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  • MORE SPRINT CUP NEWS/RUMORS
    NOVEMBER 24-30, 2008


      MORE NEWS-RUMORS!
      YESTERDAY and BEYOND..






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

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

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




      News from November 30, 2008

    • Logano to run Daytona ARCA race? Look for Joey Logano, scheduled to run the #20 Home Depot Toyota in 2009, to test at Dayotna in December in Venturini Motorsports ARCA car and may run the ARCA race at Daytona in February. Logano ran for Venturini Motorsports at Talladega and finished 2nd.(12-1-2008) Comment here

    • Gordon fails to finish 1st race of charity event: Rubens Barrichello won the first race of a charity karting event in Brazil on Sunday, with Michael Schumacher finishing fourth and Jeff Gordon failing to complete the event after starting in the last row. Barrichello edged Brazilian countrymen Lucas Di Grassi in the first race of the "International Challenge of the Stars", an event organized by Formula One driver Felipe Massa. In its fourth edition, the event in southern Brazil will aid local charities and the recent victims of flooding in the region. Another race will take place later Sunday, with the driver with the most points after the two races being crowned the overall winner. Gordon, making his first trip to race in Brazil, struggled after starting in 25th place and failed to complete the race because of mechanical problems.(Denver Post/AP)(11-30-2008)

    • Clint Bowyer on Motorcycle Safety: An increase of motorcycles on the road and the fact that less than half have taken an organized rider education course, indicates a need for increased awareness of proper motorcycle safety. Clint Bowyer, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle owner and Shell-Pennzoil sponsored NASCAR driver, began his career as a motocross racer. He truly knows the importance of safety, both on and off the track. "One of the first things I learned when I started racing was to recognize the importance of safety. You can't afford not to when you're competing at top speeds with 42 other drivers all around you," Bowyer says. "I apply the same philosophy in my personal life. Whether I'm going tire-to-tire on the race track or cruising the highway on my Harley, safety is always a priority."
      Motorcyclists can apply Bowyer's safety philosophy to their own lives by following these simple tips:
      1. Prepare - Wear appropriate gear for comfort and protection (eye wear, helmet, long pants, jacket, boots).
      2. Be seen - Stand out. Wear bright colors and use retro-reflective material.
      3. Be awake - Fatigue and drowsiness can impair a motorcyclist's ability to react, so be alert.
      4. Be courteous - Be considerate on the road; show respect and civility.
      5. Plan - Have your route and stops set in advance to ensure a safer ride.
      6. Inspect - Conduct a safety inspection of your motorcycle before each ride. T-CLOCS is an easy way to remember what to inspect. Tires, Controls, Lights, Oil, Chassis and Sidestand.
      Bowyer isn't alone in noticing the need for motorcycle safety awareness. Harley-Davidson not only provides its riders with safety tips for the road on its Web site, but it also offers the Rider's Edge New Rider Course, which has trained more than 140,000 students since the program's inception in 2000. Additionally, the Harley-Davidson Ride Planner version 2.0 provides an interactive Web-based tool that enables riders to map out a safe route before even leaving the garage. Motorcyclists can plot points of interest and amenities along any route. Ride Planner even highlights more than 14,000 Shell stations across the U.S., helping to ensure that riders won't be stranded by the side of the road on "empty" with no quality gasoline in sight. According to Bowyer, when it comes to safety, motorcyclists shouldn't "skimp."
      "I wouldn't buy any bargain-basement helmet or cheap riding gear and I don't put discount gasoline in my tank. I want my Harley to perform like it was built to, so I always use a quality premium gasoline, like Shell V-Power." Using proper motorcycle safety on and off the road creates a safer environment for motorcyclists. Being aware and recognizing the different steps you can take to become a safer driver will ensure not only your safety, but also the safety of others. The more educated you are, the safer your ride.(Carteret News Times/ARAContent)(11-30-2008)

    • Latest news on Edwards injured USAC driver: From Cameron Dodson.com: “After responding to familiar voices and briefly opening his eyes on multiple occasions over the last 48 hours, we are thrilled to report that Cameron [drives for Carl Edwards' USAC team] regained consciousness this afternoon,” stated Michelle Petroff from Dodson’s representing agency – Rising Star Management Group. “He was able to respond physically to multiple verbal commands and showed the ability to move and sense pain so this is remarkable news just 10 days after his accident. The progress that Cameron has already made defies all odds but is a credit to the medical staff caring for him, support of his family, his determination and personal fortitude. Please continue to send positive wishes and encouraging messages of strength and, again, thank you.” More info at camerondodson.com.(11-30-2008)


      News from November 29, 2008

    • Hornish given 'vote of confidence': Former Penske Racing open-wheel driver Sam Hornish Jr. has the team's full support in his second full season of Sprint Cup racing next year. Hornish, a three-time IndyCar Series champion and winner of the 2006 Indy 500, struggled this season in the #77 Dodge Charger in his rookie Cup year, finishing 35th in points and failing to qualify for the final race at Homestead. It was rumored he might even return to IndyCar. But Penske Racing spokesman Bud Denker said Hornish, who will have Mobil 1 and AAA sponsorship on his Dodge in 2009, would play a pivotal part in the Cup campaign with fellow Penske drivers #2-Kurt Busch and #12-David Stremme, who replaces Ryan Newman. "We're absolutely committed to Sam," Denker said. "We're behind him and are blessed to have sponsorship from Mobil and AAA. We are very committed to Sam and expect him to do well."(Detorit Free Press)(11-28-2008) Comment here


      News from November 28, 2008

    • Richert looking: hearing that championship crew chief [Dale Earnhardt 1980], recently crew chief for Mike Skinner in the Truck Series will not be back with Skinner at Bill Davis Racing and is looking for a crew chief job.(11-28-2008)

    • Blaney's career is up in the air...BDR layoffs: Dave Blaney knows he’ll be involved in racing in some capacity in 2009, but that’s speaking in general terms. It could be in NASCAR Sprint, Nationwide or Trucks series or it could be as overseer of his 14-year-old son’s super late-model short-track activities. Following the last of 36 Sprint Cup races at Homestead Miami Speedway on Nov. 16, the Hartford native reflected on the 2008 season, but, more painfully, gazed into auto racing’s crystal ball. “I’m ready for a break,” said Blaney, who finished 31st in the owners’ points standings. “I’m glad it’s over.” The uncertainty of his place in NASCAR’s top tier is utmost on his mind. “It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen,” Blaney said of the status of Bill Davis Racing’s No. 22 team, which, following Homestead, laid off most of its employees. “The 22 team is kind of up in the air. It doesn’t have sponsorship for 2009.” If it sounds like the end, that’s understandable, but the door doesn’t appear to have closed completely. Blaney said he’d consider the second-tier Nationwide series or Craftsman [Trucks]. “I’d love to run Nationwide or Trucks with a really competitive team. That would be fun. If not, I’ll will look at racing somewhere else. My son is having fun racing, so I could see myself going with him.” Not only has the #22 team shifted into slow gear, but it’s gone into hibernation. “It’s uncertain if it’ll get a sponsor,” Blaney said. In a media release dated Nov. 14, BDR crew chief and competition director Tommy Baldwin said there will be a full staff preparing for the start of the 2009 season. With his one-year contract with BDR expired, Blaney is officially a free agent. “I’m open for next year. I’d stay with the 22 if I’m asked back or I’d look at any other options, but there aren’t a lot of options out there.”(The Vindicator)(11-28-2008) Comment here

    • NCMA Initiate “Motorsports Employment Task Force” The motorsports industry is not immune to the current economic downturn. Nearly all race teams in the industry have made some level of cutbacks. It is estimated that upwards of 700 jobs have been lost in recent weeks and its possible the lay-offs will continue into 2009. Initiated by Humpy Wheeler and administered by the North Carolina Motorsports Association a Motorsports Employment Task Force was developed to address the job loss issues. A meeting was convened last Friday. Attendees of the initial meeting included associates from NASCAR, the NC Legislature, Centralina Workforce Development Board, Career Transition Consultants, NC Biotech Center, NASCAR Technical Institute, Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports, NC-Community College Motorsports Consortium, Belmont Abbey College, Compass Career Management, The Wheeler Company and The NCMA. The group discussed ways to immediately provide support and information to current displaced workers. In addition the Task Force discussed plans for a promotional campaign to other industries that would showcase the skills and benefits to hiring someone from the Motorsports Industry. For Humpy Wheeler this situation is not new. He’s seen this before in the 70’s and 80’s. But his concern in this cycle is that the numbers are much larger. “In the 70’s and 80’s I think it was even worse economically, but teams were much smaller then,” said Wheeler at the Task Force meeting. “Some teams back then were letting go 50% or more of crew members. But that was only 5 or 6 people. Today cut backs might be less percentage of the team, but could equal dozens per organization.”
      The newly formed Motorsports Employment Task Force is working towards the development of a central clearing house that will support displaced workers with information and steps to guide them in their sudden career path changes. It also will provide potential employers information and access about the benefits of hiring from the industry. The group is currently developing an immediate plan of action along with a long term plan to support future workforce changes. All at the meeting expressed the urgency of taking some level of action immediately.(more at North Carolina Motorsports Association PR), see more ways to get help and ideas on my Racing Jobs/Schools page.(11-28-2008) Comment here


      News from November 27, 2008

    • Stewart and Sirius Radio announced nominees for 2nd Annual 'Stewie Awards' Sirius XM Radio and two-time Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart, announced the nominees for the second annual ‘Stewie Awards,’ honoring the best, boldest and funniest moments of the 2008 NASCAR season. The ‘Stewies’ will be awarded during a special broadcast of Tony Stewart Live, the weekly talk show hosted by Stewart and Matt Yocum, at SIRIUS XM Radio’s New York City studios on Thursday, December 4 (6:00 – 8:00 pm/et) during 2008 NASCAR Champions Week. The live broadcast will air nationwide on Sirius NASCAR Radio, available on SIRIUS channel 128 and on XM channel 128 with the “Best of SIRIUS” programming package. “After seeing the tears of joy stream down Kevin Harvick’s face after handing him his ‘Stewie’ for ‘Best Original Drama’ last year we knew that, while it would be tough to top last year’s event, the show must go on,” said Stewart. ”So we’re excited to be back for year two to celebrate all the great people and performances from the 2008 season. It’ll be a great way to cap off the season and we’ll have a lot of fun with our guests and our listeners on SIRIUS and XM.” The 2008 Stewie Award winners will be determined by fans around the country who cast their votes online at www.sirius.com/stewieawards. “Once again the fans, who are such a big part of Tony Stewart Live throughout the year, can get involved by voting in the award winners,” said Stewart. “And so, without further ado, the nominees for the 2008 Stewie Awards are…” see the full list on my Awards Page - Stewie Awards section.(SIRIUS XM Radio PR)(11-27-2008) Comment here

    • Johnson helps push sales up: NASCAR fans across the country are celebrating Jimmie Johnson’s third straight Sprint Cup Championship in record fashion, as sales of his championship merchandise on the NASCAR.com Superstore are up 44% over 2007. In addition to the strong fan reaction on NASCAR.com, the Racing Collectables Club of America (RCCA), the premier club for motorsports fans and collectors, has also experienced a wave of enthusiasm for everything and anything related to Johnson and the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team. In fact, RCCA championship product sales are up 137% over last year when Johnson captured his second consecutive Cup crown. Shortly after Johnson crossed the finish line in Miami in his #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, Motorsports Authentics, through its Chase Authentics and Action Racing Collectables brands, went to market with a full array of licensed products commemorating Johnson’s record-tying third straight Sprint Cup Championship. Mark Dyer, president and CEO of Motorsports Authentics, was pleased with the numbers, though not entirely surprised, given the historical significance of Johnson’s victory. “Jimmie has been one of the most popular drivers in the sport with strong merchandise sales, especially given his relatively short tenure in NASCAR,” Dyer said. “I think collectors and fans recognize the amazing feat he’s accomplished and are getting behind him to show their support. They know his memorabilia from this third championship will ultimately be quite valuable in the marketplace and they want to be a part of the excitement.” All 2008 Championship apparel and die-cast collectables are available at the NASCAR.com Superstore and rccamembers.com. Fans can also visit Motorsports Authentics authorized dealers across the country to learn more about these products. To find a local dealer, visit goracing.com and click on the dealer locator at the bottom of the page.(Motorsports Authentics PR)(11-27-2008)


      News from November 26, 2008

    • added some more 2009 schemes:
      #33 Cheerios, #31 Caterpillar, #29 Reeses, see my Paint Schemes Gallery.(11-26-2008)

    • Pemberton leaves MWR for Red Bull UPDATE 2 new crew chief?: After asking for his release, #44 crew chief Ryan Pemberton is expected to reunite with his friend and former boss Jay Frye at Team Red Bull. Pemberton, 39, spent this year working with David Reutimann and the #44 Toyota after weathering the MB2 Motorsports buyout and the Ginn Racing/Dale Earnhardt Inc. merger last fall. The Pemberton-led crew won the pole at Homestead, but finished 20th on Sunday. Pemberton's official position has yet to be determined.(FoxSports)(11-18-2008)
      UPDATE: #44-David Reutimann [will be back in #00 in 2009], who finished 22nd in points in his second full Sprint Cup season and won the pole in the finale at Homestead, is short a crew chief and a half-season's worth of sponsorship on his Toyota for next season. He also is unlikely to run a third straight full Nationwide season because of sponsorship issues. Reutimann said a replacement for (crew chief) Ryan Pemberton, who said late in the season he was leaving for Red Bull, could be announced next week. "You would like to get somebody in there because Ryan decided to do his deal so late in the season it doesn't give you much opportunity to talk with people," Reutimann said. "You know your crew chief is leaving halfway through the year, you can start talking to people who are interested in doing something different. He just didn't give us that option."(St Petersburg Times)(11-23-2008)
      UPDATE 2: hearing former #19 GEM crew chief, Rodney Childers, will be Reutimann's crew chief in 2009.(11-26-2008) Comment here

    • Motorsports Artist Garry Hill Featured On NASCAR Partners: Noted Motorsports artist Garry Hill is profiled on NASCAR Partners. Hill has been creating original paintings, limited edition fine art prints and graphic design for the motorsports community for the better part of thirty years. His artworks celebrate and commemorate the history of racing and many of his limited edition prints are autographed by the sport's greatest drivers and legends. As the holiday season approaches check out Garry's artworks in mind for that speed enthusiast on your shopping list. For additional information please visit www.garryhill.com. To see Garry's profile on the NASCAR Partners website Click Here to see the full story.(11-26-2008)

    • Baldwin remains positive for 2009 with BDR:Considering the amount of uncertainty at Bill Davis Racing concerning its future in NASCAR, crew chief and competition director Tommy Baldwin is doing his best to remain positive for the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. Although BDR's driver Dave Blaney was able to keep the #22 Caterpillar/Bill Davis Racing Toyota in the top 35 in owner points, finishing the 2008 season 30th, the team is currently without a primary sponsor for 2009. "It's disappointing; you feel helpless," said Baldwin, about the sponsor trouble at BDR. "I think we are going to go through a transitional period here so we can move forward. It's been pretty hard. We only have so many guys in the shop, and we've had to play catch up the whole year. We're in the top 35, and we can't complain about that. There are teams more heavily funded that are behind us. We can't really complain for the most part. Do we want to run better? Of course we do. But these are the circumstances we've been dealt with, and we need to keep fighting."(SceneDaily)(11-26-2008) Comment here

    • Edwards wins 4th Qtr Driver of the Year award: #99-Carl Edwards, who narrowly missed winning two NASCAR championships in the same year, was voted 4th quarter Driver of the Year 2008. In the voting period Edwards won three Sprint Cup races and had only two finishes worse than top four. Additionally he won three Nationwide races in the final quarter. You could say he threw everything he had at those championships, and in one race, at Kansas City, he literally threw his Roush Racing Ford in the wall in an effort to get past Jimmie Johnson the eventual race winner and Cup Champion. He was also the fourth quarter winner in 2005. Barry Schmoyer, President of the Driver of the Year Foundation, said "Carl made the final run to both championships exciting. He's the perfect example of an athlete who never gave up and I think the panel recognized that." In the voting Edwards took ten first-place ballots and received votes from the entire panel. With 128 points he beat Jimmie Johnson. Johnson, the reigning Sprint Cup Champion and the 2006 & 2007 Driver of the Year, received seven first-place votes and totaled 74 points. Tony Schumacher, NHRA's Top Fuel Champion and winner of the 3rd quarter Driver of the Year 2008, received one first-place vote and totaled 79 points. Cruz Pedregon, the NHRA's Funny Car Champion this year, was fourth in the voting with one first place vote. A total of 14 eligible drivers scored points in the fourth quarter voting. In its' 42nd year, the Driver of the Year title is unique. A panel of 18 leading broadcasters and journalists from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Edwards will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date.(DOTY PR)(11-26-2008) Comment here

    • Thanksgiving Day/Weekend special races: On Thanksgiving evening Thursday, November 27 with the 68th Running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix presented by Agajanian Promotions will take place at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. The last major event of the season on the United States Motorsports and Toyota Speedway calendars, the Turkey Night Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the racing season for local racing fans and for those fans traveling from all over the country to attend the event as evidenced by the number of motor homes parked at the Speedway the week of the event. The event is expected to attract USAC’s top Midget and Sprint car drivers as well as guest drivers from NASCAR [Bobby East, Btyan Clauson, Jason Leffler, Bobby Santos, Kasey Kahne, Josh Wise, P.J. Jones, ]. More info at Toyotaspeedwayatirwindale.com.
      Wall Turkey Derby XXXV on for Nov. 28-29: There will be a Turkey Derby XXXV at Wall Township Speedway Nov. 28-29. WTS's General Partners have made a agreement with its Operations Manager, Jim Morton, to reopen the 57-year-old banked paved one-third-mile oval for as many as six dates in November. The first three dates are for practice sessions leading up to the post-Thanksgiving Day classic with Nov. 30 set aside as a rain date. Turkey Derby XXXV format, racing divisions and other details are to be posted on www.wallspeedway.com Sept. 7. The agreement allows a modified stock car racing tradition that Thomas and Jeannie Nicol started in 1974. Some of the best modified stock car drivers in the country have since competed against the local NASCAR Whelen All-American Series stars on the banked paved one-third mile oval. Turkey Derby XXXV is the first event on 'Big Wall' since Turkey Derby XXXIV was held Nov. 23-24, 2007. Details on wallspeedway.com.(PR)(11-26-2008)

    • Sad News - Colby Crooks: Colby Crooks, 33, shock specialist for Mike Skinner in the Truck Series and for Connor Cantrell Racing of California, passed away November 19th. Crooks is the son of Joe Gibbs shock specialist Ronnie Crooks [see a story about Ronnie at nascar.com](11-26-2008)


      News from November 25, 2008

    • added some more 2009 schemes:
      #20 Home Depot, #48 Kobalt, see my Paint Schemes Gallery.(11-25-2008)

    • HMS Holdings suing DEI: HMS Holdings, which operates the Hendrick Motorsports engine shop, is suing Dale Earnhardt Inc. for $1.5 million for the payment of a termination fee stemming from a contract to supply Hendrick engines to Ginn Racing. Ginn Racing, which also is a defendant in the suit filed Friday in North Carolina Superior Court, merged with DEI in July 2007. As part of the merger, DEI and Ginn Racing signed a termination agreement to a contract that was originally signed by Ginn in 2006. The termination agreement required payments to HMS of $1.754 million by July 31, 2007, and $1.5 million by Nov. 15, 2008, according to the suit. The first payment was made on time. The second payment has not been made, according to the suit. The original engine contract and termination agreement are not included in the suit, so it is unclear how much Ginn was paying to use Hendrick engines. HMS is asking for the $1.5 million, 12% interest and an additional $225,000. Hendrick Motorsports spokesman Jesse Essex said the company is looking forward to a swift resolution of the lawsuit. Dale Earnhardt Inc. Vice President John Story said the company has no comment.(SceneDaily)(11-25-2008) Comment here

    • Benny Parsons ARCA car at the NC Auto Racing Hall of Fame: The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame - ncarhof.com announced that, for a limited time, the actual #98 Ford Torino driven by Benny Parsons in the 1968 and 1969 ARCA series championships will be on display in the museum. In 1970, the car was sold to Wendell Scott, NASCAR's first black driver, who raced the car under #34 until 1973. The car was one of two identical Ford Torinos returned to original race trim and used in the final scenes of the movie "Greased Lightning" starring Richard Pryor as Wendell Scott. This very special Ford Tornio is on loan to the Hall of Fame until May 2009, although the museum maintains an inventory of one-of-a-kind automobiles including #48 Lowe's Chevy driven by Jimmie Johnson, #8 Budweiser Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and a #24 DuPont Chevrolet driven by Jeff Gordon. Said Don Miller, chairman of the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame, "What makes our museum so unique is that not all of our automobiles are replicas or show cars. Many are the actual race cars that are in the same condition that they were when they left the track." The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame is located in Lakeside Business Park in Mooresville, North Carolina. Proceeds from the NCARHOF support Stop Child Abuse Now and the annual Stocks for Tots fundraiser - Dec 9th.(NCARHOF PR)(11-25-2008)

    • Fox, ESPN look to cut race costs: Facing a discouraging ad market, Fox is talking to NASCAR and ESPN about ways the network can save money on its broadcasts of the sport next year. Fox was expected to meet with NASCAR this past week and ESPN in the coming weeks to explore potential cost cuts on the production side. Also, about 20 members of Fox’s sales and marketing team will meet at NASCAR’s New York office to talk about unique approaches that might distinguish the sport from other properties. “It’s really going to be a half-day seminar on how we can think differently, approach the market differently and provide different opportunities for advertisers,” said Paul Brooks, president of the NASCAR Media Group, from the NASCAR hauler during last week’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “What are we missing? What can we do better? We want to make sure we’re looking through all of those opportunities.” On the production side, Brooks said the sanctioning body will work with Fox to find savings as long as the viewers won’t notice a difference. “There are additional things we can look at as far as sharing and managing facilities in an even more efficient way,” Brooks said. Can broadcasters get by with 55 cameras instead of 60? Can they share a production truck over the course of a weekend instead of using multiple trucks? Those are the kinds of cuts the networks will weigh. “It’s something we’re very cognizant of,” said Rich Feinberg, ESPN’s vice president of motorsports. “Every business has been affected by the economy and we’re just trying to stay ahead of those things. Our content will still be there, but we’ve got to take a closer look at how we acquire that content. Are there areas where we can be flexible?” The combined TV rights fee for Fox, ESPN and Turner averages $560 million a year through 2014. Additionally, each of the networks has a multimillion-dollar spend with NASCAR Media Group, which manages the TV compound at each venue and provides additional content, such as unique camera angles and audio.(Sports Business Journal)(11-25-2008) Comment here

    • Petty close to sports car deal: Kyle Petty took another big step towards racing in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and a possible full season in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Sunday, testing the #45 Orbit Racing InterMedia BMW Riley at the rechristened Palm Beach International Raceway. Petty, who tested with the team at Daytona during Pirelli tire testing in October, ran more than 50 laps as he continues to make the adjustment from racing a Sprint Cup Series stock car and the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype. "Braking has been hard for me," Petty said. "Darren tried teaching me at Daytona until I ran until I ran into the tire wall. That was pretty exciting. When I ran a few laps here I told him, first I'm not brave enough, then I get stupid, so I have to back it up and figure out where I need to be, somewhere between ‘stupid' and ‘not brave enough.' Learning the braking is hard." The car was not damaged when Petty slid into an infield tire barrier during his October test session. Now, Petty is working on the final details for a move to Grand-Am. "We're still working on it, and we're closer to getting something together," Petty said. "Hopefully, we'll have something together before long that will give me a job for next year and we can win some races. I'm here at Orbit because of Rodger Hawley, let's be clear about that. I ran a car with Orbit and Leo Hindery two or three times at Daytona. We didn't have the greatest success in the world but we had a lot of fun. I told Rodger back then that if it ever comes to the point when I don't have a Cup ride and I can go and do something different, I want to come here. I think this is the top road racing series in the United States, so I'm stepping from the top stock car series to the top road racing series, the Grand-Am. I'm looking at it as a lateral move to another series where there's a ton of great drivers."(Grand-Am.com)(11-25-2008) Comment here

    • No plans to switch more races to cable in 2009: NASCAR already has a dozen of its 36 Cup races on cable (ESPN 7 and TNT 6), with the rest being televised on over-the-air networks (Fox and ABC). That’s a mix that NASCAR likes, so don’t expect to see any more of the sport’s big events moving over to pay TV. While Speed, a News Corp.-owned network in 75 million homes, continuously lobbies for Cup races on its network, that doesn’t appear likely. It does have the Sprint All-Star Race, which is a non-points event. “We think the balance as it is today is good,” Paul Brooks, president of the NASCAR Media Group said. “We worked hard as we put our TV plans in place to ensure the greatest coverage available for the sport. … We have assurances that the balance will be there moving forward.” That doesn’t mean the lobbying will stop. Contractually, ESPN does not have the freedom to move the final 11 Cup races off ABC to ESPN. The first six Cup races of its 17-race schedule are already on ESPN.(Sports Business Journal)(11-25-2008) Comment here


      News from November 24, 2008

    • added some 2009 schemes:
      #16 3M, #43 Richard Petty Driving Experience and #5 Kellggs/Carquest, see my Paint Schemes Gallery.(11-24-2008)

    • AT&T unsure of plans: Rather than finishing with a bang, AT&T decided to go quietly without any special activation at the end of the season. AT&T executives watched their final Sprint Cup race as sponsor of Jeff Burton’s #31 car from a speedway suite over the garages. Tim McGhee, AT&T’s director of national sponsorships, said the scene was sad, “knowing that we won’t be back in the Cup series in the foreseeable future.” With Cingular’s rebranding to AT&T, the Richard Childress Racing sponsor was bumped out of the Sprint Cup Series by NASCAR and its series title sponsor, Sprint. McGhee said it remains to be seen whether AT&T will continue its substantial advertising on NASCAR broadcasts.(Sports Business Journal)(11-24-2008) Comment here

    • Sauter meets with some of our Troops: Johnny Sauter spent his weekend in Fort Bragg, NC in support of the Warriors Promise Foundation. Joined by Pro Beach Volleyball player Angie Akers, Sauter met with troops to thank them for their service on behalf of FUBAR, Sauter’s NASCAR Sprint Cup sponsor for EM Motorsports. The Warrior’s Promise Foundation is a non-profit organization with the charter of providing support to the United States military community at the grass roots level. As part of the Warriors Promise Foundation a percentage of all FUBAR sales goes to the members of military communities in need.(PR)(11-24-2008)

    • Self-Ban on testing contract? #99-Carl Edwards said a contract is circulating among teams that would impose a self-ban on testing. The deal would go beyond NASCAR's one-year moratorium at venues that host races in the top three series. "I've seen a contract that was written that (owner Jack Roush) said he's willing to sign, I'm willing to sign, that says if everyone will agree to this, then we won't test at all," Edwards said. "I think that's fine. That's great." Edwards favors two-day race weekends, though he knows it would cost tracks a day of gate receipts even as it saves teams travel expenses. His ideal weekend is "showing up and throwing the green flag."
      "As long as everyone does the same thing, I mean, hell, what does everyone need all this practice for?" he asked. "…This is NASCAR Sprint Cup racing. We all know how to race. We've all been to these tracks before. Maybe you do a deal where guys who haven't been there before, they get a few hours of practice."(St Petersburg Times)(11-24-2008) Comment here

    • Coleman out at Hall of Fame UPDATE: #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)
      UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said Saturday he hopes to bring driver Brad Coleman back to the team’s Nationwide Series operation in 2009. Coleman was a part-time Gibbs driver in 2007 but left for a full-time ride with Baker Curb Racing this season. Coleman left Baker Curb for a shot at Hall of Fame Racing’s Sprint Cup ride, but that deal didn’t work out, and Coleman was on the sidelines for the latter stages of 2008. “All the non-combo events, we would love to have Brad,” Gibbs said. “We’re kinda working with [Brad’s father] Brandon, and hopefully we can work something out. Brad’s awesome to work with. We wish we could’ve kept working with him. It just didn’t work out.”(SceneDaily)(11-25-2008) Comment here

    • Latest News on the NASCAR Hall of Fame: The NASCAR Hall of Fame, scheduled to open in May 2010, includes a “ribbon” that wraps around part of the building in its design, invoking the speed of a race track. Eventually, lighting embedded in the stainless steel walls will appear to move along the curve. On a windy Friday, the skeleton of the museum and a ballroom were visible, as well as the beginnings of a bridge that will connect the Hall of Fame to the Convention Center next door. A private office building on the site is closer to completion. It is scheduled to open in the spring of 2009 and house NASCAR's media group as well as other tenants. The $209.8 million Hall of Fame construction project – which does not include the office building – includes $195 million from the city, paid for mostly through a hotel/motel tax. Lauth Properties, a private developer, is paying $14.8 million for the parking deck. Through September, about 28 percent of the total budget had been spent, according to a monthly construction update produced by the city.(Charlotte Observer), see a slideshow at the Observer - click here and past news about the NHOF on my NASCAR Hall of Fame page.(11-24-2008) Comment here

    • Stewart's Foundation Awards $20,000 To Indiana Racehorse Charity The charitable organization of Tony Stewart has awarded a $20,000 grant to Indianapolis-based Friends of Ferdinand, Inc. (FFI), a not-for-profit volunteer organization that works with owners and trainers at the state's two horse tracks to identify and obtain thoroughbreds that are nearing the end of their racing careers. Funds provided by the Tony Stewart Foundation will help FFI evaluate and retrain the horses, and find new, forever homes with devoted, caring owners. More than 200 horses have been transitioned from the track into new careers as show horses, dressage competitors, pleasure and trail riders, equine therapeutic program partners, pasture mates and beloved companions. Several thoroughbreds, the first horses to be christened "Tony's Ex-Racers," were brought into the FFI program Nov. 17 during the annual end-of-season paddock sale at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson, Ind. Representatives of both Friends of Ferdinand and the Tony Stewart Foundation were on hand to take a look at available horses and select those destined to become "Tony's Ex-Racers." A total of 10 horses will be brought into the program as "Tony's Ex-Racers" - those obtained from the Hoosier Park paddock sale, and two or three others already in line to come off the track and into FFI's care.(IMS PR)(11-24-2008) Comment here

    • USAC driver critically injured in accident UPDATE: U.S. Auto Club driver Cameron Dodson has been critically injured in a crash along a rural Hancock County road. The 20-year-old Dodson drives for Carl Edwards' team and was the USAC Silver Crown series rookie of the year in 2007. He won one race in four starts this year. Methodist Hospital spokesman Gene Ford said Dodson was in critical condition Wednesday evening but did not disclose the nature of the injuries. The Daily Reporter in Greenfield reported that authorities said Dodson was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from his car when it went off a county road into a ditch about 20 miles east of Indianapolis early Wednesday.(AP/ESPN)(11-19-2008)
      UPDATE: Injured USAC driver Cameron Dodson remained in critical condition Friday at Methodist Hospital. Dodson, a 20-year-old from Greenfield, was injured when he was ejected from his passenger car as it veered into a ditch Tuesday in Hancock County. Cards may be sent to the driver in care of Rising Star Management Group, 6199 SW Leland Ave., Des Moines, Iowa, 50321.(Indianapolis Star)(11-23-2008)
      UPDATE 2: "On this Sunday, we are fortunate to be able to report more good news about Cameron's condition. The intracranial pressure has continued to decrease and that is a great step in showing the swelling and pressure of his brain is subsiding. This morning, the doctors were so confident in this step that they were able to remove that monitor. This will allow them to continue to proceed with other treatments. They are also adjusting medication and treatments to slowly allow his body to start controlling some of its own regulating and functions. Additionally, the preliminary stages to hopefully start the gradual process of regaining consciousness has started. Early measurements will be used to try and monitor when he is awake or asleep; so while it may seem that this process is moving slowly, he is doing well considering the condition he was admitted in. By no means is his status upgraded yet but we are all thankful for these small notches towards our goal of having Cameron healthy and back to his vibrant self. Deep thanks go out to the staff at Methodist Hospital, the greater Greenfield and Indianapolis communities, and all of his friends, sponsors, fans and fellow competitors who are sending encouraging messages of support. In the coming days, those positive words will continue to be very important so please keep them coming as we approach Thanksgiving." Camerondodson.com.(11-24-2008)



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