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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    OCTOBER 27-NOVEMBER 2, 2008




      News from November 2, 2008

    • Edwards wins at Texas: #99-Carl Edwards won the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway for his 8th win of the season and the 15th of his career and swept both Texas races this year.He took a fuel mileage gamble, running the final 69 laps of the race without pitting. #24-Gordon finished second, also gambling on fuel. #26-McMurray was third followed by #07-Bowyer, #16-Biffle, #18-Busch, #29-Harvick, #1-Truex, Jr., #17-Kenseth, and #44-Reutimann. Point leader #48-Johnson struggled through much of the race, finishing a lap down in 15th.There were 5 cautions for 26 laps and 16 lead changes among 9 leaders.
      For race results, awards and more, see my Texas Race Results Awards Page.(11-2-2008)

    • Johnson needs to average 7th to clich championship: Gutsy strategy earned Carl Edwards the win at the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, and made it difficult for points leader Jimmie Johnson to clinch at Phoenix. Edwards’ victory slashed his deficit to Johnson, who finished 15th, by 77 – from 183 to 106. Johnson needs to leave Phoenix with a 196-point lead over second-place to officially clinch his third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. In other words, Johnson must beat Edwards by 90 points and third-place Greg Biffle by 52 at Phoenix to clinch (Johnson needs to finish 195 points ahead of Biffle to clinch because he owns the tie-breaker). Jeff Burton, 212 points back in fourth place, can also spoil Johnson’s clinch hopes by getting within that 195-point “magic number.” If Johnson leaves Phoenix with a 162-point lead, he would need only to start the season-finale at Homestead to clinch a championship. Under this scenario, Johnson has to beat Edwards by 56 and Biffle by 18. If Johnson finishes seventh or better in the next two races, he will clinch the title, no matter what any other driver does.(NASCAR PR)(11-2-2008)

    • UNOFFICIAL Chase Driver Points Standings [after Texas race 34 of 36]:
      1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 6366 [6 wins]
      2) #99-Carl Edwards 6260 -106 [8 wins]
      3) #16-Greg Biffle 6223 -143 [2 wins]
      4) #31-Jeff Burton 6154 -212 [2 wins]
      5) #24-Jeff Gordon 6111 -255
      6) #07-Clint Bowyer 6099 -267 [1 win]
      7) #29-Kevin Harvick 6087 -279
      8) #17-Matt Kenseth 5973 -393
      9) #20-Tony Stewart 5962 -404 [1 win]
      10) #18-Kyle Busch 5983 -428 [8 wins]
      11) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5937 -429 [1 win]
      12) #11-Denny Hamlin 5935-431 [1 win]
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Texas.(11-2-2008)

    • UNOFFICAL Classic Driver Points Standings [after Texas race 34 of 36]:
      1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4902 [6 wins]
      2) #99-Carl Edwards 4881 -21 [8 wins]
      3) #18-Kyle Busch 4736 -166 [8 wins]
      4) #31-Jeff Burton 4528 -374 [2 wins]
      5) #16-Greg Biffle 4503 -399 [2 wins]
      6) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4415 -487 [1 win]
      7) #29-Kevin Harvick 4370 -532
      8) #24-Jeff Gordon 4332 -570
      9) #20-Tony Stewart 4247 -655 [1 win]
      10) #07-Clint Bowyer 4205 -697 [1 win]
      11) #11-Denny Hamlin 4160 -742 [1 win]
      12) #17-Matt Kenseth 4105 -797
      13) #6-David Ragan 4074 -828
      14) #9-Kasey Kahne 3811 -1091 [2 wins]
      (11-2-2008)

    • Texas Fast Facts:
      Carl Edwards won the Dickies 500, his 15th victory in 155 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
      This is his eighth victory and 25th top-10 finish in 2008.
      This is his third victory and third top-10 finish in eight races at Texas Motor Speedway.
      Jeff Gordon (second) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 16 races at Texas Motor Speedway. It is his 18th top-10 finish in 2008.
      Jamie McMurray (third) posted his sixth top-10 finish in ten races at Texas Motor Speedway.
      Sam Hornish Jr. (23rd) was the highest finishing rookie.
      Jimmie Johnson leads the point standings by 106 points over Carl Edwards.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-2-2008)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Phoenix:
      No teams dropped in or out of top 35, but points do tighten some and the #84 team is now just 44 points ahead of the #47 team.
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      33) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing: 2682 +136
      34) #7-Gordon/RGM: 2606 +60
      35) #84-Speed/Red Bull Racing: 2590 44 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
      36) #47[was #00]-Ambrose/Waltrip Racing: 2546, 44 points out of 35th
      37) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 2490 -100
      For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(11-2-2008)

    • Lucky Dogs - Who got a lap back on each caution at Texas: (and their finish)
      Caution 1: #25-Keselowski, 19th
      Caution 2: #20-Stewart, 16th
      Caution 3: #31-Burton, 13th
      Caution 4: #8-Martin, 12th
      Caution 5: #24-Gordon, 2nd
      (11-2-2008)

    • Texas Penalty Report:
      Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
      1) #15 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 52
      2) #28 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 51
      3) #28 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 53
      4) #41 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. PT 53
      5) #41 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 57
      6) #19 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. PT 115
      7) #9 Jumping the restart OL 245
      8) #19 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 247
      9) #28 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 247
      10) #38 Pitting before Pit Road is Open & Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 264
      11) #28 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 265
      12) #41 Excessive speed - Exiting pits TE 267
      13) #38 Safety violation 5 Laps 263
      14) #10 Commitment Line Violation PT 315
      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)(11-2-2008)

    • Interesting Streak: UPDATE: The past three winners of the fall race at Atlanta Motor Speedway have won at Texas Motor Speedway the following week [all three years since Texas got a 2nd date in 2005]. The year and winner: #48-Jimmie Johnson in 2007; #20-Tony Stewart; and #99-Carl Edwards.in 2005.(10-26-2008)
      UPDATE: Make it 4 in a row with Edwards' win in the Dickies 500.(11-2-2008)

    • Testing changes to be announced soon? UPDATE 3: NASCAR hasn't delineated the exact testing policy [for the Sprint Cup Series], but apparently it will allow teams to test at any of the tour tracks, for a total of about 24 days a team per season. There are 22 tracks on the tour, so teams should be able to test everywhere.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-20-2008)
      UPDATE: NASCAR VP of Communications Jim Hunter said the sanctioning body is rethinking the 24-day testing schedule given the current economic conditions. Testing has to make financial sense for the haves as well as the have-nots.(FoxSports)(10-26-2008)
      UPDATE 2: The talk in the garage is that testing at Cup tracks next year, which NASCAR floated out the idea of about 24 days, could be reduced to about 12-16.(Roanoke Times)(11-1-2008)
      UPDATE 3: John Darby, Sprint Cup series director, spoke with the media at Texas on Saturday:
      Q: WHAT KIND OF A RESPONSE ARE YOU GETTING FROM TEAMS ON A TESTING POLICY FOR NEXT YEAR? IT SOUNDS LIKE THE TARGET NUMBER IS 12-16 DAYS NEXT YEAR.
      DARBY: "I think you've got to look from when we started talking about testing back in June and everything that has happened up to today. The very first meeting in New Hampshire in June, it was guys we can do zero or we can make it wide open. Everybody went Aaargh! And they came back with all the different versions and a month later we kind of settled in on like 24 days. Now we're in early July and that's when Wall Street started going wham. And more importantly the teams within the last couple of weeks have got their planner boards out and started penciling in their 24 days and stood back and said, 'Holy Cow, how are we going to do this?' First of all, the test policy is probably the most team-controlled policy that NASCAR has. In other words, we're pretty much just the organizers and managers of it. We'll give the garage, for the most part, what they want. But this is a year in looking at '09 where zero isn't completely off the radar. It may be just to help the industry. I think we're pretty secure in the fact that 24 days is too much… if you've got zero here and our original 24-day plan, the likelihood of landing somewhere in the middle is pretty good. Testing is a year-by-year deal. Let's say it was nothing, it maybe for only '09. Everything starts coming back, looking ahead to '10, we might get it back. That's the most fluid policy we have. Something changes on it every year.(Roanoke Times)(11-2-2008) Comment here

    • Wider tires not expected any time soon: A lot of talk in the garage has been about the possibility of Goodyear introducing a larger, wider tire to better handle the loads this car creates and improve handling. Well, don't expect it any time soon. "It's a science project that we're involved in with Goodyear,'' said John Darby, Sprint Cup series director. "Obviously, a change that major would probably never see a race track for five years.'' Darby said such a change to the tires would require major changes elsewhere: "You've got tire technology, you've got wheel manufacturers, and you've got brake manufacturers. It's just so many components on something like that that it would be as big a change as when we left bias-ply and went to radial tires."(Roanoke Times)(11-2-2008) Comment here

    • Grant Lawsuit to remain in New York: The Mauricia Grant sexual and racial discrimination and harassment lawsuit will remain in New York. NASCAR had requested to move the case to either North Carolina or Florida. U.S. District Court Judge Deborah A. Batts ruled that because NASCAR has a marketing office in New York City, federal court in Manhattan is an appropriate venue for the case. Batts also cited the facts that Grant worked races at Watkins Glen, alleges discriminatory practices occurred while in New York and was allegedly disciplined and demoted while working in the state of New York. "Courts are not required to determine the 'best venue' but merely a logical one with a substantial connection to the litigation," Batts wrote. The sides expect a trial to last two weeks but no trial date has been set.(Scene Daily).(11-2-2008) Comment here

    • Busch to give 100K to Ard: 23-year-old Kyle Busch dedicated his latest [Nationwide Series] win to South Carolinian Sam Ard, a two-time Nationwide -then called the Busch Series -- champion suffering from Alzheimer's disease and in tough straits financially. "Sam Ard was one of the pioneers of the sport and this really means a lot to me," Busch said after his now-traditional victory bows to the crowd. "I got to thinking about it and I decided I'm going give him $100,000 to try to help him out."(Associated Press/ESPN)(11-2-2008) Comment here


      News from November 1, 2008

    • Hammond to appear on NFL show: Saturday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway when he is done with his Speed TV commitments, former NASCAR champion crew chief and Emmy-nominated FOX broadcaster Jeff Hammond will fly to Los Angeles to be part of Sunday's NFL on FOX Pre Game show airing at noon eastern. Jeff will join Terry Bradshaw, Michael Strahan, Jimmy Johnson and be the guest weatherman.(11-1-2008)

    • Happy Hour for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #99-Edwards 182.082
      #18-Busch 181.397
      #2-Busch 181.172
      #44-Reutimann 180.905
      #07-Bowyer 180.844
      slowest: #28-Kvapil 174.171 & #78-Nemechek 173.589
      See speeds, ave speed, laps run on my Texas Practice Speeds page.(11-1-2008)

    • First Saturday Practice for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #16-Biffle 184.780
      #99-Edwards 184.458
      #48-Johnson 184.420
      #29-Harvick 184.200
      #20-Stewart 183.405
      slowest: #96-Schrader 175.302 & #78-Nemechek 164.179
      The session was extended by about 10 minutes. #7-Gordon wrecked early in the session, hitting the wall in turn 1 and will have to go to a backup. Later, #20-Stewart blew a right rear tire on the backstretch and will also have to go to a backup. #28-Kvapil and #26-McMurray both hit the wall on their first laps (in separate incidents), but the teams will repair the cars.
      no speed: #28-Kvapil
      See speeds, ave speed, laps run on my Texas Practice Speeds page.(11-1-2008)

    • Testing changes to be announced soon? UPDATE 2: NASCAR hasn't delineated the exact testing policy [for the Sprint Cup Series], but apparently it will allow teams to test at any of the tour tracks, for a total of about 24 days a team per season. There are 22 tracks on the tour, so teams should be able to test everywhere.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-20-2008)
      UPDATE: NASCAR VP of Communications Jim Hunter said the sanctioning body is rethinking the 24-day testing schedule given the current economic conditions. Testing has to make financial sense for the haves as well as the have-nots.(FoxSports)(10-26-2008)
      UPDATE 2: The talk in the garage is that testing at Cup tracks next year, which NASCAR floated out the idea of about 24 days, could be reduced to about 12-16.(Roanoke Times)(11-1-2008) Comment here

    • Earnhardt says season is too long: In a year that the sanctioning body was supposed to get back to its roots, it may be time for NASCAR to take an even longer, harder look at itself, #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr said. Foremost in his mind: the length of the season. "We have saturated the market with race after race after race," Earnhardt said. "The NFL, they do such a great job. I hate to keep comparing to them and using them as examples, but they do the best job. They give you just enough to keep you wanting more. The season ends before you want it to. You get just enough to get excited and then it's all over and there's such a long wait. The model works." But perhaps Earnhardt's most pointed comment was a swipe at what could be construed as greed and excess, not only by the sanctioning body, but drivers, team owners and practically everyone associated with the sport. "We're driven by the ability to go make another dollar and make more money and there's no way we would ever trim it down," Earnhardt said with a shrug. "When we were a 28-race schedule, the sport was giving you just enough to get really get excited about the next season. When we were racing at 12 o'clock, people were racing home from church to get to see the start of the race. We've just made it too easy and too much. We sort of lost a lot of the substance that we really had before and the character of the sport I think has waned a little bit, but its part of the times, too." Even though it would mean a significant drop in revenue, Earnhardt would love to see NASCAR scale back. But he isn't holding his breath it'll happen any time soon. "No way we would ever trim the schedule back," he said. "There's no way we would change what we really already have here."(Yahoo Sports)(11-1-2008) Comment here

    • Gordon say Letarte will continue as crew chief next year: Should Gordon not crack the win column before the season finale at Homestead, don't expect any wholesale changes to the # 24 squad including crew chief Steve Letarte's post. "We're not changing Steve or crew chiefs," Gordon said. "I believe in him. The problems we're having are not Steve. We need to build more depth on the team, and Steve is a big part of organizing that and has really been spearheading a lot of the ideas that are going to be improvements for us for this season and next year."(CBS Sports)(11-1-2008) Comment here

    • McClure pleads not guilty: Morgan-McClure Motorsports co-owner Larry McClure pled not guilty to tax fraud charges Thursday in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Va., according to court records. According to the indictment issued Tuesday against McClure, in a dispute over $325,000 of unreported income from 2002-2004, the government alleges that McClure's claim that the money was a loan he received was false and was an attempt to avoid paying taxes on it. The race team is not mentioned in the indictments. According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, McClure faces up to 115 years in prison and a $2.75 million fine if convicted. Bond was set at $10,000. A trial date is set for Jan. 20-23 on the tax charges as well as charges stemming for an alleged fraudulent $59,852 invoice for painting of show cars.(Scene Daily), for the original indictment information, see my #4 team page.(11-1-2008) Comment here

    • Riggs still looking for ride: Scott Riggs, who is out of the #66 after the season, says he's unsure when he'll get another Cup deal. He says he continues to talk to teams but the issue is that teams are looking for sponsorship and until they have sponsors they're not making as many moves for drivers.(Roanoke Times)(11-1-2008) Comment here

    • Camo scheme for Martin at Texas: Mark Martin will run a special camouflage paint scheme on the #8 U.S. Army DEI Chevy in the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway to promotes effort to deliver more than one million holiday greetings to U.S. Military worldwide. In keeping with the VAULT motto, “Get It Done. And Then Some.,” Coca-Cola North America is implementing the largest marketing campaign for the brand since its 2006 launch to ensure the program’s success. The VAULT “Honoring the Uniform: Calling for Support” initiative features an exclusive opportunity for people across the country to send hand-written postcards to troops worldwide and raise up to $100,000 for the USO. People are encouraged to write messages of support on pre-addressed postcards, which can be found on special camouflage-themed VAULT 12-packs, at VAULT displays in participating retail stores or online at DrinkVault.com and MyCokeRewards.com, while supplies last. The postcards can be dropped in the mail with a first-class stamp and will arrive at a USO collection center for security screening before being distributed to U.S. troops during the holiday season.(Markmartin.com)(10-31-2008)
      UPDATE: Mark Martin and Capt Tony D. Tinderholt along with U.S. soldiers Sgt Alex DeLuna, Staff Sgt James Peacock and Staff Sgt Shawn Rule, show off a special camouflage paint scheme on the #8 U.S. Army Chevrolet during racing action at Texas Motor Speedway leading up to the Sprint Cup Series Dickies 500 (Nov. 2). Martin is joining forces with Coca-Cola’s VAULT brand and the USO to generate support for U.S. troops and send more than one million holiday greetings to U.S. military worldwide. The initiative features an exclusive opportunity for people across the country to write messages of support on pre-addressed postcards, which can be found on special camouflage-themed VAULT 12-packs, at VAULT displays in participating retail stores or online at DrinkVault.com and MyCokeRewards.com, while supplies last. The postcards can be dropped in the mail with a first-class stamp and will be distributed to U.S. troops during the holiday season.(PR), see an image of the car on my #8 Team News Links.(11-1-2008)


      News from October 31, 2008

    • Gordon on pole at Texas: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Coor's Light Pole for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with a speed of 188.469mph for his 4th pole of 2008 and 67th pole of his career. #1-Truex, Jr will start 2nd followed by #07-Bowyer, #26-McMurray, #88-Earnhardt, Jr, #17-Kenseth, #48-Johnson, #20-Stewart, #41-Sorenson, and #66-Riggs. The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #77-Hornish, #47-Ambrose, #78-Nemechek, #96-Schrader, #10-Allmendinger, #25-Kselowski, #21-Elliott, and #02-Logano. Missing the race are #70-Raines, #40-Clauson, #45-McCumbee, #13-Papis, and #08 Sauter.
      See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Texas Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(10-31-2008)

    • Where do the 12 Chase Drivers start at Texas?
      1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 7th
      2) #99-Carl Edwards, 16th
      3) #16-Greg Biffle, 19th
      4) #31-Jeff Burton, 38th
      5) #29-Kevin Harvick, 23rd
      6) #24-Jeff Gordon, 1st
      7) #07-Clint Bowyer, 3rd
      8) #20-Tony Stewart, 8th
      9) #17-Matt Kenseth, 6th
      10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 5th
      11) #11-Denny Hamlin, 17th
      12) #18-Kyle Busch, 29th
      (10-31-2008)

    • Texas Superspeedway Qualifying Fast Facts:
      Jeff Gordon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Dickies 500 with a lap of 28.652 seconds, 188.469 mph.
      This is his 67th pole in 543 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
      This is his fourth pole and 24th top-10 start in 2008.
      This is his first pole in 16 races at Texas Motor Speedway.
      Martin Truex Jr. (second) posted his eighth top-10 start of 2008 and his third in seven races at Texas Motor Speedway.
      Clint Bowyer (third) posted his second top-10 start at Texas Motor Speedway. It is his 10th in 34 races this season.
      Sam Hornish Jr. (21st) was the fastest qualifying rookie. (NASCAR Statistics)(10-31-2008)

    • Rookie of the Year Candidates: where do they start at Texas:
      Michael McDowell, DNR
      #01-Regan Smith, 186.207mph, starts 25th
      Patrick Carpentier, DNR
      #77-Sam Hornish (X), 186.335mph, starts 21st

    • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer: at Texas:
      Chevy: #24-Gordon, 188.469, starts 1st
      Ford: #26-McMurray, 187.859, starts 4th
      Toyota: #20-Stewart, 187.246, starts 8th
      Dodge: #41-Sorenson, 187.175, starts 9th

    • Qualifying Order for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is posted. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #19-Sadler, the final top-35 driver scheduled is ##88-Earnhardt, Jr. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is #77-Hornish, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #45-McCumbee. See the full qualifying order on my Texas Qualifying Page.(10-31-2008)

    • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Texas Motor Speedway:
      if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
      #10-A.J. Allmendinger, 2nd
      #47-Marcos Ambrose, 5th
      #78-Joe Nemechek, 7th
      #21-Bill Elliott, [PC], 24th
      #96-Ken Schrader, 27th
      #25-Brad Keselowski, 31st
      #77-Sam Hornish Jr., 33rd
      #40-Bryan Clauson, 37th
      if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
      #70-Tony Raines, 41st
      #02-Joey Logano, 43rd
      #45-Chad McCumbee, 46th
      #08-Johnny Sauter, 47th
      #13-Max Papis, 48th
      (10-31-2008)

    • Friday Practice for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #24-Gordon 186.638
      #10-Allmendinger 186.632
      #99-Edwards 186.239
      #42-Montoya 186.181
      #47-Ambrose 186.104
      slowest: #08-Sauter 179.027 & #13-Papis 176.945
      #7-Gordon scraped the right rear of the car coming off turn 2 early in the session, just some sheetmetal damage.
      See speeds, ave speed, laps run on my Texas Practice Speeds page.(10-31-2008)

    • Martin to the #5...in 2008? UPDATE 2: hearing that Mark Martin may get started on his ride a few races early and running the #5 Carquest/Kelloggs Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in the final four races [Atlanta , Texas, Phoenix, Homestead] of the 2008 Cup season. Casey Mears currently drives the car. Martin is slated to drive the #8 US Army Chevy for DEI in 3 of the 4 final 2008 races, with Aric Almirola in at Phoenix.(8-6-2008)
      UPDATE: during SPEED's coverage of the first Saturday practice, Larry McReynolds said he had a nugget....Mark Martin will run the final four races of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, including the final race at Homestead, but not in the #8 DEI Chevy, but in a Hendrick Chevy, so he could be in the #5 Chevy, meaning we may see Casey Mears in a 4th RCR car [#33?] at Homestead.(10-25-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Hendrick Motorsports is considering a plan that would put Mark Martin in the #5 car for the final race of this season at Homestead Speedway, sources told ESPN.com. Martin will drive the #5 car for Hendrick Motorsports in the 2009 season. A contingency to the plan is getting Casey Mears, the current driver of the #5, into the fourth car at Richard Childress Racing that he will drive next season. But in order to do that Mears likely would have to drive the #33, not the #07 that he is slated to drive because Clint Bowyer is driving that car in the Chase. Richard Childress Racing is willing to put Mears in the #33 car unsponsored as it wants to get him in the race. Martin will be free of his duties in the #8 at Dale Earnhardt Enterprises after the next two races at Texas and Phoenix. He will end his part-time schedule that he has been on for a couple of years to run a full-time schedule for Hendrick Motorsports. Officials from Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing were not immediately available for comment.(ESPN)(10-27-2008)
      UPDATE 3: Although a switch for the Sprint Cup finale at Homestead-Miami was discussed, Casey Mears will remain in the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy while Mark Martin will sit on the sideline. There were discussions about Mears driving for RCR with Martin going into the Hendrick car for the finale so they could get a head start on next season, Mears and Martin said last Sunday. But Hendrick Motorsports has opted to just keep Mears in the car, Hendrick spokesman Jesse Essex said Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.(Scene Daily)(10-31-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR nixes GEM's move to Toyota? UPDATE: George Gillett, who bought into Ray Evernham's Dodge-anchor operation last year [now GEM], has made strong overtures to switch to Toyota. But NASCAR officials have apparently nixed any such move, and that could leave the Bill Davis Toyota team in limbo. Davis has talked for more than a year now about looking for a business partner. The Gillett-Evernham operation has been Dodge's chief engineering arm in NASCAR, but Penske may now get that nod, and become the engine supplier to teams like the Pettys. Penske already leases Dodge engines to Robby Gordon. Sources say that Penske, who runs one of the country's largest Toyota dealerships, in Los Angeles, has made overtures about Toyota, and may push for the launch of a satellite Toyota operation next year in order to be prepared for a possible changeover to Toyota in 2010.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2008)
      UPDATE: Gillett-Evernham Motorsports has been in talks with nearly every possible team in the garage area looking to merge including Bill Davis Racing, which is down to a one car, non-sponsored team since Caterpillar is leaving the #22 for Richard Childress Racing. From what I [Pete Pistone] have been able to gather, the report that NASCAR vetoed a GEM-BDR merger and a complete switch to Toyota is false. The stumbling block in all of this is the status of Dodge and Chrysler and the future of the struggling company. If the manufacturer can't live up to its promise of supplying engines and support to GEM, its flagship Cup organization, the team needs to know that and make a move ASAP. But whether Toyota wants to support another team and a possible additional three cars is another question. Regardless, NASCAR has no say in what the teams and manufacturers decide to do.(CBS Sports)(10-31-2008) Comment here

    • Final Atlanta TV Ratings down: ABC's coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earned a final national rating of 3.6, down from the 4.0 the race earned last year when it also was telecast on ABC. The race averaged 5,611,102 viewers. Ratings for the Chase for the Sprint Cup on ABC are even with last year at an average of 3.8 through seven races.(ESPN), see TV Ratings Chart and new from each race on my 2008 TV Ratings page.(10-31-2008) Comment here

    • Texas Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Texas this weekend, though those for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be branded "Goodyear Eagle," while those for the Truck Series will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for teams to run at Texas earlier this season -- Cup and Nationwide in April and Truck in June . . . in addition to Texas, NASCAR teams have run this specific tire combination at Chicagoland earlier this summer . . . teams in all three of these series will run this set-up again at Homestead in two weeks . . . this left-side tire code (D-4134) has also been run with a different right-side code at Dover, Michigan and Kentucky in 2008 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams will are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Texas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. See codes, pressures and more on my Texas Race Info Page.(10-31-2008)

    • Camo scheme for Martin at Texas: Mark Martin will run a special camouflage paint scheme on the #8 U.S. Army DEI Chevy in the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway to promotes effort to deliver more than one million holiday greetings to U.S. Military worldwide. In keeping with the VAULT motto, “Get It Done. And Then Some.,” Coca-Cola North America is implementing the largest marketing campaign for the brand since its 2006 launch to ensure the program’s success. The VAULT “Honoring the Uniform: Calling for Support” initiative features an exclusive opportunity for people across the country to send hand-written postcards to troops worldwide and raise up to $100,000 for the USO. People are encouraged to write messages of support on pre-addressed postcards, which can be found on special camouflage-themed VAULT 12-packs, at VAULT displays in participating retail stores or online at DrinkVault.com and MyCokeRewards.com, while supplies last. The postcards can be dropped in the mail with a first-class stamp and will arrive at a USO collection center for security screening before being distributed to U.S. troops during the holiday season.(Markmartin.com)(10-31-2008)

    • Mapei / Menards with Robby Gordon at Texas: Coming off a solid top-20 finish last weekend in Atlanta, Robby Gordon and the #7 team hope to carry this momentum forward into this weekend's Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The #7 Dodge will display the familiar Mapei / Menards primary colors during Sunday's 334-lap race.(RGM PR), see an image of the car on my #7 Team Schemes Page.(10-31-2008)


      News from October 30, 2008

    • NASCAR takes rear-end housing of #18: NASCAR officials opted to take the rear-end housing of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup car driven by Kyle Busch to electronically check the measurements following Sunday's Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. Tharp said that NASCAR does not anticipate there will be a problem with the car, but wanted to check it more closely at the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.(SceneDaily)(10-27-2008)
      UPDATE: A NASCAR spokesman says sanctioning body officials have found that the rear housing taken from the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Kyle Busch following the Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway was within the rules. NASCAR took the rear housing to its research and development center in Concord, N.C., to be measured electronically and found it to be in compliance with the rules, according to the spokesman, so the team will not face any penalties.(Scene Daily)(10-30-2008) Comment here

    • Even in a merger Dodge could remain another year UPDATE: There is still no official word from Chrysler executives, and the fate of NASCAR's Dodge teams remains uncertain, with the possible -- or probable -- Chrysler merger with/buyout by General Motors. NASCAR executives are not thrilled, to say the least, with the implications and questions surrounding that merger debate, because 11 Sprint Cup teams run with Dodge factory backing. However, according to sources, regardless of what happens with the potential merger, Dodge is committed to backing its NASCAR teams for at least one more year, but perhaps no more. One thing for certain, NASCAR officials don't want Toyota buying up any more top Cup teams, like it did with Joe Gibbs, and they have made that clear to the company. (Winston Salem Journal)(10-28-2008)
      UPDATE - more on merger: With the American automotive industry trying to become relevant again, the news that General Motors and Chrysler are discussing a merger has led to some concern in the garage area. And while no one believes the loss of one of the circuit's four automakers would be a devastating blow, two officials that I spoke to acknowledged that it wouldn't be an easy road to travel either.
      "You deal with it when it happens," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition. "We didn't always have four manufacturers; we didn't always have three. We used to just have GM and Ford. One of the things to always remember is we have drivers, crews and team owners. We make rules and regulations on the cars that are out there available to drive."
      "We're not trying to be smug about it," he added, "but they are basically big sponsors. We didn't have any manufacturer participation in the late 1970s -- virtually none. Junior Johnson had a decent Chevy deal at the time and Richard Childress lived off that quite a bit. The Pettys were independent. They would run an Oldsmobile on one track and a Chevrolet Monte Carlo on another one and a Chevy Caprice on another. Kyle Petty would run a Dodge Charger. That was all out of the same stable."
      Added NASCAR's Jim Hunter, "The questions to be asked would be what models? Would they pick a car? Would it be Chevrolet or Dodge or would they run both? We have no idea. In the history of this sport, manufacturers have been in and out all the time, going back to 1957 when AMA banned motorsports participation by the manufacturers. In 1964, Big Bill France banned the Chrysler Hemi engines, so it was all Fords. But I still think what wins on Sunday sells on Monday, even in a weakened economy. People relate to what they drive and what their favorite driver drives. That's a given."
      "I would not like to see this with no factory participation," Hunter added, "because both the dollars and the support they give the teams help drive the economical engine. However, we have raced before with no manufacturer support before. When there is no manufacturer support, teams will pick a car that is the best car out there. Hopefully, this will eventually work its way out, as it always has. Some may make it and some won't."(Sports Illustrated)(10-30-2008) Comment here

    • Chase Stats going into Texas: The amazing run of Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and the #48 team continues in The Chase. Johnson tacked on 34 more points to his lead with a late charge to second place at Atlanta. It is 183 points back to Carl Edwards with three to go, and Johnson has a first and second in his last two starts at Texas Motor Speedway. If he loses 23 or less points over the next two races, he needs to only start at Homestead to cinch his three-peat. Denny Hamlin’s third place run at Atlanta pulled him within 6 points of 10th place Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the final spot to make the stage in New York. Carl Edwards added another strong win in his outstanding 2008 season at Atlanta, climbing two spots to second place. Five podium finishes in seven Chase races is awfully good. It’s just that Johnson has been better. See more on the 2008 Chase, Chase history, wins on my Chase Stats after Atlanta page and my 2008 Chase Rules & History page.(10-30-2008)

    • Clauson hopes third time is a charm: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) driver Bryan Clauson was scheduled to make his Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) debut at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, but qualifying was rained out both times. Therefore, Clauson will attempt to make his NSCS debut again this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in the #40 Target/Guitar Hero World Tour Dodge. Clauson—a 19-year-old from Noblesville, Ind.—has competed in 24 Nationwide Series (NNS) races throughout this 2008 season, driving the #40 Fastenal Dodge. To-date, the teen racer has collected one pole, one top-five and two top-10 finishes. The #1 best-selling video game, Guitar Hero, returns to the race track this weekend at TMS as primary sponsor of the #40 CGRFS Dodge.(CGRFS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #40 Team Schemes page.(10-30-2008) Comment here

    • Massive Layoffs for NASCAR teams? The dismal economic picture has already started to take its toll in the world of NASCAR. Several sources have reported as many as 750 to 1,000 employees from various Sprint Cup, Nationwide and truck series teams will be released the Monday after the Homestead weekend season finales. DEI, faced with the prospect of shrinking from four to one full-time team in 2009, is poised to lay off as many 100 people if necessary. And according to Felix Sabates, part owner of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR operation, seven or eight teams from this year's Cup roster won't be in business in 2009.(CBS Sports)(10-30-2008) Comment here

    • Country Crock scheme on the #10 at Texas: The #10 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge will sport the familiar Country Crock colors this weekend. It marks the first time the margarine alternative has adorned a GEM Cup car. Previously Country Crock was with GEM in the Nationwide Series.(GEM PR)(10-30-2008)

    • Texas Rookie Notes: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the October 26 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, scoring a 24th-place finish. Hornish Jr. grabbed top rookie honors for the third consecutive race and for the 10th time in 2008. Sam Hornish Jr. leads #01-Regan Smith by two points (195-193) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the November 2 Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Hornish Jr. has sole possession of first-place in the standings for the first time since the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in three previous fall races at Texas is fifth by Clint Bowyer in 2006. Bowyer is the only Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five in three fall races at Texas. Only once in 15 previous races at Texas has a Raybestos Rookie won the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his first career Sprint Cup Series win by 5.920 seconds over Jeff Burton in 2000. Earnhardt Jr. led six times for six times for 106 laps, more than any other driver. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne are the only Raybestos Rookies to lead the most laps in 15 Sprint Cup race at Texas. The best start by a Raybestos Rookie in 15 previous races at Texas is third by Kasey Kahne (2004 spring) and Juan Pablo Montoya (2007 fall race).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos) see rookie standings, history and more on my 2008 Rookie of the Year page.

    • Winning streaks in jeopardy: Drivers with a streak of consecutive seasons with at least one win a year thru 2007 and need to win in the last three races to keep their streak going
      seasons streak, driver, last win/track listed:
      14, Jeff Gordon, Charlotte, October 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
      Gordon: Still winless through 33 races, Jeff Gordon has three more chances to continue a remarkable streak. Gordon has won at least two races in each season since 1994, his second year in the Sprint Cup Series. The streak stands at 14 consecutive seasons. Gordon usually wins early in the season, never waiting this long for his first win. In 11 of his 14 race-winning seasons, Gordon won prior to race No. 10. His longest winless stretch to open a season was 24 races in 2002. Gordon’s challenge becomes even more daunting when analyzing his success at the remaining three tracks. He has won at 20 of the 22 active Sprint Cup Series tracks. The two winless tracks: this weekend’s venue, Texas Motor Speedway, and the season-ending site, Homestead-Miami Speedway. Plus, Gordon didn’t nab his first Phoenix International Raceway win until last season. Arguably, Texas presents his biggest challenge. Gordon has finished last twice in his career – both have occurred at Texas, including the spring race this season.
      See the list of streaks on my Alltime/Active Wins Page - Streaks section.(10-30-2008)

    • Three vie for the manufacturers championship: The strong 2008 seasons by #48-Jimmie Johnson, #99-Carl Edwards and #18-Kyle Busch (from Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota, respectively) has made this year’s Manufacturers’ Championship one of the most heated – and coveted – in history. With three races remaining in the Sprint Cup Series season, only five points separate the top three in the Manufacturers’ Championship standings. Chevrolet took the lead for the first time in 22 races after Jimmie Johnson’s second-place finish at Atlanta. Chevrolet, with 198 points, now leads Toyota by one point and Ford by five. Dodge, with 138 points, is 60 points out. Ford entered the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup trailing Toyota by 18 points. But three wins in seven Chase races has cut the deficit by 13. Toyota and Ford are looking to end a five-year run on championships by Chevrolet. The last time a non-Chevrolet outfit won the title was 2002 (Ford). Over NASCAR’s history, Chevrolet has captured 31 of the 58 championships (53%). Even if Chevrolet does hold on to win its sixth consecutive Manufacturers’ Championship, it would still fall short of its own record of nine consecutive titles (1983-1991). Below is a year-by-year breakdown of the Manufacturers’ Champions.(NASCAR PR), for rules, standings, race by race best, drivwers who have scored manufacturers points, all-time manufacturer wins, see my 2008 Manufacturers Championship page.(10-30-2008)

    • Jeff Gordon heading to 20,000 laps led: Another milestone – 20,000 career laps led – is well within reach for #24-Jeff Gordon this Sunday in the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Gordon, who is currently eighth all-time with 19,880 laps led, can surpass Rusty Wallace for seventh on that list if he leads 93 laps this Sunday. Tack on another 27 and Gordon reaches 20,000. While Gordon is well shy of Richard Petty’s total of 52,194, he holds a commanding lead over the nearest “active” competitor in that category – future teammate Mark Martin – who ranks 11th with 11,560. See the top 30 lap leaders on my MISC Stats page.(10-30-2008)


      News from October 29, 2008

    • JR Motorsports scaling back? UPDATE: hearing there were 15-18 people laid off at JR Motorsports, who field the #88 US Navy Chevy and #5 Chevy in the Nationwide Series. JR Motorsports is a joint venture between Sprint Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. [#88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy] and Hendrick Motorsports. Also been told that the #5 team may not run in 2009 and that the 10-race Unilever sponsorship announced at Lowe's Motor Speedway may end up going to the #88 team and driver Brad Keselowski, a team without a sponsor for 2009 as the Navy is leaving. Mark Martin, Earnhardt and Hendrick development driver Landon Cassill are scheduled to drive the #5 NNS ride in those 10 races. No word how this effects Cassill's 2009 plans with the team.
      UPDATE: Statement by Kelley Earnhardt, general manager of JR Motorsports: "We've been working aggressively to secure funding to continue with two teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The economic climate is difficult, as everyone is aware, and that is affecting every company's ability to spend. The 2008 season will be ending in less than three weeks, and preparations for next season are already underway. We do not anticipate getting the funding required to field two teams after the end of this season, and we need to make adjustments now to prepare JR Motorsports accordingly. We are reducing our workforce and budgets to comply with a new plan for 2009, which at the present time is to field the #88 team full-time with driver Brad Keselowski, and the #5 team on a limited basis with a select group of drivers."(10-29-2008) Comment here

    • Testing in Nashville: Penske Racing tested Tuesday and Wednesday at Nashville Superspeedway. The test was closed to the public. Kurt Busch, Sam Hornish, Jr, and David Stremme did two full days of R&D.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(10-29-2008)

    • Haas CNC Racing to Pay Tribute to Haas Automation: The final race of the 2008 Sprint Cup season also marks the last time Haas Automation Inc. will carry primary sponsorship for Haas CNC Racing and the team is commemorating the occasion by running a special paint scheme featuring the machine tool manufacturer’s 25th Anniversary. “Haas Automation is an amazing example of American ingenuity and we are honored to mark the company’s 25th Anniversary with a special paint scheme at Homestead,” said Joe Custer, Haas CNC Racing general manager. “As the team transitions to Stewart-Haas Racing, this is a simple way for us to thank Haas Automation for their support during the past six years. While Haas Automation will continue its ownership role with the new team, their capacity as sponsor will be reduced.” Founded in 1983, Haas Automation Inc. has grown to become the world’s leading manufacturer of computerized numerical control (CNC) machine tools – building, selling and shipping more machines per month than any other single builder in the Western World. Haas manufactures its products in the company’s 1-million-square-foot facility in Oxnard, Calif., and distributes them through a worldwide network of more than 140 Haas Factory Outlets. Each HFO has complete showroom facilities, factory-trained service personnel, extensive spare-parts inventories and fully stocked service vehicles to provide the industry’s best service and support. Currently there are more than 88,000 Haas CNC machines and 51,000 Haas rotary products in use around the world. In 2008, the company will build more than 14,000 machines, with approximately 60% of them shipping to international markets. (Haas CNC Racing PR), Tony Raines will drive the car, see an image on my #70 Team Schemes page.(10-29-2008) Comment here

    • Edwards to represent Team USA at Race of Champions: #99-Carl Edwards and motocross guru Travis Pastrana will team up this December to represent Team USA in the 2008 Race of Champions held at Wembley Stadium [December 14, 2008], as the USA aims for its first Race of Champions Nations Cup title since 2002. The back-flipping duo will take on an all star line-up including Michael Schumacher, Troy Bayliss and Sabastien Loeb. A daunting task but one that both Edwards and Pastrana, are up for. "Its great to be able represent the United States in the Race of Champions this year in England," stated Edwards. "I’ve never been to Europe and expect it will be spectacular. To race with the top drivers in the world is the opportunity of a lifetime. I will be teaming up with X Games Champion Travis Pastrana, which will be a great experience in itself. He’s the man, and the goal is to bring back a trophy. I can’t wait. It should be a lot of fun." Tickets for The Race of Champions are on sale now by calling 0844 412 1743, or online at www.raceofchampions.com.(RFR PR)(10-29-2008) Comment here

    • Keselowski to attempt Texas & Homestead: Brad Keselowski will attempt to put the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy in the Dickies 500 field during Friday afternoon's Sprint Cup Series qualifying session at Texas Motor Speedway. Should he be successful, Keselowski will make his first-ever Sprint Cup start on Sunday. The 24-year-old driver was scheduled to attempt his first Cup race Oct. 11 at Lowe's Motor Speedway before qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather. In addition to Texas, Hendrick Motorsports will enter the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy team in the Nov. 16 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Homestead race was added to Keselowski's Cup schedule this week as a replacement for the Lowe's Motor Speedway rainout. Veteran crew chief Lance McGrew will call the shots for Keselowski and the #25 GoDaddy.com team at Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. McGrew, who has been successful working with young drivers like Ricky Hendrick, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch, is a former Sprint Cup Series race winner and Nationwide Series champion.(Hendrick Motor Sports PR), see an image of the car on my #25 Team Schemes page.(10-29-2008) Comment here

    • CitiFinancial colors for Gilliland at Texas: #The #38 Yates Racing Ford driven by David Gilliland will sport a CitiFinancial Paint scheme for the fourth and final time in 2008 in this weekend’s Dickies 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. See images of the scheme on my #38 Team Schemes page.(10-29-2008) Comment here

    • #4 Team co-founder McClure indicted on tax charges: The general manager of Abingdon-based Morgan-McClure Motorsports has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges relating to wire fraud, mail fraud and violations of federal tax law, the U.S. Attorney’s office said late Tuesday. Larry Allen McClure, who has been general manager of his family’s motorsports team for 25 years, faces a maximum penalty of 115 years in federal prison and up to $2.75 million in fines if convicted on three counts of mail fraud, three counts of filing a false tax return, two counts of obstructing a tax investigation, two counts of money laundering and one count of wire fraud. The indictment against McClure, also released Tuesday, accuses him of filing fraudulent income tax returns in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Internal Revenue Service investigators said the returns omitted several large payments from an unidentified Florida man who leased race cars from McClure to use in races conducted by the American Racing Club of America. The family-owned Morgan-McClure team won 14 Sprint Cup races and 13 pole positions over a couple decades relying on sponsorship from Kodak. That record included three victories in the famed Daytona 500.
      But when Kodak discontinued its 18-year sponsorship at the end of the 2003 season, the Morgan-McClure team struggled for stability and success against the corporate-backed NASCAR mega-teams. In January, citing a lack of adequate sponsorship, McClure laid off 28 employees and halted operations. IRS investigators said in the indictment that in April 2006, the Florida man who leased cars from McClure was questioned and told investigators he needed to check his records to verify how much money was exchanged. The indictment also states that the man met with McClure soon after the interview and that in May 2006, McClure’s wife wrote the man a check for $325,000 with a “loan repayment” note written on the check. Then, in June 2006, the indictment states, McClure told investigators the money was payback for loans he’d received. “During that interview the defendant is charged with falsely stating to the investigators that he borrowed money from Person A three or four times while he was going through problems with Kodak ...” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia stated in a news release. The indictment also said that invoices faxed to McClure from out-of-state and stating he spent $59,852 to paint four show-car trailers were fraudulent.(Bristol Herald Courier)(10-29-2008) Comment here

    • Special Scheme for McMurray at Texas: When Jamie McMurray’s #26 Crown Royal Ford hits the track at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, it will be carrying an important reminder that could forever change the life of one lucky NASCAR fan. Emblazoned with a special ‘Your Name Here 400’ hood, McMurray’s car will help promote Crown Royal’s legendary contest in which they name the May, 2009 Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway after an adult fan. Before Nov. 21, fans 21 years old and over can visit CrownRoyal.com to enter the contest by describing an accomplishment or honorable act worthy of toasting with Crown Royal. Selected finalists will enjoy an all-expenses-paid trip in February to the Daytona 500 where they will participate in an unveiling ceremony to announce the ‘Your Name Here 400’ grand prize winner. In addition to having their name officially incorporated into the race, the grand prize winner will serve as the Grand Marshal in Richmond – allowing them to do everything from delivering the trophy in Victory Lane to yelling the most famous words in racing, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” “It’s always fun to run new paint schemes for a sponsor like Crown Royal who does so much in the sport,” said McMurray. “From promoting responsible drinking with its ‘Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly.’ campaign to allowing fans the opportunity to have their own race with the ‘Your Name Here 400,’ Crown Royal is always coming up with cool ways for me and the team to be involved.”(Crown Royal PR), see my #26 Team Schemes page for an image of the hood.(10-29-2008) Comment here

    • Petty could run full Sports Car Series season: Kyle Petty made an appearance on Tuesday during the second day of the three-day October Test Days session at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 47th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 24-25. Petty was behind the wheel of the #45 Orbit Racing BMW Riley Daytona Prototype as he prepares for his seventh career start in the Rolex 24 and his first since 2006. But Petty says that the 2009 Rolex 24 could be the first of many sports car events next year with Orbit Racing as he and Orbit Racing owner Rodger Hawley are working on a potential deal for the whole Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season. “We’re trying to put something together to run not only the 24 Hours but all year long,” Petty said. “Obviously I’m in a place with the Cup stuff where I don’t really have a ride right now. I have always said this is where I wanted to be. From the time I came here for the first time, I said to run the Grand American division would be the next step up. I don’t want to go back to Nationwide and I don’t want to go run Trucks. That’s a step down from the Cup Series. This is a step over. I don’t look at this as a step down. This is a step to the top of road racing. It’s been a lot of fun out there so far. I forget where the infield goes sometimes.”(DIS site, listen to Petty audio clips there)(10-29-2008) Comment here

    • Blaney tests at Caraway, then visits Arkansas: Dave Blaney and the #22 BDR team spent Tuesday morning testing at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., shaking down chassis No. 81 for the upcoming event at Phoenix International Raceway and instead of heading straight from the BDR hanger in Greensboro, N.C., to the Fort Worth, Texas, area Thursday afternoon, the Caterpillar crew will make a detour to Bill and Gail Davis’ ranch in Concord, Ark. The team will experience first-hand the festivities surrounding the second annual Chimney Rock 500 Cattle Sale, which will take place Oct. 30-31. Last year, Lot 134, CRC’s Blaney 99S10, a Brangus bull named for BDR driver Dave Blaney, was the highest-selling bull at the event.(BDR PR)(10-29-2008)

    • Wimmer looking for Sprint Cup ride: In addition to preparing for this week's Nationalwide Series race, at Texas, Scott Wimmer is also in the process of tracking down a ride for next season. Richard Childress Racing announced Aug. 28 that Wimmer would not be back next season, making him a free agent. "I've had some good talks with several car owners," he said. "I feel real confident something will turn up. With the economy the way it is, it's a crazy time in the sport, definitely for the drivers." He is concentrating his efforts on landing a Sprint Cup ride, but he knows the Nationwide Series will be an option if he can't make the jump. "Fortunately, there are some teams that will have openings. There are some teams that will be making changes," he said. "I've got my name on their lists."(Wausau Daily Herald)(10-28-2008) Comment here


      News from October 28, 2008

    • Even in a merger Dodge could remain another year: There is still no official word from Chrysler executives, and the fate of NASCAR's Dodge teams remains uncertain, with the possible -- or probable -- Chrysler merger with/buyout by General Motors. NASCAR executives are not thrilled, to say the least, with the implications and questions surrounding that merger debate, because 11 Sprint Cup teams run with Dodge factory backing. However, according to sources, regardless of what happens with the potential merger, Dodge is committed to backing its NASCAR teams for at least one more year, but perhaps no more. One thing for certain, NASCAR officials don't want Toyota buying up any more top Cup teams, like it did with Joe Gibbs, and they have made that clear to the company. (Winston Salem Journal)(10-28-2008) Comment here

    • RCR Names DiCio Director of Business Development: Michael DiCio has been named managing director of business development for 11-time NASCAR championship-winning Richard Childress Racing. DiCio comes to RCR with nearly 30 years’ experience in marketing and business development with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation. His day-to-day responsibilities will include overseeing overall business development, including sponsorship opportunities across RCR's teams and new corporate and technical partnerships. He will also explore new strategic partnerships, potential B2B opportunities for RCR and its partners, and incremental revenue opportunities. “We are excited about Mike becoming a key member of our marketing team at RCR,” said Ben Schlosser, RCR’s vice president of marketing. “Mike’s energy and his nearly 30 years of strategic planning, business development, brand management and international business experience will make him a valuable asset to RCR and our partners.” DiCio earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He was the 1978 NCAA Division III Springboard Diving Champion and a six-time All-America in both one-meter and three-meter competition (1977-79).(RCR PR)(10-28-2008)

    • MWR names new Technical Director: Nick Hughes has been named technical director at Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR). "I am looking forward to the challenge of combining the skills of our engineering group with the experience and knowledge of our teams and other departments in order to continue increasing the performance and competitiveness of our cars,” Hughes said. Hughes replaces Dr. Eric Warren who recently departed MWR to pursue new opportunities in the Sprint Cup Series. "Michael Waltrip personally asked me to help get the team on its feet and Andy Graves from TRD was instrumental in me coming to MWR," said Dr. Warren, who won 13 Cup races while at Gillette-Evernham Motorsports before joining MWR in September 2007. "I feel like we were successful over the course of the year. I’m looking forward to a new opportunity at the pinnacle of our sport and wish the team continued success."
      "I want to thank Eric for all he’s done for Michael Waltrip Racing," Calvin Wells III stated. "He helped build a strong foundation for MWR’s teams during his tenure. We wish him success in his endeavors. We also are pleased to announce Nick Hughes as technical director and congratulate him on his new position."(MWR PR)(10-28-2008)

    • Papis and Geico to run 18 Cup races, will run at Texas too: Widely regarded as one of the most versatile racecar drivers in the world, "Mad" Max Papis will add to his already impressive resume as he slides behind the wheel of the #13 Geico Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The former Formula 1 driver and 2004 Rolex Grand Am Series Champion will lead the way for Geico as they make their maiden voyage into the Sprint Cup Series after spending eight years in NASCAR's number two series [Nationwide].
      While Geico has sponsored a few NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races over the years, this will be their first Cup-focused race program. Geico Racing launched with a single race sponsorship at Richmond International Raceway on May 2, 2001. Through the years and a myriad of sponsorships among NASCAR's top three series, Geico Racing has evolved into a fulltime racing and marketing program that is experiencing great success and commanding national attention.
      Recognized for a vast marketing strategy that fully encompasses their entire race program, Geico has signed a four-year sponsorship agreement with Germain Racing that will find the Gecko adorning the hood of the #13 Germain Racing Sprint Cup Series entry for 18 races per season beginning in 2009. Max Papis was born in Como, Italy, and now resides in Mooresville, NC. He has made over 100 open wheel race starts, including two prior Indianapolis 500 starts, while also serving as a test driver for NASCAR's Hendrick Motorsports. Papis has also competed in NASCAR's number two Series, where he recorded a third place finish on August 4, 2007 in Montreal. In order to gain valuable experience, the Geico Racing team will debut their Sprint Cup Series program at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2008, in the Dickies 500. They will subsequently participate in the Sprint Cup Series season finale on November 16, 2008, at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Ford 400.(Max Papis site)
      AND The new #13 Germain Racing Sprint Cup team will be part of an alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing, new driver Max Papis said in announcing his Cup deal Monday afternoon. Papis has signed a four-year deal with Germain Racing for 18 Cup races annually with sponsorship from Geico. The collaboration with MWR makes sense in two ways: Germain already was running Toyotas in the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck series and Papis drove for MWR Executive Vice President Cal Wells when Wells was an owner in the CART open-wheel series. Papis said that Randy Goss will serve as his crew chief for the two races this year with Germain general manager Mike Hillman Sr. also being heavily involved. Papis’ 2009 tentative schedule: Las Vegas, Texas, Talladega, Darlington, Dover, Michigan, Sonoma, Daytona, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen, Bristol, Atlanta, Richmond, Kansas, California, Charlotte, Phoenix, and Homestead.(SceneDaily), With Geico sponsoring half the season, Germain is looking to fill out the rest of the 2009 Cup schedule for Papis.(SceneDaily), see images of the scheme on my #13 Team Schemes page.(10-28-2008) Comment here

    • Johnson needs to average 9th to clinch: With each pass at Atlanta, #48-Jimmie Johnson inched closer to an historic third consecutive championship. Cale Yarborough is the only driver in NASCAR history to accomplish the feat, winning championships from 1976-78. Johnson finished second to seven-time 2008 winner #99-Carl Edwards, who refuses to give up on a championship comeback. Edwards is now 183 points behind Johnson in the Sprint Cup Series standings with three races remaining. Johnson needs to average a ninth-place finish over the final three races to clinch a championship. So Edwards will need wins, and some bad luck for Johnson. Edwards does have some history on his side to keep the optimism alive. In each of the last three years, the winner of the Atlanta race followed up with a Texas victory (Johnson in 2007; Tony Stewart in 2006 and Edwards in 2005). Statistically, the remaining schedule sets up nicely for Edwards. At the Texas, Phoenix and Homestead, Edwards has two wins, seven top fives, an average finish of 13.5 and a Driver Rating of 101.0. Unfortunately for his cause, the layout favors Johnson even more. At the next three tracks, Johnson has three wins, 12 top fives, an average finish of 8.9 and a Driver Rating of 108.0.(NASCAR Public Relations)(10-28-2008)

    • TV Ratings down for Atlanta: ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Pep Boys 500 Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 3.2, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The figure is 8.6 percent lower than the 3.5 ABC earned for the fall Atlanta race in 2007.(SceneDaily)(10-28-2008) Comment here

    • Racing Resources Says …
      * Carl Edwards won the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He posted his 14th career victory in his 154th career race [9.1% winning %]. It was his seventh victory in 2008, second only to Kyle Busch, who has eight wins.
      * Edwards posted his third career weekend sweep. He also won the Nationwide race at Memphis on Saturday. His other two sweeps came at Atlanta in 2005 and Michigan in '08.
      * Edwards has scored three victories (Las Vegas, Texas, second Atlanta) and five top-10 finishes in the eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2008. He posted his third win in nine races at Atlanta and his seventh top-10 finish in nine races there. Edwards won the race from the fourth-place starting position.
      * Edwards posted his fourth win in 47 Chase races. It was his 12th career victory in 102 superspeedway races. He led six times for 98 laps, including the final 16.
      * Roush Fenway Racing posted its sixth Atlanta victory. Its most recent Atlanta victories came in 2005 when Edwards swept both races. It marked Roush Fenway's 13th Chase victory since '04, second only to Hendrick Motorsports, which has scored 18 wins in the 47 Chase races.
      * Points leader Jimmie Johnson (second) has scored top-10 finishes in the past nine races, extending a streak that began at California in August. Johnson has led in 27 of the 33 races this season, more than any other driver. He led 28 laps Sunday. Johnson has led 738 laps in the seven Chase races. Matt Kenseth is second in laps led at 327 laps.
      * Jeff Gordon (ninth) has gone 38 races without a victory, his longest streak between victories.
      * Denny Hamlin (third) scored his first top-5 finish in seven races at Atlanta.
      * Kevin Harvick (13th) has been running at the finish in the last 77 races, the longest current streak by any driver.
      * Clint Bowyer (20th) ended a nine-race streak of top-15 finishes that began at the second Bristol race.
      * This was the ninth win for Ford in 2008. Chevrolet and Toyota each have 10 and Dodge has four. The top 10 consisted of five Fords, two Chevrolets, two Toyotas and one Dodge.
      * Michael Waltrip, who made his 1,000th NASCAR start, finished 37th after suffering radio problems, tire issues and a bout with the wall on Lap 168 and an accident on Lap 209.
      * The top five finishers were Chase drivers. Seven of the top 10 were Chasers.
      * Greg Biffle won the first two Chase races, Tony Stewart won at Talladega, Jeff Burton won at Lowe's, Jimmie Johnson won at Kansas and Martinsville and Carl Edwards won at Atlanta.
      * Six of the 12 Chase drivers each earned lap-leader bonus points at Atlanta by leading at least one lap: Johnson, Edwards, Kenseth, Biffle, Earnhardt Jr. and Hamlin.
      * Eight of the 12 Chase drivers changed positions after Atlanta.
      * Johnson now leads second-place Edwards by 183 points, the biggest lead ever in the Chase (since 2004) with three races remaining.
      * The biggest points deficit overcome with three races remaining occurred in 1990 when Dale Earnhardt was 49 points behind Mark Martin and won that season by 26. * Johnson is the only driver to score top-10 finishes in the first seven races of the Chase. He also is the only Chase driver to lead in all seven Chase races.(ESPN)(10-28-2008)


      News from October 27, 2008

    • Images added added #45 Richard Petty Driving Experience Holiday/Garmin that will be driven at Texas, plus the 2009 #13 Geico and #5 Carquest/Kelloggs images to the Paint Scheme Gallery

    • Mayfield to buy into Truck Team? Jeremy Mayfield told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway Monday that he is negotiating to purchase half of the Billy Ballew Motorsports Craftsman Truck Series team. "Billy and I have been talking for a while now," said Mayfield. "He's a great guy, and he has a great team. I'm not sure what's going to happen on the Cup side yet, but (NASCAR has) the Truck Series sponsor worked out now, and I know it's going to be around a while." Mayfield said the plan is for him to purchase the #15 team, with the truck still being fielded out of the Ballew shops. "I would run the #15 truck as a teammate to Billy's #51. Nothing's done yet, there are no details done. But it would be fun to go Truck racing. I've always wanted to own my own team, and if something comes up on the Cup side of things, maybe I'll do the deal anyway and put someone else in the Truck."(Sirius Speedway)(10-27-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR nixes GEM's move to Toyota? George Gillett, who bought into Ray Evernham's Dodge-anchor operation last year [now GEM], has made strong overtures to switch to Toyota. But NASCAR officials have apparently nixed any such move, and that could leave the Bill Davis Toyota team in limbo. Davis has talked for more than a year now about looking for a business partner. The Gillett-Evernham operation has been Dodge's chief engineering arm in NASCAR, but Penske may now get that nod, and become the engine supplier to teams like the Pettys. Penske already leases Dodge engines to Robby Gordon. Sources say that Penske, who runs one of the country's largest Toyota dealerships, in Los Angeles, has made overtures about Toyota, and may push for the launch of a satellite Toyota operation next year in order to be prepared for a possible changeover to Toyota in 2010.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2008) Comment here

    • Kodak Marks Conclusion of Motorsports Sponsorships: Eastman Kodak Company is taking another step to realign its corporate sponsorship activity to better support the company’s digital business model. Kodak said today it will conclude its corporate sponsorship of motorsports with NASCAR and Penske Racing effective at the end of 2008. “NASCAR and Penske Racing have been great partners for Kodak. These have been wonderful relationships that have served us well and we celebrate all we have done together,” said Kodak’s Betty Noonan, Director and Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Branding. “Just as we have transformed our company, we are transforming our marketing. We want to express our deepest thanks to our friends at NASCAR and Penske Racing for their partnership and support. We remain big fans and wish them continued success.” In December 2007, Kodak announced a new marketing partnership with the PGA TOUR that includes the Kodak Challenge competition and Kodak branding on digital scoreboards. Noonan added that Kodak is now focusing on opportunities to engage customers in other countries. About 60% of Kodak’s sales are outside the United States. Kodak has been a sponsor of NASCAR since 1986 and Penske Racing since 2004. In 2008, Kodak was a primary sponsor of the #12 Dodge in six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and an associate sponsor on the #3 and #6 Team Penske cars in the IndyCar Series. Kodak has been a part of four Daytona 500 wins, this year with Ryan Newman, in 1994 and 1995 with Sterling Marlin, and in 1991 with Ernie Irvan. To celebrate the Kodak Moments in motorsports, Kodak has posted a story on its A Thousand Words blog at 1000words.kodak.com.(Kodak PR)(10-27-2008) Comment here

    • #45 to Sport RPDE ‘Holiday’ Paint Scheme at Texas: Petty Enterprises announced that the Richard Petty Driving Experience will be the primary sponsor of the #45 Dodge, driven by Chad McCumbee, for the upcoming race at the Texas Motor Speedway along with new partners, TheGPSStore.com and Garmin, the global leader in satellite navigation TheGPSStore.com and Garmin are continuing their long-standing associations with McCumbee. The GPS Store.com, which is headquartered near McCumbee’s hometown of Supply, N.C., has been a primary sponsor of his past Truck Series entries from 2006-2007.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #45 Team Schemes page.(10-27-2008) Comment here

    • Images added added #45 Richard Petty Driving Experience Holiday/Garmin that will be driven at Texas, plus the 2009 #13 Geico and #5 Carquest/Kelloggs images to the Paint Scheme Gallery

    • Logano to attempt Texas: Joe Gibbs Racing will try yet again to get Joey Logano into one of its cars this season by sending him to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend. Logano has tried three times to race the #02 car in the Sprint Cup Series, but all three qualifying sessions were washed out by rain, including this weekend at Atlanta. In those situations, the 43-car field is determined by the points. Logano, a regular in the Nationwide Series this season, was left out each time. "We're going to run Texas and there is a possibility that we will add some more to it," team president J.D. Gibbs said Sunday. "It probably depends on our test schedule and what we've got going on." The 18-year-old phenom has been tabbed to replace Tony Stewart in the #20 ride next season, and JGR is trying to get him as much Cup seat time as possible before his promotion. He's made two Cup starts this season, both for Hall of Fame Racing, and struggled to finishes of 32nd and 39th. Logano is not yet NASCAR-approved to run the season-opening Daytona 500, and racing at Texas could secure it. But Gibbs thinks Logano's experience running in the ARCA and Truck Series' at Talladega earlier this month might be enough. "I think he's probably done enough," Gibbs said. "From our standpoint, we've talked to NASCAR, too, we want to see him in some more stuff as well. We're going to run at least one or two more."(AP/ESPN)(10-27-2008) Comment here

    • Martin to the #5...in 2008? UPDATE 2: hearing that Mark Martin may get started on his ride a few races early and running the #5 Carquest/Kelloggs Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in the final four races [Atlanta , Texas, Phoenix, Homestead] of the 2008 Cup season. Casey Mears currently drives the car. Martin is slated to drive the #8 US Army Chevy for DEI in 3 of the 4 final 2008 races, with Aric Almirola in at Phoenix.(8-6-2008)
      UPDATE: during SPEED's coverage of the first Saturday practice, Larry McReynolds said he had a nugget....Mark Martin will run the final four races of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, including the final race at Homestead, but not in the #8 DEI Chevy, but in a Hendrick Chevy, so he could be in the #5 Chevy, meaning we may see Casey Mears in a 4th RCR car [#33?] at Homestead.(10-25-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Hendrick Motorsports is considering a plan that would put Mark Martin in the #5 car for the final race of this season at Homestead Speedway, sources told ESPN.com. Martin will drive the #5 car for Hendrick Motorsports in the 2009 season. A contingency to the plan is getting Casey Mears, the current driver of the #5, into the fourth car at Richard Childress Racing that he will drive next season. But in order to do that Mears likely would have to drive the #33, not the #07 that he is slated to drive because Clint Bowyer is driving that car in the Chase. Richard Childress Racing is willing to put Mears in the #33 car unsponsored as it wants to get him in the race. Martin will be free of his duties in the #8 at Dale Earnhardt Enterprises after the next two races at Texas and Phoenix. He will end his part-time schedule that he has been on for a couple of years to run a full-time schedule for Hendrick Motorsports. Officials from Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing were not immediately available for comment.(ESPN)(10-27-2008) Comment here

    • Woods and HOF? Len and Eddie Wood [#21 Ford] say they've got their sponsorship deals in place for 2009, with Ford Motor Company and Motorcraft. But they are noncommittal about reports that the six team owners of the one-car Hall of Fame Racing operation (which runs #96 and is officially owned by Jeff Moorad,) are negotiating with the Woods to become Ford partners next season [Jayski Note: Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Bill Saunders and Mark Griege are no longer part of the ownership group on the #96 as of about a month ago]. Ken Schrader, a former driver for the Woods, is the Moorad team's current driver. Moorad has been running a Toyota operation this season, with engineering support from Joe Gibbs; but that support contract is apparently up at the end of this season.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR takes rear-end housing of #18: NASCAR officials opted to take the rear-end housing of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup car driven by Kyle Busch to electronically check the measurements following Sunday's Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. Tharp said that NASCAR does not anticipate there will be a problem with the car, but wanted to check it more closely at the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.(SceneDaily)(10-27-2008) Comment here

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta:
      Total number of commercials: 124
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 64
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 25
      Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 5 min. 20 sec.
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:02 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:04 PM
      Total minutes: 242
      Minutes of race broadcast: 186
      Minutes of commercials: 56
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 1
      Total race brdcst time 186 Total comm. brdcst time 56
      See more and link to full report on my 2008 Commercials page.(10-27-2008) Comment here

    • Bowyer talks bout new crew chief and car# change: #07-Clint Bowyer met with media [at Atlanta Motor Speedway] and discussed Shane Wilson named as crew chief for ’09, starting on a clean sheet of paper next year, and more:
      ON THE ANNOUNCED PLAN THAT SHANE WILSON WILL BE HIS CREW CHIEF IN 2009.
      “He’s the best man for the job. He’s been around RCR for quite some time. He’s going to fit in well right off the bat. That’s something that’s important. Everybody knows we’ve got to start off at Daytona right out of the box good to be in contention for this Chase. I think he’s the best guy for that and the fit-factor, and he’s organized. He’s got a game plan and that’s what I like about him.”
      WHY WAS THAT DECISION MADE TO HAVE SHANE WILSON BE YOUR CREW CHIEF AND NOT GIL MARTIN?
      “It’s for the betterment of our organization. Bringing a fourth team in and moving me over to the #33 car in the long haul, that’s going to be better for me. It’s going to bring more income in, more resources. When we go test, it’s another car I can pull information from. In the long haul looking forward it’s going to be a lot better.”
      A LOT OF FANS THINK THE #07 IS JUST GOING TO SWITCH OVER, PUT NEW UNIFORMS ON, AND TAKE THE POINTS OF THE ’07, BUT YOU GUYS ARE STARTING ON A CLEAN SHEET OF PAPER
      “Yeah, it is what it is. You’ve got to make the best out of it and we will. We’re going to make the Chase and hopefully we can get all four of us in it.”(GM Racing PR)(10-27-2008) Comment here



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