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SEPTEMBER 29-OCTOBER 5, 2008
News from October 5, 2008
- Stewart finally wins at Talladega: #20-Tony Stewart won the Amp 500 at Talladega Superspeedway for his 1st win of 2008, his 1st win ever in a Cup race at Talladega after six 2nd place finishes and his 33rd career win [ties him for 17th all time wins with Fireball Roberts]. It was Stewart's first win in 43 races, Watkins Glen in 2007 and the 9th season in a row [every season] that Stewart has won at least one race. #01-Regan Smith was 2nd but he passed Stewart at the start-finish line after passing the #20 under the yellow line and was penalized and credited with a finish of 18th. So #15-Menard is 2nd [his best career finish and first ever top-5 finish] followed by #6-Ragan, #31-Burton, #07-Bowyer, #43-Labonte, #66-Riggs, #7-Gordon, #48-Johnson and #19-Sadler. There were 64 lead changes among 28 drivers, 10 cautions for 41 laps and 2 red flags for the two big wrecks which lasted a little over 29 minutes.
For race results, awards and more, see my Talladega Race Results Awards Page.(10-5-2008) Comment here
- Three Race Tracks Tony Stewart has never won a Cup race at: There are three current race tracks the Cup Series runs on that #20-Tony Stewart has not won at [a Cup race]:
California 0 for 15 with a best finish of 4th in 1999 & 2001
Las Vegas 0 for 10 with a best finish of 2nd in 2000
Darlington 0 for 16 with a best finish of 4th in 2001 & 2002
Stewart had not won at Talladega until Oct 5, 2008 on his 20th try, he had six 2nd place finishes there before the win.
Stewart has won at 19 of 23 tracks he has raced on, didn't win at Rockingham which is no longer active for Cup racing.(10-5-2008)
- UNOFFICIAL Chase Driver Points Standings [after Talladega race 30 of 36]:
1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5718 [5 wins]
2) #99-Carl Edwards 5646 -72 [6 wins]
3) #16-Greg Biffle 5641 -77 [2 wins]
4) #31-Jeff Burton 5619 -99 [1 win]
5) #07-Clint Bowyer 5566 -152 [1 win]
6) #29-Kevin Harvick 5547 -171
7) #20-Tony Stewart 5515 -203 [1 win]
8) #24-Jeff Gordon 5486 -232
9) #17-Matt Kenseth 5473 -245
10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5469 -249 [1 win]
11) #18-Kyle Busch 5387 -331 [8 wins]
12) #11-Denny Hamlin 5383 -335 [1 win]
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Talladega.(10-5-2008)
- UNOFFICAL Classic Driver Points Standings [after Talladega race 30 of 36]:
1) #99-Carl Edwards 4267 [6 wins]
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4254 -13 [5 wins]
3) #18-Kyle Busch 4185 -82 [8 wins]
4) #31-Jeff Burton 3993 -274 [1 win]
5) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3947 -320 [1 win]
6) #16-Greg Biffle 3921 -346 [2 wins]
7) #29-Kevin Harvick 3830 -437
8) #20-Tony Stewart 3800 -467
9) #24-Jeff Gordon 3707 -560 [1 win]
10) #07-Clint Bowyer 3672 -595 [1 win]
11) #11-Denny Hamlin 3608 -659 [1 win]
12) #17-Matt Kenseth 3605 -662
13) #6-David Ragan 3539 -728
14) #9-Kasey Kahne 3422 -845 [2 wins]
- Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Charlotte:
No changes in the top 35, Gordon pad his lead to 39 pts over #00 team
The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
32) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing: 2387 +102
33) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 2383 +98
34) #84-Skinner/Red Bull Racing: 2341 +56
35) #7-Gordon/RGM: 2324 39 points ahead of 36th
these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
36) #00-KWallace/Waltrip Racing: 2285, 39 points out of 35th
37) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 2147 -177
For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(10-5-2008)
- Where did the 12 Chase Drivers finish at Talladega?
(the order before Talladega)
1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 9th
2) #99-Carl Edwards, 29th
3) #16-Greg Biffle, 24th
4) #31-Jeff Burton, 4th
5) #29-Kevin Harvick, 20th
6) #24-Jeff Gordon, 38th
7) #07-Clint Bowyer, 5th
8) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 28th
9) #17-Matt Kenseth, 26th
10) #11-Denny Hamlin, 39th
11) #20-Tony Stewart, 1st - WON
12) #18-Kyle Busch, 15th
- Talladega Superspeedway Race Fast Facts:
The 28 Lap Leaders in the AMP Energy 500 sets the all-time Sprint Cup record for different leaders in a race.
Tony Stewart won the AMP Energy 500, his 33rd victory in 350 Sprint Cup Series races.
This is his first victory and 15th top-10 finish in 2008.
This is his first victory and 12th top-10 finish in 20 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
Paul Menard (second) posted his first top-10 finish in five races at Talladega Superspeedway. It is his first top-10 finish in 2008.
David Ragan (third) posted his second top-10 finish in four races at Talladega Superspeedway.
Regan Smith (18th) was the highest finishing rookie.
Jimmie Johnson leads the point standings by 72 points over Carl Edwards.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-5-2008)
- Who got a lap back on each caution at Talladega: (and their finish)
Caution 1: #7-Gordon, 8th
Caution 2: #48-Johnson, 9th
Caution 3: #7-Gordon(2), 8th
Caution 4: #00-Wallace, 12th
Caution 5: #96-Schrader (still down a lap), 16th
Caution 6: #96-Schrader(2), 16th
Caution 7: #45-Labonte (still a lap down), 17th
Caution 8: #45-Labonte, 17th
Caution 9: #45-Labonte, 17th
Caution 10: no passes awarded with 10 or less laps to go
- Penalties...see all 33 of them on my Talladega Race Rundown page
- Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick has been running at the finish in 74 consecutive races [yes, he made it back to the track Sunday at Talladega after wrecking], the longest current streak and a NEW modern era record, next up is #07-Bowyer at 67 consecutive races. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963. Kevin Harvick held the modern era (1972-present) record at 58 (10/3/2002-8/1/2004) unil he broke it himself in 2008. Next up is Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(10-5-2008)
- Top-5's, Top-10's: #18-Kyle Busch leads all drivers after 30 races in 2008 with 15 Top-5 finishes followed by #99-Edwards at 14. #99-Edwards has the most Top-10's after 30 races with 22, followed by #48-Johnson with 18. All full-time drivers who have run all 30 races in 2008 have scored a top-10 finishe. Five drivers have not scored a Top-5 and ran all 30 races: #7-Gordon [last top-5 at Watkins Glen 8/2007], #26-McMurray [last at Daytona, a win 7/07], #28-Kvapil [none], #43-Labonte [last at Martinsville in 10/2006] and #44-Reutimann [none].(10-5-2008)
- Waltrip now 10th: on Sunday, #55-Michael Waltrip broke a tie for 10th place in all time starts with 719. Just behind Waltrip is Bobby Allison and Mark Martin at 718. In 9th is Ken Schrader at 727 and Richard Petty is the driver with the most starts at 1184.(10-5-2008)
- Riggs has ride for 2009? during ABC's TV coverage of the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Dr. Jerry Punch said that #66-Scott Riggs said he has a contract in hand to sign that would settle his 2009 plans. No word on what team Riggs will drive for, rumors include DEI, Petty Enterprises and Ganassi Racing.(10-5-2008) Comment here
- Sadler crew chief not at track and congrats: Gillett Evernham Motorsports engineer Kevin Kidd will serve as crew chief today for #19-Elliott Sadler during the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.Crew Chief Rodney Childers left Talladega on Friday to be with his wife for the birth of their twins in North Carolina.(SceneDaily)(10-5-2008)
- Miko Salo to NASCAR? not much reported, but during SPEED's broadcast of "The Petit Le Mans" American Le Mans Series Sports car race from Road Atlanta, it was reported that Miko Salo is talking to NASCAR teams about running there in 2009, no series was mentioned [Cup, Nationwide or Trucks].(10-4-2008) Comment here
- Robby back with own team in 2009: #7-Robby Gordon says he has enough sponsorship to run the full Sprint Cup Series schedule next season and has no interest in driving for anyone but himself [there were rumors he could go to DEI]. Gordon said Menards is among the sponsors coming back. Gordon has had sponsorship mainly from Menards and Jim Beam this year. Jim Beam announced last November that it would sponsor Gordon through 2008 and has not yet announced its plans for 2009. As far as a possible merger – Gordon had agreed in January to be bought out by Gillett Evernham Motorsports but that deal fell through – Gordon says he is not going to drive for anyone else. Gordon recently began a four-race engine-leasing deal with Penske Racing.(SceneDaily)(10-5-2008) Comment here
- Big Wreck: gonna be a big shake up in Chase points as on lap 174, six Chasers running up front were involved in an 11 car wreck: #99-Edwards [was 2nd in pts], #16-Biffle [3rd], #17-Kenseth [9th], #29-Harvick [5th], #88-Earnhardt Jr.[8th] and #18-Busch [12th but not much damage]. Plus #11-Hamlin [10th] had a tire blow and hit the wall hard while leading and is now 39th; #24-Gordon [6th] was involved in an early wreck and is currently 38th. #48-Johnson got a lap down early, finally got a lap back and looks like he will pad his 10 point lead.(10-5-2008)
- Keselowski practices for Mears UPDATE: Brad Keselowski is practiced Hendrick Motorsports' #5 Pop Tars/Carquest Chevy Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway for Casey Mears, who is expecting his first child with girlfriend Trisha Grablander. In the event that Mears needs to return to North Carolina to be with Grablander, Keselowski will be on standby and is practicing the car accordingly. NASCAR is requiring that Keselowski must practice the car before being allowed to drive in relief. Keselowski is a JR Motorsports driver [#88 US Navy Chevy] in the Nationwide Series who will attempt his Sprint Cup debut in a Hendrick car next week at Charlotte [at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy](SceneDaily)(10-3-2008)
UPDATE: #5-Casey Mears will start on the front row Sunday, assuming he's still in Talladega. Nationwide Series driver Brad Keselowski will make his Sprint Cup debut and replace Mears in the #5 Pop Tarts/Carquest Chevy if Mears' girlfriend, Trisha Grablander, goes into labor. Grablander is due at any moment. Mears, who qualified second, will fly home to North Carolina if Grablander goes into labor this weekend. "It's a very important time in my life," Mears said. "I don't want to miss the birth of my child. Hendrick Motorsports has set it up for me to get back if it comes to that."(ESPN)(10-5-2008) Comment here
- Labonte Humbled by Talladega Walk of Fame Induction: #43-Bobby Labonte welcomed his induction into the Talladega Walk of Fame this evening in a ceremony at the Davey Allison Memorial Park in Talladega, Ala. He joined 1960 Sprint Cup champion, Rex White, in the 2008 class of inductees. Benny Parsons, who was already a member of the prestigious group, was honored with a permanent plaque for his years of service to the Talladega Walk of Fame, which included serving as emcee for the annual induction ceremony. “This is a great honor because it is voted on by the fans,” said Labonte. “Since coming to Petty Enterprises and seeing firsthand how “The King” Richard Petty appreciates all the fans, it is important to me to continue to do the same. To be able to be a part of a celebration that included two great champions like Rex White and Benny Parsons is pretty special because I have a lot of respect for those that came before me and helped paved the way for what we enjoy today.”
This is the second consecutive year that a Labonte has been inducted into the Talladega Walk of Fame. Terry Labonte, who will compete in Sunday’s race in the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge, went in last year. This adds to an already impressive list of accomplishments for the Labonte brothers, including the fact that they are the only brothers to both win the Sprint Cup Series title. “I’ve always looked up to my brother as one of my heroes,” continued Labonte. “The fact that we will both be racing for Petty Enterprises on Sunday is definitely a cool way to celebrate my induction.”(MCG Sports/Petty Enterprises PR), more info about the Talladega Walk of Fame at talladegawalk.com.(10-5-2008)
- Newman vs. the lawn mower: #12-Ryan Newman has four stitches on his forehead, courtesy of a bout this week with his lawn mower. Newman was down on the ground putting a belt on his mower when it snapped off and caused him to knock his head on the crossbar of the handle. It left a nasty cut at the hairline of his forehead. His helmet rubs up against the stitching, but Newman doesn't think it will cause any problems in Sunday's race.(ESPN)(10-5-2008) Comment here
News from October 4, 2008
- Robby and investment company headed to court? UPDATE: #7-Robby Gordon claims he's been defrauded in a failed deal with Gillett Evernham Motorsports and wants a judge to excuse a million dollar bill. Gordon's company made a deal to merge with Gillett Evernham Motorsports. According to legal documents, an investment company was hired to make the deal. But Gordon claims the deal went south because it was "fraudulently induced." As a result, Gordon and Co. want the judge to excuse an obligation to pay a $1,013,656 investment fee.(TMZ.com see the documents posted there)(10-2-2008)
UPDATE: Robby Gordon Motorsports and Gillett Evernham Motorsports issued a joint statement today confirming that all issues between them are resolved. As previously announced, the two auto racing firms acknowledged that they acted in good faith in connection with their former merger plans. Recent news reports concerning a lawsuit between RGM and a business broker have suggested that RGM and GEM are in a continuing legal dispute. Those news reports are incorrect. GEM is not a party to RGM's lawsuit, and no claims are being asserted against GEM.(RGM/GEM PR)(10-4-2008)
- NASCAR Hall of Fame Announces Commemorative Brick Program: NASCAR fans and community residents can take part in creating this tribute to the sport and its stars with the new NASCAR Hall of Fame Commemorative Brick Program. Beginning October 10, 2008, NASCAR fans and Charlotte community members will be able to help lay the foundation for the NASCAR Hall of Fame with a personalized brick at the NASCAR Hall of Fame that celebrates their memories of the sport and recognizes their favorite drivers, champions, stars and races. The bricks are available on a limited basis while supplies last and installation will be completed in time for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s grand opening in the Spring of 2010. The NASCAR Hall of Fame commemorative bricks are a perfect way to honor a special person or memory, as each brick can be inscribed with a customized message. The NASCAR Hall of Fame Commemorative Brick Program also allows NASCAR fans to celebrate their favorite NASCAR stars with their likeness inscribed on the bricks, or to include the logos of their favorite racetrack or team. NASCAR fans and community residents have several unique ways to be a part of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The NASCAR Hall of Fame commemorative bricks are available in two sizes – 4x8 and 8x8 – which will be placed in the plaza and outdoor areas surrounding the NASCAR Hall of Fame facility. The 4x8 brick will allow up to three lines of customized inscription. The 8x8 brick can accommodate up to six lines of text or four lines of text plus a driver likeness or team or track logo. The NASCAR Hall of Fame commemorative bricks can be ordered online at www.NASCARHall.com/brick or at 888.NHF-BRKS (888.643.2757). See more at
nascarhall.com.(10-4-2008) Comment here
- International Motorsports Hall of Fame 2009 inductees named: Donnie Allison, 69, was one of five inductees who will make up the 2009 International Motorsports Hall of Fame class, which was announced Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. "It's hard to put into words," he said. "Without a doubt, it's the biggest honor ever bestowed on me. I'm really at a loss for words, believe it or not."
Legendary team owner Bud Moore joins Allison, along with car owner and race promoter J.C. Agajanian, former NASCAR Modifieds champion Jerry Cook and former car owner Raymond Parks. One of the men Donnie drove for is Moore, who became one of the most successful team owners in NASCAR history. Moore's drivers also included Joe Weatherly, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Darrell Waltrip. Weatherly won two championships (1962, '63) driving for Moore. Moore, 83, was the crew chief for Buck Baker's championship season in 1957. Parks, 94, was the car owner of the first NASCAR champion when Red Byron won the title in 1949. Cook, 69, won six NASCAR Modifieds championships in the 1970s, and later became the director of the Modifieds division. Agajanian, who died in 1984, won two Indy 500s as a car owner with Troy Ruttman in 1952 and Parnelli Jones in 1963.(ESPN)(10-4-2008)
- No answers for Busch's engine woes at Kansas: Jimmy Makar, senior vice president for Joe Gibbs Racing, says the team is unsure what caused #18-Kyle Busch's engine woes during last weekend. Busch reported that he was losing power but then things improved. Still, he finished 28th, his best finish in the first three races of the Chase. "I wish I could tell you,'' Makar said of what was wrong. "We've looked at the fuel system. We've run everything across the dyno. We've run it across the lab in the shop. We've actually taken everything and gone to Kentucky and tested with it [Thursday]. I haven't found anything. I think it was fuel related, but we can't find anything that says this is it. Whatever caused it is ... it came and went and we haven't been able to locate the problem. That's your worst nightmare, when you can't find a reason for your problem.''(Roanoke Times)(10-4-2008) Comment here
- Kvapil on pole at Talladega: #28-Travis Kvapil won the Coor's Light Pole for the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 187.354mph for his first pole of 2008 and 1st pole of his career in 100 starts. #5-Mears will start 2nd followed by #8-Almirola, #01-Smith, #15-Menard, #33-MWallace, #78-Nemechek, #70-Raines, #83-Vickers and #1-Truex Jr. Points leader #48-Johnson will start 20th and #88-Earnhardt Jr. who lost and engine and a car Friday will start 15th but have to fall to the rear of the field before the start of the race for the engine change. Only one rookie of the year candidate made the race, #01-Smith.
The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #33-MWalalce, #78-Nemechek, #70-Raines, #00-KWallace, #09-Marlin, #45-TLabonte, #21-Wood and #96-Schrader [8th fastest starts 43rd]. Missing the race are #77-Hornish and #10-Carpentier.
See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Talladega Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(10-4-2008)
- Where do the 12 Chase Drivers start at Talladega?
1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 20th
2) #99-Carl Edwards, 12th the best of the Chasers
3) #16-Greg Biffle, 22nd
4) #31-Jeff Burton, 17th
5) #29-Kevin Harvick, 39th
6) #24-Jeff Gordon, 26th
7) #07-Clint Bowyer, 35th
8) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 15th [but goes to rear after engine change]
9) #17-Matt Kenseth, 31st
10) #11-Denny Hamlin, 36th
11) #20-Tony Stewart, 34th
12) #18-Kyle Busch, 37th
- Talladega Superspeedway Qualifying Fast Facts:
Travis Kvapil won the Coors Light Pole Award for the AMP Energy 500 with a lap of 51.109 seconds, 187.364 mph.
This is his first pole in 100 Sprint Cup Series races.
This is his first pole and first top-10 start in 2008.
This is his first pole in five races at Talladega Superspeedway.
Casey Mears (second) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2008 and his fourth in 12 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
Aric Almirola (third) posted his first top-10 start at Talladega Superspeedway. It is his third in 10 races this season.
Regan Smith (fourth) was the fastest [and only] qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-4-2008)
- Rookie of the Year Candidates: where do they start at Talladega:
#00-Michael McDowell, not running the race
#01-Regan Smith, 187.181, starts 4th
#10-Patrick Carpentier, 185.215, starts DNQ
#77-Sam Hornish, 185.258, starts DNQ
- Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer: at Talladega:
Chevy: #5-Mears, 187.295, starts 2nd
Dodge: #42-Montoya, 186.430, starts 13th
Ford: #28-Kvapil, 187.354, starts 1st
Toyota: #83-Vickers, 186.707, starts 9th
News from October 3, 2008
- Former Charlotte TV sports chief joins NASCAR's media arm: Longtime Charlotte sportscaster Chuck Howard, former sports director at WCNC (Channel 36) and host of the "Power Hour" on WFNZ AM (610, 1660), will become news producer for the NASCAR Media Group this month. Howard will develop shows and stories for television, radio and Internet outlets as part of a larger effort by NASCAR to connect with local news outlets nationwide. "Local media do not tend to report on the race unless it's in their market," Jay Abraham, chief operating officer for NASCAR Media Group, said Thursday. "This will make it easier for them to cover it." In the new Hall of Fame campus in uptown, NASCAR is building two high-definition TV studios, a production hub and a glassed-in CNN-style news center where tourists can see the media operation in action. NASCAR is also installing HD cameras at major race shops in the region so it can link local stations to drivers or race teams for on-the-spot interviews. Howard said he will help stations make those connections as well as develop stories for NASCAR's media outlets. "I couldn't have written a job description more in my wheelhouse," said Howard, who was a NASCAR fan when he moved to the Charlotte area from Buffalo in 1995. NASCAR Media Group, now based on Stuart Andrew Drive in south Charlotte, will consolidate operations at the Hall of Fame complex beginning in 2009, Abraham said. Since 2002, the unit has grown from about 35 people to 180.(Charlotte Observer)(10-3-2008)
- Bailout bill gives tax break to Racetracks: A tax break for NASCAR racetracks and other motor-sports facilities is among the "sweeteners" tucked inside a 450-page financial-services bailout bill to make the package more palatable to lawmakers. The Senate-passed bill includes an array of so-called "tax extenders." One extends for two years a tax policy that had been allowed to expire in December that lets motor-sports facilities be treated the same as amusement parks and other entertainment complexes for tax purposes. That allowed them to write off their capital investments over a seven-year period. The motor sports industry feared that without a specific legal clarification, motor sports facilities would be required to depreciate their capital over 15 years or longer because of a recent Internal Revenue Service inquiry into the matter. That would make repaved tracks and new concession stands more expensive in the short term. It isn't a new tax break, rather the way tax law historically has been interpreted, said Lauri Wilks, the vice president of communications for Speedway Motorsports, which owns the NASCAR tracks in Fort Worth, Texas; Sonoma, Calif.; Concord, N.C.; and elsewhere. "It gives us incentive to go ahead and invest in our facilities," she said.(see full story at McClatchy Newspapers)(10-3-2008) Comment here
- Childress Honored:
NASCAR team owner Richard Childress has been named the third quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association Pocono Spirit Award. Childress was recognized for his partnership with Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in creating The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. The Institute’s goal is to help pave the way for others in the nation searching for ways to help save the lives of severely injured children and help those who survive on the road to recovery. The Childress family has donated $5 million to the Medical Center to initiate the project. Wake Forest Baptist and the Childress family are working with a number of corporations and individuals to raise the additional $20 million to establish the Childress Institute. The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is selected by a vote of the NMPA membership. The 2008 overall winner will be announced during the NMPA's annual convention and awards ceremony in January 2009. Also receiving votes in the third quarter were Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. Juan Pablo Montoya was the first-quarter winner and longtime NASCAR photographer T. Taylor Warren was the second-quarter winner.(RCR Site)(10-3-2008)
- Ambrose/JTG Racing to MWR in 2009? UPDATE 3: hearing that Marcos Ambrose and Little Debbie's could be moving to Michael Waltrip Racing in 2009 and Ambrose would not run in the Cup Series for JTG Racing.(9-22-2008)
UPDATE: JTG Daugherty Racing hasn't named a manufacturer for next season when it moves full time to the Sprint Cup Series from the Nationwide Series but the team was working out of a Michael Waltrip Racing hauler on Saturday at Kansas Speedway. JTG Daugherty, which qualified on speed for Sunday's Cup race with driver #47-Marcos Ambrose, had a hauler fire in June that destroyed one of its transporters. The team got some help from Richard Childress Racing when it qualified for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in late July. But could the team working out of a MWR hauler at Kansas be a sign of a potential affiliation and a move to Toyota? JTG Daugherty currently fields Fords. "Obviously we have a really good relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing," Geschickter said. "At this point, we're not ready to announce anything. But we know them better than most in the fact that we were able to go straight over there and borrow some equipment."(SceneDaily.com)(9-28-2008)
UPDATE 2: JTG Daugherty Racing has signed what team co-owner Brad Daugherty called a "technical alliance" with Michael Waltrip Racing, and thus will field Toyota' full-time in the Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2009. The deal will be announced formally Wednesday afternoon. Under the agreement, JTG/Daugherty receives the same chassis, engines and technological information-sharing that Waltrip gets through Toyota Racing Development. "This way we don't come out of the box already behind," said Daugherty, reached by phone Wednesday. "Actually, this puts us about two years ahead of where we would have been otherwise."
Daugherty, an ESPN NASCAR analyst, said the alliance includes the #47 team being housed under the MWR roof. Daugherty stressed there was still independence from MWR, however, saying it is not a merger and that the #47 is not a fourth Waltrip team.
"We'll work with Toyota Racing Development out of Costa Mesa [Calif.], and all their parts and pieces already flow through MWR," Daugherty said. "It just makes sense for us to be in-house over [at MWR]." Marcos Ambrose will drive the #47 Toyota, with sponsorship from Little Debbie Snack Cakes and Clorox.(ESPN.com)(10-1-2008)
UPDATE 3: JTG-Daugherty Racing announced it has chosen to field Toyotas during its inaugural Sprint Cup campaign in 2009, after forming a technical alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) and Toyota Racing Development (TRD). JTG-Daugherty, co-owned by Tad and Jodi Geschickter and former NBA All-Star and current ESPN broadcaster Brad Daugherty, will enter the #47 Toyota sponsored by primary sponsors, Kingsford Charcoal, Clorox Laundry and Household Products, and Little Debbie’s Snack Cakes. JTG-Daugherty will move its Sprint Cup operation into MWR’s 140,000-square foot facility in Cornelius, NC, and receive cars, engineering, mechanical and other technical support from MWR’s existing infrastructure. TRD will support the JTG-Daugherty team with engines from its Costa Mesa, California, facility, and vehicle engineering support from its Salisbury, N.C., facility. Frank Kerr has been named crew chief of the #47 car. Marcos Ambrose, a former Australian V-8 Supercar Champion, has been named driver of the #47 Sprint Cup entry.
Michael Waltrip commented, “The alliance with Tad, Jodi and Brad happened because MWR has shown over the past few months that we can field a competitive product. This allows MWR to maintain the economies of scale we currently enjoy as a three-car team. We continue to invest in our development and this alliance helps keep the momentum we’ve gained in our fabrication and engineering departments this summer. We wanted to help Tad and Brad in their transition into NASCAR Sprint Cup ownership. If anyone can identify the hidden demons of a start-up team it is me. Having JTG-Daugherty operating in our shop helps our NAPA Toyota and our Aaron’s Toyota with David Reutimann. So this is one of the classic examples of win-win-win for everyone involved, most importantly JTG-Daugherty and MWR employees". This alliance does not change MWR’s desire to run a fourth car in 2009. “This doesn’t change anything from our original plans as our sales team is working hard on securing sponsorship for another MWR Cup entry. And those plans currently include [Michael] McDowell. That’s the same position we were in before the JTG-Daugherty alliance was formed.”(JTG/MWR PRs)(10-3-2008) Comment here
- Chase Notes: Want to hang close in the Chase? Podium finishes. The top three in the Chase have claimed eight of the nine podium finishes (1-2-3) so far. Only Matt Kenseth has broken the string with a second at Dover. The one-race range to first place goes back only to sixth position: Jeff Gordon at 143 points out. The Joe Gibbs threesome of 10--Denny Hamlin -243, 11-Tony Stewart -255 and 12-Kyle Busch -311 are a real longshot to get back into contention. Greg Biffle, currently only 30 points out of first, does not have a top 10 in his last nine starts at Talladega. Carl Edwards has gone three Talladegas without a top 10. Jeff Gordon swept the races at Talladega last year, and a win Sunday could certainly catapult him closer in the Chase. Dale Jr. hasn't won at Dega since 2004 and has not recorded a top five since then. He only has two top 10s in his last seven starts there. See more on my Chase Stats after Kansas page.(10-3-2008)
- Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be running a combination of left- and right-side tires that is different than those in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Talladega this weekend . . . Sprint Cup teams will run the same combination they ran at this track earlier this season . . . Talladega is the only track at which Cup teams will run these particular tire codes . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one-mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Talladega . . . air pressure in those inner lines should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.
Testing update: Goodyear will hold the second of two scheduled tests at Indianapolis Motor Speedway next Monday-Wednesday (Oct. 6-8) . . . this is a follow-up to an initial test at IMS, held with the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge with Kyle Petty on Sept. 22-23 . . . teams scheduled to participate in next week's test include the #'s 07, 1, 5, 9, 11, 17, 20, 29, 38, 41, 44, 45 . . . other tire tests scheduled in 2008 include Homestead (Oct. 14) and Las Vegas (Dec. 10-11). For pressures, codes and more see my Talladega Race Info page.(10-3-2008)
- Kansas Sprint Cup TV Ratings Up, Nationwide Series Even: ABC’s coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway earned a final national TV rating of 3.5, up from the 3.1 for last year’s rain-delayed event. The telecast averaged 5,691,928 viewers, an increase of 19% from last year. ESPN2’s coverage of the Nationwide Series event at Kansas earned a 1.3 final rating, the same as last year’s event, with an average viewership of 1,633,512.(ESPN), see past TV Ratings on my 2008 TV Ratings page.(10-3-2008) Comment here
- Career start #300 for Robby: Robby Gordon and his #7 Mapei / Menards Dodge team make their way to Talladega Superspeedway for the last restrictor-plate race of the 2008 season. Gordon has had much success in the previous three superspeedway events this year with an average finish of 8.33. In fact, he is third in the 2008 restrictor-plate points. This weekend at Talladega Superspeedway marks #7-Robby Gordon’s 300th career Sprint Cup start. Gordon debuted in the Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway in February of 1991, driving for Junie Donlavey in the #90 Publix Supermarkets Ford.(RGM PR)(10-3-2008) Comment here
- Qualifying Order for the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Supersway 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 #1-Truex Jr., the final top-35 driver scheduled is #99-Edwards. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is #33-Wallace, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #78-Nemechek. See the full qualifying order on my Talladega Qualifying Page.(10-4-2008)
- Happy Hour practice for the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Supersway is over, the top 5:
slowest: #31-Burton 183.860 and #22-Blaney 183.522
notes: SPEED reports that Brad Keselowski is practicing the #5 Chevy for Casey Mears, as Mears is on alert as his girlfriend is pregnant and due. #88-Earnhardt Jr. made it on the track with his backup car as is #9-Kahne
big wreck: just in to the practice #88-Earnhardt Jr., #38-Gilliland, #20-Stewart, #44-Reutimann, #11-Hamlin, #07-Bowyer and #9-Kahne involved in a wreck when Earnhardt Jr's right rear tire exploded taking much of the rear of the car off.
no speeds [some chose not to practice - 8 cars]: #6-Ragan, #17-Kenseth, #8-Almirola, #1-Truex Jr., #41-Sorenson, #24-Gordon. #42-Montoya & #19-Sadler.
backup cars: #88-Earnhardt Jr., #07-Bowyer, #9-Kahne, #38-Gilliland, #44-Reutimann
See the speeds, laps run, ave speeds on my Talladega Practice Speeds page.(10-3-2008)
- Where did the non top-35 drivers practice in Happy Hour at Talladega Superspeedway:
if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
#33-Mike Wallace, 23rd
#21-Jon Wood, 24th
#00-Kenny Wallace, 25th
#45-Terry Labonte [has past champ prov to use], 26th
#70-Tony Raines, 27th
#09-Sterling Marlin, 28th
#96-Ken Schrader, 29th
#10-Patrick Carpentier, 30th
if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
#78-Joe Nemechek, 32nd
#77-Sam Hornish Jr., 34th
See the speeds, laps run, ave speeds on my Talladega Practice Speeds page.(10-3-2008)
- Front Row Technologies files suit over FanView patent: NASCAR and Sprint are among defendants in another patent lawsuit over the technology used to power the popular FanView handsets used by spectators to watch races and listen to scanner traffic and television broadcasts at the race track. Front Row Technologies field suit Monday in U.S. District Court in Texas against NASCAR, Sprint, the NFL, DirecTV and FanView technology developer Kangaroo Media. Front Row alleges that its patents for “providing multiple perspectives for a venue activity through an electronic hand held device” and “broadcasting venue data to a wireless hand held device” have been infringed upon by the sales of FanView and the Kangaroo TV handsets used at select NFL cities. Sprint released the following statement in response to the lawsuit: "We are aware of the litigation that has been filed. We are reviewing the allegations, and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time." NASCAR, Sprint and Kangaroo had settled a suit with Immersion Entertainment earlier this year over patents for “audio/video signal distribution for head mounted displays” and “audio/visual system and method utilizing a head mounted apparatus with noise attenuation.” Kangaroo agreed to pay Immersion at least $3 million to settle the lawsuit, according to a company news release issued at that time.(SceneDaily)(10-3-2008)
News from October 2, 2008
- New look for the #24 in 2009 UPDATE 2 Image posted: Jeff Gordon announced on QVC's shopping show "For Race Fans Only" that the primary paint scheme will change on the #24 DuPont Chevy in 2009. The primary scheme seemingly changes whenever there's a new occupant in The White House. Gordon raced the rainbow-themed DuPont Chevrolet from 1993-2000 while Bill Clinton occupied the highest office in the land. Gordon experienced his greatest career success in the rainbow car. In 2001, he changed to the fire and flames scheme and raced that for the next 8 years while George Bush ran the country. And now, the third -- and likely, final -- incarnation of the DuPoint paint scheme will be raced in 2009 and beyond. The new 2009 DuPont paint scheme is expected to be unveiled during the week leading up to the October 11 race at Lowes Motor Speedway.(Gordonline.com), am hearing the base color will be BLACK.(9-20-2008)
UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon and sponsor DuPont are scheduled to unveil his 2009 (and beyond) paint scheme live on the NBC's Today Show Thursday [Oct 2nd] morning at 7:00am/et, Rockefeller Center, New York. It’s his first paint scheme change since 2001 and only the third since 1993.(10-1-2008)
AND Jeff Gordon will be a guest on the Thursday, Oct. 2, edition of ESPN First Take. The news and information program airs at 10am/et on ESPN2. Gordon will tell host Dana Jacobson why his car will have a new look in 2009. Gordon also will discuss the upcoming AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The race airs live Sunday, Oct. 5, at 1pm/et on ABC.(ESPN PR)(10-1-2008)
UPDATE 2 - Image posted: One of NASCAR's most popular and successful drivers, Jeff Gordon, unveiled his brand new 2009 paint scheme before a national audience live on NBC's "TODAY Show" this morning, marking the first change Gordon has seen on his DuPont Chevrolet since 2001. Designed by popular motorsports artist Sam Bass, the new car features a sleek and stealth black body emblazoned with bold neon red, orange and blue flames. "I'm fired up about our new paint scheme," said Gordon. "I've always loved cars with flames and the current 'Fire and Flames' paint scheme has been one of my favorites. But now I think we've improved upon that with the 'FireStorm' design and hopefully we'll be as fast on the track as the paint scheme makes us look." The four-time Sprint Cup Champion will debut his new colors on-track at the 51st Running of the Daytona 500 in February when he celebrates his 17th season with primary sponsor, DuPont, and the 25th Anniversary of Hendrick Motorsports. "We have such a solid, longstanding relationship with both Jeff and Hendrick Motorsports, so continuing that relationship and debuting Jeff's new DuPont Chevrolet in conjunction with Hendrick's 25th Anniversary is very exciting for us and the sport as a whole," said David Bills, chief marketing and sales officer for DuPont. Motorsports Authentics, through its Action Racing Collectables die-cast brand, will be offering a collectable die-cast version of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet. Pre-orders are being taken on goracing.com, nascar.com and at Motorsports Authentics authorized dealers nationwide. The Racing Collectables Club of America (RCCA) will also offer a version of the die-cast through its RCCA Elite brand.(Motorsports Authentics PR), see an image of the scheme on my 2009 #24 Team Schemes page.(10-2-2008) Comment here
- Ride Along With Jr. scheme: During the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will have 70,000 fans riding along as part of the “Ride Along With Jr.” promotion from AMP Energy Drink. The first 70,000 fans that bought an AMP Energy Drink and entered the code on the bottom of can at www.AMPenergy.com will have their names featured on the car. The remaining fans that entered will have their names on Earnhardt, Jr.’s pit wall, car cover or other areas around the track.(TSS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(10-2-2008)
- Mike Wallace to attempt Talladega for RCR: Mike Wallace’s will attempt to qualify RCR’s #33 Realtree Driven to the Outdoors Chevy at Talladega and will give RCR four entries for this weekend’s AMP Energy 500. This will be his first Cup Series attempt this season but he has 186 career starts since making his series’ debut in 1991. In two Cup Series races last season, he finished fourth in the Daytona 500 and 19th at the fall race at Talladega. Richard Childress competed as a driver in Talladega’s inaugural race in 1969 and used his winnings from that race weekend to help start RCR. In cooperation with RCR sponsors Realtree, Chevrolet, Shell Oil Company and Motorsports Authentics, Wallace’s paint scheme will feature a Driven to the Outdoors themed paint scheme. 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)(10-3-2008) Comment here
- Mars Acquires Wrigley: In a move that ends more than a century of family control, shareholders of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. approved the company’s $23 billion sale to Mars Inc., which now becomes the world’s largest candy maker. The deal, which bumps Britain’s Cadbury PLC from the top candy-making slot, will offer gums such as Juicy Fruit and Big Red, M&Ms, Snickers and Skittles under the same corporate banner. Under Mars’ ownership, the firm will be able to grow in new directions, Bill Wrigley Jr. said. Wrigley’s is slated to take over control of Mars’ non-chocolate candy, such as Starburst and Skittles.(csnews.com), no word on how or if it will effect the sponsorship of the #18 M&M's Toyota of Kyle Busch or the #42 Big Red/Juicy Fruit Dodge of Juan Pablo Montoya.(10-2-2008)
- Talladega Rookie Notes: #10-Patrick Carpentier was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the September 28 Camping World RV 400 at Kansas Speedway. Carpentier scored a 29th-place finish and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the seventh time in 2008. Carpentier was the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the Kansas race, holding the top spot once for three laps. He became the first Raybestos Rookie to lead a Sprint Cup race since Michael McDowell led once for one lap in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Carpentier has now led 11 laps in three races this season. Regan Smith leads Sam Hornish Jr. by Three Points (188-185) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 5 AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Two Raybestos Rookies have won the pole for the AMP Energy 500 twice since 1975: Geoffrey Bodine (1982) and Jimmie Johnson (2003).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), for standings, history and more, see my 2008 Rookies Page.(10-2-2008)
- Pop-Tart back with Mears: For the third time this season, Pop-Tarts, Kellogg's most popular morning food product, will adorn the hood of the #5 Chevrolet of Casey Mears. Pop-Tarts was also the co-primary sponsor of the #5 Chevy in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and in August at Bristol Motor Speedway.(HMS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #5 Team Schemes page.(10-2-2008)
News from October 1, 2008
- Labonte, White to be inducted into Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame: Fans voted in July for the 2008 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame honorees, and on Saturday, Oct. 4 during Talladega Superspeedway’s AMP Energy 500 weekend, two new names will be added to this prestigious list: Bobby Labonte and Rex White. The Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in downtown Talladega is both a focal point saluting NASCAR’s greatest names and a tribute to one of racing’s brightest stars – the late Davey Allison. Developed in 1994, the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame has inducted one active driver and up to two inactive drivers since 1995 based on the fans’ vote chosen from a ballot of nominees selected by strict guidelines. In the park, Davey Allison is remembered with a large marble monument, while drivers inducted into the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame have bronze plaques placed around the park, accessible by walkways that form the shape of Talladega Superspeedway.
Dr. Jerry Punch, lead announcer and host of ESPN/ABC sports coverage, will make his second appearance as emcee for the Induction Ceremony. Punch took over emcee duties last year after the passing of Benny Parsons. Parsons was a longtime supporter and significant part of the event. He is also credited with being one of the first inactive drivers to be inducted. During this year’s event, Phil Parsons, Benny’s brother, will help unveil a permanent plaque honoring Benny’s longtime duties.(TSS PR), more info at talladegawalk.com.(10-1-2008) Comment here
- Ten 2007 pole winners yet to get a pole in 2008: with seven races to go, ten drivers have not won a pole in 2008, jeopardizng some long streaks:
season streak poles, driver, last race pole, when
2, Kurt Busch, California, August 2007
2, David Gilliland, Daytona, February 2007
1, Clint Bowyer, New Hampshire, September 2007
1, J.J. Yeley, Michigan, June 2007
1, Jamie McMurray, Sonoma, June 2007
1, Dave Blaney, New Hampshire, June 2007
1, Casey Mears, Chicago, July 2007
1, Reed Sorenson, Indianapolis, July 2007
1, Michael Waltrip, Talladega, October 2007
1, Martin Truex Jr., Texas, November 2007.
See the all-time pole winners, 2008 pole winners and more on my Pole Winners page.(10-1-2008)
- Rusty back to Cup? with DEI? UPDATE denied: from an article at SPEEDtv.com by Kenny Wallace: The hot NASCAR rumor right now is not something you’d hear anywhere other than around the race shops in Mooresville, N.C. Everyone wants to know if my brother Rusty Wallace is coming out of retirement to drive for Dale Earnhardt Inc. next season. I’m running the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega and was at Michael’s shop Tuesday being fitted for my seat. Six different crew members came up to me and said they’d heard a rumor Rusty was coming back to drive for DEI. These rumors get started in the Mooresville area because the shops are so close to each other and nothing can be kept secret for long. All I can say is that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And he is definitely considering stepping back into a race car. He’s considering this huge move because he watched Brett Favre come out of retirement in the NFL and his good friend Mark Martin is giving it another shot next year at Hendrick. If Mark had quit, Rusty would have been comfortable with his retirement. But watching Mark, who is a couple of years younger than my brother, stage this comeback has really tugged on Rusty’s heartstrings. Rusty has told me numerous times he can outrun half the drivers in the Cup Series and he truly is giving a lot of thought to returning to the track. If he wants to make that commitment, I’ll support him 110-percent. The decision is Rusty’s and his wife Patti’s, but I think the whole possibility is very inspirational and I’m looking forward to his answer. If he comes back, I think he’ll be a bit surprised by the new car. I predict Rusty will be successful but he’ll be shocked that he won’t have control of the chassis the way he used to. He’ll have an adjustment period because the cars are controlled by engineers, bump-stops and seven-post machines, technology that wasn’t in such great use when he left the sport. There is no doubt Rusty has the talent to run well but he’ll probably be upset he won’t be able to set up the car on his own or tell the team how to do it. Maybe we’ll know sometime soon if I’m right or not.(SPEEDtv)(10-1-2008)
UPDATE denied: Rusty Wallace on Wednesday denied a report that he is considering ending his three-year retirement to drive again -- possibly for former rival Dale Earnhardt's team. "I love Kenny to death; he's been trying to get me back in a car ever since I retired after 2005," Rusty Wallace said in a statement. "While any rumors like this are certainly flattering, they're untrue. I have a long-term commitment to ABC and ESPN and I really love what I'm doing right now." DEI president Max Siegel did not immediately return a call for comment.(ESPN)(10-1-2008) Comment here
- Logano tests at Kentucky; may run more Cup races: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Joey Logano continued his Sprint Cup Series education by turning test laps at Kentucky Speedway today. “I’m here today in the Cup car just trying different stuff for Joe Gibbs Racing we haven’t really tried yet. We’re wingin’ it to see what we’ve got and to see if we can learn a thing or two,” Logano said. Today’s Sprint Cup Series test follows yesterday’s announcement that Logano will not complete the final three events of a previously-announced five-race Sprint Cup Series stretch with Hall of Fame (HOF) Racing. While he’ll yield the #96 seat to veteran Ken Schrader for the Oct. 11 event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the Oct. 18 race at Martinsville and the Nov. 2 clash at Texas, Logano will see Sprint Cup Series action in a #02 JGR machine at Atlanta Motor Speedway Oct. 26. “When things aren’t working right, you’ve got to make a change. We couldn’t pinpoint what was goin’ on. In the practice that was rained out at Richmond at least we were fast, so we’re going to back to that deal and we’ll try to go from there. I think I learned a lot in those (two Cup) races, but they were no where near the runs we were looking for. Personally, I’d like to race a lot better, so we cut a little of those (HOF) races back, but I think it was worth it. We’re going to run the No. 02 Home Depot Toyota in Atlanta and possibly a couple more races. I feel like I’m going to be in a really good car,” Logano said.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(10-1-2008)
- Bootie Barker to join MWR in 2009: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that NASCAR veteran Robert "Bootie" Barker will be the crew chief of the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota driven by two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip for the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. Bobby Kennedy, who has worked with Waltrip in multiple roles for over a decade, is moving into a crucial management position at MWR. "Our organization continues to grow and add depth in several key areas," Waltrip said. "Bringing Bootie on as my crew chief is part of a larger plan that enables Bobby Kennedy to move into a critical management position. We have discussed this move since the summer, but waited until we were able to hire a crew chief of Bootie's caliber and we're really glad to have him join MWR."
"I really appreciate the confidence that Michael has in me," Barker said. "He has accomplished a lot in his racing career and the fact that he wanted me to be his crew chief goes a long way for me personally. Everyone I met from the crew chiefs to the management team are very welcoming and they are all racers. I’m looking forward to being able to help the #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry team achieve their short-term and long-term goals."(MWR PR) see full PR on my #55 Team News and Links page.(10-1-2008) Comment here
- Kenny Wallace in the #00 at Talladega: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Kenny Wallace will attempt to qualify the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota at Talladega Superspeedway for the Sprint Cup Series AMP Energy 500 on Sunday. Michael Waltrip Racing made the decision to make a driver change starting this weekend. The team is regrouping after failing to qualify last weekend at Kansas Speedway. The status for the remaining six races this year is being determined. Michael McDowell, who has five top-25 finishes in 20 starts during his rookie season, is still an option. Each event will be determined by who may be able to best help the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota team reach their goal of finishing the season in the top 35 owner points standings. "We have a singular focus with the #00 team now and that is to get it in the top 35 in owner’s points when the checkered flag falls at Homestead-Miami," Waltrip said. "This is not about an individual, it is about an organization. Kenny has a lot of experience restrictor plate racing and a lot of friends who trust him, which is critical at that race. He has a great record at Talladega and we felt like he was our best shot at scoring maximum points. We’re going to make the same evaluation for the remaining 2008 Sprint Cup races," Waltrip continued. "That could include multiple drivers based on their experiences at particular tracks. Teams have done this at road course events and we have the flexibility to do this with the remaining oval races." Wallace drove the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine for Waltrip at Talladega Superspeedway in 2004. Now, Wallace returns to the organization looking to top his runner-up finish he scored at the 2.66-mile tri-oval in 2000 where he pushed the late Dale Earnhardt to his final Cup victory. Wallace was driving for Andy Petree in the #55 numbered car. Wallace’s best qualifying effort at Talladega to date is third (October 1999) and in his most recent attempt (April 2007) he started sixth.
"Michael and I have been friends for a long time," said Wallace, who has two top-five and six top-10s in 23 starts at Talladega. "I watched him bring his vision to life and become a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner. I’m proud of everything he has accomplished and I’m proud that I was able to be one of the first Cup drivers to help him. I vividly remember the small garage he worked out of before taking his organization to the top level. I'm looking forward to returning to Michael Waltrip Racing and helping the team get back inside the top 35."(Michael Waltrip Racing PR)(10-1-2008) Comment here
- Logano to run Truck race at Talladega: Joey Logano will make his Craftsman Truck Series debut as he will drive the #59 HT Motorsports Toyota in the Mountain Dew 250 this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Logano replaces Ted Musgrave, who parted ways with the team during the Las Vegas race weekend.(SceneDaily)(10-1-2008) Comment here
- Harvick tests in Ohio: #29-Kevin Harvick is driving laps in his Chevy Impala Monday at the Sandusky Speedway. Harvick and his crew are preparing for an upcoming Sprint Cup series race in Martinsville, Va. which has a track similar to the one in Sandusky. Craftsman Truck Series Champion Ron Hornaday, a driver with Kevin Harvick Inc., is also taking laps with Ricky Carmichael. Carmichael is a new member of the KHI truck series team. The drivers will be at the speedway again today [Tuesday], according to speedway owner Kevin Jaycox.(Sandusky Register)(10-1-2008)
AND Kevin Harvick and the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Racing RCR team tested at the Sandusky (Ohio) Speedway on Monday and Tuesday of this week in preparation for the remaining seven races on the 2008 NSCS schedule.(RCR PR), see new about testing I have heard about on my 2008 Test News page.(10-1-2008)
- Burton to visit a school in AL: Before heading to Talladega, Ala., for the running of the AMP Energy 500, #31-Jeff Burton will stop in Birmingham, Ala., on Thurs., Oct. 2 to be a guest speaker at Shades Valley High School. Burton will speak to approximately 150 students about AT&T's Be Sensible program. This program teaches novice drivers how to manage all distractions and includes a video, detailed educator's guide, educational wall poster, and classroom activities.(RCR PR)(10-1-2008)
- Kvapil 100th start: Sunday’s race at Talladega will be #28-Travis Kvapil’s 100th career start in the Sprint Cup series.(Yates Racing PR)(10-1-2008)
News from September 30, 2008
- Hall of Fame Racing, JGR decide to remove Logano from #96: Joey Logano will no longer pilot Hall of Fame Racing's #96 Toyota in 2008, team co-owner Tom Garfinkel told ESPN.com Tuesday. Garfinkel said the decision was mutual between his team and Joe Gibbs Racing, for whom Logano is under a multi-year driving contract. "It's a joint decision," Garfinkel said. "We talked to Gibbs and both decided that, for [Logano's] development and for our team, this the best thing for all of us. The best thing for all of us is for them to focus on Joey's development, and us to focus on our team." Seeking to gain experience in preparation for his 2009 rookie campaign in Gibbs' #20 Toyota, Logano was scheduled to run five of the final 10 races of the current season in the Hall of Fame #96 -- a Gibbs satellite operation. He was to return to the #96 at Lowe's Motor Speedway next week, and also was scheduled to drive for Hall of Fame at Martinsville Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. Sprint Cup veteran Ken Schrader will drive the #96 at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, and likely the rest of the season. Joe Gibbs Racing officials were not immediately available for comment.(ESPN.com)(9-30-2008) Comment here
- Army to Newman? UPDATE: 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)
UPDATE: Sources close to the situation confirmed today that the U.S. Army would not be renewing their sponsorship with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. after the 2008 season. Representatives from the U.S. Army let Dale Earnhardt, Inc. know this afternoon that they would not be returning to the #8 for 2009. Beginning in 2009 the U.S. Army will be the primary sponsor of Ryan Newman in the newly formed Stewart-HAAS Racing venture led by two-time Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart. The formal announcement will be delivered at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Friday October 10th when Stewart-HAAS Racing and the U.S. Army unveil Newman’s new #39 racecar. Sources also said that representatives from the U.S. Army have asked Dale Earnhardt, Inc. for permission to make the announcement, and that the U.S. Army did not have an interest in negotiating with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. about future opportunities.(Captain Thunder Racing)(9-30-2008) Comment here
- Menard to leave DEI UPDATE 2: Paul Menard will leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. at the end of the season to drive for Yates Racing, The Associated Press has learned. Menard is expected to announce Tuesday that both he and his sponsorship will move to Yates, a person familiar with Menard's decision told The AP. The person requested anonymity because Menard had yet to make his announcement. DEI officials were not immediately available to comment Monday night. Without Menard, DEI has just one full sponsor in Bass Pro Shops for #1-Martin Truex Jr. He recently agreed to a one-year extension with DEI that takes him through 2009. Sponsorship from the U.S. Army is expected to leave DEI at the end of the year - perhaps for Tony Stewart's new team [#39-Ryan Newmani s runored] - and that leaves DEI without funding for the #8 Chevy that Aric Almirola will pilot. #01-Regan Smith, the fourth driver in DEI's current stable, has had very limited sponsorship all season. Yates has been fielding two cars this year with no full-time sponsorship. Instead, it's pieced together several different limited programs for #38-David Gilliland and #28-Travis Kvapil while receiving support from Roush Fenway Racing.(in part from the Associated Press), hearing an announcement could come sometime this week.(9-29-2008)
UPDATE: Menard's presence secures them [Yates Racing] funding for at least one full-time team in 2009, but will mean the axe for either #28-Travis Kvapil or #38-David Gilliland if enough sponsorship isn't found to expand to three cars. In the meantime, contraction is now almost a certainty for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., who now must find sponsors for Menard's #15, Regan Smith's #01, and Aric Almirola's #8. A source tells Frontstretch.com Smith's #01 has been floated around to possible investors, and it's almost a certainty Smith will not return to the team in 2009. Menard and DEI could not be reached for comment.(Frontstretch)
UPDATE 2: Paul Menard has reached an agreement to drive for Yates Racing in the Sprint Cup Series beginning with the 2009 season. “This is a great opportunity and I’m glad to be joining the Yates Racing organization next season,” said Menard. “I think a lot of what Doug Yates and Max Jones are doing over there building for continued success. I’m excited to be a part of their future and excited to work with Travis (Kvapil) and David (Gilliland). You look at what Doug and the Ford Motor Company have done in this sport, they’ve created a lot of horsepower and hoisted quite a few trophies over the years. I’d like to help continue that for both of them.” Paul Menard’s Ford Fusion will feature sponsorship from Menards, as well as associate sponsors including: Johns Manville, Super Clean, Quaker State, Pittsburgh Paints, Moen, Sylvania, Energizer, Turtle Wax, Vertis, Peak and Nibco. Yates Racing General Manager Max Jones sees Menard as a fresh addition to his current roster. “Paul is one of those guys I’ve personally been watching for the last two years; I think he’s ready to take the next step in this series and become a driver we hear a lot about on the track in 2009.” While details of Menard’s car design and car number have yet to be finalized, Team principal Doug Yates sees Paul really fitting in at Yates Racing. “It’s a positive addition for us to get a guy like Paul in camp here," said Yates. "He’s been through adversity in his first year in Cup and shown tremendous improvement in his second year. He’s a racer, a guy who likes to be at the shop a lot, from what I understand, and that’s what we like here. Plus, he already has a good relationship with our current drivers, so adding that third source of data should help our entire team rise up.”(Menards Racing/Co-Pilott PR)(9-30-2008) Comment here
- Allmendigner expects to be out of #84 ride next week: UPDATE AJ out, driver lineup announced: AJ Allmendinger expects this weekend's race at Kansas Speedway to be his last with Red Bull Racing. Allmendinger and Red Bull announced earlier this week they will part ways at the end of this season, and Allmendinger did not drive the #84 during the two-day test at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "I'm racing this weekend at Kansas, but I'm almost 100 percent sure I won't be with Red Bull after this race," Allmendinger said in his biweekly diary for Yahoo. "Hopefully I'll have something and I'll be in a car next week. Whether it's the team I'm going to be with for next year, and we can start working on that, or what ... that's kind of where we stand." Red Bull general manager Jay Frye said Thursday he expects to know at the start of next week what the # 84 team will do for the remaining seven races this season. Allmendinger said he expected to be released from Red Bull the past month, and even though he wanted to stay with the team, he passed on an opportunity to sign a one-year contract extension to stay with the team because it would have put him in the same position this time next year.(Associated Press)(9-26-2008)
UPDATE: A.J. Allmendinger will split from the Red Bull Racing Team possibly as early as next week, opening up a seat in the organization's # 84 car that will presumably go to current Craftsman Truck Series driver Scott Speed in 2009. The former rookie of the year in the defunct Champ Car series said Friday at Kansas Speedway that a return to open-wheel racing is a possibility, but he clearly doesn't want to give up on a NASCAR odyssey that he began in late 2006. Although the announcement [of the driver/team split] said Allmendinger and Red Bull would part for the 2009 season, the separation will likely happen much sooner than that. Allmendinger is in the #84 at Kansas, but said nothing has been decided beyond this weekend. In addition to the 10 starts Speed has made this season in the trucks, he's also the points leader in the ARCA series, which will compete as a companion event to the Sprint Cup tour next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. But Speed has never driven in a restrictor-plate event, and is only approved by NASCAR to attempt Sprint Cup events on 1.5-mile tracks or smaller. That makes Skinner, who replaced Allmendinger for four races earlier this season, a more viable option for the Alabama track. Red Bull executives will meet Monday to formulate a plan for Talladega. Could we see Speed in a Sprint Cup car before the year is out? "It's possible," said team vice president Jay Frye.(NASCAR.com), NOTE: Speed did run the Daytona ARCA race earlier this year. He was in an accident and completed 29 laps. For more information on the #84 ride see my #84 team page.(9-27-2008)
UPDATE 2: Red Bull Racing Team announced Mike Skinner and Red Bull development driver Scott Speed to replace AJ Allmendinger in the #84 for the rest of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season. The #84 currently sits 33rd in owners’ points. "The schedule we put together is in the best interest of both Red Bull Racing Team and AJ's plans for the future,” said RBRT Vice President and General Manager Jay Frye. Allowing Mike Skinner and Scott Speed to share the #84 for the balance of the season helps our team continue developing our program for the future.” Mike Skinner, who drove the #84 Red Bull Toyota for five races earlier in the 2008 season, will take the reins of the #84 at the NSCS races in both Talladega and Charlotte. Red Bull development driver Scott Speed will drive the #82 Red Bull Toyota at Charlotte on October 11 – the same weekend he attempts to clinch the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship in Toledo. Speed will then take over driving duties of the #84 at Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.(RBRT PR)(9-30-2008) Comment here
- Monopoly is off to a racing start at McDonald's: On Oct. 7, 2008, Monopoly is back at McDonald's. Elliott Sadler will get behind the wheel of the #19 McDonald's Dodge Charger with a special guest along for the ride. Mr. Monopoly will grace the hood of the McDonald's car in the Oct. 5, 2008 Sprint Cup Series Race at Talladega Superspeedway. The car will prominently feature PlayatMcD.com, where not only can consumers learn more about the exciting prizes in this year's game, but they can play the Online Game, too! There's a $100,000 cash prize up for grabs every day in the promotion - 28 days, 28 prizes. When the game kicks off on Oct. 7, customers can stop into McDonald's to get game stamps on some of their favorite menu items. All they have to do is peel their Game Stamp - and they are in the game! They could collect a property, or win instantly. A 10-digit code on the stamp gets them one dice roll in the Online Game, where there are tons of other great prizes.(McDonald's PR), see images of the scheme on my #19 Team Schemes page.(9-30-2008)
- Ganassi testing at Milwaukee: The Sprint Cup Series team of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates is testing at The Milwaukee Mile on Tues., Sept. 30 and Wed., Oct. 1. Tuesday's driving duties belong to Juan Pablo Montoya. On Wednesday, the team will have development/test driver Kevin Hamlin behind the wheel. Grandstands are open both days, free to public until 5:00 p.m. Enter Grandstand Gate 8, near center grandstand.(The Milwaukee Mile PR)(9-30-2008)
- Congrats: Tracey Hughes, wife of Furniture Row Racing team coordinator/spotter Clayton Hughes, gave birth Monday (Sept. 29) to son Blake Alexander at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Blake weighed in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces and was 20 inches long. Blake joins brother Cole in the Hughes household.(9-30-2008)
- Eight 2007 race winners yet to win in 2008: with seven races to go, eight drivers have not won a race in 2008, jeopardizng some long streaks:
season streak wins, driver, last race won, when won
14, Jeff Gordon, Charlotte, October 2007
8, Tony Stewart, Watkins Glen, August 2007
6, Matt Kenseth, Homestead, November 2007
2, Kevin Harvick, Daytona, February 2007
1, Casey Mears, Charlotte, May 2007
1, Martin Truex Jr., Dover, June 2007
1, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sonoma, June 2007
1, Jamie McMurray, Daytona, July 2007.(9-30-2008)
- Sad News - Hal Hamrick: Hal Hamrick, a pioneer in several forms of media coverage of stock-car racing, died Sunday night in Gastonia. He was 79. Mr. Hamrick was publisher of “FasTrack,” a weekly racing publication based in Gastonia, NC . He suffered a stroke on Friday. Mr. Hamrick had written about and talked about racing for nearly as long as there has been a NASCAR. He sat on a soft drink crate to broadcast a race from Martinsville Speedway in Virginia in 1952 and was part of the team that broadcast the first Daytona 500 in 1959. He did radio work for the Universal Radio Network, which pioneered radio broadcasts of NASCAR races, until 1983. Mr. Hamrick was born in Rutherford County and grew up in Asheville.(Charlotte Observer and at the Gaston Gazette)(9-29-2008)
SERVICES: The family will receive friends on Wednesday [10/1] from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm at Parkwood Baptist Church, 1729 East Garrison Blvd., Gastonia (704-864-3930), The Celebration of Hal Hamrick's Life will be at 3:00 pm, Wednesday at Parkwood Baptist Church. Since there will be no graveside services, in lieu of flowers, the family has asked that any tributes be made as contributions to:
Parkwood Baptist Church, 1827 Dixon Road, Gastonia, NC 28054
Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, NC 27317
American Heart Association, 222 S. Church Street, Ste. 303, Charlotte, NC 28202.(9-30-2008) Comment here
News from September 29, 2008
- #42 team likly not to be penalized: Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said Sunday that Chip Ganassi Racing and Brian Pattie, crew chief for the #42 Dodge of Juan Pablo Montoya, are not likely to be hit with any further penalties for the technical violation that cost them the Kansas pole. "We'll continue to review it, but this is a lot like when we find a car is a little too high or too low in inspection," Pemberton said. "It's not a major offense and losing the pole is probably enough of a penalty." Montoya beat out #48-Jimmie Johnson for his first Cup pole on Friday, but the postqualifying inspection found the gas pressure in his rear shocks exceeded the allowable maximum. Johnson was moved up to the pole and Montoya had to start 42nd. Montoya did the best he could with a tough situation, moving his way up to 16th in the first 100 laps and finishing 20th. "To get a top-20 from starting dead last is a pretty good day here," Pattie said.(Associated Press/ESPN)(9-29-2008) Comment here
- Kyle Petty out at Petty Enterprises? Was this #45-Kyle Petty's last race for Petty Enterprises? Sunday's Kansas 400 looks like it might well have been his last Sprint Cup run for the family business that he's worked for for so many years, that his grandfather Lee founded in 1949 and that his father Richard has been running all these years. That pending departure-not of Kyle Petty's own doing-is the stunning word from Patti Petty, Kyle's wife. Kyle Petty has been the center of a family storm of controversy since the spring, and he insists he doesn't think he's part of the long-running problems at Petty Enterprises. And Patti Petty says her husband is determined to stay at the wheel of a Cup car.....for someone. Kyle Petty himself ... has been struggling with the entire situation, Patti Petty says. While Petty himself was stoic about whatever turmoil is going on behind the scenes, promising to talk about things eventually, his wife was quite emotional - "Maybe I'm the only one here willing to tell the truth," she said. "They haven't wanted Kyle in the car the last three years. They want a young driver, a 30-year-old, a 20-year-old. "But Wells Fargo, our sponsor, says it's going to stay with Kyle, whatever he does. I wish Chip Ganassi (a fellow Dodge team owner) would take a look at Kyle. He's got a 12-race sponsorship deal for next year that would be a perfect part-time schedule for Kyle. And Kyle could help mentor a young driver. They told him at Watkins Glen - right when he was standing there in his driver's suit - that they didn't want him in the car." There are indications that Michael McDowell, currently driving for Michael Waltrip's Toyota operation, and AJ Allmendinger, currently driving for Team Red Bull, are under consideration for the Petty ride, as teammate with Bobby Labonte. Kyle Petty is tentatively scheduled to run a Petty car at Phoenix in November, but Patti Petty says that looks too iffy.(Winston-Salem Journal)(9-29-2008) Comment here
- Kansas Overnight TV Ratings: ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Camping World RV 400 Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 3.1, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 10.7% higher than the 2.8 ABC earned overnight for the race in 2007, but that event was interrupted by rain and continued on ESPN2.(SceneDaily), for race by race and news, see my 2008 TV Ratings page.(9-29-2008) Comment here
- Race & Commercial Breakdown of the Camping World RV 400 – Kansas:
Total number of commercials: 98
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 52
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 7
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:01 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:20 PM
Total minutes: 199
Minutes of race broadcast: 151
Minutes of commercials: 48
Number of missed restarts: 0
Number of ‘mystery cautions’: 0
Number of minutes of ‘dead air’ during broadcast: 2
Number of times the f-bomb was heard during radio communications: 1
Number of times this was acknowledged and apologized for: 0
Total race brdcst time 151 Total comm. brdcst time 48
See more, link and report on my 2008 TV Commericials page.(9-29-2008) Comment here
- Dodge debuts new engine at Kansas: Mike Delahanty – Senior Manager, Dodge Motorsports from a PR:
Q) The Dodge R6P8 engine made its Sprint Cup Series debut this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Has it been a normal evolution process?
Delahanty) “Our teams started working with the new engine early in the calendar year (2008). It started with engines on the dynamometer followed by mid-week testing with the engines in actual racecars. This weekend marks the first time that a Dodge team (#2 Kurt Busch/ Miller Lite Dodge from Penske Racing) has rolled it out for Sprint Cup competition. It’s the normal evolution, not just an engine, of any type of new part or technology we introduce into the sport.
Q) How long has the engine been used in cars for mid-week testing?
Delahanty) “Penske Racing has actually been running the engine in cars in mid-week testing for several months. They have done the development, the durability testing and are now confident the new R6 is ready for racetrack competition on Sunday.
Q) What is the status of the progress by other teams with the R6P8 engine?
Delahanty) "Our other teams are following a parallel course with Penske. They have the R6 engines in the development phase building power and also out in the mid-week test vehicles running durability laps. It’s not clear yet how soon the other teams will roll the new engine out in competition. As we’ve said in the past, it’s quiet. That’s a good sign. It will be a period time before the engine is fully phased in because of the number of engines required. Another factor, the R5 (current engine) is a proven durable piece. The new motor is good. The current motor is still good too.”
Q) What is your assessment of the debut of the new engine?
Delahanty) “We are pleased with the initial on-track performance of the new engine. This is another step in the development process toward full implementation during the 2009 season, well ahead of the 2010 mandate from NASCAR.”(Dodge Motorsports PR(9-29-2008) Comment here
- Office Depot Names "Small Business of NASCAR": Office Depot announced that Mystique Salon and Spa of Boise, Idaho, will be the "Official Small Business of NASCAR, courtesy of Office Depot" for the remainder of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season. Mystique Salon and Spa owner Julie Catalano is the first female business owner to be named as the Office Depot "Official Small Business of NASCAR" since the annual promotion began in 2005.(Office Depot PR)(9-29-2008)