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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    NOVEMBER 3-9, 2008


      MORE NEWS-RUMORS!
      YESTERDAY and BEYOND..






    • 2009 Cup Schedule Announced, 4 "off" weeks: NASCAR announced today its national series schedules for the 2009 season, which features realigned dates for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Truck Series. In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series there will be a three-way date swap between Atlanta Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway (formerly California Speedway) and Talladega Superspeedway.
      • Atlanta’s second 2009 race will be held on Sunday, Sept. 6, taking the Labor Day weekend slot now held by Auto Club Speedway.
      • Auto Club Speedway’s second race will be Sunday, Oct. 11 – the fourth week of the “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup,” a slot formerly held by Talladega.
      • Talladega’s second event will move to Sunday, Nov. 1, making it the seventh Chase event – the slot formerly held by Atlanta.
      “The 2009 schedule reflects realigned dates that are good opportunities for everyone involved in our sport – fans, sponsors, tracks and teams," said NASCAR President Mike Helton. The season begins with a tripleheader weekend at Daytona International Speedway capped by the running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 15. In addition to that season-opening event for the Sprint Cup Series, the Truck Series starts its season on Friday night, Feb. 13, followed the next afternoon by the Nationwide Series opener. For all three series, the season will conclude with another tripleheader weekend, at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20-22.
      Other key NASCAR Sprint Cup dates in 2009:
      • The 31st annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona – a non-points event – will be held on Saturday, Feb. 7.
      • On the evening of Saturday, Sept. 12, Richmond International Raceway will again host the “Chase cut-off” race, affording the last opportunity for drivers to qualify for NASCAR’s championship playoffs.
      • New Hampshire Motor Speedway will host the first races in both the “Race to the Chase” (Sunday, June 28) and the Chase (Sunday, Sept. 20).
      There also will be an additional off-week for NASCAR’s premier series in 2009, prior to the Labor Day weekend event, giving teams a final break before a 12-week stretch that will end the season. Because of the way the calendar falls, NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will have a total of four off-weeks during the 2009 season.
      The NASCAR Nationwide Series will have a 35-race schedule. Changes from this year include a new event at Iowa Speedway on Aug. 1, replacing Mexico City; a switch of the Atlanta Motor Speedway event from March to September; and moving the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve event in Montreal to Sunday, Aug. 30.
      The NASCAR Truck Series in 2009 again will have 25 races, with one realigned date: The series’ late-season race at Atlanta will be replaced by a night event at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday, Aug. 28.(NASCAR PR)(8-19-2008)

      see my 2009 Unofficial Sprint Cup Schedule page for dates and some rumors on my 2009 Schedule News and Rumors page.

    • NASCAR Schedules National Series Awards Shows: NASCAR announced the lineup for its three top series’ 2008 postseason awards shows, including the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Ceremony’s return to the Waldorf=Astoria hotel in New York City. The Dec. 5 Waldorf event will continue a tradition begun in 1981 for NASCAR’s premier series. The event will be held in the Waldorf’s Grand Ballroom. Television broadcast information will be announced at a later date. This lineup is a change from recent seasons, when the NASCAR Nationwide Series was the finale. This year, that event will preface the New York show. The rundown follows:
      • Nov. 17: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series; Seminole Hard Rock; Hollywood, Fla.
      • Nov. 22: NASCAR Nationwide Series; Portofino Bay Hotel; Orlando, Fla.
      • Dec. 5: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; Waldorf=Astoria; New York.(NASCAR PR)(5-9-2008)

    • Rules Changes for 2008:
      Testing: Cup teams will get 200 tires (50 sets) for testing at non-NASCAR sanctioned tracks.
      Qualifying: Teams not guaranteed a starting spot [non top 35 in owners points] will qualify together at the end of a session [starting at California].
      Fines: Fines levied by NASCAR will now go toward charity instead of going back to the teams in the season-ending point fund.
      Pit Road: Teams can't roll tires back to the pit wall during a pit stop. Crews can't push a car on pit road more than three pit stalls.
      Fuel Cell: All three national series will run the same up-graded fuel cell [approx 17 gallons], the same fuel cell used in 2007 by the Sprint Cup Series.
      (1-28-2008)

    • Winners of a race in Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series races: see my Misc Stats page for this and many others.




      News from November 9, 2008

    • Johnson wins at Atlanta: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway for his 7th win of the season and the 40th of his career after a Green-White-Checkered finish [added 1 lap]. Johnson just needs to finish 36th at Homestead win win his 3rd Sprint Cup Championship. #2-Busch finishing 2nd followed by #26-McMurray, #99-Edwards, #11-Hamlin, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #29-Harvick, #18-Busch, #31-Burton and #6-Ragan. There were 10 cautions for 55 yellow flag laps [and 2 red flags, one for rain and one for a big wreck] and 9 lead changes among 5 drivers.
      For race results, awards and more, see my Phoenix Race Results Awards Page.(11-9-2008)

    • UNOFFICIAL Chase Driver Points Standings [after Phoenix race 35 of 36]:
      1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 6561 [7 wins]
      2) #99-Carl Edwards 6420 -141 [8 wins]
      the following drivers are eliminated from the Chase
      3) #16-Greg Biffle 6358 -203 [2 wins]
      4) #31-Jeff Burton 6292 -269 [2 wins]
      5) #29-Kevin Harvick 6233 -328
      6) #07-Clint Bowyer 6226 -335 [1 win]
      7) #24-Jeff Gordon 6151 -410
      8) #17-Matt Kenseth 6091 -470
      9) #11-Denny Hamlin 6090 -471 [1 win]
      10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 6087 -474 [1 win]
      11) #18-Kyle Busch 6080 -481 [8 wins]
      12) #20-Tony Stewart 6059 -502 [1 win]
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix.(11-9-2008)

    • UNOFFICAL Classic Driver Points Standings [after Phoenix race 35 of 36]:
      1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5097 [7 wins]
      2) #99-Carl Edwards 5041 -56 [8 wins]
      3) #18-Kyle Busch 4878 -219 [8 wins]
      4) #31-Jeff Burton 4666 -431 [2 wins]
      5) #16-Greg Biffle 4638 -459 [2 wins]
      6) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4565 -532 [1 win]
      7) #29-Kevin Harvick 4516 -581
      8) #24-Jeff Gordon 4372 - 725
      9) #20-Tony Stewart 4344 -753 [1 win]
      10) #07-Clint Bowyer 4332 - 765 [1 win]
      11) #11-Denny Hamlin 4315 -782[1 win]
      12) #17-Matt Kenseth 4223 -874
      13) #6-David Ragan 4208 -889
      14) #9-Kasey Kahne 3935 -1162[2 wins]
      (11-9-2008)

    • Where did the 12 Chase drivers finish at Phoenix
      1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, WON from the pole
      2) #99-Carl Edwards 4th
      the following drivers are eliminated from the Chase
      3) #16-Greg Biffle 14th
      4) #31-Jeff Burton 9th
      5) #24-Jeff Gordon 41st DNF/engine
      6) #07-Clint Bowyer 12th
      7) #29-Kevin Harvick 7th
      8) #20-Tony Stewart 22nd
      9) #17-Matt Kenseth 15th
      10) #18-Kyle Busch 8th
      11) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 6th
      12) #11-Denny Hamlin 5th
      (11-9-2008)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Homestead:
      With one race to go, Ambrose moves up to 35th and Speed falls out but is only 17 points out of the 35th spot
      31) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing: 2785 +147
      32) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing: 2774 +136
      33) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 2765 +127
      34) #7-Gordon/RGM: 2685 +47
      35) #47[was #00]-Ambrose/Waltrip Racing: 2655 ONLY 17 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
      36) #84-Speed/Red Bull Racing: 2638, ONLY 17 points out of 35th
      37) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 2554 -101
      38) #10-Allmendinger/GEM: 2495 -160
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      BUT with one race to go, the top-35 after Homestead, will be guaranteed a starting spot for the Daytona 500 and first five races of 2009.
      For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(11-9-2008)

    • Phoenix International Raceway Penalty Report:
      Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
      1 #19 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 21
      2 #7 Lug nut(s) not installed TE 31
      3 #44 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 44
      4 #17 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 44
      5 #19 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 44
      6 #12 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. PT 71
      7 #8 Lug nut(s) not installed MCI 99
      8 #24 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 263
      9 #24 Safety violation MCI 269
      10 #19 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 273
      11 #47 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 274
      12 #43 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 274
      13 #9 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 274
      14 #5 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 274
      15 #77 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 274
      16 #70 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 274
      17 #41 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 284
      18 #19 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 285
      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)(11-9-2008)

    • Who got a lap back on each caution at Phoenix: (and their finish)
      Caution 1: no cars a lap down
      Caution 2: #19-Sadler
      Caution 3: no cars a lap down that are on the track
      Caution 4: #42-Montoya,
      Caution 5: #9-Kahne,
      Caution 6: #70-Sauter,
      Caution 7: #07-Bowyer,
      Caution 8: #17-Kenseth,
      Caution 9: #8-Martin,
      Caution 10: no free pass if 10 laps of less left in race
      (11-9-2008)

    • Johnson has the highest winning % of active drivers: With seven wins in 2008, #48-Jimmie Johnson has passed #24-Jeff Gordon on the all-time list for Cup Series win percentage. Overall, Johnson is eighth all-time in win percentage [drivers with over 100 starts]:
      1. Herb Thomas -- 21.05% (48 wins, 228 starts)
      2. Tim Flock -- 20.86% (38/187)
      3. David Pearson -- 18.26% (105/574)
      4. Richard Petty -- 16.89% (200/1184)
      5. Fred Lorenzen -- 16.46% (26/158)
      6. Fireball Roberts -- 16.02% (33/206)
      7. Junior Johnson -- 15.97% (50/313)
      8. Jimmie Johnson -- 15.75% (40/254)
      9. Jeff Gordon -- 14.89% (81/544)
      10. Cale Yarborough -- 14.82% (83 / 560)
      (stats from Racing-reference.info and NASCAR Statistics)(11-9-2008)

    • 2009 Crew Chief for Newman? UPDATE 3 car chief: hearing that #8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. crew chief, Tony Gibson, will be Ryan Newman's crew chief on the #39 U.S. Army Chevy Stewart-Haas Racing team in 2009.(10-21-2008)
      UPDATE: Longtime Richard Childress Racing team executive Bobby Hutchens confirmed Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway that he has a contract offer to become general manager at Stewart Haas Racing. "I have an opportunity with Stewart Haas," Hutchens said as he walked through the garage toward pit road prior to the Dickies 500. "I'll make a decision here in a couple days." Several sources close to SHR, Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. -- Hutchens' current employer -- told ESPN.com that Hutchens had already signed a contract with Stewart Haas, but Hutchens said otherwise. "Nothing is signed," Hutchens said.(ESPN.com)(11-3-2008)
      UPDATE 2: hearing that Stewart-Haas Racing will make an announcement at Homestead-Miami Speedway about Newman's crew chief and the general manager/competition director for the team.(11-7-2008)
      UPDATE 3: during SPEEDtv's NASCAR Raceday, Wendy Venturini reported that #43 crew chief, Jeff Meendering, will be Tony Stewart's car chief on the #14 Stewart-Hass Racing Chevy in 2009 and that rumor has it that Tony Gibson will leave DEI and be #39-Newman's crew chief, plus bring along the complete #8 DEI pit crew.(11-9-2008) Comment here

    • Logano out of the #20..before he gets in? UPDATE denied: Let's start the [ESPN] blog with a bang and throw out the latest rumor going around the Cup garage area. Will plans to have rookie Joey Logano replace Tony Stewart next season in the #20 Toyota change? Speculation is Joe Gibbs Racing officials are trying to work out a deal to get #1-Martin Truex Jr. from Dale Earnhardt Inc. to drive the #20 car next year. If JGR can't get Truex, they might make a run at #2-Kurt Busch, who wants out of his deal with Penske Racing.
      A quick warning: Rumors are rampant these days in NASCAR because of the difficult economic times. So here's another rumor: JGR president J.D. Gibbs is expected to arrive at Phoenix today and possibility address this issue to deny all of it. The Logano/Truex gossip started because of DEI's tenuous situation right now on sponsorship, and growing concerns that the 18-year-old Logano might not be ready to race Cup full-time next year. But Home Depot, primary sponsor for the #20 Camry, already has invested tons of money in a marketing campaign for Logano [as well as diecast's with Motorsports Authenics, see an image of the #20 Home Depot/Logano scheme on my 2009 #20 Team Schemes page].(ESPN blog)(11-8-2008)
      UPDATE denied: Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs reiterated on Saturday that Joey Logano will drive the #20 Toyota in 2009. "Everything he's done up to now he's done exceptionally well," Gibbs said. "When you get to this level, everybody is really good." Logano has failed to finish on the lead lap in the three Cup races he's run this season, which has left the rookie with an average showing of 37th. In last Sunday's Dickie's 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, he was unable to maintain minimum speed on the racetrack. But NASCAR still allowed Logano to compete. "We threatened him within an inch of his life — just finish the race," Gibbs joked. "It's just going to take time."(FoxSports)
      AND “For God’s sakes, please write that Joey Logano is driving the #20 car next year. … Unequivocally, Joey is in the 20. Please print that and tell everyone else.” Those words were uttered by a frustrated and angry Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs Sunday morning in the Sprint Cup garage at Phoenix International Raceway. Gibbs made the declaration after ESPN.com reported Saturday that Logano might be replaced next year by Martin Truex Jr. [or Kurt Busch] in the #20 Home Depot-sponsored car. Responding to the report, Gibbs said, “I don’t know where it started, where it came from, but it’s frustrating for everybody. You can’t just say stuff like that. That’s crazy talk. So for me, I would say, look, he’s in the car. It’s done. That’s been done a long time ago. The Nationwide stuff, he’s done a great job with it. Cup is harder. Hey, you’re going to have your struggles. All of our guys have. He’ll be fine. He’s going to be in good shape.”(SPEEDtv)
      AND II: The rumor that Joe Gibbs Racing wanted to postpone Joey Logano's full-time entry into the Cup series until 2010 and put Kurt Busch or Martin Truex Jr. into the #20 next season was just that -- a rumor. "I don't know where that came from," JGR president J.D. Gibbs said. "Joey Logano will be in the #20 next year." Gibbs said he spent much of Saturday afternoon and early Sunday morning explaining to reporters and sponsors that there was nothing to the rumor and that the team was completely behind the 18-year-old phenom.(ESPN)(11-9-2008) Comment here

    • Latest merger rumors: DEI picked up the 2009 option on #1-Martin Truex's contract in August, but another rumor floating through the garage is that Bass Pro Shops, the primary sponsor of Truex's car at DEI, may join Stewart-Haas Racing next year as the second sponsor for #39-Ryan Newman [Burger King is another rumored sponsor]. DEI has discussed merger possibilities with Chip Ganassi Racing and Petty Enterprises.(ESPN blog)
      Jayski update in mergers: hearing the possible DEI/Ganassi merger is not off [as was posted Friday, see #41 Team News page for the rumor] and is actually close to being done with Ganassi being the team 'presence' at the track with the deal waiting on GM's [Chevy] approval. As for the Petty/DEI rumor? the manufacturer differences squashed that deal as Petty Enterprises would not switch to Chevy and DEI would not switch to Dodge.(11-8-2008)
      MORE - Ganassi talks: Chip Ganassi started 2008 with three Cup cars, but shut down the #40 team when no sponsor could be found. Reed Sorenson will leave the #41 after the end of this year to go to Gillett Evernham Motorsports, and even though Target is returning as that team's sponsor no driver for 2009 has been named. Texaco/Havoline is also out after this year on the #42 driven by Juan Pablo Montoya, leaving that team with only half of next year's races sponsored - at least so far. Now, one of the hottest rumors in the NASCAR garage is that Ganassi is talking to Dale Earnhardt Inc., Petty Enterprises and perhaps others about possible affiliations or mergers for 2009 and beyond. "Some of the rumors are true," Ganassi said. "Some of the rumors are not." He also said "we're just waiting for a few other shoes to drop before we nail down a driver for the 41." While he wouldn't speak to further specifics, Ganassi said that in general terms racing is battling the same economic issues other businesses are. "Whatever business anybody is in right now, people think it is special for some reason," Ganassi said. "The oil business is special because it's the oil business. The car business is special because it's in Detroit. Racing is special because it's racing."(Charlotte Observer)(11-9-2008) Comment here

    • BDR unsure of future Cup plans: Car owner Bill Davis [#22 Toyota] has been open to selling part of his team to an investor - or even more - but all he has to show are "a couple of near misses." The economy is making it more difficult to close a deal with banks less likely to lend large sums of money. "Money availability seems to be the problem," he said. With the season coming to a close, Davis is uncertain of his team 's future. He started the year with two cars but Jacques Villeneuve was unable to get sponsorship and the second car quickly went away. Caterpillar leaves as sponsor for Dave Blaney's team to join Richard Childress Racing and Davis hasn't found a replacement. " I'm an optimistic person, but I don't know what's going to happen," he said. "It's pretty tough times out here. There are not a lot of sponsors."(Virginian-Pilot)(11-9-2008) Comment here

    • Elliott may come back for a few races in 2009 UPDATE 2 and Petty?: Q: You really think you'll [Bill Elliott] be able to step out of the car for good at the end of this season? What if the Wood Brothers come knocking on your door again to maybe run a few more races for them again next season?
      Elliott: At this point in time, I don't know. I think I'm just going to look at the next few races and see if I can help 'em out maybe, but it would just be a short-team deal. A few and that's it. I think right now they're trying to sell stuff, and they don't really have a whole lot else going on. If we can turn around and get something going here -- and keep it going -- that's one thing. If it's gonna go and turn around and change directions on you, then no, I don't want to do this anymore. We've been through some changes [at Wood Brothers Racing] and now we've kind of turned the corner a little bit. But there again, unless they can put several deals together, it's gonna be tough on them boys anyway. You never can predict the future.
      As far as me ever runnin' a full-time deal again? No, never. Would I run a couple first off? Yeah, maybe. But that would be it. And if they could find something to fill the void before the first of next year, I wouldn't even do that. What I'm saying, I guess, is let's get through the next few races -- and then what they find out and what they come up with will be the determining factor.(NASCAR.com)(10-22-2008)
      UPDATE: Bill Elliott said Friday he is open to returning to the Wood Brothers team next season in a part-time role. Team co-owners Eddie and Len Wood remain in discussions with potential sponsors and also in talks about possibly merging with other teams. Their 2009 plans remain up in the air. "I like the group," Elliott said of the Woods' team. "I like all the guys they've put together here. It seems like we've finally got some things working. I'll probably do a little bit [next year], but not a lot. I enjoy the driving part. I just don't like the politics. Ford's been good to me throughout the years. I still see a lot of fans that support me. I still have friends around the country I'm able to go see through this deal."(SceneDaily)(11-8-2008)
      UPDATE 2 -- Petty? Wood Brothers Racing is one of many teams in the Sprint Cup garage that’s examining any number of driver/sponsor/partnership options for 2009. One experienced veteran talking to the Wood Brothers about 2009 is Kyle Petty, who isn’t interested in a full-time ride, but would be happy to share driving responsibilities with one or more other drivers. Petty drove for the Wood Brothers from 1985-88, winning two Sprint Cup races and posting 19 top-five finishes. “Who wouldn’t want to drive for the Wood Brothers?” Petty said Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway. “I drove for ‘em before. I like them. They’ve got a little bit of money. There’s a couple of guys who have a little bit of money. And you put one of your deals and one of their deals together, the next thing you know, you’ve got a pretty healthy team.”(Ford Racing)(11-9-2008) Comment here


      News from November 8, 2008

    • Happy Hour practice for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway is over:
      #11-Hamlin 129.898
      #8-Martin 129.636
      #9-Kahne 129.352
      #31-Burton 129.324
      #20-Stewart 129.213
      slowest: #84-Speed 126.143 and #96-Schrader 126.347
      incidents: none reported
      See best speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Phoenix Practice Speeds Page.(11-8-2008)

    • First Saturday practice for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway is over, the top 5 are:
      #29-Harvick 131.377
      #99-Edwards 130.957
      #48-Johnson 130.648
      #24-Gordon 130.544
      #12-Newman 130.336
      slowest: #96-Schrader 125.353 and #09-Marlin 126.966
      incidents: none reported
      See best speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Phoenix Practice Speeds Page.(11-8-2008)

    • Stewart named parade grand marshall for Fiesta Bowl: Two-time Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart will serve as the Grand Marshal for the 38th Annual Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. As grand marshal, Stewart will not only lead this year’s Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade, but will also serve as a special guest at the 38th Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Monday, January 5, 2009, where he will participate in the pre-game festivities and coin toss. The 38th Annual Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade is scheduled for Saturday, January 3, 2009, at 11:00 a.m. in central Phoenix. This year’s theme, “Spirit of the Southwest,” honors the essence of Arizona’s breathtaking desert landscapes and unique cultural heritage. Reserved seating for the Parade is $25 and is available by calling the Fiesta Bowl Ticket Office at 480-350-0911 or by visiting www.fiestabowl.org.(True Speed Communications PR)(11-8-2008)

    • Speed/Red Bull to announced 2009 plans: Red Bull is expected to make if official next weekend at Homestead that Scott Speed will drive the #84 car next season. That's been all but set, but Red Bull hasn't made an announcement while Speed gained NASCAR approval at various sized tracks based on his performance.(Roanoke Times), been told the team will switch from the #84 to #82 for Speed, see images of the diecast car on my #82 Team Schemes page AND Speed is raising cash for the Chron’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) through a partnership with Muze Clothing, a Scottsdale-based company that helped Speed produce “Muffin Man” t-shirts, a design of his own creation. The charity t-shirts will go on sale November 3rd preceding the Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. More info on my Racing Charities page.
      .(11-8-2008)

    • Elliott may come back for a few races in 2009 UPDATE: Q: You really think you'll [Bill Elliott] be able to step out of the car for good at the end of this season? What if the Wood Brothers come knocking on your door again to maybe run a few more races for them again next season?
      Elliott: At this point in time, I don't know. I think I'm just going to look at the next few races and see if I can help 'em out maybe, but it would just be a short-team deal. A few and that's it. I think right now they're trying to sell stuff, and they don't really have a whole lot else going on. If we can turn around and get something going here -- and keep it going -- that's one thing. If it's gonna go and turn around and change directions on you, then no, I don't want to do this anymore. We've been through some changes [at Wood Brothers Racing] and now we've kind of turned the corner a little bit. But there again, unless they can put several deals together, it's gonna be tough on them boys anyway. You never can predict the future.
      As far as me ever runnin' a full-time deal again? No, never. Would I run a couple first off? Yeah, maybe. But that would be it. And if they could find something to fill the void before the first of next year, I wouldn't even do that. What I'm saying, I guess, is let's get through the next few races -- and then what they find out and what they come up with will be the determining factor.(NASCAR.com)(10-22-2008)
      UPDATE: Bill Elliott said Friday he is open to returning to the Wood Brothers team next season in a part-time role. Team co-owners Eddie and Len Wood remain in discussions with potential sponsors and also in talks about possibly merging with other teams. Their 2009 plans remain up in the air. "I like the group," Elliott said of the Woods' team. "I like all the guys they've put together here. It seems like we've finally got some things working. I'll probably do a little bit [next year], but not a lot. I enjoy the driving part. I just don't like the politics. Ford's been good to me throughout the years. I still see a lot of fans that support me. I still have friends around the country I'm able to go see through this deal."(SceneDaily)(11-8-2008) Comment here

    • Hunt Bros Pizza & State Water Heaters hope to be back in 2009: There’s been a dearth of new companies coming into NASCAR recently. But Hunt Brothers Pizza (HBP), which joined with Haas-CNC Racing [#66 & #70] in what was termed a “sponsorship test” in 2008, apparently liked what it saw. “HBP plans on participating in the 2009 racing season,” says Malea Barron of Hunt Brothers PR firm Gish, Sherwood and Friends. “However, at this time, HBP has not signed a contract with a team.”
      Can current Haas-CNC driver Scott Riggs stay in the Sprint Cup Series by bringing his sponsor to a new team? Apparently State Water Heaters has some interest in that scenario. “We are still working on our plans for ’09,” says Jeff Storie, the brand manager for State Water Heaters. “Scott has been a great asset for us and many of our hard-working plumbing contractors have enjoyed spending time with him. I hope we can remain together next year but we haven’t reached anything final at this point.”(Long Island Press)(11-8-2008)

    • GM-Chrysler merger looks to be on hold: The possibility of a merger between General Motors and Chrysler appears to be on hold. Chrysler owner Cerberus Capital Management and GM have been in talks about a merger for weeks, according to people familiar with the talks. The effort in recent days, however, seemed to be getting in the way of GM’s efforts to secure financial assistance from the federal government. The UAW opposed the idea of a merger that would result in substantial job losses. Industry analysts have predicted a GM-Chrysler merger would result in 30,000 to 40,000 job losses at Chrysler and additional losses through the economy. While not specifically naming Chrysler, GM said today that “considerations of such a transaction as a near-term priority have been set aside.” Spokespeople from GM and Cerberus have not been commenting on the talks since they were first revealed publicly about a month ago. “GM has recently explored the possibility of a strategic acquisition that it believed would generate significant cost reduction synergies and substantially strengthen GM’s financial position in the medium and long term, while being neutral or modestly positive to cash flow even in the near term,” GM’s statement said. “While the acquisition could potentially have provided significant benefits, the company has concluded that it is more important at the present time to focus on its immediate liquidity challenges and, accordingly, considerations of such a transaction as a near-term priority have been set aside.” In response to GM’s statement, Chrysler issued its own that neither confirmed nor denied that it was part of talks to merger with GM. “As we have previously stated, Chrysler LLC neither confirms nor discloses the nature of its private business meetings, as many times they do not come to fruition,” Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli said in a statement. Returning Chrysler to profitability continues to be the key focus of the management team,” Nardelli added. “We are significantly challenged by today’s economic environment and by the automotive industry's unprecedented downturn. As an independent company, we will continue to explore multiple strategic alliances or partnerships as we investigate growth opportunities around the world that would aid in our return to profitability.”(Detroit Free Press)(11-8-2008)


      News from November 7, 2008

    • Johnson on pole at Phoenix: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Coor's Light Pole for the Checker Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway with a speed of 134.725mph for his 6th pole of 2008 and 19th pole of his career. Johnson is now 26th on the all-time pole list. #26-McMurray will start 2nd followed by #2-Busch, #44-Reutimann. #88-Earnhardt Jr., #12-Newman, #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #15-Menard and #8-Martin.
      The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #10-Allmendinger, #47-Ambrose, #96-Schrader, #45-Petty, #09-Marlin, #21-Elliott and #70-Sauter. Only one driver misses the race is #78-Nemechek.
      See qualifying order, results, pole progression and starting lineup on my Phoenix Qualifying/Starting Grid Page.(11-7-2008)

    • Where do the 12 Chase drivers start at Phoenix
      1) #48-Jimmie Johnson on the pole, 1st
      2) #99-Carl Edwards 16th
      3) #16-Greg Biffle 31st
      4) #31-Jeff Burton 24th
      5) #24-Jeff Gordon 7th
      6) #07-Clint Bowyer 28th
      7) #29-Kevin Harvick 19th
      8) #20-Tony Stewart 29th
      9) #17-Matt Kenseth 34th
      10) #18-Kyle Busch 14th
      11) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5th
      12) #11-Denny Hamlin 8th
      (11-7-2008)

    • Phoenix Qualifying Fast Facts
      Jimmie Johnson won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 with a lap of 26.721 seconds, 134.725 mph.
      This is his 19th pole in 254 Sprint Cup Series races.
      This is his sixth pole and 27th top-10 start in 2008.
      This is his first pole in 11 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
      Jamie McMurray (second) posted his seventh top-10 start of 2008 and his fourth in 11 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
      Kurt Busch (third) posted his seventh top-10 start at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his 10th in 35 races this season.
      Ragan Smith (21st) was the highest qualifying rookie.
      (NASCAR Statistics)(11-7-2008)

    • Qualifying Order for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway 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 #66-Riggs, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #7-Gordon. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is #09-Marlin, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #47-Ambrose. See the full qualifying order on my Phoenix Qualifying Page.(11-7-2008)

    • Friday practice for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway is over, the top five:
      #48-Johnson 132.871
      #5-Mears 132.861
      #88-Earnhardt Jr. 132.846
      #18-Busch 132.787
      #26-McMurray 132.533
      slowest: #09-Marlin 130.086 and #28-Kvapil 129.903
      See best speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Phoenix Practice Speeds Page.(11-7-2008)

    • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Phoenix International Raceway:
      if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
      #10-A.J. Allmendinger, 8th fastest
      #47-Marcos Ambrose, 30th
      #77-Sam Hornish Jr. 32nd
      #70-Johnny Sauter, 33rd
      #21-Bill Elliott [past champ 1988], 34th
      #45-Kyle Petty, 37th
      #96-Ken Schrader, 38th
      #78-Joe Nemechek, 42nd
      if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
      #09-Sterlin Marlin, 43rd of 44 cars
      (11-7-2008)

    • 2009 Crew Chief for Newman? UPDATE: hearing that #8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. crew chief, Tony Gibson, will be Ryan Newman's crew chief on the #39 U.S. Army Chevy Stewart-Haas Racing team in 2009.(10-21-2008)
      UPDATE: Longtime Richard Childress Racing team executive Bobby Hutchens confirmed Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway that he has a contract offer to become general manager at Stewart Haas Racing. "I have an opportunity with Stewart Haas," Hutchens said as he walked through the garage toward pit road prior to the Dickies 500. "I'll make a decision here in a couple days." Several sources close to SHR, Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. -- Hutchens' current employer -- told ESPN.com that Hutchens had already signed a contract with Stewart Haas, but Hutchens said otherwise. "Nothing is signed," Hutchens said.(ESPN.com)(11-3-2008)
      UPDATE 2: hearing that Stewart-Haas Racing will make an announcement at Homestead-Miami Speedway about Newman's crew chief and the general manager/competition director for the team.(11-7-2008) Comment here

    • Hornish back to Indy Cars? UPDATE denied: Though #77-Sam Hornish Jr. again finished ahead of fellow rookie of the year contender #01-Regan Smith, padding his lead in the ROTY standings, rumors continue to swirl that Hornish Jr. could be headed back to Indy Cars next season.(Yahoo Sports)(11-3-2008)
      UPDATE: at Phoenix International Raceway Friday morning, #77-Sam Hoprnish Jr. denied he was leaving NASCAR and heading back to the IRL for the 2009 season and plans to be back in Sprint Cup in 2009 try to win races in the #77 car.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-7-2008) Comment here

    • Evernham selling interest in GEM: A fan approached Ray Evernham at the SEMA Show on Wednesday and asked what driver Reed Sorenson will bring to Gillett Evernham Motorsports next season. "I'm not getting a new driver," Evernham said. "Gillett Evernham is getting a new driver. I'm not really involved there." Evernham's role as the minority owner at GEM has been reduced to almost nothing since June. Soon his minority ownership will be reduced to almost nothing as plans are in the works to buy out most of his remaining 20% interest in the organization he formed in 2001. "We're working on that and hope to make some announcement shortly about where I'm going to be doing for the rest of my racing career," Evernham said. Evernham hesitates to use the word retirement. He still plans to be actively involved in racing, whether it's through his broadcast career with ESPN or other ventures he working on. He's opening a new shop in the Lake Norman area Charlotte, N.C., that will serve as his headquarters. Does his future include owning another race team? "Let me think about that ... uh, no," he said with a laugh. Does it include a management role, such as the one he was offered with Stewart-Haas Racing? "Let me think about that too . . . uh, no," Evernham said. Evernham doesn't want a role that consumes his life as being an owner and crew chief did. He's enjoying getting back to grassroots racing with the new fuel-injected cars he's building and spending more time with his 16-year-old son.(ESPN.com)(11-7-2008) Comment here

    • Latest Ganassi merger rumor? Petty? UPDATE4 negotiations fell thru?:Trying to pin down the state of Petty Enterprises, under its new Boston Ventures' management, and the future of the Chip Ganassi operation has been tough enough the last few weeks, but now the speculation of a GM-Chrysler corporate merger has thrown things into a real tizzy. Insiders at both the Petty and Ganassi Dodge camps say there is speculation that the two struggling teams may somehow merge, and that that speculation is fueled by the sense that fellow Dodge owner George Gillett, who has majority interest in Gillett-Evernham-Motorsports, is "99 percent" certain to jump to Toyota. Ray Evernham was Dodge's mainstay in NASCAR racing, making such a move highly unusual. Dodge officials a few weeks ago denied such a change might be coming. One major complication for Dodge teams like Petty's and Ganassi's is that Gillett-Evernham has been a major Dodge engine operation. If Gillett moves to Toyota, then Dodge loses a very big player.(Winston-Salem Journal)(10-12-2008)
      UPDATE: hearing that a Ganassi-Petty Enterprises merger is still possible with Target being the sponsor for Bobby Labonte in the #43. With #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #44-Chad McCumbee as teammates and a possible 4th team with Kyle Petty running part time in the #45.(10-21-2008)
      UPDTE 2 - DEI?: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is negotiating with several organizations, including Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Petty Enterprises. "We're talking to a lot of different people," Sabates said on Tuesday. "We're keeping our options open. Obviously, the way things are going today with sponsors, unless you have the sponsors you can't run. We only have a sponsor for the 41 car [Target] and the 42 [Wrigley's Big Red/Juicy Fruit] for half a year. We're looking at all possibilities." DEI and Petty Enterprises are in similar situations. DEI has only the #1 car of Martin Truex Jr. fully sponsored for next season, with partial sponsors in line for the #8 and none for its other two cars. Petty Enterprises is looking for sponsors for the #43 and 44 that is expected to replace the #45. So how would a merger with DEI help Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates? "They have a sponsor for one and a half cars and we have a sponsor for one and a half cars, that makes three cars, doesn't it?" Sabates said. "The same thing with Petty. They've got one car. There are other people out there, too." The biggest stumbling block for DEI to merge with Ganassi or Petty may be manufacturer permission. DEI is under contract with General Motors to field Chevys and the other two are under contract with Dodge/Chrysler. The proposed merger between GM and Chrysler could help that situation, but there remain other obstacles on both sides. "Everything is up in the air," Sabates said. "We're just talking in theory. We don't know what is going to happen. We don't have anything concrete with anybody. And I'm not saying we will do anything."(ESPN.com)(11-4-2008)
      UPDATE 3: An alliance is in the works that would combine the #s 1 and 8 Chevys at DEI with the #s 41 and 42 of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates next season. The newly combined outfit would boast a lineup consisting of Martin Truex Jr., with Bass Pro Shops sponsorship, Juan Pablo Montoya, with Wrigleys sponsorship, and Aric Almirola. Ganassi still has a deal in place with sponsor Target, but it is unknown right now whether that will be for Almirola or for a yet-to-be-determined fourth driver. Ganassi could offer the presence of an at-track, hands-on owner, an important element that's been missing at DEI since the death of its founder Dale Earnhardt. Ganassi won four titles in Champ Car and two titles as an owner in the IRL IndyCar Series, including this season. Ganassi's current contract with Dodge extends through 2010. Given the economic climate and uncertainty of the Dodge program beyond 2009, the move would align Ganassi with Chevrolet for next year and beyond. Max Siegel, president of global operations declined comment on the report.(FoxSports)(11-5-2008)
      UPDATE4: hearing that DEI and Ganassi are not going to merge after meeting Wednesday and there was no deal and negotiations are off.
      BUT sources at PIR tell me that the deal is 'not' off' and DEI and Ganassi still may be talking.(11-7-2008) Comment here

    • Bad Boy Mowers to Sponsor #22 in final two 2008 races: Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced that Bad Boy Mowers will take over the sponsorship of the #22 Toyota in Sprint Cup Series competition for the final two races of the 2008 season. The two-race sponsorship opportunity comes after BDR bids a final farewell to its long-standing sponsorship with Caterpillar, which began in 1999. “This seems to be the year of change”, said Bill Davis, whose CAT sponsored team won the Daytona 500 in 2002. “That’s the one thing about life and NASCAR, is that you can always count on change. We had a great run with CAT and we are thankful for its sponsorship of our team over the years. My wife and I have made many friendships that will last forever. Our team is happy to have those Bad Boy Mowers come on board for the last two races of 2008. We are heavy into 2009 planning and are sorting out sponsorship of our Toyota powered program for next season.” Bill Davis Racing competes in both the Sprint Cup Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. BDR continues to seek sponsorship for the 2009 season.(BDR PR)(11-7-2008) Comment here

    • Phoenix Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Phoenix 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 Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams to run at Phoenix this past April . . . this is one of the more popular tire combinations in Goodyear's 2008 tire lineup . . . in addition to Phoenix, teams in all three major NASCAR series have run this specific combination at Richmond and New Hampshire this season . . . teams in the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series have also run this tire set-up at Milwaukee, Gateway, Indianapolis Raceway Park and Memphis this year . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Phoenix. The estimated pit window is every 75-80 laps, based on fuel mileage. Goodyear's "Spirit of America" airship, based out of Carson, Calif., will be covering the NASCAR race weekend at Phoenix.(Goodyear PR), see codes, pressures and more on my Phoenix Race Info page or the 2008 Tire Notes page.(11-7-2008)

    • Texas TV Ratings flat: ABC’s live coverage of the Dickies 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway earned a final national rating of 3.7, the same as last year’s race that also aired live on ABC. The telecast averaged 5,889,504 viewers. Through eight races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, ABC’s ratings are basically even with last year, averaging a 3.7. Ratings for the males ages 35-54 demographic have seen an increase of four percent. ESPN2’s live coverage of the Nationwide Series race at Texas earned a 1.2 household coverage rating, down from the 1.3 for last year’s race that also aired live on ESPN2. The telecast averaged 1,565,530 viewers. For the season, ESPN2’s ratings for the Nationwide Series are averaging a 1.5 and are up 7% from last year. See past TV Ratings for the races in 2008 on my 2008 TV Ratings News and Chart page.(11-7-2008) Comment here

    • First Diversity Apprentice named for MWR:: Toyota and Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that Josh Ray is the diversity apprentice selected from Toyota’s Technician Training and Education Network (T-TEN) alumni program. American Indian descendant and Oklahoma-native Ray will relocate to North Carolina to begin a one- year, technical position within the MWR organization, directly involved with the teams’ NASCAR participation beginning on Monday, November 10, 2008. The three-part position will include rotations with Michael Waltrip Racing’s tear down area, electronics department and also in the suspension department. After reviewing many applications from previous T-TEN graduates, Ray was chosen by the selection committee as one of three finalists to advance to the next round, which consisted of interviews with the Michael Waltrip Racing organization. Once the interviews were concluded and the final candidates were evaluated, Ray was awarded the opportunity of a lifetime – a one year apprenticeship with one of the most popular teams in NASCAR.(Toyota PR)(11-7-2008)

    • O’Reilly Auto Parts signs deal with NASCAR: O’Reilly Auto Parts and NASCAR announced an exclusive multi-year agreement for O’Reilly to become the Official Auto Parts Retailer of NASCAR. The agreement allows for O’Reilly Auto Parts to be an exclusive NASCAR partner and utilize NASCAR marks and marketing programs in store and in related media. As part of this agreement, O’Reilly will become a contingency sponsor for the competitors as well as provide season-ending awards in both the Sprint Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series. The O’Reilly Auto Parts “People, Service and Performance” Award recognizes the team effort made both on the track and in the pits. O’Reilly has been a longtime NASCAR industry participant. The auto parts chain is currently the title sponsor of six NASCAR events in 2008, including the O’Reilly 300 and O’Reilly Challenge Nationwide Series races both held at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Tex. Additionally the company sponsors the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9.(NASCAR PR)(11-6-2008)


      News from November 6, 2008

    • Air Force leaving Wood Brothers? hearing that the Air Force sponsorship will leave the #21 Wood Brothers Ford and could be headed to either one of the Roush Racing teams [#'s 6,16,17,26,99] or Yates Racing [#28, #38].(11-6-2008) Comment here

    • Humpy Wheeler Wins Two Awards from the University of South Carolina: H.A. (Humpy) Wheeler, legendary auto racing promotor, will receive two prestigious awards from his alma mater, the University of South Carolina on Thursday [11/6]. The first will be the "Pioneer Award" from the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management for his award winning work in sports promotion the last 50 years particularly the 33 years he served as president of both Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte and Speedway Motorsports, Inc., the first motorsports company to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. The second award will honor him as the "Outstanding Alumni" at the Summit Club by the USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications and will be presented by current Dean and former CNN correspondent Charles Bierbauer. Wheeler is a 1961 journalism graduate of USC where he was a member of the football team, the Block C Club, Blue Key Honorary Society, Dean's List and Sigma Chi. He was also an outstanding amateur boxer with a 40-2 record and is a member of the Carolinas Boxing Hall of Fame. Wheeler, known throughout the world of sports for his unique and creative promotions, left Speedway Motorsports and Lowe’s Motor Speedway last May after his 33rd Coca Cola 600 and formed The Wheeler Company with his son Trip and daughter Patti. The Wheeler Company is a management consulting operation primarily focused on providing innovative promotional and developmental ideas in the areas of professional sports, motorsports and general business A member of nine halls of fame including the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, Wheeler has won a bevy of national and state awards for his work in auto racing as well as civic endeavors and has been honored by three North Carolina governors for his work with his home state. The Pioneer in Sport and Entertainment Award recognizes an individual for an innovative contribution in the fields of sport, entertainment or venue management. This recipient has pioneered an idea, strategy, program or product that has altered the way our industry does business and resulted in an achievement generally recognized for its long term significance.(NASCAR PR)(11-6-2008)

    • New Crew Chief for McMurray in 2009 UPDATE2: from a Detroit Free Press article by NASCAR Sprint Cup owner Jack Roush: "By the way, Jamie [McMurray, #26 Ford after his 1st top-5 in over a year] did the job at Charlotte [in the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway], finishing fifth. We'll be looking to 2009 with a new crew chief for him -- mix up the chemistry again".(Detroit Free Press), so looks like current #26 crew chief, Larry Carter, will not return to the #26 team and McMurray in 2009.(10-17-2008)
      UPDATE: hearing that McMurray will reunite with his former Ganassi crew chief Donnie Wingo and Carter could be headed to Yates Racing as the crew chief for Paul Menard.(10-18-2008)
      UPDATE2: "I am all for the crew chief change because I've worked with the crew chief in the past," McMurray said of bringing in veteran Donnie Wingo. "He's like my best friend, and ever since I left Ganassi, I have remained very good friends with Donnie. "The whole time I was at Ganassi, I can remember seeing crew chiefs that had an engineering background and thinking in my head, 'Damn, I really wish I had a crew chief with that background, because I think that would take me to that next level. Instead of running sixth to 12th, we'll maybe contend for wins. But I didn't realize how great I had it. I've missed Donnie ever since. Larry's done a great job, but you kind of get used to working with someone, and I feel like everyone I've had since [Wingo], I've compared to my times with Donnie. And those were probably some of the best races for me. Next year, I think, should be my best year ever."(ESPN.com)(11-6-2008) Comment here

    • Congrats - John Fuller: Comptroller at Hall of Fame Racing, John Fuller and his wife Tami welcomed a new member to the #96 Hall of Fame Racing team yesterday [Wednesday] evening as Allison Mae Fuller was welcomed into the world at 5:58pm. Allison weighed 7 lbs. 14 ounces and her length was 21.5 inches. Mother and daughter are doing very well.(11-6-2008)

    • Cheez-It colors for the #5 at Phoenix: Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway will mark the final 2008 race in which Cheez-It will adorn the hood of the #5 Chevrolet of Casey Mears. Cheez-It has been the co-primary sponsor on the Chevy in three races this season -- Texas [April], Pocono [Aug], and Auto Club Speedway. Cheez-It will return to the hood of the #5 Chevy [with Mark Martin as the driver] for select races in 2009. Sponsor CARQUEST and Brakes Plus are participating in the KNIX Radio "Million Can Crusade," a Phoenix-area canned food drive to benefit the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Twelve CARQUEST locations will serve as official drop-off points, while Brakes Plus will run the program at 13 of its branches. Visit www.knixcountry.com for more information.(HMS PR), see images of the scheme of my #5 Team Schemes page and my 2009 #5 Team Schemes page.(11-6-2008) Comment here

    • Congrats to McMurray: Ladies, Mr. McMurray is officially off the market. #26-Jamie McMurray told me [ESPN's Marty Smith] Tuesday he proposed to longtime girlfriend Christy Futrell.(ESPN.com)(11-6-2008)

    • Delphi Continues with Hendrick Motorsports & JR Motorsports: Delphi announced that it will continue its major associate sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports during the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. In addition, Delphi will be the primary sponsor for seven Nationwide Series races with JR Motorsports next year. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas. Delphi will be the primary sponsor for one Nationwide Series race with driver Tony Stewart in the #5 Delphi Chevy fielded by JR Motorsports. Additionally, Delphi will be the primary sponsor for Brad Keselowski in the JR Motorsports #88 Chevrolet for six Nationwide races in 2009. The race details will be announced in the near future. Delphi also will be an associate sponsor of all 2008 Hendrick Motorsports 2009 Spring Cup entries. Delphi will continue to be featured on the uniforms of all Hendrick Motorsports drivers for the 2009 season, including four-time Sprint Cup Champion Jeff Gordon, two-time defending Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin. For more information about Delphi's involvement in motorsports, visit www.delphi.com/about/motorsports.(Marketwire.com)(11-6-2008)

    • Chase Notes going into Phoenix: Chase Frontrunner #48-Jimmie Johnson’s amazing run of consecutive top 10 finishes in The Chase came to an end at Texas at 12, dating back to last season. In fact, Johnson’s 15th is his worst Chase finish since a 24th in race #4 of 2006 at Talladega. That’s how strong and consistent this team has been. Still, the #48 holds the largest lead with two to go in the five-year history of The Chase. It’s not that #99-Carl Edwards and #16-Greg Biffle aren’t good at Phoenix. It’s just that Jimmie Johnson has been terrific there, winning the last two races at PIR, four straight top 5s and six straight Top 10s. Edwards carded a fourth the last time out at PIR and Biffle had a second in the fall race last year. #18-Kyle Busch’s sixth at Texas moved him ahead of #88-Dale Jr. and #11-Denny Hamlin for 10th place, but he stands only one point ahead of Jr. and three ahead of Hamlin for the 'chase' to the stage at the Waldorg in NYC, only the top-10 drivers go to MYC and are on the stage. See more stats and history of the chase on my Chase Stats after Texas page and 2008 Chase News/Rules page.(11-6-2008)

    • McDonald’s Partners With #10 GEM Team at Phoenix: It will be a weekend of firsts for the #10 Dodge of A.J. Allmendinger at Phoenix International Raceway. For the first time since its partnership with Gillett Evernham Motorsports began, McDonald’s will be aboard the #10 Dodge. Allmendinger hasn’t started a Cup race at Phoenix in his 42-race career. He does have a 13th-place finish in his single Nationwide Series start at PIR last year. Sunday marks Allmendinger’s fourth race with GEM. In the first three races he’s posted the 16th most points of any driver. Only a late-race pit lane violation kept Allmendinger from moving even higher.(GEM PR)(11-6-2008)

    • Irwin paint scheme for McMurray at PIR: This weekend at Phoenix Internationak Raceway, Jamie McMurray will pilot his #26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Fusion for the last time this season. McMurray will participate in IRWIN Industrial Tools’ “Ultimate Tradesman Challenge” championship on Sunday morning. Over 10,000 tradesmen have competed in the challenge and this weekend the four North American finalist will compete for the title of North American Champion and will win an "ultimate" garage by Allied Steel Buildings and a Stage III Roush Performance Ford F-150. The competition will conclude with the North American champion and the Australian Champion competing for the ultimate prize - a shot at winning $1.26 million. IRWIN will also donate $10,000 to the Jamie McMurray Foundation.(RFR PR), see images of the #26 Team Schemes page.(11-6-2008)

    • Donated Petty Enterprises racecar gets Virginia Tech makeover: Race fans attending Virginia Tech’s Thursday night football game against Maryland are in for a treat. Virginia Tech motorsports research center VIPER Service will unveil a new color wrap -- burnt orange and Chicago maroon – on one of the Nextel Cup racecars donated by Petty Enterprises earlier this year. The letters “VT” will replace the ubiquitous number “43” associated with racing legend Richard Petty. The car, sporting a Hokie Bird on its roof, will be on display from 4:30 until 7:30pm on the Drillfield as part of the university’s tailgate activities, according to Steve Southward, VIPER Director. VIPER, the Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering and Research facility, is one of several mechanical engineering (ME) labs at Danville’s Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), an outreach partner of Virginia Tech. The VIPER Service vehicle also sports a new Dodge engine and other power-train components, so it is now ready to collect track data for research projects.
      Petty and son Kyle donated the car, and a twin, to the Virginia Tech Foundation for use by ME graduate students pursuing degrees at VIPER’s facilities in Halifax County and at IALR. The second car retains its original #43 decal and yellow, red and blue color wrap. “We wanted one of the cars to be a marketing tool for the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, VIPER Service, and Virginia Tech,” said Southward. “And the best way to do that was put a new wrap on it.”
      Wrap is a literal term. Few racecars are painted nowadays, according to Southward. Rather, cars are “wrapped” in vinyl sticker sheets – some quite large in size – formed to the car’s body. The basic wrap design doesn’t include the myriad of sponsor stickers and other decals placed all over the vehicle. On the car’s sides, where the doors normally would go, are the letters “VT.” In place of the number on the roof is a Hokie bird. VIPER, the IALR, the Center for Vehicle Systems and Safety (CVeSS) at Virginia Tech, Virginia International Raceway and a list of other research labs and manufacturers will be represented by an assortment of stickers. A series of mechanical engineering equations and actual test data also adorn the car.(VT PR)(11-6-2008)

    • Kahne and Newman running USAC race: #12-Ryan Newman and #9-Kasey Kahne will take to the track in the Copper World Classic, Newman in the 25-lap Midget feature in the #39 Hot Pepper Promotions Drinan/Esslinger Ford (entered by the 2008 NEMA Midget Championship team of Massachusetts-based Bertrand Motorsports) and he will finish the night by entering the #192 DDK of Illinois Beast/Chevy from Joliet in the 100-lap Silver Crown event; Kahne will enter the Midget event and drive the #67x Kasey Kahne Racing/Seymour Paints Team ASE/Beast/Speedway Mopar.(azcentral.com)(11-6-2008)

    • Phoenix Rookie Notes: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the November 2 Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, scoring a 23rd-place finish. Hornish Jr. grabbed top rookie honors for the fourth consecutive race and for the 11th time in 2008. Sam Hornish Jr. leads #01-Regan Smith by four points (198-194) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the November 8 Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart are the only Raybestos Rookies to win in 24 Sprint Cup races at Phoenix. Both wins came in the fall event: Stewart won from the pole in 1999, beating Mark Martin to the checkered flag by 2.081 seconds while Busch captured the 2005 event by .609 seconds over Greg Biffle. Stewart is the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in a race at Phoenix, leading the 1999 fall race three times for 150 laps. Three Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions at Phoenix, all coming in the fall race: Tony Stewart (1999), Casey Atwood (2001) and Ryan Newman (2002).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos) and see rookie history, notes, standings, rules on my 2008 Rookie Notes Page.(11-6-2008)


      News from November 5, 2008

    • RCR Reorganizes its Business Unit: Richard Childress Racing has reorganized its business unit to help strengthen the overall performance of the 11-time NASCAR championship-winning organization. Ben Schlosser has been promoted to the position of senior vice president, business operations. Schlosser joined RCR in April 2002 as director of corporate sales and sponsorships and was named vice president of marketing in 2004. In his newly expanded role, departments reporting to him will include partnership marketing, business development, communications, licensing, the RCR Racing Museum, and show car and promotions. “The purpose of this reorganization is to be more efficient for our sponsors and everyone involved in making RCR a success,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. “Ben has a very good understanding of the business side of RCR so bringing the communications, licensing and show car departments under his supervision, along with the partnership marketing department, will allow all of those units to work together more seamlessly.”
      Bill Patterson has been named executive vice president, support services. Patterson began his fulltime tenure at RCR in 1983 and has been a part of all 11 of its NASCAR championships. The departments now under his direction will include finance and accounting, human resources, aviation, and facilities and maintenance. Additional responsibilities will include capital and major expenditures, driver contracts and other contract issues. "Bill has been an asset to RCR since the early 1980s and will continue to be moving forward,” said Childress. “His new responsibilities will allow him to focus more on RCR’s finances and accounting, which has always been important but is even more so in the current economic climate.”(RCR PR)(11-5-2008)

    • Layoffs at Hendrick, Johnson's spotter included: During a modest round of layoffs Monday and Tuesday at Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie Johnson's spotter, Stevie Reeves, was told he would not return to the #48 Lowe's Chevy team next season, Reeves confirmed Tuesday night. Reeves and the Hendrick organization part on good terms. The spotter, who helped guide Johnson to his second consecutive Sprint Cup championship in 2007, has already been contacted by other teams and is weighing his options. "They wanted to give me plenty of time to find something before Homestead and not leave me hanging high and dry," said Reeves, who will spot the final two races of the season for Johnson as he attempts to win a record-tying third straight championship. "Rick Hendrick knows how to treat people, and that's what makes him so successful. Jimmie Johnson is a class act, and the only thing I regret is that I won't be working with him next year, but I'm going to land on my feet OK."(Sporting News)(11-5-2008) Comment here

    • Manufacturers’ Championships a three 'car' race: Only three points separate the top three outfits in one of the most hotly-contested Manufacturers’ Championships in history. With two races remaining in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Chevrolet leads the standings with 204 points, Ford has 202 and Toyota has 201. After the 26-race “regular season,” Chevrolet and Ford were tied for second in the Manufacturers’ Championship standings, 18 points behind first-place Toyota. But after combining for seven wins in eight Chase races, Chevrolet and Ford have vaulted into the top two spots. A Chevrolet has won the last six races at Phoenix International Raceway, while a Ford has won the last four at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(NASCAR PR), see the Manufacturers’ Championship standings on my 2008 Manufacturers’ Championship page.(11-5-2008)

    • Johnson on The Tonight Show: Back-to-back Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday, Nov. 6. The show airs at 11:35pm/et on NBC.

    • Sadler's #19 to be sponsored by Siemens at Phoenix: The #19 Dodge is racing with Siemens as the primary sponsor for Elliott Sadler for the weekend. The $96.6 billion electronics company's 400,000 worldwide employees are improving America’s infrastructure through technology and innovation in Medical, Power, Automation and Control, Transportation, Information and Communications, Lighting, Building Technologies, Water Technologies and Services and Home Appliances.(GEM PR), see an image of the scheme on my #19 Team Schemes page.(11-5-2008)

    • Last race for Texaco: Texaco/Havoline will adorn the hood of the #42 Dodge Charger of Juan Pablo Montoya for the last time this season. This will be the final paint scheme for Texaco/Havoline Racing after 22 years in the sport.(CGRFS PR)(11-5-2008) Comment here

    • HOF Racing looking at changes in 2009, needs sponsorship: The new owners [Diamondbacks' executives Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel] inherited a contract to get engines and chassis from Joe Gibbs Racing, which switched to Toyota from Chevrolet [after 2007]. Driver J.J. Yeley soon discovered he didn't have the same equipment as Gibbs' drivers Busch, Tony Stewart or Denny Hamlin. There wasn't an exchange of technical information, as often happens between other teams with similar deals. "Hall of Fame Racing thought the relationship it had with Joe Gibbs Racing was better than it was," Yeley said. "Because they thought they had a better product than they really did, it almost made them blind that they had a problem." Garfinkel admitted, "We inherited a contract that didn't have a lot of flexibility to it. It was more of a customer-supplier relationship than an alliance. We were hopeful we could evolve the relationship in that direction, and that didn't take place." Joey Logano, who takes over Stewart's #20 Camry next year, drove the #96 twice and didn't finish better than 32nd. "It was different than what I was used to driving after doing a lot of testing with Gibbs," he said. Yeley struggled even after a crew chief change. "They (owners) started hanging that blame and pressure on me. I hope now they realize it wasn't the driver. There were promises of big-name crew chiefs and a lot of testing. These were things we never really got to do." Yeley didn't qualify for four of 21 races, triggering a clause that reduced DLP's sponsorship. He said he renegotiated his contract to free-up money and that about a half-dozen employees were let go with him. Garfinkel said the changes were performance related. Yeley won the prestigious 4-Crown USAC midget feature in September but isn't entered in PIR's Thursday night Copper World Classic. He hired a marketing firm and said about $12 million in sponsorship would get him into a Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevy next season. The #96 isn't fully sponsored for 2009, and there's no new contract with Gibbs. "The team will be in a different sort of model next year," said Garfinkel. "Jeff and I are going through different options."(Arizona Republic)(11-5-2008) Comment here

    • Woman hit by stray bullet at Texas NASCAR race UPDATE: A NASCAR fan in her recreational vehicle at Texas Motor Speedway was wounded by a stray bullet after someone apparently fired a gun into the air, police said. A bullet suddenly pierced through the motor home's roof Sunday morning before the Dickies 500 race, hitting a woman in the right arm, relatives said. "She immediately (screamed), 'I've been shot. I've been shot.' She took off running out the door," her son-in-law Bobby Cook told Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT. The 62-year-old woman, whose name was not released by authorities, was taken to a nearby hospital with a "significant wound" and was listed in stable condition, police Lt. Paul Henderson said Monday. The bullet is believed to be a rifle round and appears to have been fired from a long distance because it penetrated the roof at a slight angle, Henderson said. He said he did not have information on whether investigators had any suspects. Some 40,000 fans in about 10,000 to 10,500 recreational vehicles camped at Texas Motor Speedway for the weekend's races, said TMS spokesman Mike Zizzo, who declined to comment on the shooting.(Associated Press)(11-4-2008)
      UPDATE: Fort Worth police are investigating reports from a 49-year-old Benbrook man who says he may be responsible for the stray bullet that hit an Arlington woman Sunday morning at Texas Motor Speedway. Kennith Jaramillo contacted Fort Worth police on Monday after hearing that Jill King Moss, 62, was hit in her arm by a .50-caliber bullet that pierced the roof of her RV, authorities said. Ms. Moss was taken to Harris Methodist Hospital and is expected to recover from her injuries. Given the bullet’s trajectory, Fort Worth police investigators believe the bullet came from a long distance away. Mr. Jaramillo told police he was target shooting five miles away from Texas Motor Speedway between 10 and 11 a.m, said Lt. Paul Henderson, a Fort Worth police spokesman. Mr. Jaramillo fired five or six rounds at a berm, a mound of dirt, with his .50-caliber Vulcan single shot rifle. Fort Worth police confiscated his weapon for ballistics tests. If tests confirm the bullet was fired from his weapon, Mr. Jaramillo could be charged with deadly conduct for recklessly firing a weapon, Lt. Henderson said. Mr. Jaramillo has not been arrested or charged in the incident.(Dallas Morning News)(11-5-2008) Comment here

    • Testing at Pikes Peak....cancelled: Kenny Wallace and the #28 U.S. Border Patrol/Jay Robinson Racing Chevy tested at Pikes Peak International Raceway on Monday, #7-Robby Gordon and team are scheduled to test at the track on Wednesday Nov. 5 in preparation for Phoenix. No word if testing is open to the public.(PPIR)(11-4-2008)
      UPDATE: been told that Gordon cancelled as the weather forecast is calling for rain.(11-5-2008)


      News from November 4, 2008

    • Osborne wins in Texas; Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year announced following Phoenix: Bob Osborne was named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Sunday's Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, setting up an historical three-man clash for the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year award during this weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway. Osborne gambled Sunday that his driver - Carl Edwards in the #99 Office Depot Ford - could run the final 69 laps (103.5 miles) on a tank of fuel. Osborne hit the jackpot as Edwards pulled off the win and gained 77 points on Sprint Cup Series points leader Jimmie Johnson. So Osborne, along with Chad Knaus, crew chief for the #48 team and driver Jimmie Johnson, and Steve Addington, Crew Chief for the #18 team and driver Kyle Busch, are tied with four "Crew Chief of the Race" NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins with just one race to go (winner decided annually after Phoenix race). As with each week, the Crew Chief panel of Todd Berrier of the Richard Childress Racing #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevy team, Osborne of the Roush Fenway Racing #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports #9 Budweiser Dodge team along with FOX/Speed Analyst Jeff Hammond, will vote on the winner. For this weekend's race in Phoenix, Wypall Wipers representatives have confirmed that the voting will only be between the three tied at the top so this truly is a Winner-take-all situation for the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. Once the dust has settled at Phoenix and the votes are in, Wypall Wipers will hold a press conference in Miami announcing this year's winner and will be presenting him with a check for $20,000. The event will be held on Friday night, November 14 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
      The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge has been a season-long contest that has strived each week to determine the best crew chiefs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, a panel (mentioned above) has voted to determine which Crew Chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn't necessarily the crew chief that goes to victory lane, but the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(Wypall PR)(11-4-2008)

    • Busch to give 100K to Ard UPDATE: 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)
      UPDATE: Sam Ard was unsettled late Saturday night, unable to sleep as he peppered his wife about things he couldn't remember. Were his parents still alive when he married Jo nearly 50 years ago? Were they doing a good job raising their children? "He asked me `What if I go back racing?' " Jo Ard said Monday. "I said `If you go back racing, I'm going to hand you divorce papers. Nobody is going to let you go racing.' " Ard's racing days are indeed long over. He's 69 years old and suffering from both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. He's not permitted to drive anywhere anymore, and no one is exactly sure how much Ard understands about the latest push to help his crumbling finances and mounting medical bills. Kevin Harvick, a champion of Ard's plight, donated a 2007 Chevrolet van last month to Ard's family that solved the transportation woes that plagued the couple since Jo's car died five months ago. Then the NASCAR Foundation and Motor Racing Outreach teamed for an online auction to benefit the Sam Ard Fund. The largest gesture, though, came Saturday afternoon when Kyle Busch committed $100,000 to Ard moments after winning the Nationwide Series race. The win at Texas Motor Speedway tied Ard's mark of 10 series victories in a season. Ard didn't have a particularly long NASCAR career, but his three seasons netted him two championships in the second-tier series now sponsored by Nationwide. He never got rich from racing, and collected roughly 25% of the $378,765 he made in winnings before suffering severe head trauma in a 1984 accident. Unable to secure a consistent income after the accident, the Ards blew through their children's college funds to cover everyday expenses. Unlike every other major professional league, NASCAR does not provide a pension to its participants [as they are consdiered independent contractors not NASCAR employees] and has not been on the hook for Ard or any other former driver facing financial difficulties. The NASCAR community has occasionally stepped in to help, and a 2006 plea to their peers by Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. led to a significant donation to Ard's care fund. That gesture and Ard's fight were the centerpiece of a 2007 Associated Press examination of NASCAR's indifference toward financially supporting its veterans. When Busch pledged his assistance, Jo Ard said the 23-year-old racer had no idea the magnitude of his gesture. She said she'll use a chunk of the money to make their bathroom handicap accessible so Ard can use it alone. "Kyle doesn't know what he's done. He really, truly does not know what he's done to take the load and the pressure off of me," Jo Ard told The AP by telephone Monday. "We can do the bathroom. I can maybe get someone to come to the house and help me if I need them, because we're here day in and day out because Sammy can't be left alone. He falls. He can't drive. He'll tell you he feels fine, but every day is different."(see full AP story at ESPN.com)(11-4-2008) Comment here

    • Sauter back in the #70 at Phoenix: Johnny Sauter will replace Tony Raines in the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevy at Phoenix International Raceway. Sauter, who has three top-10s in 75 career Cup starts, has a pair of ninth-place finishes at the track but will need to make the race based on qualifying speed. “It’s been a good race track for me,” Sauter said. “It’s a place I always look forward to going. It’s a good short track. It races well for me. I relish the opportunity to go there.” Sauter started the 2008 season driving for Phoenix Racing in the Nationwide Series, but he and the team parted ways after five races. He has 12 Nationwide starts and eight Cup starts this year. Obviously still looking for a 2009 ride, Sauter hopes to find something in one of NASCAR’s three national series next year, including the Truck series, which he has never competed in a full-time basis.(SceneDaily)(11-4-2008) Comment here

    • Jim Beam & Robby Gordon to Auction Authentic NASCAR Hood for Troops: As Veterans Day approaches, racing enthusiasts and philanthropists will have a chance to bid on a unique racing collectible while supporting America’s service members and their families. Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM), in combined efforts with Jim Beam Bourbon, has kindly donated the special edition Jim Beam/ Operation Homefront race car hood to Operation Homefront for auction. RGM and Jim Beam created a special Operation Homefront paint scheme for the Richmond and New Hampshire Sprint Cup Series events in order to increase awareness of Operation Homefront, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing emergency assistance and morale to U.S. troops and their families. To celebrate Veterans Day, they will run this paint scheme once more in Phoenix and will increase their commitment by auctioning off the hood to help raise funds for the organization. Jim Beam, the world’s No. 1-selling bourbon, formed an association with Operation Homefront earlier this year when it recognized the organization had the same commitment and values as the Jim Beam brand - true character, integrity and doing the right thing. The hood, autographed by Robby Gordon, will be auctioned off on eBay starting November 4 with the auction closing Veterans Day, November 11, just in time for holiday gift giving.(GMR Marketing PR), see images of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(11-4-2008)


      News from November 3, 2008

    • Texas overnight TV Ratings down a bit: ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Dickies 500 Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 3.4 with a 6 share. ABC earned a 3.6 overnight rating in 2007 for the race last year and a 3.7 final rating. See past TV Ratings for the races in 2008 on my 2008 TV Ratings News and Chart page.(11-3-2008) Comment here

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Dickies 500 at Texas:
      Total number of commercials: 119
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 67
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 21
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:30 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 7:15 PM
      Total minutes: 225
      Minutes of race broadcast: 170
      Minutes of commercials: 55
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 1
      Total race brdcst time 170 Total comm. brdcst time 55
      See full report and more on my TV Commercial Page.(11-3-2008) Comment here

    • Hutchens has offer from Stewart Haas: Longtime Richard Childress Racing team executive Bobby Hutchens confirmed Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway that he has a contract offer to become general manager at Stewart Haas Racing. "I have an opportunity with Stewart Haas," Hutchens said as he walked through the garage toward pit road prior to the Dickies 500. "I'll make a decision here in a couple days." Several sources close to SHR, Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. -- Hutchens' current employer -- told ESPN.com that Hutchens had already signed a contract with Stewart Haas, but Hutchens said otherwise. "Nothing is signed," Hutchens said.(ESPN.com)(11-3-2008) Comment here

    • Hornish back to Indy Cars? Though #77-Sam Hornish Jr. again finished ahead of fellow rookie of the year contender #01-Regan Smith, padding his lead in the ROTY standings, rumors continue to swirl that Hornish Jr. could be headed back to Indy Cars next season.(Yahoo Sports)(11-3-2008) Comment here

    • No further penalty for Gilliland: #38-David Gilliland swore that he didn’t mean to tag #42-Juan Pablo Montoya on lap 263 of the Dickies 500, but that didn’t mean that NASCAR didn’t penalize him. NASCAR parked Gilliland after the accident, which left Montoya fuming and with a torn-up race car. Gilliland didn’t tear up his race car, but NASCAR sat him for the rest of the race leaving him in 42nd while Montoya was 43rd. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said there will be no further penalties although both drivers likely will be talked to again prior to practice at Phoenix informing them not to keep the feud going on the race track.(Scene Daily)(11-3-2008) Comment here

    • Bruton Smith reaffirms desire to buy NASCAR: Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith gave his opinion on several pressing subjects [Sunday morning], including his long-standing desire to purchase NASCAR from the France family if the opportunity ever presented itself. "I stand by that," he said. "And it's getting closer." For the record, the France family has given no indication of having any desires to sell the sanctioning body that patriarch Bill France Sr. founded 60 years ago.But Smith always likes to stir the pot and get people talking.(ESPN.com) Comment here

    • NASCAR to honor past champions at Homestead: Legends throughout NASCAR's 60-year history will help crown the 2008 Sprint Cup Series champion during Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. On Nov. 16, the past champions will be honored as part of pre-race ceremonies prior to the season-finale Ford 400. Champions scheduled to appear include Bobby Allison, Kurt Busch, Ned Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace, Darrell Waltrip, and Rex White. Other past champions, including those competing in the Ford 400, will also be honored during the pre-race ceremony.(NASCAR PR)(11-3-2008)

    • All repeat winners at Texas: It proved to be a Texas Trifecta this weekend. Every winner this past spring also won this weekend. On Friday, Ron Hornaday Jr. won the Craftsman Truck Series race. On Saturday, Kyle Busch won the Nationwide Series race. Edwards capped it off with Sunday's win.(Fort Worth Star-Telegram)(11-3-2008)



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