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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    NOVEMBER 10-16, 2008




      News from November 16, 2008

    • Championship Notes:
      • Jimmie Johnson won the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship – his third consecutive championship. Johnson tied Cale Yarborough (1976-78) as the only drivers to win three consecutive series championships.
      • Johnson finished the 2008 season 69 points ahead of Carl Edwards.
      • Johnson is 33 years old and from El Cajon, Calif.
      • Johnson finished the 2008 season with seven wins, 15 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s. He had just one DNF. Three of his victories and eight of his top-10s came during the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
      • Johnson’s third championship comes in his seventh year of full-time competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He has finished in the top five in the final points standings all seven of those years.
      Team/Car Owner: Rick Hendrick/Jeff Gordon
      • This is the eighth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship for Hendrick Motorsports, second only to Petty Enterprises (nine).
      • This is Hendrick’s 25th fulltime season as a team owner and Gordon’s seventh year as a car owner.
      • This is car owner Jeff Gordon’s third championship – all with Johnson.
      Crew Chief: Chad Knaus
      • Chad Knaus won his third series championship as a crew chief – all with Johnson. He becomes the first crew chief in series history to win three consecutive championships.
      • Knaus is 37 years old and from Rockford, Ill. This is his eighth season as a crew chief – seventh with Hendrick Motorsports and Johnson as driver.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-16-2008)

    • Johnson the CHAMP; Edwards wins at Homestead: #99-Carl Edwards won the FORD 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway for his 9th win of the season and the 15th of his career. Edwards did what he needed to do, win the race and lead the most laps, but #48-Johnson finished 15th and won the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship by 69 points over Edwards. Johnson is the first driver to win three championships in a row since Cale Yarborough 1976-78 and only the 2nd driver ever. Crew Chief Chad Knaus is now the only crew chief ever to win three Sprint Cup Championships in a row. #29-Harvick finished 2nd, followed by #26-McMurray, #24-Gordon, #07-Bowyer, #9-Kahne, #28-Kvapil, #5-Mears, #20-Stewart and #1-Truex Jr. #88-Earnhardt Jr. broke a brake caliper and finished 41st. #47-Ambrose finished 42nd and #84-Vickers finished 32nd to get the #84 back into the Top-35 in owners points and drop the #47 out of the top-35 for the first five races of 2009. There were 7 cautions for 31 yellow flag laps and 15 lead changes among 8 leaders.
      For race results, awards and more, see my Homestead Race Results Awards Page.(11-16-2008)

    • UNOFFICIAL Final Chase Driver Points Standings [after Homestead race 36 of 36]:
      1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 6684 [7 wins]
      2) #99-Carl Edwards 6615 -69 [9 wins]
      3) #16-Greg Biffle 6467 -217 [2 wins]
      4) #29-Kevin Harvick 6408 -276
      5) #07-Clint Bowyer 6381 -303 [1 win]
      6) #31-Jeff Burton 6335 -349 [2 wins]
      7) #24-Jeff Gordon 6316 -368
      8) #11-Denny Hamlin 6214 -470 [1 win]
      9) #20-Tony Stewart 6202 -482 [1 win]
      10) #18-Kyle Busch 6186 -488 [8 wins]
      Top-10 go to NYC and the Banquet
      11) #17-Matt Kenseth 6184 -500
      12) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 6127 -557 [1 win]
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Homestead.(11-16-2008)

    • Final UNOFFICAL Classic Driver Points Standings (the OLD way)
      [after Homestead race 36 of 36]:

      1) #99-Carl Edwards 5226 [9 wins]
      2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5220 -16 [7 wins]
      3) #18-Kyle Busch 4984 -252 [8 wins]
      4) #16-Greg Biffle 4747 -489 [2 wins]
      5) #31-Jeff Burton 4709 -527 [2 wins]
      6) #29-Kevin Harvick 4691 -545
      7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4605 -631 [1 win]
      8) #24-Jeff Gordon 4537 - 699
      9) #20-Tony Stewart 4487 -749 [1 win]
      10) #07-Clint Bowyer 4487 - 749 [1 win]
      11) #11-Denny Hamlin 4439 -797 [1 win]
      12) #17-Matt Kenseth 4316 -920
      13) #6-David Ragan 4299 -937
      14) #9-Kasey Kahne 4085 -1151 [2 wins]
      (11-16-2008)

    • How did the Chase Drivers finish at Homestead:
      (Standings after Phoenix)
      1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 15th
      2) #99-Carl Edwards, 1st
      3) #16-Greg Biffle, 18th
      4) #31-Jeff Burton, 40th
      5) #29-Kevin Harvick, 2nd
      6) #07-Clint Bowyer, 5th
      7) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4th
      8) #17-Matt Kenseth, 25th
      9) #11-Denny Hamlin, 13th
      10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 41st
      11) #18-Kyle Busch, 19th
      12) #20-Tony Stewart, 9th
      (11-16-2008)

    • Homestead Race Fast Facts:
      Carl Edwards won the Ford 400, his 16th victory in 157 Sprint Cup Series races.
      This is his ninth victory and 27th top-10 finish in 2008.
      This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in five races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
      Kevin Harvick (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish in eight races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It is his 19th top-10 finish in 2008.
      Jamie McMurray (third) posted his third top-10 finish in seven races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
      Regan Smith (34th) was the highest finishing rookie.
      Jimmie Johnson won the championship by 69 points over Carl Edwards.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-16-2008)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Daytona in 2009:
      Ambrose dropped out of the top 35 for the 1st five races of 2009 and Speed's team is in the top35
      33) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing: 2844 +152
      34) #7-Gordon/RGM: 2770 +78
      35) #84-Speed/Red Bull Racing: 2705 13 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: 2692, 13 points out of 35th
      37) #10-Allmendinger/GEM: 2625 -80
      38) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 2579 -126
      So teams in the Top-35 are locked in for the Daytona 500 and first five races of 2009
      For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(11-16-2008)

    • Homestead Penalty Report:
      Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
      1 #2 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 50
      2 #16 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 51
      3 #8 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 70
      4 #8 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 121
      5 #84 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 128
      6 #2 Commitment Line Violation & Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 151
      7 #2 Excessive Speed-Entering pits & Excessive speed - Exiting pits TE 151
      8 #84 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 153
      9 #47 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 168
      10 #84 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 169
      11 #45 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 169
      12 #31 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 179
      13 #41 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 199
      14 #2 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 207
      15 #31 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 208
      16 #2 Too many crewmembers in contact with pit service area TE 208
      17 #45 Commitment Line Violation TE 210
      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)(11-16-2008)

    • Who got a lap back on each caution at Homestead: (and their finish)
      Caution 1: #10-Allmendinger, 11th
      Caution 2: #21-Elliott, 12th
      Caution 3: #9-Kahne, 6th
      Caution 4: #16-Biffle, 18th
      Caution 5: #66-Riggs, 14th
      Caution 6: #28-Kvapil, 7th
      Caution 7: #12-Newman, 21st
      (11-16-2008)

    • Drivers who won in 2007 but did not win in 2008
      the drivers who lost winning streaks of at least one win a year:
      drivers and their last win listed:
      14, Jeff Gordon, Charlotte, October 2007 [has won at least 2 races a year in this streak]
      6, Matt Kenseth, Homestead, November 2007
      2, Kevin Harvick, Daytona 500, February 2007
      1, Casey Mears, Charlotte, May 2007 [only series win]
      1, Martin Truex Jr., Dover, June 2007 [only series win]
      1, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sonoma, June 2007 [only series win]
      1, Jamie McMurray, Daytona, July 2007.(11-16-2008)

    • TWO Race Tracks Jeff Gordon has never won a CUP race at: There are TWO current race tracks the Nextel Cup Series runs on that #24-Jeff Gordon has not won at [a Nextel Cup race]:
      Texas 0 for 16 with a best of 2nd in 2002 and 11/2008
      Homestead 0 for 9 with a best finish of 3rd 2004
      Gordon has won at 22 [20 active] of 24 tracks he has raced on including two not on the circuit any longer, North Wilkesboro and Rockingham.
      Gordon won at Phoenix in April to finally knock that track off the list in his 17th try there.(11-16-2008)

    • Robby gets help from #77 crew: The pit crew for the #77 Penske Dodge of Sam Hornish Jr. [who failed to make the race] will work for the #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports Dodge of Robby Gordon in Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gordon is battling to stay in the top 35 in owner points, which would lock him into the fields of the first five races of 2009. He started the race in 34th, 30 points ahead of #47-Marcos Ambrose and 47 ahead of Brian Vickers, who is driving the #84 Red Bull Toyota in place of Scott Speed.(FoxSports)(11-16-2008)

    • GM unsure EGR will use Chevy's UPDATE: General Motors has not been told whether the new Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team will field Chevrolets next season, according to Pat Suhy, GM’s NASCAR manager. Dale Earnhardt Inc., a four-car Chevrolet team, and Chip Ganassi Racing, a two-car Dodge team, announced Wednesday their plans to merge for the 2009 season. They did not announce a manufacturer, but Dodge teams seem resigned to the probability that the new four-car organization will race Chevrolets next season. “Until they tell us what it’s going to be, I’m not confident of anything,” Suhy said Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, site of Sunday’s Ford 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale. “They need to make a decision based on their own needs and what kind of support they can get and what they think is in their best interests.” Suhy would not comment on how much support DEI gets and whether it is based on a four-car team.(SceneDaily)(11-15-2008)
      UPDATE: Plans are in place for Chip Ganassi Racing to switch from Dodge to Chevrolet and be a part of the engine program currently used by Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Richard Childress Racing. DEI, a Chevrolet-based organization, announced on Wednesday it is merging into a four-car team with the Dodge organization of Chip Ganassi Racing in 2009. Officials from both sides said no decision has been made on whether they would be under the Chevrolet or Dodge umbrella. Richard Childress, the owner of RCR and co-owner of the Earnhardt Childress Racing [ECR] engine program, said a meeting is scheduled for Tuesday to hopefully finalize plans to bring Ganassi Racing into the ECR program. Asked if the new Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing would have to be Chevrolet to be a part of that program, he said, "I would think so. ECR will still be around," Childress said. Childress was glad to see the merger between DEI and Ganassi, saying, "It'll make them stronger for sure. If it's put together and works like ECR, it will be great. ECR has worked beyond all of our expectations." Childress didn't rule out the possibility of employees from Ganassi's engine program joining ECR. "I know he's [Ganassi] wanting to keep his engine shop going," he said. "We haven't decided everything yet."(ESPN)(11-16-2008) Comment here

    • Home Depot to honor Stewart at Homestead: #20-Tony Stewart will close another chapter in his racing career this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway when he competes in his final Sprint Cup Series race with Joe Gibbs Racing after a 10-year relationship with the team and sponsor Home Depot. Home Depot will pay tribute to Tony Stewart's last start with the team with a card stunt that says, "Thanks Tony for 10 Great Years" on the frontstretch at Homestead-Miami Speedway prior to Sunday's Ford 400. See images at RacingOne.com.(11-16-2008) Comment here

    • Yarborough will not be at Homestead on Sunday UPDATE: Cale Yarborough won't be on hand to see Johnson potentially tie his record of three consecutive titles on NASCAR's premier series. An invitation was extended to Yarborough, who had a conflict with another appearance, according to NASCAR. Yarborough won titles from 1976-78.(NASCAR.com)
      UPDATE: [Yarborough] didn't see a reason to make the trek to Miami this weekend. He's spending a low-key weekend on his farm with his wife. There was a rumor going around the Yarborough wanted an appearance fee and the track wouldn't pay it. I gave Yarborough a call a few minutes ago to ask about that. "Well, I didn't ask for any pay and they didn't offer any pay," Yarborough said from his farm in South Carolina. "They called me and asked me to come." Yarborough said nobody from NASCAR called him and wondered, "If they wanted me there, wouldn't they have called?" I [Tania Ganguli] asked a NASCAR spokesman about their process and he said NASCAR mostly left the past champion invitations up to the Speedway. The spokesman said Yarborough told them he had a prior engagement and couldn't make it. Because Yarborough's a private person, and doesn't often show up at races, they scheduled a teleconference so he could handle all his media requests at once. Yarborough told me [Ganguli] he had an autograph signing a few days ago, so he couldn't attend the Thursday press conference that featured the past champions. Today, he's just watching the race. I [Ganguli] asked if a fee would have changed his mind. "That would have made a difference," Yarborough said, good-naturedly. "But it would've had to be a lot of money for me to go all the way down there. ... Jimmie's gonna tie my record. All good things must come to an end."(in part from the Orlando Sentinel)(11-16-2008) Comment here

    • Jim Beam back with Robby Gordon in 2009: Jim Beam plans on returning as a primary sponsor for the majority of Sprint Cup races with #7-Robby Gordon next year as he visited with the company's distributors annual conference a couple of weeks ago and was introduced as the 2009 driver. Neither side will comment until the contract is signed and becomes official. The sponsorship should put Gordon in good shape for the 2009 season. He already had confirmed that he had renewed his sponsorship from Menards.(SceneDaily)(11-16-2008) Comment here

    • Roush: No plans to build test track: Back in the day, NASCAR team owner Jack Roush had contemplated building his own test track. On Saturday, the day after NASCAR had announced that it was banning all testing on the tracks it sanctions, Roush was asked if he had revived the idea. “I have neither the money nor the inclination to build a test track,” Roush said. Roush also said he has no intention of circumventing NASCAR’s ban. “If we could organize a situation where all the established teams could hold hands and resolve not to test outside of the NASCAR mandated or approved testing, not go to the skid pads, not go to Canada, not go to Pikes Peak or any of the places they are checking on,” he said, “I’d be happier with that than to skirt around.” Roush said, however, that if other teams started skirting, he would be forced to as well.(Kansas City Star)(11-20-2008) Comment here

    • Bush's Baked Beans to sponsor Ambrose: JTG Daugherty Racing announced a 2009 Sprint Cup sponsorship agreement with Bush Brother’s and Company. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, the company will enter its 7th season as a partner. For the first time, Bush’s Baked Beans will serve as a primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series for Marcos Ambrose’s #47 Toyota in Richmond (5/2) and Darlington (5/9). The brand will also serve as a major associate sponsor for 10 events next season. Jay Bush, Brand Ambassador and star of the brand’s advertising campaign added, “Duke and I are really excited about our partnership with Marcos Ambrose and JTG Daugherty Racing. They are a great team, and have represented our brand very well in the past. We are excited about continuing our relationship in the Sprint Cup Series. If I can just keep Duke from selling Marcos the Secret Family Recipe, we're in for a great season.(JTG Racing PR)(11-16-2008) Comment here

    • Last race for Stewart at Gibbs: Tony Stewart will drive his last race behind the wheel of the #20 Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing Sunday at Homestead, ending a 10-year run that saw Stewart earn rookie of the year honors in 1999, a championship in 2002, another championship in 2005, and 33 point-paying victories in between. Having accomplished almost everything there is to accomplish as a driver, Stewart will reach even higher in 2009 as he becomes a driver/owner in the Sprint Cup Series with Stewart-Haas Racing. As Stewart looks forward to 2009, in his rearview mirror lay the accolades mentioned above as well as 10 poles, 129 top-fives, 206 top-10s and 10,225 laps led in 355 career Sprint Cup starts – all of which have come with Joe Gibbs Racing. Sunday’s season-ending race at Homestead will mark Stewart’s 356th and last Sprint Cup start with the team owned by Joe Gibbs – the three-time Super Bowl winner as head coach of the Washington Redskins and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.(JGR PR)(11-16-2008) Comment here

    • Last race for Mears at Hendrick: Sunday's race at Homestead will mark the final start for #5-Casey Mears at Hendrick Motorsports. Mears earned his first Sprint Cup win, driving the #25 Chevy to Victory Lane in the May 27, 2007 event at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In 71 starts with Hendrick, Mears has recorded one win, six top-five finishes, 15 top-10s and one pole position. He also made 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts with the team, recording seven top-five finishes and 14 top-10s.(HMS PR)(11-16-2008) Comment here

    • Hamlin heading to Japan UPDATE: from a Joe Gibbs Racing PR: You'll be heading to Japan and Fuji Speedway for Toyota Motorsports Day during the off season - Are you looking forward to that trip?: Denny Hamlin - "I really am looking forward to it. Usually, when the end of the season rolls around I like nothing more than to go home, turn off my phone and do as little as possible but this is a once-in-a -lifetime opportunity. This is a huge event for Toyota, where they will showcase their Cup and F1 teams for all of their fans - it's a cool thing to be a part of and I'll get a chance to visit some new places and meet some new people.”(JGR PR), Kyle Busch was supposed to go, but he has another commitment and has to attend the NASCAR Nationwide Banquet. Hamlin will not be driving a F-1 car but a Stock Car.(11-14-2008)
      UPDATE: Because he's required to be in Orlando next weekend for the Nationwide Series banquet, Kyle Busch won't get to test a Formula One car in Japan. Busch had been looking forward to a Toyota exhibition in which he was going to drive a Sprint Cup car and then an F1 car. NASCAR is requiring him to attend the banquet because he finished in the top 10 in points, and Busch isn't happy about it. "I have to go to the Nationwide banquet and accept my sixth-place awards instead," Busch said. "NASCAR took me away from the Formula One car."(Tampa Tribune)(11-16-2008)

      Comment here

    • North Wilkesboro could be bought as test track? NASCAR’s sudden testing ban has Cup team owners and crew chiefs scrambling, and the latest report is that one major NASCAR Cup owner is now negotiating to purchase North Wilkesboro Speedway to use as a test track. The uphill/downhill five-eighths-mile track has been idle for more than 10 years since Bruton Smith and Bob Bahre bought it and took its two Cup tour dates to Texas Motor Speedway and New Hampshire International Speedway. The Wilkes County track has been used at times by car owner Jack Roush for driver tryouts, but it would likely need some major refurbishing before it could be used for serious Cup testing.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-16-2008) Comment here


      News from November 15, 2008

    • Montoya out of Bud Shootout if in a Chevy: Chip Ganassi Racing’s #42-Juan Pablo Montoya will not be allowed to use one of Dodge’s spots in the 2009 Budweiser Shooutout if the new Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team switches to Chevrolet. According to the new rules, the top six teams from each manufacturer from the previous year qualify for the Shootout. When the new rules were announced in August, NASCAR officials said the issue of teams switching manufacturers in the offseason still needed to be worked out. While Earnhardt-Ganassi officials say they have not finalized a manufacturer, NASCAR Vice President of Operations Steve O’Donnell said Saturday morning that the teams will use their points from the previous year but their manufacturer of the current year to determine berths in the preseason event that comes eight days prior to the Daytona 500. “It will be the top six Dodges starting for the ’09 season,” O’Donnell said. “Juan Pablo would be a Chevrolet. Let’s say Juan Pablo fell in #5 at Chevrolet, then Chevrolet [could use him].”
      Montoya wouldn't fall in the top six in Chevrolet, but what would happen with the final Dodge spot? The #42 Ganassi team is the sixth-ranked Dodge team, while the #41 Ganassi team is seventh. Next in line? Robby Gordon. As long as he remains a Dodge. If not him, then Penske Racing's Sam Hornish would get the spot. “We’ll have six teams with Dodge on the jersey,” Dodge Motorsports’ Mike Delahanty said.
      If all teams keep their current manufacturers, the Chevrolet drivers in the Budweiser Shootout will be Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Casey Mears (as driver of the #07 Richard Childress Racing car), Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
      The Fords will be Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, David Ragan, Jamie McMurray and Travis Kvapil.
      The Toyotas will be Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano (driving the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing car), Brian Vickers, and David Reutimann. Michael Waltrip leads Dave Blaney by 55 points for the final Toyota spot.
      The Dodge teams will be Kasey Kahne, David Stremme (in the #12 Penske Racing car), Kurt Busch, Bobby Labonte, Elliott Sadler and then Montoya if he remains a Dodge.(SceneDaily), see more and the chart on my 2009 Budweiser Shootout page.(11-15-2008) Comment here

    • Happy Hour Final Practice for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway is over, the top five:
      #11-Hamlin 164.429
      #16-Biffle 163.607
      #83-Speed 163.478
      #48-Johnson 163.339
      #24- Gordon 163.310
      slowest: #25-Keselowski 159.532 and #43-Labonte 159.839
      incidents...none reported
      Best average speed, all laps included:
      #7-Gordon 160.855
      #29-Harvick 160.420
      #41-Sorenson 159.938
      See best speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Homestead Practice Speeds Page.(11-15-2008)

    • Saturday practice for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway is over, the top 5:
      #48-Johnson 167.665
      #11-Hamlin 167.069
      #83-Speed 166.420
      #1-Truex Jr. 166.338
      #88-Earnhardt Jr. 166.205
      slowest: #25-Keselowski 159.839 and #45-McCumbee 160.142
      incident: #42-Montoya scraped the wall and pancaked the right side of the car.
      See best speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Homestead Practice Speeds Page.(11-15-2008)

    • Pit Stall Selections have been made for the FORD 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, #44-Reutimann got to choose first since he will start from the pole, and took stall #1, #83-Speed, who starts 2nd, took stall #14, a pit stall with an opening in front of it. #99-Edwards took the 4th spot, which has an opening. Points leader, #48-Johnson got stall 37 due to his 30th starting spot, as teams pick their stalls by how they qualify. #6-Ragan who starts 6th, took the final pit stall. See who took what stall on my Homestead Pit Stall selections page.(11-15-2008)

    • Some spotter changes in 2009: Hearing that Earl Barban [currentlt at the #38 team] will be back as the spotter for #48 Jimmie Johnson and current spotter, Stevie Reeves will join Yates Racing and Paul Menard [will be the #98 team]. Bob Jeffrey, the spotter for #17 Matt Kenseth will join Stewart-Hass Racing to work with #14-Tony Stewart. Mike Calinoff, who started 2008 with #40-Dario Franchitti at Chip Ganassi Racing before the team shut down and has been spotting for #20-Stewart during The Chase, will return to Roush-Fenway Racing and work with #17-Matt Kenseth. Barban spent two years with Johnson previously and Calinoff was with Kenseth for six seasons, including the Championship season in 2003.(11-15-2008)

    • Sad News - Barbara Rinaldi: Barbara Rinaldi wife of Bob Rinaldi, former NASCAR member in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series, passed away early Friday morning 11-14-08, due to complications of cancer. Barbara was a long time employee of Fischer Engineering and BSR Products, before retiring to spend time caring for her beloved rescue Beagles. The family would like to thank the Doctors, Nurses and all staff members of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center for their valiant efforts and compassion during her time in the facility. Bob would also like to thank Bobby Hutchens of DEI and formerly of RCR, for his help in getting Barbara into the capable care of the folks at Wake Forest. Services: Visitation will be Tuesday 11-18 from 5 to 8pm at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, 494 E. Plaza Dr. Mooresvill, NC, and Friday 11-21 from 4pm to 8pm at Sansone Funeral Home, 192 Wood St. Bristol, RI Funeral services will be 10:00am at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Bristol, RI
      In lieu of flowers please make contributions in her memory to:
      The Greg Biffle Foundation
      P.O. Box 4359
      Mooresville, NC.(11-15-2008)

    • Some more info, questions about the DEI/Ganassi merger: On Wednesday, Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced they were “launching a combination of racing operations” for 2009, collectively planning to race four cars in 2008. According to a press release issued by the two teams, Martin Truex Jr. will drive the #1 for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing next season, Aric Almirola will drive the #8, Juan Pablo Montoya the #42 and a driver to be named later will pilot the #41.
      Left unsaid were almost all the important details:
      • What brand of cars the teams will campaign.
      • Whether Ganassi’s crew will supply engines or whether Earnhardt-Childress Racing Technologies will.
      • Whether the team will be run out of DEI’s shops in Mooresville, N.C. or Ganassi’s complex in Concord, N.C.
      • Who will be in charge and which executives will remain from the two teams.
      • Who will sponsor the #8, which has no announced sponsors or the #41, which has sponsorship for only half the season.
      • And, most importantly, whether Teresa Earnhardt or Chip Ganassi has the final say in the operation of the newly merged organization.
      Apparently, most of those questions remain to be sorted out. While it is expected that the new entity will, in fact, campaign Chevrolets, sources close to the situation insist that the two parties have not yet worked out many of the critical details in the agreement. So why announce it now if it isn’t sorted out? Sources say that DEI’s deal with Bass Pro Shops requires the team to field a minimum of three teams and that if it fails to do so, the sponsor could walk. And in this brutal economy, losing yet another sponsor is the last thing DEI could afford, figuratively or literally.(Ford Racing)
      OWNERS POINTS: another question not answered: what happens to the #15 team and #01 team OWNERS points, both easily in the top-35? No idea yet, they could be sold or transferred in separate deals. Could end up with Richard Childress Racing for the new #33 team that Clint Bowyer will drive for in 2009 as RCR will NOT be transferring the owners points from the #07 team. So no word yet what will happen to the #15 or #01 owners points....yet.(11-15-2008) Comment here

    • Where did this years Chasers finish last season at Homestead:
      #17-Matt Kenseth WON
      #11-Denny Hamlin 3rd
      #24-Jeff Gordon 4th
      #99-Carl Edwards 5th
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 7th
      #31-Jeff Burton 8th
      #16-Greg Biffle 13th
      #29-Kevin Harvick 19th
      #18-Kyle Busch 20th [was in the #5]
      #20-Tony Stewart 30th
      #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 36th [was in the #8]
      #07-Clint Bowyer 39th.(11-16-2008)

    • Dale Jr. talks about DEI/Ganassi merger: DALE EARNHARDT, JR., #88 NATIONAL GUARD/AMP ENERGY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed DEI-Ganassi merger among other topics:
      WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE DEI/GANASSI MERGER? “I think it is good for both teams to try to do that. It gives those guys a good opportunity to try to get through the season financially. Chip Ganassi is a racer. They really need somebody like that. I just hope that they move forward and make some things happen. It is tough this year, tough next year, especially for all the guys trying to find money. That is this biggest problem. There are some great personnel at Ganassi. Steve Hmiel will be reunited with a bunch of old employees at DEI and buddies. The need a racer around there over the top of things and really making hard decisions. It will be interesting to see how all of that works. I think it should be seamless and it should be productive for everybody”
      IS THERE SOME IRONY THERE THAT THIS HAPPENED GIVEN WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO LAST YEAR? “I don’t know. I think it is good for the teams though. I am happy for Martin (Truex, Jr.) and Aric (Almirola). I think it will be good for Juan (Pablo Montoya) to work with them guys. Juan is really going to enjoy working with Martin. It should be good. I think it is great for Ganassi to give his company a boost. It is really good for both. I think Juan will enjoy working with Martin and Aric and those teams. They will be able to work off each other. It will be exciting to see new data come in from the DEI guys and the DEI guys will be excited to see what Ganassi has been doing over the last several years as far as setups and what direction they have went. When you accumulate that information together and the bits and pieces that are good from each side and mold it together, you might really improve all of it as won.”
      ARE YOU UPSET ABOUT THE LAYOFFS AT DEI? “That was going to happen regardless of whether they merged or not I am pretty sure. They weren’t going to run four teams, or three or whatever. You know what I mean. You can’t blame a single individual for the layoffs. The sport is going to have a lot of those hopefully only for the short term. But it is not because of the merger.”
      WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR DAD WOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THIS HAPPENING? “I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine. Sorry, I really don’t know. He would had better luck at securing the sponsorships than they currently do with the state that they are in. When my Daddy died, all of that changed. Everything about everything changed. If he was here, he would be sad, but he is not and everybody has to go do their own thing and make their own way. Everybody has got to take care of themselves. He ain’t here to take care of everybody, so you have to do your own thing, take care of yourself. Gotta do what they gotta do and that said and I ain’t got nothin’ to do with it and I don’t really have an opinion about it. I want them to succeed, I want them to be happy. I want it to work. But I can’t exhaust any of my emotion over it because of what I got going on myself. I have to get my own thing going, I got to do better. I got things I could do better. See full transcript at GM Racing.(11-15-2008) Comment here

    • Knaus Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year: Crew chief Chad Knaus, who made countless, crucial, bold and successful calls throughout the season for his #48 Lowe's Chevrolet and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship points leader Jimmie Johnson, was named the 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year during a press conference today at Homestead-Miami Speedway. With his team's dominance in last weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Phoenix, Knaus secured his fifth "Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the race" honor during the season. It bolted him ahead of Steve Addington (#18 M&M's Toyota & driver Kyle Busch) and Bob Osborne (#99 Office Depot Ford & driver Carl Edwards). Each had four wins entering the final race of the competition at Phoenix International Raceway. Knaus and his team have a 141-point lead over Edwards and needs to finish 36th or better in Sunday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to capture their third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
      The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge was a season-long contest, sponsored by Kimberly-Clark Professional, which determined the best crew chiefs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage. Following each Cup race, a panel voted to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It wasn't necessarily the crew chief that went to victory lane, but the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team.
      Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/Speed television analyst Jeff Hammond and three of NASCAR's top crew chiefs who represent the Wypall brand, made up the panel of judges. The Crew Chiefs included Osborne, Todd Berrier of the Richard Childress Racing #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevy team and Kenny Francis of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports #9 Budweiser Dodge team. The weekly winning crew chief received a check for $1,000 as well as signage on the team's pit box the following week to announce the win.
      While Knaus gets to celebrate his coveted title, Myra Cochran of Concord, NC, is experiencing an all expenses paid vacation this weekend where she will be an honorary "crew chief for a day" and will shadow one of the Wypall Wipers crew chiefs during pre-race ceremonies Sunday. Cochran, an avid NASCAR fan, participated in Wypall Wipers first annual online Ultimate Crew Chief Fantasy Game where she competed against hundreds of other fans, voting every week for the crew chief they believed would win the upcoming race. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(11-15-2008)

    • NASCAR to ban testing? UPDATE 3: NASCAR executives are moving toward perhaps a virtual ban on all testing through the early months of 2009, until the economy settles down, according to NASCAR teams. That's a reversal of the plan just a few months ago to open up testing for 24 days per team at Sprint Cup tour tracks. Currently teams can test en masse at seven official NASCAR tests at Cup tour speedways. And teams can test anywhere else at any time. NASCAR could bar teams from testing at any NASCAR-sanctioned tracks, such as Kentucky.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-10-2008)
      UPDATE: hearing that NASCAR told the teams at Homestead on Friday that testing in all forms would be banned in 2009.(11-14-2008)
      UPDATE 2: In an effort to help teams manage costs, NASCAR is suspending testing for its three national and two regional racing series for the 2009 season. Testing for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, as well as the NASCAR Camping World East and West Regional Touring Series at tracks hosting any of those events are included in the 2009 policy. NASCAR reached this decision following several months of discussion with the teams regarding testing, coupled with the current economic conditions. The suspension of testing should save the industry millions of dollars. "This is a significant move during an unusual time for all of us," said NASCAR President Mike Helton in making the announcement. “NASCAR has routinely adjusted its test policy over the years to reflect current conditions. This is another example of that.”(NASCAR PR)(11-14-2008)
      UPDATE 3: Teams said they were told that the testing ban is to be reviewed in June. NASCAR president Mike Helton said that the plan is for the ban to run the entire year. NASCAR says more details will be coming.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-15-2008) Comment here


      News from November 14, 2008

    • Reutimann on pole at Homestead: #44-David Reutimann won the Coor's Light Pole for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a speed of 171.636mph for his first pole of 2008 and of his career [see 2008 poles and career pole list here]. #83-Scott Speed will start 2nd followed by #17-Kenseth, #99-Edwards, #29-Harvick, #6-Ragan, #26-McMurray, #18-Busch, #41-Sorenson and #1-Truex Jr.. Points leader, #48-Jimmie Johnson will start 30th.
      The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #21-Elliott, #78-Nemechek, #84-Vickers, #09-Marlin, #45-McCumbee, #25-Keselowski, #70-Raines and #10-Allmendinger. Missing the race are #96-Schrader, #13-Papis and #77-Hornish.
      For pole progression, qualifying results, order and starting lineup, see my Homestead Qualifying/Starting Lineup Page.(11-14-2008)

    • How did the Chase Drivers qualify at Homestead:
      (Standings after Phoenix)
      1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 30th
      2) #99-Carl Edwards, 4th
      3) #16-Greg Biffle, 23rd
      4) #31-Jeff Burton, 17th
      5) #29-Kevin Harvick, 5th
      6) #07-Clint Bowyer, 27th
      7) #24-Jeff Gordon, 36th
      8) #17-Matt Kenseth, 3rd
      9) #11-Denny Hamlin, 25th
      10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 22nd
      11) #18-Kyle Busch, 8th
      12) #20-Tony Stewart, 13th
      (11-14-2008)

    • Homestead Qualifying Fast Facts
      David Reutimann won the Coors Light Pole Award for the FORD 400 with a lap of 31.462 seconds, 171.636 mph.
      This is his first pole in 63 Sprint Cup Series races.
      This is his first pole and fifth top-10 start in 2008. He became the 23rd driver to win poles in all three national series.
      This is his first pole in two races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
      Scott Speed (second) posted his career first top-10 in his first race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
      Matt Kenseth (third) posted his second top-10 start at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It is his 14th in 36 races this season.
      Regan Smith (26th) was the fastest qualifying rookie [Hornish DNQ'd]
      (NASCAR Statistics)(11-14-2008)

    • No poles in 2008: Ten drivers who won a pole in 2007 failed to win a pole in 2008, of course ten rained out qualifying sessions didn't help, the drivers:
      # of years in streak, driver, track and date of last pole
      2, Kurt Busch, California, August 2007
      2, David Gilliland, Daytona, February 2007
      1, Clint Bowyer, New Hampshire, September 2007
      1, J.J. Yeley, Michigan, June 2007
      1, Jamie McMurray, Sonoma, June 2007
      1, Dave Blaney, New Hampshire, June 2007
      1, Casey Mears, Chicago, July 2007
      1, Reed Sorenson, Indianapolis, July 2007
      1, Michael Waltrip, Talladega, October 2007
      1, Martin Truex Jr., Texas, November 2007
      (11-14-2008)

    • Qualifying Order for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami 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 #12-Newman, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #66-Riigs. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is #13-Papis, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #84-Vickers. See the full qualifying order on my Homestead Qualifying Page.(11-14-2008)

    • Friday practice for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway is over, the top 5 fastest:
      #42-Montoya 171.282
      #12-Newman 170.708
      #2-Busch 170.702
      #44-Reutimann 170.417
      #28-Kvapil 170.347
      slowest: #70-Raines 165.492 and #8-Almirola 166.348
      See best speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Homestead Practice Speeds Page.(11-14-2008)

    • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway:
      if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
      #10-AJ Allmendinger, 11th fastest
      #77-Sam Hornish Jr., 13th
      #25-Brad Keselowski, 15th
      #84-Brian Vickers, 21st
      #78-Joe Nemechek, 32nd
      #09-Sterling Marlin, 33rd
      #21-Bill Elliott, 34th
      #96-Ken Schrader, 36th
      if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
      #13-Max Papis,
      #45-Chad McCumbee,
      #70-Tony Raines,
      (11-14-2008)

    • Layoffs at the #22? UPDATE: hearing that most of the Bill Davis Racing #22 Cup team shop and engine personnel were laid off this week [been told 40 people PLUS full engine shop].(11-14-2008)
      UPDATE: Heading into the final race of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, Bill Davis Racing (BDR) is fully committed to preparing to participate in a full season of competition in Sprint Cup racing in 2009. The search for sponsorship for the BDR Cup program is ongoing. Though, like many of its competitors, the team has been forced to make cutbacks at the High Point, N.C.-based shop in recent weeks, Crew Chief and Competition Director Tommy Baldwin will have a full staff working during the winter months preparing for the start of the 2009 season. “We have a busy winter ahead of us,” states Baldwin. “We have windtunnel and 7 post time scheduled and as much track testing as we can get in before the first of the year due to the new testing policy NASCAR just announced. No doubt these are tough economic times and we’ve had to make adjustments to our work force like every other team out there, but it’s still full steam ahead for our Bill Davis Racing Cup team. I know everyone is working hard to make sure we show up in Daytona with everything we need and I’m confident we’re on our way to getting all the pieces put into place to make our program even stronger in the future.”(BDR PR)(11-14-2008) Comment here

    • #10 Crew Chief Suspended: Long-time Gillett Evernham Motorsports technical director Sammy Johns will step in as interim crew chief for the #10 Dodge and driver AJ Allmendinger this weekend. Crew chief Mike Shiplett was suspended from the team activities this week for missing the flight home from Phoenix last weekend.(FoxSports)(11-14-2008) Comment here

    • No merger for Petty: One thing not in the cards for Petty Enterprises is a merger with another team, said Richard Petty, who earlier this year sold majority ownership in the team to investment banking firm Boston Ventures. “We’ve talked to everybody about everything that could be talked about and we’re still standing here independent,” Petty said when asked about a possible merger. “We didn’t want to take on anybody else’s baggage. We had enough of our own.” The lack of sponsorship is a major worry, the seven-time Sprint Cup Champion admitted Thursday. “I’m concerned about Richard Petty’s future,” he said. “It starts here. And Petty Enterprises’s future and everybody’s future. Because right now, has everything bottomed out? We don’t know how far down we’ll go. … We’re all in this together, whether we like it or not. Racing’s not going to survive without the economy surviving or vice versa.”(SPEEDtv)(11-14-2008) Comment here

    • #29 to carry United Way logo at Homestead: Kevin Harvick and the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Racing team will carry the United Way logo on the deck lid of the #29 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Chevy in the season finale Sprint Cup Series race this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Shell Oil Company is an avid supporter of the United Way and participated in a “Day of Caring” at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club in Houston on October 30, 2008. Approximately 125 Shell employees along with #29 Shell-Pennzoil driver Harvick and members of his crew all took part in making improvements at the facility. Activities included re-tilling a baseball field, sprucing up landscaping, refurbishing the children’s area, and painting and organizing storage rooms at the club. The logo that Harvick will carry on the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy is a way for Shell Oil to say thank you to the United Way and all they do in the greater Houston community.(Shell-Pennzoil PR)(11-14-2008) Comment here

    • Juicy Fruit on the #42 for Homestead: The bright yellow color of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit Slim Pack will adorn the hood of the #42 Dodge Charger of Juan Pablo Montoya for the 2008 NSCS season finale this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(CGRFS PR), see images of the scheme on my #42 Team Schemes page.(11-14-2008)

    • Kurt Busch to test a sports car at Daytona: #2-Kurt Busch will be at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday (11/12) participating in Penske Racing’s testing for the 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race. “We had a podium finish there last year,” said Kurt, who teamed with Penske Racing IRL drivers Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves to finish third in the prestigious sports car endurance race. “Knowing Roger like I do, we plan on coming back prepared as ever this time around.” Briscoe is expected to share the driving seat with Kurt on Wednesday. The 47th Annual Rolex 24 is scheduled for Jan. 24-25 with Daytona test days scheduled for Jan. 2-4.(Tom Roberts PR)(11-14-2008) Comment here

    • Hamlin heading to Japan: from a Joe Gibbs Racing PR: You'll be heading to Japan and Fuji Speedway for Toyota Motorsports Day during the off season - Are you looking forward to that trip?: Denny Hamlin - "I really am looking forward to it. Usually, when the end of the season rolls around I like nothing more than to go home, turn off my phone and do as little as possible but this is a once-in-a -lifetime opportunity. This is a huge event for Toyota, where they will showcase their Cup and F1 teams for all of their fans - it's a cool thing to be a part of and I'll get a chance to visit some new places and meet some new people.”(JGR PR), Kyle Busch was supposed to go, but he has another commitment. Hamlin will not be driving a F-1 car but a Stock Car.(11-14-2008) Comment here

    • Drivers who have not won in 2008 who have a current streak of consecutive seasons with at least one win a year:
      drivers and their last win listed:
      14, Jeff Gordon, Charlotte, October 2007 [has won at least 2 races a year in this streak]
      6, Matt Kenseth, Homestead, November 2007
      2, Kevin Harvick, Daytona 500, February 2007
      1, Casey Mears, Charlotte, May 2007 [only series win]
      1, Martin Truex Jr., Dover, June 2007 [only series win]
      1, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sonoma, June 2007 [only series win]
      1, Jamie McMurray, Daytona, July 2007. Comment here

    • Richardson hopes to run 2009 Daytona 500: Robert Richardson Jr. and the R3 Motorsports team [#23 Chevy in the Nationwide Series] plan to attempt to run the 2009 Daytona 500.(11-13-2008)

    • Homestead Rookie Notes: #01-Regan Smith was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the November 9 Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix, scoring a 23rd-place finish. Smith grabbed top rookie honors for the 10th time in 2008. Sam Hornish Jr. leads Regan Smith by three points (199-196) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the November 16 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami. Tony Stewart is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stewart captured the inaugural Ford 400 in 1999. The most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in eight previous races at Homestead is 52 by Casey Atwood in 2001. The only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in nine Sprint Cup races at Homestead is Jamie McMurray. McMurray won his first-career pole at the 2003 Ford 400. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a Sprint Cup Series race is Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya captured the 2007 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon (Sonoma, Calif.) Raceway (55 races). The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a pole position in the Sprint Cup Series is Patrick Carpentier. Carpentier captured the top starting spot for the 2008 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (19 races). The 2008 season marked the first time in NASCAR’s modern-era (since 1972) that THREE drivers shared the lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings. After the second race of the season, Sam Hornish, Jr., Dario Franchitti and Regan Smith were all tied at the top of the standings. Ryan Newman holds the all-time Raybestos Rookie record for most poles (6), most top-fives (14) and most top-10s (22). Denny Hamlin is the only Raybestos Rookie to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup since the program was created in 2004. Hamlin holds the record for most earnings by a Raybestos Rookie ($6.6 million in 2006). The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is three, shared by Tony Stewart (1999) and Jimmie Johnson (2002).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see rookie standings, history and more on my 2008 Rookies page.(11-14-2008)

    • Chase stats going into Homestead: In 49 Chase races, Jimmie Johnson has accomplished the following:
      Won 14 of 49 Chase Races (28%)
      Finished 1st, 2nd or 3rd in 23 of 49 Chase races (47%)
      Finished in the Top 10 in 35 of 49 Chase races (71%)
      Even thugh #6-David Ragan just missed The Chase, he has scored the seventh most points (1169) of all drivers during the nine races of The Chase thus far. Ragan will be a strong candidate for The Chase next season. #11-Denny Hamlin went from worst to 9th at Phoenix with a fifth place finish. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved into 10th with his sixth at PIR, #18-Kyle Busch fell back to seven points out of 10th in the standings with his 8th and #20-Tony Stewart's 22nd at Phoenix dropped him all the way from 9th to 12th, 28 points behind Dale Jr. See my Chase Stats after Phoenix page.(11-14-2008)

    • Homestead Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Homestead this weekend, though those for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be branded "Goodyear Eagle," while those for the Craftsman Truck Series will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . . Goodyear held a tire test at Homestead on October 14 . . . participating in that test were the #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge with Juan Pablo Montoya and the #83 Red Bull Racing Toyota with Brian Vickers . . . "Our confirmation test at Homestead went well. The early wear rates were high, as expected, but as the teams tested and the track 'rubbered in,' wear improved significantly. By the end of the day, both cars were running full fuel runs with good performance," said Rick Campbell, Goodyear's NASCAR project manager . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for teams to run at both Texas and Chicagoland this season . . . NASCAR teams have also run this left-side tire code (D-4134) 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 Homestead . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full report with pressures and codes on my Homestead Race Info page - Goodyear section.(11-14-2008)


      News from November 13, 2008

    • Phoenix Final TV Rating slightly down: ABC’s coverage of the Sprint Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway earned a final national rating of 3.6, down slightly from the 3.7 earned for last year’s event that also aired on ABC. The telecast averaged 5,656,949 viewers. The final 30 minutes of the race aired on ESPN2 and earned a 3.3 rating, averaging 4,610,804 viewers. The Chase for the Sprint Cup ratings on ABC continue to be essentially even with last year through nine races. ESPN2’s live coverage of the Nationwide Series race at Phoenix earned a 1.3 household coverage rating, up from the 1.1 earned for last year’s race that also aired on ESPN2. The telecast averaged 1,651,486 viewers. ESPN2’s ratings for the Nationwide Series are up 7% from last year.(ESPN)(11-13-2008) Comment here

    • Hellmann’s to sponsor Sadler at Homestead: Elliott Sadler is finishing his 11th season as a Sprint Cup Series driver, and his 10th as a full-time driver, but he has never had an off-season like the one that is ahead of him this year. Sadler is getting married to his fiancée, Amanda, on Jan. 17 in his hometown of Emporia, Va. When he returns to Daytona International Speedway in February to start the 2009 Sprint Cup season he will do so as a married man for the first time in his career. “I’m really excited to start this chapter of my life,” said Sadler. “Racing and family have always been the most important things in my life. Now, I’m going to be taking the first step towards starting a family of my own with my best friend in the world. “It’s going to be a great off-season, but I have some unfinished business to take care of at Homestead-Miami this weekend. We want to win a race and this is our last chance to do that this season. All of the guys on the #19 team have worked hard all season and a win this weekend at Homestead would be the best way to say thank you for all their hard work.” The #19 Dodge is racing with Hellmann’s as the primary sponsor for the weekend.(GEM PR)(11-13-2008) Comment here

    • Air Force leaving Wood Brothers? UPDATE to GEM: 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)
      UPDATE: Air Force officials announced Wendesday that it will begin a new NASCAR partnership with Gillett Evernham Motorsports when it sponsors the #10 car driven by Reed Sorenson for the 2009 Sprint Cup season. GSD&M Idea City, the Air Force's advertising agency, organized the sponsorship and will roll out a multimedia advertising campaign to support the partnership in early 2009. The Air Force is both a primary and associate sponsor of the #10 car driven by Reed Sorenson, a 22-year-old three-time winner in the Nationwide Series. As a primary sponsor, the car will feature the Air Force paint scheme in four of 38 Sprint Cup races in 2009. For the 2009 season, the Air Force is changing their marketing strategy to rebalance their sponsorship and activation programs to increase public awareness of the Air Force and to attract more recruits. "Advertising and marketing that goes beyond the race track will help us connect with fans and emphasize the speed, power, precision, and team work that is common to both NASCAR and the Air Force," said Col. Timothy Hanson, Air Force Recruiting Service director of Strategic Communications. The Air Force has had a long-standing relationship with Wood Brothers Racing and the #21 car. "The Air Force is proud of the partnership we have had with the Wood Brothers Racing," Colonel Hanson said. "They are perhaps the most respected team in NASCAR and they have been strong supporters of the Air Force. While our sponsorship has changed we will always value the services they have provided us." The colonel added that he is excited about this new venture and confident that Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Reed Sorenson will provide new opportunities for the Air Force to achieve their sponsorship goals and inspire young Americans to consider the Air Force as a great career choice.(Air Force Recruiting Service PR)(11-13-2008) Comment here

    • More on Earnhardt-Ganassi Merger: A key player in the merger was Dodge Motorsports, which gave its blessing to team owner Chip Ganassi to pursue the partnership with a Chevy organization. "Number one, we want all of our business partners to be healthy like we want to be healthy,'' said Mike Delahanty, the senior manager of Dodge Motorsports. "Under these unprecedented times there are business solutions that no one ever thought possible. The blessing is, 'Chip, we want you to be healthy and viable long-term. We want you to have a business plan that does that. Bring us a business plan that does that and we'll talk about it, even if means letting him go.''' Sources close to the situation said the teams are expected to compete under the Chevy/General Motors banner of DEI. That would leave Dodge with three cars in Penske Racing, three in Gillett Evernham Motorsports and one or two in Petty Enterprises. Martin Truex Jr. [#1] and Aric Almirola [#8] will remain the drivers from the DEI side and Juan Pablo Montoya [#42] will be kept from Ganassi. The driver of the fourth car [# 41] will be named at a future date. AJ Allmendinger, Scott Riggs and Regan Smith are among the candidates for that seat.(ESPN.com)(11-13-2008) Comment here

    • Coleman out at Hall of Fame: #96-Brad Coleman's fortunes changed quickly [after leaving Baker Curb's Nationwide Series team and planning on a Cup ride with Hall of Fame Racing]. According to Hall of Fame Racing, Coleman is now a free agent. He is no longer under contract to Hall of Fame. (ESPN.com)(11-13-2008) Comment here

    • Gordon to race go-kart in Brazil: This weekend, Jeff Gordon will head south for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway - the season finale for the Sprint Cup Series. While the racing for NASCAR's premier division ends Sunday, Gordon will face another group of premier drivers later this month much farther south. In Brazil. On November 30, he is scheduled to race in the International Challenge Of Go-Kart Champs in Florianopolis, Brazil - a charity karting event organized by Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa. Seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher and Indy Racing League driver Tony Kanaan are also scheduled to participate in the event.(Performance PR Plus)(11-13-2008)

    • Bodine, Wimmer to tour military bases: Geoff Bodine, Hillary Will, Scott Wimmer, and Arie Luyendyk will tour United States Military bases as part of the Racing Heroes 2008 goodwill military tour. The tour, which begins on December 9th and concludes on December 20th, will include visits to U.S. Military Bases in Iraq and Kuwait. The Racing Heroes 2008 goodwill tour is geared toward military personnel stationed overseas. The program focuses on raising spirits and providing inspiration to servicemen and women serving abroad. David Chavez, president of Pro Sports MVP says, "The UFC fighters' and models' visit will have a tremendous impact on the troops. We are certain that the Racing Heroes 2008 tour will be very entertaining and a welcome and needed break from the routine". The participants will attend autograph/photograph sessions, lead clinics and demonstrations, hold meet and greets, and visit hospital patients and staff.(Pro Sports MVP PR)(11-13-2008)


      News from November 12, 2008

    • OFFICIAL - Earnhardt and Ganassi Form New Four-Car Team: Two of motorsports’ biggest names – Earnhardt and Ganassi – will launch a four-car team beginning in 2009 through the combination of the motorsports operations of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Inc. (CGRFS). NASCAR stars Martin Truex Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya will drive the #1 and #42 respectively and future star Aric Almirola will be behind the wheel of the #8. The driver of the #41 will be named in the near future. “In this ultra-competitive era of NASCAR, it is necessary to build and sustain the strongest team possible and our combining with the people and equipment at Dale Earnhardt Inc. will help create a strong four-car program for years to come,” said Chip Ganassi. “This is a win-win for both organizations as well as all of our partners.”
      “Having a partner like Chip who is heavily involved on the competition side of the business is an ideal situation for DEI,” Teresa Earnhardt said. “He has a long history of managing championship teams in the IndyCar and Rolex Grand-Am Series and I share his passion and goals of winning races and ultimately championships in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I think this is a case where we are stronger together than we are apart.” Details of the new four-car operation will be announced at a future date.
      For more information log onto www.chipganassiracing.com and www.daleearnhardtinc.com.(CGRFS PR)(11-12-2008) Comment here

    • Latest DEI/Ganassi merger news UPDATE 2: The Chip Ganassi-Teresa Earnhardt merger may be back on, with Ganassi the on-track presence for what would be a two-car DEI operation, under the Chevy banner. Earnhardt needs a second team sponsorship in order to keep her Chevrolet technology deal. However, why Ganassi would really want to merge is unclear, and how Ganassi might get out of his contract with Dodge is also unclear. Regardless of what happens with the possible merger, Ganassi is expected to pair #42-Juan Pablo Montoya with his full Target sponsorship, and DEI's #8-Aric Almirola would get the 12-race Wrigley's sponsorship. That would leave #01-Regan Smith the odd-man out at DEI.(Winston-Salem Journal)(11-12-2008)
      UPDATE: The long-speculated partnership between Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates now appears to be imminent. Sources close to the situation tell Sirius Speedway that while the deal cannot technically be classified as a merger, an announcement is expected within the next few days regarding a competitive and economic partnership between the two teams. The deal will allow DEI and Ganassi to field at least three cars next season with drivers Martin Truex, Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya and Aric Almirola. A fourth car is possible, dependant on sponsorship. There is no word on potential manufacturer affiliations, with DEI currently aligned with Chevrolet, and Ganassi in the Dodge camp.(SIRIUS Speedway/Motorsports Soapbox), am hearing Chevy will be the manufacturer of the 'team'.(11-12-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Teresa Earnhardt and Chip Ganassi will combine their slumping race teams next season, an effort to stabilize their organizations in a tough economic time. The combined team will be called Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and will field cars for Martin Truex, Aric Almirola, Juan Pablo Montoya and a driver yet to be named, two people familiar with the decision told the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal has yet to be announced. Both organizations have struggled to secure sponsorship this season, forcing the teams to pool resources. Truex and Almirola will come from Dale Earnhardt Incorporated; only Truex's car has full sponsorship for next season. Montoya has half a season of sponsorship, and Ganassi's flagship #41 has full sponsorship but no driver. DEI fields Chevrolets, and Ganassi has a Dodge contract. Details of a manufacturer switch still are being worked out as the team is expected to use General Motors.(Associated Press)
      AND hearing approximately 110 people were laid off at DEI Wednesday.(11-12-2008) Comment here

    • BB&T to sponsor #33 & Bowyer for eleven 2009 races: BB&T Corporation and Richard Childress Racing have agreed to an 11-race sponsorship for RCR’s #33 Chevy with driver Clint Bowyer for the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. In addition to 10 points races, BB&T will also be the primary sponsor on Bowyer’s #33 Chevy for the annual Sprint Cup Series all-star race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May. The March 8 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway will mark the first of three consecutive races for BB&T, followed by four in a row starting at Talladega in April and wrapping up with the all-star festivities in Charlotte. In September, BB&T will be showcased again in Atlanta and at Dover for the first of three Chase for the Sprint Cup races. Bowyer’s #33 Impala SS will also feature a burgundy and gold BB&T paint scheme at Martinsville and Talladega next fall. BB&T will serve as a major associate sponsor of the #33 Chevy for the remaining 26 races on the 2009 schedule while General Mills’ brands Cheerios and Hamburger Helper will be the primary sponsor. Next season will mark the second-consecutive year that BB&T has expanded its role within the RCR family of sponsors. In 2007, BB&T sponsored a partial Nationwide Series schedule with Bowyer in RCR’s flagship #2 Chevrolet. That role evolved into a 25-race schedule in 2008, in addition to two races on the #07 Chevy in the Sprint Cup Series.(RCR PR)(11-12-2008) Comment here

    • Martin in the #84 at Homestead UPDATE 3 NO, but Vickers/Speed swap: Monday [11-10-2008] on “SIRIUS Speedway” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody is reporting that Mark Martin will drive the #84 Red Bull Toyota this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, replacing Scott Speed. Host, Dave Moody: “Since taking over for the released AJ Allmendinger four races ago, Speed has recorded an average finish of 34.2, including a 40th yesterday in Phoenix. The team has fallen out of the Top-35 in owners’ points now. They now trail the Michael Waltrip Motorsports #47 team by 16 points with one race to go in the battle for that all important 35th position in the owner standings. An official announcement is expected from the team later this afternoon. Mark Martin, of course, enjoys a long relationship with Red Bull Racing general manager Jay Frye, for whom he drove at the former MB3 and Ginn Racing teams. He ran his final scheduled event for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. yesterday in Phoenix. He, of course, will move to Hendrick Motorsports full time in 2009. His arrangement with Red Bull Racing is, we are told, for one race only and will have no impact on the team's long term plans for Scott Speed.(SIRIUS XM Radio PR)(11-10-2008)
      UPDATE: been told that Martin will NOT run the #84 and Scott Speed will drive the #84 [#82 in 2009] at Homestead this weekend. The entry list from NASCAR has Team Red Bull having a third car entered, the #82, but it was withdrawn.(11-11-2008)
      UPDATE 2: Martin's deal to drive the #84 Red Bull Toyota this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway has apparently fallen through. Sources close to the team say the deal was signed, sealed and all but delivered, only to have high level executives at General Motors nix it at the last minute. Martin is set to drive a Hendrick Motorsports Chevy full-time next season, and when GM brass got wind of Red Bull's plans, a series of phone calls was made to scuttle the deal just minutes before a press release was to be issued announcing it. The end result is reportedly an angry Martin, a disappointed Red Bull Racing Team, and a "Plan B" that could result in Scott Speed and Brian Vickers trading cars this weekend in Miami.(SIRIUS Speedway)
      AND In an effort to secure a spot among the top 35 in the owner's standings, Team Red Bull is playing musical chairs this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. #83-Brian Vickers will swap rides with teammate #84-Scott Speed for the season finale. As a result, Vickers will have to qualify on time for Sunday's Ford 400 while Speed will be locked into the field no matter where he qualifies. Currently, the #84 is 17 points behind 35th place in the standings. Being inside that threshold at the end of the season is valuable, as it guarantees a starting spot for the first five races of 2009, including the prestigious Daytona 500.(FoxSports)(11-11-2008)
      UPDATE 3: Red Bull Racing Team’s #83 and #84 drivers will swap cars for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead- Miami Speedway. Brian Vickers, who’s normally behind the wheel of the #83 Red Bull Toyota, will pilot Scott Speed’s #84, and Speed will pilot the #83.“We already have two talented drivers under our roof, so we chose to switch drivers for one race and change the momentum for this team,” said Jay Frye, RBRT Vice President and General Manager. “Brian’s a team player and wants to help the #84 see the same success the #83 has had this year. Scott’s a rookie and we wanted to take some pressure off of him and let focus on just driving the car. This organization is a team effort and we're treating it that way by finding a solution that works for everyone."(Red Bull Racing PR)(11-12-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR chairman Brian France holds press conference, TV comments: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France held a Teleconference Tuesday, Nov 11th, discussing the problems manufacturers are having and possible impact of NASCAR and made a comment about ABC moving the final part of the Phoenix Sprint Cup race [11/9] to ESPN2.
      Q. Just wanted to get what you thought about the ABC moving the final 34 minutes of the race on Sunday to ESPN2, and if there's anything that you can do about that in the future?
      BRIAN FRANCE: Well, we didn't like it. That was not what we had anticipated. But we have talked to them repeatedly in the last couple of days, and have, you know, there were lots of circumstances that they had to consider. I don't have to agree with each one of those, but they had their own issues that they had to manage around. So we were the, you know – unfortunately, we got the short end of that as a sport. But we're working with them and hope to eliminate that from happening in the future. In part from a NASCAR Transcript, see the full transcript on Jayski.com - Transcript: Brian France Press Conferences 11/11/2008, also, see many articles about the TV Coverage from the past few days on my Article/Column Links page.(11-12-2008) Comment here

    • Las Vegas 2009 Test Dates Announced: Las Vegas Motor Speedway has set 2009 test dates for both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. The Nationwide cars will test on the 1.5-mile superspeedway on Wednesday, Jan. 28 and Thursday, Jan. 29. NASCAR has not announced a testing policy for the Sprint Cup teams for next year, but LVMS will be available to all Sprint Cup teams on Monday, Jan. 26 and Tuesday, Jan. 27 if testing is allowed by NASCAR. Race teams who test at LVMS will be preparing for the March 1 Shelby 427 Sprint Cup Series race and the Feb. 28 Sam’s Town 300 Nationwide Series event. Tickets for the 2009 NASCAR Weekend are on sale now by calling 1-800-644-4444 or logging on to www.lvms.com. Passes for the Neon Garage, driver introductions and Lucky 7 Preferred parking also are available.(LVMS PR)(11-12-2008)

    • Keselowski to attempt Homestead: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy, will attempt to qualify for his second Sprint Cup Series race this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Keselowski, 24, made his Cup debut earlier this month at Texas Motor Speedway and picked up Sunday's race at Homestead after his first qualifying attempt at Lowe's Motor Speedway was rained out. Keselowski joined elite company after making his Cup debut on Nov. 2 at Texas Motor Speedway, rallying from a 37th-place starting spot to finish 19th. Of his four Hendrick Motorsports teammates, only Dale Earnhardt Jr. did better in his Cup debut. Earnhardt scored a 16th-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 1999. Veteran crew chief Lance McGrew once again will call the shots for Keselowski and the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy team at Homestead-Miami Speedway. McGrew, who has been successful working with young drivers like Ricky Hendrick, Vickers and Kyle Busch, is a former Sprint Cup Series race winner and Nationwide Series champion.(HMS PR)(11-12-2008) Comment here

    • 1st Hybrid Cup pace car at Homestead: Sprint Cup officials will leave it to a green car to lead the field to the green flag Sunday at the season-ending Ford 400—marking a Sprint Cup first. The all-new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, featuring the debut of Ford’s next-generation hybrid system, along with the all-new Fusion Sport will pace the Ford 400, which concludes Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “Miami is an international city with a flair for what’s new,” said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray. “And with the evolution of Ford Championship Weekend into one of the highest-profile events in sports, the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami is the perfect spot for a historical racing first—the Fusion Hybrid Pace Car.” The Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Fusion Sport will both be in NASCAR-inspired camouflage for the race. Miami-area race fans and the national television audience on ABC will be the first to see the cars, since they won’t be officially unveiled until the Los Angeles International Auto Show three days later. They will be available in dealer showrooms in the spring of 2009. After the Fusion Hybrid leads the field to the green flag, the 263-horsepower Fusion Sport will be the pace car for the remainder of the Ford 400. The Ford Fusion Hybrid can operate in electric mode at speeds up to 47 mph with a range of more than 700 miles of city driving on a single tank of gas. A smaller, lighter high-volt battery has greater charge capacity and range than Ford’s current generation battery, as found in the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid, which is the most fuel-efficient SUV on the planet.(Ford Racing)(11-12-2008) Comment here

    • Liberty Medical to sponsor #43 at Homestead: Liberty Medical [libertymedical.com] will adorn the side of the #43 Dodge that Bobby Labonte will drive at Homestead for the first time this season. “Everyone knows that General Mills will not be back with us next year. We’re sorry to see them go but we’ve enjoyed a long and successful relationship with them. I wish them the best in 2009 and beyond. They are a great sponsor, but more importantly they are great friends.”(MCG Sports/Petty Enterprises PR)(11-12-2008)

    • Valvoline on the #10 at Homestead: #10-AJ Allmendinger will be sponsored by Valvoline at Homestead. Allmendinger has scored 439 points over the past four races – the 15th most of any driver. The California native has yet to start a Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami but has a best finish of 21st in the Nationwide Series. The Valvoline team looks to improve on its season best finish of 14th [Daytona, Atlanta]. Allmendinger said, “Homestead is a little bitter sweet for me and this Valvoline team. We’re looking forward to going down there and getting another strong run but it’s also our last race together. I’ve worked really well with this team and Gillett Evernham Motorsports and think we’ve had some good showings over the past couple weeks."(GEM PR), see an image of the scheme on my #10 Team Schemes page.(11-12-2008)

    • Knaus named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Phoenix: Chad Knaus, Crew Chief for the winning #48 Lowe's Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson, was named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Sunday's Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Lightening quick pit stops helped ensure Johnson stay near or at the top of the running order all day in the Valley of the Sun. The team started from the pole, led the most laps and cruised to the victory, extending their championship point lead to 141 over Carl Edwards. Johnson needs to finish 36th or better in this weekend's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to capture the team's third consecutive Sprint Cup Series championship. Also at the Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend, Wypall will announce the 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year during a press conference in the track's media center at 5:45pm on Friday. The winner will be presented a check for $20,000.
      The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge was a season-long contest that determined the best crew chiefs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, a panel voted to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It wasn't necessarily the crew chief that went to victory lane, but the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team.
      Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/Speed television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR's top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including 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, made up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief received signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. For more information about the Wypall Wipers program, log onto www.Wypall.com.(11-12-2008)

    • Childress named NCMA Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award: Richard Childress will be the recipient of the North Carolina Motorsports Association’s Tribute Award at the group’s annual awards banquet on January 26, 2009, at the Embassy Suites Resort and Conference Center in Concord, NC. Childress is celebrating his 40th year as a NASCAR team owner in 2008, having amassed 11 championships, two Daytona 500 and two Brickyard 400 victories in addition to a lifetime of achievements on and off the track in his home state of North Carolina. As both a driver and team owner, Childress has been an integral part of NASCAR’s highest level of racing for five decades. His career as a driver spanned from 1969 to the middle of 1981 when he made the tough decision to step down as a driver but to remain a team owner with driver Dale Earnhardt. He built up his team and achieved his first Cup Series victory in 1983 with driver Ricky Rudd. Then in 1984, Earnhardt returned as Childress’s full-time driver, and together they went on to win six championships between 1986 and 1994. Still competing for championships to this day and continuing to grow, as Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will expand from a three-car to four-car operation in 2009, Childress is truly one of the most accomplished professionals in motorsports.
      An avid hunter and outdoor conservationist, he contributes annually to the North Carolina Wildlife Habitat Foundation and has been a longtime supporter of the Winston-Salem Soap Box Derby. In July, he teamed up with Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center to form the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma – creating what will become the nation’s most comprehensive institute for pediatric trauma. In 2004, Childress was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Governor Jim Hunt, the state’s highest honor, and in May he was inducted to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. His passion for fine wine led to the founding of Childress Vineyards, a Napa Valley-influenced winery that produces quality North Carolina wines in Lexington, N.C. -- not far from his RCR race shop. Other winner’s of the NCMA’s Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award include Richard Petty and Benny Parsons. Additionally, winners of awards in 10 distinct categories will be determined by an NCMA member vote.(NCMA PR)(11-12-2008)

    • Richard Petty stamps: Premier Postage, a leading provider of officially licensed postage and collectibles, announced an agreement with Petty Enterprises to introduce a series of U.S. postage that honors the career of NASCAR legend Richard Petty. "We feel privileged to be working with a racing icon," said Mike Samora, Founder and President of Premier Postage. "The products we plan to introduce will represent the first time Richard Petty has been featured on real U.S. postage."
      "This is really quite an honor," said Petty. "I've had my photo on a lot of different things, but this is really unique. What's neat is that fans can collect the postage or use it on their mail." The first postage collectible will pay tribute to Petty's 50 years in NASCAR - both as a driver and team owner. The collectible will feature a limited edition postage stamp on a 5" x 7" commemorative photo sheet. Each sheet will retail for $7.99 on RaceStamps.com, NASCAR.com Superstore, and select retail outlets.(PR)(11-12-2008)


      News from November 11, 2008

    • ESPN The Magazine: Joey Logano is one of ESPN The Magazine’s four finalists for “NEXT 2009.” Some of the posts there:
      Resource I: “Wait, what the heck is NEXT?”
      Resource II: “Why should Logano be NEXT?”
      Resource III: “But how do I vote for Joey?”
      The fan voting for NEXT runs thru Monday, November 17.

    • Testing at the Rock: #2-Kurt Busch, crew chief Pat Tryson and crew tested their “PRS-565” Miller Lite Dodge Tuesday (11/11) at the “Little Rock,” the new half-mile track just outside the backstretch of the one-mile oval at Rockingham Raceway Park. “We’ve been saying that we’re already focusing on getting our total program ready for ’09 and this is an example of our commitment to doing that,” Pat said. “We get back to the short tracks only five races into the season next year so it’s never too early to be working on that end of the deal. This also gives us the opportunity to work with new components and try stuff out.”(Tom Roberts PR)
      AND Colin Braun tested at the one-mile track at Rockingham Raceway Park for Roush Racing, no word if it was for Cup, Nationwide or Trucks.(11-11-2008)

    • Auto Club/AAA sponsoring Hornish in select 2009 races: Penske Racing announced the establishment of a multi-year agreement for its Sprint Cup Series program with the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) and its affiliated clubs. Starting in 2009, the Auto Club will be displayed as primary sponsor for select events on the Penske Racing South #77 Dodge, driven by three-time IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. in the Sprint Cup Series. Hornish will debut the #77 Auto Club Dodge in February at the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif. In addition, the motor club will serve as primary sponsor of the #77 Car in Sprint Cup Series events at Kansas Speedway in October and Texas Motor Speedway in November, and as co-primary sponsor for Hornish and the Car #77 team, alongside Penske Truck Rental, at the April Talladega Superspeedway and June New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sprint Cup Series races.(Penske Racing PR)(11-11-2008) Comment here

    • #78 Team plans limited 2009 schedule: Announced today [11-11-2008], Furniture Row Racing is planning a limited 2009 schedule for their Sprint Cup Series team and Car #78 driven by Joe Nemechek. "This has nothing to do with our on-track performance," said Team President, Joe Garone. "This is simply a business decision by Furniture Row of balancing priorities in a tough economy and, from all appearances, looks to be getting even tougher." In only its third year as a Sprint Cup Series team, Furniture Row Racing is coming off its best year, qualifying for 31 out of 35 races, earning a pole position at Talladega and having several strong finishes. As a privately-held entity, Furniture Row Companies - the team owner, primary sponsor, and one the nation's largest furniture retailers - does not make its sales figures public. But the company is looking at retail sales trends and is tightening all expenses as a result. "Running a limited schedule is simply a cautionary measure," said Tom Faulkner, President of Furniture Row Companies. "While we've been faring significantly better than most in our category, it's no secret that our business is tied to the health of the economy - in particular, housing starts and real estate sales." No additional announcements regarding team staffing or any other infrastructure or organizational changes are being made at this time. Garone added: "We've got some tough decisions to make, but we all know it will take fewer people and resources to run a limited versus full schedule. But we're also optimistic that our best days are still ahead of us."(Furniture Row Racing PR)(11-11-2008) Comment here

    • Petty Enterprises Renews Partnership with PVA: Petty Enterprises announced that it has extended its partnership with the Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) through the 2009 Sprint Cup season. “Our membership has been behind this program from day one and we’re excited to continue this into 2009,” said Paralyzed Veterans of America’s National President, Randy L. Pleva, Sr. “Our partnership with Petty Enterprises has been great for Paralyzed Veterans. We’ve seen an increase in awareness about our mission since we aligned with ‘The King’. In 2009, we will be featured on two races on July 4th (Daytona) and Veterans Day (Texas), two of the most patriotic dates of the year. Our continued partnership with Petty Enterprises and Richard and Kyle Petty will continue to raise awareness of the mission of Paralyzed Veterans and in return increase support and donations and give increased visibility to the men and women who serve our country.”
      The Petty-Paralyzed Veterans partnership began in 2006 with ‘The King’ Richard Petty. Over the span of the partnership, Petty has made numerous trips to VA Hospitals across the country, hosted Paralyzed Veterans members at racetracks and attended fundraising events—all in an effort to increase awareness of the altruistic organization. In 2008, the relationship grew to include NASCAR driver Kyle Petty. In 2009, both Pettys will co-chair the “Go All In for Veterans” Texas Hold’em poker tournament to be held on Thursday, February 26 at the Rio in Las Vegas. Please visit www.pva.org for more info.(MCG Sports/Petty Enterprises PR), no car# or driver mentioned for the two race sponsorship, PVA was on the #45 Dodge for three races in 2008.(11-11-2008) Comment here

    • Woods and HOF? UPDATE: 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)
      UPDATE: A relationship with the legendary #21 Wood Brothers and Ford is an option for the #96 team owned by Arizona Diamondbacks' executives Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel. "It's fair to say we're assessing all of our options," said Moorad. "We should know in the next couple of weeks. Our intention is the 96 continues, but we're open-minded. We've talked to a couple of teams about some interesting merger possibilities and yet we may be in business on our own." The team currently gets its Toyota chassis and engines from Joe Gibbs Racing, a deal that expires at season's end. Multiple sources told The Republic it's not expected the #96 will continue with Toyota. The Wood Brothers have long been with Ford.(Arizona Republic)(11-11-2008) Comment here

    • BDR unsure of future Cup plans UPDATE: 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)
      UPDATE: Team owner Bill Davis said this weekend that a possible merger involving his Sprint Cup Series team has fallen through. Widespread reports in recent weeks had Davis negotiating with Gillett-Evernham Motorsports majority owner George Gillett about a merger or outright purchase of Bill Davis Racing’s Cup operation, with a possible move by Gillett-Evernham to the Toyota camp. Sources told Sirius Speedway this weekend that Gillett has been unable to secure financing for the deal, and that talks have now stalled. Davis did not comment specifically on a rumors of a merger with GEM, but admitted that he thought he had a potential merger done recently, only to have it fall through.(SIRIUS Speedway)(11-11-2008) Comment here

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Checker O’Reilly 500 at Phoenix:
      Total number of commercials: 120
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 61
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 24
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:45 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 7:55 PM
      Total minutes: 250
      Minutes of race broadcast: 197
      Minutes of commercials: 53
      Number of broadcast stations for the east coast for the race: 2
      Number of missed restarts on the east coast: 0
      Number of missed restarts on the west coast: 1
      Number of rain-in-the-desert red flags: 1
      Number of rain-delay driver/crew chief interviews: 7
      Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 1
      Total race brdcst time 197 Total comm. brdcst time 53
      See more on my TV Commercials page.(11-11-2008) Comment here


      News from November 10, 2008

    • Phoenix Overnight TV Ratings same as 2007: ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 3.4 with a 6 share, the same rating as in 2007. This only covers up to when ABC stopped airing the race at 7:28pm/et and showed the remainder of the race on ESPN2 [in the eastern and central time zone]. No word what the ESPN2 numbers were. See past 2008 races and Ratings news on my 2008 TV Ratings and Chart page.(11-10-2008) Comment here

    • Montoya turns down F1: Team boss Franz Tost sounded out whether Juan Pablo Montoya, a winner of seven Grand Prix, might be interested in returning to F1 with Toro Rosso in 2009. Montoya, 33, was a frontrunner with Williams and McLaren until a drop in form in 2006 led to his switch to NASCAR. But with Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost needing to fill Sebastian Vettel's seat, the Austrian admitted he looked into whether Colombian Montoya might be ready to return to the series. "Unfortunately he no longer wants to be in Formula One," Tost is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport.(F1-Live.com)(11-10-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR to ban testing? NASCAR executives are moving toward perhaps a virtual ban on all testing through the early months of 2009, until the economy settles down, according to NASCAR teams. That's a reversal of the plan just a few months ago to open up testing for 24 days per team at Sprint Cup tour tracks. Currently teams can test en masse at seven official NASCAR tests at Cup tour speedways. And teams can test anywhere else at any time. NASCAR could bar teams from testing at any NASCAR-sanctioned tracks, such as Kentucky.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-10-2008) Comment here

    • NASCAR chairman Brian France at PIR: NASCAR chairman Brian France said Sunday that the sanctioning body will become more aggressive about cutting costs in difficult economic times, but he gave few specifics about how the sanctioning body plans to do it. France said he and NASCAR president Mike Helton have met recently with executives for all four car manufacturers in the sport -- General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota -- to discuss the financial problems that are hurting each company. Teams are losing sponsorship, and some Sprint Cup operations may be forced to shut down if they fail to work out a merger with another organization. But France emphasized that NASCAR is not in position to offer any direct bailout. NASCAR teams are independent contractors, not franchises as in other professional sports league like the NFL or the NBA. But France said NASCAR officials are involved behind the scenes in trying to ensure the teams stay afloat. France emphasized that NASCAR won't make dramatic changes because of the economic woes across the country.(ESPN)
      See the full transcript on Jayski.com - Transcript: Brian France at PIR.(11-10-2008) Comment here

    • No one wants to talk about possible mergers: If teams are talking to others in the garage area about merging, the owners and executives weren’t talking about it Sunday in the Sprint Cup Series garage. “I can save you a lot of time here – I can’t talk about any of this,” said Chip Ganassi, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing at Phoenix International Raceway. “It’s not that I don’t want to talk about it, but I can’t talk about all this stuff.” Ganassi’s team reportedly has been in talks with Petty Enterprises and Dale Earnhardt Inc. – two teams that also have reportedly been in discussions with each other.
      Petty Enterprises [#43, #45] CEO David Zucker politely declined to talk about any merger possibilities.
      DEI [#01, #1, #8, #15] President Max Siegel wasn’t at the race track. “We are having multiple discussions about ways to sustain a strong racing program,” Siegel said via e-mail. “We will make an announcement about our future plans in the next two weeks.”
      Hall of Fame Racing [#96] and Wood Brothers Racing [#21] also have been mentioned as potential candidates for mergers. “We’re working hard to make sure that we’re [here and competitive] – that’s what we’re working hard to do,” Hall of Fame Racing co-owner Tom Garfinkel said. “I hesitate to put a timeline on it because it’s not all within my control.”
      Bill Davis Racing [#22] said Saturday that he thought he had a potential merger done but it didn’t look like it would happen.
      Robby Gordon [#7] said his team is not involved in any of the merger talk.(SceneDaily)(9-10-2008) Comment here

    • Chevy clinches Manufacturers Championship: Jimmie Johnson, #48 Lowe's Impala SS, did exactly what he set out to do at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) Sunday - collect the maximum amount of points possible in his quest for his third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship (NSCS). His victory, the seventh of the season for the Hendrick Motorsports driver, clinched the 32nd Manufacturers' Cup for Chevrolet in NSCS competition. "On behalf of the men and women at General Motors," said Terry Dolan, Manager, Chevy Racing. "It is an honor for Chevrolet to clinch our 32nd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers' Cup title. It is a proud achievement based on a come-back run for the title given the tough competition we face every week on and off the race track. "This championship has been earned through the perseverance and dedication of Team Chevy's drivers, owners and crews with the collaboration of our GM Racing engineers. We look forward to carrying the momentum of achievement in to the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season."(GM Racing PR), see the rules, standings, drivers with most manu points, history and more on my 2008 Manufacturers Page.(11-10-2008)

    • Two developers halt plans near NASCAR hall: In a sign of the faltering economy, two developers have pulled out of land deals that city officials hoped would help pay for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. City staff members say the broken contracts will not hurt the NASCAR hall, however, because of safeguards that ensure it has secure funding and is built on time. They also believe that when the real estate market gets better, the city will have no trouble selling the land. The land deals were on two parcels that will become available once a redesign of the Interstate 277 interchange at South Caldwell Street is complete next year. The city plans to sell a total of five such parcels – about 12 acres – and estimates it will pull in about $60 million from the sales. Some of the money will pay for the road construction, and $20 million is committed to the NASCAR hall.(Charlotte Observer)(11-9-2008)

    • Johnson Needs 36th-Place Finish to Clinch at Homestead: Jimmie Johnson’s third consecutive championship is well within reach, needing to finish 36th or better in next Sunday’s season finale Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to clinch. Even if second-place Carl Edwards wins and leads the most laps – a 195-point day – Johnson would clinch with the 36th-place finish. Additionally, Johnson can clinch by finishing 37th and leading at least one lap or 39th and leading the most laps.(NASCAR PR)(11-10-2008)

    • Racing Resources Says …
      * Jimmie Johnson won the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. He posted his 40th career series victory in his 254th career race. Johnson posted his seventh victory in 2008, second behind Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch, who each have eight wins in 2008. Johnson's last victory came at Martinsville in October, three races ago. He posted his third straight win at Phoenix. Johnson posted his ninth top-10 finish in 11 races at Phoenix. Johnson won the race from the first-place starting position. This marked just the second time in 25 series races at Phoenix that the race was won from the pole. Johnson posted his 14th win in 49 Chase races. He posted his 30th career superspeedway victory in 170 superspeedway races. Johnson led three times for 217 laps, including the final 95.
      * Chevrolet has clinched its sixth straight Manufacturers' championship, and its 32nd overall.
      * Hendrick Motorsports posted its eighth victory in 2008: Johnson has seven, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. won once. Hendrick Motorsports posted its sixth Phoenix series victory. Four of those wins came in the past four Phoenix races: Jeff Gordon in April 2007, Johnson in November 2007 and in both races in 2008.
      * Race winner and points leader Jimmie Johnson has scored top-15 finishes in the past 11 races, extending a streak that began at California in August. Johnson is the only driver to score top-15 finishes in the nine Chase races. Johnson has a 4.67 average finish in the nine Chase races.
      * Kevin Harvick (finished 7th), Greg Biffle (11th) and Clint Bowyer (12th) have each scored eight top-15 finishes in the nine Chase races.
      * Johnson and Biffle are the only Chase drivers to lead in eight of the nine Chase races. They were the only Chase drivers to lead at Phoenix.
      * Johnson has led in 28 of the 35 races this season, more than any other driver. He led 217 laps at Phoenix. Johnson has led 955 laps in the nine Chase races. Carl Edwards is second in Chase laps led at 489 laps.
      * With a 141-point lead (unofficial), Johnson will win the championship if he finishes 36th or better at Homestead no matter what second-place Carl Edwards does. Mathematically, only Johnson and Edwards can win the championship. The driver with one race to go in each of the four Chases has gone on to win the championship. This is the largest points lead ever with one race to go in the Chase.
      * The championship leader with one race to go has gone on to win the championship all but twice since 1975 (when the present points system was implemented). Alan Kulwicki was second, 30 points behind leader Davey Allison in 1992, and Richard Petty trailed Darrell Waltrip by two points in 1979 -- the closest points margin with one to go.
      * Johnson is in position to win three straight championships, a feat only accomplished once before: Cale Yarborough in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Johnson could become only the eighth driver to win three or more championships in NASCAR's 60-year history. * Going into the final race there are only two drivers that can win the championship, just like in 2007. In 2004 and 2006 there were six drivers alive, and four drivers were alive in 2005.
      * No driver has ever won both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup championships in the same year. Carl Edwards is alive to do both but remains second in both series.
      * Gordon has gone 40 races without a victory, his longest streak between victories. He posted his sixth DNF in 2008 and ended a streak of four straight top-10 finishes.
      * Jamie McMurray (third) has scored four top-10 finishes in the past five races.
      * Kevin Harvick has been running at the finish in the past 79 races, the longest current streak by any driver.
      * This was the 11th win for Chevrolet in 2008. Ford and Toyota each have 10 and Dodge has four.
      * The top-10 consisted of four Chevrolets, three Fords, two Toyotas and one Dodge.
      * Seven of the top 10 finishers 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, Martinsville and Phoenix and Carl Edwards won at Atlanta and Texas.
      * Just two of the 12 Chase drivers earned lap-leader bonus points at Phoenix by leading at least one lap: Johnson and Biffle.
      * Six of the 12 Chase drivers changed positions after Atlanta.
      * Regan Smith (23rd) was the highest-finishing rookie-of-the-year contender.(ESPN)(11-10-2008)



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