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  • NASCAR SPRINT CUP NEWS ARCHIVE
    AUGUST 2009

    Go to a certain date in this month:
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31


      News from August 31, 2009

    • Harvick returning to the #29 in 2010: Kevin Harvick will drive Richard Childress Racing's #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy in 2010 for his 10th season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series despite rumors to the contrary. "Rumors about Kevin not driving for RCR next season have been flying around the garage area and in the media," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "We want to put the rumors behind us by stating together that Kevin will drive RCR's #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. RCR continues to work on the overall performance of the No. 29 team, like we are with all of our teams, and the plan is to end the season on a high note. Kevin and the No. 29 team are also preparing for next season with the goal of making a run at the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship."(RCR PR)(8-31-2009)

    • Darnell replacing Bobby Labonte for 7 races: UPDATE: Yates Racing, announced that former NASCAR Camping World Series Rookie-of–the-Year and current NASCAR Nationwide Series driver, Erik Darnell will be behind the wheel of the #96 entry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for seven races this season. Darnell will make his Sprint Cup Series debut Labor Day weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the #96 Academy Sports & Outdoors Ford Fusion. He also is slated to pilot the #96 at Loudon, Kansas, Talladega, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. Darnell will carry the familiar colors of Northern Tool + Equipment for the Loudon and Kansas races. Academy Sports & Outdoors will be Darnell’s primary sponsor at Atlanta, Talladega and Texas. Bobby Labonte will continue to race the#96 Ford under the Hall of Fame Racing banner with Ask.com and DLP as his primary sponsors at Richmond, Dover, Fontana, Charlotte and Martinsville. “This is a move that will be beneficial to Yates Racing surviving this difficult economic time,” said Bobby Labonte. “Of course, I’m disappointed that the sponsorship environment is so challenging right now, but I intend to make the most out of the remaining races that I’m behind the wheel for Ask.com, DLP and Hall of Fame Racing.”(Yates Racing PR)(8-31-2009)
      UPDATE: Hall of Fame Racing would like to keep Bobby Labonte as its NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and likely will not be affiliated with Yates Racing next year, team co-owner Tom Garfinkel said Monday. The organization signed Ask.com as a sponsor and Bobby Labonte as a driver in January for the 2009 season and then landed a deal with Yates Racing for Yates to field the cars. Seven of the final 12 races were unsponsored, and Yates Racing has opted to put Erik Darnell in the #96 Sprint Cup car instead of Labonte. Garfinkel, in a phone interview, said his organization is still in discussions with Ask.com for next season but doesn’t anticipate the Yates Racing relationship to continue. The organization is looking for other teams to partner with and is in discussions with other sponsors as well, Garfinkel said.(SceneDaily)(8-31-2009)

    • Keselowski says announcement will come soon: Brad Keselowski remained noncommittal this weekend at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on his future in NASCAR, though he did say an announcement on his plans will come "shortly." Keselowski, a full-time Nationwide Series driver for JR Motorsports and a part-time Sprint Cup driver for Hendrick Motorsports and Phoenix Racing, is rumored to be joining Penske Racing in 2010 - perhaps running both series full time for the team. Keselowski has said he wanted to drive full time in both series, and those plans remain in place. "I'm confident that I will run full time in both series next season," he said. If he joins Penske, he could be a teammate to Justin Allgaier in the Nationwide Series. Allgaier said Saturday he told Penske officials he didn't want to know about the team's plans until they were official.(SceneDaily)(8-31-2009)

    • Chase clinch scenarios heading to Atlanta: #14-Tony Stewart, #48-Jimmie Johnson, and #24-Jeff Gordon have each clinched a spot in the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. That leaves nine spots left to be had - and more than nine drivers who want one of them. Mathematically, eight of those spots can be clinched at Atlanta. Realistically, only three likely will. Any driver who leaves Atlanta with a 196-point lead over 13th-place will clinch a Chase spot. Furthermore, any driver with a 162-point lead over 13th-place will need only to start Race #26 at Richmond to clinch.
      Currently, #11-Denny Hamlin, in fourth place, has a 230-point lead on 13th - meaning he can lose 34 points and still clinch. Put simply, if Hamlin finishes third or better, fourth and leads at least a lap or fifth and leads the most laps at Atlanta, he will clinch a Chase spot.
      #99-Carl Edwards, in fifth, is 199 points ahead of 13th and can lose three points to that position. Though there are numerous possibilities for Edwards to clinch, only an Atlanta win will guarantee it.
      #2-Kurt Busch, in sixth, holds a 192-point lead over 13th. He needs to gain four points to clinch. Like Edwards, there are a number of ways for that to happen, but only a win on Sunday would guarantee a clinch.
      Those drivers currently in position seventh through 11th can mathematically clinch - but the scenarios are almost too far-fetched for it to happen. #39-Ryan Newman needs to gain 84 points over 13th, #16-Greg Biffle needs 75 points, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya needs 132 points; #5-Mark Martin needs 136 points; and #9-Kasey Kahne needs 144 points.(NASCAR PR)(8-31-2009)

    • Kenseth vs. Kenseth this weekend at Madison International Speedway: UPDATE: While the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit and #17-Matt Kenseth take a week off from the pressures of an intense points race to make the Chase for the Cup, the Roush Fenway driver will take on a different kind of pressure this weekend at Madison International Speedway; the race for family bragging rights. For the first time ever, Kenseth will go head-to-head on the track against his 16 year-old son, Ross, this Saturday night at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wis. The Madison International Speedway weekly Rockweiler Insulation Late Models will compete in a twin 50-lap feature event that will include father vs. son, as the 2009 Daytona 500 winner competes against Ross Kenseth and the other weekly MIS competitors. The Twin 50's will be a points event for the MIS weekly Rockweiler Insulation Late Models. Matt Kenseth, the 2003 Sprint Cup Champion, will compete in a Pathfinder Chassis-prepared Late Model. (Roush Fenway PR), for more information see my Driver appearances page.(8-28-2009)
      UPDATE: The competitor in Matt Kenseth felt the joy of victory from winning both 50-lap feature races at Madison International Speedway Sunday. The father in him, felt disappointment for his 16-year-old son, Ross, who finished second and sixth to earn second place overall in the rain-delayed Kenseth vs. Kenseth competition. “I want my son to be happy more than I care about my own happiness,” Matt Kenseth said. “I wish he was a little happier after the race, but he still finished second and sixth, he did really well. I know he’s a little disappointed because he always wants to win as well, but he did a really good job and it was a pretty fun event.”.(Wisconsin State Journal)(8-31-2009)

    • NASCAR History: Aug. 31 -- 2003: Terry Labonte wins the Mountain Dew Southern 500 in the final Southern 500 on Labor Day weekend at historic Darlington Raceway. It is also Labonte's last win to date. Labonte races full time for the final time in 2004. Labonte has 22 Cup wins in 864 starts. (NASCAR.com)

    • Las Vegas sets 2010 Cup date, tix for sale: The annual NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be a February affair in 2010. LVMS officials announced Friday that next year’s event will take place Feb. 26-28. It marks the first year the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event will be run in February. “In reality, it’s on the same weekend as the 2009 event, it’s just a quirk in the calendar that has the event being held in February,” said LVMS president Chris Powell. “We have been blessed with great weather on this weekend the past few years, and we look forward to having another great weekend with a packed house in 2010.” Tickets, which start as low as $49, are on sale now. Race fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-644-4444, logging on to www.lvms.com or in person at the LVMS ticket services office. LVMS has reduced the price of all Weekend Package and single-day tickets from 2009 pricing. Neon Garage passes also have been reduced from 2009. The speedway has introduced a special Family Four Pack which starts at $199. Lucky 7 Preferred Parking and Driver Introduction passes also are available. Times for all events will be announced at a later date.(LVMS)(8-31-2009)


      News from August 30, 2009

    • IndyCar owners support moving up Indianapolis 500 start time: The Indianapolis 500 will return to its more traditional start time -- 11 a.m. -- if some influential IndyCar Series team owners have a say in it. The leaders of Team Penske and Andretti Green Racing said Saturday they support a change back to the earlier start time to help the event attract NASCAR drivers, which they figure would boost television ratings for the 500. Currently, the 1 p.m. start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway does not allow enough time for drivers to complete the 500 miles and then fly to Concord, N.C., for the Sprint Cup Series night race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Team Penske president Tim Cindric brought the subject up in an owners meeting held with Indy Racing League officials prior to the race at Chicagoland Speedway. "It's worth one (ratings) point, at least," Cindric said after the meeting.(Indianapolis Star)(8-30-2009)

    • Special scheme for Edwards at Atlanta: At the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the #99 Aflac Ford will sport a colorful new look inspired by the creative imagination of a 13-year-old cancer patient from the Aflac Cancer Center. In support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Aflac invited children at the Aflac Cancer Center to “Color Carl’s Car,” inspiring the design of the car Carl Edwards will drive at the NASCAR Sprint Cup race on September 6. It will also mark the beginning of a month-long fundraising campaign whereby Aflac is asking NASCAR fans to help in the fight against childhood cancer.
      The paint scheme, inspired by 13 year old Jody Lawrence of Greensboro, Georgia, will feature an array of colors and a crayon-sketched look. Edwards will wear a matching fire suit and a white helmet signed by patients of the Aflac Cancer Center. The remaining 54 paint scheme submissions will be featured throughout the concourse of Atlanta Motor Speedway for viewing by race attendees and will adorn the pit wall banner for the #99 race team. Jody, who is battling neuroblastoma cancer, receives treatment at the Aflac Cancer Center. To extend the program beyond the track, Aflac has created a text donation program to coincide with the paint scheme launch. Running throughout the month of September, the donation program gives the NASCAR community an easy method to contribute to the Aflac Cancer Center. Fans can simply text “GoCarl” to 90999 using any carrier, to donate $5 per text, with charges appearing on customers’ wireless bill.
      As an additional program element, Aflac has teamed up with Motorsports Authentics to create a special die cast car, featuring the special paint scheme, to sell through QVC. As part of the initiative, five percent of all profits from the die cast sales will be donated to the Aflac Cancer Center. All cars sold through QVC will be personally autographed by Edwards (Aflac Racing). See images of the scheme on my #99 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2009)

    • NASCAR providing value for Toyota: Toyota's presence in NASCAR has had a little different purpose than other manufacturers in the sport. Sure, the company wants to sell vehicles. But before Toyota could get NASCAR fans to buy its vehicles, the manufacturer had to get NASCAR fans to consider buying its vehicles. That's where NASCAR came in - just to be in the mind of a potential car-buyer to look up a Toyota vehicle on the Web site or come into the dealership. To that end, NASCAR is producing results, said Bob Carter, a Toyota vice president who oversees Toyota Racing Development as the general manager for Toyota Motor Sales USA. "NASCAR continues to deliver what our goals were when we entered the sport," Carter said. "We've been involved in racing for 30 years. NASCAR has certainly positioned itself as the premier series within the U.S. "It has a huge fan base. In 2004, for many of the NASCAR fans, we weren't necessarily on the short list when it came to buying a car. In fact, compared to Chevy and Ford among the [NASCAR] people who were shopping, we were 20 points behind Chevy and Ford. In our third year of Sprint Cup, we're virtually identical with Ford and Chevy. [NASCAR] has delivered more benefits quicker than we had originally had hoped for," Carter said. "Our goal being at the race track is to be top of mind among all these race fans when they're considering their next car purchase. This was a push on a market that we saw an opportunity to expose the product."(SceneDaily)(8-30-2009)

    • Kenseth vs. Kenseth this weekend at Madison International Speedway: UPDATE: Rain While the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit and #17-Matt Kenseth take a week off from the pressures of an intense points race to make the Chase for the Cup, the Roush Fenway driver will take on a different kind of pressure this weekend at Madison International Speedway; the race for family bragging rights. For the first time ever, Kenseth will go head-to-head on the track against his 16 year-old son, Ross, this Saturday night at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wis. The Madison International Speedway weekly Rockweiler Insulation Late Models will compete in a twin 50-lap feature event that will include father vs. son, as the 2009 Daytona 500 winner competes against Ross Kenseth and the other weekly MIS competitors. The Twin 50's will be a points event for the MIS weekly Rockweiler Insulation Late Models. Matt Kenseth, the 2003 Sprint Cup Champion, will compete in a Pathfinder Chassis-prepared Late Model. (Roush Fenway PR), for more information see my Driver appearances page.(8-28-2009)
      UPDATE: The race was rained out Saturday night and has been rescheduled for Sunday at Noon.(8-30-2009)

    • IRL directly involved to keep Danica: The IRL is taking a hands-on approach to keep Danica Patrick. Series officials have talked directly with her representatives at IMG in an effort to keep racing's glamour girl with the IRL and prevent a jump to NASCAR after this season. "We think it's very important," said Terry Angstadt, president of the IRL's commercial division. "We have worked hard and closely with IMG to hopefully give them confidence in the future of our series and her role in the future of our series. Those conversations have gone very well. I think we're looking pretty good. ... We feel good about it. We hope it's all going to come together." Patrick's three-year contract with Andretti Green Racing expires at the end of the season, and although she has indicated she plans to stay put, she sidestepped questions about her future before the race at Chicagoland Speedway.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(8-30-2009)

    • Chase Elliott wins PASS race: Going into turn three prior to the final lap of the Over the Mountain 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway, Chase Elliott [son of Bill Elliott] worked his way to the back bumper of the race leader Jeff Choquette and made slight contact. As the two drivers came to the white flag, they were side by side. Jeff Choquette tried to work the high side through three and four, but Elliott had the preferred line and won the event. At 13 years old, Elliott becomes the youngest winner in PASS South, and PASS Super Late Model overall, history. Dave Blaney's son, Ryan, finished sixth in the race.(Speed51.com)(8-30-2009)

    • Jeff Burton puts final touches on MIS suite demolition project: The final piece of the Michigan International Speedway suite building came down in thrilling fashion on Wednesday, courtesy of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver #31-Jeff Burton. Burton, with the help of equipment from his sponsor Caterpillar (CAT), finished off the old suite building to make room for a new and improved suite/media center building, scheduled for completion in June 2010. Despite having CAT as the primary sponsor for his #31 Chevy, Burton has had few opportunities to operate a piece of CAT equipment before. With the assistance of Clark Construction, who is overseeing the $17 million project, and instruction from equipment operator Ron Reinke of Blue Star Demolition, Burton tore down the last remaining piece of the infield structure. “I’ve had very few opportunities to operate a piece of CAT equipment and that was sure a lot of fun,” Burton said. “I can’t say enough for MIS and other racetracks in NASCAR who do such a wonderful job of continuing to invest money into their facilities to make them the best possible venues for our loyal NASCAR fans.” With current MIS suite holders, CAT employees, MIS fans and local media looking on, Burton put on a good show for his first demolition project. “It’s not as easy as it looks that’s for sure,” Burton said. “After a little practice I was getting the hang of it. I enjoyed it.” Demolition and construction of the infield redesign began immediately following the track’s Show Me the CARFAX Race Weekend on August 14-16. Track fire crews and staff spent the night of the race and the next day to complete move-out of the 27-year-old building.
      The new two-story suite/media center building calls for 31 corporate suites that span the second floor of the structure. A number of the suites will include movable walls so areas can expand or decrease based on partners’ needs, building upon MIS’ philosophy to tailor custom packages to each partners’ business goals. The suites will sit atop a state-of-the-art media, technology and meeting center. Print, radio and TV journalists, including their photographer counterparts from across all news mediums, will have ample space to work and cover MIS’ popular events. Separate rooms for large press conferences and competitor meetings will also be housed on the first floor, near a new kitchen and press dining area.
      The scope of Phase One of the project also includes modifying pit road and the current fire lane. The speedway’s fueling station in the garage area will also be moved, and the pedestrian tunnel will be expanded. Phase One of the master plan redesign of the infield is just one piece of an ongoing transformation at MIS. In all, MIS will have spent more than $55 million since 2005 on various capital improvement projects. The best, guaranteed lowest prices in 2010 will go to renewal customers and new customers who make a $30 goodwill deposit. Current, 2009 customers will have the chance to renew at the best pricing available when they receive their renewal packets. New customers can log onto MISpeedway.com or call 800-354-1010 to leave a deposit.(MIS)(8-30-209)


      News from August 29, 2009

    • Edwards wrecks in Grand Am race: Carl Edwards’ first foray into the Grand-Am Rolex Series ranks ended before it could hardly begin. Edwards was circling Canada’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve road course on the warmup lap for Saturday’s Montreal 200 sports-car race when a combination of rain and cold, slick tires caused his No. 77 Doran Racing Dallara to lose grip and slide off the track. The incident ended the day early for Edwards and fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Marcos Ambrose, who had teamed up for the event and qualified eighth.(SceneDaily)(8-29-2009)

    • Nationwide COT to be run 4 times in 2010: NASCAR Nationwide Series teams will run the new car in four events in 2010, beginning with the July race at Daytona International Speedway and then race it about once a month in a slow debut for the model. Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash says that series officials handed teams the rule book for building the new car following a recent series of meetings with owners and fabricators. Balash said those meetings helped the sanctioning body finalize some steps of the process, while others are still in the works. The series will use tapered spacers at all events, abandoning the usage of restrictor plates to harness horsepower at superspeedways. A tapered spacer serves the same purpose as a restrictor plate, but it is a thicker device. "We still have to finalize a couple of things on the overall schedule before we can announce what tracks we'll be on, but our goal is to have the teams race the new car once a month for four months and then we'll stay away from that last month with the last three races leading into the championship for the Nationwide Series," he said. Balash added that the four events will all be on ovals, but that it will be a diverse group to help the teams.(SceneDaily)(8-29-2009)

    • NASCAR pioneers visiting Occoneechee Speedway: Some of NASCAR's pioneers, who turned dusty ovals into a multibillion-dollar car racing industry, will take some laps in Hillsborough, NC this weekend at the annual fund-raising event for the restoration of the historic Occoneechee Speedway. What those racing enthusiasts that attend can hope to see are some of the men who put the pedal to the metal in the sport's formative years, folks like Archie Smith, who can properly lay claim to being the reigning granddaddy of NASCAR. ''He drove in the very first NASCAR race in September of 1949, and he finished sixth in Charlotte," said Joe Crews, vice president of the Historic Speedway Group. "He also raced at this track here at Occoneechee. 'He said NASCAR called him. They told him the other day that he is the sole survivor of the first NASCAR race." Smith will be riding Saturday with Billy Biscoe, another early NASCAR driver who formerly worked in Richard Petty's pit crew. Biscoe will be driving a car he built for Ralph Earnhardt, the father of Dale Earnhardt, according to Crews. Rex White, the 1960 NASCAR champion who is "the oldest living NASCAR champion right now," according to Crews, is expected to be at Saturday's event, as is 1961 Daytona 500 champion Marvin Panch, The late Wendell Scott, the sport's first black driver, will be represented by his daughter, Sybil, of Danville, Va., and there will be "just a lot of drivers who never really got famous," Crews said. "We usually have between 60 and 75 drivers." Occoneechee remains one of only three race tracks on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is the only dirt track left. The speedway was the third NASCAR race track created.(Charlotte Observer)(8-29-2009)

    • MRO Concerts Announced For Talladega Overnight Parks: Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) has announced a four band lineup to play in several Talladega Superspeedway overnight parks. "MRO always does a great job securing bands to play in our overnight parks," said Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey. "The concerts are always a big hit with our fans. We still have limited availability in our reserved parks, so I would encourage everyone that plans on attending the AMP Energy 500 weekend to reserve their spaces now."
      OVERNIGHT PARK Concerts: Open to overnight park customers
      West B - Who So Ever (Friday and Saturday, 8 - 11 p.m.)
      Family - The River (Friday and Saturday, 8 - 11 p.m.)
      West C - Renaissance (Friday and Saturday, 8 - 11 p.m.)
      North Park - Trackside the Band (Friday and Saturday, 8 - 11 p.m.)
      For information on attending call 1-877-Go2-DEGA or visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.(TSS PR)(8-29-2009)


      News from August 28, 2009

    • Daytona 500 Qualifying moved to Saturday: Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger, which secures the prestigious front row for the 52nd annual Daytona 500, will be part of a tripleheader day of racing on Saturday, Feb. 6, joining the 32nd annual Budweiser Shootout and Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 during Speedweeks 2010. Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger, which is traditionally scheduled on the Sunday prior to the Daytona 500, will kick off activities on Saturday, Feb. 6 at 1:05 p.m. on FOX, followed by the season-opening Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 for the ARCA Series at 4:30 p.m. on SPEED, and the Budweiser Shootout at 8:10 p.m. on FOX.(Daytona PR)(8-28-2009)

    • Kenseth vs. Kenseth this weekend at Madison International Speedway: While the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit and #17-Matt Kenseth take a week off from the pressures of an intense points race to make the Chase for the Cup, the Roush Fenway driver will take on a different kind of pressure this weekend at Madison International Speedway; the race for family bragging rights. For the first time ever, Kenseth will go head-to-head on the track against his 16 year-old son, Ross, this Saturday night at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wis. The Madison International Speedway weekly Rockweiler Insulation Late Models will compete in a twin 50-lap feature event that will include father vs. son, as the 2009 Daytona 500 winner competes against Ross Kenseth and the other weekly MIS competitors. The Twin 50's will be a points event for the MIS weekly Rockweiler Insulation Late Models. Matt Kenseth, the 2003 Sprint Cup Champion, will compete in a Pathfinder Chassis-prepared Late Model. (Roush Fenway PR), for more information see my Driver appearances page.(8-28-2009)

    • MMI employees in Red Bull Soapbox race: Several employees of Mooresville, NC-based Motorsports Management International and automotive design and engineering firm Corvid Technologies are one of 40 teams selected to compete in this Saturday's Red Bull Soapbox Race in Atlanta. Their entry, a scaled replica of NASCAR's first car to win a race and championship in 1948 with driver Red Byron, is titled Parks Novelty Machine in tribute to Raymond Parks. NASCAR's first championship car owner based his race team out of Atlanta and ran a modified 1939 Ford V-8 that was built and assembled in Atlanta on Ponce de Leon Ave., near the Piedmont Park location of the soapbox race. You can follow their experience at http://parksnoveltymachine.com.(MMI PR)(8-28-2009)

    • NASCAR History: Aug. 28 -- 1965: Junior Johnson passes polesitter Richard Petty on the second lap and leads the rest of the way to win the Myers Brothers 250 at Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., to sweep both Cup races at the half-mile track in 1965. In May, Johnson started from the pole and led all 200 laps.(NASCAR.com)

    • The All-American Rejects headline Richmond pre-race concert: For the seventh straight year, the sounds of rock & roll and the intensity of NASCAR racing will merge at the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. This year's event features a pre-race concert by The All-American Rejects. The chart-topping rock band will perform on the frontstretch of Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, September 12, at 5:45 p.m., followed by the start of "One Last Race to Make the Chase"-the Chevy Rock & Roll 400. An American rock band formed in 2001 in Stillwater, Oklahoma, The All-American Rejects have released three studio albums that have garnered the band critical and mainstream success worldwide. Tickets for the NASCAR doubleheader weekend, September 11-12, at Richmond International Raceway, are on sale now. Tickets, which start at $40, can be purchased by logging on to www.rir.com or calling 866-455-RACE (7223).(RIR PR)(8-28-2009)


      News from August 27, 2009

    • Keselowski says he won't return to JR Motorsports: Brad Keselowski declined to comment on reports he'll drive in the Sprint Cup Series for Penske Racing next year, but he did indicate Thursday to Sporting News he won't be back in JR Motorsports' Nationwide car next season. Asked whether he expected to return to JRM, Keselowski said, "At this time, no," during a boat tour of the Old Port in Montreal. Kelly Bires reportedly is the leading candidate to replace Keselowski in the #88 JRM Chevy. "I heard that, too," Keselowski said when asked about the possibility of Bires driving for JRM. "It's hard to tell. I know they've talked to a number of drivers, and I wish them the best on whoever gets in there, and I expect big things from them, as I'm sure the team does. "I look forward to seeing somebody get the opportunity that I got." Keselowski's departure from JRM lends credence to reports, which surfaced last week at Bristol, that he'll join Penske Racing [with the #12 team]. Team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. has said if Keselowski were to drive a car make other than Chevy in the Cup Series, that would preclude him for driving for JRM's Nationwide program.(Sporting News/NASCAR.com)(8-27-2009)

    • Evernham & Crocker get married: Let me introduce you to Erin Crocker Evernham. That's right. The once-controversial first couple of NASCAR is married. Ray Evernham and Erin Crocker exchanged vows Wednesday night in a Las Vegas hotel in front of immediate family members and friends.(ESPN.com)(8-27-2009)

    • Petty staying with Dodge? It appears Richard Petty Motorsports will not move from Dodge to Toyota next season. At least that's the impression that Lee White, who heads Toyota Racing Development, gave last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. White said he believes that Mike Accaviti, the president of the Dodge brand, is doing all he can to keep RPM in the fold. He also said that would be a good thing, that the sport needs all four manufacturers to be strong. He actually seemed to wish them luck and didn't seemed bothered that Toyota will not be welcoming in another organization. It makes sense -- Toyota's interest in RPM was tweaked when Red Bull Racing appeared set to leave the fold for General Motors and an association with Hendrick Motorsports. Now that Red Bull is set to re-sign with Toyota, there is not the urgency to get another organization. Having said that, there are no guarantees that RPM will be back with Dodge even if Toyota is out of the picture. The organization has had talks with General Motors as well. But all signs point to Dodge fielding cars for RPM and Penske Racing moving forward.(ESPN Insider)(8-27-2009)

    • Bootie out at MWR? UPDATE 2: Nead is new crew chief: Michael Waltrip Racing's Cal Wells denies that the company and Bootie Barker have parted ways. But will Barker be the crew chief for the #55 Toyota when Sprint Cup action returns to the track next week at Atlanta?(Fox Sports)(8-26-2009)
      UPDATE: ESPN's Marty Smith posted the following on his Twitter account Wednesday evening: "Yes, folks, I talked to Bootie today. He told me this: 'I will be crew chiefing, I just won't be crew chiefing the #55.' He will stay at Michael Waltrip Racing."(8-27-2009)
      UPDATE 2: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that veteran crew chief Gene Nead has been named interim crew chief for two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip and his #55 NAPA Auto Parts team. Nead officially joins MWR on Monday and will call the final 12 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season for Waltrip. Robert “Bootie” Barker remains with the organization and will be assisting engineering with special projects. Nead is a familiar face to MWR. Earlier this season, he worked for JTG Daugherty Racing who has a technical alliance with MWR. He led the team’s NASCAR Nationwide Series program with driver Michael McDowell.(MWR PR)(8-27-2009)

    • Texas and Phoenix swap Spring race dates:Texas Motor Speedway will have a slight shift in its 2010 NASCAR schedule as the Samsung 500 race week will be run April 15-18, moving the Sprint Cup Series race from the seventh to the eighth event of the season as a result of a date swap with Phoenix International Raceway.TMS officials agreed to the move to accommodate NASCAR and network television partner, FOX, because the Samsung 500 on its traditional April date would have been pitted directly against the final round of the The Masters on television. Phoenix transitions into that slot without a conflict since it will play host to a Saturday evening race.(Texas Motor Speedway PR)(8-27-2009)

    • Consortium Forming to address Tire Safety, Wear and Energy Efficiency Issues: UPDATE On Thursday, August 27th, a press conference is scheduled at the NASCAR Plaza Lobby in Charlotte, NC announcing the formation of a private consortium of automotive and motorsports companies to address tire safety, wear and energy efficiency issues. The consortium plans to build a world class tire testing facility in the Charlotte region. Humpy Wheeler will start off the press conference and introduce Jim Cuttino, Ph.D., a veteran automotive and motorsports engineer and director of the North Carolina Motorsports and Automotive Research Center at UNC Charlotte, followed by Ronnie Bryant, president of Charlotte Regional Partnership.(Branstorm PR)(8-27-2009)
      UPDATE: Camber Ridge, LLC announced that it is forming a consortium of automotive and motorsports companies to create a first-of-its-kind tire testing facility in the Charlotte Region. Veteran automotive and motorsports engineer, James Cuttino, Ph.D., director of the North Carolina Motorsports and Automotive Research Center at UNC Charlotte and president of Camber Ridge, is taking a leave of absence from the University to lead the corporately-funded effort. Camber Ridge has invited representatives from all the major auto and tire manufacturing companies to participate in this groundbreaking initiative. The effort was created in response to a federal mandate that says all cars produced beginning in 2011 must have Electronic Stability Control (ESC) devices, which automatically apply brakes to one side of the car to prevent loss of control or rollover. The exact location of the facility, which will also conduct research in collaboration with local universities, has yet to be decided as the Consortium continues talks with area economic developers. However, the timeline calls for it to be up and running by early 2012.(Branstorm PR)(8-27-2009)

    • Furniture Row adds two more races: Furniture Row Racing driver #78-Regan Smith knows what he’s doing next season, and, in a way, that will dictate a little bit of what he’ll do the rest of the 2009 season. With the Furniture Row Racing team returning to a full-time schedule in 2010 after scaling back to a part-time schedule in 2009, the team has added next week’s race at Atlanta and Auto Club Speedway in California in October to help Smith prepare for next year. The team was at the track in Rockingham, N.C., earlier this week testing and also does some testing at Pikes Peak in Colorado, which is near its Denver base. The team will also need to build road-course cars for next year.(SceneDaily)(8-27-2009)

    • TRG wants 2 teams in 2010: [TRG Motorsports owner Kevin] Buckler was hoping to run up to three Truck Series entries this season, but that was "before the economy took a dump." The #7 truck has made only six starts this season, four with driver J.R. Fitzpatrick. There will likely be no TRG Motorsports truck next season because of sponsorship issues, but Buckler hopes to expand into a two-car Cup operation in 2010. Buckler's plan is to find success by becoming the exact opposite of stock-car behemoth Hendrick Motorsports. "It's very exciting," Buckler said. "Everybody feels it. We got a little buzz going. We're trying to position ourselves to be sort of the new, small, and efficient, lean, and mean business model. "We want to establish a new way of doing things. I'm not out to compete today with a Hendrick, but what I want to be the toughest dog in the fight."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(8-27-2009)

    • Irwin Tools leaving Roush? Irwin Tools appears to be ending its relationship with Roush Fenway Racing. In a release discussing the company's new title sponsorship of the August race at Bristol Motor Speedway – the Irwin Tools Night Race – the company stated that it was time for a "new chapter" for the company. The company has been a mainstay in the sport since 2003, serving as a primary car sponsor for Roush Fenway Racing. During that span, drivers Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray both won races in company-sponsored Fords while Busch won the NASCAR Cup championship with that sponsorship in 2004. McMurray has been sponsored by Irwin this season. "It's been a great ride with Roush Fenway Racing," said Eric Pinkham, Newell Rubbermaid's Vice President, sponsorship and event marketing. "They clearly helped us put Irwin Tools on the map, and we appreciate what they've done for the Irwin brand. Now it's time for a new chapter for Irwin."(SceneDaily)(8-27-2009)

    • Penske still courting Keseloski? Reports surfaced last week in Bristol that Brad Keselowski was set to replace #12-David Stremme in the three-car Penske Racing Sprint Cup stable next year. ESPN reported on its race telecast Stremme was informing people in the garage area he was out of the ride and looking for employment next season. However Stremme insists he never made those statements and that no one from the network bothered to ask him directly about his future. Stremme told Sirius NASCAR Radio's The Morning Drive he "feels good about his future and will discuss his plans when the time allows." Keselowski and his current Sprint Cup and Nationwide team owners Rick Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have also declined to comment on what lies ahead for the Michigan driver.(CBS Sports)for earlier information on Keselowski replacing Stremme, see my #12 team page(8-27-2009)

    • Kansas Performing Pre-Race Concert at Kansas Speedway: It's only fitting that when local drivers Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards race at their "home track" in the Price Chopper 400 presented by Kraft Foods, that classic rock band Kansas plays a pre-race concert at their "home track" as well. Kansas, who has a host of platinum and gold records, will be performing at Kansas Speedway in a pre-race concert for the first time on Oct. 4. Kansas Speedway ticket packages are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 866.460.RACE or logging on kansasspeedway.com.(Kansas PR)(8-27-2009)


      News from August 26, 2009

    • Lance Snacks joins Ambrose for 2010: Team owner Tad Geschickter has signed up another sponsor for the #47 team and Marcos Ambrose in 2010 - Lance Crackers. This is the second former Nationwide Series team sponsor bargaining for more bang for the buck in the Sprint Cup Series with JTG Daugherty Racing. The company announced Saturday that Kleenex would support their Cup efforts in five races next year.(Fox Sports)no word of Lance Snacks is a primary or associate sponsor, or how many races it would sponsor the team.(8-26-2009)

    • Ince back in NASCAR: former Roush Racing crew chief James Ince, who "retired" after the 2006 season, is now coming back as the GM/Director of Race Operations for a new truck team. It's also Ince's intention to run 18 additional Sprint Cup races [assuming in 2010?]. Ince worked with Mark Martin, Jeff Burton and Johnny Benson at Roush, followed by stints at MBV Motorsports with Benson and eventually PPI Motorsports with Travis Kvapil. Although no driver has been selected, Ince said he's interested in a veteran.(FoxSports)(8-26-2009)

    • Carowinds to add Dale Earnhardt Intimidator Roller Coaster: The skyline of Carowinds will drastically change for what will be a historic and record-breaking 2010 season, as the amusement park announced plans to debut the Dale Earnhardt Intimidator, the Southeast's tallest, fastest and longest rollercoaster, in the Spring of 2010. Topping the list as the largest single capital investment in Carowinds 37-year history, the Intimidator™ is named in honor of NASCAR's most beloved driver, Dale Earnhardt, "The Intimidator." This massive attraction will stand 232-feet (23-stories) tall at its highest peak and Intimidator roller coaster send guests plunging down a 211-foot first drop at a 74-degree angle, reaching speeds in excess of 75 miles per hour. The second (178-feet) and third (151-feet) hills are also taller than any rollercoaster at Carowinds. With 5,316 feet of track the Intimidator will feature high speed twists and turns including seven steep drops - one for each of his NASCAR championships -- and an intense finish through a diving spiral. The ride experience will last more than three minutes, and replicate the speed and intensity of a fast-paced NASCAR race. Guests will have the opportunity to see this historic ride being built from the ground up as they attend on operating days throughout the Fall. Those who cannot wait until 2010 may take a virtual ride on the Intimidator, access exclusive updates, features, virtual renderings, ride statistics, and more at www.intimidator.carowinds.com. (Carowinds PR)(8-26-2009)

    • Kentucky not on 2010 schedule: The 2010 Sprint Cup Series schedule has not been officially released yet and Speedway Motorsports Incorporated boss Bruton Smith knew the chances of getting the newly acquired Kentucky speedway a date next season were slim and none. Speaking Tuesday at the Zmax Dragway, where it was announced the state of the art dragstrip would be getting a second NHRA race weekend in 2010, Smith said a Kentucky date next year was now out of the question because the former owner won't drop a lawsuit they brought against NASCAR…and a ruling will come too late. Smith said, "I think it's a dead issue. The lawsuit did not get resolved at the appellate division and we ran out of time. NASCAR now has the schedule, and if it happened tomorrow I don't see NASCAR changing the schedule to accommodate Kentucky." How disappointed Smith? "I'd say I expected it, but, yes disappointed, yes because it's a great speedway…it's a beautiful speedway and we're anxious to get it on." Smith assured Kentucky Speedway will be a part of the 2011 Sprint Cup schedule. "Absolutely, yes, absolutely we'll be there in '11."(PRN's Garage Pass)(8-26-2009)

    • Bootie out at MWR? Michael Waltrip Racing's Cal Wells denies that the company and Bootie Barker have parted ways. But will Barker be the crew chief for the #55 Toyota when Sprint Cup action returns to the track next week at Atlanta?(Fox Sports)(8-26-2009)

    • Ken Schrader - 5 races in 6 days: Former Sprint Cup driver, Ken Schrader, on track to race in at least 100 events this year - a pace he's been on for the last 30 years - the Fenton, Missouri favorite will add five more next week, including ARCA RE/MAX Series events at Toledo Speedway (Friday, September 4) and the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds mile-dirt (Monday, September 7). "Yah, I get tired," said Schrader, "but I never get tired of it." That's a good thing because Schrader's itinerary next week is going to keep him hopping from Wednesday through Monday. It starts at Macon Speedway (Illinois) Wednesday night where Schrader is scheduled to race a modified on the tight, high-banked Macon dirt bullring. "Thursday night I'm going to bond with Drager (ARCA president Ron Drager)," added Schrader. And that's because Schrader will head from Macon to Toledo Speedway for Friday night's ARCA RE/MAX 200 presented by Federated and Belle Tire. Schrader is a four-time winner at Toledo with victories in '97, '04, '05 and '06. From Toledo, Schrader will steer west to his own I-55 Speedway in Pevely, Missouri where he'll climb in his dirt late model for more short-track fun Saturday night. On Sunday, it's off to Eagle, Nebraska to race a dirt modified. Schrader will wrap things up Labor Day Monday at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds where he'll race in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Southern Illinois 100.(ARCA PR)(8-26-2009)

    • HANS Finds Counterfit parts - offers free replacements: UPDATE: HANS Performance Products has found counterfeit Post Anchor parts on a helmet purchased from Impact Racing Products. Preliminary investigations suggest that counterfeit parts may have been supplied with other helmets provided by Impact. "We are seeking the source of the counterfeit anchors and to establish how widely they may have been distributed," said HANS CEO Mark Stiles. He continued, "It is extremely possible that counterfeits may have been installed on other helmets, either factory-fitted by a helmet manufacturer or by racers installing replacement parts during equipment changes." For more info see hansdevice.com.(8-25-2009)
      UPDATE: HANS Performance Products has been trackside the past few days investigating the counterfeit HANS Post Anchor problem reported earlier. COO Gary Milgrom has been focused on circle track racing. “I must have seen about 150 helmets and exchanged over 50 sets of counterfeit anchors,” said Milgrom. He continued, “On the whole, I’ve not had to touch any Simpson, Bell, Arai or Stand21 helmets – they’ve already been fitted with genuine HANS Post Anchors.” Simpson, Bell, Arai and Stand21 have had substantial long-standing relationships with HANS Performance Products. They are among the 200 authorized dealers throughout North America that receive direct factory support.(HANS)(8-26-2009)

    • Darryl Worley performing at Talladega Superspeedway Fan Appreciation Day: Country music star Darryl Worley is set to perform a two-hour concert at the Talladega Superspeedway Fan Appreciation Day on Sept 20, thanks to BamaJam Productions, a division of Ronnie Gilley Entertainment. Worley is the latest addition to a day already teeming with fan activities. Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey is part of the entertainment for the day as well, as he is hosting a Q&A session with Richard Brickhouse, winner of the inaugural Talladega 500 (now the AMP Energy 500). Ticket buyers to either of the two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Talladega, the Aaron's 499 in the spring or upcoming AMP Energy 500, will be given the opportunity to drive their cars around the track on paced laps. And all guests attending the Appreciation Day will also receive $2 off tickets to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum. Fan Appreciation Day is free and open to the public.(TSS PR)(8-26-2009)


      News from August 25, 2009

    • Yeley injured in Saturday night race: Former NASCAR driver J.J. Yeley reportedly suffered three broken vertebrae during a crash at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. on Saturday night. Yeley was competing in a race in the Sprint Bandits Series at the half-mile dirt Lakeside track when he was involved in a wreck early in the feature event. Yeley’s car flipped in Turn 1, said Lakeside owner Marc Olson. The flip did not look severe but Yeley complained about neck pain. Yeley was transported to a local hospital late Saturday night. From there, he was transported back to North Carolina.(Racin'Today)(8-25-2009)

    • ESPN’S NASCAR Ratings Improve for Second Consecutive Week: Live coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races at Bristol Motor Speedway Aug. 21-22 by ESPN saw increased ratings from last year’s telecasts for both events, the second consecutive week that ratings for both series have shown increases from 2008. ESPN’s telecast of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Aug. 22 earned a 3.8 final national household coverage rating, up from the 3.5 rating for last year’s race that also aired on ESPN. The telecast averaged 5,322,577 viewers. The Bristol race was ESPN’s fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season but only the third to be run and telecast as scheduled. The previous week’s race at Michigan International Speedway also saw a ratings increase from 2008. Live coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Bristol on ESPN2 earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.5, up from a 1.4 for last year’s race that aired on ESPN. The telecast averaged 1,956,225 viewers. Last week’s Michigan race also saw an increase.(ESPN PR)(8-25-2009), see my 2009 TV Ratings page for the race-by-by race chart and past news on TV Ratings.

    • Johnson's commit $500k to schools: Chandra and Jimmie Johnson announced a $150,000 commitment for K-12 education in the Charlotte area. The foundation has partnered with Lowe’s, Johnson’s primary sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and its Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program to offer a competitive grant opportunity to four local school districts in the city where the Johnsons currently reside. The Johnsons have also announced similar initiatives in their hometowns in California and Oklahoma, bringing the total commitment to education to more than $500,000. More info on my Racing Charities page.(8-25-2009)

    • Brothers with the most wins [each has had to win a Sprint Cup race]
      94 - Allison: Bobby (84), Donnie (10)
      88 - Waltrip: Darrell (84), Michael (4)* [both Daytona 500 Champs]
      62 - Flock: Tim (39), Fonty (19) Bob (4)
      49 - Thomas: Herb (48), Donald (1)
      43 - Labonte: Terry (22)*, Bobby (21)* [both Series Champs]
      35 - Busch: Kurt (19)*, Kyle (16)*
      26 - Burton: Jeff (21)*, Ward (5)
      22 - Parsons: Benny (21), Phil (1)
      19 - Bodine: Geoff (18), Brett (1)
      * still active.(8-25-2009)

    • HANS Finds Counterfit parts - offers free replacements: HANS Performance Products has found counterfeit Post Anchor parts on a helmet purchased from Impact Racing Products. Preliminary investigations suggest that counterfeit parts may have been supplied with other helmets provided by Impact. “We are seeking the source of the counterfeit anchors and to establish how widely they may have been distributed,” said HANS CEO Mark Stiles. He continued, “It is extremely possible that counterfeits may have been installed on other helmets, either factory-fitted by a helmet manufacturer or by racers installing replacement parts during equipment changes.” For more info see hansdevice.com.(8-25-2009)

    • Biffle’s Team Wins Tissot Pit Road Award in Bristol: Greg Biffle's team won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was the fifth victory of the season for the #16 crew, which remains in first place in the Tissot standings. The crews for Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are tied for second with three wins each. Biffle's #16 Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road - 214.601 seconds -- during the 500-lap race at the world's fastest half-mile oval. The quick pit stops helped Biffle to a fourth-place finish in the Sharpie 500.(Tissot)(8-25-2009), see standings and previous winners on my 2009 Pit Crew News page.

    • Addington Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Bristol: Steve Addington, crew chief for the #18 M&M's Toyota driven by Kyle Busch, has been named the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Saturday night's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Addington-led #18 team provided Busch with flawless execution all night, running in the top-five, but it wasn't until Lap 433 that Busch claimed the top spot from Michael Waltrip. Following a successful pit stop during a caution on lap 423, that Waltrip chose not to come in for, Addington shot his driver out to the front of the pack, never to look back. After a late race battle with Mark Martin, Busch prevailed and took home the coveted Sharpie 500 win. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead.(Wypall)(8-25-2009)

    • AMS Extends Ticket Office Hours: In response to fan demand for tickets to next weekend’s Pep Boys Auto 500 race weekend, Atlanta Motor Speedway has extended its Ticket Office hours. The Speedway’s Ticket Office is now open from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. In addition, the Ticket Office will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays and from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Fans can call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or (877) 9-AMS-TIX.(AMS)(8-25-2009)

    • NASCAR Night at zMAX Dragway at LMS: Some of the fastest drivers, car owners and mechanics ever to turn left will give it their all to go straight on Tuesday, Aug. 25, as NASCAR Night returns to zMAX Dragway. Last October more than 100 NASCAR industry personnel descended on the Bellagio of drag strips to take their street cars down the concrete quarter-mile. This year, there's a new twist-participants can race anything they wish down the drag strip, making this a true "run what you brung" event. In addition to some of the NASCAR industry's brightest battling at zMAX Dragway, the evening will include passes by the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock teams of Greg Anderson and Jason Line, Nitro Drag Bikes and Pro Mods. More information on the event at LowesMotorSpeedway.com.(8-25-2009)

    • Talladega Offering Garage Tours: Talladega Superspeedway is offering race fans attending the Mountain Dew 250 fueled by Fred's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series a guided tour of the Truck Series garage, an infield grandstand seat overlooking pit road and catered breakfast, lunch and beverages (soda water & beer) are all included in the $125 Saturday Miller Lite Paddock Club offer. Sunday Paddock Club ticket buyers can buy Saturday passes at a discounted rate of $100 per package. For information on hospitality packages and/or tickets, visit talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.(TSS)(8-25-2009)


      News from August 24, 2009

    • Bristol News and Notes:
      * Kyle Busch won the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
      * Busch moved to ninth all time in combined NASCAR wins, tying Rusty Wallace with 55.
      * Busch scored his fourth win in 2009, tying Mark Martin for the most this season. His last win came at Richmond, 14 races ago.
      * Busch scored his third Cup win in 10 races at Bristol. It was his 16th career victory in his 174th start.
      * Busch scored his 12th win for Joe Gibbs Racing. His other four wins came with Hendrick Motorsports. This is Joe Gibbs Racing's sixth victory in 2009.
      * Busch has finished first or second in five of the past seven races at Bristol.
      * Busch climbed from 15th to 13th in the point standings. He is 34 points out of the Chase, behind 12th-place Matt Kenseth. Busch gained 36 points on 12th. He went into the race 70 points behind.
      * Any driver with a 391-point lead or more over 13th-place Busch is mathematically locked into the 2009 Chase. Tony Stewart locked at Michigan, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon locked at Bristol. Any driver more than 391 points behind 12th-place Kenseth has been eliminated from the Chase (19th on back).
      * This marked the second win by Toyota at Bristol, both in 2009.
      * Chevrolet has scored 12 wins in 2009, leading all manufacturers. Toyota has eight, while Dodge and Ford each have two.
      * Mark Martin (second) posted his 250th career top-5 finish.
      * Denny Hamlin (fifth) has scored four straight top-10 finishes.
      * Crew chief Chad Knaus made his 300th Cup start in the race. His driver, Jimmie Johnson, finished eighth. Johnson has led at least one lap in 20 of the 24 races in 2009, the most by any driver.
      * Dale Earnhardt Jr. (ninth) scored his fifth top-10 finish of the season.
      * Brian Vickers (12th) extended a seven-race streak of top-15 finishes that began at Daytona in July.
      * Scott Speed (15th) was the highest-finishing Rookie of the Year contender.
      * Jeff Burton (18th) has finished 16th or worse in the past 10 races.
      * Ryan Newman and Martin are the only drivers to score top-10 finishes in all four short-track races in 2009.
      * Tony Stewart (33rd) ended an 18-race streak of lead-lap finishes that began at Martinsville in March.
      * Kevin Harvick (38th) has scored just one top-10 finish in the past 20 races.
      * Stewart (33rd) and Elliott Sadler (26th) have each been running at the finish in the past 47 races, the longest current streak.
      * The top 10 consisted of three Toyotas, four Chevrolets, two Fords and one Dodge.(ESPN)(8-24-2009)

    • Changes at RCR? Changes are coming at Richard Childress Racing. "We're getting ready to make a lot of changes to hopefully change [the performance]," Team owner Richard Childress said last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. He wouldn't get any more specific, but those close to the situation said there will be some major restructuring announced early this week that hopefully will improve performance. The organization already has made some changes within the teams to put the best at-the-track personnel with Clint Bowyer, the only one of RCR's four drivers with a shot at the Chase. Bowyer is 15th in points, 112 points out with two races remaining before the field is set. Jeff Burton is 18th, Casey Mears is 20th and Kevin Harvick is 24th. Childress has already switched the crew chiefs of Harvick and Mears in an attempt to improve performance, so any further changes likely will come in a shakeup of managerial or engineering structure.(ESPN)(8-24-2009)

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2009 Sharpie 500: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, or wonder how often your driver was focused on, here is the breakdown for Saturday’s race. ESPN was the broadcast team for this event.
      Total number of commercials: 76
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 61
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 47
      Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 4 min. 5 sec.
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 7:32 pm
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:09 pm
      Total minutes: 217
      Minutes of race broadcast: 166
      Minutes of commercials: 51
      Number of missed restarts: 0 three close calls
      Number of AT&T commercials abruptly cut into to come back to a restart: 1 Thanks, ESPN
      Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
      Total race brdcst time 166 Total comm. brdcst time 51
      See full report, driver focus and more on 2009 TV Commercials page.(8-24-2009)

    • Wendell Scott Recognition Day: is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville VA, has been organized to honor Scott’s memory and to encourage NASCAR to recognize him in its new Hall of Fame, which opens next May in Charlotte, NC. More info on my Drivers Tribute page.(8-24-2009)

    • Dale Jr. looking for Brad K's replacement: JR Motorsports President Kelley Earnhardt confirmed that Kelly Bires is on the list of possible replacements for Brad Keselowski should the company and the driver part ways. Many in the garage have called Bires, who turns 25 Tuesday, the front-runner for the #88 Nationwide Series ride.(FoxSports)(8-24-2009)

    • Morgan-McClure hopes to return to the track: #4 MMM Chevrolet returned to the track for the first time since 2007 Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, and team co-owner Tim Morgan is hopeful that the Sharpie 500 can spark a revival. “I’m talking to one particular company that says they’re going to get into racing next year, and hopefully this race will serve as notice that we’re still out here,” Morgan said. Except for a sponsor, Morgan said the MMM team has all the essentials to resume action on a regular basis. “We’ve got the cars and engines,” Morgan said. “In fact, we’ve got six of the COTs [Car of Tomorrow], and I think we’ve got 18-20 race-ready engines. We’ve got everything it takes except the money.” Several former members of the MMM team are now working other jobs, but there were some familiar faces in the #4 pits Saturday. The old gang included Steve Gray, Robert Larkins, Robbie Holt and Todd Cooper. The regular pit crew for the #24 Hefty Ford driven by Eric McClure in the Nationwide Series assisted MMM driver Scott Wimmer Saturday. Abingdon-based Alpha Natural Resources, the third-largest coal producer in the United States, sponsored the #4 car at BMS. Wimmer finished 29th(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-24-2009)


      News from August 23, 2009

    • NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable: NASCAR on ESPN analysts Ricky Craven, Randy LaJoie and Ray Evernham will be panelists on NASCAR Now's weekly roundtable discussion program on Monday, Aug. 24, at 5:00pm/et on ESPN2. Allen Bestwick will host the edition of ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program.

    • NASCAR Drivers Help Assemble Care Packages For Military: Some seven hours before Saturday night's Sharpie 500, NASCAR drivers #07-Casey Mears and #31-Jeff Burton weren't thinking about how they would travel the fine line between making their living and risking their lives. Rather, Mears and Burton were inside a bustling Jack Daniel's tent some 500 yards outside the Bristol Motor Speedway, helping more than 100 volunteers pack 10,000 huge plastic bags of supplies – lotion, tissue, trail mix, shaving razors, puzzle books, cotton swabs, camouflage pouches, candy, raisins, beef jerky, packets of powdered orange drink and more – bound for American military troops serving overseas. In the hours before the Sharpie 500, Mears and Burton weren't obsessing over how to win a race and lift their arms in victory. Rather, they were making a sacrifice – of time, attention and hands – to lift the morale of those far away, bearing arms in combat. "It means something to me to do this, because I know how much getting these means to those soldiers," Mears said, stuffing items, one after another, into bags that kept steadily coming his way. Added Burton: "Spending some time doing this doesn't compare to the work those troops are putting in over there. So, I don't feel like this is a sacrifice for me at all. If it is one, I'm happy to make it."(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-23-2009)

    • Ford win streak at BMS ends: Ford carried quite a winning streak into Saturday night's race at Bristol Motor Speedway: Ford had reached Victory Lane at Bristol at least once each year between 1996-2008. WIth #18-Kyle Busch winning both 2009 races at Bristol in a Toyota, the streak has come to an end.(8-23-2009)

    • Fuel Injection coming to NASCAR? UPDATEs: When NASCAR Sprint Cup director John Darby, a few weeks ago, raised the issue of 'fuel injected' racing engines in NASCAR, it raised eyebrows. NASCAR Cup engines are some of the most technically advanced engines in racing, except for the antique carburetors. Every other major form of racing, even ASA, uses fuel injected engines. NASCAR has long shied away from things electronically complicated like electronic fuel injection, for fear – with goodly reason – that the mechanical wizards on these racing teams might figure out a way to put some tricks in that electronic box. However NASCAR officials are raising the issue to team owners of fuel injected engines – possibly in the Truck series as soon as next season, according to one scenario – and asking how owners think NASCAR ought to police it. "We think fuel injection is just the right way to go in NASCAR," Pat Suhy, Chevrolet's NASCAR field director, says. "And it wouldn't be that difficult. Every other top racing series uses fuel injection. We could put something together in about a week – depending on how simple or complex you wanted to do it – and then test it for two months or so, and be ready to go."(MikeMulhern.net) (8-16-2009)
      UPDATE: NASCAR is researching the possibility of moving from engines with carburetors to fuel injection. Officials met with top engine builders from organizations earlier this month to discuss the move of that technology and others that would make cars more fuel efficient and more like cars on the manufacturer showroom floor. Manufacturers switched fully from carburetors to fuel injection in the 1980s. No timetable has been set for when fuel injection could be used, but Toyotas Lee White said his company could be ready to go by the 2010 opener at Daytona if NASCAR gave the go-ahead. "I would vote for it," White said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "No question, because everyone right now is spending an absolute fortune on [carburetor technology] that has absolute zero application in real life." White said all manufacturers need to be more conscious about the environment to survive, and he believes NASCAR needs to move more in that direction. "Sit in the grandstands and watch these cars go into Turns 1 and Turns 3 and watch all the fuel belching out the tailpipe," he said. "Thats wasted fuel thats going right into the grandstands in terms of lead poison." White said the transition could be made easily and without great expense. "Its something that could be implemented along with a few other things that could be discussed that could potentially reduce costs and increase the potential audience for the sport," he said.(ESPN)(8-21-2009) UPDATE 2: Speaking on condition of anonymity, a NASCAR official told SPEEDtv.com Friday that researchers for the sanctioning body met recently with team owners, engine builders and other constituents, but that discussions are purely in the research phase for the moment. Asked if one or more of NASCAR's top divisions might convert to fuel injection as early as next year, the NASCAR official said, "I don't see it happening."(SPEEDtv)(8-22-2009)
      AND - Ford: Brian Wolfe, director, Ford North American Motorsports, was recently on The Race Reporters show. Wolfe said he's in favor of fuel injection for NASCAR engines, that Ford will debut its new Cup engine before this season is finished, and that technical assistance is available to teams which might want to change manufacturers for the 2010 season.(SpinDoctor500blog)(8-22-2009)
      UPDATE 3: Sources have told FOXSports.com that Hendrick Motorsports is working on the fuel injection project for NASCAR. If NASCAR opts for fuel injection engines in the near future, it will likely increase production costs by $15,000 to $20,000. One engineer also quipped, "It will be more fuel efficient, but also provide teams with an easier platform to cheat."(FoxSports)(8-23-2009)

    • Petty DNF streak at 148 races: After all four Richard Petty Motorsports teams [#9, #19, #43, #44] completed the Sprint Cup race at Bristol it contines its streak as the only four-car team without a DNF—did not finish— in the 2009 points races. The two-car team of Stewart-Haas [#14 & #39] is the only other team to avoid a DNF this year. The Petty streak stretches to 148 starts without a DNF. #9-Kasey Kahne's DNF at Martinsville on Oct.19, 2009 was the team's last.(8-23-2009)

    • Martin honored at Bristol: Mark Martin's introduction drew the loudest cheers at Bristol Motor Speedway during Sharpie 500 driver introductions, and the honors continued for Martin before his 1,000th career start. Besides a video tribute, the 50-year-old was presented with a 3-foot trophy with the number 1,000 on top while fans in the north end zone turned red, white and black cards reading The 1000 Mark. It was enough to choke Martin up as he thanked the crowd for their support. "A thousand starts ain't no big deal," Martin said, "but what they did made me cry."(USA Today)
      AND The folks at BMS honored Martin with the latest card stunt. The fans between turn 1 and 2 revealed a message that read "The 1000 Mark." Martin also received a special commemorative trophy from BMS president and general manager Jeff Byrd, who also gave Martin a thousand gallons of gas for his airplane.(Kingsport Times News)(8-23-2009)

    • Sources: Keselowski to Penske in 2010 UPDATE 2: Brad Keselowski will drive for Penske Racing in 2010, sources told ESPN.com on Friday. Keselowski would not discuss his future plans. "I'm really not prepared to address any of the rumors about next year," he said. "I'm here to race the Nationwide car and win with it tonight and I am not going to let anything get in the way." Keselowski turned down an offer from Roger Penske last year to drive the #12 Dodge, and the ride instead went to David Stremme. Keselowski's current team, JR Motorsports, does not drive in the Sprint Cup Series and co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. has no plans to move that team up to NASCAR's top level. Keselowski had hoped to replace Mark Martin next year in the #5 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, but Martin decided to keep the seat in 2010. Rick Hendrick on Friday declined to comment on Keselowski's future, and Earnhardt canceled an afternoon media availability.(ESPN.com)(8-21-2009)
      UPDATE: According to two published reports and additional sources, Brad Keselowski is to replace David Stremme as driver of the #12 car. A grinning Keselowski was coy when asked about the reports. "Ah, well, you know, I'm really not in a position to talk about any of that stuff right now. That's probably my biggest response. And I'm really not prepared to address any of the rumors about next year right now. I'm here to race the Nationwide car and I'm not going to let anything get in the way of that or distract me from that," Keselowski said. Asked if he was still a free agent, Keselowski smiled widely and added: "Everybody's free. We live in a free country, so, yeah, I'm still free." Jonathan Gibson, vice president of marketing for Penske Racing, said he could neither confirm nor deny the reports. But what he said appeared to speak volumes. "It's no secret we've been talking with Brad. Roger Penske has a history of having great drivers [in the employment of Penske Racing]. Brad Keselowski is a great driver," Gibson said. As part of the agreement, Keselowski presumably will cease to drive a Nationwide car for Jr. Motorsports at the end of this season as well.(8-21-2009)(NASCAR.com)
      UPDATE 2: NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick does not plan to let Brad Keselowski stray far from his organization. Keselowski is believed to be headed to Penske Racing next season, in part because Hendrick Motorsports has no room in the lineup to promote him to the Sprint Cup Series. But the team owner says wherever Keselowski ends up, "he'll always be close enough for me to bring him back." Keselowski is the hottest prospect right now in NASCAR, but wants to move up from the Nationwide Series to the premier Cup level. He wanted to stay with a team affiliated with Hendrick, but there is no scenario for 2010 that would work. Keselowski turned down the #12 for Penske last season. David Stremme got the ride.(Associated Press)(8-23-2009)

    • Driver wins before age 25: With #18-Kyle Busch winning his 16th career Sprint Cup race, he is now holds the recrod for the most wins under the age of 25 with 16 wins. Busch has 22 more points races to add to that toal before he turns 25 May 2, 2010. The list of dirvers under the age of 25 who have won races:
      1. Kyle Busch, 16
      2. Jeff Gordon, 15
      3. Kurt Busch, 7
      (tie) Richard Petty, 7
      5. Junior Johnson, 5
      Tied with one each: Joey Logano, Bob Burdick. Bobby Hillin Jr.; Parnelli Jones; John Kieper; Terry Labonte, Ryan Newman, Bill Rexford; Fireball Roberts; Donald Thomas; Brian Vickers.(8-23-2009)

    • Andretti says he is close to re-signing Danica UPDATE2: Thursday, Michael Andretti confirmed a split with Andretti Green Racing co-owners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. They will own and operate the organization's promotional company, currently known as Andretti Green Promotions. Andretti plans to maintain a four-car IndyCar Series team and said he expects to retain popular star Danica Patrick. "Getting close," he said of negotiations. "We've been back and forth a lot, but they want it and we want it. We're just going through the particulars right now. I'm happy with the way things are going." An announcement could come as early as next week. Her car's sponsor, Motorola, is based in Schaumburg, Ill., near Chicagoland Speedway, site of the Aug. 29 race. Patrick's three-year contract expires at the end of the season, which has four races left.(Indianapolis Star)(8-21-2009)
      UPDATE: It appears Danica Patrick is leaning strongly toward staying in the IndyCar Series now that Michael Andretti is in the process of taking full control of ownership at Andretti Green Racing (AGR). "I think it's looking a bit like I'm returning," Patrick said in a private interview with SI.com on Friday. "I'm not done. We are still working through some things, but it's looking like that. It is moving along very positively."(Sports Illustrated)(8-22-2009)
      UPDATE 2: Danica Patrick pretty much confirmed Saturday that not only was she staying in the Indy Racing League, she's also staying put at Andretti Green Racing. Just two days after Michael Andretti announced he was taking charge of the racing team Patrick has been with since 2007, IndyCar's biggest star acknowledged she was happy with the changes and wants to be part of solution. "Every team has its pitfalls and people who are difficult but I like some of the changes being made for this team and that's good for me," said Patrick, who is fifth in the point standings and having her best season with Andretti calling her strategy. This is a great team and it's won a lot of races and there's no reason to think we can't do it again. Michael has so much passion and is such a good leader. My deal isn't finalized but things are going well and clearly moving forward and that's good." Andretti said he was getting close to re-signing Patrick and happy with the progress. It's assumed the new deal will be announced this week at Chicago, the home of Motorola and where IndyCar races Saturday night in Joliet. Asked about the possibilities of switching to NASCAR, Patrick said: "I think at the end of the day, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know."(SPEEDtv)(8-23-2009)

    • Top-5's, Top-10's: #14-Tony Stewart leads all drivers after 24 races in 2009 with 13 Top-5 finishes, with #24-Jeff Gordon next at 11 and #48-Johnson with 9. #14-Stewart has the most Top-10's after 24 races with 18, followed by #24-Gordon with 16.
      Two drivers have run all the races in 2009 and have not scored a top-10 finish: #12-Stremme and #98-Menard. Seven drivers have not scored a Top-5 and ran all the races: #98-Menard, #12-Stremme, #07-Mears, #1-Truex Jr., #43-Sorenson, #26-McMurray and #6-Ragan.(8-23-2009)

    • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #14-Tony Stewart and #19-Elliott Sadler have the longest current streak of finishing races at 47. Eight drivers have run all the 2009 races and not had a DNF: #14-Stewart, #39-Newman, #9-Kashne, #00-Reutimann, #07-Mears, #19-Sadler, #44-Allmendinger & #43-Sorenson. #78-Regan Smith is at 53 but has not run all the races [Smith has never DNF'd in a Cup race]. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963 [Beam didn't run all the races, but didn't DNF in 84 straight consecutive races that he ran]. Clint Bowyer holds the modern day (1972-present) at 83, next is Kevin Harvick at 81 and 58, then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53.
      The Most: #66-Blaney has the most DNF's in 2009 with 20 [in 21 starts], followed by #87-Nemechek who has 17 [in 19 starts]. Both of these teams are start-and-parkers.(8-23-2009)

    • Indy drivers injured during practice crash: Driver Will Power of Team Penske broke two vertebrae in his lower back and sustained a concussion Saturday after crashing into Nelson Philippe of Conquest Racing during a practice session for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. Philippe also sustained a concussion along with an open fracture to his left foot that required surgery. The 28-year-old Power crashed into Philippe coming out of a blind corner at Infineon Raceway. He was scheduled for an MRI exam later Saturday, but IndyCar officials didn't expect any further updates on his status until Sunday. Power, Penske's third driver, was airlifted to nearby Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Philippe was taken by ambulance to the same hospital, where he was undergoing surgery on his foot. IndyCar officials said both drivers were reported to be awake and alert and were to be hospitalized at least overnight. They each withdrew from the race, meaning no new driver will fill the seat. Philippe lost control at the top of the hill on Turn 3A, and the front end of his car was initially clipped by E.J. Viso. Power arrived moments later and couldn't avoid an ugly crash, T-boning Philippe's car. Doctors have access to a computerized test called "ImPACT" on site that can help them determine the severity of the concussions. The test was developed by the Sports Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. It puts the brain to work and derives data about points of trauma -- measuring attention, memory, processing speed and reaction time.(see full story at ESPN)(8-23-2009)


      News from August 22, 2009

    • Kyle Busch wins at Bristol: #18-Kyle Busch won the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 4th win of 2009, 16th of his career, and was the first driver to sweep both Bristol Sprint Cup races since his brother Kurt did it in 2003. #5-Martin finished 2nd after giving Busch a run for the win followed by #47-Ambrose [best ever oval track result], #16-Biffle, #11-Hamlin, #39-Newman, #2-Busch, #48-Johnson, #88-Earnhardt Jr. and #17-Kenseth. #48-Johnson was leading late in the race but had a lug nut problem and had to make a 2nd pit stop but was able to recover with an 8th. Points leader #14-Stewart finished 33rd after having all kinds of problem with the radio and some sort of electrical issues, dropping his points lead to 220 points over now 2nd place, #48-Johnson. Busch is now 39 points out of the Chase and the 12th spot with two races to go before the chase, #17-Kenseth is now 12th even thou he finished 10th. There were 11 cautions for 76 caution laps, an 10 minute red flag for a late wreck on lap 492 and there were only 12 lead changes among 5 drivers.
      The Sprint Cup Series takes off a week before racing at Atlanta on Septmber 6h - Labor Day weekend.
      Scheduled Bristol Race Re-Airs: ESPN2: Sunday, August 23 at 3:00am/et; ESPN Classic: Sunday, August 23 at 1:00pm/et; SPEED, Wednesday, August 26 at 12:00pm/et.
      For race results, awards and more, see my Bristol Race Results Page.(8-22-2009)

    • UNOFFICIAL Sprint Cup Driver Points Standings
      [after Bristol, race 24 of 36]:

      pos, car#, driver, points, behind, [wins], race finish
      1) #14-Tony Stewart [3 wins], 3564, finished 33rd
      2) #48-Jimmie Johnson [3 wins], 3344, -220, 8th
      3) #24-Jeff Gordon [1 win], 3310, -254, 23rd
      4) #11-Denny Hamlin [1 win], 3141, -423, 5th
      5) #99-Carl Edwards, 3110, -454, 16th
      6) #2-Kurt Busch [1 win], 3103, -461, 7th
      7) #39-Ryan Newman, 2995, -569 (+84 ahead of 13th), 6th
      8) #16-Greg Biffle, 2986, -578 (+75), 4th
      9) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, 2975, -589 (+64), 25th
      10) #5-Mark Martin [4 wins], 2971, -593 (+60), 2nd
      11) #9-Kasey Kahne [1 win], 2963, -601 (+52), 28th
      12) #17-Matt Kenseth [2 wins], 2945, -619 (+34 ahead of 12th), 10th
      Contenders for the top-12/chase:
      13) #18-Kyle Busch [4 wins], 2911, 34 points out of 12th, 1st
      14) #83-Brian Vickers [1 win], 2906, -39, 12th
      15) #33-Clint Bowyer, 2833, -112, 21st
      16) #00-David Reutimann [1 win] 2785, -160, 17th
      For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers Points Standings page.(8-22-2009)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Atlanta:
      No changes the spread between 35th and 36th now drops to 115 points
      34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1900, +237
      35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 1778, 115 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
      36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 1663, 115 points out of 35th
      37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 1383, -395
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      For the owners points standings, see my Owners Points Standings.(8-22-2009)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Atlanta:
      No changes the spread between 35th and 36th now drops to 115 points
      34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1900, +237
      35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 1778, 115 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
      36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 1663, 115 points out of 35th
      37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 1383, -395
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      For the owners points standings, see my Owners Points Standings.(8-22-2009)

    • Infraction Sheet - Bristol Motor Speedway:
      Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
      #11, 64, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
      #1, 137, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
      #14, 142, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
      #7, 257, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
      #34, 357, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
      #33, 440, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
      #33, 440, Front air wrench must be carried back to pit wall side of car/truck & Speeding Exiting, Tail End
      #12, 441, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
      #33, 481, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
      #20, 492, Pitting before pit road is open & Speeding Entering & Exiting, Tail End
      (NASCAR Statistics)(8-22-2009)

    • Lucky Dogs - Who got a lap back on each caution at Bristol: (and their finish)
      Caution 1: no driver down a lap that is on the track
      Caution 2: #34-Andretti, 30th
      Caution 3: #19-Sadler, 26th
      Caution 4: #11-Hamlin, 5th
      Caution 5: #82-Speed, 15th
      Caution 6: #83-Vickers, 12th
      Caution 7: #83-Vickers(2), 12th
      Caution 8: #99-Edwards, 16th
      Caution 9: #82-Speed(2), 15th
      Caution 10: #31-Burton, 18th
      Caution 11: #12-Stremme, 20th
      (8-22-2009)

    • Kimberly-Clark to Partner with JTG Daugherty Racing in 2010: Kimberly-Clark [Kleenex] announced a partnership with JTG Daugherty Racing for the 2010 season, making it a sponsor of the #47 Toyota NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car driven by Marcos Ambrose. The partnership will commence with the Daytona 500 in February and mark the 16th season Kimberly-Clark has been active in NASCAR. As sponsor, Kimberly-Clark brands will be present on the #47 for the entire 2010 season, serving as the primary sponsor on paint schemes for five races, including Daytona. The move to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series brings to end one of the longest-standing team/sponsor relationships in the Nationwide Series. "Kimberly-Clark has partnered with Baker Curb Racing and that organization for a long time," Kimberly-Clark's Don Quigley said. "We certainly wish that team the best of luck and expect it to continue finding success. We also hope nothing but the best for Jason Keller in his endeavors both on and off the track. As we graduate up, we will certainly remain fans of the Nationwide Series."(Kimberly-Clark)(8-22-2009)

    • Newman to run four races at Bristol UPDATES: #39-Ryan Newman will be attempting the Bristol "grand slam," adding the Friday night NASCAR Nationwide Series race and both halves of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series/NASCAR Whelen Modified Series doubleheader on Wednesday night to his schedule. It will be the first time that a driver will be competing in all three national series races plus a touring series event in the same week. Newman will kick off his week Wednesday evening driving a modified for a team owned by Kevin "Bono" Manion, crew chief of the #1 Bass Pro Shops-Tracker Boats Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Newman will be making his third appearance in a modified, all three for Manion. He finished 20th at New Hampshire in 2008 and 34th there earlier this season. Newman will be joined in the Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified combination race by Kasey Kahne. Kahne finished 31st in this year's New Hampshire Whelen Modified race. AND Two drivers will attempt to run three of the four races: Kyle Busch will run the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series races and Kasey Kahne will run the modified, Nationwide and Sprint Cup races.(8-19-2009)
      How have the four drivers done so far?
      Newman (4 races): finished 37th in Modified race; finished 4th in Truck race; finished 13th in NNS race
      Kahne (3): finished 28th in Modified race; finished 37th in NNS race
      Busch (3): won the Truck race; finished 28th in NNS race.(8-20-2009)

    • Fuel Injection coming to NASCAR? UPDATE 3: When NASCAR Sprint Cup director John Darby, a few weeks ago, raised the issue of 'fuel injected' racing engines in NASCAR, it raised eyebrows. NASCAR Cup engines are some of the most technically advanced engines in racing, except for the antique carburetors. Every other major form of racing, even ASA, uses fuel injected engines. NASCAR has long shied away from things electronically complicated like electronic fuel injection, for fear – with goodly reason – that the mechanical wizards on these racing teams might figure out a way to put some tricks in that electronic box. However NASCAR officials are raising the issue to team owners of fuel injected engines – possibly in the Truck series as soon as next season, according to one scenario – and asking how owners think NASCAR ought to police it. "We think fuel injection is just the right way to go in NASCAR," Pat Suhy, Chevrolet's NASCAR field director, says. "And it wouldn't be that difficult. Every other top racing series uses fuel injection. We could put something together in about a week – depending on how simple or complex you wanted to do it – and then test it for two months or so, and be ready to go."(MikeMulhern.net) (8-16-2009)
      UPDATE: NASCAR is researching the possibility of moving from engines with carburetors to fuel injection. Officials met with top engine builders from organizations earlier this month to discuss the move of that technology and others that would make cars more fuel efficient and more like cars on the manufacturer showroom floor. Manufacturers switched fully from carburetors to fuel injection in the 1980s. No timetable has been set for when fuel injection could be used, but Toyotas Lee White said his company could be ready to go by the 2010 opener at Daytona if NASCAR gave the go-ahead. "I would vote for it," White said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "No question, because everyone right now is spending an absolute fortune on [carburetor technology] that has absolute zero application in real life." White said all manufacturers need to be more conscious about the environment to survive, and he believes NASCAR needs to move more in that direction. "Sit in the grandstands and watch these cars go into Turns 1 and Turns 3 and watch all the fuel belching out the tailpipe," he said. "Thats wasted fuel thats going right into the grandstands in terms of lead poison." White said the transition could be made easily and without great expense. "Its something that could be implemented along with a few other things that could be discussed that could potentially reduce costs and increase the potential audience for the sport," he said.(ESPN)(8-21-2009) UPDATE 2: Speaking on condition of anonymity, a NASCAR official told SPEEDtv.com Friday that researchers for the sanctioning body met recently with team owners, engine builders and other constituents, but that discussions are purely in the research phase for the moment. Asked if one or more of NASCAR's top divisions might convert to fuel injection as early as next year, the NASCAR official said, "I don't see it happening."(SPEEDtv)(8-22-2009)
      AND - Ford: Brian Wolfe, director, Ford North American Motorsports, was recently on The Race Reporters show. Wolfe said he's in favor of fuel injection for NASCAR engines, that Ford will debut its new Cup engine before this season is finished, and that technical assistance is available to teams which might want to change manufacturers for the 2010 season.(SpinDoctor500blog)(8-22-2009)

    • Andretti says he is close to re-signing Danica UPDATE: Thursday, Michael Andretti confirmed a split with Andretti Green Racing co-owners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. They will own and operate the organization's promotional company, currently known as Andretti Green Promotions. Andretti plans to maintain a four-car IndyCar Series team and said he expects to retain popular star Danica Patrick. "Getting close," he said of negotiations. "We've been back and forth a lot, but they want it and we want it. We're just going through the particulars right now. I'm happy with the way things are going." An announcement could come as early as next week. Her car's sponsor, Motorola, is based in Schaumburg, Ill., near Chicagoland Speedway, site of the Aug. 29 race. Patrick's three-year contract expires at the end of the season, which has four races left.(Indianapolis Star)(8-21-2009)
      UPDATE: It appears Danica Patrick is leaning strongly toward staying in the IndyCar Series now that Michael Andretti is in the process of taking full control of ownership at Andretti Green Racing (AGR). "I think it's looking a bit like I'm returning," Patrick said in a private interview with SI.com on Friday. "I'm not done. We are still working through some things, but it's looking like that. It is moving along very positively."(Sports Illustrated)(8-22-2009)

    • 2010 Schedule? close to the same? UPDATE: The 2010 schedule situation appears to be pretty much status quo with Dover's Sprint Cup date shifting back to mid-May [May 16th], more a result on the way next year's calendar falls with Easter [April 4th] and Memorial Day [May 31st]. There won't be any big changes on the Nationwide and Truck Series slates with Milwaukee's future still very much up in the air. The trucks will return to Darlington in the Spring and there's a report Pocono will also be added to its schedule.(RacingOne), have a very rough 2010 Schedule posted, see my 2010 Sprint Cup Series Schedule page. Very little has been announced by any race tracks for 2010 yet.(8-11-2009)
      UPDATE - Kentucky to get Cup race in 2011?: Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith was hoping to get Kentucky on the schedule, likely taking a date away from Atlanta, but the former owners of the speedway refuse to drop their lawsuit against NASCAR. Until that happens, NASCAR won't consider Kentucky for a date. But otherwise, expect next year's schedule will be like this year's schedule -- except for two exceptions. If you were paying attention to Sunday's press conference in which Michigan International Speedway officials announced a reduction in ticket prices, you may have noticed a change in date for the track's first 2010 race. The date was June 13, a week earlier than normal. And there's another shift: The Dover race will move from the weekend after Memorial Day weekend to early May. These changes come because there is an extra weekend in between the Mother's Day race date at Darlington and the Memorial Day race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and one less weekend between then and the Fourth of July weekend. (ESPN Insider)(8-22-2009)

    • No plans for Red Bull Racing to expand: Red Bull Racing general manager Jay Frye says there are no plans as of now for the organization to expand to three NASCAR Sprint Cup teams next season. Red Bull, in its third season in NASCAR's top series, currently fields entries for driver #83-Brian Vickers and rookie #82-Scott Speed. "There's really no goal to have a third team at this point, in my opinion," Frye said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "We have to get our two teams both competing in the high levels every week before you would think about expanding. We've got one team [Vickers' #83 team] that's competing at a high level every week. Scott, obviously part of his development now, we're getting into phase two of that where we're going to race tracks for a second time, and obviously we need to see an improvement from the first races." Speed has just one top-10 finish – a fifth at Talladega – in 22 starts this season and has failed to qualify three times. Frye hopes Speed's results will improve as he gains more seat time and revisits tracks, such as last weekend at Michigan, where he had only competed once before. As for Red Bull's widely rumored switch from Toyotas to Chevrolets next season, Frye said negotiations are ongoing and didn't rule anything out. "Manufacturer-wise we're working really hard to get that done," he said. "That is the next step in our progression to lock that down for a few years. Again, Toyota has been a great partner, and we are working through a lot of different scenarios with them. I would anticipate everything being shored up at some point in the near future with them."(SceneDaily)(8-22-2009)

    • What is up with Schrader?
      Ken Schrader participated in just his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event of the year as he finished 16th in the O'Reilly 200 on Wednesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. But the 54-year-old Schrader has already raced more than 50 times this year, mostly at dirt tracks throughout the country. He also has competed in three events run by ARCA. "We ran Martinsville this year [in the Truck series] and have run some ARCA races," Schrader said. "It was another race [tonight]. Nothing different. I [messed] up missing the drivers meeting, and we just got the thing too tight. You can't drop in two times a year and race with these guys. But it wasn't too bad." In addition to his dirt racing, Schrader also went to Argentina, where several Roush Fenway Racing vehicles were used in an exhibition to promote stock-car racing to the Turismo Carretera Racers Association. "It was cool," Schrader said. "It was just an exhibition thing. Jack had some cars over there. It was neat. They were very enthusiastic fans. They're not driver fans; they're manufacturer fans. They wanted to see the car and hear it, V-8 power." Schrader, who has 732 career starts in what is now known as the Sprint Cup Series, said he is happy with what he's doing. His plans for the rest of the year include a variety of dirt tracks as well as ARCA races Sunday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Sept. 4 at Toledo and Sept. 7 at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds. "I'd like to run the truck or the ARCA car more," Schrader said. "But things are fine."(SceneDaily)(8-22-2009)

    • New title sponsor for Bristol fall race UPDATE: Haven't seen anything official yet, but been told Irwin Tools will replace Sharpie as the race title sponsor for next August's Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway and will be known as the Irwin Tools 500. Also, supposedly Irwin Tools does not know if it will sponsor a car/driver in 2010 [from the PR below, it does not sound like they will sponsor a car]. It currently serves as the primary sponsor for 11 Sprint Cup races on Roush Fenway Racing's #26 Ford that Jamie McMurray drives. That team will close up or move to Yates Racing in 2010, with either McMurray as the driver or another driver.
      UPDATE: IRWIN Tools, a Newell Rubbermaid [also owns Sharpie] company and manufacturer and distributor of a broad line of professional hand tools and power tool accessories, announced that it will be the title sponsor of the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway beginning in 2010. While the event's new name is unique - the "IRWIN Tools Night Race" - the summer classic under the lights at Bristol will continue to be 500 grueling laps around the high banks of the .533-mile oval, one of NASCAR's most popular and storied facilities. A spectacle in sports since 1961, Bristol has had 55 consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series sellouts, dating back to 1982. "We could not have constructed a better partnership than one between IRWIN Tools and Bristol Motor Speedway," said IRWIN President Neil Eibeler. "Like our many IRWIN products, Bristol leads the way in innovation, quality and ingenuity among NASCAR venues. We can't wait to see the blue and yellow colors of IRWIN Tools here for years to come. Our employees are thrilled and our customers will be waiting in anticipation to see nearly 160,000 fans in the stands next year for the first ‘IRWIN Night Race at Bristol,' the most popular NASCAR race of the year." IRWIN Tools takes over the entitlement from Sharpie, a sister company under the Newell Rubbermaid umbrella, which has sponsored the race since 2001.
      "We're very happy to keep the Night Race in the Newell Rubbermaid family," said Jeff Byrd, President and General Manager of BMS, NASCAR's fastest half-mile. "We have gotten to know the IRWIN Tools team and their desire is to be the best technological company in the tool business. We feel we have the best facility in our sport so pairing up the two can only result in success. We look forward to a wonderful partnership and future together." The IRWIN Tools name has been a mainstay in NASCAR since 2003, serving as a primary car sponsor for Roush Fenway Racing. During that span, drivers Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray both won races in IRWIN Tools Fords while Busch carried IRWIN to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship in 2004. "It's been a great ride with Roush Fenway Racing," said Eric Pinkham, Newell Rubbermaid's Vice President, Sponsorship and Event Marketing. "They clearly helped us put IRWIN Tools on the map and we appreciate what they've done for the IRWIN brand. Now it's time for a new chapter for IRWIN and we can't wait to get started on the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol." The 2010 IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol will be on Saturday, August 21. For more information, call 1-800-GO-IRWIN or visit www.irwin.com.(BMS)(8-22-2009)

    • Full Driver song list for Bristol: Bristol Motor Speedway will give fans something different during drive interoductions Saturday night. They'll play music for each driver that the driver has selected. Some of the choices are interesting from those older rock n' roll classics to more recent tunes. Here's the playlist for ALL of the drivers:
      Tony Stewart: Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba''
      Dale Earnhardt Jr.: AC/DC's "Thunderstruck''
      Jimmie Johnson: AC/DC's Thunderstruck
      Mark Martin: AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock''
      Jeff Gordon: Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up''
      Jeff Burton: Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle''
      Carl Edwards: House of Pain's "Jump Around''
      Matt Kenseth: "Godsmack's "The Enemy''
      Scott Speed: "Black Eyed Peas' "Boom, Boom, Pow"
      Kurt Busch: Cake's "Going The Distance''
      Kyle Busch: Kanye West's "Amazing''
      Kasey Kahne: Dierks Bentley's "Life On The Run''
      Michael Waltrip: Toby Keith's "As Good As I Once Was''
      Ryan Newman: Big & Rich's "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy''
      Clint Bowyer: Elvis Presley's "CC Rider''
      Reed Sorenson: Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean''
      Denny Hamlin: Fabulous' "My Time''
      Joey Logano: Jerry Reed's "East Bound and Down''
      AJ Allmendinger: "Going the Distance'' by Cake
      Marcos Ambrose: "Land Down Under'' by Men at Work
      John Andretti: Black Label Society's "Fire it Up''
      Greg Biffle: POD's "Boom''
      Dave Blaney: "Taking Care of Business'' by Bachman Turner Overdrive
      David Gilliland: Limb Bizkit's "Break Stuff''
      Robby Gordon: Kid Rock's "All Summer Long''
      Kevin Harvick: DMX's "Party Up''
      Sam Hornish Jr: "Fight for Your Right'' by Beastie Boys
      Bobby Labonte: "Chicken Fried'' by Zack Brown Band
      Terry Labonte: "Heartland'' by George Strait
      Jamie McMurray: AC/DC's "Shook Me All Night Long''
      Casey Mears: "Animals'' by Nickelback
      Paul Menard: "Fire It Up'' by Black Label Society
      Juan Pablo Montoya: "All Star'' by Smash Mouth
      Joe Nemechek: "Life in the Fast Lane'' by The Eagles
      David Ragan: "Thunderstruck'' by AC/DC
      Tony Raines: "Bristol Speed'' by Silvergun
      David Reutimann: "Sprach Zarathustra'' by Richard Strauss
      Elliott Sadler: "2001 A Space Odyssey''
      Regan Smith: "Shoots & Ladders'' by Korn
      David Stremme: Kid Rock's "Bawitdaba''
      Martin Truex Jr.: "Sun Gonna Rise'' by Citizen Cope
      Brian Vickers: "This Town'' by O.A.R.
      Scott Wimmer: "Night Rider Theme Song''
      (Virginian Pilot)(8-22-2009)

    • Drivers pick songs for intros at Bristol UPDATE: Personalities among NASCAR's Sprint Cup drivers are as varied as their musical tastes. Fans will get more of an indication as to what might make their favorite drivers tick during driver introductions for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway Aug. 22. Back in the day, drivers had a great deal of fun during pre-race festivities as they introduced themselves to the fans in attendance, injecting some of their own individuality into the way they addressed the crowd. BMS will turn back the clock Saturday, not only asking the drivers to introduce themselves to the sold-out throng of nearly 160,000, but also asking them to walk out to the song of their choice. The Sprint Cup stars take their music seriously and a good many of them deliberated for weeks before making their song choice for driver introductions, while others changed selections several times. Whether it is country or hard rock, their musical tastes are as diverse as the paint schemes on their cars.(BMS PR)(8-20-2009)
      UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will make a more personal entrance prior to Saturday night’s Sharpie 500. Each member of the starting lineup will greet the crowd by introducing themselves, accompanied by a song of their choosing. Four-time series runner-up #5-Mark Martin will make his 1,000th career national-series start Saturday. Martin’s song choice for his introduction? “For Those About To Rock,” by AC/DC. Another AC/DC tune – “Thunderstruck” – is a popular choice. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #6-David Ragan and #48-Jimmie Johnson all have chosen “Thunderstruck” as their intro theme. #26-Jamie McMurray also chose an AC/DC ditty – “Shook Me All Night Long.” #39-Ryan Newman’s choice of “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy” by Big and Rich took some consideration. “It really wasn’t my first choice,” Newman said, “but I won’t tell you what that song was. I’ve always liked country music, and this song is pretty cool to me because my buddy “Two-Foot Fred” is in the video and is part of the whole deal. I wouldn’t say it’s my theme song, but it is fun.” #9-Kasey Kahne offers fans a peek into a racer’s world with “Life On The Run” by Dierks Bentley, whom he counts as a good friend. “That’s what we do,” Kahne said. “Life on the run. We just love to race, and to race, we have to travel, and Dierks is one of my favorites.” #14-Tony Stewart is paying homage to his friend Kid Rock with “Bawitdaba”. #12-David Stremme chose the same tune. Others of note: “C.C. Rider” by Elvis Presley – #33-Clint Bowyer; “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones – #24-Jeff Gordon; “Land Down Under” by Men At Work – #47-Marcos Ambrose; “Welcome To The Jungle” by Guns N Roses – #31-Jeff Burton; “Amazing” by Kanye West – #18-Kyle Busch.(Racin' Today)(8-22-2009)


      News from August 21, 2009

    • Martin wins pole at Bristol: #5-Mark Martin won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with a lap of 124.484mph for his 5th pole of 2009 and 46th of his career [10th best all-time] and Martin's 9th at Bristol, which ties the record. #16-Biffle will start 2nd followed by #82-Speed [the fastest of the go-or-go-homers], #66-Blaney, #17-Kenseth, #33-Bowyer, #07-Mears, #20-Logano, #39-Newman and #43-Sorenson. Points leader #14-Stewart will start way back in 30th. 2nd and 3rd in points, #24-Gordon and #48-Johnson will start 33rd and 21st respectfully.
      The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #82-Speed, #66-Blaney, #71-Gilliland, #08-Labonte, #4-Wimmer, #78-Smith, #37-Raines and #87-Nemechek.
      The three drivers who failed to qualify: #36-Skinner, #13-Papis, #64-Wallace and #09-Almirola.
      See the full qualifying results, starting linup, pole progression on my Bristol Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(8-21-2009)

    • Coverage of Qualifying for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is scheduled for Friday, August 21, 2009 at 5:40pm/et.
      Television (TV): ESPN2 - 5:30pm/et
      Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 128
      Jayski.com: Jayski's FREE Semi-Live Qualifying Page
      Qualifying Re-Air: none scheduled

    • Qualifying Order for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is posted. 47 cars/drivers are listed. 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 #26-McMurray.
      The final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #6-Ragan.
      The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #08-Labonte with the final driver scheduled to qualify being #09-Almirola.
      See the full qualifying order on the Bristol Qualifying Page.(8-21-2009)

    • Happy Hour Practice for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is over, the top five:
      #48-Johnson 123.316
      #5-Martin 122.874
      #47-Ambrose 122.874
      #24-Gordon 122.858
      #16-Biffle 122.803
      slowest: #34-Andretti 118.518 and #17-Kenseth 118.819
      most laps completed: #14-Stewart 99; #34-Andretti 70
      See practice speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Bristol Practice Speeds Page.(8-21-2009)

    • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Bristol in Happy Hour practice:
      if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
      #82-Scott Speed, 5th fastest overall
      #71-David Gilliland, 10th
      #66-Dave Blaney, 16th
      #09-Aric Almirola, 17th
      #87-Joe Nemechek, 29th
      #78-Regan Smith, 36th
      #4-Scott Wimmer, 38th
      #08-Terry Labonte [PC1], 43rd but has Past Champ prov to use
      these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
      #37-Tony Raines, 40th
      #36-Mike Skinner, 41st
      #13-Max Papis, 44th
      #64-Mike Wallace, 45th
      See practice speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Bristol Practice Speeds Page.(8-21-2009)

    • 1st Practice for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is over, the top five:
      #1-Truex Jr. 122.014
      #71-Gilliland 121.798 [go-or-go homer]
      #33-Bowyer 121.651
      #09-Almirola 121.628 [go-or-go homer]
      #82-Speed 121.605 [go-or-go homer]
      slowest: #34-Andretti 118.007 and #98-Menard 118.423
      The fastest Ford was #16-Biffle at 24th
      most laps run: #48-Johnson and #20-Logano 104.
      Happy Hour practice is scheduled to run from 2:00-3:30pm/et, weather permitting.
      See practice speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Bristol Practice Speeds Page.(8-21-2009)

    • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Bristol in the 1st practice:
      if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
      #71-David Gilliland, 2nd fastest overall
      #09-Aric Almirola, 4th
      #82-Scott Speed, 5th
      #66-Dave Blaney, 8th
      #87-Joe Nemechek, 9th
      #37-Tony Raines, 13th
      #78-Regan Smith, 18th
      #08-Terry Labonte [PC1], 45th but has Past Champ prov to use
      these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
      #36-Mike Skinner, 26th
      #13-Max Papis, 30th
      #64-Mike Wallace, 39th
      #4-Scott Wimmer, 43rd
      See practice speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Bristol Practice Speeds Page.(8-21-2009)

    • Coverage of Qualifying for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is scheduled for Friday, August 21, 2009 at 5:40pm/et.
      Television (TV): ESPN2 - 5:30pm/et
      Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 128
      Jayski.com: Jayski's FREE Semi-Live Qualifying Page
      Qualifying Re-Air: none scheduled

    • Qualifying Order for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is posted. 47 cars/drivers are listed. 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 #26-McMurray.
      The final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #6-Ragan.
      The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #08-Labonte with the final driver scheduled to qualify being #09-Almirola.
      See the full qualifying order on the Bristol Qualifying Page.(8-21-2009)

    • Fuel Injection coming to NASCAR? UPDATE: When NASCAR Sprint Cup director John Darby, a few weeks ago, raised the issue of 'fuel injected' racing engines in NASCAR, it raised eyebrows. NASCAR Cup engines are some of the most technically advanced engines in racing, except for the antique carburetors. Every other major form of racing, even ASA, uses fuel injected engines. NASCAR has long shied away from things electronically complicated like electronic fuel injection, for fear – with goodly reason – that the mechanical wizards on these racing teams might figure out a way to put some tricks in that electronic box. However NASCAR officials are raising the issue to team owners of fuel injected engines – possibly in the Truck series as soon as next season, according to one scenario – and asking how owners think NASCAR ought to police it. "We think fuel injection is just the right way to go in NASCAR," Pat Suhy, Chevrolet's NASCAR field director, says. "And it wouldn't be that difficult. Every other top racing series uses fuel injection. We could put something together in about a week – depending on how simple or complex you wanted to do it – and then test it for two months or so, and be ready to go."(MikeMulhern.net) (8-16-2009)
      UPDATE: NASCAR is researching the possibility of moving from engines with carburetors to fuel injection. Officials met with top engine builders from organizations earlier this month to discuss the move of that technology and others that would make cars more fuel efficient and more like cars on the manufacturer showroom floor. Manufacturers switched fully from carburetors to fuel injection in the 1980s. No timetable has been set for when fuel injection could be used, but Toyotas Lee White said his company could be ready to go by the 2010 opener at Daytona if NASCAR gave the go-ahead. "I would vote for it," White said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "No question, because everyone right now is spending an absolute fortune on [carburetor technology] that has absolute zero application in real life." White said all manufacturers need to be more conscious about the environment to survive, and he believes NASCAR needs to move more in that direction. "Sit in the grandstands and watch these cars go into Turns 1 and Turns 3 and watch all the fuel belching out the tailpipe," he said. "Thats wasted fuel thats going right into the grandstands in terms of lead poison." White said the transition could be made easily and without great expense. "Its something that could be implemented along with a few other things that could be discussed that could potentially reduce costs and increase the potential audience for the sport," he said.(ESPN)(8-21-2009)

    • Sources: Keselowski to Penske in 2010: Brad Keselowski will drive for Penske Racing in 2010, sources told ESPN.com on Friday. Keselowski would not discuss his future plans. "I'm really not prepared to address any of the rumors about next year," he said. "I'm here to race the Nationwide car and win with it tonight and I am not going to let anything get in the way." Keselowski turned down an offer from Roger Penske last year to drive the #12 Dodge, and the ride instead went to David Stremme. Keselowski's current team, JR Motorsports, does not drive in the Sprint Cup Series and co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. has no plans to move that team up to NASCAR's top level. Keselowski had hoped to replace Mark Martin next year in the #5 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, but Martin decided to keep the seat in 2010. Rick Hendrick on Friday declined to comment on Keselowski's future, and Earnhardt canceled an afternoon media availability.(ESPN.com)(8-21-2009)

    • Vickers: Busch out of strikes: #83-Brian Vickers says #18-Kyle Busch is "out of strikes" when it comes to how they race each other. On Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, Vickers was expecting to discuss Sunday's win at Michigan and his new contract with Red Bull Racing. Instead, he was peppered with questions about an argument with Busch following the Nationwide Race. Vickers says "I'm just done," with Busch, and "he's out of rope." The two were once teammates at Hendrick Motorsports, but have since joined new teams. They argued at the end of last Saturday's event when they raced each other so hard that Brad Keselowski was able to scoot past on the final lap to steal the Nationwide win.(Associated Press)(8-21-2009)

    • Andretti says he is close to re-signing Danica: Thursday, Michael Andretti confirmed a split with Andretti Green Racing co-owners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. They will own and operate the organization's promotional company, currently known as Andretti Green Promotions. Andretti plans to maintain a four-car IndyCar Series team and said he expects to retain popular star Danica Patrick. "Getting close," he said of negotiations. "We've been back and forth a lot, but they want it and we want it. We're just going through the particulars right now. I'm happy with the way things are going." An announcement could come as early as next week. Her car's sponsor, Motorola, is based in Schaumburg, Ill., near Chicagoland Speedway, site of the Aug. 29 race. Patrick's three-year contract expires at the end of the season, which has four races left.(Indianapolis Star)(8-21-2009)

    • New sponsor for Robby at Bristol: #7-Robby Gordon will carry the colors of Hard Rock Las Vegas in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Gordon also ran a similar scheme in the Nationwide race at Watkins Glen (8-21-2009)
      MORE: The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas / The Rogue Joint will return as the primary sponsor at Bristol. The flashy black and purple scheme was seen last on Gordon’s #55 Nationwide entry at Watkins Glen where he finished 14th. The Rouge Joint inherited its name from the legendary original Hard Rock venue and was designed by the renowned Montreal-based architectural design firm Scéno Plus. This upgraded facility has a seating capacity of 4,000 and will carry on the up-close and authentic feel of the original venue with the furthest seat in the house only 155 feet from the stage. The Rogue Joint is a multipurpose facility featuring a state-of-the-art sound system, an innovative lighting system, and 38 flat screens throughout the venue to guarantee the ultimate viewing experience and is part of the widely-publicized $750 million dollar expansion of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas slated for completion later this year.(RGM)(8-21-2009). See images on my #7 Team Schemes page.(8-21-2009)

    • Popular Legends race to return to Bristol in 2010< The legends of NASCAR will race again at Bristol Motor Speedway next spring, but the rules of engagement have been revised. Along with three former driving greats, BMS officials outlined the details for the 2010 legends race Thursday afternoon. To be eligible for the event, a driver must not have competed in a Nationwide or Sprint Cup Series event in the past seven years. That would disqualify Sterling Marlin, who led every lap of the 35-lap Scotts Saturday Night Special late-model event last spring. Rusty Wallace, who finished second, would also be ineligible. The other major switch involves the cars. Instead of allowing drivers, such as Wallace, to bring their own late models every driver will compete in a car provided by the USARacing Pro Cup Series. L.D. Ottinger, who finished third behind Wallace and Marlin, attended Thursday's press conference along with Charlie Glotzbach and Jack Ingram. Other drivers who have committed to participate in the 2010 legends race are Phil Parsons, Larry Pearson, Harry Gant and Cale Yarborough. Details of the event are still being formalized, but it will likely be run after the Scotts Turf Builder 300 Nationwide Series event. The celebrity portion of the 35-lap race has been scrapped. Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer and former National Football League star Mike Compton ran exhibition laps in the spring.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-21-2009)

    • Chase Stats/Notes heading into Bristol: While much will be made of the fuel situation in #83-Brian Vickers' win at MIS, the real story is Vickers' strong run to Chase contention over the last six races. After a 35th at Loudon, Vickers has ticked off finishes of 7th, 7th, 5th, 6th, 11th and first at MIS. Only #14-Tony Stewart has scored more points over the period. The Chase format was designed to provide opportunities for teams to overcome early season problems and make a playoff run over the last 10 races. That's exactly what Vickers and the #83 team are doing. #5-Mark Martin's late pit stop dropped him to 12th in the Race to the Chase standings, but the recent runs of #39-Ryan Newman, #16-Greg Biffle and #17-Matt Kenseth are putting them in jeopardy of being overtaken by Vickers, #33-Clint Bowyer, #18-Kyle Busch or #00-David Reutimann. #2-Kurt Busch has had the worst run over the last five races, but he still has enough cushion to clinch by Atlanta if he rights the ship at Bristol. Kyle Busch needs a big race at Bristol to back in the thick of the Chase hunt. Coming off a win in the spring at Bristol and six Top 10s in the last seven races at BMS, this is the place for him and the #18 team to get it done. Tony Stewart didn't have a great run, but his 17th at MIS was more than enough to clinch a spot in the 2009 Chase, his fifth appearance in the playoffs in the six-year history of the format.
      #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson are the only two drivers who can clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup after the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Any driver with a 391-point lead over 13th place after the race clinches a spot in the 10-race championship battle. Second-place Gordon currently leads 13th by 437 points, Johnson leads by 418. In other words, Gordon can lose 46 points and Johnson can lose 27 points to 13th place and still clinch. Gordon can clinch his spot by finishing sixth or better without leading a lap, seventh leading at least one lap or eighth leading the most laps, regardless of what any other driver does. Johnson needs to finish second or better, third leading a lap or fourth leading the most laps, to clinch. See more stats, year-by-year comparison on my Chase Stats after Michigan page and see my 2009 Chase Rules and News.(8-20-2009)

    • Bristol Rookie Notes: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 16 CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Logano scored a seventh-place finish, his fifth top-10 of the season and claimed top rookie honors for the 17th time in 2009. Logano leads #82-Scott Speed by 26 points (212-186) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 22 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. All three members of the 2009 Raybestos Rookie class have scored at least one top-10 finish. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the night race at Bristol is second by Kevin Harvick in 2001. Since 1975, only one Raybestos Rookie has won the pole position for the August race at Bristol: Tony Stewart (1999 Sharpie 500). Stewart is the most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the Sharpie 500. No first-year driver has led a lap in any of the past nine night races at Bristol. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish is Joey Logano, who won the 2009 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 (seven races). See rookiew history, current standings and more on my 2009 Rookies page.(Camp & Assoc)(8-21-2009)

    • Bristol Goodyear Tire Notes: While teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be running the same left-side tire code (D-4158) at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend, they will be running distinct right-side codes . . . Bristol is the only track at which Sprint Cup teams will run this left-side tire code . . . this will be the fourth straight race at Bristol that Cup teams will be running this combination of left- and right-side tires, dating back to March 2008 . . . this exact tire set-up, including this right-side code (D-4160), has also been run at the last four Cup races at Pocono between 2008-2009. . . Casey Mears and the No. 07 Richard Childress Chevrolet team attended a tire test at Bristol in July . . . .also attending that test were Jason Keller and Steven Wallace in their Nationwide cars, and Todd Bodine and Ron Hornaday in their Camping World Trucks . . . Bristol is unique in that teams will be required to run inner liners in only their right-side tires this weekend . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 130-140 laps, based on fuel mileage (Sprint Cup).(Goodyear), see full notes, tire pressures and more on my Bristol Race Info page - Goodyear Section.(8-21-2009)

    • Rusty Wallace Racing make announcement about some 2010 plans: Rusty Wallace Racing says they will make a significant 2010 announcement of Friday afternnon at Bristol Motor Speedway concerning its 2010 NASCAR racing programs.(RWR), supposedly it will be something with current sponsor 5 Hour Energy Drink, but no word if it is for Nationwide or if Wallace will run any Sprint Cup races in 2010.(8-21-2009)

    • Petty DNF streak at 144 races: Richard Petty Motorsports visits Michigan International Speedway this weekend with plans to continue its streak as the only four-car team without a DNF—did not finish— in the 2009 points races The two-car team of Stewart-Haas is the only other team to avoid a DNF this year. The Petty streak stretches to 144 starts without a DNF. #9-Kasey Kahne's DNF at Martinsville on Oct.19, 2009 was the team's last.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(8-21-2009)

    • Update on injured man at BMS: A Bristol Motor Speedway emergency medical technician was seriously injured in a freak accident late Wednesday following the modified series race. Darrell Wayne Mitchell of Church Hill, Tenn., was taken by helicopter to the Bristol Regional Medical Center. A hospital spokeswoman said he was in the surgical intensive care unit Thursday afternoon. Bristol Tennessee Police Sgt. Greg Brown said Mitchell was leaving the infield on foot near the pit entrance between turns two and three about 10:45 p.m., 30 minutes after the end of the race. At the same time, a tractor-trailer turned left out of the infield and scraped the side of an elevated camera platform. The impact twisted the platform and a steel ladder attached to the unit spun around and pinned Mitchell against the infield retaining wall. Brown said Mitchell suffered a head injury, and possibly a skull fracture. There was one person standing on the platform, which a speedway representative estimated is 12 feet high, when the truck grazed the edge. Police said the man on the platform was not hurt and managed to stay on top. Brown said Mitchell was listed in stable condition late Wednesday, then in critical condition by Thursday morning. Mitchell was a paramedic with Church Hill EMS until several months ago when he went to work for the Church Hill Rescue Squad, director Stanley Arnold said. Mitchell is working at the races on contract through Wellmont Health System, which provides dozens of medical workers for the speedway.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-21-2009)

    • Stanley to pay out over $1 million if Sadler/Kahne win at Bristol: Richard Petty Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler and the #19 Stanley Dodge now have a million more reasons to win the Aug. 22 race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Primary sponsor Stanley will make a $1 million donation to Children's Miracle Network if Sadler wins the 500-lap NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the half-mile, high-banked track AND Stanley will donate $500,000 to Children's Miracle Network if Kasey Kahne wins Friday night's race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The incentives are part of the "Racing for a Miracle" program created by Stanley, the Ace Hardware Foundation and Children's Miracle Network. "Racing for a Miracle" is a multi-dimensional program that benefits sick and injured kids by raising funds for the hospitals that provide their care. In addition to the race, Sadler is encouraging Ace Hardware patrons to visit one of the country's 1,100 participating Ace Hardware stores during the month of August to buy a $1 "Racing for a Miracle" icon. All donations benefit a local Children's Miracle Network hospital. Kendrick Cohen, a 12-year-old patient at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., will attend the Aug. 22 race as part of a helmet design contest that he won. Elliott Sadler will present Cohen the helmet he designed and a second helmet will be auctioned off later in the season with donations benefiting Children's Miracle Network.(RPM)(8-21-2009)


      News from August 20, 2009

    • Newman to run four races at Bristol UPDATES: #39-Ryan Newman will be attempting the Bristol "grand slam," adding the Friday night NASCAR Nationwide Series race and both halves of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series/NASCAR Whelen Modified Series doubleheader on Wednesday night to his schedule. It will be the first time that a driver will be competing in all three national series races plus a touring series event in the same week. Newman will kick off his week Wednesday evening driving a modified for a team owned by Kevin "Bono" Manion, crew chief of the #1 Bass Pro Shops-Tracker Boats Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Newman will be making his third appearance in a modified, all three for Manion. He finished 20th at New Hampshire in 2008 and 34th there earlier this season. Newman will be joined in the Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified combination race by Kasey Kahne. Kahne finished 31st in this year's New Hampshire Whelen Modified race. AND Three drivers will attempt to run three of the four races: Kyle Busch and Max Papis will run the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series races and Kasey Kahne will run the modified, Nationwide and Sprint Cup races.(8-19-2009)
      How have the four drivers done so far?
      Newman (4 races): finished 37th in Modified race; finished 4th in Truck race;
      Kahne (3): finished 28th in Modified race
      Busch (3): won the Truck race
      Papis (3): finished 28th in Truck race.(8-20-2009)

    • Bowyer in different colors at Bristo UPDATEl: Clint Bowyer's #33 Richard Childress Racing Chevy will replace its traditional yellow and red colors of Cheerios this weekend in Bristol for a black and red Hamburger Helper paint scheme.(RCR)(8-19-2009)
      UPDATE Hamburger Helper and Richard Childress Racing's #33 team are partnering up for a promotion at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. The "When Clint Wins, You Win" promotion will give 33,000 fans a free box of Hamburger Helper skillet meal if Bowyer is able to win the sold out Sharpie 500 this Saturday night. In addition to being featured as the primary sponsor of Bowyer's Chevrolet for the 500-lap race, Hamburger Helper will also sponsor Bristol's infamous Turn 4. Bristol's high banked turn will be referred to as "High 4" in honor of Hamburger Helper's Helping Hand. If Bowyer is able to pick up the win, the first 33,000 fans that register on HamburgerHelper.com will be able to sign up to receive a coupon for a free box of Hamburger Helper. The offer is limited to one winner per household. As part of their partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway, over 14,000 fans seated above the "High 4" turn will receive Hamburger Helper foam hands that they will be encouraged to wave on lap 33 to cheer on the #33 team. Additionally, all Bristol Motor Speedway "Helpers," from ushers to gate and parking attendants, will wear Hamburger Helper foam hands as they greet fans throughout the weekend's festivities.(RCR)(8-20-2009)

    • Ford win streak at BMS: Ford carries quite a winning streak into Saturday night's race at Bristol Motor Speedway: Ford has reached Victory Lane at Bristol at least once each year between 1996-2008. #99-Carl Edwards won at Bristol in 2008 and 2007, and one of his teammates, Matt Kenseth, won there in 2006 and 2005.(Ford Racing), #18-Kyle Busch won at Bristol in March, running a Toyota.(8-20-2009)

    • Terry Labonte heads to Bristol: #08-Terry Labonte is one of 13 "Go or Go Home" drivers on the Bristol Motor Speedway entry list heading into this weekends Sharpie 500. The 1984 and 1996 Champion will be guaranteed a start via the Past Champions Provisional, but the team feels the #08 Toyota is more than capable of making the field on speed. Even with a locked in spot, champion driver and quality crew, the car is missing one thing, sponsorship.(Carter Simo Racing)(8-20-2009)

    • New Rollor Coaster to be named after Dale Earnhardt: The most exciting ride in Kings Dominion's 35-year history will debut in the spring of 2010, as the amusement park introduces a mammoth 5,100-foot long steel Giga-coaster. Intimidator 305 takes it name from one of stock car racing's most beloved and tenacious drivers, Dale Earnhardt, "the Intimidator" along with the height of the coaster's lift hill, 305 feet. Intimidator 305, only the second Giga-coaster ever built in North America, will be the tallest and fastest roller coaster of its type on the East Coast. The lift hill will stand a towering 305 feet at its highest peak; descend 300 feet at an 85 degree-angle and thunder along the track at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour during its three minute race to the finish. The trains, fashioned after Dale Earnhardt's signature black car, will roar through six airtime humps plus three high-speed turns and the experience will have guests screaming for another lap around the track. Intimidator 305 will be located in the park's Congo section and becomes Kings Dominion's 15th World-class roller coaster. Those who cannot wait until 2010 may take a virtual ride on Intimidator 305, access exclusive updates, features, virtual renderings, ride statistics, and more at www.intimidator305.com. Intamin AG of Wollerau, Switzerland, a recognized industry leader in roller coaster development, designed Intimidator 305. The ride is scheduled to open in the spring of 2010.(Victory Management Group)(8-20-2009)

    • Jimmie Johnson to be honored by President Obama UPDATE see video: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson will be honored at the White House on Wednesday, August 19. The South Lawn event will include 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and several past champions and special guests. "NASCAR is once again honored to have its drivers recognized by the President of the United States," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "NASCAR is rooted deep in America's fabric and represents the best of sports and side-by-side competition." Joining Johnson for the celebration will be members of the 2008 Chase field: Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart. (Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth cannot attend due to schedule conflicts). Past champions and special guests in attendance will be: Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Juan Pablo Montoya, Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip. This will be the ninth time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has been honored at the White House since 2000. NASCAR's first official visit to the White House was in 1978 during the Carter administration.(NASCAR)(8-17-2009)
      UPDATE: Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson had the gas to get to the White House on Wednesday, where President Barack Obama honored the 2008 winner as well as auto racing. "NASCAR is a uniquely American sport," Obama said beneath the South Portico, flanked by most of the 12 drivers who competed last year for NASCAR's top prize. Joining Johnson at the White House were other Sprint Cup drivers and past champions. Special guests included wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and campers from the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., which NASCAR supports. Johnson's #48 Chevy also was parked on the White House driveway, with the glittery Sprint Cup perched on a table nearby.(Associated Press) and see some some video of the event at whitehouse.gov.(8-20-2009)

    • Man injured at BMS: A Church Hill, Tenn. man is in stable condition after being injured in a bizarre accident at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night. The Bristol, Tennessee Police Department told 11 Connects that the injured man is Darrell Wayne Mitchell. Police say a red tractor trailer owned by T.S. Haulers, Inc. was exiting the infield area of BMS around 10:43 p.m. Wednesday night, when it struck a platform tower and ladder. They say the ladder shifted and pinned Mitchell into a retaining wall at the speedway. A medical helicopter transported Mitchell to Bristol Regional Medical Center where he is in stable condition.(11 Connects)(8-20-2009)

    • Edwards & Ambrose testing sports cars: UPDATE: #99-Carl Edwards and #47-Marcos Ambrose will make their Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Daytona Prototype testing debut Tuesday, driving the Doran Racing #77 McDonald's Ford Dallara on the North Course at Virginia International Raceway. The next action for the Grand-Am Rolex Series will be the Aug. 29 Montreal 200 in Canada (SPEED Live, 2 p.m. ET), sharing Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.(VIR)(8-18-2009)
      UPDATE: NASCAR stars Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose will team up in Montreal for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal on August 29. Edwards and Ambrose will co-drive the #77 Ford DP car owned by Doran Enterprises, Inc. in the two-hour race. Aflac is the primary sponsor with Subway as a secondary sponsor for Edwards and iRacing.com and Aussie wines as secondary sponsors for Ambrose. The Montreal 200 at Circuit Gille Villeneuve will precede the Nationwide race next week and marks the duo's debut in the series.(Roush Fenway PR)(8-20-2009)

    • Final brief filed Mayfield injunction case: Jeremy Mayfield's legal team has filed its final reply brief in arguing against NASCAR's request that U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen, in light of a disputed July 6 drug test, reconsider his injunction that lifted Mayfield's suspension centering around his May 1 drug test. NASCAR suspended Mayfield for a May 1 drug test that it says showed a positive result for methamphetamines. Mayfield claims the test resulted in a false positive reading created by the prescription drug Adderall, which is used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and the allergy medication Claritin-D. Mayfield obtained an injunction from Mullen on July 1 to keep NASCAR from enforcing the initial suspension. Since then, NASCAR has gotten that injunction put on hold - leaving Mayfield suspended - by the U.S. Court of Appeals until the appeals court can hear arguments on the matter, a process that likely will last until at least October. Mayfield's filing Tuesday mainly focuses on the legal precedent on why Mullen should not rescinded the injunction. Mayfield's lawyers also argue that NASCAR expert Mace Beckson contradicts NASCAR's contention that Mayfield poses a danger to fans since Beckson indicates that no absolute conclusion about a person's medical condition can be based solely on a drug test. There is no deadline for Mullen to rule on NASCAR's request to have the injunction rescinded.(SceneDaily)(8-20-2009)

    • Lia wins Modified race at Bristol: Donny Lia held off a tough field of Whelen Modified competitors to take home the inaugural UNOH Perfect Storm 150 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night. Lia, a former Camping World Truck Series winner, brought home the win over modified ace Ted Christopher after a hard-fought battle late in the going.(BMS PR), Ryan Newman, running all four Bristol races this week was involved in the frist accident of the night and finished 37th; Kasey Kahne fell out early and finished 28th; Bobby Hutchens, director of competition for Stewart-Haas Racing, finished 18th.(8-20-2009)

    • PEAK on the #98 at Bristol: PEAK will be back on the hood of the #98 PEAK / Menards Ford for this weekend's Sharpie 500.(Yates Racing PR)(8-20-2009)

    • Johnson to be inducted into Auto Club Speedway Walk of Fame: Native Southern Californian Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevy, will take his place alongside past Auto Club Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners when he is inducted into the ACS Walk of Fame on Saturday, October 10 at 9:30 a.m. during the inaugural Southern California Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Located at Gate 12, on the east end of the Opportunity, California FanZone, the ACS Walk of Fame ceremony has become a must attend, fan favorite. Race fans join Johnson as his footprint, signature and a bronze plaque are preserved in concrete during the enshrinement ceremony.(Auto Club Speedway PR)(8-20-2009)

    • Drivers pick songs for intros at Bristol: Personalities among NASCAR's Sprint Cup drivers are as varied as their musical tastes. Fans will get more of an indication as to what might make their favorite drivers tick during driver introductions for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway Aug. 22. Back in the day, drivers had a great deal of fun during pre-race festivities as they introduced themselves to the fans in attendance, injecting some of their own individuality into the way they addressed the crowd. BMS will turn back the clock Saturday, not only asking the drivers to introduce themselves to the sold-out throng of nearly 160,000, but also asking them to walk out to the song of their choice. The Sprint Cup stars take their music seriously and a good many of them deliberated for weeks before making their song choice for driver introductions, while others changed selections several times. Whether it is country or hard rock, their musical tastes are as diverse as the paint schemes on their cars.(BMS PR)(8-20-2009)


      News from August 19, 2009

    • Jimmie Johnson To Be Honored By President Obama UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson will be honored at the White House on Wednesday, August 19. The South Lawn event will include 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and several past champions and special guests. "NASCAR is once again honored to have its drivers recognized by the President of the United States," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "NASCAR is rooted deep in America's fabric and represents the best of sports and side-by-side competition." Joining Johnson for the celebration will be members of the 2008 Chase field: Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart. (Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth cannot attend due to schedule conflicts). Past champions and special guests in attendance will be: Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Juan Pablo Montoya, Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip. This will be the ninth time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has been honored at the White House since 2000. NASCAR's first official visit to the White House was in 1978 during the Carter administration.(NASCAR)(8-17-2009)
      On ESPN2 NASCAR Now, ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program, will originate from the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday as President Barack Obama honors three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and other NASCAR stars of past and present. The one-hour program airs at 4:30pm/et on Wednesday, Aug. 19, and will mark the first time in ESPN's 30-year history that a regularly-scheduled ESPN program will originate and air in its entirety from the White House. ESPN analysts Dale Jarrett and Rusty Wallace, both former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions, will be among the drivers participating in afternoon ceremonies that will include a tour of the White House and photo opportunities. In addition to other former champions, the group of drivers also will include many of the 12 who qualified for the 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Nicole Manske will host NASCAR Now from the White House, with analysis by Brad Daugherty. Jarrett, Wallace and NASCAR Now lead reporter Marty Smith also will participate in the telecast.(ESPN)(8-18-2009)
      UPDATE: President Barack Obama will be interviewed live during ESPN2's NASCAR Now program originating from the White House in Washington, D.C., today. The one-hour program airs at 4:30 p.m. ET. The President is honoring three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson as well as other current NASCAR drivers and some past champions of the sport in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. NASCAR Now, ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program, will cover the festivities live, marking the first time in ESPN's 30-year history that a regularly-scheduled ESPN program will originate and air in its entirety from the White House. Following the ceremony, the President will join NASCAR Now host Nicole Manske and ESPN NASCAR analyst Brad Daugherty for a live interview.(ESPN)(8-19-2009)
      UPDATE 2: Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson had the gas to get to the White House on Wednesday, where President Barack Obama honored the 2008 winner as well as auto racing. "NASCAR is a uniquely American sport," Obama said beneath the South Portico, flanked by most of the 12 drivers who competed last year for NASCAR's top prize. Joining Johnson at the White House were other Sprint Cup drivers and past champions. Special guests included wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and campers from the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., which NASCAR supports. Johnson's #48 Chevy also was parked on the White House driveway, with the glittery Sprint Cup perched on a table nearby.(Associated Press)(8-20-2009)

    • Smith may have full-time ride in 2010; with a sponsor? UPDATE: Regan Smith, the 2008 Sprint Cup rookie of the year, has agreed in principal to drive the #78 car for Furniture Row Racing in 2010, sources close to the situation said on Saturday. Smith is driving a part-time schedule for the Colorado-based team this season, but tentative plans are to run a full schedule next year. Smith was left without a fulltime ride after his Dale Earnhardt Inc. team was shut down due to lack of sponsorship following 2008. He has competed in 11 races this season for Furniture Row, with a top finish of 12th at the July 4 race at Daytona.(ESPN)
      AND At the recent gathering of Farm Bureau PR and Communications professionals in Denver, CO, Furniture Row Racing, unveiled a new NASCAR paint concept to support and bring awareness to the ag industry as a whole; The Car of the Heartland…Official Car of the American Farmer. The people at Furniture Row Racing know and understand the hard work and devotion that ag producers across the country have made to their industry and their way of life. Furniture Row is making a substantial financial commitment to promote that hard work and devotion and to try and put American agriculture back on the radar screen of consumers across the country. The attendees of the unveiling were moved and excited by the new car. Julie Murphy, Communications Director for Arizona Farm Bureau was brought to tears by the car and what it represents. "As a producer, I am just so grateful," she said. The Car of the Heartland represents a revolutionary change in NASCAR, one not seen in 60 years of the sport. Traditionally, car designs have been a mish-mash of logos and brands, confusing fans and diluting effectiveness. Furniture Row understands that what individual cars need is a focused message, one that fans can follow, and they are leading the way with their new Car of the Heartland. Going forward, Furniture Row needs help from Farm Bureau in the promotion of the Car of the Heartland. They need Farm Bureau members to talk to their friends and acquaintances and help tell the story of the car and promote the message of American agriculture. Colorado Farm Bureau will do its part to help promote the car and raise awareness with the public. Other industry groups are on board to help promote that car as well. If all goes according to plan, the car should run in 36 races next season.(Colorado Farm Bureau), no comment from team about this news.(8-16-2009)
      UPDATE: Furniture Row Racing announced that it will run the full 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule in 2010. The race team also announced that Regan Smith will continue to drive the #78 Chevy next season. The decision to return to a full-time schedule was based on the positive effect the race team along with NASCAR's popularity have had on the Furniture Row Companies marketing and advertising programs. The race team, which ran a full schedule in 2006, 2007 and 2008, also stated that it will continue to search for additional sponsorship partners, in the form of primary or associate to help with costs and possibly grow the race team. The #78 Furniture Row team was originally scheduled to compete in 12 races in 2009. Four additional races have been added to the schedule, including Saturday night’s race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. According to Garone, there is a good possibility of adding more races.(Furniture Row Racing PR)(8-19-2009)

    • Bean to attempt Bristol: UPDATE: Withdraws #51-Dexter Bean's next Sprint Cup race will be in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, on Saturday, August 22, 2009. Bean will run the #51 Dodge with LiveWire Energy Chews as the sponsor.(BlackJack Racing)(8-18-2009)
      UPDATE: BlackJack Racing and Dexter Bean have decided to withdraw from the Sharpie 500 after the news of crew chief, Ryan Bergenty, breaking his ankle in three places on Tuesday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. Bergenty went to Bristol earlier than the rest of the team, on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 to take in all the racing festivities. As he hopped out of a motor coach, Bergenty's ankle rolled and he was suddenly in severe pain. Bergenty was then taken by ambulance to the Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center, where he is scheduled to have surgery this afternoon. Depending on Bergenty's progress, the next race for Bean could be the Sylvania 300 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, on September 20, 2009.(BlackJack Racing)(8-18-2009)

    • Crew Chief change at the #19 UPDATE 2: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway is reporting Tuesday that Kevin Buskirk is out as crew chief of Elliott Sadler's #19 Dodge at Richard Petty Motorsports, and will be replaced on an interim basis by Wally Rogers.(8-18-2009)
      UPDATE: This weekend Elliott Sadler visits the Tennessee half-mile with a new face on his pitbox. Wally Rogers, the team's car chief, will serve as the interim crew chief for the Richard Petty Motorsports entry. Rogers, a multi-time winner as a crew chief in the Nationwide series, replaces Kevin Buskirk who will be reassigned to other duties within the Petty team.(RPM)(8-18-2009)
      UPDATE 2: Elliott Sadler was on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Tuesday with host Dave Moody and talked about the change:
      Elliott Sadler: “Wally Rogers, who had been my car chief all season long, his and my communication has been very good and he makes a lot of decisions that we make during the race weekend and we decided to put him on the pit box and be the crew chief this weekend and I think it’s going to work out good for us. We just saw the #43 and #44 makes some changes over at RPM and I think everybody is looking for that special chemistry that you can have between driver and crew chief to make your cars run better each and every week. We have 13 races left to go in this season and we’re looking for that spark to try to make our team just a little bit better and something to build on for next year.”(Sirius Radio)(8-19-2009)

    • Keselowski meets with Penske? UPDATE: other options?: Monday, an anonymous tipster spotted driver Brad Kesolowski meeting with Roger Penske [at thier Mooresville shop?]. The 'tipsters' report: "was doing business at Penske this morning and saw Brad Kesolowski go into the building with a man who appeared to be his agent, the car was still there three hours later when i left.(jalopnik.com)(8-18-2009)
      UPDATE: Brad Keselowski says there's a scenario that could keep him affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports in 2010 that nobody knows of. Turns out Phoenix Racing isn't his only option with HMS ties. Here are some possibilities:
      Richard Petty Motorsports: Most of the speculation has RPM leaving Dodge for Toyota, but multiple sources said RPM has had discussions with HMS and Richard Childress Racing should they switch to General Motors. An HMS official, however, assured us that talks with RPM haven't gotten serious.
      Furniture Row Racing: Furniture Row Racing could expand to two teams -- #78-Regan Smith will be in one car -- with Keselowski. But it's a huge risk for Keselowski to join a team that can't run a full schedule this season.(ESPN Insider)(8-19-2009)

    • GM selling Saab: General Motors signed an agreement Tuesday to sell its Saab division to Koenigsegg Group AB, a consortium led by the small Swedish builder of million-dollar Koenigsegg supercars. The sale will conclude by the end of the year, when the group takes over 100 percent of the Saab company, which has been a perennial money loser for GM. The Detroit automaker purchased the Swedish company about two decades ago. Saab is one of the brands that GM is shedding as it emerges from bankruptcy. Deals are pending to sell Saturn to the Penske group and Hummer to a Chinese machinery company. Pontiac will be discontinued next year.(SPEEDtv:)(8-19-2009)

    • Four more races for Carpentier: #36-Tommy Baldwin Racing has hired Patrick Carpentier for four additional races this year. Carpentier, who was scheduled to make two more starts for the team at Richmond and Dover, will now race at Atlanta, New Hampshire, Kansas City and California.(Translated from Rue Frontenac)(8-19-2009)

    • Bowyer in different colors at Bristol: Clint Bowyer’s #33 Richard Childress Racing Chevy will replace its traditional yellow and red colors of Cheerios this weekend in Bristol for a black and red Hamburger Helper paint scheme.(RCR)(8-19-2009)

    • Newman to run four races at Bristol: #39-Ryan Newman will be attempting the Bristol “grand slam,” adding the Friday night NASCAR Nationwide Series race and both halves of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series/NASCAR Whelen Modified Series doubleheader on Wednesday night to his schedule. It will be the first time that a driver will be competing in all three national series races plus a touring series event in the same week. Newman will kick off his week Wednesday evening driving a modified for a team owned by Kevin “Bono” Manion, crew chief of the #1 Bass Pro Shops-Tracker Boats Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Newman will be making his third appearance in a modified, all three for Manion. He finished 20th at New Hampshire in 2008 and 34th there earlier this season. Newman will be joined in the Whelen Modified and Whelen Southern Modified combination race by Kasey Kahne. Kahne finished 31st in this year’s New Hampshire Whelen Modified race. AND Three drivers will attempt to run three of the four races: Kyle Busch and Max Papis will run the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series races and Kasey Kahne will run the modified, Nationwide and Sprint Cup races.(8-19-2009)

    • AAA sponsoring Dover's fall race: AAA Mid-Atlantic and Dover International Speedway announce a new race name for the upcoming Sept. 27, 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event: the "AAA 400." The Wilmington, Del.-based organization provides automotive, travel, personal insurance and financial services, and has approximately four million AAA members in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C. With this new agreement in place, AAA Mid-Atlantic solidifies its relationship with Dover International Speedway through 2015, and will serve as the title sponsor of September's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for six years, beginning with the Sept. 27, 2009 event.(Dover PR)(8-19-2009)

    • Bristol Transporter Parade on Thursday: A spectacle more than a decade in the making will bring tens of thousands of race fans to the streets of Bristol Thursday, Aug. 20 as Ford Presents the BMS Transporter Parade. The Thursday night of Bristol race week teems with traditions like Food City Family Race Night and the 13th annual parade of NASCAR Sprint Cup haulers, which carry the race cars and equipment for the Sharpie 500. Outside, thousands of fans in the area for the four NASCAR races will line the 10-mile route to watch the transporters make their way to the World’s Fastest Half-Mile. Inside, hauler drivers will help in making dreams come true as many of them will carry a child from either the Make-A-Wish Foundation or the Children’s Miracle Network. The parade starts at 9:00pm at the Bristol Mall at the conclusion of downtown Bristol’s Food City Family Race Night. More than 60 haulers then will make their way down Volunteer Parkway to BMS. The transporter leading the way will be the one belonging to the series sanctioning body, NASCAR, followed by series sponsor Sprint and the leader of the series point standings heading into the Sharpie 500, currently Tony Stewart. Adding to the fanfare of the parade, fireworks will light up the skies from four different points along the route.(BMS)(8-19-2009)

    • World’s Largest Group Karaoke attempt at Bristol: Over the years, Bristol Motor Speedway has involved its rabid fans in a number of fantastic card stunts, as well as Guinness Book of World Records. These fan feats have played a major role in the unparalleled excitement and unique atmosphere offered by the overall BMS experience. And on Aug. 22, prior to the start of the Sharpie 500, BMS again will ask its fans to take part in what will be the World’s Largest Group Karaoke attempt. With nearly 160,000 fans in attendance, this will shatter the old mark of 80,000 set in Europe earlier this year. The Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup event is the last of four electrifying night races that will take place at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile in August. Race week kicks off with a doubleheader Wednesday, Aug. 19 as the Whelen Modified Series takes to the track for the first time in the UNOH Perfect Storm 150, followed by the O’Reilly 200 Camping World Truck Series. Next up is the Food City 250 Nationwide race Friday, which will again feature a host of Sprint Cup stars.(BMS)(8-19-2009)


      News from August 18, 2009

    • Crew Chief change at the #19 UPDATE: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway is reporting Tuesday that Kevin Buskirk is out as crew chief of Elliott Sadler's #19 Dodge at Richard Petty Motorsports, and will be replaced on an interim basis by Wally Rogers.(8-18-2009)
      UPDATE: This weekend Elliott Sadler visits the Tennessee half-mile with a new face on his pitbox. Wally Rogers, the team's car chief, will serve as the interim crew chief for the Richard Petty Motorsports entry. Rogers, a multi-time winner as a crew chief in the Nationwide series, replaces Kevin Buskirk who will be reassigned to other duties within the Petty team.(RPM)(8-18-2009)

    • Jack Daniel’s Salute to the Troops at Bristol: Tennessee National Guard service members and their spouses, members of the NASCAR community, USO volunteers and Jack Daniel’s employees will assemble 10,000 USO care packages at Earhart Campground East adjacent to Bristol Motor Speedway as part of the Jack Daniel’s/USO “Toast to the Troops” program. The event will be held prior to the Sharpie 500 race at Bristol on Aug. 22, and is the 11th stuffing party since Toast to the Troops was launched in 2005. Through Toast to the Troops, Jack Daniel’s collects personal messages of support, or “toasts,” to include in USO care packages. Following the care package stuffing party, ten-year Army veteran and country music star Craig Morgan will perform a free concert for all volunteers and fans attending the race. Citizens can go to www.jackdaniels.com to fill out the special “toasts” that will be included in USO care packages for troops deploying to Afghanistan, Iraq and other overseas locations, as well as troops arriving and departing on rest and recuperation (R&R) flights. The care packages, sponsored for $25 each, include approximately $75 worth of items requested by service members, such as prepaid international calling cards, toiletries, sunscreen, playing cards, disposable cameras and snacks. Due to heightened security, individuals can no longer send letters and packages addressed to “Any Service Member.” The Operation USO Care Package program is the best way to send a message of encouragement directly to a service member and provide a touch of home. The USO has distributed more than 1.5 million care packages since the program’s inception in 2003. More information on the Operation USO Care Package program and other USO programs can be found at www.uso.org.
      SPECIAL SCHEME: The familiar black background and white lettered #07 Jack Daniel's Chevy will have a different look this weekend. In keeping with the same color scheme, the #07 Jack Daniel’s car will have a “snow camo” look in conjunction with their Toast to the Troops event taking place on Saturday, August 22. Fans are encouraged to stop by the Jack Daniels Experience throughout the weekend and fill out a personalized Salute Card that will be included in the package. In addition to the paint scheme, the team will also have a special pit wall banner to mark the occasion.(JD/RCR), see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(8-18-2009)

    • 1000th NASCAR Start for Martin: On Aug. 22 at Bristol Motor Speedway, #5-Mark Martin will make his 1,000th career NASCAR start. That date will mark his 746th Sprint Cup race. Martin also has competed in 231 Nationwide Series and 23 Camping World Truck Series events. He is the third driver to achieve this mark, behind only Richard Petty and Michael Waltrip. Across all three series, Martin has won 93 points-paying events.(HMS)(8-18-2009)

    • ESPN’s TV Ratings up from Michigan: ESPN’s live telecasts of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series races from Michigan International Speedway last weekend each earned ratings increases from the previous year’s telecasts. Coverage of the CARFAX 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, which aired on ESPN on Sunday, Aug. 16, earned a final national household coverage rating of 4.1, up from the 3.9 rating for last year’s race that also aired live on ESPN. The telecast averaged 5,622,384 viewers. The Michigan event was ESPN’s fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup race of 2009 but only the second to be run and telecast as scheduled. ESPN earned a 4.8 rating for the Brickyard 400 from Indianapolis on July 26. Races at Pocono, Pa., and Watkins Glen, N.Y., were rained out on Sundays and run on Mondays. ESPN is televising the final 17 races of the season, with the first six on ESPN and the last 11 on ABC, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
      The CARFAX 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race saw a ratings increase for the second consecutive year, earning a 1.4 final national household coverage rating for the telecast that aired on ESPN2 on Saturday, Aug. 15. The telecast averaged 1,642,343 viewers. The Nationwide Series race telecast from Michigan earned a 1.3 rating on ESPN2 in 2008 and a 1.2 in 2007, the first year of ESPN’s current contract with NASCAR to televise the full Nationwide Series.(ESPN), for past races, ratings chart and more, see my 2009 TV Ratings page.(8-18-2009)

    • Vickers officially signs to stay at Red Bull: Red Bull Racing Team announced that Brian Vickers has signed a multi- year extension to his contract. Vickers will continue to drive the #83 Toyota under the leadership of crew chief Ryan Pemberton. “The team is continuing to prove that it is a consistent force week in and week out,” said Jay Frye, Vice President and General Manager of RBRT. “Brian has been here from the beginning and he continues to be a vital piece of the puzzle with regards to our ultimate goal of building Red Bull Racing into a consistent contender.” Since joining RBRT at the beginning of the 2007 season, Vickers has racked up a win, eight top-five and 22 top-10 finishes, along with seven poles. “I’m thrilled,” said Vickers. “This has been a long time coming, and there is no where else I would rather be. I am looking forward to building on what we have started the last couple of years. It is an interesting experience being with a team from the ground up – going through the growing pains, then successes, together. I am so proud to have been able to bring this team their first win.” The No. 83 currently sits 13th in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver points, 12 points out of the top-12.(Red Bull Racing)(8-18-2009)

    • Logano’s Team Wins Tissot Pit Road Award in Michigan: Joey Logano’s #20 crew claimed the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. It was the first Tissot win of the season for the Joe Gibbs Racing crew and the 15th different team to capture the pit road weekly competition. Logano’s #20 Toyota Camry spent the least amount of time on pit road – 204.366 seconds -- during the 200-lap, 400-mile race. The effort lifted the rookie driver to a seventh place finish and his fifth top-10 of the season. Logano’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Ira Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Thomas Dean (front-tire carrier), Aaron Smith (rear-tire changer), Eric Groen (rear-tire carrier), Jason Tate (jackman), Jeff Clark (gasman), Brian Larson (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Greg Zipadelli and the pit crew coach is Mike Lepp. Logano’s crew will collect $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule will receive a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver. After the 23rd of 36 races Greg Biffle’s #16 crew leads the Tissot standings with four wins. Jeff Gordon’s and Jimmie Johnson’s crews are tied for second with three wins each.(Tissot), see season standings on my 2009 Pit Crew News and Awards pager(8-18-2009)

    • Pemberton Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Michigan: Ryan Pemberton, crew chief for the #83 Red Bull Toyota driven by Brian Vickers, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday's Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway. A caution on Lap 149 of the 200-lap event gave the field a chance to pit, with some teams choosing to try and stretch their fuel to the finish. Pemberton brought his driver down pit road for the final time and opted for just two tires and fuel - giving him much needed track position and a shot at the win. Pemberton told his driver that in order to win the race, he would have to conserve fuel. Vickers gained six positions on the two-tire gamble and restarted ninth (behind other drivers who didn't pit) when the green flag fell with 48 laps to go. Ten laps later Vickers was leading, only to give up the lead to Jimmie Johnson with 35 laps to go. He drafted behind Johnson for the next 33 laps, conserving fuel. With just two laps remaining, Johnson's tank ran dry, handing the win to Vickers. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead.(Wypall)(8-18-2009)

    • Keselowski meets with Penske?: Monday, an anonymous tipster spotted driver Brad Kesolowski meeting with Roger Penske [at thier Mooresville shop?]. The 'tipsters' report: "was doing business at Penske this morning and saw Brad Kesolowski go into the building with a man who appeared to be his agent, the car was still there three hours later when i left.(jalopnik.com)(8-18-2009)

    • Morgan-McClure returns to the track at Bristol: For Morgan-McClure Motorsports and driver #4-Scott Wimmer, qualifying on Friday for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway will mean more than just making the race. It could signal a return to racing fulltime in 2010. “We really want to make a good showing in qualifying and in Saturday’s race,” said Wimmer, who last drove for Richard Childress Racing in the Nationwide Series and had driven for Morgan-McClure in 2006. “That can attract some attention and hopefully get some sponsors involved. I tell you, this is a team that deserves to come back.” The team that won three Daytona 500s in the 1990s, notched multiple wins at Talladega Superspeedway, and won at Martinsville in 1998 with the late Bobby Hamilton driving had major scale-backs in sponsorship that forced an abbreviated schedule in 2007 and sidelined the team for the entirety of 2008. Alpha Natural Resources, a leading U.S. coal producer with 74 facilities in five states including Virginia, is financially backing the team’s second attempt at racing in 2009. Nationwide Series driver Eric McClure failed to qualify a Morgan-McClure car for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega in April.(Kingsport Times News)
      AND Scott Wimmer appeared to be at home Monday morning as he roamed the sprawling headquarters of Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Wimmer joked with old friends, chatted with new associates and examined the fleet of No. 4 MMM Chevrolets. The old band might not be fully intact, but the essential pieces are in place for the reunion of a team that last competed in the 2007 fall Cup event at Martinsville Speedway. Wimmer, 33, will attempt to qualify for Saturday’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in a car sponsored by Alpha Natural Resources, an Abingdon-based coal producer. “People are always asking when this car is going to get back on the track,” Wimmer said. “I’m really thankful to have the opportunity to make that happen.” Wimmer drove 23 races for the MMM team during the 2006 season, recording a top finish of 19th in the Food City 500 at BMS. Morgan said he plans to rent the pit crew members of the No. 24 Rensi-Hamilton Hefty Ford driven by Abingdon’s Eric McClure. Longtime Morgan-McClure Motorsports employees Steve Gray, Todd Cooper and Robert Larkins will also assist Wimmer. Food Country USA, an Abingdon-based grocery chain with a long history in stock car racing, is serving as an associate sponsor for the MMM team.(Bristol Herald Courier), see a couple inmages of the car on my #4 Team Schemes page.(8-18-2009)

    • Bean to attempt Bristol: #51-Dexter Bean's next Sprint Cup race will be in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, on Saturday, August 22, 2009. Bean will run the #51 Dodge with LiveWire Energy Chews as the sponsor.(BlackJack Racing)(8-18-2009)

    • Reutimann to run camo scheme at Atlanta: #00-David Reuitmann is scheduled to run the Aaron’s Outdoors/Mossy Oak Brand 'Tree Stand' Camo paint scheme in the Peop Boy's 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. See an image of the scheme on my #00 Team Schemes page.(Aaron's Sports)(8-18-2009)

    • Edwards & Ambrose testing sports cars: #99-Carl Edwards and #47-Marcos Ambrose will make their Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Daytona Prototype testing debut Tuesday, driving the Doran Racing #77 McDonald's Ford Dallara on the North Course at Virginia International Raceway. The next action for the Grand-Am Rolex Series will be the Aug. 29 Montreal 200 in Canada (SPEED Live, 2 p.m. ET), sharing Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.(VIR)(8-18-2009)


      News from August 17, 2009

    • Craven, Said, Chengelis on NASCAR Now Roundtable: NASCAR on ESPN analysts Ricky Craven and Boris Said will join ESPN NASCAR reporter Angelique Chengelis as panelists on NASCAR Now's weekly roundtable discussion program on Monday, Aug. 17, at 5:00pm/et on ESPN2. Allen Bestwick will host the edition of ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program.

    • Jimmie Johnson To Be Honored By President Obama: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson will be honored at the White House on Wednesday, August 19. The South Lawn event will include 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and several past champions and special guests. "NASCAR is once again honored to have its drivers recognized by the President of the United States,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “NASCAR is rooted deep in America's fabric and represents the best of sports and side-by-side competition." Joining Johnson for the celebration will be members of the 2008 Chase field: Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart. (Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth cannot attend due to schedule conflicts). Past champions and special guests in attendance will be: Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Juan Pablo Montoya, Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip. This will be the ninth time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has been honored at the White House since 2000. NASCAR's first official visit to the White House was in 1978 during the Carter administration.(NASCAR)(8-17-2009)

    • Allmendinger testing Late Model: Hearing that A.J. Allmendinger is testing some Late Model Crate [Travis Lawson's car] and Late Model cars Monday at Cherokee Speedway in preparation for the upcoming [Sept 9th] Prelude to the Dream at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway.(8-17-2009)

    • Sadler to RCR?: UPDATE: Rumors persist that Elliott Sadler [currently in the #19 Dodge for RPM] will move into the #07 Chevrolet next season. Jack Daniels wants to return, but for a limited schedule. Sadler would be a bargain for RCR. Another option? JTG Racing, if Tad Geschickter expands his operation [currently #47-Ambrose]. Sadler still has a year on his contract with Richard Petty Motorsports but would be doing that company a favor if he left. The organization would be stronger with a three-car squad than stretching resources to run four teams.(FoxSports)(8-16-2009)
      UPDATE: Sadler declined to comment specifically on the story today, saying simply, "I am committed to my race team, and have a contract through the end of the 2010 season." While Richard Childress and the Emporia, Va., driver do speak from time to time, it's generally about hunting, not racing. And well-placed sources at sources at RCR tell Sirius Speedway that there have been no talks about bringing Sadler to the team in 2010.(Sirius Speedway)(8-17-2009)

    • Different look for Dale Jr.'s car at Bristol: Dale Earnhardt's #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy will feature a different look at Bristol Motor Speedway with a special AMP Energy Sugar Free/National Guard silver paint scheme. AMP Energy Sugar Free offers all the power of AMP Energy without the sugar or the calories (HMS). See an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(8-17-2009)

    • The Entry List for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is posted, 48 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including:
      Not in top 35 of 2009 owners points:
      #08-Terry Labonte (1996 Champion)(51st in owners pts/4 attempts)
      #09-Sterling Marlin (2009 Race Winner as owner)(38/23)
      #4-Scott Wimmer (61/1)
      #13-Max Papis (44/11)
      #36-Mike Skinner (42/23)
      #37-Tony Raines (48/15)
      #51-Dexter Bean (52/7)
      #64-Mike Wallace (49/14)
      #66-Dave Blaney (41/23)
      #71-David Gilliland (37/23)
      #78-Regan Smith (40/11)
      #82-Scott Speed (36/23)
      #87-Joe Nemechek (39/23)
      In the event qualifying is rained out or cancelled:
      the eight who would make it [8]: #'s 09,08,82,71,87,66,36,37
      missing the race would be [5]: #'s 64,13,78,51,4
      See the full entry list at my Jayski's Bristol Entry List.(8-17-2009)

    • Michigan Stats and Notes:
      * Brian Vickers won the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway, becoming the 13th different race winner in 23 races in 2009. His last win came at Talladega in October 2006.
      * Vickers became the 31st different race winner in 81 Cup races at Michigan. It was his second career victory in his 195th start. He scored his first career win for Red Bull Racing.
      * Vickers has finished 11th or better in the last six races. He climbed from 17th to 13th in the point standings in those races, and is now only 12 points out of the Chase.
      * Any driver with a 586-point lead or more over 13th-place Brian Vickers is mathematically locked into the 2009 Chase. Tony Stewart (721 ahead) locked by starting in Sunday's race. Any driver more than 586 points behind 12th-place Mark Martin has been eliminated from the 2009 Chase.
      * This marked the first win by Toyota at Michigan. Chevrolet has scored 12 wins in 22 races in 2009, leading all manufacturers. Toyota has seven, and Dodge and Ford each have two.
      * Jimmie Johnson finished 33rd after running out of fuel with just over two laps to go. He led six times for 133 laps, the most of the day.
      * Jeff Gordon (second) posted his 11th top-5 finish of the season and moved from third to second in points. Gordon led his career 1,000th time in a Cup race.
      * Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third in his 350th series race. It was just his second top-5 finish of the season.
      * Joey Logano (seventh) was the highest-finishing Rookie of the Year contender.
      * Tony Stewart (17th) ended a 10-race streak of top-10 finishes that began at Dover.
      * Jeff Burton (18th) has finished 16th or worse in the last nine races, since Michigan in June.
      * Juan Pablo Montoya (19th) ended a nine-race streak of top-15 finishes that began at Pocono in June.
      * Stewart and Elliott Sadler (25th) have each been running at the finish in the last 46 races, the longest current streak.
      (Racing Reference/ESPN)(8-17-2009)

    • Fuel Injection coming to NASCAR?: When NASCAR Sprint Cup director John Darby, a few weeks ago, raised the issue of 'fuel injected' racing engines in NASCAR, it raised eyebrows. NASCAR Cup engines are some of the most technically advanced engines in racing, except for the antique carburetors. Every other major form of racing, even ASA, uses fuel injected engines. NASCAR has long shied away from things electronically complicated like electronic fuel injection, for fear – with goodly reason – that the mechanical wizards on these racing teams might figure out a way to put some tricks in that electronic box. However NASCAR officials are raising the issue to team owners of fuel injected engines – possibly in the Truck series as soon as next season, according to one scenario – and asking how owners think NASCAR ought to police it. "We think fuel injection is just the right way to go in NASCAR," Pat Suhy, Chevrolet's NASCAR field director, says. "And it wouldn't be that difficult. Every other top racing series uses fuel injection. We could put something together in about a week – depending on how simple or complex you wanted to do it – and then test it for two months or so, and be ready to go."(MikeMulhern.net)

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2009 Carfax 400: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, or wonder how often your driver was focused on, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race.
      Total number of commercials: 131
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 71
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 17
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:01 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:41 PM
      Total minutes: 220
      Minutes of race broadcast: 172
      Minutes of commercials: 48
      Number of commercial-free minutes at the end of the race: 39
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
      Total race brdcst time 172 Total comm. brdcst time 48
      See more on selected drivers, MIS and past races on my 2009 TV Commercials page.(8-17-2009)

    • First win for #83 since 1988: With Brian Vickers win in the CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16th, it was only the second ever win for a car using the #83 in Sprint Cup Series history. The last and only other time a car using the #83 won a Sprint Cup race was on March 27, 1988, when Lake Speed got his only career win at Darlington Raceway, running the #83 Wynn's Oldsmobile. See more about the history of car number wins on my Wins by Car Numbers page.(8-17-2009)

    • #98 Crew Member injured, is OK: During a pit stop on lap 149 for tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment at Michigan on Sunday, Ryan McCray, the rear tire carrier for the #98 Menards Ford that Paul Menard drives, was hit by the #33 Chevy of Clint Bowyer, who was pitting in the box directly behind them. As McCray pulled the tire off the right-rear side, and ran behind the #98, the #33 was exiting his pit box; hit the tire McCray was carrying and shot the tire directly into McCray’s knee. McCray finished the stop, but had to be treated by the medical team. McCray was seen and released from the Infield Care Center and will return to action next week.(Yates Racing)(8-17-2009)

    • Carl Long still looking for ride: Carl Long wonders when he'll race again, as he washes someone else's Sprint Cup car. This might be as close as he gets to competing again in NASCAR's top series. His suspension served for an oversized engine, Long hasn't found a ride. The only offer was with a Nationwide team that wanted him to pull into the garage shortly after the start of the race. Start and park is what it's called. His own team isn't an option. It can't run until it pays NASCAR $200,000 to cover the fine. Long can't afford that. Donations from fans in 44 states and four countries cover only 1/10th of the fine. So, Thursday Long was at the Front Row Motorsports shop near Statesville, N.C., washing the #34 car John Andretti drove at Watkins Glen last week. The night before, Long helped put the decals on Andretti's car for Sunday's race at Michigan International Speedway, another race Long will not compete. "Basically, the message to me is that NASCAR doesn't want me in Cup,'' Long says during a break about the fine."(see full story at the Roanoke Times)(8-17-2009)

    • Kenny Wallace wins Late Model race: Kenny Wallace won Saturday night's UMP Modified 50-lap special at the I-96 Speedway half-mile dirt track in his yellow and black #36 Jegs Performance Parts car, and he had to come from the back of the pack to do it. Wallace started ninth in the main but was forced to the back of the 20-car field after being pinched to the inside of the track in Turn 1 on the third lap and spinning out. Wallace darted back through the pack and overtook Spring Lake's Jacob Poel for the lead on lap 23. Wallace ran away from Poel once action resumed from the mandatory fuel stop at the halfway point. He won both the races he entered at I-96. He finished first in the eight-lap preliminary heat in his first start in three years, winning that one in dramatic fashion, too. Wallace started last in the seven-car field but needed just four laps to roar to the front, overtaking Johnny Deyoung for the lead. Wallace, who has raced dirt tracks for four years, last competed at I-96 in 2006.(Michigan Live)(8-16-2009)

    • MIS drops prices on ALL seats, widens some seats: Michigan International Speedway has extended its fan appreciation program by lowering ticket prices in every grandstand for 2010 during the renewal and deposit period. During that time, grandstand ticket prices will be reduced five% to 63% across the board, so a family of four could attend a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at MIS in 2010 on June 13 or Aug. 15 for $50. This sweeping initiative means a general admission seat will cost $25; a reserved seat will start at $35. It also includes a drop on wristband pricing for the track’s infield camping guests from $100 to $60 during renewals.
      To ensure MIS remains a destination for families, the racetrack is also introducing special youth pricing where kids 17 and younger will be half price in any grandstand seat. This youth pricing comes on the heels of MIS allowing kids 12 and younger in general admission seats for 2009’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. That initiative will continue in 2010. MIS will also offer flexible payment plans to help fans with renewals and deposits.
      Pricing helps people make the trip to MIS — the experience keeps them coming back. So the speedway will widen the seats in the Center Grandstand from 18 inches to 20 inches; and from 18 inches to 22 inches in the Turn 3 Grandstand. This move will reduce the capacity of MIS to about 120,000 [from around 129,000] and is an extension of the seat improvement initiative that has taken place at MIS over the past three years. The speedway rebuilt the “silver seats” in Turn 1 with grandstands from the former Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado and Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania.
      Ticket renewal packets will be sent to all current customers in the coming weeks. New race fans or fans who have not been to MIS in a year can leave a goodwill deposit for 2010, ensuring they have guaranteed best pricing, by calling 800-354-1010 or logging onto www.MISpeedway.com.(MIS)(8-17-2009)


      News from August 16, 2009

    • Vickers wins at Michigan: #83-Brian Vickers won the CARMAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his 1st win of 2009, 2nd of his career, 1st win ever in Sprint Cup for Red Bull Racing, 1st win from the pole for Vickers [after 11 poles] and first ever win at MIS for Toyota. Vickers in the 13th different winner in 23 Sprint Cup races this season [the record is 19]. #24-Gordon finished 2nd followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr. [1st top 5 since Talladega in May], #99-Edwards, #77-Hornish Jr., #07-Mears, #20-Logano, #33-Bowyer, #00-Reutimann and #11-Hamlin. #48-Johnson was leading with 2 laps to go but ran out of fuel and finished 33rd. Points leader #14-Stewart finished 17th and increased his points lead to 284 points over now 2nd place, #24-Gordon as Johnson fell to 3rd. Vickers is now only 12 points out of the Chase with three races to go before the chase, #5-Martin is now 12th after running out of fuel on the last lap and finishing 31st. There were 7 cautions for 36 caution laps, an18 minute red flag for a light rain shower on lap 8 and there were 25 lead changes among 14 drivers.
      Scheduled Race Re-Air: ESPN2 on Monday, August 17 at 3:00am/et; ESPN Classic on Monday, August 17 at 1:00pm/et; and SPEED, Wednesday, August 19 at 12:00pm/et.
      For race results, awards and more, see my Michigan Race Results Page.(8-16-2009)

    • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings
      [after Michigan, race 23 of 36]:

      pos, car#, driver, points, behind, [wins], race finish
      1) #14-Tony Stewart, 3500 [3 wins], finished 17th
      2) #24-Jeff Gordon 3216, -284 [1 win], 2nd
      3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 3197, -303 [3 wins], 33rd
      4) #99-Carl Edwards, 2995, -505, 4th
      5) #11-Denny Hamlin, 2986, -514 [1 win], 10th
      6) #2-Kurt Busch 2957, -543 [1 win], 36th
      7) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, 2887, -613 (108 ahead of 13th), 19th
      8) #9-Kasey Kahne, 2884, -616 (+105)[1 win], 11th
      9) #39-Ryan Newman, 2845, -655 (+66), 15th
      10) #16-Greg Biffle 2821, -679 (+42), 20th
      11) #17-Matt Kenseth, 2811, -689 (+32)[2 wins], 14th
      12) #5-Mark Martin, 2791, -709 (+12 ahead of 12th)[4 wins], 31st
      Contenders for the top-12/chase:
      13) #83-Brian Vickers, 2779, 12 points out of 12th, [1 win] 1st
      14) #33-Clint Bowyer, 2733, -58, 8th
      15) #18-Kyle Busch, 2721, -70, [3 wins] 23rd
      16) #00-David Reutimann 2673, -118 [1 win], 9th
      For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers Points Standings page.(8-16-2009)

    • Race Fast Facts - Michigan International Speedway:
      #83-Brian Vickers won the CARFAX 400, his second victory in 195 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
      This is his first victory and 11th top-10 finish in 2009.
      This is his first victory and seventh top-10 finish in 12 races at Michigan International Speedway.
      #24-Jeff Gordon (second) posted his 22nd top-10 finish in 34 races at Michigan International Speedway. It is his 16th top-10 finish in 2009.
      #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 21 races at Michigan International Speedway.
      #20-Joey Logano (seventh) was the highest finishing rookie.
      #14-Tony Stewart leads the point standings by 284 points over Jeff Gordon.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-16-2009)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Bristol:
      No changes the spread between 35th and 36th is now at 160 points
      34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1833, +288
      35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 1705, 160 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
      36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 1545, 160 points out of 35th
      37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 1337, -368
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      For the owners points standings, see my Owners Points Standings.(8-16-2009)

    • Infraction Report - Michigan
      Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
      #9, Pre-Race to the rear, tail end, engine change
      #36, Pre-Race to the rear, tail end, engine change
      #66, Pre-Race to the rear, tail end, engine change
      #71, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #96, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #7, 53, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #77, 119, Safety violation refueling car 2 times as free pass car, 1 lap
      #77, 121, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #6, 121, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #2, 121, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #6, 133, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #12, 158, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      (NASCAR Statistics)(8-16-2009)

    • Lucky Dogs - Who got a lap back on each caution at Michigan: (and their finish)
      Caution 1: no driver down a lap
      Caution 2: #09-Bliss, still a lap down, 38th [DNF]
      Caution 3: #77-Hornish Jr., 5th
      Caution 4: #98-Menard, 26th
      Caution 5: #43-Sorenson, 29th
      Caution 6: #77-Hornish Jr.(2), 5th
      Caution 7: #42-Montoya, 19th
      (8-16-2009)

    • Start and Parks? Which teams parked their cars early in the race at Michigan (or seemed to)?
      42nd: #66-Blaney, completed 19 laps
      41st: #36-Skinner, 34 laps
      40th: #71-Gilliland, 40 laps
      39th: #87-Nemechek, 41 laps
      (only count a team with a history of start and park and only if 25% or less of race completed)(8-16-2009)

    • Rain? at Michigan: with the forecast at 0-10% chance of rain at Michigan International Speedway for the CARFAX 400 Sprint Cup race, after 8 of 200 laps, a passing shower has caused the race to be red flagged, starting around 2:27pm/et. The rain has stopped, the sun is back out and the track is drying fast.
      UPDATE: as of 2:43pm/et, drivers have been called to their cars as the track is close to dry.
      UPDATE 2: engines started and the cars are heading out to the track as of 2:49pm/et.
      UPDATE 3: back racing under green flag as of 2:54pm/et

    • NASCAR takes engines to R&D Center: NASCAR has taken the engines of 11 cars in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway to test at its Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. NASCAR periodically takes engines so it can see how much horsepower they produce.
      The engines taken were from the Chevy's of #24-Jeff Gordon (Hendrick Motorsports), #14-Tony Stewart (Hendrick), #33-Clint Bowyer (Earnhardt Childress Racing Technologies), #42-Juan Pablo Montoya (ECRT); Toyota's of: #83-Brian Vickers (Toyota Racing Development), #00-David Reutimann (TRD), #11-Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing); Ford's of #99-Carl Edwards (Roush-Yates Engines), #16-Greg Biffle (Roush-Yates) and Dodge's of: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. (Penske Racing), #19-Elliott Sadler (Richard Petty Motorsports).(SceneDaily)(8-16-2009)

    • Sprint Cup Series Live from Michigan on ESPN: ESPN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage in high definition as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competes in the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, Aug. 16. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown presented by Degree V12 at 1:00pm/et and the race's green flag is at 2:16pm/et. The final 17 races of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will air on the ESPN Networks, with the first six on ESPN and the final 11 on ABC, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Dr. Jerry Punch will be lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN's coverage, with analysis by Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree . Reporting from the pits will be Dave Burns , Jamie Little , Shannon Spake and Vince Welch, with Tim Brewer in the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage. Allen Bestwick will host the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program with analysis by Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty in the ESPN pit studio.(ESPN)

    • Dodge committed to NASCAR: Dodge doesn't plan to disappear from the Sprint Cup series in the near future even it is reduced to one team, the CEO of Dodge Brand said on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. "We're committed to this sport,'' Mike Accavitti said. "It's a match made in heaven.'' Accavitti, who was promoted to CEO after Chrysler filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, declined to speculate on whether Dodge would lose Richard Petty Motorsports. RPM has been in discussions with other manufacturers and reportedly is headed to Toyota in 2010, although team officials deny a decision has been made. If that were to happen Dodge would be left with the three-car Penske Racing organization. Accavitti would only say that he values RPM as a partner. He added that RPM has been mailed a check for services that were past due after the bankruptcy was filed. "You really only need a couple of good cars,'' he said.(ESPN)(8-16-2009)

    • Police called to Mayfield house: Catawba [NC] Police have confirmed that they were called to NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield's home for a trespassing call on Saturday. Now, Jeremy Mayfield and his wife confirm to NewsChannel 36 that trespasser is Mayfield's former stepmother, Lisa Mayfield. He and his wife say Lisa Mayfield was drunk, banging on their door, and they claim she even threatened to kill them. This is just the latest chapter in the saga between Mayfield and his former step-mother with whom he has been trading insults and lawsuits for the past few months. Lisa Mayfield has sued the race car driver for slander. Mayfield, on the other hand, tells NewsChannel 36 he is putting the finishing touches on his wrongful death lawsuit against his step mother. Mayfield has said publicly he doesn't believe his father committed suicide, as is listed in a 2007 police report, but that he believes his step mother had something to do with this.(wcnc.com)(8-16-2009)

    • Sad News - Tom Murphy: The employees of Sprint are deeply saddened on the death of Tom Murphy, vice president, Corporate Brand Marketing, who was killed in an automobile accident in Colorado on Friday, August 14, while on vacation with his family. Cheerful and enthusiastic, he was a highly effective marketing advocate for Sprint and a beloved member of Sprint's NASCAR team. Tom, who was 45, is survived by his wife Jennifer, 42 and sons Ethan, 11, John 8, and Thomas, 6. His son Ethan sustained minor injuries in the accident. He is also survived by a brother, and was preceded in death by his parents. Tom joined Sprint in September 1996 as director of public relations for Sprint PCS. He later became vice president of public relations for Sprint PCS, and then senior vice president - Corporate Communications. Following the merger of Sprint and Nextel, Tom was named vice president for sponsorships in Corporate Brand Marketing. He also served as chairman of the Sprint Foundation. All of those at Sprint who knew and worked with Tom express deepest sympathy and concern for his family.
      NASCAR officials also released a statement lamenting the death: "First, our thoughts and prayers go out to Tom's family and friends," said the statement from [Kansas] Speedway President Jeff Boerger. "Tom's enthusiasm and spirit will be missed not only at Kansas Speedway and in the racing community but by everyone he touched. Tom was a leader in the Kansas City community and this is a devastating loss to us all."(Kansas City Star)(8-16-2009)

    • Sadler to RCR?: Rumors persist that Elliott Sadler [currently in the #19 Dodge for RPM] will move into the #07 Chevrolet next season. Jack Daniels wants to return, but for a limited schedule. Sadler would be a bargain for RCR. Another option? JTG Racing, if Tad Geschickter expands his operation [currently #47-Ambrose]. Sadler still has a year on his contract with Richard Petty Motorsports but would be doing that company a favor if he left. The organization would be stronger with a three-car squad than stretching resources to run four teams.(FoxSports)(8-16-2009)

    • Smith may have full-time ride in 2010; with a sponsor? Regan Smith, the 2008 Sprint Cup rookie of the year, has agreed in principal to drive the #78 car for Furniture Row Racing in 2010, sources close to the situation said on Saturday. Smith is driving a part-time schedule for the Colorado-based team this season, but tentative plans are to run a full schedule next year. Smith was left without a fulltime ride after his Dale Earnhardt Inc. team was shut down due to lack of sponsorship following 2008. He has competed in 11 races this season for Furniture Row, with a top finish of 12th at the July 4 race at Daytona.(ESPN)
      AND At the recent gathering of Farm Bureau PR and Communications professionals in Denver, CO, Furniture Row Racing, unveiled a new NASCAR paint concept to support and bring awareness to the ag industry as a whole; The Car of the Heartland…Official Car of the American Farmer. The people at Furniture Row Racing know and understand the hard work and devotion that ag producers across the country have made to their industry and their way of life. Furniture Row is making a substantial financial commitment to promote that hard work and devotion and to try and put American agriculture back on the radar screen of consumers across the country. The attendees of the unveiling were moved and excited by the new car. Julie Murphy, Communications Director for Arizona Farm Bureau was brought to tears by the car and what it represents. "As a producer, I am just so grateful," she said. The Car of the Heartland represents a revolutionary change in NASCAR, one not seen in 60 years of the sport. Traditionally, car designs have been a mish-mash of logos and brands, confusing fans and diluting effectiveness. Furniture Row understands that what individual cars need is a focused message, one that fans can follow, and they are leading the way with their new Car of the Heartland. Going forward, Furniture Row needs help from Farm Bureau in the promotion of the Car of the Heartland. They need Farm Bureau members to talk to their friends and acquaintances and help tell the story of the car and promote the message of American agriculture. Colorado Farm Bureau will do its part to help promote the car and raise awareness with the public. Other industry groups are on board to help promote that car as well. If all goes according to plan, the car should run in 36 races next season.(Colorado Farm Bureau), no comment from team about this news.(8-16-2009)

    • Carfax and MIS partner to neutralize carbon emissions: Carfax and Michigan International Speedway announced they will help neutralize the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from energy and auto use during the “Show Me the CARFAX Race Weekend” at MIS. This precedent-setting initiative is the result of a partnership between Carfax, MIS and The Conservation Fund to help curb climate change and restore habitat for wildlife. Carfax and MIS are working with The Conservation Fund’s Go Zero program to zero out the CO2 emissions that result from the facility’s energy use during the race weekend and fuel used by fans traveling to and from the festivities. The effort will also cover the emissions from the race cars during both NASCAR events at MIS — the CARFAX 400 Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday and CARFAX 250 Nationwide Series race on Saturday, and qualifying and practice sessions on Friday and Saturday. Nearly 4,000 trees will be planted at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Missouri as part of Carfax and Michigan International Speedway’s efforts. Carfax was founded in Missouri and its data center is located in Columbia, Mo. This marks the third straight year Carfax has neutralized the activities of its NASCAR programs at MIS. The company’s past efforts included the 2007 and 2008 CARFAX 250 races, and the emissions from a Sprint Cup car it sponsored in Michigan in 2008. MIS is committed to environmental management practices which will provide a healthy and sustainable environment and enhance the lives of its guests and employees. MIS was the first sports facility in Michigan to join the Michigan Business Pollution Prevention Partnership (MBP3). It is a member of the federal program, EPA WasteWise, with recycling programs totaling more than 2 million tons in 2008. MIS is also pioneering utility reduction programs, wetland remediation and restoration programs, and alternative energy programs. The racetrack announced in June that its new infield suite/media center will be solar powered.
      Additionally, NASCAR partnered with MIS in June for its “NASCAR Green Clean Air” program to help capture the carbon emissions produced by racing. The sanctioning body vowed to plant 10 trees for each green flag that drops during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at the track. MIS matched the number of trees tallied from green flags at the June event, and 80 trees will be planted at the racetrack in October. MIS is one of eleven tracks piloting NASCAR Green Clean Air. For the 2010 season, the program will roll out to the entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit, planting approximately 20 acres of trees.
      Great seats are available by calling 800-354-1010 or logging onto MISpeedway.com.(MIS)(8-16-2009)


      News from August 15, 2009

    • Race Coverage of the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, August 16, 2009.
      TV: ESPN at 2:00 pm/et; pre-race show at 1:00 pm/et; green flag approx 2:16pm/et
      Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 128
      Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
      ESPN2: Monday, August 17 at 3:00am/et
      ESPN Classic: Monday, August 17 at 1:00pm/et
      SPEED, Wednesday, August 19 at 12:00pm/et

    • Happy Hour practice: for the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway is over, the top five:
      #5-Martin 181.717
      #83-Vickers 181.621
      #6-Ragan 180.519
      #12-Stremme 180.451
      #48-Johnson 180.419
      slowest: #87-Nemechek 174.910 and #34-Andretti 175.170
      no speed listed: #66-Blaney [expect this car to start and park]
      incident: #7-Gordon smacked the wall with the right side, pancaking the right side
      (8-15-2009)

    • First Saturday practice: for the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway is over, the top five:
      #83-Vickers 184.909
      #14-Stewart 184.838
      #42-Montoya 184.696
      #20-Logano 184.544
      #5-Martin 184.488
      slowest: #09-Bliss 175.927 and #87-Nemechek 176.423
      incidents: #44-Allmendinger, scheduled to start 13th, smacked the wall with the right side of the car but will not go to a backup car.
      For fastest speeds, average speeds, laps run, see my Michigan Practice Speeds and Notes.(8-15-2009)

    • Pit Stall Selections - Michigan: The selections of pit stalls for the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway have been made. Pole sitter #83-Vickers chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters], outside pole sitter #5-Martin took pit stall 11, the next pit stall with an opening in front of it, #42-Montoya, who starts 3rd took the 19th stall, the next stall with an opening in front of it. The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #48-Johnson, who starts 4th.
      See the pit selection chart on the Michigan Pit Stall Selection chart (link fixed)(8-15-2009)

    • No major changes seen for CoT: NASCAR President Mike Helton said on Saturday at Michigan International Speedway that the governing body is pleased with the progress of the new car and that there is strong support for leaving it alone. "As you talk to the principals in the garage area -- the team owners, the crew chiefs, the car chiefs -- there seems to be in all these conversations a consensus around 'don't make any major changes right now because we don't want to tackle those, we've spent a long time now understanding this car and don't throw a wrench in all of that by making us start over,''' Helton said. His comments came less than 24 hours after Dale Earnhardt Jr. urged the governing body to take a more urgent look at letting the car evolve move freely to improve competition. Helton also indicated he doesn't anticipate a change in the suspension of testing for next season. He said the ban was implemented as a cost-saving measure during tough economic times and there are no indications that those times are over. "The first thing we do is say, 'Why change it right now or do we need to change it right now?''' Helton said. As for the car, Helton believes Earnhardt's comments were more broad-based about improvements that need to be made for the sport in general. He said comments aimed specifically at the car had more to do with "frustration'' over being 25th in points. "So there's a frustration there that I think attributes to his comments and I think people see those,'' Helton said. "When he landed on the car itself being more specific about that, it's more like his dad would comment when he was having a bad stretch. Helton said minor tweaks are being considered, many around weight distribution that teams have complained about. He said NASCAR is less inclined to make tweaks that would give teams more room to adjust the cars. "One of the reasons there is less adjustability on the car, and a lot of it comes from aerodynamic adjustability, is in order to keep control of the cost teams have,'' Helton said. "There is as much support -- actually there is more support -- of keeping it that way than it is to letting it creep back out.''(in part from ESPN)(8-15-2009)

    • Kahne comments on engine change and Toyota: #9-Kasey Kahne Open Interview:
      DID YOUR TEAM FIGURE OUT WHAT THE ISSUE WAS WITH YOUR ENGINE? “They’re saying it was a piston and when NASCAR gives them the OK to take the engine apart and go through it, (we can) kind of see why it happened. Our engine has been really reliable, so I was a little bit surprised.”
      WAS THAT ONE OF THE NEW R6 ENGINES? “Yes.”
      DID YOU PUT IN ANPOTHER DODGE R6 ENGINE? “Yeah, another R6…that’s our back-up (engine).”
      DO THEY EAT UP MORE GAS THAN THE R5? “No. Our R6’s fuel mileage is good. We’ve been able to get pretty good fuel mileage and not kill the power doing that. Early on, we weren’t able to do that, but since we’ve had some time to work with it, it’s actually been getting pretty good(fuel mileage).”
      ARE YOU ABLE TO PULL ANY INFORMATION FROM THE 44 OR 43? “We don’t use much from them. Everybody uses stuff from us.”
      WHAT ABOUT THE REPORT THAT YOU HAD A PHOTO SHOOT WITH TOYOTA? “I don’t know what the deal is with that. I did my Budweiser photo shoot and obviously you guys know that it was a Toyota. Why? I don’t know why it was. I’m Dodge, man. I think I’ll be Dodge next year, truthfully. The Gillett’s put a car in there to do the photo shoot and I took my pictures and hopefully I don’t have to take my pictures again.”(Dodge Motorsports PR)(8-15-2009)

    • Dale Jr. thinks racing can be improved: Dale Earnhardt Jr., #88 National Guard /Amp Energy Chevy met with media and discussed various things, including improving the racing:
      WHAT WERE YOU GETTING AT WITH RECENT COMMENTS ABOUT NASCAR ENGINEERS COULD DO MORE TO MAKE THESE CARS COMPETITIVE? “I just think, that everyone needs to…, what I am getting at is I think we need to open our eyes a little bit, everyone. I think media could address it a little stronger. I think that the drivers could be a little more vocal about it. I think NASCAR could probably be a little more urgent in improving our product. With the ultimate result is great, exciting racing that the fans will enjoy. That the drivers enjoy and so everyone is happy. That should be our quest always, even when things are good. I feel like especially right now, we need to really, really try to turn over every stone. That includes where we are with this COT and where we feel like its development is. And where we feel like its future goes and where we feel like this car goes; how it evolves. I just have a sense of urgency over the last couple of weeks I guess to see if we can’t do better. I feel like, I just remember how the other cars drove. I liked how they drove and I like how this car is safe but I want to be able to race it like we raced the other cars. NASCAR is open to all of the drivers. I was just asked a question and gave an answer. I’m not trying to start a crusade against nobody or cause anybody problems. We all, I think, the drivers, myself included, we all work together with NASCAR to do this. I am just trying to remind everyone of the optimal goal and prize for us is to have better racing. Even when things are good, we shouldn’t rest on any success we may be having. We are not really where we want to be, I don’t think, as a sport. We need to do thinks to excite corporate America. Excite the fans. We need to get proactive immediately to make that happen.”(Chevy Racing)(8-15-2009)

    • Gordon talks about his back, for a bit: Jeff Gordon, #24 DuPont Chevy, met with media and discussed the condition of his back: HOW’S YOUR BACK?
      “It's alright. Couple rough days, but feeling pretty good. So, you know it was a hard hit and that’s an area that I’m focused and working on for…. moving forward as a safety aspect I feel like we have done a great job with head, neck, shoulders and hips but the last couple hits I have had have really affected my midsection especially my back. So it's something we are going to look into for the future. I took a shot and worked through it the next couple days and am here, ready to go.”
      WOULD YOU BE MORE CONCERNED IN THE OLD CAR LIKE TEN YEARS AGO WITH LESS SAFETY PRECAUTIONS OUT THERE WITHOUT SAFER WALLS, ETC ABOUT YOUR BACK RIGHT NOW?
      “You know it's just weird because in the old days with the older car I worried way more about my neck and head injuries than anything else. I think what is happened is that as we have gotten better with the technology of the seats and the belts and how we are strapped in the car its created new areas in the car that we have to focus on and you know, that is what happens as you evolve with engineering and safety and the speeds of the cars and everything. You start to narrow down the weaker links and right now the weakest link is that midsection and we don’t have a way of isolating that area.”
      IS THERE EVER A TIME WHEN YOU WOULD TAKE A WEEKEND OFF TO REST YOUR BACK AT ALL? YOU'RE SAFE IN THE POINTS
      "Ah, I think right now it's just too important to still get bonus points and chemistry of the team. I think it would take away momentum and chemistry. If I had a diagnosis from a doctor that told me I was in danger of a major injury, then I would consider it, certainly. But I haven't had that. My issues are spasms or something like that. It's not consistent. I was worse at the beginning of the year than I am now and I had the whole off-season (laughs). So no, I haven't considered it."(Chevy Racing)
      AND Speaking at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, Gordon admitted to having a "couple of rough days" after a wreck at Watkins Glen on Monday aggravated his already-ailing back. But when pressed to talk about the injury, one that's been bothering him to varying degrees for months, Gordon grew a little testy - a rare loss of composure for one of NASCAR's most calm and collected drivers. "Man, let's stop talking about my back," he said, speaking to a small group of reporters in the garage area. "We're done talking about my back. Let's move on. I'm here. I'm fine. Let's move on to something else."(Associated Press)(8-15-2009)

    • 350th start for Dale Jr.: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will make his 350th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start when he lines up for Sunday's CARMAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Since making his Cup debut on May 30, 1999, at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Earnhardt has scored 18 wins, eight pole positions, 87 top-five finishes and 140 top-10s. He ranks fifth among active full-time drivers with 6,473 laps led.(HMS)(8-15-2009)

    • Polaris to Sponsor Robby Gordon Race Weekend: #7-Robby Gordon will race The Off Road Championship (TORC), at Crandon International Off-Road Raceway, in Crandon, Wis., on Sunday, September 6, and then jump on a plane and head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Labor Day Pep Boys 500, later that night. As part of the multi-year product development and marketing agreement Polaris and Gordon inked earlier this year, Polaris will be the primary sponsor of Gordon’s #007 TORC Chevy Silverado race truck for the TORC race and the primary sponsor on the #7 NSCS Toyota Camry, at the NASCAR Labor Day Classic 500. A whirlwind of a weekend, Gordon will practice for the TORC race on Friday and Saturday morning, then fly to Atlanta after Saturday’s practice to qualify for the NASCAR Labor Day Classic, and return to Crandon on Saturday night for more prep before the race on Sunday. After the TORC race, he’ll jump back on a plane to compete in the NASCAR race on Sunday evening. This past winter, Gordon and Polaris entered into a three-year agreement that included Gordon providing insight on future products and promoting Polaris’ RANGER RZR Side-by-Sides. The agreement was unique in that Gordon would not only market Polaris product but also use his off-road expertise to help create new Polaris vehicles. It won’t be much longer when off-road enthusiasts will see the first of the units co-developed by Robby Gordon and Polaris. The TORC off-road race can be seen live on ABC, Sunday, September 6, from 4:00-5:00pm/et. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Labor Day Pep Boys 500 will air on ESPN, starting at 7:00pm/et, Sunday night.(RGM), see image of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(8-15-2009)

    • MIS unveils new and improved infield bus to lucky fan: Maurice “Moe” Clark was ecstatic beyond belief when he first saw his new and improved infield bus. “The bus looks so great. This is amazing and I’m so thankful for all of this,” Clark said. Clark was the recipient of a Michigan International Speedway Extreme Bus Makeover, which was unveiled to Clark on Thursday during infield camper lineup for the CARFAX 400 race weekend. MIS President Roger Curtis ran into Clark during infield camper lineup for the June LifeLock 400 race weekend. After careful examination, Curtis and the staff at MIS decided to give Clark a bus makeover. “The inside of the bus looked like Donald Trump’s condo, so we decided that the outside of the bus needed to look like the inside. Because the outside had a lot of work to do,” Curtis said during the unveiling. Previously called “The Bucksnort Lodge,” the yellow and black eyesore serves its purpose during its biannual treks to Michigan International Speedway’s infield. The bus leaked oil and smoked a little on the road, but it sleeps six and has all the comforts of home. Clark and his wife have been attending races in MIS’ infield for the past six years. Every year, twice a year, they make the 320-mile round-trip journey to MIS from Yale, in the “thumb” of Michigan.
      So two weeks ago, Clark and his bus made the trek down to MIS for a much needed makeover. Over a two week period, MIS staff members Tim Lamb, Jesus Salvador, Randy Titler, Dustin Gilbert and Jamie Nichols (amongst many others) turned the old Bucksnort Lodge into a truly remarkable bus on wheels. A good paint job and many decals later, the bus turned into the newly-named “Promise Keeper.” The name was created because Curtis kept his promise to Clark back in June that he would do this for him. The bus will now be proudly displayed amongst all the other infield campers, who are in town celebrating the return of the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series’ to the Irish Hills. Great seats are available by calling 800-354-1010 or logging onto MISpeedway.com.(MIS)(8-15-2009)


      News from August 14, 2009

    • Vickers wins pole at Michigan: #83-Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole for the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway with a speed of 187.242mph for his 6th pole of the 2009 season, 11th of his career and 3rd straight at MIS. Starting 2nd is #5-Martin, #42-Montoya, #48-Johnson, #1-Truex Jr., #2-Busch, #39-Newman, #20-Logano, #21-Elliott and #9-Kahne. Points leader, #14-Stewart starts 18th. #88-Earnhardt Jr. 15th and #18-Busch is way back, starting 39th. The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #21-Elliott, #82-Speed, #25-Keselwoski, #09-Bliss, #71-Gilliland, #87-Nemechek, #66-Blaney and #36-Skinner.
      Missing the race (1): #37-Raines.(8-14-2009)
      Qualifying is scheduled to re-air on SPEED tonight at 9:30pm/et and 2:00am/et.
      For qualifying speeds, starting lineup, qualifying order, pole progression on my Michigan Starting Lineup/Qualifying page.(8-14-2009)

    • Qualifying Fast Facts - Michigan International Speedway:
      #83-Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Michigan 400 with a lap of 38.453 seconds, 187.242 mph.
      This is his 11th pole in 195 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
      This is his sixth pole and 11th top-10 start in 2009.
      This is his third pole in 12 races at Michigan International Speedway.
      #5-Mark Martin (second) posted his 11th top-10 start of 2009 and his 24th in 48 races at Michigan International Speedway.
      #42-Juan Pablo Montoya (third) posted his second top-10 start at Michigan International Speedway. It is his 10th in 23 races this season.
      #20-Joey Logano (eighth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-14-2009)

    • Coverage of Qualifying for the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway is scheduled for Friday, August 14, 2009 at 3:40pm/et.
      Television (TV): SPEED - 3:30pm/et
      Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 128
      Jayski.com: Jayski's Semi-Live Qualifying Page
      Qualifying Re-Air: SPEED at 9:30pm/et and 2:00am/et

    • Qualifying Order for the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway is posted. 44 cars/drivers are listed, one will go home. The 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 #16-Biffle, the final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #39-Newman [was fastest in practice].
      The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #25-Keselowski and the final [44th] driver scheduled to qualify is #66-Blaney [was slowest]. See the full qualifying order on the Michigan Qualifying Page.(8-14-2009)

    • Friday practice: for the Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway is over, the top five:
      #39-Newman 189.155
      #20-Logano 187.169
      #42-Montoya 187.144
      #1-Truex Jr, 186.790
      #99-Edwards 186.640
      slowest: #36-Skinner 180.302 & #9-Kahne 180.786
      incidents: #9-Kahne lost an engine, the team will put in a new one and Kahne will have to start from the rear of the field on Sunday. For fastest speeds, averagwe speeds, laps run, see my Michigan Practice Speeds and Notes.(8-14-2009)

    • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Michigan:
      (the go-or-go-homers)
      if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
      #25-Brad Keselowski, 14th fastest
      #82-Scott Speed, 17th
      #71-David Gilliland, 26th
      #21-Bill Elliott [PC], 27th [has past champ to use]
      #09-Mike Bliss, 37th
      #87-Joe Nemechek, 38th
      #36-Mike Skinner, 40th
      #37-Tony Raines, 41st
      these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
      #66-Dave Blaney, 43rd of 44

    • CARFAX to sponsor Andretti: UPDATE: haven't seen anything official, but an updated Michigan Entry List shows #34-John Andretti being sponsored by CARFAX, which is also the title sponsor of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races at Michigan International Speedway this weekend.(8-13-2009)
      UPDATE: Carfax announced it will sponsor the #34 Front Row Motorsports Chevy and driver John Andretti for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The #34 Carfax Chevy will make its debut at MIS during the first-ever 'Show Me the CARFAX Race Weekend'.(Carfax PR)(8-14-2009)

    • Study rates NASCAR sponsors: In a recent study that rated consumers' recall of NASCAR sponsors, Coca-Cola Co. was a big winner while FedEx ... not so much. FanLab, an Atlanta-based company, did the study to calculate which NASCAR sponsors consumers recalled when not prompted. In the June study of 1,044 consumers - of which 518 self-identified as avid or casual NASCAR fans - Coca-Cola came in fourth. That is a relatively high ranking for Coke, said Brian Evans, FanLab's director of client relations, given the company doesn't have its own car. The beverage giant is, however, the official "non-alcoholic beverage," the "official soft drink" and "official sport drink" of NASCAR. It also sponsors 14 drivers and has its name on two races. The companies that ranked highest have sponsored teams, however, and in some cases, racetracks and winning drivers: Budweiser was first, Home Depot was second and Lowe's third. FedEx, which sponsors a driver, failed to break the top 25 while the "official delivery service" and team sponsor UPS ranked 14th. Aflac, "official supplemental insurance" and a team sponsor, was 23rd. "If you're in the top 20, you're connecting with fans and that program should be working for you," said Evans.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(8-14-2009)

    • Bill Elliott to have different colors on #21 at MIS; Image: The Wood Brothers Racing #21 Ford Fusion driven by Bill Elliott will switch from its normal red Motorcraft paint scheme and feature the blue, white and orange colors of Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center at Michigan International Speedway. "We are excited to have Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center sponsor the #21 Ford Fusion, especially since Michigan International Speedway is the home track of both Quick Lane and Ford," said Tom Suttles, Quick Lane Business Manager. "This is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our partnership with Motorcraft. Quick Lane and Motorcraft form the perfect combination of fast, convenient service and the highest quality parts." In addition to being the primary sponsor of Bill Elliotts Fusion this weekend, fans can see the #21 Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford Fusion at 12 Metro Detroit locations this week. Bill Elliott will be signing autographs at the Quick Lane at Varsity Lincoln Mercury in Novi and the Quick Lane at Hines Park Ford in New Hudson on Thursday, August 13. Ford Customer Service Division brands of Motorcraft and Quick Lane are primary sponsors on the Wood Brothers #21 Ford for 12 races this season, which began in February at the Daytona 500 and will culminate with the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Quick Lane provides automotive quick services for all makes and models. For more information about Quick Lane, visit www.quicklane.com.(Wood Brothers Racing/Ford Racing)(8-12-2009)
      IMAGE: see am image of the car on the #21 Paint Schemes page.(8-14-2009)

    • Watkins Glen goes green: Officials at Watkins Glen International announced the continuation of their green efforts with the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset 100% of their annual electricity usage. WGI has agreed to purchase 1,000 Wind Energy RECs annually from NextEra Energy Resources. The two-year agreement will ensure The Glen uses [100%] renewable power, reducing emissions and its' carbon footprint by using wind power. In addition to offsetting The Glen's annual electricity use, the purchase will support the development and advancement of wind and solar energy in the United States. NextEra Energy Resources commits to invest an amount equal to 100% of the proceeds from The Glen's REC purchase in new wind and solar energy projects across the country. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC is a competitive wholesale power generator. The company is the largest generator of wind and solar power in North America and the leading producer of hydroelectric power it the Northeastern United States. Based out of Juno Beach, Fla., NextEra Energy Resources owns nearly 90 facilities operating in 25 different states and Canada. In addition to the partnership with NextEra Energy, Watkins Glen International is also an active partner with Swathout Recycling of Beaver Dams, NY. The agreement provides fans camping at Watkins Glen International an option to participate in a curbside recycling program. Fans simply place all of their recyclables curbside in a special bag provided by WGI each night, and crews come around to collect the bags.(WGI)(8-14-2009)


      News from August 13, 2009

    • Danica - NASCAR rumors are true: The question Danica Patrick fans are asking most often is whether or not she'll try to move to NASCAR, following the lead of Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish Jr. Franchitti struggled with the heavier stock cars last year and came back to IndyCar this season. "The NASCAR rumors are true," Patrick confirmed. "We're definitely exploring all the opportunities that are out there for me as a driver and as a business and a brand."(Vallejo Times-Herald)(8-19-2009)

    • Michigan Goodyear Tire Notes: While teams in both NASCAR series in action at Michigan this weekend will be running the same left-side tire code (D-4134), they will be running distinct right-side codes . . . Nationwide Series teams will be running the same combination of left- and right-side tire codes they ran at Kentucky in June . . . they also ran this tire set-up at Michigan and Kentcky last season . . . teams in the Nationwide Series should be especially familiar with this left-side tire, having run it 12 times between 2008 and 2009 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Michigan . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 40-44 laps, based on fuel mileage (Sprint Cup).(Goodyear PR), see full notes, tire pressures and more on my Michigan Race Info page.(8-13-2009)

    • Robby Gordon to have different look at MIS: Robby Gordon hopes to capitalize on his team’s improved performance at intermediate tracks during the Carfax 400 at the Michigan International Speedway. In June, Gordon had a solid qualifying run on Friday and strong practices sessions all weekend before bringing home a 17th-place finish on Sunday. Gordon and crew look to improve on that finish this weekend as he pilots the #7 Moen Toyota Camry for the first time this season.(RGM), see an image of the #7 Moen Toyota on my #7 Team Schemes page.(8-13-2009)

    • Chase Notes and Stats: #18-Kyle Busch held on to fourth place and 165 precious points at The Glen, and bought himself some valuable real estate in the 2009 Race to the Chase. He gained 15 points on #42-Juan Montoya, 53 points on #9-Kasey Kahne, 65 on #39-Ryan Newman, just 10 on #16-Greg Biffle, 71 points on #5-Mark Martin and 44 points on #17-Matt Kenseth, pulling within 58 of Matt. #83-Brian Vickers pulled within 96 points of 13th place Kenseth and #33-Clint Bowyer is now 99 points out after an 11th and 9th, respectively. #00-David Reutimann has faded back to 155 points out, and needs a strong rally to get back into serious contention. #14-Tony Stewart has set a blistering pace over the last ten races, with three wins, six podium finishes, and 8 top fives. See more Chase Stats, year-by-year comparision on my Chase Stats after Watkins Glen page.
      AND: Fresh off a win at Watkins Glen, #14-Tony Stewart merely needs to start Sunday’s CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway to become the first owner-driver to earn a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berth. Stewart’s not the only one who can clinch a spot in the 12-driver Chase for this weekend at Michigan. Any driver 586 points ahead of 13th place leaving Michigan clinches a spot. #48-Jimmie Johnson, 496 points ahead of 13th-place #18-Kyle Busch, needs at least a 90-point gain on 13th to secure a place in the Chase. Johnson – who is second in points – has made every Chase since its inception in 2004. Only one other driver has qualified for every Chase: #17-Matt Kenseth, currently 12th in points.(NASCAR)(8-13-2009)

    • RCR & Jack Daniel's to Salute the American Auto Worker: Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR, will recognize the hard-working American auto worker this weekend in Michigan International Speedway. Because of its proximity to Detroit and General Motors' headquarters, Childress and primary sponsor Jack Daniel's have teamed to showcase a special hood design for the CARFAX 400. In addition to the race car, the Jack Daniel's show car will feature the phrase "Jack Salutes the American Auto Worker" at all its stops in the area. Fans can also see the specially-themed Chevy on Sunday at the Chevy display, located inside the MIS midway area. Mr. Jack's Crew will unload chassis No. 282 from the Richard Childress Racing garage. This Chevrolet Impala SS was last raced at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July where it finished 19th. This will be the second time this chassis has seen race action.(RCR)(8-13-2009)

    • Dale Jr's name off race track project: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s name has been dropped from the planned $640 million motorsports park off Interstate 65 in Prichard, whose investors now plan to use a new 5-cent sales tax to help develop the complex, according to investors in the project. "Dale is focusing on racing, and his sponsor demands have gone up incredibly," Bill Futterer of PSE-3 and Futterer Partners said Tuesday evening. Futterer's Raleigh, N.C., marketing firm is working on what had been called Alabama Motorsports Park, A Dale Earnhardt Jr. Speedway. "We have agreed not to extend his personal services agreement," Futterer said. Also gone are agreements with Earnhardt's sister, Kelly Earnhardt Elledge, and his race-driver brother, Kerry Earnhardt, Futterer said. He added, "we're not upset, and they are not angry." An effort Tuesday evening to reach Earnhardt through his Hendrick Motorsports race team was unsuccessful. Gulf Coast Entertainment, the group of 30 or so investors in the project, want a name that will fit what they see as a total entertainment complex, not just a race venue, he said. The project includes three tracks — a seven-tenths-mile oval with 75,000 seats, a karting track, and a road course — plus an RV park and basic infrastructure at the 2,400-acre site along Ala. 158. But developers envision their project as a draw for hotels, entertainment and retail venues that others will develop on the property. When fully built out, developers estimate the complex could create 4,800 jobs.(Alabama Live)(8-13-2009)

    • CARFAX to sponsor Andretti: haven't seen anything official, but an updated Michigan Entry List shows #34-John Andretti being sponsored by CARFAX, which is also the title sponsor of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races at Michigan International Speedway this weekend.(8-13-2009)

    • ESPN's Nationwide Coverage will use "Backseat Drivers": ESPN2's live coverage of the Aug. 15 CARFAX 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway will have a new and different approach as the telecast will prominently feature five former NASCAR champions and will be done without a traditional "play by play" announcer. ESPN's "Backseat Drivers" telecast will engage NASCAR fans with the authenticity and experience of analysts Tim Brewer, Ray Evernham, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree and Rusty Wallace. With Brewer contributing reports and analysis from the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage, Evernham, Jarrett, Petree and Wallace will call the race from the booth. In addition to the five champions, the telecast will include pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch, while Allen Bestwick will host.(ESPN)(8-13-2009)

    • Penske Racing add ARCA driver: Continuing to build for the future of its NASCAR program, Penske Racing announced that promising young stock car racer Dakoda Armstrong has joined the team's driver development initiative, see more on my Driver Development page.(8-13-2009)

    • Verizon adds cell site around MIS: Verizon Wireless has activated a temporary cell site to improve its voice and data network around the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn, MI and accommodate the anticipated crowd of about 100,000 visitors attending the NASCAR races and related events August 14-16. The company has deployed a Cell on Light Truck (COLT) to boost capacity in the area surrounding the race track. A COLT is a fully functional, generator-powered mobile cell site that enhances wireless capacity in a specific location--and works especially well in dense areas with large crowds. Additionally, Verizon Wireless has upgraded equipment on its existing cell sites in the area that provide coverage in and around MIS. Collectively the company's upgrades will boost voice capacity by 600% and data capacity by more than 1,000%.(Reuters.com)(8-13-2009)

    • MIS Implements Fan Texting Service: Michigan International Speedway (“MIS”) has partnered with InStadiumSolutions (“ISS”) to implement a text-message based communication system at the facility. The service debuted this past June at MIS and will be available to fans again during the “Show Me the Carfax Race Weekend.” The text messaging system allows fans to communicate directly with the racetrack’s command post if assistance is needed in dealing with any special needs inside the facility. Texting instructions will be placed prominently throughout the facility via static signage and will be regularly broadcast through audio and video public announcements. Great seats are available by calling 800-354-1010 or logging onto MISpeedway.com.(MIS)(8-13-2009)

    • Bristol Nights CD featuring Bristol related songs: The sights and sounds of Bristol Motor Speedway are distinctive, unique and instantly recognizable. Now, fans can enjoy NASCAR’s most popular track in an entirely different way with the release of “Bristol Nights,” a 12-song CD that honors the World’s Fastest Half-Mile. The dozen original songs in a multitude of musical styles commemorate the excitement of racing on “The World’s Fastest Half Mile,” Bristol’s signature Night Race, the raw power of the Bristol Dragway and the unmatched Bristol fan experience. “Bristol Nights,” which is the result of a partnership with Banshee Music, digitally debuted at Amazon.com and iTunes earlier this week (BMS), more info at the BMS site.(8-13-2009)


      News from August 12, 2009

    • Watkins Glen TV Ratings: ESPN's live coverage of the rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from Watkins Glen International earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.7, averaging 1,994,457 viewers. The telecast aired on Monday, Aug. 10, starting at 12:00pm/et after the race was rained out the previous day. ESPN earned a 2.0 rating for coverage on Sunday from 2:15 pm . 4:30 pm when the race was postponed. Two of ESPN's three NASCAR Sprint Cup races so far this season have been run on Mondays after having been rained out on the originally-scheduled day. The NASCAR Nationwide Series race run at Watkins Glen on Saturday earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.5 on ESPN2, higher than the 1.4 earned for the race when it aired on ESPN2 in 2007. The race aired on ABC last year and had a 1.5 rating. The Nationwide Series telecast averaged 1,755,640 viewers.(ESPN), for past races and TV Ratings news, see my 2009 TV Ratings page and chart.(8-12-2009)

    • Papis to take a week off: After an 8th place finish at Watkins Glen, Max Papis and the GEICO Racing team will take a week off before reporting to Bristol , TN , for double duty. Papis and the Germain Racing team will battle the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regulars on Wednesday night, August 19th before attempting to qualify for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race two days later at Bristol Motor Speedway.(GEICO Racing)(8-12-2009)

    • Johnson's Team Captures Tissot Pit Road Award at Watkins Glen: Jimmie Johnson's pit crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Monday's rain-delayed Sprint Cup road race at Watkins Glen. It was the third Tissot win of the season for the #48 Hendrick Motorsports pit crew, which moved into a tie for second place with Jeff Gordon's #24 crew, also from the Hendrick Motorsports stable. Greg Biffle's #16 crew leads the Tissot standings with four victories. Johnson's Lowe's Impala SS spent the least amount of time on pit road . 86.746 seconds -- during the 90-lap race at the 2.45-mile road circuit. Johnson's over-the-wall crew consists of: Mike Lingerfelt (front-tire changer), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Jeremy West (rear-tire changer), Andy Brown (rear-tire carrier), Kenneth Purcell (jackman), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Ron Malec (eighth man). The team's crew chief is Chad Knaus and the pit crew coach is Greg Morin. Johnson's crew will collect $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule will receive a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver.(Tissot), see the season standings on my Pit Crew News page.(8-12-2009)

    • Richard Petty to be honored at Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance: The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance Foundation, Inc. announced that NASCAR legend Richard Petty will be the honoree at the 15th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, scheduled for March 12-14, 2010 at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island and The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach. Petty will serve as the key note speaker at the Concours' annual Gala Dinner Saturday, March 13, 2010. In addition to Petty's presence, this year's Concours will honor the 40th anniversary of Porsche's inaugural victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona and Le Mans and showcase a number of influential 917s, a model that is widely considered to be one of the most significant racecars of the modern era. This year's Amelia will also honor Sir Stirling Moss, OBE and the 50th Anniversary of Moss' victory in the last Cuban Grand Prix. The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance is one of the nation's most innovative vintage auto events featuring over 250 rare classics from seldom-seen private collections nationwide. For more information, visit ameliaconcours.org.(Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance)(8-12-2009)

    • Ford to debut new engine at Michigan? UPDATE Ford's long-awaited debut of its new NASCAR engine is now expected to come next Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, but it's not clear which teams may be using it. The engine has a much improved cooling system, which should make for more downforce on the nose, because teams won't have to run so much ductwork.(MikeMulhern.net)(8-10-2009)
      UPDATE: It was rumored that Ford will introduce its new engine this weekend at Michigan. Not true, says Brian Wolfe, Ford's director of North American Motorsports. Instead, it will be introduced during the 10-race Chase that begins in September. "If it's this weekend nobody told me," Wolfe said "It's definitely not before the Chase." The plan before the season was to introduce the new engine by now. There were talks about letting the [#21 Ford] Wood Brothers, who are running a partial schedule with Bill Elliott, be the guinea pig. But that isn't likely now, Wolfe said. The first to use it will be non-Chase drivers at Roush Fenway [likely #6-Ragan, #26-McMurray, #96-Labonte, #98-Menard] or Yates Racing. Makes sense, considering the engine was developed by the Roush-Yates engine program. Still, don't look for a widespread rollout of the engine. And don't look for it to be used by one of the Chase teams unless the initial results are so extraordinary it is worth the risk.(ESPN Insider)(8-12-2009)

    • Bill Elliott to have different colors on #21 at MIS: The Wood Brothers Racing #21 Ford Fusion driven by Bill Elliott will switch from its normal red Motorcraft paint scheme and feature the blue, white and orange colors of Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center at Michigan International Speedway. "We are excited to have Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center sponsor the #21 Ford Fusion, especially since Michigan International Speedway is the home track of both Quick Lane and Ford," said Tom Suttles, Quick Lane Business Manager. "This is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our partnership with Motorcraft. Quick Lane and Motorcraft form the perfect combination of fast, convenient service and the highest quality parts." In addition to being the primary sponsor of Bill Elliotts Fusion this weekend, fans can see the #21 Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford Fusion at 12 Metro Detroit locations this week. Bill Elliott will be signing autographs at the Quick Lane at Varsity Lincoln Mercury in Novi and the Quick Lane at Hines Park Ford in New Hudson on Thursday, August 13. Ford Customer Service Division brands of Motorcraft and Quick Lane are primary sponsors on the Wood Brothers #21 Ford for 12 races this season, which began in February at the Daytona 500 and will culminate with the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Quick Lane provides automotive quick services for all makes and models. For more information about Quick Lane, visit www.quicklane.com.(Wood Brothers Racing/Ford Racing)(8-12-2009)

    • RPM Still Talking To Toyota: Multiple sources at Richard Petty Motorsports tell Sirius Speedway that RPM is still mulling the possibility of moving its entire operation to the Toyota camp in 2010. RPM spokesmen have downplayed reports of a possible manufacturer switch in recent weeks, but sources say that talks are ongoing with both Dodge and Toyota. No decisions have been made, but in an attempt to cover all their bases, the team recently had a series of publicity photos taken of Kasey Kahne and a Budweiser-sponsored #9 Toyota Camry.(Sirius Speedway)(8-12-2009)

    • #43 and #44 Crew Chief and Crew Switch official: Crew Chief Mike Shiplett and the crew that fielded the #43 Dodges for Reed Sorenson will begin working on the #44 Dodge with A.J. Allmendinger at Michigan and the rest of the 2009 season. Sam Johns and his crew that worked on the #44 will begin working on the #43 with Sorenson at Michigan. At Michigan, the #44 will sport a Super 8 scheme while the #43 Dodge will have Bumper to Bumper colors. Says Allmendinger:" I'm pumped about working with Mike (Shiplett) and his crew again. We went testing at Dover last week and worked real well together. Sammy Johns and those guys did a heck of a job getting us ready to go racing right before the season and we had some really good runs. They are going to go over with Reed (Sorenson) and we'll pool the information and improve our teams. We're here to win and get a jump on 2010. Mike and I want to work on everything that will make us a contender the rest of the season and hit the ground running in Daytona in February."(Richard Petty Motorsports)(8-12-2009)

    • Hornish Jr. OK after nasty wreck at Watkins Glen: Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Transcript with Travis Geisler, Crew-Chief for Sam Hornish Jr. and the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge:
      Q: SAM (HORNISH JR.) TOOK A PRETTY BIG HIT YESTERDAY DURING THE RACE AT WATKINS GLEN. CAN YOU GIVE US AN UPDATE ON HOW HE IS FEELING?
      A: He's doing really well. I actually had a chance to talk to him this morning. He gave me a call pretty early to make sure that I went around thanking all the guys that work on the interiors (of the car) and all the welding on the chassis. He's in good shape. He was going to take it easy today and get a little rest. It's something that we're real proud of here at Penske Racing as far as the safety of our cars. Certainly with the carbon fiber seats and everything that we've done over the last couple of years, it's pretty obvious that we have a really safe car. This COT has done a really good job protecting the drivers. Sitting there watching a friend and co-worker take a hit like that isn't the most comforting thing. Knowing that you've done everything that you can do and when you see him sitting there playing with his baby girl, it makes you feel like you're doing a pretty good job."
      Q: ANY CONCERNS ABOUT SAM NOT BEING IN THE CAR THIS WEEKEND? [at Michigan]
      A: None at all. He's ready to go. He just wants to get back to Michigan because it's sort of a home race for him. It's about the closest (track) to home that we race for him. Our car owner (Roger Penske), Dodge, myself being from Pennsylvania, it's kind of a home race for us. So we're excited to get up there. He's ready to get back up there and we're gearing up for another good weekend."(Dodge Motorsports)(8-12-2009)

    • Stewart has one-two punch at Watkins Glen: #14-Tony Stewart has now finished first or second in six straight starts at Watkins Glen. That hasn't happened much in Sprint Cup Series history, just 11 times, and only four times over the last 20 seasons:
      Most consecutive top-two Cup finishes at a track since 1990
      Seasons -- Driver -- Top-twos -- Track
      2001-04 -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- 7 -- Talladega
      2004-09 -- Tony Stewart -- 6 -- Watkins Glen
      2004-06 -- Jimmie Johnson -- 6 -- Charlotte
      1992-95 -- Rusty Wallace -- 6 -- Martinsville
      The Record all-time? Richard Petty had 11 straight top-two finishes at Richmond from 1970-1975.(ESPN)(8-12-2009)

    • Keselowski to attempt Michigan: This weekend, #25-Brad Keselowski returns to his home track of Michigan International Speedway. Keselowski was raised in Rochester Hills, Mich., located about 100 miles from the track. Before making his way to the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide series, Keselowski cut his racing teeth running local tracks in quarter-midgets and late-model stock cars. Keselowski will attempt to make his first Michigan start in the Sprint Cup Series this weekend driving the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. Keselowski, who is splitting time this season qualifying Sprint Cup Chevys for Hendrick Motorsports and Phoenix Racing [#09], has recorded one win, one top-five finish and three top-10s in seven Cup attempts. On Thursday, Keselowski will head to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to watch the Wolverines football camp. The Michigan native also stopped by his favorite school's football camp last year. Keselowski will attempt to qualify Hendrick Motorsports' #25 Chevy two more times this Cup season: at Kansas on Oct. 4 and Lowe's Motor Speedway on Oct. 17. Crew chief Tony Eury Jr. has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 25-537 for this weekend's event at Chicagoland Speedway. This is the same car that Keselowski raced to a seventh-place finish at Darlington in May.(HMS)(8-12-2009)

    • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #14-Tony Stewart and #19-Elliott Sadler have the longest current streak of finishing races at 45. #78-Regan Smith is at 52 but has not run all the races [Smith has never DNF'd in a Cup race]. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963 [Beam didn't run all the races, but didn't DNF in 84 straight consecutive races that he ran]. Clint Bowyer holds the modern day (1972-present) at 83, next is Kevin Harvick at 81 and 58, then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53.(8-12-2009)

    • Petty DNF streak at 140 races: Richard Petty Motorsports visits Michigan International Speedway this weekend with plans to continue its streak as the only four-car team without a DNF.did not finish. in the 2009 points races The two-car team of Stewart-Haas is the only other team to avoid a DNF this year. The Petty streak stretches to 140 starts without a DNF. #9-Kasey Kahne's DNF at Martinsville on Oct.19 was the team's last.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(8-12-2009)

    • Top-5's, Top-10's: #14-Tony Stewart leads all drivers after 22 races in 2009 with 13 Top-5 finishes, with #24-Jeff Gordon next at 10 and #48-Johnson with 9. #14-Stewart has the most Top-10's after 22 races with 18, followed by #24-Gordon with 15.
      Two drivers have run all the races in 2009 and have not scored a top-10 finish: #12-Stremme and #98-Menard. Seven drivers have not scored a Top-5 and ran all the races: #98-Menard, #12-Stremme, #07-Mears, #1-Truex Jr., #43-Sorenson, #26-McMurray and #6-Ragan.(8-12-2009)


      News from August 11, 2009

    • Watkins Glen Stats and Notes:
      * Tony Stewart won the rain-delayed Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at Watkins Glen International. Stewart scored his third victory in 2009. He is one of five drivers with multiple victories this season, joining Mark Martin (four), Jimmie Johnson (three), Kyle Busch (three) and Matt Kenseth (two). Stewart scored his 36th Sprint Cup Series victory in his 378th start. Stewart's last win came at Daytona in July. Stewart led two times for 34 laps, including the final 24, the most by any driver. He has scored top-10 finishes in the last 10 races, extending a streak that began at Dover. Stewart posted his 225th career top-10 finish. Stewart remained 19th on NASCAR's win list. He scored his fifth victory in 11 races at Watkins Glen. He has finished first or second in seven of his last eight races at Watkins Glen and has won five of the last eight -- the most wins by any driver at The Glen. Stewart has a 756-point lead over 13th-place Kyle Bush. Stewart only has to start in the remaining four races to make the Chase.
      * Stewart won at Watkins Glen in both of his Sprint Cup Series championship seasons (2002 and 2005). He has scored seven victories in 22 races on road course tracks. Stewart's seven road course victories rank him second all-time behind Jeff Gordon with nine.
      * Any driver more than 781 points behind 12th-place Matt Kenseth has been eliminated from the 2009 Chase.
      * This marked the sixth Chevrolet victory in the past seven races at Watkins Glen. Chevrolet has scored 12 wins in 22 races in 2009, leading all manufacturers. Toyota has six while Dodge and Ford each have two. The top 10 consisted of four Toyotas, three Chevrolets, two Fords and one Dodge.
      * Marcos Ambrose (finished second) scored his career-best finish in 33 races. Ambrose was one of five drivers to score top-10 finishes in both road course races in 2009. Drivers scoring top-10s in both road course races in 2009 were Stewart (first at WG/second at Infineon), Ambrose (second/third), Denny Hamlin (10th/fifth), Juan Pablo Montoya (sixth/sixth) and Clint Bowyer (ninth/eighth).
      * Greg Biffle (fifth) posted just his third road course top-5 finish in 14 road course races. It was his best finish in seven races at Watkins Glen.
      * Montoya has scored top-15 finishes in the past nine races, extending a streak that began at Pocono in June, all finishes of 12th or better.
      * Johnson (12th) has led at least one lap in 18 of the 22 races in 2009, the most by any driver.
      * Jeff Burton (38th) has finished 16th or worse in the past eight races, since Michigan in June.
      * Bobby Labonte (20th) scored a milestone 300th career lead-lap finish.
      * Stewart and Elliott Sadler (32nd) have each been running at the finish in the last 45 races, the longest current streak.
      * The last time there were two postponed races in a row was Richmond/Darlington in May 2007. This marked the fifth race in 2009 affected by rain: Daytona ran 152 of 200 laps, Lowe's ran 227 of 400 laps and Loudon ran 273 of 301. Lowe's in May, Pocono in July and Watkins Glen in August all ran on Monday. This was the 75th race in series history run on Monday (34 were the Southern 500, where the race was scheduled for Monday each year).(ESPN/Racing Resources)(8-11-2009)

    • Three Sponsors, three wins for Stewart: #14-Tony Stewart has three sponsors who server as primary sponsors for a certain number of races, Old Spice, Office Depot and Burger King. Stewart has won three races in 2010 [so far], with each sponsor getting a win:
      Office Dept won at Pocono in June
      Burger King won at Daytona in July
      Old Spice won at Watkins Glen in August
      Note: #18-Kyle Busch has won three races with different paint schemes in 2009, but the same company is the sponsor: Mars - M&M's, Snickers and Combos.(8-11-2009)

    • Lawsuit reveals insight on crew pay: A lawsuit against Roush Fenway Racing gives a look into the world of crew members and what they earn and what their contracts can be like. Jason Myers, former car chief for Carl Edwards, has filed suit against Roush Fenway Racing for wrongful discharge (i.e. firing) and in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act. Myers, who joined Roush in 2002 and was Edwards' car chief (title just below crew chief) from 2006-2008. Court documents stated that Myers suffered from depression and attempted suicide three times. The court document states that on Feb. 17, 2009, the team fired him "for allegedly not noifying anyone that he would miss work on Friday, Feb. 13.'' The case has moved to federal court. Monday, Roush Fenway Racing filed a motion to dismiss Myers' wrongful discharge claim. Roush Fenway Racing claims in court documents that Myers was "not employed with Roush as an employee at-will as required to state a claim of wrongful discharge under North Carolina law. In this case, Myers was emplyed with Roush pursuant to an employment agreement dated January 11, 2008.'' Roush submitted Myers' contract as part of its court documents on Monday. Just like driver contracts, crew contracts are kept confidential. Teams don't want other teams to know what they're paying or how they're compensating their employees. Get a look at the contract information with salary/bonus at the Virginian Pilot.(8-11-2009)

    • Kerr Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Watkins Glen: Frank Kerr, crew chief for the #47 Little Debbies Toyota driven by Marcos Ambrose, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Monday's Heluva Good! at the Glen at Watkins Glen International Raceway. Kerr made a bold call early in the race to keep his driver out on the track, one of only three who chose to do so, on the first caution flag. Off sequence from the rest of the leaders, Ambrose and the #47 team took the lead and remained close to the front for the remainder of the afternoon. Though they didn't have the same strategy as the other teams, running their own pit strategy seemed to pay off for the JTG/Daugherty Racing team. With 45 laps remaining, Ambrose came down pit road to get tires and fuel. Knowing that they wouldn't make it to the end on the fuel they had in the car, Kerr brought his driver down pit road 10 laps later for the splash of gas they would need to make it to the end. It was just enough to give Ambrose the track position he needed to come home second, his best career finish in Sprint Cup Series competition.(Wypall)(8-11-2009)

    • 2010 Schedule? close to the same? The 2010 schedule situation appears to be pretty much status quo with Dover's Sprint Cup date shifting back to mid-May [May 16th], more a result on the way next year's calendar falls with Easter [April 4th] and Memorial Day [May 31st]. There won't be any big changes on the Nationwide and Truck Series slates with Milwaukee's future still very much up in the air. The trucks will return to Darlington in the Spring and there's a report Pocono will also be added to its schedule.(RacingOne), have a very rough 2010 Schedule posted, see my 2010 Sprint Cup Series Schedule page. Very little has been announced by any race tracks for 2010 yet.(8-11-2009)

    • Gordon's back sore after wreck: Jeff Gordon quotes following multi-car accident on lap 61 with #77-Hornish Jr. and #31-Burton:
      MAN THAT LOOKED PAINFUL. "It was. It wasn't that hard of a hit its just my back can't stand too many hits. I really was concerned for Sam (Hornish). He took a heavy hit into the wall, a heavy hit by me and Jeff Burton. I saw him go off into the grass and I knew he was going to come out in front of me and I was just hoping to squeeze by and didn't make it. It just made a rough weekend for the DuPont Chevrolet even worse. Now we just leave here and focus on Michgian."
      HOW DO YOU FEEL RIGHT NOW? "I'm hurting. Everything feels good except my lower back where I've already had issues. It will jsut take a couple of weeks for it to heal. By then we'll go to Bristol and get through that then we'll be alright."
      HOW IS YOUR BACK? ARE YOU OKAY? "It's just not what I needed you know. You take three or four steps forward up to this point, and you take a hit like that and you take a couple steps backwards. So yeah, it was a heavy impact. I'm just glad Sam (Hornish) is all right.
      WHAT WILL YOU HAVE TO DO THIS WEEK TO GET READY FOR MICHIGAN NEXT WEEK WITH YOUR BACK?
      "Oh, Michigan is pretty easy. If we were going to Bristol next week, I'd be concerned. So we've got a couple of weeks to hopefully heal. We went through this at Dover when I hit at Dover and hurt my back as well. Every time I hit something it takes a toll on my back, but it seems to recover. But when you're braking that hard it's already pretty tight and then you hit like that and it spasms a bit. But we'll be all right.
      ARE YOU SORE? "Oh man, my left side and my back is super sore. It's going to take probably a couple of weeks for it to heal completely and then we'll be back to new. This happened at Dover when I hit the wall in Dover it was similar. This is a little bit different angle and it's hurting. Luckily we've got Michigan coming up next weekend. It's pretty easy on things."
      HOW MUCH DO YOU PROTECT YOUR BACK NOW? "There's nothing you can do. You got to get out there and you've got to just hope you don't get into situations. It's not life-threatening or anything its just painful. I've had MRI's and everything else after these things and everything looks fine. It's just some spasms that go on. You've just got to calm that down but it doesn't just calm down by itself in a day. It really does take a couple of weeks."(Chevy Racing)(8-11-2009)

    • Race and Commercial Breakdown for Watkins Glen: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, or wonder how often your driver was focused on, here is the breakdown for Monday’s race.
      Total number of commercials: 139
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 65
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 21
      Sunday Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:01 PM
      Sunday End time to record race/commercial periods: 2:38 PM
      Sunday Total minutes: 37
      Monday Start time to record race/commercial periods: 12:01 PM
      Monday End time to record race/commercial periods: 3:10 PM
      Monday Total minutes: 189
      Total minutes for both days: 226
      Minutes of race broadcast: 174
      Minutes of commercials: 52
      Number of missed restarts: 1
      Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 1
      Number of Boris Said ‘Foot Cam Shots’: 2
      Total race brdcst time 143 Total comm. brdcst time 46
      See full report and more on my 2009 Commercials page.(8-11-2009)

    • Evernham racing in charity event: Ray Evernham is getting back behind the wheel to help raise funds and awareness for Shriners Hospital. Evernham will race an Ingersoll Rand sponsored Super Late Model in the Shrine 100 on Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, NC. All proceeds from the event will go toward Shriners Hospital. More ingo on my Racing Charities page.(8-11-2009)

    • Bristol Sprint Cup race sold out: Bristol Motor Speedway President and General Manager Jeff Byrd announced today the facility's 55th consecutive sell out of a NASCAR Sprint Cup race. "A lot of effort by our staff here at BMS went into making this happen," said Byrd. "But the biggest tip of the hat goes to the fans. Those members of the extended Bristol Motor Speedway family, who continue, even in tougher times, to come back for the Bristol Experience are the ones who put us in this position. We commit ourselves every race to enhance the Bristol Experience for our loyal fans and the fans responded again." The streak began Aug. 28, 1982 when Darrell Waltrip edged Bobby Allison by less than a second in front of an estimated 30,000 fans. Since then, the facility's seating capacity has increased more than five-fold. Fans may place their orders now for 2010 season ticket packages by calling (423) BRISTOL (274-7865).(BMS)(8-11-2009)

    • Grand Marshals named for MIS races: Carfax named blues singer and songwriter Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jordan and Jacob Vanderstel as grand marshals for the upcoming ‘Show Me the CARFAX Race Weekend’ at MIS. Shepherd will grand marshal the NASCAR Nationwide Series CARFAX 250 on Saturday, Aug. 15. Jordan and Jacob Vanderstel will handle the duty for the first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 on Sunday, Aug. 16. “We couldn’t have better representatives to help us kick off both races,” said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax. “Jordan and Jacob are great kids whose excitement and enthusiasm typifies what NASCAR fans can expect this weekend at MIS. Kenny is an incredible artist who continues the tradition of post-race performers serving as the CARFAX 250 grand marshal.” Nineteen year-old Jordan and fourteen year-old Jacob, from Hudsonville, Mich., were diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. They receive care through the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich. Both are huge NASCAR fans; Jordan’s favorite driver is Jimmie Johnson while Jacob prefers Jeff Gordon.
      American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter Kenny Wayne Shepherd will perform a post-race concert following the CARFAX 250 on Saturday, Aug. 15 at Michigan International Speedway. Shepherd will also serve as the grand marshal for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race earlier that day. “I’m very excited to perform following the CARFAX 250,” Shepherd said. “This is a perfect opportunity for me to combine my passion for playing music with my passion for fast cars and racing. Cars and guitars are what it’s all about for me.” Returning to Lot 10 off US 12 near the speedway’s administration building, the concert is free for anyone with a CARFAX 250 Nationwide Series race ticket or infield wristband. Grandstand security rules will be in effect for the post-race concert. Please refer to the online guest guide at MISpeedway.com to review the grandstand security rules. Empire Drift will serve as the opening act. Tickets for the ‘Show Me the Carfax Race Weekend’ are available through www.mispeedway.com or by calling the speedway’s ticket hotline at 800-354-1010. For more information about Carfax visit www.carfax.com.(MIS)(8-11-2009)

    • Chris Young to perform Carfax 400 national anthem: Country music star and RCA Nashville recording artist Chris Young will bring his distinct music style to the stage at Michigan International Speedway by performing the national anthem for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Carfax 400 on Sunday, August 16. Young is scheduled to perform during pre-race festivities beginning around 1:30pm before the start of the CARFAX 400. Young has also agreed to perform a song in Acceleration presented by Budweiser, the speedway’s fan hospitality club, prior to pre-race. Tickets are on sale for the CARFAX 400 by calling 800-354-1010 or logging onto MISpeedway.com.(MIS)(8-11-2009)


      News from August 10, 2009

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Michigan:
      No changes the spread between 35th and 36th dropped a to 142 points
      34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1781, +297
      35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 1626, 142 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
      36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 1484, 142 points out of 35th
      37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 1294, -332
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      For the owners points standings, see my Owners Points Standings.(8-10-2009)

    • Stewart wins at Watkins Glen: #14-Tony Stewart won the The Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen for his 3rd win of 2009, 5th win at Watkins Glen and 36th win of his career. #47-Ambrose finished 2nd for his career best, followed by #99-Edwards, #18-Busch, #16-Biffle, #42-Montoya, #2-Busch, #13-Papis [career best], #33-Bowyer and #11-Hamlin. Pole sitter #48-Johnson finished 12th. #24-Gordon and #88-Earnhardt Jr. were involved in wrecks with Gordon finishing 37th and the #88 finished 39th. Stewart now leads Johnson in the drivers points by 260 points with four races until the Chase. #18-Busch is still 13th in points, but went from 101 points behind 12th to 58 out of 12th, now held by #17-Kenseth. There were 5 cautions for 13 caution laps, a 19 minute red flag for a wreck and there were 12 lead changes among 7 drivers. By the way, a light rain started just after the race ended.
      Scheduled Race Re-Air: ESPN Classic on Monday, August 10 at 1:00pm/et; and SPEED, Wednesday, August 12 at 12:00pm/et.
      For race results, awards and more, see my Pocono Race Results Page.(8-10-2009)

    • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings
      [after Watkins Glen, race 22 of 36]:

      1) #14-Tony Stewart, 3383 [3 wins], finished 1st
      2) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 3123, -260 [3 wins], 12th
      3) #24-Jeff Gordon 3041, -342 [1 win], 37th
      4) #2-Kurt Busch 2902, -481 [1 win], 7th
      5) #11-Denny Hamlin, 2847, -536 [1 win], 10th
      6) #99-Carl Edwards, 2830, -553, 3rd
      7) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, 2781, -602, 6th
      8) #9-Kasey Kahne, 2754, -629 (+127)[1 win], 17th
      9) #39-Ryan Newman, 2727, -656 (+100), 21st
      10) #16-Greg Biffle 2718, -665 (+91), 5th
      11) #5-Mark Martin, 2716, -667 (+89)[4 wins], 23rd
      12) #17-Matt Kenseth, 2685, -698 (+58 ahead of 12th)[2 wins], 14th
      Contenders for the top-12/chase:
      13) #18-Kyle Busch, 2527, 58 points out of 12th, [3 wins] 4th
      14) #83-Brian Vickers, 2589, -96, 11th
      15) #33-Clint Bowyer, 2586, -99, 9th
      16) #00-David Reutimann 2530, -155 [1 win], 25th
      For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers Points Standings page.(8-10-2009)

    • Race Fast Facts - Watkins Glen International:
      #14-Tony Stewart won the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen (23rd Running), his 36th victory in 378 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
      This is his third victory and 18th top-10 finish in 2009.
      This is his fifth victory and ninth top-10 finish in 11 races at Watkins Glen International.
      Marcos Ambrose (second) posted his second top-10 finish in two races at Watkins Glen International. It is his sixth top-10 finish in 2009.
      Carl Edwards (third) posted his fourth top-10 finish in five races at Watkins Glen International.
      Max Papis (eighth) was the highest finishing rookie.
      Tony Stewart leads the point standings by 260 points over Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-10-2009)

    • Infraction Sheet - Watkins Glen International
      Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
      #11 19, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
      #88 19, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
      #31 19, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
      #29 23, Pitting before pit road is open/also Too Many Men Over Wall, Tail End
      #12 23, Pitting before pit road is open/also Too Many Men Over Wall, Tail End
      #43 42, Pitting before pit road is open/also Too Fast Exiting, Tail End
      #77 42, Pitting before pit road is open/also Over the Wall Too Soon, Tail End
      #09 43, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
      #71 62, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
      #55 63, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
      #29 64, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
      #55 71, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
      #19 71, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
      (NASCAR Statistics)(8-10-2009)

    • Lucky Dogs - Who got a lap back on each caution at Watkins Glen: (and their finish)
      Caution 1: no driver down a lap, that is on the track
      Caution 2: #34-Andretti, still 7 laps down, 30th
      Caution 3: #12-Stremme, 26th
      Caution 4: #7-Gordon, 18th
      Caution 5: #71-Lally, 27th
      (8-10-2009)

    • 2009 Winners...on Monday:
      5/25 Charlotte: #00-David Reutimann
      8/3 Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin
      8/10 Watkins Glen: #14-Tony Stewart
      The only other time Watkins Glen was rained out and ran on a Monday, it was run on August 10, 1987, won by Rusty Wallace.(8-10-2009)

    • Stewart can clinch chase spot NOT YET: #14-Tony Stewart can clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this weekend, yet another accolade in his dream first season as a driver-owner. If Stewart leaves Watkins Glen with a 781-point lead on the 13th-place driver, he clinches. He currently has a 726-point lead on 13th-place #18-Kyle Busch.(NASCAR)(8-6-2009)
      UPDATE: Stewart won at Watkins Glen, but his points lead over 13th is now 756 points, so he did not clinch a spot yet.(8-10-2009)

    • Red Bull to stay with Toyota: It looks like Team Red Bull will be sticking with Toyotas and TRD engines in 2010, rather than jump to Chevys and Rick Hendrick horsepower. Team manager Jay Frye said he expected to make some announcements on everything in the next week or so. Brian Vickers' contract renewal with Red Bull has been up in the air, but Vickers is expected to get a new deal with the team, and Vickers is also expected to drive some for Toyota Nationwide owner Todd Braun in 2010.(MikeMulhern.net)(8-10-2009)

    • EGR to switch to Hendrick engines? If Team Red Bull does stay in the Toyota camp, that could open up a Rick Hendrick engineering and engine option for car owner Chip Ganassi and driver #42-Juan Pablo Montoya. Ganassi and Montoya are running Chevrolets this season, with engines supplied through Richard Childress. However General Motors' bankruptcy and racing cutbacks have left a number of issues and sponsorships up in the air.(MikeMulhern.net)(8-10-2009)

    • Ford to debut new engine at Michigan? Ford's long-awaited debut of its new NASCAR engine is now expected to come next Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, but it's not clear which teams may be using it. The engine has a much improved cooling system, which should make for more downforce on the nose, because teams won't have to run so much ductwork.(MikeMulhern.net)(8-10-2009)

    • Best Buy to sponsor US F1 team? It is believed that Best Buy is interested in the new US F1 team headed by journalist Peter Windsor and technical expert Ken Anderson. Its chief marketing officer Barry Judge revealed on his Twitter page that he recently met with team officials. "Thoughts on how a Best Buy partnership would help our entry into Europe?" he wrote. Best Buy recently announced plans to open stores in the UK and other European countries for the first time in 2010 while also eyeing major British brands such as Comet and Currys, hence his European reference.(F1-Live.com), if Best Buy just join the F1 team, no word how or if it would affect the sponsorship of the #19 Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge that Elliott Sadler drives.(8-10-2009)

    • Robby Gordon Responds to Logano Incident in NNS race: Robby Gordon [#55] and Joey Logano [#20] both raced in the Watkins Glen Nationwide Race and got together late in the race, Gordon responded Sunday to the incident: "After reviewing the comments by Logano and the replay of the day's events, I felt that it was necessary to explain what happened during yesterday's race from my prospective. This whole turn of events started with Joey running into the back of my #55 in Turn 10. He then knocked me sideways in Turn 11. To show him my displeasure, I ran him down towards the inside wall on the front straight. I tried to do a crossover move in Turn 1 to get back by him; however, I missed judged a little resulting in both of us getting flat tires. During the final incident that ended Joey's day, we were racing for the lucky dog position. We both had good cars and were just trying to improve our finishing position for the day. After the bus stop chicane, Joey wrecked the No. 34 of Tony Raines. This contact allowed me to get underneath him in Turn 9. He saw that I was going to pass him for the Lucky Dog position, so he tried to block me. This maneuver resulted in his right rear tire connecting with my left front. From there, I felt he would be okay because he was in the section where the outer loop was. Rather than going down the inner loop, he decided to cut across the grass, hitting the tire barrier. At the end of the day I'm just glad Joey is okay. This is a highly competitive sport, and we are all very passionate when we are on the track. Tempers have a tendency to flare, but hopefully in the future we will both race each other cleaner. Under my own doing, I did stop by the NASCAR hauler this morning to converse with them about yesterday. There will be no repercussions from yesterday' events," commented Robby Gordon.(RGM)
      AND Joey Logano, who was wrecked pretty blatant by Robby Gordon and sent spinning into a tire barrier. Logano's fuel lines came loose and the car caught fire, forcing him out of the race. "Apparently, we got in a little grudge match after I cut down his tire," Logano said. "It's a pretty raw deal. You can't fix stupid, it's forever. You put that in your memory bank."(Alabama Live)(8-9-2009)
      UPDATE: Robby Gordon did his best to head NASCAR off at the pass. After dumping Joey Logano in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday at Watkins Glen International, Gordon met with NASCAR at the trailer prior to the drivers meeting on Sunday to explain his side of the story. Gordon, who salvaged a 14th-place finish after the incident Saturday, said he hoped "in the future we will both race each other cleaner." Gordon added that he didn't expect any further repercussions from NASCAR. However, Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said that any final outcome would depend on Gordon's behavior in Monday's rain-delayed Cup race.(FoxSports)(8-10-2009)


      News from August 9, 2009

    • Watkins Glen rained out: The Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, Watkins Glen International, has been rained out and postponed until Monday, Augsut 10, 2009. The race will be run at 12:00pm/et and be televised on ESPN.(8-9-2009)

    • Watkins Glen update: NASCAR and Watkins Glen International officials announced at 4:00 pm today that the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be postponed until Monday, August 10, 2009 at 12:00pm. An untimely rainstorm prevented the race from starting at the pre-scheduled time at 2:20 pm this afternoon at the 2.45-mile road course. The race has been rescheduled to begin at 12:00 pm on Monday, August 10, and will air live on ESPN. All tickets will be honored at the gates and return tickets will not be necessary. Gates will open for admission beginning at 8:00 am on Monday morning. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Garage is scheduled to open at 9:30 am. The Watkins Glen International ticket office will also open at 8:00 am. Fans that have not yet purchased tickets, may still buy tickets for the 90-lap event; tickets begin at just $55. For tickets and information, please contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Watkins Glen International website at www.TheGlen.com.(WGI)(8-9-2009)

    • Race Coverage of the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen at Watkins Glen International is rescheduled for Monday, August 10, 2009.
      TV: ESPN at 12:00 pm/et; green flag approx 12:15pm/et
      Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio

    • No rain tires for Cup...yet UPDATE:
      NASCAR president Mike Helton said more research will have to be done before fans see Sprint Cup Series cars racing in wet conditions. #24-Jeff Gordon said he isn't thrilled about the idea but enjoyed watching the 2008 Nationwide race in Montreal run in wet conditions. #39-Ryan Newman was more open to the idea but pointed out that Sprint Cup cars are heavier than Nationwide vehicles. "I think that in bad weather, NASA sends up smaller space craft instead of the big space craft and it is pretty similar," Newman said. "You don't want to risk a lot. I don't think it would be an ideal situation for all of the fans. It hasn't, per se, been done yet. It has been tested and practiced a little bit. I am all for it. I have never raced in the rain. It would be a disadvantage to me. I think it is still racing."(Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)(8-9-2009)
      UPDATE: Well before the first raindrops fell at Watkins Glen International this weekend, NASCAR president Mike Helton publicly stated there were no plans in place to run a Sprint Cup road race on a wet track in the near future. But if there was ever a change of heart from the sanctioning body, Goodyear officials said Sunday the Akron-based tire company would be equal to the task. "We certainly think so," Goodyear spokesman Greg Stucker said. "There's not that big a difference between the two cars and if you go back years ago, we did run them in Japan on the Cup cars. We're confident we could have a package that would be suitable, if that's what they chose to do." In fact, Goodyear's newest stock-car racing rain tire, closely related to the Eagle One passenger tire, underwent extensive testing this past November at Goodyear's facility in Texas. They used one of Chip Ganassi's Nationwide cars with Juan Montoya behind the wheel, and from all indications, the improvements made to the tire proved successful.(NASCAR.com)(8-9-2009)

    • Robby Gordon Responds to Logano Incident in NNS race: Robby Gordon [#55] and Joey Logano [#20] both raced in the Watkins Glen Nationwide Race and got together late in the race, Gordon responded Sunday to the incident: "After reviewing the comments by Logano and the replay of the day's events, I felt that it was necessary to explain what happened during yesterday's race from my prospective. This whole turn of events started with Joey running into the back of my #55 in Turn 10. He then knocked me sideways in Turn 11. To show him my displeasure, I ran him down towards the inside wall on the front straight. I tried to do a crossover move in Turn 1 to get back by him; however, I missed judged a little resulting in both of us getting flat tires. During the final incident that ended Joey's day, we were racing for the lucky dog position. We both had good cars and were just trying to improve our finishing position for the day. After the bus stop chicane, Joey wrecked the No. 34 of Tony Raines. This contact allowed me to get underneath him in Turn 9. He saw that I was going to pass him for the Lucky Dog position, so he tried to block me. This maneuver resulted in his right rear tire connecting with my left front. From there, I felt he would be okay because he was in the section where the outer loop was. Rather than going down the inner loop, he decided to cut across the grass, hitting the tire barrier. At the end of the day I'm just glad Joey is okay. This is a highly competitive sport, and we are all very passionate when we are on the track. Tempers have a tendency to flare, but hopefully in the future we will both race each other cleaner. Under my own doing, I did stop by the NASCAR hauler this morning to converse with them about yesterday. There will be no repercussions from yesterday' events," commented Robby Gordon.(RGM)
      AND Joey Logano, who was wrecked pretty blatant by Robby Gordon and sent spinning into a tire barrier. Logano's fuel lines came loose and the car caught fire, forcing him out of the race. "Apparently, we got in a little grudge match after I cut down his tire," Logano said. "It's a pretty raw deal. You can't fix stupid, it's forever. You put that in your memory bank."(Alabama Live)(8-9-2009)

    • Gibbs book debuts on NY Times Best Seller List:
      Game Plan for Life: Your Personal Playbook for Success, the July 21 release by NFL Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs with Jerry B. Jenkins, will debut at No. 3 on the New York Times hardcover advice list on Sunday, August 9. In Game Plan for Life, Coach Gibbs shares the principles that have guided him to success in every area of his life and explains how you can make those same principles work for you.(JGR), more info on my Book News page.(8-9-2009)

    • added some Watkins Glen images/schemes: #71 Adobe Road Winery, #70 Tax Slayers.com, #43 McDonald's Angus Third Pound, #96 DLP, #36 TBR, #37 Long John Silver's, #55 NAPA Auto Parts, #08 U.S. Chrome, #09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming & Resorts, #04 Jim Beam/Menard's

    • Race Officials for Watkins Glen:
      The pre-race ceremony for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen on Sunday, August 9 will not only include participation from local military and up-and-coming country band, TelluRide, but it will also feature executives from Heluva Good! and even fans. Scott Blake of Heluva Good! will give the command to start engines for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen. Blake will act as grand marshal of the event of the 90-lap event. Blake is the Senior Vice President of Operations for Heluva Good!, which formed more than 75 years ago in Sodus, N.Y.
      Jim Leonard won the experience of a lifetime by entering the Heluva Good! VIP Race Weekend Sweepstakes and will also be participating in the pre-race festivities. As a part of his prize, Leonard will get the responsibilities of the honorary starter for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen. Leonard will wave the green flag to start the race at approximately 2:20pm/et.
      In addition to participation from the Heluva Good! representatives, the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen pre-race will also feature local military troops and the up-and-coming Country band, TelluRide. Just before the command to fire engines, TelluRide will perform the American and Canadian National Anthems. Meanwhile, color guards from the ARMY's 27th Combat Brigade of Syracuse, the U.S. Niagara Falls Air Force Color Guard and the U.S. Navy Color Guard of Buffalo will join the West Point Military Police Honor Guard in presenting the nation's colors. The fly-over will be performed by the 174th Fighter Wing of Syracuse, N.Y.(WGI)(8-9-2009)


      News from August 8, 2009

    • Race Coverage of the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen at Watkins Glen International is scheduled for Sunday, August 9, 2009.
      TV: ESPN at 2:00 pm/et; pre-race show at 1:00 pm/et; green flag approx 2:18pm/et
      Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
      Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
      ESPN2: Monday, August 10 at 2:00am/et
      ESPN Classic: Monday, August 10 at 1:00pm/et
      SPEED, Wednesday, August 12 at 12:00pm/et

    • Happy Hour practice for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen is over, the top five:
      #47-Ambrose 123.021
      #48-Johnson 122.466
      #11-Hamlin 122.189
      #99-Edwards 122.149
      #08-Said 122.096
      slowest: #04-Jones 118.577 and #37-Ave 119.254
      No speed/not running practice: #07-Mears.
      Incidents: #12-Stremme got wide off the 'bus stop', then spun off turn 11, just missing the water barrels at the entrance of pit road, did somew damage to the spiltter and headed to the garage.
      See fastest speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Watkins Glen Practice Speeds Page.(8-8-2009)

    • Saturday's first practice for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen is over, the top five:
      #47-Ambrose 122.643
      #77-Hornish Jr. 122.379
      #48-Johnson 122.335
      #13-Papis 122.267
      #42-Montota 122.317
      slowest: #04-Jones 119.331 and #82-Speed 119.359
      incidents: #96-Labonte spun off turn 1, drove off ok. #08-Said wheel hopped and he spun off turn 6 and got stuck in the kitty litter. #83-Vickers spun around off turn 2 but was able to drive off.
      See fastest speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Watkins Glen Practice Speeds Page.(8-8-2009)

    • Pit Stall Selections - Watkins Glen: The selections of pit stalls for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen have been made. Pole sitter #48-Johnson chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters even thou the team tends to pick the final stall], outside pole sitter #2-Busch took pit stall 2 right behind the #48 and the 3rd place starter #11-Hamlin took the 4th stall. There is only one opening on the Watkins Glen pit road and the driver who start 5th, took the first stall with an opening in front of it, stall 38 with #47-Ambrose, who starts 4th, took stall 37, with the opening in back of it. The final stall was taken by #24-Gordon, who will start 31st.
      See the pit selection chart on the Watkins Glen Pit Stall Selection chart.(8-8-2009)

    • More on possible changes within RPM UPDATE 2: Despite recent rumors that Richard Petty Motorsports would be a three-car team by Watkins Glen next weekend, the King said Sunday at Pocono Raceway that there will be four cars through the end of the season. "We're going to have four cars, but we're going to do some changing around," Petty said. "We're looking to finish up this season (and) preparing for next season. We've got one car, hopefully, that's going to be in the Chase and the other three we've got to get squared away and anticipate for next year. There will be some swapping around with different personnel and stuff like that to put in motion this year the opportunity to see how it works in preparation for next year. Then if it doesn't work, we've still got time to make changes for next year." Don't be surprised if there isn't a crew chief change among the non-title contending teams — #19, #43 and/or #44 — before the Chase begins.(FoxSports)(8-3-2009)
      UPDATE The #43-Sorenson and #44-Allmendinger teams at Richard Petty Motorsports will change crew chiefs and crews following the race at Watkins Glen. According to team sources, drivers Reed Sorenson and AJ Allmendinger will remain with their respective car numbers and sponsors. However, Mike Shiplett will now oversee the #44 Dodge with Allmendinger and Sammy Johns will be the crew chief for Sorenson and the #43 squad. The cars and equipment will remain with the crew chiefs.(Foxsports)(8-3-2009)
      UPDATE: it has reported a few times on TV coverage this weekend that the #43 and #44 crew chief's and crews have made the swap BUT have been told by RPM reps that the change has not been made yet and that Mike Shiplett is still crew chiefing the #43 Dodge of Reed Sorenson and Sammy Johns is still crew chiefing the #44 Dodge of A.J. Allmendinger. And see image of the #43 McDonald's Angus Third Pounders scheme.(8-8-2009)

    • added some Watkins Glen images/schemes: #71 Adobe Road Winery, #70 Tax Slayers.com, #43 McDonald's Angus Third Pound, #96 DLP, #36 TBR, #37 Long John Silver's, #55 NAPA Auto Parts, #08 U.S. Chrome, #09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming & Resorts, #04 Jim Beam/Menard's

    • TaxSlayer to sponsor Lally in #71: #71-Andy Lally qualified 15th for his first ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Watkins Glen International for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen to be run Sunday, August 9. Teammate #70-David Gilliland did not qualify for the race, so the team will put the TaxSlayer.com livery on the #71 for Sunday's race. Lally put in a lap time of 72.460 that will see him start from the eighth row. The time was a half second faster than his best practice time. During the only practice before qualifying Lally and the team suffered through a misfire in the Chevrolet motor which hampered the amount of laps that he was able to complete. The team was able to fix the car with just eight minutes remaining in the session. Lally is elated to get his first Sprint Cup start at his home track. "I am having trouble putting it into words how I feel about qualifying for my first NASCAR race. I have my whole family here and it is a great day. I grew up in New York and making my Sprint Cup start in my home state is just amazing. It puts a lump in my throat just thinking about it."
      "This is a really big weekend for TRG Motorsports and all of our friends and partners that believed in us and helped us to get this far," Kevin Buckler, TRG Motorsports team principal said. "What a job by Andy today. He had virtually no practice, couple that with the pressure of his first Sprint Cup start and that makes for a stressful day. He is a professional and has six pro wins here at The Glen and he gathered it up and did a great job in qualifying. It is too bad that David did not make the race. We have a lot faith in David and he represents the future of our team in NASCAR. He has done a fantastic job for us all season and got us here at The Glen and we will back next weekend at Michigan stronger than ever. We are excited to have TaxSlayer.com onboard with us. This will be one hell-of-a-good first race!"(TRG Motorsports), see images of the #70 Taxslayers and #71 Adobe Road Winery.(8-8-2009)


      To be displayed on the RCR
      cars at Watkins Glen

    • #07 to honor Jack Daniel's Master Distiller: Jimmy Bedford, former Master Distiller for Jack Daniel’s, passed away suddenly on Friday, Aug. 7, at his home in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Bedford is one of only seven Master Distiller’s the company has ever had; a position he held for 20 years from 1988 to 2008. Bedford, 69, was born and raised in Moore County, the home of Jack Daniel’s, and worked for the distillery for 41 years. In his memory, the Old #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevy, driven by Casey Mears, will carry a special decal with the famous Jack Daniel’s logo on it for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International. In addition to the logo, the decal will say “In Memory of Jimmy Bedford.” The other three Sprint Cup Series cars of Richard Childress Racing; Kevin Harvick in the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet, Jeff Burton in the #31 Caterpillar Chevy and Clint Bowyer in the #33 Hamburger Helper/Cheerios Chevy, will carry a black and white decal [see above] with the saying “In Memory of Jimmy Bedford.”(RCR)(8-8-2009)

    • Hamlin surprised about Reutimann's comments: #00-David Reutimann said Wednesday he was not ready to forgive #11-Denny Hamlin for the accident at Pocono Raceway that essentially ended his championship hopes. That, apparently was news to Hamlin. "I was surprised," Hamlin said Friday at Watkins Glen International. "We actually talked that night and he seemed fine. He didn't say that he was angry or anything. I've been in that situation before where you're battling for a Chase spot. It's not always about one race. There's a lot of races that lead up to it. I'm apologetic about it for sure. It's something that I didn't mean to do, but you can't put the blame all on me if he doesn't make the Chase."(ESPN/AP)(8-8-2009)

    • NMPA Hall of Fame Candidates Announced: The National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) announced the candidates for this year’s NMPA Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame ballot. All candidates who receive votes on at least 65% of the ballots cast will be elected. In the event that no candidate receives 65% of the required votes, the leading candidate (or candidates, in the event of a tie) will be elected. The nominee's are: Roger Penske, Jack Roush, Rusty Wallace, Waddell Wilson and Robert Yates. The NMPA consists of qualified members of the media who report on the sport of auto racing through his or her affiliation with print, radio, television or the Internet news organizations. The NMPA Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame, located on the grounds of Darlington Raceway has been in operation since 1965, and recently inducted its 77th and 78th members. For more information on the National Motorsports Press Association and/or to join the organization, go to nmpaonline.com.(NASCAR)(8-8-2009)

    • Tickets Still Available for 21st MSHFA Induction Ceremony: Tickets varying in price from $75 to $750 are available for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America's 21st Annual Induction Ceremony at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit on Wednesday Aug. 12. Racing fans can see the ceremony live from the Fillmore's intimate balcony with a $75 ticket. More info and other ticket packages can be viewed at mshf.com. Racing legends Kenny Bernstein, David Hobbs, Scott Parker, Les Richter, Al Unser, Jr., H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler and Joe Weatherly will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.(Motorsports Hall of Fame of America)(8-8-2009)

    • Riesbeck named to Legends of The Glen Class: Watkins Glen International announced Jim Riesbeck as the final inductee into the “Legends of The Glen” Class of 2009. After honoring the Drivers of the Decade in 2008, the Class of 2009 is composed of individuals who have had a significant influence over the history and success of Watkins Glen International. The induction was a part of the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen weekend, August 6-9, which featured racing by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series—a series that Riesbeck helped bring back to The Glen more than twenty years ago. The award was accepted on Friday afternoon by members of the Riesbeck family. Family members in attendance included his brothers John and Larry Riesbeck, and his sister Mary Linda Vetter. In early 1983, Riesbeck was searching for a way to increase the economic viability of Upstate New York, which would benefit his employer, Corning, Inc. After visiting the 1983 Daytona 500, Riesbeck knew that bringing NASCAR’s top division to the region was exactly what he needed to do. He began searching for a facility near Corning, N.Y. and stumbled upon the racetrack in Watkins Glen which was for sale. At the time, The Glen was going through one of the darkest periods in its history. The Watkins Glen Grand Prix Corporation filed for bankruptcy in 1981, leaving the track to be auctioned off and all spectator events cancelled for 1982 and 1983. After looking at the facility for the first time on 1983, Riesbeck was surprised with the good condition of the track and quickly traveled back to Daytona Beach for a meeting with executives of International Speedway Corporation (ISC). Within just a few months, the two companies announced a new entity formed through their joint venture. The newly announced “Watkins Glen International” would begin hosting spectator events in 1984. Riesbeck never gave up on his dream of bringing NASCAR racing to Upstate New York and continued to work with NASCAR executives until he was successful in securing an agreement. In August 1986, Watkins Glen International hosted its first race for NASCAR’s top division in more than 21 years. After an afternoon on great racing on the 2.45-mile circuit, Tim Richmond took the checkered flag to win from the pole position. Riesbeck continued to be a driving force at The Glen until his untimely death in 1993. In appreciation of everything Riesbeck has done to make The Glen on of the premier road courses in America, Watkins Glen International presents a Steuben bowl, The Riesbeck Cup, to the winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race every year.(WGI)(8-8-2009)

    • Darlington Raceway slashes prices for 2010:: Ticket renewals for the 2010 Southern 500 [scheduled for May 8, 2010] are underway with prices reduced in nearly every grandstand making it more affordable than ever to attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race there. “We are always looking at ways to make attending a race at Darlington more affordable for our fans,” said track President, Chris Browning. “The new pricing structure makes the 2010 Southern 500 an even better value for NASCAR fans who love to see fender-banging, side-by-side racing and non-stop action.” The new ticket pricing, being rolled out with ticket renewals, is sure to be a hit among NASCAR fans. The new pricing model reduces ticket prices in four of the track’s five grandstands. The new pricing is as follows:
      Grandstand, 2009 Price, 2010 Price, Savings
      Wallace (Rows 3-6), $85, $59, $26
      Colvin (Rows 15-21), $70, $59, $11
      Pearson, $95, $90, $5
      Brasington, $95, $90, $5
      Additionally, fans that renew by the renewal deadline of September 18, 2009 will save an extra $5 per ticket purchased. The popular Darlington Raceway Premium Payment Plan also returns in 2010. Fans can choose the Darlington Raceway Premium Payment Plan which allows them to spread the cost of their tickets over four equal monthly payments when they use their Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover card to purchase their tickets. All renewal incentives are open to fans that purchased tickets in 2009 and wish to do so in 2010. To renew fans can go online to darlingtonraceway.com/renewals, call the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or mail in the renewal order form that they received in the mail. Fans that wish to purchase tickets for the 2010 Southern 500 but are not eligible for renewals may put in a seat request at DarlingtonRaceway.com or by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE.
      Don’t miss the 2009 Darlington Historic Racing Festival presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts on Saturday September 26, 2009. The event will feature something for the entire family. Tickets for the event are $15 per day or $25 for the entire weekend, kids age 12 and under will be admitted free and each admission includes access to the garage and infield area. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 843-395-8802 or online at darlingtonraceway.com.(Darlington Raceway)(8-8-2009)


      News from August 7, 2009

    • Johnson on pole at Watkins Glen: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen with a lap of 123.663mph for his 1st pole of the season and 20th career pole [see the All-Time Pole WInners page]. Johnson how now won at least one pole a year for 8 straight seasons [all 8 seasons of his career]. #2-Busch was 2nd fastest followed by #11-Hamlin, #47-Ambrose, #12-Stremme, #39-Nemechek, #16-Biffle, #18-Busch, #08-Said and #42-Montoya. Points leader #14-Stewart will start 13th and #24-Gordon had a poor run and qualified 31st. The fastest 43 cars made the race and the three slowest failed to qualify.
      The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #08-Said, #13-Papis, #71-Lally, #82-Speed, #09-Fellows, #04-Jones, #66-Blaney and #37-Ave.
      The three drivers who failed to qualify: #87-Nemechek, #36-Simo and #70-Gilliland [his first DNQ of the season, but in a different car, the #71 Chevy he usually drives, qualified 15th.
      For qualifying Order, Results and the Starting Lineup, see my Watkins Glen Starting Lineup/Qualifying page.(8-7-2009)

    • Qualifying Fast Facts - Watkins Glen International:
      #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen (23rd Running) with a lap of 71.340 seconds, 123.633 mph.
      This is his 20th pole in 277 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
      This is his first pole and 17th top-10 start in 2009.
      This is his first pole in eight races at Watkins Glen International.
      #2-Kurt Busch (second) posted his 12th top-10 start of 2009 and his sixth in nine races at Watkins Glen International.
      #11-Denny Hamlin (third) posted his fourth top-10 start at Watkins Glen International. It is his 10th in 22 races this season.
      #13-Max Papis (16th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-7-2009)

    • Watkins Glen Pole Progression:
      (who had the pole first, who got it next and who ended up with it)
      #42-Montoya, 1st out to qualify, 122.081mph, starts 10th
      #11-Hamlin, 3rd out, 123.093, starts 3rd
      #48-Johnson, 9th out, 123.663, starts 1st

    • B>Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
      Chevy: #48-Johnson, 123.663, starts 1st
      Dodge: #2-Busch, 123.619, starts 2nd
      Ford: #16-Biffle, 122.519, starts 7th
      Toyota: #11-Hamlin, 123.093, starts 3rd

    • Rookie of the Year Candidates: where do they start at Watkins Glen:
      #13-Max Papis (X), 121.654mph, starts 16th
      #20-Joey Logano, 120.838mph, starts 35th
      #82-Scott Speed (X), 121.185mph, starts 26th
      (X) = needs to race their way in to the race

    • Coverage of Qualifying for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen at Watkins Glen International is scheduled for Friday, August 7, 2009 at 3:10pm/et.
      TV: ESPN2 - 3:00pm/et
      Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
      Jayski.com: Jayski's FREE Semi-Live Qualifying Page
      Qualifying Re-Air: none scheduled

    • Qualifying Order for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen at Watkins Glen International is posted. 46 cars/drivers are listed. 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 #11-Hamlin, the final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #99-Edwards. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #70-Gilliland with the final driver scheduled to qualify being #82-Speed. See the full qualifying order on the Watkins Glen Qualifying Page.(8-7-2009)

    • Friday's Practice for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen is over, the top five:
      #2-Busch 124.362
      #11-Hamlin 123.535
      #29-Harvick. 123.386
      #18-Busch 123.370
      #07-Mears 123.264
      slowest: #37-Ave 118.922 and #04-Jones 119.665
      no speed listed: #87-Nemechek [lost engine during 1st lap]
      incidents: #7-Gordon lost time when he broke a transmission mounting bracket. #33-Bowyer went off track and got stuck in the kitty litter. #55-Carpentier wrecked and did some damage to the left rear of the car, the team will pull out the backup car. #87-Nemechek looks like he lost an engine and oiled up the track a bit, causing a 15-20 minute delay.
      See fastest speed, average sped, laps run on my Watkins Glen Practice Speeds Page.(8-7-2009)

    • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Watkins Glen:
      if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
      #13-Max Papis, 18th
      #08-Boris Said, 23rd
      #66-Dave Blaney, 32nd
      #09-Ron Fellows, 33rd
      #71-Andy Lally, 36th
      #82-Scott Speed, 38th
      #36-Brian Simo, 39th
      #70-David Gilliland, 43rd
      these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
      #04-P.J. Jones, 44th
      #37-Tony Ave, 45th
      #87-Joe Nemechek, no speed, lost engone
      See fastest speed, average sped, laps run on my Watkins Glen Practice Speeds Page.(8-7-2009)

    • Stewart not expected to expand to three teams UPDATE: Owner/driver Tony Stewart says he doesn’t foresee his Stewart-Haas Racing organization expanding to include a third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in 2010. Stewart-Haas currently fields the #14 Chevrolet for Stewart as well as the #39 Chevrolet for teammate Ryan Newman. “We’re at a point in the season right now where we’re getting close to the Chase [For The Sprint Cup], and we’re focused on that,” Stewart said Tuesday while hosting the second annual Smoke Show fantasy camp at Texas Motor Speedway. “We would pretty much have to have the decision, the agreements on all that already done. We’d have to have the driver, the sponsor; we’d have to have that done by now to be able for it to be feasible for next year.” While Stewart has previously said that he would be open to adding a third team in the future, he said Tuesday that expansion wouldn’t come “at the sacrifice of performance.”(SceneDaily)(8-7-2009)
      UPDATE: #14-Tony Stewart, met with members of the media at Watkins Glen International and discussed many topics, including expanding to a third team:
      HOW UNLIKELY IS IT THAT YOU WILL RUN A THIRD CAR IN 2010?
      Stewart: “I don’t think we’ve ruled that out yet. It’s getting to the point in the season if we’re going to do a third team and have a third team for next season it would have to happen pretty quickly. At least having the sponsor and driver lined up to make sure that we have an adequate amount of time to get all the tools and pieces in place for next year. But I would say it’s not very likely right now.”
      DID YOU BUILD STEWART-HAAS WITH EXPANSION IN MIND IN TERMS OF SPACE AND EQUIPMENT AND PEOPLE? HOW SIMPLE OR SEAMLESS WOULD IT BE TO EXPAND FROM THAT PERSPECTIVE?
      Stewart: "The building is capable of holding three teams for sure. That's not a problem. It's just adding people and making sure that the funding is in place. It would be adding a little more equipment and people, but having that funding and the driver is the biggest key."(GM Racing)(8-7-2009)

    • Congrats to Joe Gibbs Racing's Jeff Price and wife Lisa on the birth of their son Preston Garrett Price, August 7th , 7 lb, 15 oz, 18 1/2 inches long.(8-7-2009)

    • Congrats to David Hirsch, gas man for #21-Bill Elliott in the Sprint Cup Series, and wife Kimberly on the August 5th birth of daughter Madison Rose Hirsch.(8-7-2009)

    • Said in the #08 car at Watkins Glen UPDATE: Boris Said confirmed Thursday on the Race 2 Win Radio show that he will be in driving the #08 U.S. Chrome Ford at Watkins Glen.(8-6-2009)
      UPDATE: "We've been rained out three times here," Boris Said said, referring to failing to make the field because without enough points he couldn't get on the grid. "So we listed Terry Labonte as the driver for the car, and if it rained out qualifying, he would run the race for us. But it looks sunny, so we're going to run it." Said has been trying to get his part-time, partly-owned team in more solid shape; he failed to make the Daytona 500 field, and his only NASCAR run has been at Sonoma, where he qualified ninth and finished 24th. "I plan on being in Montreal (for the Nationwide race later the month), but they haven't committed yet," Said said. "Hopefully if we bring this car back in one piece, we'll get the go-ahead." And on the Cup side? "We were going to go to Daytona in July, but the weather looked terrible, so we decided not to try, and that was a good call, because it rained out qualifying," Said said. Said runs Fords, with some engineering support through Jack Roush, and with veteran Frank Stoddard as crew chief and part owner. Earlier this year Said and Rick Clark announced a "merger" that would create a team that would run in 12 to 18 Sprint Cup events this season. That plan, given the economic environment, didn't quite go as planned. However Friday Said announced that Clark had indeed become majority owner of the team, with a 51% share. And the team plans a fuller Cup schedule next season, Said said. John Carter, the Georgia businessman who just bought Jeremy Mayfield's Toyota operation two weeks ago, is part owner too, and is in fact listed as official owner of Said's car here. "It's all one organization," Said insists. "John Carter came on board this year; he'll still be part of this operation. It's hard for the big teams right, so you can imagine how tough it is for everyone else. Hopefully we can get everything together and be at Daytona next year."(milemulhern.net)(8-7-2009)

    • Few options left for Keselowski: Brad Keselowski may only have one option if he wants to drive full-time in a Hendrick Motorsports-supported Sprint Cup car in 2010: Phoenix Racing [#09 Chevy]. #14-Tony Stewart told reporters on Wednesday in Texas that it was doubtful Stewart-Haas Racing will expand to three teams next season. Plus, sources said Stewart had no interest in Keselowski, anyway. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently said it was doubtful his Nationwide Series team supported by HMS would expand to Cup. Red Bull general manager Jay Frye, on the chance that his organization moves to General Motors with Hendrick support, said he is not looking at expansion. That leaves Phoenix Racing, which is running 10 races with Keselowski in cars with HMS motors and chassis this season [and the rest of the season in Dodges]. They already teamed for a win at Talladega Superspeedway earlier this year. Keselowski says he has about six options, but most of those are now outside of HMS. One appears to be moving to Penske Racing, but that would throw a wrinkle in his plans to stay in Earnhardt's Nationwide program that runs Chevrolets. Penske runs Dodges and it's not likely the driver will be allowed to compete for two manufacturers.(ESPN Insider)(8-7-2009)

    • DLP back on #96 this week: The #96 Ford of Bobby Labonte will again sport the black DLP paint scheme, this week at Watkins Glen. The #96 DLP Ford Fusion team will bring chassis RK-662, the same Ford Fusion that Labonte raced at Sonoma earlier this season (HOF Racing). See image of the scheme on my #96 Team Schemes page.(8-7-2009)

    • Soldier to be honored at Watkins Glen: Staff Sgt. Jonathan Madonna will be honored as a "Hometown Hero" during the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen weekend at Watkins Glen International. Madonna, of North Syracuse, was injured in an explosion two years ago while serving in Iraq. He now works with the U.S. Army's Wounded Warrior Program, which helps soldiers recover from devastating injuries. At the track, Madonna will tour the garage, hauler and pit areas, and he'll meet the U.S. Army Racing Team of the Sprint Cup #39 Chevy driven by Ryan Newman. Madonna will watch the race from the grandstand, and he will talk to fans who visit the Army's Strength in Action Zone, an interactive area featuring simulators, fitness tests and other challenges that allow race fans to experience what a soldier's life is like.(Elmira Star Gazette)(8-7-2009)

    • Watkins Glen Goodyear Tire Notes - Wet Tires: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire code (D-4246) on all four tire positions at Watkins Glen this weekend . . . this is the first time NASCAR teams will be running this tire code, and Watkins Glen is the only track at which it will be run . . . compared to the tire run at NASCAR's other road courses -- in Sonoma, Calif. (Sprint Cup) and Montreal, Canada (Nationwide) -- this tire has a tougher compound to account for The Glen's higher speeds and loads encountered in the corners . . . as on all NASCAR road courses, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Watkins Glen. Goodyear has brought 600 wet weather tires for use by Nationwide teams, should NASCAR deem that conditions warrant . . . this tire was tested by Juan Pablo Montoya at the Goodyear proving grounds in San Angelo, Texas this past November . . . this is a new tire code (D-4215), and introduces the use of carbon fiber technology into NASCAR . . . the carbon fiber helps reinforce the tire's sidewalls for enhanced handling and contact with the course . . . this tire also features a different tread pattern from last year's wet weather tire . . . a road car version of the tread pattern is featured on the Goodyear Eagle F1 All-Season high performance car tire. The estimated pit window is every 31-33 laps for the Sprint Cup tires, based on fuel mileage. See tire pressures, sizes, codes and more on my Watkins Glen Race Info page.(8-7-2009)

    • Chase Stats going into Watkins Glen:
      #42-Juan Pablo Montoya picked a great time to pick up his first Top 3 of the season, finishing second at Pocono and gaining 69 precious points over 13th place. Now 169 points ahead in 8th, a great run at Watkins Glen could give Montoya a commanding position on making the Chase for the first time in his career. #00-David Reutimann's inspired charge for the 2009 Chase suffered a big blow with a 29th at Pocono. He lost 53 points to 12th place and three positions from 13th back to 16th. He's now 121 points out with five races to go. Richard Petty may be about to make his first visit to the Chase podium at Richmond and congratulate #9-Kasey Kahne, whose fifth at Pocono moved him 59 points further ahead of 13th. Now +180 ahead, Kahne has gone from 14th to 7th in the last five races. #18-Kyle Busch struggled to a 16th at Pocono, but lost only 19 points and gained a position to 13th. "Rowdy" is 101 points out of #16-Greg Biffle and he should be a favorite to get a top 5 at Watkins Glen this Sunday. See more, with year-to-year standings after 21 races on my Jayski's Chase Stats after Pocono page.(8-7-2009)

    • Michigan Residents take advantage of 99-cent gas: People in Michigan haven’t seen gas prices at 99 cents per gallon since the early 1990’s. However, with the help of CARFAX and Michigan International Speedway, a gallon of gas was less than a buck Thursday [July 30th] morning in Livonia, Mich. For three hours (6:00am to 9:00am) thousands of area residents took advantage of the promotion, which was held in support of the “Show Me the CARFAX Race Weekend,” which takes place at MIS with the NASCAR Nationwide Series CARFAX 250 on Saturday, August 15 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 on Sunday, August 16. With about 6,800 gallons pumped in a three-hour period, many residents and race fans drove away happy filling up their gas tanks for $20 or less.
      When CARFAX and MIS representatives arrived at the gas station at 5:30am hundreds of cars were already lined up awaiting the great deal, which saved folks approximately $1.50 per gallon (gas was $2.49 per gallon at most surrounding stations). The promotion was not scheduled to start until 7am, but racetrack and Carfax representatives decided to get started early because of the traffic backups along 8 Mile and Middlebelt Roads – two major arteries in Livonia, a suburb of Detroit. The 2009 gas promotion is the third year Carfax and MIS have partnered to support Detroit-area drivers in advance of the NASCAR events at the Brooklyn racetrack. Tickets are still available for the Nationwide Series CARFAX 250 and Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 for as low as $40. For additional information, call the MIS Ticket Hotline at 800-354-1010 or visit MISpeedway.com.(MIS PR)(8-7-2009)

    • Atlanta Motor Speedway Seeks National Anthem Singers: Atlanta Motor Speedway is searching for local singers to perform the national anthem before the on-track action at Thursday Thunder and Friday Night Drags throughout the remaining summer months. In addition to the opportunity to perform at Atlanta Motor Speedway’s summer-racing series, the performances will also be used as anthem auditions for the Pep Boys Auto 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race weekend on Labor Day weekend. In addition to singers, Atlanta Motor Speedway will welcome demos from instrumentalists and other musical acts. All entrants must complete the anthem in 90 seconds or less. For more information go to atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS PR)(8-7-2009)


      News from August 6, 2009

    • Said in the #08 car at Watkins Glen: Boris Said confirmed Thursday on the Race 2 Win Radio show that he will be in driving the #08 U.S. Chrome Ford at Watkins Glen.(8-6-2009)

    • Morgan-McClure and Wimmer to run Bristol: Morgan-McClure Motorsports and Alpha Natural Resources, Inc., a leading U.S. coal producer, will join forces with driver Scott Wimmer for this year's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The one-race sponsorship announcement marks the beginning of a new chapter for both Abingdon, Va.-based organizations. Attempting to qualify the #4 entry for the Aug. 22 night race at the "World's Fastest Half-Mile" signals a possible rebirth for MMM, which has been on an approximate two-year hiatus from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Meanwhile, it caps off a monumental week for Alpha, one in which the company completed a merger with Foundation Coal Holdings to become the nation's third-largest coal producer. MMM, founded in 1983, is a three-time winner of the season-opening Daytona 500 and boasts a successful history that includes 14 wins, 63 top-fives, 146 top-10s and 13 poles. "Our team, much like Alpha's owners, was born in coal country; and the first few years we were funded by dealerships that make their income by serving coal miners," says Tim Morgan, MMM's co-owner and president. "We couldn't be prouder to represent a progressive company like Alpha – a recognized leader in producing coal to meet the nation's energy needs, with an outstanding reputation for being good stewards of the environment while taking care of their customers and employees." With the Foundation Coal merger, Alpha now operates more than 60 coal mines and 14 preparation plants, maintains one of the most expansive geographic footprints in the industry, and controls reserves of more than 2.3 billion tons of coal.
      Wimmer, who has experience in all of NASCAR's top three divisions – the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series – has collected 30 top-fives, 73 top-10s and one pole in his career. The 33-year-old Wausau, Wisc., native is currently 16th in the Nationwide Series point standings. For more info about Alpha Natural Resources see alphanr.com.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports)(8-6-2009)

    • Robby and P.J. schemes for Watkins Glen UPDATE: #7-Robby Gordon will sport a black Jim Beam scheme on the #7 Toyota at Watkins Glen this weekend. Gordon will also field a car for P.J. Jones as he did at Infineon Raceway. Jones will drive the #04 Jim Beam / Menards Toyota with the same scheme he had at Infineon.(RGM), see images of the schemes on my #7 Team Schemes page and #04 Team Schemes page.(8-6-2009)
      UPDATE: After months of preparation and testing, Robby Gordon is prepared to capitalize on the tricky twists turns of Watkins Glen International this weekend. Gordon will attempt to capture his second career win at the 2.45-mile road course. Gordon cruised to victory lane at the Glen in 2003, sweeping both Sprint Cup road courses races that year. In his ten Sprint Cup Series starts, he has seven top-five finishes and posts an average finish of 10.6. Additionally, he has completed 96.5% of all laps attempted and has led 79 laps. In Gordon's fifth start in his #7 at The Glen, Jim Beam once again returns as the primary sponsor in a special black and red paint scheme. Jim Beam has been the primary sponsor for several of Gordon's top-five finishes at the 2.45-mile road course, including a second place finish. Robby Gordon Motorsports has entered a second car in this weekend's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen. PJ Jones, son of racing legend Parnelli Jones, will pilot the #04 Jim Beam / Menards Toyota and will serve as a teammate to Robby Gordon. Jones has made eight Sprint Cup Series starts at The Glen and has posted one top-five and two top-ten finishes. His best performance came in 2002 when he finished fourth.
      Watkins Glen – "I obviously look forward to the road courses every year and view them as one of the best opportunities for our team to win a Cup race," said Gordon. "Sunday's race marks Jim Beam's fifth time as our primary sponsor at this race. We have posted three top-five finishes during over the last five years. However, I would love nothing more than to pull the #7 Jim Beam Toyota into Victory Lane on Sunday," commented Robby Gordon. "We have tested numerous times in preparation for this weekend's race and have spent the last few weeks fine tuning our cars for the race. I feel really good about chances this weekend. Watkins Glen its a momentum track, and we need some momentum for the remainder of the year."(RGM)(8-6-2009)

    • Stewart can clinch chase spot: #14-Tony Stewart can clinch a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this weekend, yet another accolade in his dream first season as a driver-owner. If Stewart leaves Watkins Glen with a 781-point lead on the 13th-place driver, he clinches. He currently has a 726-point lead on 13th-place #18-Kyle Busch.(NASCAR)(8-6-2009)

    • Reutimann still miffed at Hamlin over Pocono wreck: #00-David Reutimann doesn't buy the explanation #11-Denny Hamlin gave for the wreck in Monday's Sprint Cup race at Pocono that may also have wrecked his chances of making the Chase. Reutimann said he never brake-checked Hamlin, as the eventual race winner claimed occurred prior to the accident on Lap 174 that not only took out Reutimann but also Michael Waltrip Racing teammate #47-Marcos Ambrose. He said Hamlin basically ran over him in an effort to get position. "I was just trying to get away from him," Reutimann said on Wednesday. "In the end, if you push a guy sideways enough he's not going to be able to bring it back. I didn't hear [his] explanation, but I can tell you it's pretty inaccurate. I was in the throttle all the time to the point I was hung out so far I kind of had to do something." Reutimann went on to say he was as "mad as heck" at Hamlin, even though the two have exchanged text messages in which Hamlin apologized. "If a guy says he's sorry I tend to believe it," Reutimann said. "Look back at Daytona at what I did to Ryan Newman. Everybody's capable of making mistakes. I'm a forgiving guy if he sincerely apologizes or says he was in the wrong. In the end I'm still confused at why it happened. It wasn't just one shot. It was multiple shots." Reutimann entered the race in 13th place in points, 68 out of the top 12 who would qualify for the Chase. He was in position to possibly move into the top 12 with a solid finish after having run up front most of the day. The wreck left him 16th in points, 121 off the cutoff point, after finishing 29th.(ESPN)(8-6-2009)

    • Ambrose running double duty at Watkins Glen: Last year, Marcos Ambrose became a first-time NASCAR race winner taking the checkered flag in the Nationwide Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, driving for JTG-Daugherty Racing owned by Tad and Jodi Geschickter and Brad Daugherty. For his first Sprint Cup race at The Glen, he started 43rd and finished third in only his third start. Ambrose's impressive run with Wood Brothers [#21 Ford] landed him his career-best finish by crossing the finish line in third-place. Now, Ambrose is pulling double duty again at the 2.45-mile road course. On Saturday, he climbs behind the wheel of the #47 STP Octane Booster Toyota fielded by JTG-Daugherty Racing and looks to repeat with support from his Sprint Cup Series crew chief Frank Kerr and his #47 Little Debbie Toyota Racing pit crew. Then on Sunday, Ambrose aims to supersede his career-best finish [3rd] matched at Sonoma (Infineon Raceway) this season. Following Pocono on Monday, Ambrose left Monday afternoon straight to Dover International Speedway for a two-day Goodyear tire test. In addition to Ambrose running the Nationwide and Cup Series events, he will be kicking up some dirt at Black Rock Speedway in Dundee, NY on Friday night.(MWR)(8-6-2009)

    • Lowe’s will not renew naming rights with speedway UPDATE confirmed: Lowe’s has decided not to renew its naming-rights deal at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after this year, ending an 11-year relationship that began as the first racetrack naming-rights sponsorship. After more than a year of renewal talks, the home improvement retailer informed Speedway Motorsports Inc., the track’s parent company, of its decision within the last two weeks, industry sources said. The initial 10-year, $35 million deal ran through 2008 and last year the two sides agreed on a one-year extension through 2009 when they could not finalize a long-term deal. Talks continued this year, but the two sides have not been able to reach an agreement. Barring a late agreement with Lowe’s or the signing of a new corporate partner, the track is expected to go back to its former name, Charlotte Motor Speedway, in 2010. The Lowe’s deal with Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports expires at the end of 2010 and those renewal talks are expected to begin later this year.(Sports Business Journal)(7-31-2009)
      UPDATE: Lowe’s confirmed today the company will not renew its naming rights sponsorship of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, a track owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI), when its contract expires at the end of the year. Both companies continue to be in discussions about potential future marketing opportunities. “When Lowe’s entered into this marketing relationship in 1999, it was during the time of our company’s rapid national expansion, and Lowe’s Motor Speedway gave us the platform to introduce the Lowe’s brand to millions of NASCAR fans and consumers across the country,” explained Robert J. Gfeller, Lowe’s senior vice president of marketing and advertising. “We’ve enjoyed a great partnership with SMI over the years. However marketing strategies change, and it was time after 11 years to direct our marketing resources in other areas.”
      “Lowe’s has been a tremendous partner for Speedway Motorsports and their corporate involvement has strengthened our sport for NASCAR fans,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “We look forward to moving in new directions to help them accomplish their marketing goals in 2010 and beyond."(Lowe's PR)(8-6-2009)

    • Text Service availabe at Watkins Glen: Watkins Glen International has partnered with InStadiumSolutions (“ISS”) to implement a text-message based communication system at their facility. The service debuts this weekend, August 6-9, at Watkins Glen International, host to the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Crown Royal 200, NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen. The text messaging system allows fans to communicate directly with the racetrack’s command post if assistance is needed in dealing with any special needs inside the facility. The service is being provided at all International Speedway Corporation facilities and successfully debuted in May at Darlington Raceway. Texting instructions will be placed prominently throughout each facility via static signage and will be regularly broadcast through audio and video public announcements. Fans are still encouraged to dial 911 for facility emergencies.(WGI)(8-6-2009)

    • Auto Club Speedway and TNA Wrestling Join Forces: Auto Club Speedway and TNA Wrestling are joining forces to offer NASCAR and wrestling fans a special ticket price for its October events. For $55.00 Fans can get a ticket to the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Ca on October 11, AND a ticket to TNA Wrestling's Bound for Glory Pay Per View live event on October 18 at the Bren Center on the Campus of UC Irvine. The fans that take advantage of this promotion will be joined at Auto Club Speedway by SPEED analyst Hermie Sadler at the track. For more information, call 1-800-944-RACE (7223) or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com.(8-6-2009)


      News from August 5, 2009

    • Villeneuve was offered the #43 for Watkins Glen UPDATE2 not happening: Dominic Fugčre of Rue Frontenac reports that Jacques Villeneuve will run the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International. Villeneuve said "It's already qualified a car, a good car" [meaning a car/team that is in the top-35 of owners points, looking thru the list a few stand out as possible teams: #12-Stremme, #6-Ragan, #34-Andretti]. But no team is mentioned in the article.(Rue Frontenac - translated)(8-5-2009)
      UPDATE: Jacques Villeneuve will be back in Sprint Cup this weekend at Watkins Glen. Villeneuve, who is currently in Europe, has received an offer from Richard Petty Motorsports replace Reed Sorensen at the wheel of the #43 Dodge [for Watkins Glen]. Villeneuve, said that in talks with the new team USF1 for a possible return to Formula 1, and said that other proposals to run in NASCAR by the end of the season.(Translated from monvolant.cyberpresse.ca)(8-5-2009)
      UPDATE 2: Jacques Villeneuve came close to a return to Sprint Cup this weekend at Watkins Glen. Villeneuve received an offer from the Richard Petty Motorsports team to replace Reed Sorensen at the wheel of the # 43 Dodge. Sorenson, injured last weekend [had not heard this] at Pocono, had agreed with his team to skip the demanding road race circuit and be back in the #43 for the remainder of the season.(translated from monvolant.cyberpresse.ca)(8-5-2009)
      Statement from Richard Petty Motorsports: Reed Sorenson will drive the #43 Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International. The Petty team retained Jacques Villeneuve as a substitute driver in case Sorenson continued to suffer from the effects of carbon monoxide he inhaled in Monday's race at Pocono. Fortunately, Sorenson has recovered from the accident. Owners George and Foster Gillett along with the Richard Petty Motorsports team appreciate Villeneuve's willingness to help out on such short notice.(RPM)(8-5-2009)

    • No full time Nationwide Series for Kyle Busch in 2010: Kyle Busch joined members of the media on Tuesday night, Aug. 4, 2009 for dinner in Dover. During an interivew he was asked about Nationwide plans for next season. "The plan was last year when we were winning all the Nationwide races and running really well. The plan was initially to go full season and then I felt like our Cup stuff sort of stalled. We cut it back. I didn't go to Milwaukee. I didn't go to Nashville, and I didn't go to a couple others...We thought about it and how our cars are really good and Joe and J.D. (Gibbs) said man wouldn't it be cool to have a Nationwide championship solely JGR owner and driver points, and so I said I want to do it. I want to win a Nationwide championship. Anybody would so our cars have been strong enough and that's why we have done it. We won six races this year. It's been good and maybe it's taken a little bit away from the Cup effort. I don't think it has but were already talking about next year and cutting it back and getting our Cup efforts back up to where they need to be. Hopefully we can get it down to about 22 or 24 Nationwide Series races, just companion stuff not flying all over the place."(Dover Speedway PR)(8-5-2009)

    • 12 Winners in 2009: #11-Denny Hamlin's victory at Pocono Raceway on Monday made it 12 different race winners in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season. There were 12 different race winners all of last season. There are six race winners from last season still awaiting their first victory of 2009: #99-Carl Edwards, #16-Greg Biffle, #33-Clint Bowyer, #31-Jeff Burton, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #39-Ryan Newman (NASCAR). The record for most different winners in a season is 19 in the 1956, 1958, 1961 and 2001 seasons.(8-5-2009)

    • Tire testing at Dover: Goodyear is scheduled to test tires at Dover Internation Speedway on August 4-5, #48-Jimmie Johnson (Chevy) and #18-Kyle Busch (Toyota) are among the drivers scheduled to test.(ESPN's NASCAR Now), also hearing #42-Juan Pablo Montoya will test.(8-1/4-2009)
      UPDATE: Several drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series are at Dover International Speedway on track as part of a Goodyear tire test on August 4 and 5 in preparation for the upcoming Sept. 25-27, 2009 "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup" race weekend. Participating drivers include: #48-Johnson, #42-Montoya, #47-Ambrose, #18-Busch, #12-Stremme, #6-Ragan, #96-Labonte and #44-Allmendinger. Truck Series drivers testing: #5-Skinner and #6-Braun. This is a closed test session and fans are not permitted in the outdoor grandstand or inside the track.(Dover International Speedway)(8-5-2009)

    • Kahne's Crew Wins Tissot Pit Road Award at Pocono: Kasey Kahne's pit crew captured the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Monday's rain-delayed Pennsylvania 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway. It was the first Tissot win of the season for the #9 Richard Petty Motorsports crew, which became the 14th different winner of the weekly competition. Kahne's Dodge Charger spent the least amount of time on pit road – 222.986 seconds -- during the 200-lap, 500-mile race. The quick work by the #9 crew helped Kahne post a fifth-place finish. The #9 over-the-wall crew consists of: John Royer (front-tire changer), Shawn Ward (front-tire carrier), Jim Carbon (rear-tire changer), Kevin Duncan (rear-tire carrier), Eric Wilson (jackman), Mark "Tank" Probus (gasman), Rick Pennington (catch can) and John Oehler (windshield). The team's crew chief is Kenny Francis and the pit crew coach is Brett Cumming. Kahne's crew will collect $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule will receive a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver. Greg Biffle's #16 crew leads the Tissot competition with four wins while Jeff Gordon's crew is second with three wins.(Tissot)(8-5-2009)

    • Pocono TV Ratings: ESPN's live telecast of the rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway on Monday, Aug. 3, earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.8. The telecast averaged 2,246,135 viewers. ESPN's live telecast from 2:00-4:30pm/et during Sunday's rain delay earned a 2.4 rating. Last year's event at Pocono, which was run and telecast as scheduled on a Sunday afternoon, earned a 4.5 rating, which had equaled ESPN's rating for the 2007 race. ESPN's live coverage of the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, Aug. 2, earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.3. The telecast averaged 1,640,942 viewers.(ESPN), for past races and TV Ratings news, see my 2009 TV Ratings page and chart.(8-5-2009)

    • T-shirt seller arrested at Pocono Raceway on counterfeiting charge: A Michigan man was arrested and charged with selling knock-off NASCAR shirts at Pocono Raceway on Monday instead of officially licensed merchandise. Michael Quatrine, 45, has been arrested for selling fakes before. According to Pocono Mountain Regional Police, Quatrine has been arrested in California, Delaware, Michigan and South Carolina and other states for trademark counterfeiting. "We do counterfeit enforcement at tracks around the country. If not watched it can become pervasive," said Tom Sullivan, NASCAR's manager of business communications. Although NASCAR was not inspecting at Pocono on Monday, track workers were on the lookout for fake merchandise. Pocono Raceway employee Roger Green told police he saw Quatrine selling counterfeit Pocono Raceway T-shirts and detained him until police arrived. While investigating the complaint, a man told police he had purchased two shirts from Quatrine for $5 each and showed police the shirts. They matched the shirts Quatrine had in his possession. According the criminal complaint, Pocono Raceway employee Looie McNally identified the shirts as fakes by comparing labels and also showing the Sprint/NASCAR markings were fraudulent and misbranded. He was charged with trademark counterfeiting, a third-degree felony as a repeat offense, and arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Richard Claypool. Quatrine was being held in Monroe County Correctional Facility in lieu of $5,000 bail. Pocono Raceway spokesperson Bob Pleban said the track had no comment on the arrest. "It's not just about the loss of revenue to drivers and teams," said Joe Mattes, interim president of Motorsports Authentics. As the largest licensee in NASCAR, a vendor for more than 80 drivers, Motorsports Authentics makes more than 90% of the diecast products fans find trackside and on stores shelves in Wal-Mart and Kmart.(Pocono Record)(8-5-2009)

    • Gilliland Ready for The Glen, new sponsor, new car#: David Gilliland is ready for The Glen and to debut his new TaxSlayer.com colors on the #70 TaxSlayer.com Chevy in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen to be run Sunday, August 9. Gilliland will be going back to the track where he had one of his worst racing accidents. He will also have a teammate for the first time this year with TRG's sports car ace Andy Lally. New sponsor TaxSlayer.com will ride with David for the first time this weekend. Gilliland: "Watkins Glen will be a good debut for TaxSlayer.com on the car. The car really looks great. It has a medieval feel to it, which is cool. I am looking forward to meeting those folks and working with them over their six race term." TaxSlayer Pro's computerized tax return system, which was introduced to professional tax practitioners in 1992, is the first chapter in the company's story. More info at taxslayer.com and www.taxslayerracing.com.(TRG Motorsports), see an image of the scheme on my #70 Team Schemes page.(8-5-2009)

    • Drive for Diversity program accepting applications: The 909 Group, which manages NASCAR's Drive for Diversity initiative, is now accepting applications from experienced drivers for the 2010 race season. For more info, see my Driver Development page.(8-5-2009)

    • Polaroid scheme for Montoya: Juan Pablo Montoya is scheduled to drive the #42 Polaroid Special Chevy in the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega on November 1st. See the scheme on my #42 Team Scheme page..(8-5-2009)

    • New York Armed Forces to highlight ceremonies at Watkins Glen: The pre-race ceremonies for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen and Zippo 200 are sure to be memorable in 2009. As a special tribute to our country and our local troops, several local military groups will be participating in the pre-race festivities by providing fly-over crews and color guards. Fans can expect goose bumps from the ceremonies that involve members of the Army, NAVY, Air Force, and West Point Military Police.
      Leading up to the start of the Zippo 200 on Saturday, August 8, fans will get to cheer on members of the armed forces from around New York State. During the singing of the National Anthem, color guards from all different military branches will be posted around the 2.45-mile circuit. The U.S. Niagara Falls Air Force Color Guard of Niagara Falls, N.Y., will be joined by the Army’s 27th Combat Brigade of Syracuse, N.Y., and the U.S. NAVY Color Guard of Buffalo, N.Y., to present the nation’s colors. Following the Anthem, multiple Black Hawk helicopters from the N.Y. Army National Guard of Albany will pass over the grandstands at a low altitude to amaze the fans.
      The pre-race ceremony for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen on Sunday, August 9, will feature even more involvement from local military. Four F-16C Fighting Falcons of the 174th Fighter Wing from Syracuse, N.Y., will stun fans as they fly over the grandstands just moments before the drivers fire their engines. Just like Saturday, colors guards will be stationed around the road course from the U.S. Niagara Falls Air Force Color Guard, the 27th Combat Brigade of Syracuse, and the U.S. NAVY Color Guard of Buffalo.
      Located front-and-center, the West Point Military Police Honor Guard will present the nation’s colors from the pre-race stage at the start/finish line. Each member of the West Point Military Police Honor Guard has served the country in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The West Point Military Police Color Guard’s primary purpose is to render military honors at military funerals for fallen comrades, but they also present the nation’s colors for various prestigious ceremonies and events. For tickets and information, please contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Watkins Glen International website at www.TheGlen.com.(WGI)(8-5-2009)

    • Only a few days left to save on Atlanta's Nationwide Tix: NASCAR fans have until August 7th to take advantage of a $5 advance discount on tickets to the Degree V12 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 5. General admission ticket prices for the Degree V12 300 will be $30 beginning on Saturday, Aug. 8 and race fans have until then to receive a $5 savings on each ticket purchased. For more information on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s inaugural weekend of night racing featuring the Degree V12 300 and the Pep Boys Auto 500 on Labor Day weekend, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or (888) 9-AMS-TIX, or visit atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(8-5-2009)

    • Daytona to contract dirt track: Daytona International Speedway will construct a quarter-mile dirt track located outside Turns 1 and 2 in the West Lot. The project was necessitated by the City of Daytona Beach’s redevelopment plans for Municipal Stadium, which includes replacing the dirt used for the Flat Track racing events with sports turf. Construction on the quarter-mile dirt track, which will be made up of lime rock, will start in the early fall and be completed in time for next year’s March 3-4 AMA Pro Racing Flat Track motorcycle events, which are a part of 2010 Daytona 200 Week By Honda. The new dirt track at Daytona International Speedway, which can also be utilized for other events such as the high performance karts from the World Karting Association, will have more than 5,000 temporary seats and lighting will be provided by Musco Lighting. For more information and tickets on all Daytona International Speedway events, go online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(8-5-2009)


      News from August 4, 2009

    • Top-5's, Top-10's: #14-Tony Stewart lead all drivers after 21 races in 2009 with 12 Top-5 finishes, with #24-Jeff Gordon next at 10 and #48-Johnson with 9. #14-Stewart has the most Top-10's after 21 races with 17, followed by #24-Gordon with 15.
      Two drivers have run all the races in 2009 and have not scored a top-10 finish: #12-Stremme and #98-Menard. Seven drivers have not scored a Top-5 and ran all the races: #98-Menard, #12-Stremme, #07-Mears, #1-Truex Jr., #43-Sorenson, #26-McMurray and #6-Ragan.(8-3-2009)

    • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #14-Stewart and #19-Sadler have the longest current streak of finishing races at 44. #78-Regan Smith is at 52 but has not run all the races [Smith has never DNF'd in a Cup race]. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963 [Beam didn't run all the races, but didn't DNF in 84 straight consecutive races that he ran]. Clint Bowyer holds the modern day (1972-present) at 83, next is Kevin Harvick at 81 and 58, then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53.(8-3-2009)

    • Pocono Stats:
      * Denny Hamlin won the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on a sunny Monday afternoon after the race was delayed a day by rain Sunday. Hamlin scored his fifth Sprint Cup Series career victory in his 136th career start.
      * Hamlin scored his third victory at Pocono, the only Sprint Cup Series track where he has scored multiple victories. Hamlin also has one victory at New Hampshire and Martinsville. Hamlin has scored finishes of sixth or better in seven of his eight races at Pocono.
      * Hamlin's win marked the first victory by Toyota at Pocono Raceway. Toyota scored its sixth win in 2009. Chevrolet has scored 11 wins in 21 races in 2009, leading all manufacturers. Dodge and Ford each have two.
      * Hamlin's last win came at Martinsville in March 2008. Hamlin has scored five top-5 finishes in the last seven races and has climbed from 12th to fifth in points in that span.
      * Hamlin became the 12th different race winner in 2009. He led six times for 91 laps, including the final 10, the most by any driver.
      * This marked the 73rd Sprint Cup Series victory for Joe Gibbs Racing and the team's seventh win at Pocono. All five of Hamlin's victories have come with Joe Gibbs Racing and crew chief Mike Ford. Four of his five victories came on superspeedways.
      * Juan Pablo Montoya (finished second) scored his best Pocono finish and best finish of the season. Montoya has scored top-15 finishes in the last eight races, extending a streak that began at Pocono in June, all finishes of 12th or better.
      * Clint Bowyer (third) scored his best Pocono finish in eight races there.
      * Sam Hornish Jr. (fourth) scored his career-best finish.
      * Kasey Kahne (fifth) posted his sixth straight top-15 finish, extending a streak that began at Infineon, where he won.
      * Brian Vickers (sixth) posted his fourth straight top-10 finish, extending a streak that began at Daytona.
      * Tony Stewart (10th) has scored top-10 finishes in the last nine races, extending a streak that began at Dover. Stewart posted his 12th superspeedway top-10 finish in 14 superspeedway races in 2009 (restrictor-plate races excluded), the most by any driver.
      * Jimmie Johnson (13th) was running at the finish for the 250th time in his career. Johnson has led at least one lap in 17 of the 21 races in 2009, the most by any driver.
      * Kyle Busch (16th) has scored just one top-10 finish in the last nine races. Busch ranks 13th, 101 points behind 12th-place Greg Biffle and a spot in the 2009 Chase.
      * Jeff Burton (21st) has finished 16th or worse in the last seven races, since Michigan in June.
      * Michael Waltrip (31st) was running at the finish for the 600th time in his career.
      * Stewart (10th) and Elliott Sadler (24th) have each been running at the finish in the last 44 races, the longest current streak.(ESPN/Racing Resources)(8-4-2009)

    • U.S. Chrome to sponsor #08 at Watkins Glen...who will drive?: Bob Reath, owner of U.S. Chrome Corporation announced that he and his corporation are proud to sponsor the #08 Carter Simo Racing Ford Fusion in the Watkins Glen International Raceway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event slated for August 8, 2009. Reath and U.S. Chrome Corporation got started in NASCAR in the mid to late 80's as a primary sponsor for Dana Patten, racing around the short tracks of New England. In 1988, U.S. Chrome partnered with Patten to run five Sprint Cup races. The team, based out of a two-stall garage in Enfield, N.H., made their debut at Michigan International Speedway with Frank Stoddard as the lead wrench and chassis specialist. Both Reath and Stoddard went on to grow in their respective fields. Stoddard cemented his place in NASCAR as a leading crew chief [14 wins with Jeff Burton] after several successful seasons with Roush Fenway Racing (RFR). Reath's U.S. Chrome Corporation, headquartered in Stratford, CT, has six plants in Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The company specializes in functional wear, corrosion and friction resistant coatings. It also features a new environmentally friendly electrocomposite coating for several industries, including: powersports; motorsports; aerospace; agricultural; solar; automotive; firearms; FAA aircraft repair; oil; and gas. "Everyone at U.S. Chrome is excited about racing again with Frank," says Reath. "We hope he succeeds as he has in many years of racing. We feel he has a good chance of winning at Watkins Glen and we all wish him luck."(Carter Simo PR), Terry Labonte is listed as the dirver of the #60 Ford on the NASCXAR Entry list, but also hear it will be between Labonte and Boris Said, with no firm decision made yet but on ESPN2's NASCAR Now, Boris Said reported he would be running the race, but didn't say what car he would be in.(8-4-2009)

    • Mike Ford Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Pocono: Mike Ford, crew chief for the #11 FedEx Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin, has been named the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after Sunday's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. After waiting through the rain delay on Sunday and fighting emotions all weekend, Hamlin and his #11 team started the race on Monday with great optimism. Despite fighting an ill-handling race car throughout practice on Saturday, Hamlin and Ford knew they had made the right changes for a good shot at the win. A strong car kept Hamlin at the front of the field for most of the day, and after the last round of pit stops under caution with 20 to go, he found himself just outside the top five on the last restart. At that point, Hamlin knew he had the car to win and with encouragement from his crew chief over the radio, found the speed to take the lead with just nine laps to go. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season's end.(Wypall)(8-4-2009)

    • Commercial breakdown for Pocono:
      Total number of commercials: 189
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 83
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 29
      Start time to record race/commercial periods on Sunday: 2:01 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods on Sunday: 4:17 PM
      Start time to record race/commercial periods on Monday: 12:00 PM
      End time to record race/commercial periods on Monday: 4:18
      Total minutes: 394
      Minutes of race broadcast: 311
      Minutes of commercials: 83
      Number of missed restarts: 0
      Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 1
      Number of 'Rain Delay Interviews': 14 (Dale Earnhardt Jr., David Reutimann, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Brian Vickers, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Martin Truex Jr., Scott Speed, Mark Martin, Casey Mears, Robby Gordon, Marcos Ambrose)
      Number of caution lights losing a piece of itself: 1
      Number of cars hit by said caution light piece: 1 #11
      Number of commercial-free moments at the end of the race: 45
      Total race brdcst time 198 Total comm. brdcst time 60
      See full report and more on my TV Commervials Page.(8-4-2009)

    • Why Pocono teamed up with the Red Cross and Sunoco: Back in the 1990s, Dr. Joseph Mattioli, the chairman of Pocono Raceway, decided he didn't need title sponsors for the track's two NASCAR races each year. Mattioli branded the June race the Pocono 500 and the summer race the Pennsylvania 500. Last year, the summer event became the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. Track president Brandon Igdalsky, Mattioli's grandson, said yesterday he didn't have to twist his grandfather's arm to affiliate Sunoco and Red Cross with the Pennsylvania 500. "I knew he had a soft spot with the charitable stuff," Igdalsky said. "His big thing has been to give back. This was an easy one. When we explained the concept, he said, 'Heck, yeah.' " Sunoco and Red Cross are not the traditional title sponsors who pay about $2 million per race to tracks. Tom Foley, CEO of the Red Cross' southeastern Pennsylvania chapter based in Philadelphia, said Sunoco makes a significant contribution to the Mattioli Foundation, which then donates the money to the Red Cross chapter. Sunoco, also Philadelphia based, is the official fuel of NASCAR. Igdalsky and Foley said they are hopeful that the Pocono/Red Cross/Sunoco relationship will continue after this year.(Philadelphia Daily News)(8-4-2009)

    • No speedometers planned for NASCAR: Some drivers would like a speedometer added to their cars, or have NASCAR's electronic timing system that records the pit row speeds refined to cut down on possible error. "I have wondered why we don't have speedometers," veteran driver Mark Martin said Friday. "The tachs are not quite as accurate as a speedometer might be. But the system works. It's just really devastating when you have one of the races of your life slip through your fingers." Could NASCAR make the switch from RPM to mph on the dash? Not so fast. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said the tachometer was the most reliable factor in determining pit row speeds. "They get multiple usages out of a tachometer as an engine meter as well, without having to bother with the expense and the troubles of adding another piece of equipment to the car," Darby said at Pocono Raceway. "The tachometers today are so sophisticated that teams can actually program their pit road speed into the tachometer." Most teams have even added a lighting system to the tachometer. A green light means a driver's speed is in the clear, yellow signifies he is pushing the limit and red means the speed is over the limit. "In NASCAR's defense, the system that they have, you can't dispute it," four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon said. "I would dispute the person that feels like they're in the wrong, because their system is very accurate." There have been 75 speeding violations in 20 Cup races this season, Darby said. NASCAR does not warn teams when they're on the edge of speeding or give them a chance to plead their case. Speed once coming in or out of the pits, and a penalty is instantly assessed. "The teams know exactly where they're supposed to be," Darby said. "They know where the threshold is." Darby also said there are no plans to reveal pit road speeds to fans or the rest of the field during a race. "If you have put your combination together and you're real confident in your driver and you've got him set to where you think he can run 3˝ miles over all day long without getting caught, that's their business," he said. "We shouldn't display that to the other 42 competitors to let them figure out how they did it." NASCAR switched from a stopwatch system to electric timing in 2005 to provide a more legitimate way of assessing pit road speeders.(Associated Press)(8-4-2009)

    • Drivers to visit the White House UPDATE2 Aug 19th: President Barack Obama will welcome three-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to the White House on Monday (August 3rd). Obama, the 44th president, will also honor other former NASCAR champions and other drivers who qualified for the 2008 Chase for the championship. Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy also will be parked at the White House.(Associated Press)
      UPDATE: Today's scheduled appearance of Jimmie Johnson and other drivers at the White House has been postponed. Other invitees were last year's drivers in the Chase; Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya, who are in this year's top 12 in points; and former champions Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace and Bobby and Terry Labonte.(Philadelphia Daily News)
      AND: NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said the date of a future visit was being discussed with White House officials.(Associated Press)(8-2-2009)
      UPDATE: White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House has been rescheduled for Wednesday, August 19th: "Today's previously scheduled event to honor NASCAR champion had to be rescheduled because the race yesterday was rained out. That event will now be August 19, here at the White House."(Whitehouse.gov)(8-4-2009)

    • Tire testing at Dover: Goodyear is scheduled to test tires at Dover Internation Speedway on August 4-5, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #18-Kyle Busch are among the drivers scheduled to test.(ESPN's NASCAR Now), also hearing #42-Juan Pablo Montoya will test.(8-1/4-2009)

    • Country Stars to sing National Anthems/hold concert at Watkins Glen: The Red Cat Summer Stage at Watkins Glen International will feature some of country music's hottest rising stars following the Zippo 200 on the night of Saturday, August 8. The concert will feature both Megan Linville and TelluRide. Linville will open the concert beginning 6:30pm/et in the Turn 10 Village, and then TelluRide will take over as the main act. Once again the concert is included in the price of admission for both Weekend and Sunday-Only ticket holders to the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, August 6-9. Sunday-Only ticket holders will be permitted to enter the track starting at 5:00pm/et on Saturday evening. In addition to performing Saturday night, both TelluRide and Linville will perform the National Anthem leading up to the racing action at The Glen. Linville will perform the Canadian and American Anthems just before the Zippo 200 on Saturday afternoon. Then, minutes before the green flag falls for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, TelluRide will perform the anthems for the crowd around the 2.45-mile road course. For tickets and information, please contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Watkins Glen International website at www.TheGlen.com.(WGI)(8-4-2009)


      News from August 3, 2009

    • Hamlin wins at Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin won the rain delayed/postponed Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway for his third win at Pocono Raceway, his first win in 2009 and first in 50 races, since Martinsville in March 2008 and Hamlin's 5th career win. #42-Montoya finished 2nd for his first top-five of 2009, #33-Bowyer was third, followed by #77-Hornish Jr. [his career best finish and first ever top-five of his career], #9-Kahne, #83-Vickers, #5-Martin, #24-Gordon, #2-Busch and #14-Stewart [was in a backup car the had to fall to the rear of the field before the start of the race]. #48-Johnson had engine problems was down as many as three laps, the crew fixed the problem (spark plugs) and Johnson was able to use FOUR Lucky Dog - lap back passes, to finish 13th. #88-Earnhardt Jr. has an ill-handling car and finished 28th. Stewart now leads Johnson on the points standing by 197 points. The spread between 12th (the final chase spot) and 13th is now 101 points with #16-Biffle in 12th and #18-Busch in 13th. There were 10 cautions for 39 caution laps and there were 17 lead changes among 12 drivers.
      Scheduled Race Re-Air: SPEED, Wednesday, August 5 at 12:00pm/et.
      For race results, awards and more, see my Pocono Race Results Page.(8-3-2009)

    • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings
      [after Pocono, race 21 of 36]:

      1) #14-Tony Stewart, 3188 [2 wins], finished 10th
      2) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 2991, -197 [3 wins], 13th
      3) #24-Jeff Gordon 2989, -199 [1 win], 8th
      4) #2-Kurt Busch 2751, -437 [1 win], 9th
      5) #11-Denny Hamlin, 2713, -475 [1 win], 1st
      6) #99-Carl Edwards, 2665, -523, 18th
      7) #9-Kasey Kahne, 2642, -546 [1 win], 5th
      8) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, 2631, -557, 2nd
      9) #39-Ryan Newman, 2627, -561, 14th
      10) #5-Mark Martin, 2622, -566 [4 wins], 7th
      11) #17-Matt Kenseth, 2564, -624 [2 wins], 11th
      12) #16-Greg Biffle 2563, -625, 15th
      Contenders for the top-12/chase:
      13) #18-Kyle Busch, 2462, 101 points out of 12th, [3 wins] 16th
      14) #83-Brian Vickers, 2459, -104, 6th
      15) #33-Clint Bowyer, 2448, -115, 3rd
      16) #00-David Reutimann 2442, -121 [1 wins], 29th
      For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(8-3-2009)

    • Race Fast Facts - Pocono Raceway:
      #11-Denny Hamlin won the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500, his fifth victory in 136 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
      This is his first victory and ninth top-10 finish in 2009.
      This is his third victory and sixth top-10 finish in eight races at Pocono Raceway.
      #42-Juan Pablo Montoya (second) posted his second top-10 finish in six races at Pocono Raceway. It is his 10th top-10 finish in 2009.
      #33-Clint Bowyer (third) posted his fourth top-10 finish in eight races at Pocono Raceway.
      #82-Scott Speed (23rd) was the highest finishing rookie.
      #14-Tony Stewart leads the point standings by 197 points over #48Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistics)(8-3-2009)

    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Watkins Glen:
      No changes the spread between 35th and 36th dropped a tad to 171 points
      34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1672, +290
      35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 1553, 171 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
      36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 1382, 171 points out of 35th
      37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 1207, -346
      The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
      For the owners points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(8-3-2009)

    • Penalty Report - Pocono
      Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
      #14, Pre-Race to the rear, tail end, backup car
      #64, 11, Safety violation, pit, no crew
      #7, 22, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
      #98, 53, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #98, 53, Crewmember(s) over the wall too soon, tail end
      #1, 132, Lug nut(s) not installed, pit
      #48, 142, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #7, 149, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #48, 151, Running the stop and go sign/light, 1 lap
      #12, 158, Safety violation - agressive driving, 5 laps
      #7, 158, Safety violation - hitting a car [#12] under caution, laps
      #47, 175, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #00, 175, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #55, 175, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #31, 181, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #00, 181, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #20, 181, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #43, 182, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #55, 182, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
      #55, 198, Safety violation - below minimum speed, pit
      (NASCAR Statistics)(8-3-2009)

    • Lucky Dogs - Who got a lap back on each caution at Pocono: (and their finish)
      Caution 1: #14-Stewart, 10th
      Caution 2: no driver down a lap, that is on the track
      Caution 3: #98-Menard, 26th
      Caution 4: #98-Menard (2), 26th
      Caution 5: #98-Menard (3), 26th
      Caution 6: #48-Johnson, still down a lap, 13th
      Caution 7: #48-Johnson (2), still two laps down, 13th
      Caution 8: #48-Johnson (3), still down a lap, 13th
      Caution 9: #48-Johnson (4), now back on the lead lap, 13th
      Caution 10: #12-Stremme, 32nd
      (8-3-2009)

    • Start and Park? Which teams parked their cars early in the race (or seemed to):
      43rd: #64-MWallace [was black flagged for not having a pit crew]
      42nd: #37-Raines
      41st: #71-Gilliland
      40th: #66-Blaney
      39th: #87-Nemechek
      38th: #09-Marlin
      37th: #36-Carpentier
      (8-3-2009)

    • Monday at Pocono: The race is on, green flag at 12:21pm/et. Great crowd for a Monday race. Tom Foley of the Red Cross gives the command to start the engines at 12:07pm/et. Weather is perfect for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway today. Pocono Raceway track personnel worked all night on the track and looks like there is little if any problems with weepers [water bubbling up thru the track surface].(8-3-2009)

    • NASCAR Now Roundtable WIth the rain delayed race at Pocono, the four reporters who work the pits in ESPN's coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will not make it to this weeks NASCAR Now's weekly roundtable discussion program on Monday, Aug. 3, at 5:00pm/et on ESPN2. But the show will still air, joining host Allen Bestwick will be Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty and Tim Brewer to discuss the race at Pocono and other NASCAR issues.

    • added some Pocono schemes: #71 Leiomyosarcoma (LMS)/the forgotten cancer, #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports, #87 magdonmusic.com, #96 DLP, #36 Guy Fieri, #43 Air Force, #98 Moens / Menards, #64 Gunselman Motorsports, #66 Prism Motorsports, #14 Old Spice Swagger, #77 PPG/Olympic/Transitions Optical, #5 Cheez-It/Carquest and #47 iRacing

    • Carpentier to Return to the Driver's Seat of the #55: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that Patrick Carpentier will return to the driver's seat of the #55 NAPA Auto PArts Toyota for driver Michael Waltrip at the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Watkins Glen International. Earlier this season, the Canadian driver produced an 11th-place finish for Waltrip at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. "Patrick is being rewarded for perserverence," said Waltrip, who has 22 starts that equate to one top-five, four top-10 and 14 top-20 finishes at the 2.45-mile road course. "At Sonoma, he drove for me and started out with a car he wasn't happy with. He worked with my crew chief Bootie (Barker) and my NAPA boys to get an 11th-place finish. We also had a little deal on the side. If he was able to finish solidly at Infineon Raceway and he deemed the experience of working with my team as fun and wanted to do again, then he and I would ask NAPA to allow him to drive again. We all agreed so Patrick will drive the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota for NAPA and me at Watkins Glen." The NAPA Auto Parts team prepared for the upcoming event by testing with Carpentier at Virginia International Raceway on July 22nd.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(8-3-2009)

    • More on possible changes within RPM UPDATE: Despite recent rumors that Richard Petty Motorsports would be a three-car team by Watkins Glen next weekend, the King said Sunday at Pocono Raceway that there will be four cars through the end of the season. "We're going to have four cars, but we're going to do some changing around," Petty said. "We're looking to finish up this season (and) preparing for next season. We've got one car, hopefully, that's going to be in the Chase and the other three we've got to get squared away and anticipate for next year. There will be some swapping around with different personnel and stuff like that to put in motion this year the opportunity to see how it works in preparation for next year. Then if it doesn't work, we've still got time to make changes for next year." Don't be surprised if there isn't a crew chief change among the non-title contending teams — #19, #43 and/or #44 — before the Chase begins.(FoxSports)(8-3-2009)
      UPDATE The #43-Sorenson and #44-Allmendinger teams at Richard Petty Motorsports will change crew chiefs and crews following the race at Watkins Glen. According to team sources, drivers Reed Sorenson and AJ Allmendinger will remain with their respective car numbers and sponsors. However, Mike Shiplett will now oversee the #44 Dodge with Allmendinger and Sammy Johns will be the crew chief for Sorenson and the #43 squad. The cars and equipment will remain with the crew chiefs.(Foxsports)(8-3-2009)

    • Wallace secures fan sponsorship for Montreal: Over 5,000 "sponsors" have extended their support to get #28-Kenny Wallace, known as "Hermanator", on track at this year's NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on August 30th. More news about this and an image of the car on my Nationwide Series site.(8-3-2009)

    • Injured F1 driver heads home: Ferrari driver Felipe Massa is on his way home to Brazil, nine days after suffering a life-threatening crash during qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix. "Thank God, I'm feeling very well," Massa said Sunday in a statement. "I only have a bit of swelling in the region of my left eye. I'm anxious to return to Brazil and continue the recovery process." The 28-year-old Massa underwent surgery on multiple skull fractures after he was hit in the helmet by a loose part from another car and crashed into a protective tire barrier on Aug. 25. Massa will be transported in a helicopter from Sao Paulo airport to a local hospital, where he is expected to undergo further tests and is likely to stay for about two days before being allowed to return to his home.(Associated Press)(8-3-2009)

    • JTG Daugherty Racing to re-new with Waltrip: Tad Geschickter, owner of the #47 JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota that Marcos Ambrose drives in the Sprint Cup Series, has agreed in principle to extend his partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing into 2010. An announcement is expected next week along with additional sponsorship for the car. Ambrose originally signed a five-year deal with Geschickter which runs until 2011, but given the driver's accelerated learning curve, don't be surprised if that contract isn't extended as well.(FoxSports)(8-3-2009)


      News from August 2, 2009

    • Sunday’s Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 has been postponed and will be run on Monday August 3rd at 12noon/et. Ticket Stubs from Sunday’s race will be honored. Grandstand parking lots will open at 7:00am/et; Grandstands open at 9:00am/et; with the race scheduled to start at 12:00noon/et.(Pocono Raceway)(8-2-2009)

    • Pocono delayed until Monday: Rain, a wet track with weepers [water bubbling up thru the track surface] and not enough time to get a full race in, have postponed the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway Sprint Cup Series race until Monday, August 3rd [my sisters birthday by the way]. The Sprint Cup garage will open at 9:30am/et. The race is scheduled to start Monday at 12:00pm/et and be televised on ESPN. SPEED will air a special edition of NASCAR Raceday at 11:00am/et. MRN and Sirius Satellite Radio will air the race live on radio. Pre-race festivities have been completed [invocation, national anthem and fly-by of a KC-135 tanker].
      The weather forecast for Monday: Partly cloudy skies. High 77F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. See weather links on my Pocono Race Info page - weather link section.(8-2-2009)

    • Competition caution is scheduled for lap 20 of the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway due to a green track as the rain has washed all the rubber off the track. If there is a caution before lap 20 NASCAR may not use the competition caution.(8-2-2009)

    • Race Coverage of the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway is scheduled for Monday, August 3, 2009.
      TV: ESPN at 12:00 pm/et; green flag approx 12:15pm/et
      Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
      Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
      SPEED, Wednesday, August 5 at 12:00pm/et;

    • added some Pocono schemes: #14 Old Spice Swagger, #77 PPG/Olympic/Transitions Optical, #5 Cheez-It/Carquest and #47 iRacing

    • JTG Daugherty Racing to re-new with Waltrip: Tad Geschickter, owner of the #47 JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota that Marcos Ambrose drives in the Sprint Cup Series, has agreed in principle to extend his partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing into 2010. An announcement is expected next week along with additional sponsorship for the car. Ambrose originally signed a five-year deal with Geschickter which runs until 2011, but given the driver's accelerated learning curve, don't be surprised if that contract isn't extended as well.(FoxSports)(8-3-2009)

    • Johnson and other drivers to visit the White House UPDATE: President Barack Obama will welcome three-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to the White House on Monday (August 3rd). Obama, the 44th president, will also honor other former NASCAR champions and other drivers who qualified for the 2008 Chase for the championship. Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy also will be parked at the White House.(Associated Press)
      UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson's White House visit will have to wait. So will the start of the Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway. Steady rain postponed Sunday's race and it has been rescheduled for 12:15pm/et Monday. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said the date of a future visit was being discussed with White House officials.(Associated Press)(8-2-2009)

    • Congrats to Dan Graves, tire specialist for #5-Mark Martin, and wife Natasha who are celebrating the birth of identical twin boys on July 28,2009.(8-2-2009)

    • Steve Park back in victory lane: former NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and winner Steve Park showed he hasn’t forgotten his way to Victory Lane, leading the final five laps Saturday evening at Adirondack International Speedway in Lowville, N.Y. en route to the win in The Edge Hotel 150 presented by Casella Waste Systems. It was Park’s first NASCAR Camping World Series East victory in 13 years [1996 at Nazareth Speedway]. Since then, he has collected wins in the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Series Truck Series. He has also won on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. With the win, Park locked up a secured spot in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. The prestigious postseason race is scheduled for Jan. 29-30, 2010 at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.(NASCAR)(8-2-2009)

    • Congrats: to Tony Cardamone and his wife Stephanie on the birth of a healthy baby girl on July 28th. Cardamone is the jackman for the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing NAPA Toyota.(8-2-2009)

    • #17 team has some help at Pocono: #17-Matt Kenseth's Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer has a little extra help this week at Pocono Raceway: two high school students from Minnesota, who are helping to prep the DeWalt Tools Ford. Matthew Ludwig, 17, and Justin Dwyer, 18, were national winners in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition, emerging from a field of more than 9,700 entries of high school juniors and seniors from all 50 states. Part of their reward is the chance to spend much of a week with Kenseth's team. They attended a test session at Rockingham, N.C. with Kenseth, toured the Roush Fenway shop in Concord, N.C. with Blickensderfer and will get a taste of all activities at Pocono Raceway, from preparing the car on Friday to being with the team behind pit road on Sunday. "It's my first (NASCAR) race, so to be in the pits at Pocono will be really cool," said Dwyer, who helped replace a front coil spring and adjust the exhaust system on Friday. Ludwig, who worked on body aerodynamics Friday, expressed surprise at the level of hands-on experience being offered. "Actually being able to sit down and talk to the (crew) guys has been great," he said. "They're really down-to-earth. They've been teaching us about what's going on — why they're making certain adjustments." Blickensderfer tried to give the students as much hands-on experience as he could. "There aren't too many 17-18-year-old kids who can say they got to hang out with Matt Kenseth and his crew," Blickensderfer. "We'll at least let them see everything we're doing and, if we can give them an opportunity to work on the car, it will be a memory that should last a while for them." Ludwig and Dwyer attend Fairbault High School, a public high school about 40 miles south of Minneapolis. Under tutelage of instructor Mark Lessman, Fairbault has emerged a perennial skills competition contender, winning. two national titles (2003, 2009) and 13 of the last 16 state championships.(USA Today)(8-2-2009)

    • Red Bull getting closer on manufacturer, Vickers: Red Bull Racing's vice president and general manager, Jay Frye, spent nearly 24 hours traveling to Austria for a three-hour meeting last Tuesday at his company's headquarters, and Friday at Pocono Raceway confirmed the team is evaluating manufacturers for 2010 and getting closer to re-signing lead driver #83-Brian Vickers. "And that was a long [meeting] -- usually they're only an hour or two," Frye said, laughing. "The meeting was great and there's lots of enthusiasm for what we're doing with the program. I would think in the next short while we'd have some sort of announcement of what the future is and what we have going on. I think what happened at the meeting was, all the scenarios were laid out, and they're all great scenarios, but it was about what're we going to do 10 years from now, or five years from now? "A lot of stuff was exchanged and there are a lot of things they have to review. I had a couple things I had to come back and do that have been done, so in a very short while we should have some things resolved." Vickers has said he has an oral agreement to continue with Red Bull Racing Team, for which he's driven the #83 Toyota since 2007, the inaugural year for both Red Bull and the manufacturer in the Cup Series. Frye, who joined Red Bull's third-year Cup program last season, said that's part of the reasoning that has put Red Bull in position to evaluate whether it will stay with the Toyota Camrys it's run since it joined the series, or switch to another carmaker, speculated to be Chevrolet. David Wilson, senior vice president of Toyota Racing Development, came from a meeting with Frye to Pocono's infield media center and said, despite knowing about Red Bull's evaluation process, the manufacturer hadn't changed its focus. "The bottom line is we continue to work with Red Bull and we continue to desire a longer-term partnership," Wilson said. A Chevrolet spokesperson said the manufacturer would have no comment regarding its team lineup. Frye said Red Bull had no designs currently on expanding beyond two cars or diversifying into the Nationwide Series, where Vickers' teammate, #82-Scott Speed, has about a half-dozen more races to run this season with Michael Waltrip Racing. "My opinion right now is we have to make sure these two teams are shored up and competing at a high level every week, and once you can do that, that's when you start looking at expanding," Frye said. "The whole team has come a long way, we made great gains in 2008 and statistically we're ahead of where we were last year. Just like everybody else, we've had some bad luck and we've had some things happen."(in part from NASCAR.com)(8-2-2009)

    • Gordon's back doing better: #24-Jeff Gordon met with media and discussed many issues, including fielding a question about his ailing back:
      ON HIS BACK PAIN: "Yeah, it's been really nice to not get asked too many of those questions these days, or it seems like it's tapering off a little bit which is kinda nice because it started to get a little bit too much (laughs). It's slightly improved since the beginning of the year and then it's just sort of leveled off where I'm just able to deal with the pain that's there, or the discomfort. At these types of tracks it's more discomfort than it is pain. At Bristol is where we're really going to find out just where I'm at. I was in a lot of pain there the last race and that seems to be the toughest race. But for this weekend, there shouldn't be any issues. We're in good shape."(Chevy Racing)(8-2-2009)

    • Petty says all four teams will stay...for now: Richard Petty shot down rumors that Sorenson was in danger of being yanked from the #43 Dodge for #44-Allmendinger for performance and financial reasons. "We're going to run all drivers the rest of the year," Petty said. "We'll sort of see what happens after this season and we'll make our decisions on next year." All four drivers are signed through 2010, but Petty said there are no assurances the team can keep all the drivers. "The economy is going to dictate to us what we need to do," he said. "Right now, we're just trying to keep our head above water, hoping that the economy comes around so that we can continue to run four cars." RPM laid off employees and sliced salaries earlier this year in the fallout from Chrysler's Chapter 11 filing. Petty's first choice is to run all four cars in a full Cup season, but economics may decide otherwise. "We can't sacrifice three to try and run a fourth car," Petty said. "Right now, we're still breathing air and we're able to run four cars the rest of the season."(in part from the Associated Press)(8-2-2009)

    • Air Combat featured on the #64 at Pocono: Air Combat, is listed as one of the two sponsors of the #64 Gunselman Motorsports Toyota that Mike Wallace will drive in the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, along with Fred's Hometown Discount Stores, a discount store chain located in 15 states throughout the Southeast. Air Combat USA is the original civilian dog fighting school in the world. Their guest pilots fly real military fighters with licensed fighter pilots in the cockpit with them. All aircraft are outfitted with high-end digital multi-camera systems to capture your fighter pilot experience. No pilot’s license is required for the guest. Fans can register at gunselmanmotorsports.com to win an Air Combat Mission [deadline is August 7th].(Gunselman Motorsports)(8-2-2009)


      News from August 1, 2009

    • Sprint Cup Series Live from Pocono on ESPN: ESPN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage in high definition as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes place at the "Tricky Triangle," Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on Sunday, Aug. 2. The telecast, presented by Old Spice, begins with NASCAR Countdown presented by Degree V12 at 1:00pm/et. The race's green flag is scheduled at 2:18pm/et. ESPN's coverage also includes a live telecast of NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday, July 31, at 3:27pm/et, and telecasts of two practice sessions for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars on the 2.5-mile track, all on ESPN2. The first practice session will be aired Saturday, Aug. 1, at 10:00a,/et, with the final practice at 11:30am/et. Dr. Jerry Punch and analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree will call the action. Allen Bestwick hosts NASCAR Countdown with analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty.

    • Race Coverage of the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway is scheduled for Sunday, August 2, 2009.
      TV: ESPN at 2:00 pm/et; pre-race show at 1:00 pm/et; green flag approx 2:18pm/et
      Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
      Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
      ESPN2: Monday, August 3 at 3:00am/et
      ESPN Classic: Monday, August 3 at 1:00pm/et
      SPEED, Wednesday, August 5 at 12:00pm/et;

    • Pit Stall Selections - Pocono: The selections of pit stalls for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway have been made. Pole sitter #14-Stewart [set by rules book, Stewart wrecked and will start at the rear, but keeps the pitstall] chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters], outside pole sitter #48-Johnson took pit stall 24, the first pit stall with an opening in back of it, #24-Gordon, who starts 3rd took the 25th stall, the next stall with an opening in front of it. The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #42-Montoya, who starts 10th.
      See the pit selection chart on the Pocono Pit Stall Selection chart.(8-1-2009)

    • Happy Hour Practice for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway is over, the top five:
      #48-Johnson 165.795
      #29-Harvick 165.417
      #5-Martin 165.189
      #44-Allmendinger 164.932
      #88-Earnhardt Jr. 164.893
      slowest: #09-Marlin 159.456 and #64-Wallace 160.462
      no speed listed: #66-Blaney and #37-Raines
      For best speeds, average speeds, laps run, see my Pocono Practice Speeds page.(8-1-2009)

    • First Saturday Practice for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway is over, the top five:
      #48-Johnson 167.292
      #33-Bowyer 166.334
      #99-Edwards 165.911
      #24-Gordon 165.908
      #29-Harvick 165.810
      slowest: #37-Raines 158.775 and #36-Carpentier 160.448
      no speed listed: #09-Marlin
      incidents: #14-Tony Stewart wrecked early in practice and will go to a backup car.
      For best speeds, average speeds, laps run, see my Pocono Practice Speeds page.(8-1-2009)

    • Stewart wrecks in practice: #14-Tony Stewart, scheduled to start first in the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday after qualifying was rained out, wrecked just a few minutes into Saturday's first practice. Stewart got loose between turn 2 and 3, hit the wall and spun around, doing serious damage to the right side and rear end of the #14 Old Spice Swagger Chevy. The team pulled out the backup car and Stewart will have to fall to the rear of the field before the green flag on Sunday. Stewart had the same problem at Pocono back in June. Qualifying was rained out, so Stewart started first as the points leader. Stewart wrecked in practice and went to a back, started at the rear of the field and won the race.(8-1-2009)
      MORE - Stewart talks about wreck..a little bit: Tony Stewart, #14 Old Spice Swagger/Office Depot Chevy, was involved in a single car accident in turn three at Pocono Raceway during practice for Sunday's race. Stewart will drop to the back of the field prior to the start:
      WHAT HAPPENED? "I just…I screwed up. I got in too deep and got loose and couldn't save it."
      LAST TIME HERE YOU CAME FROM THE BACK AND WON, DOES THAT GIVE YOU ANY MORE CONFIDENCE? "I know we can do it. I tore up a really good race car today."
      WHAT LAP ON THE TRACK WAS THAT FOR YOU? "Second."
      ARE YOU JUST MAD AT YOURSELF? "Yes."
      Data on the backup car for Stewart: Chassis No. 14-487 car is a carryover chassis from the former Haas CNC team, with a new front clip and body installed prior to the 2009 season. It debuted at Martinsville in March 2008 with Jeremy Mayfield at the wheel. He qualified 31st and finished 32nd. Chassis No. 14-487's next start came at Richmond in May, where Johnny Sauter drove it to a 37th-place starting spot and a 33rd-place finish. It ran again in June at New Hampshire in Loudon, with Sauter qualifying 37th and finishing 37th. The car was then tested at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., in October in preparation for Martinsville later that month. There, Tony Raines started 43rd and finished 40th. Its last start of 2008 came in October at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where Raines finished 21st after starting 43rd. Tony Stewart tested Chassis No. 14-487 with its new clip and body on Jan. 14, 2009 at New Smyrna Speedway in preparation for its first start of 2009 at Auto Club Speedway. There, it enjoyed a solid outing, qualifying sixth and finishing seventh. It was fitted with a new nose and tested in the wind tunnel in preparation for its seventh career start at Darlington, where it qualified 18th and delivered a strong third-place finish – Stewart's best result in 17 career Sprint Cup starts at Darlington.(Chevy Racing)(8-1-2009)

    • “In My Own Words: Kevin Harvick” Special airs on SportSouth: Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick traces the history of his career in a new special that debuted on SportSouth, Friday, July 31. “In My Own Words: Kevin Harvick” is a 30-minute interview special focused on the 33 year-old driver, who pilots the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The special chronicles how a kid from a blue-collar background in Bakersfield, California, began racing go-karts at age five, and developed his passion for cars into a successful racing career. Produced by SportSouth Originals, the interview portion of the special was filmed in January at the RCR shops in Welcome, N.C. “In My Own Words: Kevin Harvick” debuts on SportSouth, Friday, July 31 at 11pm/et, with additional airings on August 1 at 1pm/et, August 2 at 11:30am/et, August 16 at 7pm/et and August 22 at 7pm/et.(RCR)(8-1-2009)

    • Sad News - Thelma Clark: Condolences go out to Denny Hamlin and his family in the passing of his grandma. Thelma Clark, 91, of Tampa, FL passed away Friday, July 31. A Memorial Mass will take place at St. Patrick's Catholic Church (date to be determined). In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 5100 W. Kennedy Blvd Suite 195, Tampa, FL 33609.(Dennyhamlin.com)(8-1-2009)

    • One of ESPN Films about Tim Richmond: ESPN Films announced eight additional films and filmmakers for its ambitious "30 for 30" film project, bringing the total of films announced thus far to 25. Noted directors and producers will delve into sports stories of the past 30 years – from unforgettable athletes, to NASCAR, soccer and the 2003 Chicago Cubs. Debuting in October 2009, "30 for 30" will gather 30 filmmakers to each create one-hour films on topics from 1979 to 2009, ESPN's first 30 years.
      Racing the Devil (Director: Al Szymanski): Natural. Rock star. Outsider. In the 1980's, race car driver Tim Richmond lived his life the way he raced cars…wide open. Born into a wealthy family, Richmond was the antithesis of the Southern blue-collar, dirt-track racers who dominated NASCAR. He also was a flamboyant showman who basked in the attention of the media and fans – especially the attention of female admirers. Nevertheless, it was Richmond's on-track performances that ended up drawing comparisons to racing legends. But his freewheeling lifestyle caught up to him. He unexpectedly withdrew from the NASCAR racing circuit, reportedly suffering from double pneumonia. In reality, the diagnosis was much more dire: He had AIDS. Richmond returned to the track in 1987, but he was gone from the sport by the next year as his health deteriorated. He spent his final days as a recluse, dying on August 13, 1989 at the age of 34. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Al Szymanski will examine the life and tragic death of one of NASCAR's shooting stars. Films produced as part of the "30 for 30" project will begin airing on October 6 on ESPN, with seven films airing before the end of 2009 starting on Tuesdaym October 6th.(ESPN Media Zone)(8-1-2009)

    • Johnson and other drivers to visit the White House: President Barack Obama will welcome three-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to the White House on Monday (August 3rd). Obama, the 44th president, will also honor other former NASCAR champions and other drivers who qualified for the 2008 Chase for the championship. Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy also will be parked at the White House.(Associated Press)(8-1-2009)

    • Tire testing at Dover: Goodyear will test tires at Dover Internation Speedway on August 4-5, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #18-Kyle Busch are among the drivers scheduled to test.(ESPN's NASCAR Now)(8-1-2009)

    • Andretti to Make 500th Motorsports Start: This Sunday, John Andretti, driver of the #34 Taco Bell Chevy, will make his 500th professional motorsports oval start at Pocono Raceway. Andretti also has professional starts in the NHRA and IMSA Series not included in this fact. In his 22 year career, Andretti has raced in various forms of oval racing. His start list is as follows:
      -376 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
      -37 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series
      -Six in the NASCAR Camping World Series
      -73 in the defunct CART/Champ Car World Series
      -Seven in the IRL IndyCar Series
      Andretti has four wins, 27 top fives, and 80 top-10s, with over 750 laps led in all his previous starts. He has won two Sprint Cup events, one at Martinsville Speedway and one at Daytona International Speedway. He has one CART win at Surfers Paradise, Australia.(FRM)(8-2-2009)

    • Stewart still considering a third team: #14-Tony Stewart met with members of the media, part of the transcript:
      STEWART - WHERE ARE YOU ABOUT ADDING A THIRD TEAM TO STEWART-HAAS RACING: "We are definitely open to it for sure. We are interested for sure. We feel like it is a matter of timing, it is everything. I don't know that something would happen for next year. I think we are getting close to the stage of the season where it may get too late to have that opportunity to add a third car for next year. It is something that at least as a company we feel comfortable with and feel like with the right opportunity, that it is definitely possible."(Chevy Racing)(8-1-2009)

    • Lowe's tells speedway it won't renew deal UPDATE denied: Lowe's has decided not to renew its naming-rights deal at Lowe's Motor Speedway after this year, ending an 11-year relationship that began as the first racetrack naming-rights sponsorship. After more than a year of renewal talks, the home improvement retailer informed Speedway Motorsports Inc., the track's parent company, of its decision within the last two weeks, industry sources said. The initial 10-year, $35 million deal ran through 2008 and last year the two sides agreed on a one-year extension through 2009 when they could not finalize a long-term deal. Talks continued this year, but the two sides have not been able to reach an agreement. Sources said it's not inconceivable for Lowe's to change its mind, given that five months remain on the current deal and the unpredictable nature of the economy, but such a change of heart is considered unlikely. Barring a late agreement with Lowe's or the signing of a new corporate partner, the track is expected to go back to its former name, Charlotte Motor Speedway, in 2010. Industry sources say that SMI initially came to the table asking for close to $9 million annually, and while that number dropped over the course of their discussions, the two sides could not come together. There were other factors. Lowe's must also consider its future with driver Jimmie Johnson, who has won three straight Cup championships and stands as the sport's most dominant figure. The Lowe's deal with Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports expires at the end of 2010 and those renewal talks are expected to begin later this year. Industry sources say that Lowe's will be expected to pay a hefty increase to maintain its position as the only primary sponsor on Johnson's #48 car, which is uncommon in this time of co-primary and "tri-mary" sponsorships on a car. The most expensive sponsorships go for the mid-$20 million range annually. Lowe's also is navigating the recession, which has struck the home improvement and building sector especially hard. Lowe's earnings fell 22% in 2008 and 60% in the final quarter of the year.(Sports Business Journal)(7-31-2009)
      UPDATE: Officials from Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Lowe's insist they are still talking in the wake of a report that the home improvement chain is ending its sponsorship of SMI's flagship track. SMI president and CEO Marcus Smith said both sides are still negotiating and that he remains confident a deal will be completed soon. "We're still working on and discussing the components of another extension to continue our relationship," Smith said. "Those components have not been finalized, but the process is moving along." Lowe's spokeswoman Chris Ahern said there was "nothing to report" about the nature of the company's talks with the track. SMI owner Bruton Smith, in Kentucky for this weekend's IndyCar race at Kentucky Speedway -- which is owned by SMI -- could not be reached for comment.(Associated Press)(8-1-2009)

    • Pocono Raceway to install a solar farm: Pocono Raceway is getting ready to "Go Green" by installing a three megawatt solar farm, which will power all the track's energy needs and support the local energy grid. A groundbreaking ceremony, conducted today (July 31), was held before a media corps covering the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 race weekend activities at Pocono Raceway. Working in conjunction with enXco, an EDF EN Company, and Evolution Energies the new Pocono Raceway Solar Farm will be constructed along Long Pond Road. The project is a 3.0MW photovoltaic array on approximately 25 acres and will consist of nearly 40,000 photovoltaic modules. The Solar Farm is being constructed on land that used to be parking lots that are no longer used due to a reconfiguration of other parking lots on Raceway property. The project is set to be completed by the spring of 2010. The new solar panel system will become the primary electric energy source for the race track and will also benefit the local power grid. With the deregulation of Pennsylvania's electric utility laws allowing more flexibility on power purchases, the track found there is no better time to upgrade their facility. Brandon Igdalsky, Track President said, "This new system will not only satisfy the Raceway's energy needs, it will allow us to help power close to one thousand homes and lower carbon dioxide emissions by 5,100 tons every year." The Pocono Raceway solar installation is unique in that it will be the only sports facility in the world to generate clean renewable energy on site which will more than offset its annual electricity consumption. This will in effect make the track the first truly "green" sports facility in the world.(Pocono Raceway)(8-1-2009)


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