Hall of Fames/Museums
MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
SEPTEMBER 8-14, 2008
News from September 14, 2008
- Ancient Chaseology, seasons before 2004 and the Chase - the final: Way back in 1975, NASCAR decided to change its points system, using an idea jotted down on a cocktail napkin at the Boot Hill Saloon in Daytona Beach, Fla. Pretty humble beginnings, no?
What if the Chase had become a part of NASCAR back in 1975? How would history have changed with a Chase back then?
Drivers probably would have driven differently, which would have led to changed results and altered points championships during the years covered here. But let's play the "what if?" game and take the historical results and translate them into the current Chase system.
See the following articles for each:
same champs in 1975-1979, but in 1980-1984, 3 of the 5 would have had different champions, none for Earnhardt, 3 for DW and Gant would had won one; in 1985-1989 all five chase's produce the same champ as the regular system did.
Whew, some shake ups in the 1990-1994 chases, Earnhardt, who won 4 championships in the classic points, Earnhardt would had won only two Chase in that span and Kulwicki would not had won his championship with Kyle Petty winning in 92, Gant in 1991 and Rusty Wallace in 1993.
in the 1995-1999 block, Earnhardt would had won in 1995 instead of Gordon, but Gordon would had won in 1996 instead of Terry Labonte, in 1997 Jarrett would had took it and not Gordon, Gordon in 1998 and Bobby Labonte would had won in 1999 not Jarrett, so only Gordon in 1998 would had been the same.
and in the final block 2000-2003: Bobby Labonte still wins in 2000, Marlin beats out Gordon in 2001, Kurt Buscgh in 2002 instead of Stewart and in 2003 Johnson would had gotten his first championship, Kenseth, who won using the old system that year, would had been 8th in the 2003 chase. Here are the links to each block, with standings and info:
Ancient Chaseology: 1975-1979
Ancient Chaseology: 1980-1984
Ancient Chaseology: 1985-1989
Ancient Chaseology: 1990-1994
Ancient Chaseology: 1995-1999
Ancient Chaseology: 2000-2003
as Matthew Willis will calculate all the seasons 1974 thru 2003.(9-9/14-2008) Comment here
- Real Sports on HBO features Johnson: Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel visits with #48-Jimmie Johnson when it returns on Tuesday, Sept 16th, on HBO. The premiere of the show is scheduled to air at 10:00pm/et.(HBO PR)(9-14-2008)
- Biffle wins at New Hampshire: #16-Greg Biffle won the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for his first win at the trafk, first of 2008, first in 33 races [Kansas 2007] and 13th of of his career. #48-Johnson finished 2nd, followed by #99-Edwards [new points leader[, #31-Burton, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #2-Busch, #1-Truec Jr., #20-Stewart, #11-Hamlin and #29-Harvick. Other chase drivers: #07-Bowyer finished 12th, #24-Gordon 14th, #18-Busch 34th and #17-Kenseth 40th. #96-Joey Logano finished 32nd in his first career Cup race, 3 laps down. There were 14 lead changes among 8 drivers and 8 cautions for 36 caution laps.
For race results, awards and more, see my New Hampshire Race Results Awards Page.(9-14-2008)
- UNOFFICAL Chase Drivers Points Standings [after New Hampshire race 27 of 36]:
1) #99-Carl Edwards 5220 [6 wins]
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5220 [4 wins]
3) #16-Greg Biffle 5190
4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5170
5) #31-Jeff Burton 5170
6) #11-Denny Hamlin 5148
7) #20-Tony Stewart 5147
8) #18-Kyle Busch 5146
9) #07-Clint Bowyer 5137
10) #29-Kevin Harvick 5134
11) #24-Jeff Gordon 5121
12) #17-Matt Kenseth 5043
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after New Hampshire page.(9-14-2008)
- UNOFFICAL Classic Drivers Points Standings [after New Hampshire race 27 of 36]:
(the old way)
1) #18-Kyle Busch 3944 [8 wins]
2) #99-Carl Edwards 3841 -103 [6 wins]
3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3756 -188 [4 wins]
4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3648 -296 [1 win]
5) #31-Jeff Burton 3544 -400 [1 win]
6) #16-Greg Biffle 3470 -474 [1 win]
7) #20-Tony Stewart 3432 -512
8) #29-Kevin Harvick 3417 -527
9) #11-Denny Hamlin 3373 -571 [1 win]
10) #24-Jeff Gordon 3342 -602
11) #07-Clint Bowyer 3243 -701 [1 win]
12) #9-Kasey Kahne 3177 -767 [2 wins]
13) #17-Matt Kenseth 3175 -769
14) #6-David Ragan 3118 -826
- New Hampshire Motor Speedway - Race Fast Facts:
Greg Biffle won the SYLVANIA 300, his 13th victory in 213 Sprint Cup Series races.
This is his first victory and 12th top-10 finish in 2008.
This is his first victory and fifth top-10 finish in 13 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 14 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It is his 15th top-10 finish in 2008.
Carl Edwards (third) posted his second top-10 finish in nine races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Regan Smith (23rd) was the highest finishing rookie.
Carl Edwards leads the point standings by 0 points over Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistics)(9-14-2008)
- Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Dover:
#7-Gordon moves back in and #84-Allmendinger drops out
The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
31) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 2107 +89
32) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing: 2097 +79
33) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing: 2093, +75
34) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing: 2046 +28
35) #7-Gordon/RGM: 2033 15 points ahead of 36th
these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
36) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing: 2018, 15 points out of 35th
37) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 2015 -18
38) #10-Carpentier/GEM: 1837 -196
For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(9-14-2008)
- Who got a lap back on each caution at New Hampshire: (and their finish)
Caution 1: #21-Elliott, 29th
Caution 2: #45-McCumbee, 42nd
Caution 3: #83-Vickers, 35th
Caution 4: #20-Stewart, 8th
Caution 5: #8-Almirola, 18th
Caution 6: #66-Riggs, 19th
Caution 7: #15-Menard, 21st
Caution 8: #70-Sauter, 20th
- New Hampshire Penalty Report:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
1 #18 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 36
2 #18 Pulling up to pit TE 37
3 #12 Excessive speed - Exiting pits TE 37
4 #96 Removing equipment from assigned pit area TE 37
5 #26 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 84
6 #18 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 84
7 #70 Removing equipment from assigned pit area MCI 86
8 #20 Excessive speed - Exiting pits PT 158
9 #77 Excessive speed - Exiting pits TE 216
10 #83 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 230
11 #5 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. TE 270
12 #00 Passing to the wrong side on a start or restart PT 287
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)(9-14-2008)
- Only four drivers: only four drivers have completed in all 28 Sprint Cup races held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway since the first race in 1993: #24-Jeff Gordon [3 wins], #31-Jeff Burton , #43-Bobby Labonte  and #78-Joe Nemechek .(9-14-2008)
- MWR has some prospective sponsors for 2009: Ty Norris, vice president and general manager of Michael Waltrip Racing, said three prospective sponsors for next season -- two new to the sport, one old, according to Norris -- are taking notice that MWR's three teams have been running better lately. Heading into Sunday's Sylvania 300 at NHMS, the #44 piloted by David Reutimann [has Aaron's for 18 races in 2009, will move back to the #00] ranks 27th in owner points, MIchael Waltrip's #55 Toyota [set with NAPA as his sponsor in 2009] ranks 32nd, and the #00 [no sponsor for 2009, no word on driver] currently being driven by rookie Michael McDowell is 35th. With UPS and its considerable dollars headed elsewhere [#6-David Ragan], MWR needs to find new money to fill the gap if it's going to field three teams again next season. Waltrip is set with NAPA signed on as the primary sponsor of his car next year, but Reutimann has only half of next season currently covered by Aaron's, which hopes to serve as a co-primary with another sponsor. Norris said he has no timetable for the aforementioned three prospective MWR sponsors, and admitted that fielding a third team for next season, which is the current plan, may hinge on what happens. "A lot of our current sponsors are re-signing. And we have at least three very, very solid opportunities that would, one, shore up the second half of the Reutimann car and, two, create a primary opportunity for McDowell," Norris said. "Time will tell, but at least those things are in the funnel, so to speak.(in part from NASCAR.com)(9-14-2008)
- McCain to visit NHMS on Sunday UPDATE: Republican presidential candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain is scheduled tomake a brief appearance at Sunday's event. McCain and his wife Cindy, (there is no information yet as to if she will accompany her husband to Loudon Sunday) are no strangers to racing — McCain was the grand marshal of the 2006 Sylvania 300 and Cindy McCain is a trained racecar driver. "We've done a lot of events like this," said speedway media spokesman Fred Neergaard. "We prepared twice for President Bush — once when he was the governor of Texas and once when he was president." State Police Lt. George Brown said no information is available about when McCain will visit, but helicopters flying overhead and an enhanced police presence are already present at the track.(The Citizen), The trip will reportedly include McCain taking a lap around the NASCAR race oval before the Sprint Cup playoff series is to begin in New Hampshire. It was not known whether running mate and AK Gov. Sarah Palin would be with McCain.(Nashua Telegraph)(9-11-2008)
UPDATE: John McCain thanked NASCAR for its support of the military as he spoke during the prerace drivers meeting Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. McCain was a couple of minutes late, and the drivers and crew chiefs remained in their seats waiting for him after their prerace instructions had ended. When he arrived with NASCAR President Mike Helton, the drivers and crew chiefs gave him a standing ovation. McCain was joined by Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, a major supporter of the candidate. “I just want to say thank you [for the ovation], but most of all I want to thank you for your support for the men and women in the military,” McCain said. “It’s remarkable. It’s uplifting to these young people. When I am in Iraq and Afghanistan, they’re watching you. You are their role models. You are their heroes. And they are ours. So I just want to say that NASCAR and the heroes and the competitors and the teams are supporting the men and women who are serving in the most exemplary fashion – I thank you, God bless you and God bless America.” Security was extra tight for the drivers meeting with everyone attending being checked with a metal-detecting wand. McCain then toured the garage area. The NASCAR hauler was equipped with several cameras pointed in various directions in the garage.(SceneDaily)(9-14-2008)
- Rain out winners: so far in 2008, there have been seven qualifying sessions rained out with the seven being this weekend at New Hampshire [the 2nd in a row after last week in Richmond]. In the seven races run, all seven winners have come from the top 10:
California, February, winner #99-Edwards started 9th, #48-Johnson started 1st finished 2nd
Bristol, March, #31-Burton 8th, #48-Johnson 18th
Michigan, June, #88-Earnhardt Jr. 3rd; #18-Busch 13th
Chicago, July, #18-Busch 1st
Watkins Glen, August, #18-Busch 1st
Richmond, September, #48-Johnson 3rd; #18-Busch 15th
New Hampshire, Spetember. winner #16-Biffle 9th, #18-Busch 34th
The qualifying sessions cancelled may be a record, from 1980 thru present, the next worse year for qualifying cancelations was in 2002 when five were cancelled. Back a few years ago, if it rained on Friday, qualifying was many times moved to Saturday morning, that doesn't happen any longer.(9-14-2008)
News from September 13, 2008
- F1 McLaren boss to head to NASCAR: Steve Hallam, McLaren's head of race operations, is to leave the team at the end of this year to move to NASCAR. Hallam joined McLaren in 1990 after almost a decade at Lotus, where he race engineered for Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna. Having helped engineer Mika Hakkinen to world title success with McLaren in 1998 and 1999, Hallam moved to a more senior role within the team's race engineering department. McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh has paid tribute to Hallam's contribution to the team. "Since joining us in 1990, Steve has become a senior member of our track operations team, doing a fantastic job," explained Whitmarsh. "He informed us of his decision to leave some time ago but, since he is totally professional, it goes without saying that we are entirely comfortable with his continuing his work with us until the end of the season. Next year we will all miss him greatly, but we nonetheless wish him all the very best in his new adventure." Hallam is to take up a senior position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(Autosport)(9-13-2008)
- Petty promotes prostate awareness: Seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty is a prostate cancer survivor. Son Kyle Petty remains highly involved in battling the disease through his Stay on Track for Better Prostate Health awareness program. Petty's "Prostate Inspection Pledge" is encouraging men to go for annual screenings and if diagnosed, to assemble a multidisciplinary pit crew of healthcare experts. Pharmaceutical company Sanofil-aventis is donating $1 for every prostate awareness pledge to the Prostate Cancer Education Council.(USA Today)(9-13-2008)
- Logano young, but not the youngest: #96-Joey Logano is young, but at 18 years, 3 months, 20 days, he'll not be even close to the youngest to make his Sprint Cup debut when he makes the big jump Sunday at New Hampshire. Driver, debut date and track listed with their ages:
Tommie Elliott Aug. 1, 1951 Altamont-Schenectady Fairgrounds 15 years, 7 months, 5 days
Darryl Sage July 10, 1982 Nashville Speedway 17 years, 2 months, 2 days
Bill Morton Oct. 9, 1955 Memphis-Arkansas Speedway 17 years, 2 months, 17 days
Donald Thomas May 21, 1950 Martinsville Speedway 17 years, 10 months, 11 days
Bobby Hillin Jr. April 18, 1982 North Wilkesboro Speedway 17 years, 10 months, 13 days
Chuck Bown Jan. 23, 1972 Riverside International Raceway 17 years, 11 months, 1 day
Jeff McDuffie April 20, 1980 North Wilkesboro Speedway 18 years, 0 months, 20 days
Joey Arrington Sept. 8, 1974 Richmond International Raceway 18 years, 1 months, 14 days
Buddy Baker April 4, 1959 Columbia Speedway 18 years, 2 months, 10 days
Joe Ruttman Jan. 20, 1963 Riverside International Raceway 18 years, 2 months, 23 days
(St Petersburg Times)
Kyle Busch is the youngest driver to ever win a Cup Series race at 20 years, 126 [4 months, 2 days], when he won at California [now Auto Club Speedway] in September 2005.(9-13-2008)
- Pit Stall Selections have been made for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, #18-Busch got to choose first since he starts first [quals rained out] and took stall #1, #99-Edwards who starts 2nd took stall #19, the next with an opening in front of it and #48-Johnson who starts 3rd, took stall #29, the next opening. See who took what stall on my New Hampshire Pit Stall selections page.(9-13-2008)
- Happy Hour practice for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
slowest: #78-Nemechek 123.698 & #21-Elliott 124.462
The practice session is scheduled to be televised on ESPN2 at 6:00pm/et tonight.
See speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds page.(9-13-2008)
- Monday’s “Deal or No Deal” Contestant Says “Deal” To General Mills Offer: This past Monday night, millions watched NBC’s “Deal or No Deal” as race fan Gary Cote and his family took television viewers on an emotional rollercoaster ride in an attempt to become the show’s second million dollar winner. Cote, a native of Coventry, Rhode Island, was not only playing for the opportunity to help out his immediate family, but also his “extended” family of people he has quietly helped throughout his life. Cote also made no secret of his favorite sport, NASCAR, and his desire to vacation with his family and visit a NASCAR race, an opportunity he had only once before. While on the show, he was offered a race prize package from two-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. Johnson’s offer included a trip for Cote to the 2009 Daytona 500, a pace car ride around the hallowed speedway and a Richard Petty Driving Experience. In the end, Cote didn’t walk away with either the million dollar grand prize or the NASCAR package. Cheerios is now making an offer that Cote can’t refuse. They are offering Cote and his family the opportunity to be guests of theirs and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker race team this weekend at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Cote and his family will be given suite and garage passes for Saturday and Sunday’s events. Cheerios will also give the Cote family the opportunity to meet their driver, Bobby Labonte. What is Cote’s answer to this offer? “Deal!” exclaimed Cote. Cote was given the offer after Cheerios learned of the generosity of Cote and his family. The Cheerios Racing team will meet Cote Friday evening and tour him and his wife and daughter around the track Saturday and Sunday.(General Mills/Breaking Limits PR)(9-13-2008)
- Congrats: Josh Mick, front tire carrier for Richard Childress Racing Sprint Cup team #29 for Kevin Harvick, and wife, Kelly Mick are the proud parents of a baby girl. Taylor Grace Mick was born Thursday, August 21, 2008 weighing in at 6lbs, 1.5oz. She is the first child for Josh and Kelly.(9-13-2008)
- Get Well: Best wishes to Ron Meade, longtime NASCAR publicist and an original staff member at NHMS, who was unable to be at the track this weekend because of illness. It marked the first time Meade, NHMS director of special projects, has missed an event weekend in track history.(Boston Globe)(9-13-2008)
News from September 12, 2008
- Army to Newman? sources said Army is close to finalizing a deal to be a partial co-sponsor of Ryan Newman's [#39 Chevy] car at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009.(ESPN.com)(9-12-2008) Comment here
- OFFICIAL: UPS to to sponsor Ragan and Roush: hearing that UPS will announce Friday, what team and driver they will sponsor in 2009. Rumor has it that David Ragan will be sponsored by UPS in the #6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in 2009.
AND On Friday, September 12, UPS will launch a new era in our NASCAR partnership when we [UPS} announce the sponsorship of a new driver and team for the 2009 racing season. UPS’s eight-year partnership with NASCAR has netted us significant growth opportunities and increased brand awareness. Due to the success of the partnership, UPS also will remain the Official Express Delivery Company of NASCAR. An exclusive employee preview of the announcement will be available on UPSers.com at 5pm/et, Thursday, September 11. Friday morning at 9:30am/et, a press conference introducing the new driver and team will be held at the New Hampshire Speedway.
AND II: from the UPSers site: "Well now it’s time to really put the pedal to the metal with the NASCAR sponsorship and UPS’s growth strategy. And what better way to do that than partner with one of NASCAR’s premier teams, Roush Fenway Racing. Like UPS, they have a really strong brand awareness. There’s a new number, number six, that’s my favorite number. And – and this is really cool, there’s a new driver, David Ragan." The new video will be posted sometime Friday at racing.ups.com
OFFICIAL: Launching a new era in its relationship with NASCAR, UPS today announced it would join Roush Fenway Racing for the 2009 campaign and rely on driving standout David Ragan to push the colors of “Big Brown” into Victory Lane. Ragan will race the #6 UPS Ford Fusion next season in a significantly revitalized UPS motorsports program. UPS has signed a multi-year deal with Roush Fenway Racing and Ragan. The agreement represents a return to Ford Motor Co. and an opportunity to establish long-term stability for UPS’s racing program. Ragan and Roush Fenway Racing will be supported by UPS with a variety of new programs, to be fully announced in coming weeks, including an entirely new advertising campaign. The 2009 Sprint Cup Series season will mark the ninth season of primary sponsorship for UPS and the 10th year as the Official Delivery Company of NASCAR. UPS became the official express delivery company of NASCAR in 2000 and a year later, joined Robert Yates Racing and NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett to campaign the #88 UPS Ford Taurus as a full sponsor. In 2007, UPS followed its driver when Jarrett joined Michael Waltrip Racing to race the Toyota Camry. Earlier this season, Jarrett retired and the #44 UPS Camry is being driven for the remainder of this season by David Reutimann.(UPS Site)(9-12-2008) Comment here
- Hornaday admits using testosterone UPDATE:: Over a two-year period from December 2004 to January 2006, Ron Hornaday, the defending champion of the Truck Series, received shipments of testosterone and human growth hormone from an anti-aging center that has been linked to drug-related scandals in the NFL and Major League Baseball. Hornaday acknowledged taking testosterone when shown records from the Palm Beach Rejuvenation Center during an interview at his home in North Carolina on Tuesday, but he denied using growth hormone that was sent to his home for his wife's use. Hornaday said he used the testosterone to treat a mysterious medical malady that later turned out to be a hyperactive thyroid. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said that Hornaday had not informed anyone in the league that he was using testosterone and that officials would seek more information from him before the race in New Hampshire this weekend.(see full story at ESPN.com)(9-11-2008)
UPDATE: Ron Hornaday Jr. met NASCAR officials Friday to discuss his admission that he took testosterone during the 2005 season. NASCAR accepted Hornaday's explanation that he was seeking medical treatment, not a competitive edge. According to the league, the case is closed. "It's over and done with, he's clear to race," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of corporate communications. "We don't see that Ron did anything wrong."(more at ESPN)(9-12-2008)
- Robby back in the Operation Homefront scheme: Robby Gordon's #7-Jim Beam Dodge will once again carry the red, white, and blue Operation Homefront paint scheme this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Earlier this year, Jim Beam formed an association with the organization when they recognized that Operation Homefront had the same commitment and values as the Jim Beam brand - true character, integrity and doing the right thing. Operation Homefront is a nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance and morale to our troops, to the families they leave behind during deployments and wounded warriors when they return home. Operation Homefront has 30 chapters serving 37 states and came to the rescue of 33,000 military families last year. They have approximately 4,500 volunteers nationwide.(RGM PR), see images of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(9-12-2008)
- New spotter for Stewart: According to The Home Depot pre-race report Mike Calinoff (Ganassi #40) is listed as the spotter for #20-Tony Stewart. (True Speed Communication), regular spotter, Mark Robertson, will spot for Joey Logano at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, who will drive the #96 Hall of Fame - Home Depot Toyota there.(9-12-2008)
- Capps tests new Concord track surface, Waltrip the wall: As North Carolina residents, fans, NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series competitors and officials prepared for this weekend's inaugural NHRA Carolina Nationals at the all-new zMax Dragway, drag racer Ron Capps was challenged by NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip to a duel on the very same dragway. Waltrip issued the challenge to his fellow NAPA Auto Parts racing partner to race down the quarter-mile at Bruton Smith's stunning facility to continue the pair's on-air rivalry and banter promoted in NAPA Auto Parts' clever ad campaign using the two racers with disparate racing backgrounds. Arriving with his fully race-functional NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Waltrip faced Capps driving an NHRA Super Comp dragster, owned by Charlotte's Tisha Wilson, in the pair's first head-to-head match-up on a racing surface. It was a heady experience for both, as neither had been down the new dragstrip touted as the "Bellagio" of drag racing. For Capps, because it was an all-new venue; for Waltrip because it's doubtful that he had ever been down a state-of-the-art dragstrip in a powerful car in his lifetime.
The track was clearly green as both drivers struggled to gain traction after launching following their burnouts. As the pair tore down the track, Waltrip's mount experienced some problems at the finish line, resulting in, surprisingly, his hitting the wall and damaging the front of the car. Although Waltrip may have been ahead, it turned into a very-loosely based case of the "Tortoise and the Hare," as Capps took the victory for all the non-existing laurels in his 500-hp dragster over Waltrip's Cup car pulled by 800 horses. The numbers: 9.85/115.14 for Capps, versus 11.21/79.38 for Waltrip. Waltrip's NAPA crew quickly repaired the Toyota, and Capps was invited to drive it down the quarter-mile. He did so, in fine fashion, posting a run of 10.6 seconds at 140 mph. The action was taped for a "NASCAR Now" show on ESPN2 and will be shared by the same network during the weekend's NHRA race coverage.(NHRA.com)(9-12-2008) Comment here
- Qualifying Cancelled..again: qualifying for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was cancelled due to rain, for the 7th time this season. #18-Kyle Busch, who leads the points, will start 1st, followed by #99-Edwards, #48-Johnson, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #07-Bowyer, #11-Hamlin, #31-Burton, #20-Stewart, #16-Biffle and #24-Gordon. #34-Raines and #46-Long will miss the race. #96-Logano will start 40th, making his Sprint Cup debut. See the starting lineup on my NHMS Starting Lineup/Qualifying page.(9-12-2008)
- Friday Practice for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
slowest: #46-Long 124.361 and #34-Raines 126.312
incidents: #83-Vickers car snapped out of line and smacked the inside wall, he will go to a backup car; before he got a lap in the books, #45-McCumbee wrecked and will go to a backup
New Hampshire Practice Speeds page.(9-12-2008)
- Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:
if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
#10-Patrick Carpentier, 24th
#78-Joe Nemechek, 29th
#70-Johnny Sauter, 31st
#77-Sam Hornish Jr., 34th
#7-Robby Gordon, 35th
#21-Bill Elliott [past champ 1988], 36th
#96-Joey Logano, 38th
#45-Chad McCumbee, 41st
if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
#34-Tony Raines, 44th
#46-Carl Long, 45th/last
New Hampshire Practice Speeds page.(9-12-2008)
- New Hampshire Goodyear Tires Notes: Teams in both the Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck Series will run the same tire codes at New Hampshire this weekend, though the Cup tires will be branded "Goodyear Eagle," while the Truck tires will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for teams in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series to run at New Hampshire earlier this season . . . also, teams in these two series ran this exact tire set-up last weekend -- Sprint Cup at Richmond and Craftsman Truck at Gateway . . . in addition to above-mentioned tracks, teams in NASCAR's top-three series have run this specific tire set-up at Phoenix, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Memphis and Milwaukee this season . . . as on most NASCAR mile-tracks, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at New Hampshire. The estimated pit window is every 74-78 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR). See pressures, codes and more on my New Hampshire Race Info page.(9-12-2008)
- Labonte Races with an Eye on Texas: With all of the fanfare focused on the start of the 2008 “Chase for the Sprint Cup” at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, one of the most-respected drivers in the garage area will be excused if his mind drifts away to the place of his birth. #43-Bobby Labonte was born in the bayside town of Corpus Christi, Texas. Corpus Christi is now in the path of Hurricane Ike, one of the many strong storms to make its way into the Gulf of Mexico in recent years. “Please keep the residents of Corpus Christi in your thoughts and prayers,” said Labonte. “The Labonte family moved to North Carolina many years ago, but Corpus will always be home. We used to deal with only the occasional hurricane in the Gulf (of Mexico), but they are becoming more and more frequent. Hopefully all of the necessary safety measures have been taken and everyone’s well-being will be secure. We’ll be racing at Loudon this weekend, but our thoughts will be with everyone in the path of the hurricane.”(Petty Enterprises PR)(9-12-2008) Comment here
News from September 11, 2008
- Chase Notes after Richmond: #17-Matt Kenseth had to rally after being in 16th place at the halfway mark of The Race to The Chase, but he joined #48-Jimmie Johnson in making his fifth straight Chase. Are the first 26 races relevant to Chase performace? Yes and No. Kurt Busch was seventh best in points over the first 26 in 2004, and then went on a big run and won the inaugural Chase. Tony Stewart led at the end of 26 in 2005 and also after 36. Jimmie Johnson was second after 26 in 2006 and won the Chase. He was fourth after 26 in 2007 and won the title. #31-Jeff Burton got off to a strong start this season, scoring the second most points in the first 13, but he limped home with the 15th most points in the second half. Burton and teammate #07-Clint Bowyer have the least amount of top 5s coming into The chase, with four. Only once has a driver come from further back than second place after five Chase races to take the title:
2004-Kurt Busch led by 24 points after five and won by 8
2005-Tony Stewart was tied with Jimmie Johnson after five and won by 35
2006-Jimmie Johnson made Chase history by roaring back from 7th place and 146 points out to win by 36
2007-Jimmie Johnson trailed Jeff Gordon by 68 points after five and won by 77. See more on my Chase stats page after Richmond page and also on my 2008 Chase page.(9-11-2008)
- Tony and Zippy OK: #20-Tony Stewart said Wednesday all is well between the two-time champion and crew chief Greg Zipadelli despite their post-race squabble at Richmond. Stewart criticized Zipadelli and his crew as he pulled onto pit road following Sunday's second-place finish at Richmond International Raceway. He blamed the team for the loss - he gave up the lead during a late pit stop and was unable to catch winner Jimmie Johnson in the closing laps - and Zipadelli sharply reminded him they win and lose as a group.
"I don't know why everybody is making such a big deal about it," Stewart said during NASCAR's media day for the Chase for the championship. "That's two guys that were talking on the radio that are competitive and don't like to lose. I'd much rather have a crew chief that gets as fired up as me than I would a guy that said `Yeah, yeah, it's OK.'(Associated Press)(9-11-2008) Comment here
- Allmendinger talks about his future: from #84-A.J. Allmendinger's column at Yahoo: "As far as my contract situation for next year, there’s no new news. Hopefully I’ll know something next week. But not knowing anything is hard. It’s stressful. You know, I just want an answer. Am I going to be back with Red Bull next year, yes or no? Of course I’d like it to be yes and they’d like me to stay and we have a great rest of the season and prepare for 2009. I love everybody at the shop and it’s hard because they’re asking me questions. They want to know what’s up, and I don’t have an answer for them. I mean, I really don’t have an answer. I’ve had conversations with other teams since August – and there were some good rides available – but I truly believe we have something here with Red Bull, so I don’t want to leave.
We’ve been through a lot together as a team and I’ve been through a lot just to learn. I’ve had people tell me, ‘You suck. You shouldn’t be here,’ and I’ve had other people say, ‘Keep working. We know you got the talent.’ And I’ve fought through all that and in my opinion I think I deserve to be in the car. But right now, realistically, I think it’s about 50-50 at best that I’ll be back at Red Bull next year.(Yahoo Sports), hearing that Allmendinger is a candidate for the #41 Ganassi Racing ride.(9-11-2008) Comment here
- Sylania featured on the #15: Paul Menard will race in the Sylvania sponsored race in the Sylvania sponsored #15 Menards Chevy for the second consecutive year at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Menard himself uses SYLVANIA SilverStar(R) Ultra headlights off the track.(Co-Pilott PR), see an image of the scheme on my #15 Team Schemes page.(9-11-2008)
- Letterman's Top 12 perks of being a NASCAR driver: The 12 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders took center stage on the "Late Show with David Letterman" on Tuesday night in New York City. Their task: to read off the "Top 12 Perks of Being a NASCAR Driver" on the CBS telecast. In order, here's what the Chasers had to say:
No. 12 -- Matt Kenseth: "Crazy gas prices? I don't care; I'm not payin'."
No. 11 -- Kevin Harvick: "Bring your helmet to Taco Bell and they'll fill it up with guacamole, free."
No. 10 -- Jeff Gordon: "Don't have to shave your body like Olympic swimmers … although, why not?"
No. 9 -- Greg Biffle: "Hasselhoff promised me one of those talking cars."
No. 8 -- Tony Stewart: "I use old checkered flags to make fabulous throw pillows."
No. 7 -- Jeff Burton: "There's nothing like going through a car wash at 190 miles per hour."
No. 6 -- Denny Hamlin: "GPS underpants."
No. 5 -- Clint Bowyer: "Sorry, I forgot my joke -- I was thinking about Jessica Alba -- man, she's hot."
No. 4 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.: "Run out of olive oil? A little Quaker State will spruce up any salad."
No. 3 -- Jimmie Johnson: "Traveling to exotic locations like Martinsville, Virginia, and Dover, Delaware."
No. 2 -- Carl Edwards: "At high school reunions, it's fun to ask, 'So what do you do for a living?' "
And the No. 1 perk of being a NASCAR driver -- Kyle Busch: "After a race, your ass vibrates for days."(ESPN.com)(9-11-2008)
- New Hampshire Rookie Notes: #00-Michael McDowell was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the September 7 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. McDowell scored a 20th-place finish, his best in 18 Sprint Cup Series races. He grabbed top rookie honors for the fifth time this season. #01-Regan Smith leads #77-Sam Hornish Jr. by two points (184-182) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the September 14 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Smith has led the Raybestos Rookie standings since the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, a span of nine consecutive races. #10-Patrick Carpentier won his first career pole position at the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire this past June. Carpentier is the only freshman driver to win a pole this season in the Sprint Cup Series. Ryan Newman is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the September race at New Hampshire. He held off Kurt Busch when the race was rain shortened to 207 of the scheduled 300 laps. Newman is also the only freshman driver to win the pole for the fall race and the only Raybestos Rookie to win from the pole. He is also the only first-year driver to lead the most laps in the fall event (three times for 143 laps).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see rookie standings, history and more on my 2008 Rookies page.(9-11-2008)
News from September 10, 2008
- Congrats: Tim Meyer and his wife Kelly had a new baby boy on 9/8/2008. He weighed 7lbs 9oz and was 20 in long. Tim is the engine tuner for Travis Kvapil's #28 Ford.(9-10-2008)
- Papis to run some 2009 Cup races with Germain: Sirius Speedway has learned that GEICO Insurance will team with Italian road course expert Max Papis to run as many as 18 Sprint Cup Series races next season, in Toyotas fielded by Germain Motorsports. GEICO currently sponsors veteran Mike Wallace on the Nationwide Series, but cannot remain in NASCAR’s number two series beyond 2009, due to language in the sanctioning body’s contract with major sponsor, Nationwide. They can, however, move to either the Sprint Cup or Truck ranks. Wallace said recently that he is already looking for a new backer, adding, “We have an indication of what (GEICO is) going to do, (and) for me to continue to race in years to come, I’ve got to go find another sponsor." A spokesperson for Germain Motorsports declined to comment earlier today.(Sirius Speedway/Motorsports Soapbox)(9-10-2008) Comment here
- Logano's Cup debut up in the air UPDATE 3 NO #02, to the #96 NHMS: a Joe Gibbs Racing spokesman said team officials were discussing options for when Joey Logano's Cup debut would occur and in what vehicle. Hall of Fame Racing, a JGR ally, had previously announced Logano would run that team's #96 Toyota next weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.(NASCAR.com)(9-6-2008)
UPDATE: J.D. Gibbs said Sunday that Joey Logano will race next week in the Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. As-yet undecided is whether the 18-year-old phenom will be driving the #02 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota he was scheduled to drive this weekend at Richmond International Raceway, or whether he’ll stick with the #96 Hall of Fame Racing ride he’s supposed to be in. If he does drive for HoF, the #96 will carry Home Depot sponsorship, Gibbs said, although he acknowledged he has not talked to Hall of Fame officials about what the final plan will be. “We’ve still got to work out some more details,” Gibbs said Sunday morning at Richmond International Raceway. “Right now, we want the first race to be in the Home Depot car and we’ve got a few options to figure out, but next week, he will be in the car racing.”(SPEEDtv)(9-8-2008)
UPDATE 2: Forty-five cars are currently entered for the Sprint Cup Sylvania 300 this weekend, but Joey Logano will be entered in an additional entry since Joe Gibbs Racing has decided to field a fourth car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Logano originally was supposed to drive the #96 Hall of Fame Racing car at New Hampshire. The 18-year-old driver, who takes over JGR's #20 Cup car next year being vacated by Tony Stewart, was supposed to make his Cup debut last week at Richmond but did not qualify when rain washed out time trials. JGR wanted Logano to make his debut in a Home Depot car and therefore plans to enter the #02 for the New Hampshire race, according to a team spokesman. Ken Schrader will drive the #96 car for Hall of Fame. Other entries for this weekend's race include Chad McCumbee in the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge in place of Kyle Petty. It is not uncommon for Petty to skip a race at New Hampshire, the site of where his son, Adam, was killed in a crash during Nationwide Series practice in 2000.(SceneDaily)(9-9-2008)
UPDATE 3: Despite reports putting Joey Logano in the #02 car for Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend, a source with direct knowledge of the situation tells Rowdy that Joey will in fact pilot the #96 car as originally planned this weekend in the Sylvania 300. Home Depot, Logano's 2009 sponsor, will be the primary sponsor on the car replacing the #96's usual primary, DLP, which will assume an associate role for the race.(Rowdy.com)
AND Hall of Fame Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing officials announced Wednesday that Joey Logano will attempt to qualify the #96 Home Depot/DLP HDTV Toyota for this weekend’s Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Ken Schrader, who was listed on the entry list in the #96 Toyota, is scheduled to return to the car for next weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway. Joe Gibbs Racing has withdrawn the #02 Toyota which had been entered at New Hampshire for Logano. The #96 Toyota will have a Home Depot/DLP HDTV paint scheme similar to the #02 Home Depot Toyota that Joe Gibbs Racing fielded for Logano last week at Richmond. Logano did not race at Richmond as qualifying was cancelled due to rain and the #02 did not have enough owner points to make the 43-car starting field.(HOF Racing PR)(9-10-2008), see the New Hampshire Entry List. Comment here
- Valvoline to sponsor Kvapil at New Hampshire: Yates Racing announced that Valvoline, the leading innovator and supplier of quality, high-performing automotive products, will sponsor the #28 entry and driver Travis Kvapil for the Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 14th. Valvoline is a technical partner of Yates Racing as well as the primary sponsor on the #28 Ford for Sunday’s race. “We’ve been in the Yates Fords and now we’ll be on the #28 Fusion in a big way,” said Rob Stravitz, vice president for global brands for Valvoline. “We have a history of working with Roush Yates Engines to achieve maximum horsepower and endurance, but this is the first time Valvoline has taken a primary position on a Yates Racing Ford,” said Stravitz. There will be no shortage of cars Sunday running with Valvoline. In addition to the two Yates Racing Ford Fusions of Kvapil and #38-David Gilliland, Valvoline will be in a total of ten other entries [all five Roush cars, all three GEM cars, #21-Elliott and #7-Gordon] for Sunday’s race that also depend on Valvoline.(Yates Racing PR)(9-10-2008) Comment here
- 100th NSCS Start for Sorenson: #41-Reed Sorenson will be making his 100th NSCS start this weekend in New Hampshire. His first start came in October 2005 at Sorenson's home track of Atlanta Motor Speedway. The 22-year-old has one pole, five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in NASCAR’s premier series.(CGWFS PR)(9-10-2008)
- Montoya confident in direction of Ganassi team: He's lost both of his teammates and his primary sponsor, yet #42-Juan Pablo Montoya remains staunchly committed to car owner Chip Ganassi. So much so, Montoya insists Ganassi is being unfairly critiqued for his struggling NASCAR program. "I think the NASCAR organization has to go through major changes, and that's the process we are going through right now," said Montoya, a former Formula One driver who won an Indianapolis 500 driving for Ganassi. "In a way, it's good because everyone who is here wants to succeed and wants to be here. Chip is working very hard to get us better. Are we there? No. But things are starting to click and there's a lot of things coming, and when all those things arrive and you put them in place, we'll be in good shape." Montoya, who was openly critical of Ganassi earlier this season after a series of crew changes, said his boss has everything under control. "If I wasn't committed to him, and believed in him, then I wouldn't be here," Montoya said. "It's that simple."(full story and Q&A at Associated Press/ESPN.com)(9-10-2008) Comment here
News from September 9, 2008
- Richmond TV Ratings: ESPN earned a 3.0 household coverage rating and 3,973,812 viewers for its coverage of the rain-delayed Chevy Rock and Roll 400 Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway Sunday afternoon. The race was originally scheduled to air Saturday night in prime time on ABC but was postponed to Sunday due to the effects of Tropical Storm Hanna.
Last year’s race earned a 4.2 rating when it aired on ABC and was one of ABC’s highest-rated Sprint Cup races in 2007. Sunday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Richmond, delayed two days due to Tropical Storm Hanna, earned a 1.0 household coverage rating and 1,431,872 viewers on ESPN2, down from the 1.4 for last year’s race that ran and aired on schedule.(ESPN PR)(9-9-2008) Comment here
- Crew chief change for Robby? UPDATE: hearing crew chief Walter Giles has left Robby Gordon Motorsports and #7-Robby Gordon. No word on who will be the crew chief or Giles future plans.(9-8-2008)
UPDATE: hearing Gordon's new crew chief will be Kirk Almquist, oddly enough..coming from GEM.(9-9-2008) Comment here
- Race & Commercial Breakdown of the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 - Richmond:
Total number of commercials: 95
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 58
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 39
Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 8 min. 20 sec.
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 12:53pm/et
End time to record race/commercial periods: 4:23pm/et
Total minutes: 208
Minutes of race broadcast: 157
Minutes of commercials: 53
Number of missed restarts: 1 one restart began while they were still showing a replay of prior action on track
Number of Sammy Hagar music videos: 1
Total race brdcst time 157 Total comm. brdcst time 53
Number of times selected drivers were focused on:
See more along with link to full report on my 2008 Commercials page.(9-9-2008) Comment here
- NASCAR Hall of Fame costs to rise 20%: The $163 million NASCAR Hall of Fame project in Charlotte s revving up a revised, higher cost of construction. City staff is expected to tell council tonight that the budget has grown to $195 million, an increase of $32 million, or 20%. Leaders of the NASCAR Hall of Fame will present council a plan to pay for their updated wish list. The additions include upgraded exhibits, additional architectural flourishes and the installation of equipment designed to increase energy efficiency. Those elements are budgeted for $20 million, with the remaining $12 million targeted for the project’s already depleted contingency fund. Tim Newman, chief executive of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, and NASCAR Hall of Fame executive director Winston Kelley plan to outline the changes and additions at the City Council meeting. Jim Schumacher, assistant city manager, serves as the city’s lead liaision on the hall of fame. Public funding, including a new 2% hotel tax and dedicated hospitality taxes, provide much of the funding for the hall of fame. The price tag includes an adjacent convention center ballroom and a 1,000-space parking deck. All of the projects are in Second Ward near the Charlotte Convention Center at 501 S. College Street. Schumacher says the projects are on schedule to open in May 2010. He expects council to approve the request to alter the budget.(Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area)(9-9-2008) Comment here
News from September 8, 2008
- Long to attempt to make New Hampshire race: Carl Long will run the Sylvania 300 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. Long will take the #46 Dodge to the track for the first time since the Sprint All-Star Showdown in May. EM Motorsports' #08 crew will help Long out during this weekends event at New Hampshire.(Carl-Long.com), Romeo Guest Associates are listed as the sponsor on the New Hampshire Entry List.(9-8-2008) Comment here
- RGM-GEM Proposed merger may be in jeopardy: #7-Robby Gordon said he still wants to merge with Gillett-Evernham Motorsports, despite a suit just filed against him by Gillett-Evernham. Gordon, who has been using engines supplied by Gillett-Evernham this season, said he expects to have a legal response in the next few days to the lawsuit filed against him by the Ray Evernham-George Gillett operation that claims a breach of contract on a proposed sale of Gordon's NASCAR operation to Evernham-Gillett. But already there are rumblings in the NASCAR garage over what might be the real story behind the suit: whether Evernham and Gillett don't really want to do that deal with Gordon any more, perhaps because they have a better proposal, or for some other reason.
One key part of the entire situation is Gillett's plan to move his team from its relatively isolated Statesville airport location down much closer to the Charlotte-Concord heart of the sport. Evernham and Gillett haven't been here to explain the situation from their viewpoint, but Gordon said he still wants to do the deal with them. One key to the proposed $20 million deal apparently is a sale of Gordon's shop and real estate -- some prime racing real estate -- to Evernham and Gillett.
There is increasing speculation that Chip Ganassi -- a Dodge team owner like Evernham, Gillett and Gordon -- might also be a potential merger partner with Evernham and Gillett. And Ganassi has prime real estate too, right next to the Concord airport. "Unfortunately I guess you'll have to learn more about all that in our answers to their complaint," Gordon said. "But we have a deal with them, we have a contract that is still in effect. What they have asked -- I wouldn't say it's so much against Robby Gordon, but they have asked for release from the contract. But we've already done so many things together that I don't know if that's possible." Might Evernham and Gillett want to drop the Gordon deal so they can do a deal with someone else? "Maybe that's what the case is, but I'm not privy to that information, so I don't know," Gordon said.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-8-2008)
- Speed to test at LMS in 3rd Red Bull car: Red Bull development driver Scott Speed will turn laps in the Sprint Cup Series open test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on September 23 – 24. Speed will drive the #82 Red Bull Toyota under the watch of NASCAR officials who will assess his ability to participate in future Cup races. “I’ve really enjoyed testing and working with Red Bull’s Cup team,” said Speed. “They’re a very professional group and they operate at level that’s much closer to what I’m used to, so it’s nice to be a part of that. I like driving the Sprint Cup car too because I can feel the car better and its much more sensitive to my input. I haven’t driven it in traffic yet though, so that will probably be a very different experience!” Speed will test alongside teammates #83-Brian Vickers and #84-AJ Allmendinger. Rumors surfaced that Speed had already been privately testing a Sprint Cup car. We [Red Bull Racing] can confirm - those rumors were true. Speed tested at both Nashville Superspeedway and Kentucky Motor Speedway. During the 2008 season, Speed has been running a full-time ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule under the wing of Eddie Sharp Racing, earning four wins to date. Speed has also been logging seat time in the Craftsman Truck Series with Bill Davis Racing, earning his first Truck win at Dover. Scott Speed on Lowe’s Motor Speedway: “I raced at Lowe’s earlier this year in the Truck Series, so I’m in a good position to test the Sprint Cup car since I’m familiar with the track. The track itself is nice to drive on because the two corners are very different. Lowe’s is a track that has character too. It’s not a cookie cutter track so I enjoy racing on it a bit more than some of the others. It will be good to see where we stack up against everyone else, since there are so many good teams that will also be testing.”(Red Bull Racing PR)(9-8-2008) Comment here
- Kyle Busch testing at Milwaukee: In preparation for the first race in the Chase at Loudon, NH this weekend, Sprint Cup Series point leader Kyle Busch is testing his #18 M&M's Toyota today, Monday, September 8 at The Milwaukee Mile. Grandstands are open today, free to public until 5:00 p.m. Enter Grandstand Gate 8, near center grandstand.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(9-8-2008)
- Johnson testing at Nashville: After his win Sunday afternoon at Richmond, #48-Jimmie Johnson rolled into the Nashville Superspeedway this morning [9/8] at 10am for a team test. Johnson will be in Nashville for a one-day test.(Nashville Superspeedway PR), no word if the test is open to the public.(9-8-2008)
- Kentucky testing Tues-Wed: Three Sprint Cup teams are scheduled to test at the Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday [9/9]: #8-Aric Almirola for DEI and an un-named driver for the R&D Test team of Haas CNC Racing; and on Wednesday [9/10]: the R&D Test team of the #21Wood Brothers Racing team with no driver listed. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(9-8-2008)
- Red Bull to 3 teams? UPDATE: Jay Frye, who has engineered a solid turnaround at Team Red Bull is back from a post-California trip to the company's Austrian headquarters, and is reported to be seriously considering moving to the Stewart-Ryan Newman Chevy team next season. According to those close to the situation, Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz wants Frye to put former Formula One driver Scott Speed in a full Cup ride next season, though there is still only sponsorship support for two drivers. #83-Brian Vickers and #84-AJ Allmendinger are the team's Cup drivers, and Frye wants to keep both. If Frye stays, that would likely mean a three-car team.(Winston Salem Journal), word is that Speed will test at LMS in a few weeks in a #82 Toyota and could make his Cup debut there in Oct.(9-6-2008)
UPDATE: Jay Frye had a "positive meeting" with Red Bull Racing management in Austria, but would not say Sunday whether he'll remain general manager or leave to run Tony Stewart's new team. Frye also said the team is not certain AJ Allmendinger will be back in the #84 Toyota next season. "AJ has been a Red Bull athlete for a long time. They are very fond of AJ," Frye said before Sunday's race at Richmond International Raceway. "We are going through different scenarios right now and should know something shortly." Asked if it was possible Allmendinger would not be back, Frye said "Yes, that's one of the scenarios." The future of the team has been widely discussed since an ESPN report earlier this week that Stewart had asked Frye to manage Stewart-Haas Racing next season. The report came as Frye was traveling to Austria to discuss the direction of the race team. Among the issues was Allmendinger, who is in the second and final year of his Red Bull contract. He's shown marked improvement this season under Frye, and the entire Red Bull organization has been considerably better since Frye's late January arrival.
Frye would not directly comment on the reported Stewart offer. "I'm very happy where I'm at," Frye said. "Obviously there is a lot going on in the sport right now, there are a lot of flattering things being said and a lot to think about, but I'm very happy where I'm at." Toyota Racing Development president Lee White said he was told by Red Bull executives the meeting was positive and Toyota officials are optimistic Frye will remain with the team. Red Bull struggled in its first NASCAR season last year, when team leadership operated with a Formula One mentality. The addition of Frye, a NASCAR veteran who spent 12 years running the team that merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. last year, has put Red Bull on the right track in its second season. Brian Vickers is 15th in the standings, Allmendinger is no longer failing to qualify for races and former F1 driver Scott Speed is quickly adapting to stock cars under Frye's developmental plan. "I think (Frye leaving) would be a significant challenge for their evolution and improvement as a team," White said. "We are absolutely thrilled with their progress and that they are fulfilling their possibilities." Frye said it was his first trip to Austria, where the energy drink maker is based. "The NASCAR program is very important to their business," he said. "As a company, I wanted to understand where we're at, what's in store for the future. There is a lot going on with the company that is really good. We've made good progress. It was a very positive meeting. No matter what happens, it is great to have Red Bull part of this sport."(ESPN/AP)
AND Jay Frye, whose work this season as general manager for Team Red Bull has helped spark a turnaround, is just back from a trip to Salzburg, Austria, the home of Red Bull. And Frye says he laid out for owner Dietrich Mateschitz all the various team options for 2009 – including possible expansion to a three-car team, or what Frye called “a 2-1/2-car team,” with a new Scott Speed team running a partial Cup schedule as teammate with Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger. But Frye also pointed out that Allmendinger’s contract is up at the end of this year, and Frye said the owner has not been particularly enthusiastic about funding a full three-car operation. “We should know more in the next week,” Frye says.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-8-2008) Comment here