to 35th
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      31) #7-Gordon/RGM: 1868 +59
      32) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing: 1861 +52
      33) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing: 1856, +47
      34) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 1843 +34
      35) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 1823 14 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
      36) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing: 1809, 14 points out of 35th
      37) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing: 1798 -25
      38) #96-Coleman/Hall of Fame Racing: 1582 -241
      (8-23-2008)

      For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(8-23-2008)

    • Lucky Dogs....Who got a lap back on each caution at Bristol: (and their finish)
      Caution 1: #28-Kvapil, 24th
      Caution 2: #2-Busch, 15th
      Caution 3: #17-Kenseth, 9th
      Caution 4: #15-Menard, 16th
      Caution 5: #01-Smith, 14th
      Caution 6: #15-Menard(2), 16th
      Caution 7: #01-Smith(2), 14th
      Caution 8: ?
      (8-23-2008)

    • Bristol Penalty Report:
      Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
      1 #88 Jumping the start PT 3
      2 #1 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 96
      3 #84 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 96
      4 #19 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 117
      5 #09 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 198
      6 #2 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 203
      7 #07 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 216
      8 #55 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 217
      9 #07 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. TE 218
      10 #84 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 218
      11 #19 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. TE 220
      12 #55 Crewmember(s) over the wall too soon TE 220
      13 #1 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. TE 290
      14 #7 Safety violation MCI 410
      15 #21 Excessive speed - Exiting pits TE 455
      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)(8-23-2008)

    • ESPN race coverage at Bristol: One of the most exciting and popular races of the year on the Sprint Cup Series is the annual night race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The half-mile concrete oval, with 160,000 fans surrounding it, becomes a battleground as sparks fly and brakes glow red-hot, all under the glare of stadium lighting. ESPN and ESPN HD will have live, flag-to-flag coverage of the 500-lap race on Saturday, August 23, beginning at 7pm/et with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast is presented by Pennzoil Platinum and is simulcast on ESPN Deportes. The race replays on Sunday, Aug. 24, at noon on ESPN Classic.
      Dr. Jerry Punch will be lead announcer for ESPN's coverage, joined in the booth for analysis by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will be pit reporters with Tim Brewer in the ESPN Tech Center.
      The pre-race NASCAR Countdown show from the ESPN pit studio will be hosted by Allen Bestwick, with Rusty Wallace and analyst Brad Daugherty. The studio team will interact with the booth during the telecast of the race. As part of the week's buildup to the event, ESPN Classic airs the 1985 Valleydale 500 race at Bristol on Thursday, Aug. 21, at 2:00pm/et. The race originally aired on ESPN and was won by Dale Earnhardt. ESPN also has a live telecast of the Nationwide Series event at Bristol on Friday, Aug. 22, beginning at 7:30pm/et with NASCAR Countdown. The telecast airs in high definition on ESPN HD and is simulcast on ESPN Deportes.(ESPN PR)

    • 3rd Red Bull team in 2009? Between now and the end of the 2008 season, Scott Speed likely will make his Sprint Cup debut. Red Bull Racing will probably employ its test team – which includes veteran Cup crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe — for a third car for Speed, said team Vice President and General Manager Jay Frye said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Red Bull is still deciding whether or not to run two or three full-time cars next season, or two full- and one part-time cars, and whether it will retain AJ Allmendinger in its #84 Toyota. Speed, who has a chance to win the ARCA RE/MAX Series title this year, has been exceptionally impressive transitioning to stock cars, while Allmendinger has shown huge improvement since the start of the season. Frye said he hopes to have 2008 plans finalized in October.(SPEEDtv)(8-23-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR dyno's ten cars after MIS Cup race UPDATE: NASCAR planned to test horsepower on at least 10 cars after Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. NASCAR took several cars, while other teams wanted their engines tested. The cars tested were: took the Fords of #6-David Ragan, #16-Greg Biffle and #17-Matt Kenseth and #28-Travis Kvapil, the Chevrolet of #48-Jimmie Johnson, the Toyotas of #18-Kyle Busch and #44-David Reutimann and the Dodges of #19-Elliott Sadler, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #2-Kurt Busch. NASCAR planned to conduct tests on its chassis dynomometer at the track.(SceneDaily), loks like others not listed were tested.(8-18-2008)
      UPDATE: Last weekend's NASCAR chassis-dyno tests -- the first of the season -- and this week's NASCAR engine-dyno tests of those same motors have been somewhat inconclusive, although Roush continues to say that Toyota has a significant technical edge in engine design.
      #2-Kurt Busch's Penske-Dodge showed the most horsepower at the rear wheels in Sunday's Cup testing at Michigan, by a fairly good margin, particularly against Jimmie Johnson's Hendrick-Chevy -- maybe 20 to 21 horsepower. But then Jeff Burton's Childress-Chevy apparently won the pure engine tests two days later at NASCAR's Concord shop. The Michigan engine testing was the first major chassis-dyno test of the season. #2-Kurt Busch's car weighed in with 839 horsepower at the rear wheels, best of Sunday.
      Now the rule of thumb is that numbers from a chassis-dyno run are about seven percent lower than actual engine horsepower (because the chassis dyno measures output after the horsepower runs through the entire drivetrain). That would mean Busch's true engine horsepower would be nearly 900 horsepower.
      Other key Sunday chassis dyno results (unofficial since NASCAR doesn't publicly release the figures, despite a push by several top crew chiefs for NASCAR to release the numbers):
      #31-Jeff Burton (11th at Michigan), 830 horsepower.
      #8-Mark Martin (sixth), 827 horsepower.
      #18-Kyle Busch (race runner-up) 825 horsepower.
      #99-Carl Edwards (race winner) 819 horsepower.
      #48-Jimmie Johnson (17th), 819 horsepower.
      #83-Brian Vickers (seventh), 818 horsepower.
      That's a range of 21 horsepower.(Winston Salem Journal), these are the only hp numbers posted, have not heard of any other reported.(8-23-2008) Comment here

    • Aaron's to #44 team in 2009? UPDATE4 the #00: hearing that Aaron's will move from the #00 and sponsor the #44 car for a partial Sprint Cup schedule and a partial Nationwide schedule in 2009. No word on if the driver will David Reutimann, current driver of the #44 UPS/MWR Toyota or Michael McDowell, current driver of the #00 Toyota for MWR.(8-8-2008)
      UPDATE: David Reutimann has had his option picked up by Michael Waltrip Racing for next season, and now he’s looking for the team to continue its progress. Sponsorship is expected to be announced next week at Bristol Motor Speedway, where MWR has a news conference scheduled.(SceneDaily)(8-16-2008)
      UPDATE 2 MWR announcement: on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, Michael Waltrip Racing is scheduled to make an announcement. Hearing it will concern news about David Reutimann's 2009 plans, sponsors etc.(8-19-2008)
      UPDATE 3: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) and Aaron Rents, Inc. announced the continuation of one of the longest sponsor and owner relationships in NASCAR. In 2009, Aaron's Sales & Lease Ownership, the largest division of Aaron Rents, Inc., will sponsor the #00 [not the #44] Sprint Cup Series Aaron's Dream Machine with driver David Reutimann for 18 select races. Aaron's will also sponsor the #99 Nationwide Series Aaron's Dream Machine for 10 select races with both Reutimann and Michael Waltrip splitting time behind the wheel with a championship caliber team. "Aarons is more than a sponsor of Michael Waltrip Racing, they are a partner," Waltrip said. "We have been together nearly a decade. When our relationship began we were racing out of a shop behind my house. Their business has grown tremendously, as has our team. I am proud of our record together and look forward to continuing our partnership for many years to come." The 2009 season will mark the 10th year that Waltrip has been an ambassador for the Aaron's brand. The 28 combined Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide races will be announced shortly after the 2009 NASCAR schedules are released [already released Tuesday].(MWR PR)(8-22-2008)
      UPDATE 4: MWR is still looking to finalize deals for the remaining 18 races with Reutimann and the team’s third car. Waltrip said the team was close to wrapping up the rest of Reutimann’s car, with plans for the third car to be announced at a later date.(SPEEDtv)(8-23-2008) Comment here

    • Sharpie announces pace car design winner: Christopher Siegle, 19, of Orlando, Fla., an art and design student at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla., was named winner of the 2008 Sharpie 500 "Design the Pace Car" contest. The contest challenged entrants to design a bold new look for the car that will keep drivers in line during the Sprint Cup Series Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Siegle's entry was selected based on public voting. The entry, posted on sharpie.com as one of five finalists, received the highest number of votes. Siegle's winning design will be replicated on the actual pace car and officially unveiled to the sell-out crowd of more than 160,000 race fans during pre-race ceremonies. As part of the prize package, Siegle will take a victory lap around the track in the car prior to the start of the race.(Sharpie PR)(8-23-2008)

    • JGR names Director of Corporate Communications: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has named Chris Helein as its director of corporate communications, effective immediately. Helein spent the past two seasons in the NFL as vice president of public relations for the Washington Redskins, where in his second stint with the organization, he worked closely with former head coach and three-time Super Bowl winner Joe Gibbs. In his new position, Helein will lead all aspects of JGR's public relations efforts, which will include serving as the primary media liaison for JGR and working closely with each team's sponsor representatives. For the remainder of the 2008 racing season, Helein will work alongside Mike Arning and True Speed Communication, the firm that has handled JGR's corporate communications since 2003. Arning will continue his role as the at-track liaison for JGR and the #20 Home Depot team in the Sprint Cup Series through the season finale Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(JGR PR)(8-23-2008)

    • Schrader in the #96 at Bristol UPDATE2 Logano?: Ken Schrader is now listed on the Bristol entry list as the driver of the #96 Hall of Fame Racing/DLP Toyota for the Sharpie 500. Brad Coleman ran the car last week at Michigan and is scheduled to run in 7-10 races in the #96 for the rest of the season. See my updated Bristol Entry List.(8-20-2008)
      UPDATE: Ken Schrader will drive the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota for Hall of Fame Racing in this weekend's Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway. "Ken Schrader has a lot of experience at Bristol and we felt with as competitive as the field will be this weekend, he gives us the best chance to be successful," said Tom Garfinkel, co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing. "Brad Coleman will test for us next week at Kansas Speedway and we plan on having Brad compete in more races throughout the remainder of the year. We look forward to working with Brad as he continues to gain experience at the Sprint Cup level." Coleman, who has served as a test driver for Hall of Fame Racing since November 2007, made his Sprint Cup debut last weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn [finished 38th.(True Speed Communications/Hall of Fame Racing PR), hearing Joey Logano could run a few races in the #96 also.(8-20-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Between now and the end of the 2008 season, Joey Logano likely will make his Sprint Cup debut. Logano is expected to get his feet wet in a few races with the #96 Hall of Fame Racing team, which in the last four weeks has employed Ken Schrader, Brad Coleman, P.J. Jones and the since-sacked J.J. Yeley. Nothing is firmed up, HoF sources said, but a Logano debut later this season is likely as a prelude to the 18-year-old phenom taking over Tony Stewart’s #20 ride at Joe Gibbs Racing next season.(SPEEDtv)(8-23-2008) Comment here


      News from August 22, 2008

    • Wimmer out at RCR after 2008:#29-Scott Wimmer, who combined with Jeff Burton to give Richard Childress Racing the 2007 Nationwide Series owners' title, isn't part of the team's plans for '09, he said Thursday. Despite his status as a part-timer, the 32-year-old from Wausau [Wisconsin] has won as many races as the rest of the Chidress drivers so far this season - one - but his chances presumably were hurt by his inability to take a checkered flag last year in a car with which Burton won five times. Wimmer was a candidate for Childress' fourth Sprint Cup team but wasn't the choice of sponsors.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(8-22-2008) Comment here

    • Bristol Pit Rules: Bristol Motor Speedway operates under a plan where one-pit road will be used during pit stops under caution. Currently, Bristol remains the only track in Winston Cup that utilizes two pit roads. Teams that pit on the backstretch used to be at a competitive disadvantage. Since the spring 2002 race at Bristol, teams will enter pit road in Turn 2 (the current backstretch pit entrance) drive around down the backstretch and around Turns 3 and 4 and exit in Turn 1. Under green-flag conditions teams will enter and exit pit road under the current two-pit-road scheme.
      Pit Stall selections: pole sitter #99-Carl Edwards team chose the first pit stall selection [on the front streatch] for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Outside pole sitter, #44-David Reutimann chose the first stall on the back stretach, stall 23. See the full pit stall selections on my Bristol Pit Stall Selection page.(8-22-2008)

    • Happy Hour practice for the Sharpies 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #9-Kahne 119.828
      #1-Truex Jr. 119.686
      #29-Harvick 119.232
      #8-Almirola 119.188
      #88-Earnhardt Jr. 119.180
      slowest: #78-Nemechek 115.737 and #55-Waltrip 116.101
      See practice speeds on my Bristol Practice Speeds page.(8-22-2008)

    • Edwards on pole at Bristol: #99-Carl Edwards won the Coor's Light Pole for the Sharpies 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with a speed of 121.860mph for his first pole of 2008 and 4th pole of his career. Edwards is the 13th different pole sitter of 2008. #44-Reutimann will start 2nd followed by #24-Gordon, #01-Smith, #21-Elliott, #29-Harvick, #96-Schrader, #84-Allmendinger, #18-Busch and #19-Sadler. #88-Earnhardt Jr. will start 40th. #6-Ragan, spun and wacked the wall doing damage to the front and right side of the car, he will have to go to a backup.
      The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #21-Elliott, #96-Schrader, #84-Allmendinger, #70-Raines, #09-Marlin, #45-Petty, #00-Skinner and #78-Nemechek. Missing the race are #34-Green, #10-Carpentier, #08-Sauter and #50-Barrett [withdrew]
      See the pole progression, qualifying results and starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order page.(8-22-2008)

    • Bristol Qualifying Fast Facts
      Carl Edwards won the Pole Award for the Sharpie 500 with a lap of 15.746 seconds, 121.860 mph.
      This is his fourth pole in 145 Sprint Cup Series races.
      This is his first pole and 12th top-10 start in 2008.
      This is his first pole in nine races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
      David Reutimann (second) posted his third top-10 start of 2008 and his first in two races at Bristol.
      Jeff Gordon (third) posted his 26th top-10 start at Bristol. It is his 16th in 24 races this season.
      Regan Smith (fourth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
      Kyle Petty (29th) qualified for his 50th series race at Bristol - more than any other active driver.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-22-2008)

    • Qualifying Order for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is posted. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #11-Hamlin, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #12-Newman. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is #45-Petty, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #84-Allmendinger. See the full qualifying order on my Bristol Qualifying Page.(8-22-2008)

    • 1st Friday practice for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #9-Kahne 121.474
      #99-Edwards 121.136
      #24-Gordon 120.968
      #16-Biffle 120.945
      #19-Sadler and #48-Johnson 120.862
      slowest: #55-Waltrip 116.235 and #08-Sauter 115.389
      no speed listed: #50-Barrett [having trouble in the tech insptection area]
      See practice speeds on my Bristol Practice Speeds page.(8-22-2008)

    • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Bristol Motor Speedway:
      if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
      #70-Tony Raines, 16th fastest
      #84-A.J. Allmendinger, 17th
      #10-Patrick Carpentier, 21st
      #00-Mike Skinner, 24th
      #34-Jeff Green, 35th
      #21-Bill Elliott [past champ 1988], 36th
      #45-Kyle Petty, 40th
      #78-Joe Nemechek, 41st
      if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
      #96-Ken Schrader, 42nd
      #09-Sterling Marlin, 43rd
      #08-Johnny Sauter, 46th
      #50-Stanton Barrett, 47th, no practice
      See practice speeds on my Bristol Practice Speeds page.(8-22-2008)

    • More about the Driven to the Outdoors schemes: Realtree will announce [Friday] a sweepstakes that will put Sprint Cup drivers in camo-wrapped cars and give fans a chance to win a new Chevy truck, racing and hunting trips, free gasoline and other prizes. Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program will be launched this week as NASCAR's premier drivers roll into Bristol Motor Speedway. Three cars in Saturday night's Bristol field will have camo patterns incorporated into their regular sponsorships. #07-Clint Bowyer, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #15-Paul Menard will all be sporting the new look. Bowyer, who drives the Jack Daniels car, will have Realtree's snow pattern. The sweepstakes is sponsored by Chevrolet, Jack Daniels, Menards, Motorsports Authentics, Bass Pro Shops, Shell Oil Company and Realtree. In addition to the Bristol race, #29-Kevin Harvick will drive a camo car in Concord, N.C. on Oct. 11. When the series comes to Talladega on Oct. 5, Mike Wallace will drive a Realtree sponsored [#33 Chevy] car for Richard Childress Racing. That car will be an experimental car for the 2009 Daytona 500, Realtree President Bill Jordan said.(Ledger Inquirer), see images on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(8-22-2008)

    • Toolbox Treasures Honors NASCAR's Past: Toolbox Treasures announced their entry into the thrilling world of NASCAR licensing. Toolbox Treasures, LLC is a new company with a strategic vision of developing niche categories with unique products that are designed specifically for the collector and for the collector market. The company's focus will be an emphasis on historical die-casts. Toolbox Treasures is expected to release six collectible die-casts in 2008. Each project will have strict limitations in the number of each die-cast produced. This is designed to make every piece an immediate collectible. The first releases, which just came out are the 1957 Earnhardt driven Oldsmobile convertible as well as a 1957 Oldsmobile sedan also driven by Earnhardt and owned by Petty Enterprises. Less than 2,300 die-casts of each will be produced making this an instant hit in the market. In addition, many of the die-casts will be autographed by the King himself Richard Petty. Toolbox Treasures offer the products that bring the history of NASCAR to life. More info at toolboxtreasures.com.(8-22-2008)

    • Bristol Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire set-up at Bristol this weekend . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires Goodyear brought for teams in these two series to run at Bristol in March . . . Sprint Cup teams have also raced this tire set-up twice at Pocono this season . . . normally, NASCAR teams do not run inner liners in their tires on short tracks, though at Bristol teams are required to run them in just their right-side tires . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. THe estimated pit window is every 135-145 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear Tire Notes)(, see full report, pressures, codes and more on my Bristol Race Info page.(8-22-2008)


      News from August 21, 2008

    • Texaco leaving NASCAR UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway has learned that Chevron-Texaco will not return as sponsor of #42-Juan Pablo Montoya's Dodge next season. The Texaco-Havoline brand is in the final year of its sponsorship contract with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and a media representative for Ganassi Racing confirmed the move this afternoon. Texaco-Havoline will not move to another team in 2009, electing instead to end their longstanding involvement in NASCAR. That decision leaves Ganassi Racing in need of at least two new sponsors in 2009, and possibly three. Team owner Chip Ganassi recently parked the #40 Dodge driven by Dario Franchitti due to lack of sponsorship, and there are longstanding rumors that Target may not return to the #41 Dodge currently driven by Reed Sorenson. (Sirius Speedway/Motorsports Soapbox)(8-19-2008)
      UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will need to find another sponsor for Juan Pablo Montoya in 2009 because Texaco sponsorship will dry up at the end of the season. Texaco/Havoline is leaving NASCAR and therefore will not return to the #42 next season, Ganassi officials said Tuesday. Ganassi is now looking for sponsors for Montoya for half of next season. Wrigley's will sponsor the other half, as it has done this season. The #40 team with driver Dario Franchitti was shut down earlier this year when no sponsors could be lined up. Team officials said they were not surprised by Texaco's decision, saying they knew the company was looking to leave the sport. Ganassi's other team -- the #41 of Reed Sorenson -- is sponsored by Target, which also sponsors Ganassi's championship-contending IndyCar Series teams. Ganassi officials said the Target sponsorship is solid for both NASCAR and IndyCar beyond this season. Ganassi still plans to field at least two teams in 2009 and hopes enough sponsorship can be found for a third.(ESPN.com)(8-20-2008)
      UPDATE2: Oil company Chevron Corp. will stop sponsoring a NASCAR team through its Texaco and Halvoline brands at the end of this season. San Ramon-based Chevron didn’t say why it is ending its sponsorship. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has been sponsored by the two brands for five years. Chevron itself has been involved with NASCAR for 20 years. Chevron will change its marketing strategy for the two brands, focusing on local and regional campaigns. Chevron bought White Plains, N.Y.-based Texaco in 2001 for about $44 billion. The company kept Texaco as part of its name for a few years before dropping it and taking the name Chevron again in 2005. It has been changing its Texaco business lately, selling stations with that brand. Last week the company said it would sell 2,000 Texaco gas stations in Brazil for about $730 million.(San Francisco Business Times)(8-21-2008) Comment here

    • New sponsor for Robby at Bristol: There will be a new look under the lights at this Saturday's Sprint Cup Series race at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Robby Gordon's #7 car - his Dodge will feature the logo and shimmering brilliant look of Planet Color the custom color paint system from Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Corp. (SWAFC). Gordon has used the brand's coatings for years. Now, for this race, his car will host the gleaming Planet Color orange logo and be joined by that of Barrett-Jackson (the leading specialist in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners and automotive enthusiasts around the world), along with the team's #7. As a result, their trademark brands will all be featured against the completely flat-black Charger's color scheme.
      Planet Color has been a tremendous hit among custom automotive enthusiasts, painters and shop owners alike for several years now. Made from a series of optimally enhanced coatings containing special combinations of highly reflective additives, Planet Color offers stunning, radical, multi-dimensional finishes that are color shifting, iridescent, illuminated and shimmering in their texture. With Planet Color, custom painters can mix as little, or as much paint, for their exact customization project needs, and because of its refined repeatability it guarantees an exact match every time. Planet Color is available at NAPA Auto Parts and SWAFC branches throughout North America. For more information about Planet Color or other SWAFC products, visit www.sherwin-automotive.com.(RGM PR), see an image of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(8-21-2008) Comment here

    • Chase Stats - 3 races to go: which was the greatest "Race to the Chase" in the five year history? That's easy. The inaugural Race to the Chase in 2004 saw three drivers outside the Top 10 with three races to go, make it in: Jeremy Mayfield, Mark Martin and Ryan Newman. They unseated Kevin Harvick, Bobby Labonte and Kasey Kahne. Current positions 6-12 still aren't safe, although Tony Stewart (6th), Greg Biffle (7th) and Kevin Harvick (8th) all look good with three to go. From there, it gets real dicey and the danger lurking on every lap at Bristol will keep these drivers and teams on edge.
      9-Jeff Gordon +82 is a Bristol ace but this team is struggling
      10-Matt Kenseth +74 is also usually very good at BMS, but is too close for comfort.
      11-Kasey Kahne +47 has finished 2nd and 7th in his last two Bristol starts, but early summer hot streak seems like a while ago.
      12-Denny Hamlin +26 has dropped five spots in five races and frustration is evident with driver and team.
      #18-Kyle Busch clinched a Chase spot at Michigan last week. The Magic number after Bristol is 391 points over 13th place and at California it is 196 over 13th place. See more on my 2008 Chase Stats page.(8-21-2008)

    • Sauter has Cup ride for next 4 races: Johnny Sauter has a full schedule in the coming weeks of NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. Sauter will pilot the #08 FUBAR Dodge this week at Bristol and next week at Auto Club Speedway. Then, he will get back behind the wheel of the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevy for the following two events at Richmond and New Hampshire. "I'm definitely looking forward to the next few weeks of racing," Sauter said. "As a driver, I'm just happy people think of me when they have openings to fill, whether it be for a few races or a single event. I'm still looking for a full time opportunity in 2009, but in the meantime I'm happy to be busy and just thankful for the chance to contribute to these organizations."(PR)(8-21-2008) Comment here

    • Special scheme for McMurray at 'Dega: #26-Jamie McMurray is scheduled to run a BernzOmatic [Newell Rubbermaid company] Fat Boy [Propane] paint scheme at Talladega Superspeedway in October. The scheme is part of a contest. More info at bernzomatic.com, see an image of the scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(8-21-2008)

    • Special fans scheme for Earnhardt Jr. at 'Dega: For the first time, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is taking his fans on-board his #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy in the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in October. This fall his special “Ride with Junior” paint scheme will bring nearly 70,000 members of the Junior Nation together as each individual fan’s name will appear on his car. The 70,000 Names will not be legible on the diecast car, but ALL be listed in alphabetical order on an card that will be included with each diecast car. So, If your name is is part of the 70,000 race fan names that actually appear on the real car that Jr is racing at Talladega Superspeedway on October 5th, then it will be included on the enclosed card with each and every diecast car. See an image of the scheme [without the names] on my #88 Team Schemes page.(8-21-2008)

    • Morgan-McClure Retains #4, hopes to return at Daytona: Monday night on his SIRIUS NASCAR Radio show, Tony Stewart revealed that the car of new teammate, Ryan Newman, will have the #39 next season for Stewart-Haas Racing instead of the previously announced #4. The #4 has been intertwined with the Abingdon [VA]-based Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevrolet the past 25 years. MMM co-owners Tim Morgan and Larry McClure expressed their displeasure after a Friday morning press conference at Michigan International Speedway where it was announced that Newman would have the #4 in the Sprint Cup Series. Morgan said Wednesday afternoon that while he had never spoken to Stewart, he maintained faith that NASCAR officials would respect the tradition of the MMM team and disallow the number switch. Morgan-McClure Motorsports ceased operations last January due to a lack of funding. “I knew it was NASCAR’s prerogative, but I never actually believed the [number] change was going to happen unless I heard different from NASCAR,” Morgan said. “There was apparently just a misunderstanding here.”
      “We’ve had the #4 for a long time and there is a lot of history there,” said Morgan, who talked to a NASCAR official Monday. “I think NASCAR respects the history of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, and I think they made the right decision.” Speaking with co-host Matt Yocum on the “Tony Stewart Live” show Monday night, Stewart provided insight into his reversal. “We had some hiccups in the #4 with Larry McClure,” Stewart said. “I’m not sure there was enough due diligence when it came to knowing for sure if Mr. McClure was going to have a car for next year. We spoke with NASCAR and NASCAR said that that number was available and I’m not sure that, all the way around, that enough due diligence was done.”
      Stewart, a two-time NASCAR series champion, added that he respects the history of the MMM team and realizes the impact a number change would make. “We’ve been told that [McClure] is going to run some races next year and to us, especially me as a car owner, we know how much car numbers mean to teams and organizations,” Stewart said. “Even though NASCAR has given us that number for next year, if Mr. McClure is going to run a car we’re excited to have him back in the series…so we wanted him to have his number. “As a fellow car owner, I know how important that would be to me so we wanted to make sure that he’s got his number back for next year with the word that he’s going to be running some races next year.”
      Despite the sluggish economy and financial woes of other NASCAR organizations, Morgan said his homegrown team is still hoping for a return to the track. “We’ve never quit working,” Morgan said. “We’re working on a different routes, including possibly taking on an investor or investors.” Morgan said the MMM group also has representatives seeking out sponsorship packages. “We’re pursuing every avenue to put something together where we could be competitive,” Morgan said. While Morgan said his team has the equipment necessary to make a return later this season, the most feasible option would be next season. “We’re hoping to get back by Daytona,” said Morgan, referring to the season-opening Daytona 500. “I don’t think Tony meant any harm or disrespect,” Morgan said. “I just think this was an honest misunderstanding. I’m sure our friends and fans are happy that we still have our number.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-21-2008) Comment here

    • Hunt Brothers scheme back at Bristol: The Hunt Brothers Chevy will make its next appearance under the lights of the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” during the Sharpie 500 August 23, 2008, at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The #70 car will be driven by Tony Raines. Hunt Brothers will also launch its Free Fill-Up Sweepstakes at Bristol. Beginning August 23, 2008, visitors to www.freegasfreepizza.com will have the opportunity to sign up for a chance to win free gas* and pizza** for a year. Hunt Brothers Pizza will also serve as a secondary sponsor on the #66 car driven by Scott Riggs.(PR), see an image of the scheme on my #76 Team Schemes page.(8-21-2008)

    • Bristol Rookie Notes: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 17 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Hornish Jr. scored a 22nd-place finish and claimed top rookie honors for the seventh time this season. #01- Regan Smith leads Sam Hornish Jr. by just one point (178-177) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 23 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the August race at Bristol is second by Kevin Harvick in 2001. Since 1975, only one Raybestos Rookie has won the pole position for the August race at Bristol: Tony Stewart, who grabbed the top starting spot for the 1999 Sharpie 500. Stewart is the most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the Sharpie 500. No first-year driver has led a lap in any of the past nine Sharpie 500 races at Bristol. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a pole position in the Sprint Cup Series is Patrick Carpentier. Carpentier captured the top starting spot for the 2008 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway seven races ago.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos). See rookie history, standings and more on my 2008 Rookies page.(8-21-2008)

    • Hauler Drivers compete today in Bristol: The Pilot Truck Driver Challenge, a program is for the Sprint Cup truck drivers will run the Bristol Chicane Event at the Bristol Mall - Parking Lot on August 21st. The winner takes home a cool $50,000. More info at pilottruckchallenge.com.(8-21-2008)

    • Tennessee War Hero to be Guest of Army NASCAR Team in Bristol:Staff Sgt. Kevin L. Manning, a decorated war hero from the Johnson City U.S. Army Recruiting Station, will be a guest of the Army NASCAR team at Saturday night's Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Manning, a resident of Erwin, Tenn., is a Purple Heart recipient for wounds received in combat while serving in Iraq. Manning and his unit fought off enemy insurgents who ambushed a U.S. Army convoy on Oct. 2, 2004. During the fighting, a bullet struck Manning's shoulder. He was evacuated by a Black Hawk helicopter to a combat support hospital in Iraq. Following a 30 day convalescent leave in Germany, Manning volunteered to return to his unit in Iraq. He completed his deployment in February 2005."It will be an honor to meet Staff Sgt. Manning," said Aric Almirola, who will drive the #8 U.S. Army Chevrolet at Bristol. "He embodies the spirit and courage of all our Soldiers, who inspire us every week at the track."(DEI PR)(8-21-2008)

    • Congrats! Brian Dheel, rear tire carrier for the #84 Red Bull Toyota, and his wife Mandy, became proud parents to a healthy baby boy early Tuesday morning., August 12th. Gage Evan Dheel is the couple's first child. Dheel has been with RBR since the team's first season in 2007.(8-21-2008)

    • DW Racing Experience announces design elements: With the NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway approaching this weekend, race fans will want to know that the Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience just announced design elements of its multi-million-dollar attraction, including a mini-Bristol Motor Speedway replica. The mini-Bristol Motor Speedway will feature the "5 OFF 5 ON" pit crew experience, featuring expert coaching by multi-championship-winning pit crew chief and world-class jackman Jeff Hammond. This totally interactive experience will immerse visitors in the heat of racing's front lines and show them what it takes to be part of a winning team. With elements of Jeff Hammond's renowned "Pit Crew U" training program, visitors will experience an authentic over-the-wall pit crew environment." The new 27,000-square-foot racing-themed attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., promises to place visitors in the driver's seat with diverse and highly interactive components to showcase the racing experience from all vantage points of today's motor speedway. The Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience has the green flag for a fall 2008 opening. Belle Island Village recently announced that Entertainment Design Group, Inc will manage the interior design, theme development, audio-visual package and installation of Belle Island's Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience and the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Motion Picture Museum. More information about Belle Island Village can be located at www.belleisland.com.(Mary Beth West Consulting PR)(8-21-2008)


      News from August 20, 2008

    • New crew chief for Hornish? UPDATE: hearing that Travis Geisler is the new crew chief for #77-Sam Hornish Jr. Geisler was the chief engineer for #12-Ryan Newman. No word on plans for crew chief Chris Carrier.(8-19-2008)
      UPDATE: Penske Racing announced that Travis Geisler will immediately replace Chris Carrier as the crew chief of the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge, driven by Sam Hornish Jr. A mechanical engineering graduate from Vanderbilt, Geisler, 27, had been the race engineer for the Alltel Dodge, and was an integral part of Penske Racing's historic 2008 Daytona 500 victory. A Pittsburgh native, in 2006, Geisler was a race engineer for Robert Yates Racing in its Nationwide and Cup Series operations. He joined Penske Racing in November 2006. "We appreciate the effort Chris has put into this role. However, this is a performance oriented business and when the results are not meeting the expectations, we have to make changes," said Tim Cindric, president, Penske Racing. "Travis is another example of our willingness to promote from within. His depth of knowledge as a racer and engineer, as well as his proven ability to work with both drivers and crews, will be a great addition to the entire Mobil 1 team." Ben Atkins will replace Geisler as the race engineer on the Alltel Dodge. Atkins, a native of Virginia and Duke University graduate in mechanical engineering, was previously assigned to the Penske Racing test team. Prior to joining Penske Racing, Atkins was with Dale Earnhart Inc. as a race engineer.(Penske Racing PR)(8-20-2008) Comment here

    • Stremme to the #12? Alltel out? David Stremme, the driver for Rusty Wallace’s Nationwide effort, appears to have the inside track to replace Ryan Newman in the #12 Dodge at Penske racing next season. While refusing to acknowledge that a decision has been made, all signs from within the organization point to an announcement within a matter of days, as soon as the details on sponsorship for the team have been finalized. Current primary sponsor Alltel, which merged with Verizon this spring [but the deal has not been closed and probably won't be in late 2009], has been forced to leave at the conclusion of 2008.(Yahoo Sports)(8-20-2008)

    • Schrader in the #96 at Bristol UPDATE Logano?: Ken Schrader is now listed on the Bristol entry list as the driver of the #96 Hall of Fame Racing/DLP Toyota for the Sharpie 500. Brad Coleman ran the car last week at Michigan and is scheduled to run in 7-10 races in the #96 for the rest of the season. See my updated Bristol Entry List.(8-20-2008)
      UPDATE: Ken Schrader will drive the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota for Hall of Fame Racing in this weekend's Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway. "Ken Schrader has a lot of experience at Bristol and we felt with as competitive as the field will be this weekend, he gives us the best chance to be successful," said Tom Garfinkel, co-owner of Hall of Fame Racing. "Brad Coleman will test for us next week at Kansas Speedway and we plan on having Brad compete in more races throughout the remainder of the year. We look forward to working with Brad as he continues to gain experience at the Sprint Cup level." Coleman, who has served as a test driver for Hall of Fame Racing since November 2007, made his Sprint Cup debut last weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn [finished 38th.(True Speed Communications/Hall of Fame Racing PR), hearing Joey Logano could run a few races in the #96 also.(8-20-2008) Comment here

    • Driven to the Outdoors schemes: Paul Menard's #15 Menards Chevrolet will feature the "Driven to the Outdoors" special scheme at Bristol Motor Speedway. Menard joins teammate #1-Martin Truex and fellow Sprint Cup competitor, #07-Clint Bowyer, in promoting the program this weekend at Bristol. As part of the promotion, Menard will appear on Trackside LIVE Friday night.(PR)
      AND: In cooperation with RCR sponsors Realtree, Chevrolet, Shell Oil Company and Motorsports Authentics, Cliny Bowyer's #07 Jack Daniel's Chevy will feature a camouflaged-based Jack Daniel's paint scheme as part of the first ever Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program. In addition to a full line of NASCAR camouflage merchandise and memorabilia, the Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program will feature a unique sweepstakes that will ultimately reward one fan with a 2009 Chevy Silverado LTZ. Fans interested in learning more about the Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program and the rules associated with the sweepstakes can visit www.chevy.com/driven.(RCR PR)
      See images of the schemes on my #15 Team Schemes page, #07 Team Schemes page and #1 Team Schemes page.(8-20-2008)

    • Pop Tarts on Mears car at Bristol: CRAZY GOOD: Pop-Tarts, Kellogg's most popular morning food product, will adorn the hood of the No. 5 Chevrolet this Saturday at Bristol. Pop-Tarts also was the co-primary sponsor of the No. 5 Chevy in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the team finished 13th.(HMS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #5 Team Schemes page.(8-20-2008)

    • Special scheme for Harvick at BMS: #29-Kevin Harvick is going platinum for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, transforming his bright yellow and red Shell-Pennzoil Chevy into a shining platinum colored paint scheme in recognition of his sponsorship from Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil. Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil has adaptive molecules to manage the constant mechanical stresses inside an engine. Along with its additive package, Pennzoil Platinum motor oil is designed to survive the searing heat, intense pressures and shearing forces of today's precision-made engine parts. For more information visit: pennzoilplatinum.com.(RCR PR), see images of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes page.(8-20-2008)

    • Wingo Penalized by NASCAR: NASCAR has fined Donnie Wingo, crew chief of the #41 car in the Sprint Cup Series, for a violation committed during the Aug. 17 race at Michigan. The #41 car driven by Reed Sorenson was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-W (improperly attached weight) of the 2008 NASCAR rule book. As a result, Wingo has been fined $25,000 for the rule infraction.(NASCAR PR)(8-20-2008)

    • Michigan TV Ratings: ESPN's coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan had a 3.9 household coverage rating, with 3,743,919 households. Comparisons to the 2007 race are not direct as last year's race aired on a Tuesday morning on ESPN2 after a two-day rain delay and earned a 1.7 rating. ESPN2's coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan was up from last year, earning a 1.3 household coverage rating in 1,269,087 households. The 2007 race earned a 1.2 rating. Ten of the past 11 telecasts on ESPN2 have shown increases as compared to the same race last year that also aired on ESPN2.(ESPN Communications)(8-20-2008)

    • Double the Fun for the NOS Energy Drink Team: As both a Hollywood stuntman and a NASCAR driver, performing double-duty is something that Stanton Barrett has grown accustomed to. But this weekend, the phrase takes on a new meaning for the NOS Energy Drink team driver as he pilots the #30 NOS Energy Drink car in the Nationwide Series Food City 250 as well as the #50 NOS Energy Drink machine in the Sprint Cup Series Sharpie 500, both at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I’m looking to have good qualifying runs with both the NOS Cup car and Nationwide Car this weekend,” said Barrett. “I love Bristol. It’s my favorite track and anytime we race here it shapes up to be one of the best weekends of the year.” Barrett has a special affinity for the short-track circuit as his first NASCAR start came back in 1992 in what is now known as the Nationwide Series at this very course. Coming along for the ride during both Friday and Saturday’s events will be Kroger Supermarkets, which will have a spot on the “C” pillar of both cars.(PR)(8-20-2008)

    • Sad News - Terry Labonte's Mother-in-Law: Barbara VanMeter went to be with her Lord on Saturday, August 16, 2008. A resident of Corpus Christi, Texas most of her life, Barbara was born July 14, 1937 in Kingsville, Texas. A daughter, Karlen J. VanMeter preceded her in death. Surviving her is her husband of 48 years, Eldon L. VanMeter of Corpus Christi, Texas; three daughters, Barbara L. VanMeter of Corpus Christi, Texas, Dana S. Marshall and her husband Ron Marshall of Robstown, Texas, Kimberly Labonte and her husband, Terry Labonte of Winston Salem, North Carolina; one sister, Pamela S. Clark and her husband, William Clark of Harlingen, Texas; and her five grandchildren, Justin Labonte of Trinity, North Carolina, Kristen Garrett and her husband, Matt Garrett of Fort Worth, Texas, Galen Kelly of St. Louis, Michigan, Travis Marshall of Robstown, Texas and Kimberly Marshall of Robstown, Texas.
      A Memorial Service celebrating Barbara's life will be held at 6:00pm on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at the Seaside Funeral Home Chapel. The family will receive friends prior to the memorial service from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to Habitat for Humanity or Driscoll Children's Hospital. To view guestbook and to leave condolences and shared memories please visit www.seasidefuneral.com.(Corpus Christi Caller-Times)(8-20-2008)

    • Humpy back in Biz: H.A. (Humpy) Wheeler, who recently resigned as president of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., and general manager of Lowes Motor Speedway, announced the formation of The Wheeler Company. The Wheeler Company will be a management consulting operation primarily focusing on professional sports, motorsports and general business. Wheeler, a member of seven Halls of Fame including the International Motorsports, will serve as chairman and his son Howard III (Trip) will be president. Trip, a vice president at Velocity Sports & Entertainment, a leading sponsorship marketing agency, will also continue to serve that company. "We will also work closely with Wheeler Television, my daughter Patti's company, in a variety of support roles, as well as Velocity" Wheeler said. Wheeler Television is an Emmy award-winning company that does production for major network sports telecasts as well as documentaries and special features. "One of our goals will be to develop highly unique racing for television and work with clients who have a need for innovation. We will also work with major drivers in assistance with their careers as well as tracks, sanctioning bodies and companies involved in racing," Wheeler. The Wheeler Company offices will be located at 711 E. Morehead St., Suite 202, Charlotte, NC 28202.(The Wheeler Company PR)(8-20-2008)

    • Blaney to test at Gateway: The #22 Bill Davis Racing team and driver Dave Blaney plans to spend two days testing at Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis, Mo., next week before heading to California. The team spent several days testing at that facility last week as well.(BDR PR)(8-20-2008)


      News from August 19, 2008

    • #39 for Newman, not #4: it was announced on Monday's Tony Stewart Sirius Satellite Radio show that Ryan Newman would run the #39 in 2009 and NOT the #4.(8-19-2008)

    • Subway to sponsor Edwards in 2009? U.S. Army? Subway is completing a deal with #99-Carl Edwards that will make the ultra-fit NASCAR driver a spokesman for the big-spending restaurant chain, industry sources said. Subway is expected to be the primary sponsor for Edwards' #99 Ford in three Sprint Cup races next year and sign him to a personal-services agreement to use him in its advertising. The three-race primary sponsorship will run Subway about $2.25 million. Terms on the personal services agreement were not available. Edwards could end up replacing driver Tony Stewart, who has pitched for Subway since late 2006, and whose contract with the brand ends this year. Stewart has been prominent in Subway's advertising, but it is uncertain whether the company will continue with that relationship. Subway went to Aflac, Edwards' primary sponsor on the #99 car beginning in 2009, to broker the deal. Aflac is replacing Office Depot as Edwards' chief sponsor in a three-year deal with Roush Fenway Racing that is worth $26 million a year. But Aflac is working with its agency, Career Sports & Entertainment, Atlanta, to sell off a portion of those races. Aflac has been negotiating with U.S. Army to take anywhere from nine to 12 races. Those go for about $750,000 a race, sources say. One of Subway's three races with Edwards is expected to be the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix next spring. Subway will be an associate sponsor on the #99 car the rest of the season.
      The deal comes as Stewart is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to start Stewart-Haas Racing and drive the #14 Chevrolet sponsored by Office Depot. Stewart Haas will field two cars next year, the #14 and #39, and sources say Stewart has been negotiating with Burger King for the #39 car, which will be driven by Ryan Newman. A Burger King deal would create a category conflict with Subway, in which case Subway would not renew with Stewart, sources said.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal.)(8-19-2008) Comment here

    • Testing at Milwaukee: Roush Fenway Racing will be testing multiple Sprint Cup Series cars at The Milwaukee Mile Tuesday, August 19 and Wednesday, August 20. Drivers on Tuesday are David Ragan, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards. Matt Kenseth will be testing his Cup car on Wednesday only. Wisconsin native Kenseth is returning to race at The Mile to race this Sunday (with Kyle Busch) in the "Wisconsin All-Star 100 with Matt Kenseth" ASAMT super late model event this Sunday, August 24. There are four divisions of stock car racing August 22-24 on The Mile's Governor's Cup weekend. Grandstands open both days of testing, free to public until 5:00pm. Enter Grandstand Gate 8, near center grandstand.(Milwaukee Mile)(8-19-2008)

    • Knight Rider scheme for Kvapil at Bristol: "Knight Rider's" KITT car is heading to Bristol -- sort of. NBC has teamed up with Ford Motor Co. and Yates Racing, which operates two motorsports teams in the Sprint Cup Series, on a promotion for the network's upcoming series. As part of the partnership, Travis Kvapil will drive the specially painted #28 "Knight Rider" Ford for the Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. "The stealth look and feel of the car coupled with Travis Kvapil at the helm has us very excited about this race," said John Miller, chief marketing officer at NBC Universal Television Group and president of the NBC Agency. "This event exemplifies the adrenaline and action the 'Knight Rider' series will deliver." Added Kvapil: "It's every guy's dream to feel like they are an action hero, and I get to have that chance under the lights of Bristol with our #28 'Knight Rider' Ford." The race will be broadcast Saturday on ESPN. The series bows Sept. 24.(Hollywood Reporter), see an image of the scheme on my #28 Team Scemes page.(8-19-2008)

    • The rise and fall of Casey Atwood: The hullabaloo surrounding young NASCAR phenom Joey Logano is reminiscent of the media mania that engulfed Nashville teenager Casey Atwood nine years ago. At the time Atwood was breathlessly billed as “NASCAR’s next Jeff Gordon.” Hopefully Logano’s comet won’t flame out as quickly as Atwood’s. When Logano won this summer’s race at Kentucky Speedway shortly after his 18th birthday, he replaced Atwood in the record book as the youngest winner in the history of NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. Logano has been accorded “can’t miss” status in terms of his superstar future. Atwood was given the same coronation when he came out of Fairgrounds Speedway. He was clean-cut, bright and personable, and a natural-born racer. He became an overnight success in the Busch Series and several top Sprint Cup team owners clamored for his autograph on a contract. See full story by Larry Woody at the Nashville City Paper.(8-19-2008) Comment here

    • Logano to make Cup debut at RIR UPDATE 3: The plan is finally in place for Joey Logano to begin his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, with a handful of races scheduled this season in Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas. A source close to the team said Saturday that Logano will run “six or seven” Sprint Cup races with sponsorship from Gatorade between now and the end of the 2008 campaign, in an effort to gain NASCAR approval for Logano to run for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors next season. Plans call for the 18-year old Connecticut native to make his Sprint Cup debut at Richmond International Raceway on September 6th, with additional races to be announced within the next 2-3 weeks. He will also run the ARCA ReMax Series race at Talladega Superspeedway for Venturini Motorsports, to satisfy NASCAR requirements for him to compete in the 2009 Daytona 500.(Motorsports Soapbox)(8-12-2008)
      UPDATE: Logano will drive in selected Sprint Cup Series races this season for Joe Gibbs Racing, but the team is still deciding where he will make his debut. Logano made his first Nationwide start days after turning 18 in May and now boasts a victory and two pole positions for JGR. His early success has accelerated talks about moving the rookie into NASCAR's premier circuit. Bill Janitz, Logano's spokesman, said a debut next month at Richmond International Raceway was probable but the number of races was undetermined. Janitz denied Gatorade would be the sponsor. Richmond "has been talked about a few times," Logano said. Logano also is waiting on word from his team on whether he will replace Stewart next year in the #20 Toyota.(USA Today)(8-18-2008)
      UPDATE 2: A source close to the team told Sirius Speedway Saturday that Logano will run an orange-and-white #02 Toyota at Richmond with sponsorship from the Home Depot. In addition, that source said the home improvement giant will back the Connecticut youngster in his freshman season of Cup competition in 2009. Team President J.D. Gibbs said the team has not yet finalized plans for Logano, saying, “He'll run some Cup races this year, whether or not he's running the full thing next year or not.”(Motorsports Soapbox)(8-18-2008)
      UPDATE 3: Joe Gibbs Racing will hold a news conference Monday, Aug. 25, at the organization's headquarters in Mooresville, N.C., to make it official that Logano will drive the #20 Toyota full-time in the Sprint Cup Series beginning next season. Logano, 18, is expected to be in a Cup car for the first time at Richmond on Sept. 6, although one source stressed that "isn't a 1,000-percent done deal just yet." The only possible hold-up on JGR putting Logano in a fourth car at Richmond is the fact that the other three JGR Toyotas are currently in the midst of battling to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.(NASCAR.com)(8-19-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR GM Engineer Alba Colon Featured on ESPN Newsmagazine E:60 Tuesday: ESPN's primetime newsmagazine E:60 airs Tuesday, Aug. 19, at 7:00pm/et, and will include a feature on General Motors engineer Alba Colon, considered by many as one of the most powerful women in NASCAR. Barely five feet tall, the native of Puerto Rico is a giant in NASCAR - the highest-ranked female engineer in the sport. As GM's program manager, Colon has won five consecutive Manufacturers' Championships and is a driving force behind some of NASCAR's biggest names, including Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Colon's journey from being an engineering student to powerful figure in NASCAR has not been easy. She has battled the perception that women don't belong in NASCAR's garages. In spite of these challenges, Colon has become one of the most respected figures in NASCAR, reports E:60's Lisa Salters.(8-19-2008)

    • Carpentier Enters Truck Series Race at Bristol: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that Patrick Carpentier will enter Wednesday night's Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Carpentier will drive the Bobby Hamilton Racing #04 Tow Truck In A Box/SMS Equipment/Komatsu Dodge joining BHR teammates Dennis Setzer and Stacy Compton. Carpentier's Sprint Cup team led by Crew Chief Mike Shiplett will service the truck. Rain washed out Sprint Cup qualifying and most of practice during Carpentier's only visit to Bristol in March sending the #10 Dodge home. Carpentier and Shiplett return to Bristol on Friday to qualify the #10 Valvoline Dodge.(GEM PR)(8-19-2008)


      News from August 18, 2008

    • Childress grandson to make NNS debut: Austin Dillon, grandson of championship-winning team owner Richard Childress, will make his Nationwide Series debut Sept. 5 at Richmond International Raceway. See more on my Nationwide Series site.(8-18-2008)

    • Menard and Yates? UPDATE: John Menard, the wealthy businessman (Menards, the privately owned home improvements company), may be losing interest in NASCAR racing after so many years, according to sources. Menard, whose son #15-Paul is driving for DEI, is reportedly in negotiations with Ford’s Jack Roush, perhaps to help fellow owner Doug Yates keep afloat in this sport, which would involve a move from Chevrolet to Ford. “I don’t have any idea what might be going on there,” DEI’s Story said. “We just met with John, and everything is good.”(Winston Salem Journal)(7-4-2008)
      UPDATE: Yates Racing, with an assist from partner Roush Fenway, is making a push to sign Paul Menard from Dale Earnhardt Inc. "We believe we're the leading contender outside of the incumbent," Smith said. #38-David Gilliland and #28-Travis Kvapil currently drive for Yates Racing. DEI officials have been negotiating to re-sign Menard and feel confident he will return to the organization.(ESPN.com)(8-18-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR dyno's ten cars after MIS Cup race: NASCAR planned to test horsepower on at least 10 cars after Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. NASCAR took several cars, while other teams wanted their engines tested. The cars tested were: took the Fords of #6-David Ragan, #16-Greg Biffle and #17-Matt Kenseth and #28-Travis Kvapil, the Chevrolet of #48-Jimmie Johnson, the Toyotas of #18-Kyle Busch and #44-David Reutimann and the Dodges of #19-Elliott Sadler, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #2-Kurt Busch. NASCAR planned to conduct tests on its chassis dynomometer at the track.(SceneDaily)(8-18-2008) Comment here

    • McCumbee to Cup; announcement soon? UPDATE: Hearing that the deal for Truck Series driver Chad McCumbee has been finalized for the move to Sprint Cup in 2009, and an announcement is expected sometime within the next week. McCumbee currently drives a few Cup races for Petty Enterprises and has been rumored to be going there full time in 2009.(8-9-2008)
      UPDATE: Petty Enterprises has not decided on a driver for its #45 car next year, team official Robbie Loomis said Friday, but Chad McCumbee remains one of the top candidates for the ride. Michael McDowell and Casey Mears are some of the other drivers who have been mentioned, though Mears appears poised to sign with Richard Childress Racing. Loomis said the team was still speaking with multiple drivers.(SceneDaily.com)(8-18-2008) Comment here

    • Roush's Smith to retire? Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith is putting plans in place to retire after the 2009 season. "More than likely," Smith said before Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway. "That's what we're building for. We've been systematically elevating the responsibilities of several key people, training and training." Smith runs the business and marketing side of Roush Fenway. He has been instrumental in putting together one of the top sponsorship programs in the garage. He'll be 63 when his contract expires after next season. "I've done this for a lot of years," Smith said. "I owe my wife time together before we're dead."(ESPN.com)(8-18-2008)

    • Race & Commercial Breakdown of the 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo: Total number of commercials: 107
      Total number of companies or entities advertised:*60
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:01 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:10 PM
      Total minutes: 189
      Minutes of race broadcast: 146
      Minutes of commercials: 43
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      Number of 'mystery cautions' (debris not shown): 3
      Total race brdcst time 146 Total comm. brdcst time 43
      See the full report and more stats on my 2008 Commercials page.(8-18-2008) Comment here



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