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News from December 31, 2009
Full time gig for Kvapil UPDATE: per a Twitter post, supposedly by driver Travis Kvapil: I'm happy to announce my return to a full time Cup ride for 2010!! More details to follow. I can't wait to get back on track!".
Rumor had Kvapil in one of the Front Row Motorsports [#34, #37] cars in 2010. Kvapil drove a few races in the #37 Dodge/Chevy late in the 2009 season and John Andretti was in the #34 Chevy for 34 of the 36 races.(12-30-2009)
UPDATE: Travis Kvapil told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Wednesday that he will run the full 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for Front Row Motorsports. Steven Lane will serve as crewchief on the car – expected to be the #34 – with a new manufacturer to be announced in the near future. The team ran primarily Chevy's [#34 Chevy in every race, #37 a mixed bag] livery a year ago, with Dodges entered in selected events. “It will be a full-time, two- car operation next season,” said Kvapil, “but I can’t really say anything more until all the details are finalized. That’s all for the team to announce.” Sources tell Sirius Speedway that former NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Kevin Conway will fill the seat of the second Front Row Motorsports entry [which was the #37 in 2009, could run the #37, #23 or #70 in 2010], with sponsorship from Extenze Men's Health Supplement.(Sirius Speedway)(12-31-2009)
Furniture Row Racing hires McArdle & Crew Chief: Sirius Speedway has learned that former Richard Petty Motorsports Director of Competition Mark McArdle will resurface as Director of Competition at #78 Furniture Row Racing next season. McArdle was suspended and subsequently released by RPM after a confrontation with team owner George Gillett at Richmond International Raceway in mid-September, and said he is looking forward to his new position. "It's good to be working for someone I can really get behind," said McArdle. "Once Ray Evernham left RPM, things became more and more difficult. But (Furniture Row owner) Barney Visser is in it for all the right reasons, and he's putting the right people in place to be extremely competitive in 2010. We're just trying to wrap things up right now, and I expect an official announcement in the next day or two." Ryan Coniam will serve as crewchief on Smith's #78 Chevy, after working with rookie Max Papis at Germain Motorsports a year ago. Pete Rondeau, who served as Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s crewchief in 2005, has signed on as carchief.(Sirius Speedway)(12-31-2009)
Robby & team ready for Dakar inspection: Team Hummer was off to an early start this morning getting the Chile and Vanguard Hummers finalized and ready for inspection, which is in less than 14 hours away. It was a hot and windy day in Buenos Aires with the team working together to cross off their checklists. With help from local authorities, Team Hummer set up shop right across the street from the US embassy. With crowds gathered watching the team hard at work, they will carry on into the night making sure everything is right, perfecting every last detail. The scene in Buenos Aires is the "calm before the storm." There are teams from all over the world prepping their vehicles in order to take on the challenge of one of racing's toughest terrains. Robby Gordon and his fellow teammates are each prepared for what lies ahead of them. "Our time slot is on New Year's Eve at 2:15pm local time. As far as my Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer is concerned, we had few minor things to check off the list. I was excited to learn that the terrain will be a little different this year with even more sand dunes. The Hummers are fast there, so it should be good for us," commented Robby Gordon about the team's preparation for the following day.(RGM)(12-31-2009)
NASCAR fans support The NASCAR Foundation: Thousands of NASCAR fans across the country came out to support The NASCAR Foundation throughout the year, enabling the Foundation to raise and contribute $1.8 million in program services to nonprofit organizations across the country. A majority of the contributions went to affect the lives of children and families in need, especially in the areas of pediatric health, fulfilling "NASCAR Dreams," education and community service. The Foundation saw an increase in volunteer participation this year, in part due to a strong emphasis placed on community service through The NASCAR Foundation Volunteer Network – 10,000 NASCAR fans involved in community service projects. Record numbers of people came out to serve in their community this year, committing more than 10,000 hours to help those in need, including potentially saving 15,000 lives through The NASCAR Foundation Fourth Annual Blood Drive, raising enough funds to provide 250,000 meals to children and their families, raising awareness at the track about the importance of screening for breast cancer and collecting funds at the track that would enable over 150 kids to attend Victory Junction camp in Randleman, N.C.
More than $350,000 was contributed this year to organizations with an emphasis on pediatric health, including pediatric cancer and trauma research. The work being done by organizations like The Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital, the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma and Speediatrics is critical to helping children live longer and fuller lives.
The NASCAR Foundation also worked throughout the year to provide life changing experiences and educational opportunities for young people at the track. Throughout the season the Foundation worked with organizations to bring more than 400 kids to the track to get an inside glimpse to the sport, its personalities and learn about the engineering that goes in to putting a stock car on the track every weekend.
One of these groups was students from Phillip O. Berry High School in Charlotte, N.C. Through a NASCAR Day program, The NASCAR Foundation brought students from the school out to the track in May for a tour and meet and greet with 2009 NASCAR Day spokesperson Kevin Costner. In May, Victory Junction added The NASCAR Foundation to the elite founder list for surpassing the $1 million-giving mark. Since its inception, The NASCAR Foundation has given more than $1.5 million to Victory Junction through a variety of fundraising means, including NASCAR Day. Collectively, those efforts have sent more than 500 deserving children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses to Victory Junction for a life-changing experience. For more information on The NASCAR Foundation's 2010 projects or on the impact the Foundation made within the motorsports community this year, visit nascar.com/foundation.(12-31-2009)
2010 Daytona 500 Artwork and Program Unveiled: Commissioned by Daytona International Speedway, internationally known artist Jay Koka has completed designing the artwork and event program cover for Speedweeks 2010 and the 52nd annual Daytona 500. Koka's artwork depicts the 2009 Daytona 500-winning car – Matt Kenseth's #17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford – and runner-up finisher Kevin Harvick's #29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet racing side-by-side through around historic Daytona International Speedway. Koka has been a featured artist and poster artist for many international automotive events including the famed Pebble Beach and Meadow Brook Concours, Bloomington Gold, Reading Ferrari Concours, Eyes on Design, Ferrari Club of America Annual Meets and the Cavallino Ferrari Classic of Palm Beach. Koka is a 22-year member and serves on the Board of the Automotive Fine Arts Society. He enjoyed a successful corporate career in marketing prior to the formation of his studio in 1985, which is located near Toronto. Tickets for all Speedweeks 2010 events are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(12-31-2009)
News from December 30, 2009
Red Farmer hospitalized: Red Farmer, a member of NASCAR's legendary Alabama Gang, has been hospitalized with what his wife Joan said Tuesday has been diagnosed as double pneumonia. Farmer [36 career Cup starts], who still races at age 77, entered UAB West hospital in Bessemer on Saturday and is doing well enough that he might be able to go home on Wednesday. "He's doing good," she said. "They're pumping him full of antibiotics and he's starting to get sassy again." Farmer, who races regularly at Talladega Short Track, had been planning on racing his late model in the annual Ice Bowl race there on Jan. 10, the state's biggest dirt race of the year. His wife says he is still planning on being there. "I say no. He says yes," she said. "I said, 'No way are you racing.' He said, 'But it's not until next week.'" Whether he races or not, he'll be out of the hospital soon, she said. "The nurses are getting tired of listening to him complain about the food," she said.(Alabama Live)(12-30-2009)
Johnson wins Al Holbert Memorial Award: the Eastern Motorsport Press Association has voted four-tine Sprint Cup Champ, Jimmie Johnson, the Al Holbert Memorial National Driver of the Year. EMPA is made up of members who are journalists, photographers and broadcasters that cover motorsports on a regular basis. Johnson will have his award presented at the annual EMPA Convention being presented at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA, January 15 thru 17th. The presentation will take place during the NASCAR/EMPA Hall of Fame Dinner. Other events in the area include: Motorsports 2010 Race Car & Trade Show on Jan 22-24 and the Atlantic City Indoor Races on Jan 29-30.
Joining Johnson as recipients of special awards from the EMPA will be Richie Evans Memorial Northeast Driver of the Year Ted Christopher; T. Wayne Robertson Memorial Newsmaker Award winner Wall Stadium promoter Jim Morton; Junie Donlavey Spirit of the Sport Award winner NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competitor Wade Cole; along with John Blewett III Young Guns Presented by New England Racing Fuels Award winner Ryan Truex.
Four new members will be inducted in the Eastern Motorsport Press Association Hall of Fame. One of the true legends in dirt modified racing, Freddy Adam tops the list of inductees along with sprint car legend Steve Smith, Western Pennsylvania sprint car and super modified legend Lou Blaney and one of the founding partners of the weekly trade newspaper Gater Racing News Norm Patrick.
Long time Pocono Raceway public relations person Bob Pleban will be honored with the Art McHugh Memorial in recognition of his many years of support of the EMPA.(
Partners sue former Kentucky Speedway owner: A former minority owner of Kentucky Speedway is suing the racetrack's one-time majority owner, Jerry Carroll, seeking to have a judge declare he can't drop an antitrust suit in a move that would keep the litigation alive. A group of four trusts operated by Duchossois Group Chairman Richard Duchossois of Illinois filed suit Tuesday against Carroll, saying he doesn't have the legal right to stop an appeal of the suit against NASCAR. The lawsuit against Carroll, filed in federal court in Covington, comes a day after Duchossois asked the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider it's rejection of the antitrust litigation. The appellate court earlier this month threw out the lawsuit. Brian Goldwasser of Cincinnati, the attorney for the trusts, did not return a message seeking comment. Carroll declined comment on the lawsuit Tuesday.(Associated Press) See past news on the lawsuite on my Kentucky vs. NASCAR Lawsuit News page.(12-30-2009)
Daytona's dirt track opens: The new dirt track at Daytona International Speedway opened for business Monday and competitors said it had the same feel of the old oval at Municipal Stadium. "It is a quarter-mile lime-rock course," Speedway spokesman Andrew Booth said. "It's the same dirt they had over there. They pulled it out of the stadium and brought it over here." The flat track was built in less than three months outside Turns 1 and 2 of the Speedway tri-oval course. The World Karting Association held a day of practice Monday at the new racetrack before two days of racing. Booth said the area would be used for motor home parking for Speed Weeks. The DIS operations department will have about two weeks to put the track back together for flat-track motorcycle races in March.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-30-2009)
News from December 29, 2009
Stewart finishes 5th in Australian race: Local Sydney driver Ian Madsen has won the biggest race of his career by defeating the world's best Sprintcar racer Donny Schatz at Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway this evening. Madsen claimed victory in the $10,000 to win Hogs Breath Café International ahead of Schatz and Marty Perovich in one of the best races seen at the venue for some time. For the majority of the 30-lap journey Madsen, Schatz and Australian Champion Garry Brazier were engaged in a titanic battle for the top three spots. Schatz found his way to the front at half race distance and the majority of the large crowd expected that he would run away to dominate the race, however, it wasn't to be. Schatz's World of Outlaws team owner and NASCAR Legend Tony Stewart continued to adapt to the tricky Parramatta surface by setting the third fastest time during qualifying before finishing fifth in the feature race. "I've got a good car to drive and a great teacher with Donny here so I'm learning a little bit more each night and felt a lot more comfortable tonight compared to the first night I was here," said Stewart. "The track was definitely a little difficult tonight, the weather over the last couple of days has really made the track a little trickier than what I'm used to. I'm not used to them being quite as 'ledgey' as it was and cars kind of banging the right rear off the cushion, but it makes it fun. You have to work hard at getting into a rhythm and make consistent laps. I felt like over the last 15 laps of tonight's main I got a lot better and my lap times didn't fall off as much as the cars in front of me and I was making time. I've still got a little way to be as good as good as Donny, Garry and Madsen but I'm learning a lot. In saying that though, for a guy who only runs three or four Sprintcar races a year I've been pretty pleased with the last couple of nights." Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway will fire up again this Saturday night for the opening night of the $50,000 to win Scott Darley Memorial race followed by the final night on Sunday. Joining the American trio of Schatz, Stewart and Tim Shaffer at this event will be fellow American Jason Johnson and Australian stars Brooke Tatnell, Robbie Farr, Max Dumesny and Ryan Farrell.(BAM Media)(12-29-2009)
Movie being made about stock car racing: If you happened to drive by North Wilkesboro Speedway on Thursday [Dec 17th] afternoon, you may have heard the rumble of a flathead Ford making a few laps around the historic five-eighths mile circuit. It was all part of a music video shot at the track for a new song by recording artist Matt Dylan and members of the Midnight Steel Band titled "Carolina Moonshine." The music video is part of a larger production, a movie called "Red Dirt Rising." The movie is based on the book "Red Dirt Tracks," a work of historical fiction by Gail Gurley. The film is centered on the life of Jimmie Lewallen, as well as fellow drivers Bill Blair and Fred Harb, all of whom raced and ran moonshine. Set during the 1940s, the film is meant to accurately portray the life and times of those involved with stock car racing before NASCAR was a household name. "Red Dirt Rising" is scheduled for official release on Jan. 13 at Johnny and June's Saloon in Winston-Salem, NC.
Two of the big players behind the production of "Red Dirt Rising" are Gary Lewallen and Bill Blair Jr. Lewallen and Blair are the sons of drivers portrayed in the film, the late Jimmie Lewallen and Bill Blair. Blair, who volunteered his flathead 1939 Ford for the music video, hopes that the movie paints an accurate picture of what life was like for drivers back in those days.
Proceeds from both the film and the soundtrack will be put toward the Racing Legends Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization for which Lewallen took the chair after his father died in 1995. The shoot was closed to the public. NASCAR legend Junior Johnson and son Robert also appeared in the video shoot.(Wilkes Journal Patriot) more info about the movie at reddirtrising.com or facebook. More info about North Wilkesboro Speedway at savethespeedway.net and historicnws.com.(12-29-2009)
News from December 28, 2009
Robby Gordon ready for Dakar Rally: Just days until the start of the highly anticipated 2010 Dakar Rally, Robby Gordon and Team Hummer are preparing to head south to Argentina. The HummerS are flying like always, except they are soaring above the clouds at 40,000 feet. The #302 of Robby Gordon and #326 of Carlo de Gavardo left the team’s race shop in California on Saturday, December 19th to be transported to Argentina via airfreight while the team’s support vehicles left the shop in late November to be shipped to Argentina by sea freight. With the support vehicles and the Vanguard Hummer shipping in early November, it allowed the team to focus on the final details of the Monster / Toyo Tires Hummer and the build of the Chile Hummer for arguably the most grueling event in motorsports. Following Gordon’s first-in-class finish and third-place overall result in 2009, Gordon is more determined than ever to compete for the overall victory in his Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Hummer H3 in the 2010 edition of the Dakar Rally. 2010 will mark Gordon’s sixth appearance in the rally endurance race, and just the fifth appearance for Team Hummer.
Traditionally run throughout Europe and Africa, the 2010 Dakar Rally will take place in South America for just the second time in the rally’s 32-year history. Competitors will race on a 5,592-mile (9,000 kilometer) course while navigating across some of the world’s highest sand dunes and mountains. The event kicks off on January 2 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Competitors race over the Andes Mountains, across the Pampas plains and through the merciless Atacama Desert. After 14 strenuous stages, the competitors will return to Buenos Aires as they race to the finish. At the completion of the event, the heroes of the competition will celebrate in the village of San Carlos de Bolivar before returning to Buenos Aires for an even bigger celebration on January 17. Race Coverage of the Dakar Rally will be covered at robbygordon.com, planetrobby.com, dakar.com and Twitter. Versus will provide coverage throughout the United States. A 30-minute daily program featuring highlights from that day’s racing will be aired on Versus daily at 3:30pm with a replay airing later in the day. The show is set to air daily from January 3rd through January 18th, check your local listing for exact show times. A 60-minute recap show featuring all fourteen stages will air on Versus on Sunday, January 24th at 3:00pm.(RGM)(12-28-2009)
McMurray & Allmendinger to run Karts at Daytona: Hundreds of go-kart racers from across the country will spend their holidays at the Daytona International Speedway participating in World Karting Association races on three different courses. The Speedway's three-ring circus includes its famous 3.56-mile road course, the Sprint track in Turns 3 and 4 and the newly constructed quarter-mile dirt track outside Turns 1 and 2. For the third straight year, Jamie McMurray, is expected to return to his racing roots during Daytona KartWeek. AJ Allmendinger, who drives a Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, is also expected to compete in the karts. Meanwhile, Volusia Speedway Park is hosting the second day of its Christmas In Dixie dirt racing program. Those races are sanctioned by the American Kart Racing Association.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-28-2009)
Hendrick Motorsports VP receives honorary degree: Doug Duchardt, a 1987 graduate of Missouri University of Science and Technology, will be one of 10 alumnae awarded an honorary professional degree on Saturday during the school's winter commencement ceremonies. Currently the Vice President of Development for Hendrick Motorsports, Duchardt earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the university in 1987. During his undergraduate career, he joined General Motors as a co-op student. That relationship grew over time, and after achieving a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1992, Duchardt went on to become the director of GM Racing in 2003 and work closely with NASCAR teams. In 2005, he was named a vice president at Hendrick Motorsports, where he currently oversees race car design, engineering and production in the chassis, body and engine areas.
"I appreciate my alma mater recognizing what's happened in my career, but it's really the result of being surrounded by talented people at General Motors and Hendrick Motorsports," Duchardt said. "There are a lot of distinguished alumnae from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and it's humbling to see the list of people being honored and the previous honorees. It's also encouraging that colleges and universities are paying attention to what happens in NASCAR and that our industry is relevant with any other mainstream business."(HMS)(12-28-2009)
'Super' helmets a Victory this holiday season: Al Pearce, the former racing writer for the Hampton Daily Press and NASCAR correspondent for Autoweek, is an avid supporter of the Victory Junction. He’s been on most if not all of the charity rides. He believes in the camp so much that a few years ago he came up with the idea of having all the Sprint Cup champions living at that time to sign a helmet and then auctioned off each of the mementos, with all the proceeds going to the camp. Since then, he’s done the same with helmets signed by Cup champion car owners, Daytona 500 winners, Indy 500 winners, Formula One champions and Chase for the Championship drivers.
Running out of autographed auto racing-themed helmets that might have a broad enough appeal to generate bids in the thousands of dollars didn’t stop Pearce from discontinuing his helmet project. In fact, he may have come up with an idea that most likely will have the broadest appeal in a sports-themed helmet. Pearce is in the process of getting autographs of Super Bowl-winning coaches. So far in person he’s gotten the signatures of Joe Gibbs, Jon Gruden, Jimmy Johnson, Bill Parcells, Mike Ditka, Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin and Tom Flores. Currently, the helmet has been shipped to Florida to get Chuck Noll’s autograph. He’s already made arrangements to meet Bill Cowher in the Raleigh area once the helmet comes back from Noll.
That leaves Tony Dungy, Don Shula, Brian Billick, John Madden, George Seifert, Mike Shanahan, Barry Switzer, Mike Tomlin and Mike Holmgren. He hopes to get most of them by Super Bowl week.(High Point Enterprise)(12-28-2009)
Former Orange Speedway site could become highway: The N.C. Department of Transportation is considering a new road that would bisect the Occoneechee-Orange Speedway, NASCAR's third-ever dirt track. Built in 1948, it's now a natural area that attracts runners, dog-walkers, wild turkeys and dozens of racing preservationists. "This is sacred ground," said Apex resident and racer Gene Hobby, 72, touring the speedway on Wednesday. "DOT better not come through here."
Crossing the track is one of three DOT alternatives for routing traffic from N.C. 86 around downtown Hillsborough. All start near its junction with U.S. 70A and run north to U.S. 70 near St.Mary's Road. Boards oppose options The speedway route would also pass within 100 feet of the historic house at Ayr Mount, a plantation that turns 200 years old in 2015. Another route would knock out about 20 homes, and the third would pave Poplar Ridge overlooking the Eno River. The Hillsborough Town Board and the Orange County Board of Commissioners have opposed all three options. The boards prefer other means of relieving congestion along N.C. 86, the town's main north-south corridor, which passes directly through the quaint downtown. Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens calls DOT's alternatives "20th-century solutions for a 21st-century problem."
He wants to improve public transit and create multiple routes around downtown with minor realignments of existing roads. "They've got 100 ways to go around town without coming through here," Hobby said of the speedway. Vince Rhea, a DOT project planning engineer, said the Federal Highway Administration and the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office will scrutinize the speedway crossing because of its impact on the national landmarks. "If you've got another alternative that's feasible and prudent, you're going to have a hard time going through a protected property," he said. "They're not likely to do that." Rhea said the DOT and other state and federal agencies will decide by the end of March whether to proceed with the bypass. Construction would be unlikely to start for at least five years, he said.
Hobby and his partners in the Historic Speedway Group have spent the past two years restoring the track. They've cleared trees that had overgrown the dirt track and rebuilt the ticket booth, flag stand and corrugated metal fence around the grounds. Craig, now the group's president, figures they've spent about $70,000 and thousands of volunteer hours on the project. The Orange Speedway is one of three auto race tracks on the National Register of Historic Places. The others are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.(News and Observer)(12-28-2009)
Moody to Wave Green Flag at The Rock: Dave Moody, host of "SIRIUS Speedway" on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio 128 and lead turn announcer for MRN's NASCAR race broadcasts, has been named as the official starter of the Polar Bear 150 at Rockingham Speedway. Moody will wave the green flag at the New Year's Day event, officially starting the first race of 2010. The 2nd Annual Polar Bear 150, which will be held at noon January 1, will be a chance for race fans to celebrate the beginning of the 2010 racing season with competitive racing by the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals Series. The entry list, which already has 61 registrants, includes a combination of NASCAR drivers and crew members, drivers from the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards, and previous Rockingham winners from the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals Series. The 2nd annual Polar Bear 150 kicks off on Thursday, December 31, 2009. Gates open at 8:00am/et and practice sessions take place from 1:00-1:45pm/et and 3:00-3:45pm/et. Grandstand admission for Thursday's activities is free, and tickets for Friday are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Kids (12 and under) are $5. Military discounts and public suite options are both available as well. Tickets can be purchased at www.rockinghamspeedway.com or by calling (910) 205-8800.(Rockingham Speedway)(12-28-2009)
Atlanta Offers New Years Day Ticket Special: Atlanta Motor Speedway will kick off its 50th Anniversary season Jan. 1 with a one-day $50 ticket special for the 2010 Kobalt Tools 500 in March. This commemorative ticket special for the Kobalt Tools 500 will be available online at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com throughout New Years Day. The first of its kind, the New Years Day special offer is but one of many 50th Anniversary-celebratory opportunities that will be available to race fans throughout the year. Discounted 50th Anniversary tickets for the Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be located in the Petty and Winners Grandstands. Fans can purchase Kobalt Tools 500 tickets during the holiday season by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway’s ticket line at (877) 9-AMS-TIX or by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com to purchase online. The Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office will be closed beginning at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 23 for renovation through Monday, Jan. 4.(AMS)(12-28-2009)
News from December 27, 2009
Stewart finishes 7th in Australia: Four-time World of Outlaws Champion Donny Schatz continued his winning ways with victory in the Valvoline Australian Sprintcar Grand Prix at Sydney’s Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway on Saturday. Driving the Garry Rush-owned Pick’n’Payless entry, Schatz started the night off in flying fashion by setting the fastest time during qualifying before finishing second in his heat race. Schatz’s team boss in the World of Outlaws Series, NASCAR Legend Tony Stewart, was coming to grips with a rain soaked ‘heavy’ track during the early part of the evening before starting from the back row in the main event. “Tony is my boss 95% of the time and it's pretty neat to see him out here, he loves dirt track racing and loves these types of cars but I think tonight was a little bit trying for him. It was probably the hookiest and wettest track that he'd raced on in his life in a winged sprintcar and pretty trying for both of us to get him comfortable in the car. Tony came forward a long ways, learned a lot here tonight, had a lot of fun and got to see a lot of people out here.” Stewart came to grips with the challenging track surface during the feature race to steadily move forward before finding his way to seventh place in at the finish in one his rare appearances behind the wheel of an 800-plus horsepower Sprintcar. "I think to finish seventh from the tail was ok, it was a good first night for me, obviously not as good as my team-mate who won the race but he runs 100 races a year and I get to run three,” said Stewart. "I don't know how many days it is until we run again but I can't wait for it. I'm a little tired tonight, it is a set of muscles that I don't use very much but I had a blast. The rain really hurt the racetrack, it was hard, with the rain that we got over the last couple of days it was bound to make the track a little messy but I think everybody did a pretty good job considering the conditions.” Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway will light up again in two days time (Tuesday December 29) for the Hogs Breath Sprintcar International. More info at www.parramattacityraceway.com.au or BAM Media.(12-27-2009)
Driver from India hopes to run NASCAR: Starbeast Motorsports wants to be a startup team plucking talent from around-the-world to tap into the interest of the international market. In doing so they’ve entered a technical alliance with JTG-Daughtery [#47 Toyota], which is, itself, aligned with Michael Waltrip Racing [#00, #55, #56 Toyota's]. Last weekend at the ARCA test at Daytona International Speedway, Starbeast imported two stars of its’ own from Asia. Narain Karthikeyan from India and Darryl O’Young from Hong Kong. Narain Karthikeyan, a veteran of Formula One, the 24 Hours of LeMans (which feels to him like a single seater) and A1GP, had a blast adapting to the closed cockpit cars on Daytona International Speedway’s high banks. The first shock was climbing in through the window to get seated. “The weird thing, it was difficult getting into the car -- literally. Putting your legs inside the car and twisting your body. A couple of times I had my helmet on and it got battered and scratched. When we come here it’s a daunting task you have to start from scratch,” said Narain. “The only thing in common (to his experience) is the high speeds. You need to get a good feel of the car, honestly I think after three for laps I was okay and I got the hang of it. It’s quite bumpy and the car moves around a lot.” He said adding the most important aspect is “leeping it flat and hang on to it.” He added “there’s no downforce and it’s comparatively slow,” to the cars he’s driven. He’s hoping to get a shot at a NASCAR-type ride saying it’s “one of the options for next year if these guys can put it together. I’d love to have a go at it.(Auto123.com)(12-27-2009)
Sad News - Earl Sadler: Earl H. Sadler Jr., Age 87 of Nashville, TN passed away on December 24, 2009. Sadler is survived by his wife, Vera Goodwin Sadler; son, Chester (Check) Sadler; grandchildren, Michelle S. Mobley, Earl Harlin Sadler III, Chris Sadler, Ashleigh S. Sharp, Tara S. Janecki, Cara Sadler; great-grandchildren, Taylor & Brennon Mobley; Coleman, Caroline, Clay, & Nathan Sadler; Carson & Alexann Sharp. He had numerous nieces & nephews. Mr. Sadler was a Veteran of WWII with the U.S. Air Force & was the President of Sadler Brothers Trucking & Leasing Co. Mr. Sadler was a NASCAR Car owner, #95 [99 Cup races with two top fives, drivers include Sterling Marlin, Davey Allison and Jeremy Mayfield], a charter member of the Nashville City Club, Lifetime Elks (Franklin, TN), Moose Lodge, Star Route Carriers Asso., Sertoma Club, Founder & President of College Volkswagen in Murfreesboro. He was a philanthropist and helped many people.
Visitation is scheduled for Sunday, December 27th from 2:00-8:00 pm & Monday from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm at Phillips-Robinson Funeral Home, 2707 Gallatin Rd., Nashville, TN (615) 262-3312. Service is scheduled to be held at the Phillips-Robinson Funeral Home Chapel on Tuesday, Dec. 29th at 1:00 pm with Interment to follow at Spring Hill Cemetery. Honorary Pallbearers, Nathan and Clay Sadler, and the employees of Sadler Brothers Trucking and Leasing. Family and friends to serve as Pallbearers.(Tennessean)(12-27-2009)
Sad News - D.J. Richardson: Richard Childress Racing pit crew member Donald “D.J.” Richardson, Jr., passed away December 25 in a Massachusetts hospital from complications of the H1N1 virus. He was 37. Richardson, of Leominster, Mass., contracted the H1N1 virus over the Thanksgiving holiday. He was admitted to Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster for evaluation, where it was determined he was suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome. “All of us at RCR are saddened by D.J.’s passing,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “D.J. was a gifted tire changer, one of the greatest team players in the business and a valued member of the RCR family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.” Richardson joined RCR in July 2009 and finished the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as the rear-tire changer for the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team. He began his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with Andy Petree Racing in 1999. He has also worked for Penske Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Braun Racing. “I am shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of our friend and teammate,” said Matt Clark, director of human performance and leadership development of Richard Childress Racing. “Anyone who knew D.J. realized that below the tough exterior was a caring father, friend and teammate. He had a huge heart and would do anything to help someone in need. D.J. loved changing tires and was recognized as one of the top pit athletes at the position. I want to extend my condolences to his family and friends.” Details of memorial services in Massachusetts and North Carolina are pending and will be made available as soon as possible.(RCR)
sites a couple sites were set up for Richardson, some notes can be left on the facebook group: Get Well DJ-Updates and a website was setup for Richardson at getwelldj.com.(12-26-2009)
Arrangements: Viewing is scheduled for Tuesday, December 29th at Sailas F Richardson and Son Funeral home from 4:00-8:00 pm/et. 106 West Street, Leominster, MA 01453 (978) 534-9137. The Funeral is scheduled for Wednesday, December 30th at St. Marks Church, 60 West Street, Leominster MA 01453 at 11:00am/et. A memorial service is planned for the future, details posted when known.(12-27-2009)
He Crashed Me So I Crashed Him Back: Mark Bechtel has written a book with perhaps the longest title in NASCAR history: He Crashed Me So I Crashed Him Back: The True Story of the Year the King, Jaws, Earnhardt, and the Rest of NASCAR's Feudin', Fightin' Good Ol' Boys Put Stock Car Racing on the Map (New York: Little, Brown and Company). Yes, it centers on the 1979 Daytona 500, which ended with a Richard Petty victory and a brawl between Bobby and Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough. But Bechtel goes on to tell the story of the entire 1979 season, which began with a huge snowstorm keeping viewers up and down the East Cost inside their homes, available to watch what would be one of NASCAR's more noteworthy races. In the author's view, the 1979 season marked "the birth of modern stock car racing." The book will be released in February 2010.(NASCAR This Week), more info at hachettebookgroup.com(12-27-2009)
Buddha on the Backstretch: The Spiritual Wisdom of Driving 200 MPH (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, $27) by Arlynda Boyer is both "a race fan most of her life" and "a practicing Buddhist for more than 10 years." The book offers "personal improvement via popular culture."(NASCAR This Week), to order the book or more info, see mupress.org(12-27-2009)
The Dale Jr & Danica Ticket Package: Auto Club Speedway announced a limited number of the Dale Jr. and Danica Patrick ticket packages have been released in anticipation of Danica Patrick making her NASCAR Nationwide Series debut during Auto Club Speedway’s Stater Bros. 300 for JR Motorsports on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010. For only $88 (a $140 value), the Dale Jr. and Danica Patrick ticket package includes:
· Saturday general admission seat to the NNS Stater Bros 300 race and qualifying*
· Sunday lower reserved grandstand seat to the NSCS Auto Club 500 race
· Weekend Pre-Race Pit Pass and a Parking Pass
(* Danica’s participation in the Stater Bros. 300 is subject to qualifying results)
With children 12 and under FREE on Friday and Saturday of race weekend, the $88 Dale Jr. and Danica Patrick ticket package is a great value for the entire family. The Dale Jr. and Danica Patrick ticket package expires on Jan. 31, or while supplies last. To purchase tickets, visit us online at www.autoclubspeedway.com or by calling 800-944-RACE (7223).(ACS)(12-27-2009)
Fans will select logo for MIS Fan Appreciation Program: Fan appreciation is about the fans, so those closest to the program will vote on its logo. Race fans will choose the logo for Michigan International Speedway’s Fan Appreciation Program presented by LifeLock. The five choices for the logo are online at www.MISpeedway.com/fanappreciationvote. The contest will run through January 29. The logo that receives the most fan votes will be announced in early February. More info at MISDpeedway.com. Race fans who missed out on renewing tickets can leave a $30 goodwill deposit and ensure the best, guaranteed lowest prices in 2010. Deposits will be accepted through Jan. 5 only. After that, ticket prices will likely increase as demand goes up. Customers can log onto www.MISpeedway.com or call 800-354-1010 to leave a deposit.(MIS)(12-27-2009)
News from December 26, 2009
Clint Bowyer honored: NASCAR driver #33-Clint Bowyer has donated and raised thousands of dollars for good causes in his Kansas hometown in recent years, and now Emporia has shown its gratitude. Bowyer's racing career began on a practice track at Flint Hills Towing on Emporia's Graham Street. He was on hand Wednesday as the city unveiled a sign adding the honorary label "Clint Bowyer Boulevard" to Graham Street. "It's very gratifying, very humbling to think back where this was where it all started, and to see your name on top of Graham Street," Bowyer said. "It's such an important street to me and my family, it means a lot to me." Two years ago, Bowyer established the 79 Fund with the Emporia Community Foundation to aid the city and people in need. The fund has helped a city clean-up project and the city Arts Council's building fund, and this month provided 20 Christmas trees to Emporia families and shoes for 85 children enrolled in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. "I love this town," Bowyer said. "There's no better people than right here in Emporia. We're taking baby steps and looking at getting more money raised to put into the programs, and I'm looking forward to making (the fund) a bigger and better thing for the children and making the community a better place," he said. Although Bowyer is famed as a driver, he has looked to another sport — golf — to help build the 79 Fund. A charity golf event and auction he hosted in 2008 brought in about $160,000; this year, the event raised $250,000. Bowyer and the 79 Fund's board of directors are looking to the future and planning to make sure the fund can help as many people as possible. "We're looking forward to building on what I consider a good first two years," Bowyer said. "That's the thing, you want to be able to give back and you want to make sure it goes to a good cause that people are getting a lot of good things out of."(Kansan/AP)(12-26-2009)
Fancar ceases: fancar.com has officially closed it's doors as of December 7, 2009. Matt Ferguson, a fan who wanted to sponsor a Sprint Cup car, and devised a plan where all fans would have an opportunity to sponsor a car. He started FanCar, and thew fans sponsored the #08 Toyota that Terry Labonte drove at Homestead in November 2009. More info and images at FanCar.com and Facebook.(12-26-2009)
TRT helps out during the holidays: What started as a small project - Triad Racing Technologies owners Marty Gaunt and Mike Held decided to help out a family in North Carolina by providing them with a dinner and presents for the holiday season - blossomed into a charitable effort within the shop. TRT is a the supplier of Toyota body parts for teams in NASCAR's top three series. Working through a local charity group, it was soon discovered that there were quite a few families in need. After all, this has been a tough year for many, with people losing their jobs or taking cuts in pay in order to maintain the ones that they have. The news has been filled with reports of increased needs by groups like Toys for Tots and others that provide for children over the holidays. So as most things do, it started with a simple question. Are there many others who need help? Turns out there were. So it was mentioned during a staff meeting that there were others on the list. And soon, the people in the shop were lining up to participate in the program. It seems the project became the talk of the shop. People with and without children lined up to get a gift list for families in their area. They brought in presents, discussed what and why they purchased each one. Some weren't sure what to buy, so they gave money and allowed others to do the shopping. They came together, though, and perhaps found that they received far more than they gave through the experience. This week, 22 kids will benefit from Triad's effort.(SceneDaily)(12-26-2009)
Danica Patrick gets her own perfume: IndyCar Series racer and stock car rookie Danica Patrick is to get her own signature fragrance. The eu de parfum "Danica Patrick for Her" is scheduled to launch in mid-March, and will be sold in retail stores nationwide. The perfume will retail between $29.50 for a purse-size vial and $54.50 for the 3.4 ounce bottle.(Racer)(12-26-2009)
News from December 25, 2009
None posted on Christmas Day:
News from December 24, 2009
Gibbs working on contact extension for Busch UPDATE: J.D. Gibbs say he's close to re-signing #18-Kyle Busch and hopes to have the contract completed before the 2010 season.(FoxSports)(11-24-2009)
UPDATE: a high-ranking source has confirmed Kyle Busch is off the market. The source would not confirm when the extension was signed, but has knowledge of one that ties him to both Gibbs and M&M's through 2011. Sources at Joe Gibbs Racing could not be reached for comment by press time, but it appears that they have addressed the top priority on their Christmas wish list by stabilizing Busch's contract and by rebuilding the #18 Toyota this offseason. Busch can now focus on establishing a positive relationship with crew chief Dave Rogers and launching himself back into Chase contention -- although a one-year extension isn't exactly the type of deal that screams long-term association.(Sports Illustrated)(12-24-2009)
Sad News - Sharon Hutchens: Sharon L. Hutchens, 45, of Lexington, NC, wife of Stewart Haas Racing Competition Director Bobby Hutchens, passed away Tuesday, December 22, 2009. With her good friend, Michelle Hemric, they formed "The Pit Lizards" to help raise money to fight breast cancer. She was passionate in supporting the local Triad Chapter of the Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure" for fighting breast cancer. This past May, Sharon was the recipient of the first annual "Survivor of the Year" award presented to her by Hota Kotb after the 2009 Triad Race for the Cure. Sharon was preceded in death by her father, Steve Posti. Surviving is her husband, Robert "Bobby" Ray Hutchens, Jr., two sons, Taylor Lane Loaces a freshman at N.C. State, and Robert "Trey" Hutchens III a 6th grader at North Davidson Middle School. Also surviving are her parents, Annette Mills of High Point and Bill Mills of Thomasville; her sisters, Susan Hollowell of Tampa, Florida and Cathy Graham of Charlotte. A celebration of life service will be conducted at 2:00 pm/et on Saturday, January 2 at Pinedale Christian Church with the Rev. Michael D. Gates officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in her memory to Susan G. Komen, c/o The Pit Lizards, 1106 Burke Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101 or Camp Cheerio, c/o Sharon Hutchens Memorial, P.O. Box 6258, High Point, NC 27262. Online condolences may be made at www.hayworth-miller.com.(12-24-2009)
News from December 23, 2009
Budweiser Shootout eligibility rules change: NASCAR announced Wednesday a revision to the 2010 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona format that provides fans with a strong lineup of drivers highlighted by last year’s top performers and a collection of previous winners at the sport’s most-storied race track. The 32nd annual season-opening event launches Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 6 with green flag set for 8:10pm/et. The new criteria are based upon the following qualifications, with eligibility based on a driver having competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series within the last two seasons:
• The 12 drivers that qualified for the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup
• Past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions
• Past Budweiser Shootout champions
• Past Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 champions
• The reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year
“We’re always looking at ways to make this event bigger and better for our fans and we believe the new format for the Budweiser Shootout puts together an exceptionally strong lineup of our top drivers,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “In our discussions with the track, we thought by placing an additional emphasis on the drivers who had performed well at Daytona over the years would create an even more compelling element for the fans to get excited about at the beginning of the season.”
The race distance will continue to be 75 laps (187.5 miles), consisting of two segments – 25 and 50 laps. Both green-flag laps and yellow-flag laps will count. Between segments there will be a 10-minute pit stop allowing teams to pit and change tires, add fuel and make normal chassis adjustments. Crews will be permitted to work on cars and will be allowed to perform functions they would do on a normal pit stop in a regular NASCAR Sprint Cup event. All work must be performed on pit road or in the garage. Changing of springs, shock absorbers or rear-ends will not be permitted.
Starting positions will again be determined by a blind-draw at the annual Budweiser Shootout Draw Party on Thursday night, Feb. 4 on the SPEED stage in the Midway, outside Turn 4. The Budweiser Shootout – a “non-points” event for NASCAR Sprint Cup competitors – was first held in 1979, originally known as the Busch Clash. Kevin Harvick won last year’s event. Tickets for all 2010 Speedweeks events are now available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
Drivers eligible for the 2010 Budweiser Shootout include:
2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers: #48-Jimmie Johnson, #5-Mark Martin, #24-Jeff Gordon, #2-Kurt Busch, #11-Denny Hamlin, #14-Tony Stewart, #16-Greg Biffle, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #39-Ryan Newman, #9-Kasey Kahne, #99-Carl Edwards & #83-Brian Vickers
Others (criteria filled in parentheses)
#1-Jamie McMurray (Coke Zero 400)
#17-Matt Kenseth (Series champion, Daytona 500)
#18-Kyle Busch (Coke Zero 400)
#20-Joey Logano (Reigning Raybestos Rookie of the Year)
#21-Bill Elliott (Series champion, Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400, Budweiser Shootout)
#29-Kevin Harvick (Daytona 500, Budweiser Shootout)
#31-Jeff Burton (Coke Zero 400)
#55-Michael Waltrip (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400)
#71-Bobby Labonte (Series champion)
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400, Budweiser Shootout)
#34?-John Andretti (Coke Zero 400)
#75?-Derrike Cope (Daytona 500)
Geoff Bodine (Daytona 500, Budweiser Shootout) - no current ride
Terry Labonte (Series champion, Budweiser Shootout) - no current ride
Sterling Marlin (Daytona 500, Coke Zero 400) - no current ride
Ken Schrader (Budweiser Shootout) - no current ride.(NASCAR)
28 drivers are eligible, no word if all will run the event.(12-23-2009)
Stewart arrives in Australia: #14-Tony Stewart has arrived in Australia for an end of year holiday. He will be combining this holiday with four nights of racing in a sprintcar at Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway with his first night of racing coming on December 26 in the Valvoline Sprintcar Grand Prix. He will then contest the Hogs Breath International on December 29 followed by the $50,000 to win Scott Darley Memorial Race on January 2nd and 3rd. After landing in Sydney yesterday morning, Stewart met with several members of the Australian media on the Sydney Harbour in front of two Australian icons, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. See full transcript and images at the BAM Media website.(12-23-2009)
Motorsports Authentics fights to avoid bankruptcy:
In an all-out effort to avoid bankruptcy, the joint owners of Motorsports Authentics (MA) are attempting to reorganize the troubled licensed merchandise company and settle the millions of dollars it owes several NASCAR teams. MA's 50-50 owners, International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc., have been in constant contact with the top teams since the end of the season, with one of NASCAR's top executives, senior vice president Paul Brooks, acting as a mediator. It's uncertain exactly how much MA owes the teams, but its contracts with the best-selling organizations such as Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. guarantee each of them close to $3 million annually, industry insiders say. MA, which has lost money in three of its four years in existence, has been paying a portion of those guarantees, about a third to half, based on their merchandise sales. Officials from ISC and SMI declined comment, citing the continuing nature of the negotiations. But team officials characterize the talks as frustrating because there remains no clear merchandise plan for the sport and the season-opening Daytona 500 is less than two months away. MA is responsible for most of the sport's trackside retail activity and much of its licensed merchandise, although that model could change as part of the company's restructuring. Most team officials say they're willing to forgive some of the debt from MA, but they need a clearer understanding of the plan going forward before agreeing to a settlement. MA generated more than $200 million in revenue in 2008, the only year it has turned a profit, but MA's revenue this year will be a little more than $100 million, industry insiders say. The die-cast division accounts for a little less than half of the company's revenue.(
Sporting News / SportsBusiness Journal)(12-23-2009)
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America gets new home: The Detroit Science Center has reached an agreement with the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America to bring a significant portion of the Hall's collection of vehicles and displays to the Science Center. The Hall was formerly located in the Novi Expo Center in Novi, Mich. Cars, exhibits and other displays began arriving at the Detroit museum last week. Among them are Art Arfon's "Green Monster Cyclops," a Kenny Bernstein Funny Car and Sebastien Bourdais' Championship Indy Car. Admission to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America at the Detroit Science Center is included in Science Center museum admission. The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America will honor its new class of Inductees on August 25, 2010. The 22nd Annual Induction Ceremony will be held once again at the historic Fillmore Detroit. More info at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America website.(12-23-2009)
Free admission to Indy museum: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum is offering free admission to the Museum and the narrated track tour on Wednesday, Dec. 23 as part of the "12 Free Days of Indy Christmas." For the fourth consecutive year, IMS is participating in the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association?s popular program that offers the public free admission for one day to many of Indianapolis? top tourist attractions. The IMS Hall of Fame Museum houses one of the world?s most diverse collections of race cars and historically-significant automobiles as well as motorsports artifacts and art. The Hall of Fame Museum features more than 75 vehicles on display representing various facets of motorsports and automobile history including the Indianapolis 500, stock car racing, sports car racing and vintage luxury passenger models. The Hall of Fame Museum is open 9am -5pm/et on Dec. 23. For more information, contact the Museum at (317) 492-6784 or visit www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(IMS)(12-23-2009)
News from December 22, 2009
Nothing to report......................
News from December 21, 2009
Media selects top drivers, races of decade in NASCAR’s three national series: With the recently completed 2009 season closing out another decade of NASCAR racing, media members have selected the top drivers and top races of the decade for all three national series as voted upon in a poll on NASCARMedia.com. The listing of drivers and races for the poll was compiled following discussions with the three series directors and other long-time observers in the industry - and also resulted from direct input from NASCAR fans. #48-Jimmie Johnson was selected as the top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the decade, followed by #14-Tony Stewart and #24-Jeff Gordon. Johnson won an unprecedented fourth consecutive series championship in 2009 and posted 47 NASCAR Sprint Cup victories this decade - most of any driver. He is the only driver to earn a spot in the Chases for the NASCAR Sprint Cup all six years of the format's existence. The March 16, 2003 race at Darlington Raceway was voted the top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. In what is the closest Margin of Victory - .002 seconds - since the advent of electronic scoring in May 1993, Ricky Craven edged Kurt Busch to the finish line in that thriller. The Oct. 14, 2000 race at Talladega Superspeedway, which marked Dale Earnhardt's final career victory, came in second, followed by the March 11, 2001 event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with Kevin Harvick getting his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in a narrow defeat of Jeff Gordon.(NASCAR PR), see the results for the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series on those pages.(12-21-2009)
Allmendinger pleads no contest for DWI: AJ Allmendinger was given a suspended sentence, probation and community service after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired following a traffic stop on Oct. 29, SceneDaily.com reported. The 27-year-old driver was charged by Mooresville police after being pulled over at 1:27 a.m. in North Carolina. He was released after registering .08 on the Intoxilyzer. Allmendinger pleaded no contest in North Carolina District Court on Friday and was given a 60-day suspended sentence, 18 months unsupervised probation and 24 hours of community service, the Web site reported. He was also fined $100 plus court costs and his driving privileges were limited. Allmendinger had been placed on probation by Richard Petty Motorsports and fined $10,000 to be donated to charity.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(12-21-2009)
Congrats: Congratulations to Indy Car driver Ryan Briscoe and ESPN's Nicole Manske. They were married in Hawaii over the weekend.(12-21-2009)
Nationwide Series going to Road America: UPDATE: Despite the demise of the Milwaukee Mile, NASCAR still plans to come to Wisconsin in 2010. Elkhart Lake's Road America -- arguably the best road course in the country -- will host the Nationwide Series on June 19, the date that had been held for the Mile. That will make for a road-racing doubleheader weekend for NASCAR, with the Sprint Cup Series in Sonoma, Calif. Stock cars aren't entirely new to RA. Tim Flock won in NASCAR's premier division in its only appearance in 1956. Lower divisions have competed at the track, including the defunct NASCAR Midwest Series in 2001, a race won by current Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver Paul Menard.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(12-21-2009)
UPDATE: NASCAR announced that it will continue its 17-year streak of racing on a national-series level in Wisconsin with the addition of the historic Road America course to its 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule. The Road America 200 at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn track located in Elkhart Lake, Wis., replaces the event previously scheduled at the Milwaukee Mile and will be run on Saturday, June 19.(NASCAR PR)(12-21-2009)
Johnson named AP male athlete of the year: #48-Jimmie Johnson has been picked as the Male Athlete of the Year by members of The Associated Press. Editors at newspapers which are members of the AP selected Johnson after he captured an unprecedented fourth straight championship in NASCAR's premier series. He received 42 votes to beat tennis star Roger Federer and Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, who were the only other two athletes to receive vote totals in the double-digits. Albert Pujols, Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods, who was named athlete of the decade last week, each received nine votes. Johnson won seven races this season, including four in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, to coast to his fourth title. He's the first race car driver to win the AP honor.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(12-21-2009)
ARCA Wraps up Three Day Daytona Test: ARCA wrapped up a three day test at Daytona Int'l Speedway on Sunday afternoon where IZOD IndyCar Driver Danica Patrick took the first step in transitioning to full bodied stock cars. Under the watchful eyes of race fans and national media, Patrick worked with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. and the JR Motorsports team in the ARCA Racing Series garage to prepare for her upcoming stock car racing debut in the February 6 Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200. On Sunday afternoon, Patrick posted her weekend best 49.442 second/182.028 mph lap, placing her fifth among 29 drivers who participated in the Sunday afternoon portion of testing. Patrick and her team also spent portions of Sunday making simulated pit stops.
The three day test drew drivers from the world over, with Venezuela's Milka Duno, India's Narain Karthikeyan and China's Darryl O'Young joining US and Canadian drivers. Most teams used the session to prepare for ARCA's February 6 Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 season opener at Daytona Int'l Speedway (live on SPEED at 4:00pm/et) while others participated primarily to gain superspeedway racing experience in anticipation of future ARCA speedway races. Mikey Kile, who plans to run the full 20-race ARCA Racing Series schedule in 2010, recorded the fastest time of the weekend with a 49.164 second/183.061 mph lap on Saturday afternoon while drafting with Venturini Motorsports teammates Steve Arpin and Alli Owens.
Owens, a Daytona Beach, Florida native, joined Patrick as one of a record ten females who participated in Daytona testing, recording the fastest time by a female driver this weekend (49.192 seconds/182.957 mph) during Saturday afternoon's draft. Fellow Floridian Patrick Sheltra, who resides in Indiantown, topped the speed charts during the Sunday afternoon portion of testing. Robb Brent, in a Mike Allgaier-owned Dodge, concluded Sunday morning's session leading the speed charts with a 49.250 second/182.741 mph lap. And Patrick Sheltra was fastest Sunday afternoon at 183.016mph. For a complete rundown of Daytona Testing Speeds, visit arcaracing.com.(ARCA/DIS PRs)(12-21-2009)
Fans will again wave green flag at Martinsville: In response to the overwhelming feedback from the fans, NASCAR community and motorsports industry, TUMS and Martinsville Speedway announced that all fans attending the 2010 TUMS Fast Relief 500 on Oct. 24 will serve as the "Official Starter" for the event. In 2009 and for the first time in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history, TUMS designated all fans attending the event as the "Official Starter". More than 64,000 fans participated in the unique event, waving their commemorative green flag to start the 500-lap event at the storied racing facility. All fans attending the Oct. 24, 2010, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event will receive a commemorative green flag when they arrive at their seats. Following the lead of the NASCAR flagman, fans will participate in the official start of the race. Many other special activities are being planned to make the 2010 TUMS Fast Relief 500 a memorable event for the fans.(Martinsville PR)(12-21-2009)
News from December 20, 2009
Kellogg's moves from the #5 to #99 UPDATE: Kellogg's will sponsor Carl Edwards next season following a 16-season stint with Hendrick Motorsports [on the #5 and #44 cars]. Kellogg's will be the primary sponsor for two races on the #99 Ford and an associate sponsor for the remainder of the season.(FoxSports)(11-24-2009)
IMAGES see images of the #99 Kellogg's and #99 Cheez-It schemes on my #99 Paint Schemes page.(12-20-2009)
ARCA Testing Day 2: Danica Patrick Goes Drafting: During the second day of a three-day test session in preparation for the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 on Saturday, Feb. 6, open-wheel star Danica Patrick got a full day of on-track activity behind the wheel of the #88 Chevy for JR Motorsports. Patrick was able to work with her team and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. on adjustments to her race car as well as participate in afternoon drafting practice. "We had a good day," Patrick said. "We got out there and we did a bunch of single-car running. At the beginning of the day, we did a bunch of 10-lap runs to just get laps and get comfortable and get the line and get everything down perfectly. Then we went to some shorter runs and then we did some group running. We actually did a 40-lap run. It was a lot of fun. It's different than driving the cars that I drive. You can run so much closer and you can cross over each other. But you need to run really close so like there's no room for error if someone makes a mistake. That's going to be the challenge. But it was a productive day. I learned a lot and I feel really comfortable in the car. Tomorrow is going to be even better. Patrick was 25th fastest in Saturday morning session with a speed of 179.183 mph. In the afternoon, she posted a speed of 181.554, good enough for 19th fastest. In her other #88 Chevy in the afternoon session, she was 20th fastest with a lap of 181.375 mph.
Patrick said she gained valuable experience from the afternoon drafting sessions. "I guess you can run a lot closer than what I thought," Patrick said. "Two car lengths up above from my spotter is like on him for me. That's on him, you are on him in IndyCar. It was a little bit more challenging to get that last car length or get up on him. We even got to the point where they're like, 'give him a little bump down the straight.' I was trying but I couldn't catch him. It's getting into that mode that you need to be right on him to take advantage of the situation and stay with the draft."
Not just Patrick: While Danica Patrick's participation in this weekend's ARCA test is garnering plenty of national attention, there are nine other women drivers in attendance for the three-day test. The list of women drivers includes:
· Daytona Beach native and Atlantic High School graduate Alli Owens driving the #15 Venturini Motorsports Chevy
· Leilani Munter driving a Dodge for Mark Gibson Racing
· IndyCar Series driver Milka Duno, a native of Venezuela, testing the #90 Braun Racing Toyota
· Jennifer Jo Cobb in the #21 Bowsher Racing Ford
· Michelle Theriault, Jill George and Ashley Parlett are all testing Fords for Fast Track Racing
· Amber and Angela Cope, twin nieces of 1990 Daytona 500 champion Derrike Cope who are shaking down Dodges for Rick Markle Racing.
International feel: There is a strong international presence during this weekend's ARCA test with countries such as India, China and Canada represented. Narain Karthikeyan, who is the only Indian driver to ever compete in Formula 1, is testing with Starbeast Motorsports, a newly formed team that has formed a strategic partnership with JTG Daugherty Racing for technical and marketing support. Karthikeyan is unsure of his future stock car plans but would love a return trip to the 31-degree high banks for February's Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200.
Fastest of the day: Mikey Kile posted the fastest speed of the day in the #25 Venturini Motorsports Toyota with a speed 183.061 mph. The three-day test session, which runs from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, will conclude on Sunday and is open to the public with free access to the Oldfield Grandstands through the lobby of Daytona 500 Experience. Tickets for all Speedweeks 2010 events are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS and see )
AND The draft also produced the fastest speeds of the day with a trio of Venturini Motorsports drivers-Mikey Kile, Steve Arpin and Alli Owens--comprising the top-three positions on the speed charts. Kile's teammates, Fort Frances, Ontario's Steve Arpin and local, Daytona Beach, Florida, native Alli Owens, posted identical times (49.192 seconds/182.957 mph) while pushing Kile around the 2.5-mile track. Defending race winner James Buescher, in a Phoenix Racing Toyota, was fourth fastest in the Saturday afternoon drafting session, followed by Brandon McReynolds [Fox's Larry McReynolds son] in Eddie Sharp's #2 Toyota.
The ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards will return to Daytona Int'l Speedway for a third and final day of testing Sunday. Much like Saturday's schedule, Sunday morning will feature single car runs while teams will have the option to draft on Sunday afternoon. Live timing and scoring will be available at timing1.arcaracing.com. For a complete recap of Saturday testing, visit arcaracing.com.(12-20-2009)
News from December 19, 2009
Ten females testing ARCA cars at Daytona: Besides Danica Patrick, there are nine other female drivers at Daytona International Speedway for the ARCA Series test. Leilani Munter, driving the #59 Mark Gibson Racing Dodge; along with Alli Owens, Milka Duno, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Michelle Thoriault, Jill George, Alison MacLoud and Amber and Angela Cope [Derrike Cope's neices].(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-19-2009)
News from December 18, 2009
Danica Makes Her First Lap in ARCA car at Daytona: Danica Patrick made her first laps in an ARCA Racing Series stock car during a rain-shortened test session at Daytona Int'l Speedway on Friday afternoon. Patrick, one of 26 drivers who posted a time during the 35-minute single car run session, was 12th quickest on the charts with a time of 51.095 seconds (176.142 mph) around the 2.5-mile superspeedway. A trio of three cars fielded by long-time ARCA Racing Series team Venturini Motorsports comprised the top three positions in Friday's test session, led by fulltime series competitor Mikey Kile (49.804 seconds/180.708 mph). The first of a three day ARCA test session was shortened to just 35 minutes after rain plagued both morning and afternoon at the Daytona Beach-based superspeedway. Patrick was able to make just four laps at full speed during the session. "It's still a car once you get in it," Patrick said during a post test media center press conference on Friday. "I feel most comfortable once I'm at speed actually. Everything from getting into the car to getting the car started--that part feels quite different to me. It's not normal to me. The car gets pulled out to pit lane and you get in the car when its in its pit stall in an IndyCar and the getting strapped in part is something that I've been familiar with for a long time now so everything is a little bit different but once I get out there I feel good. I feel comfortable. These cars can run more lanes on the track. You're all the way to the wall and the car is good to go there. It's easier to drive there and in an IndyCar you can't use quite as many lanes usually. That's just one of the first things I noticed. The gear shifter has more travel. You have to pull something and no more paddle anymore. The clutch is long. It's just different stuff. But I wouldn't say that there is any instinctual stuff that is different which is the best part, right? Because I just get to be a driver and I get to do what I'm used to. I feel comfortable once I get going." ARCA Racing Series teams will return for two additional full days of testing on Saturday and Sunday. For a complete recap of Friday test speeds, visit arcaracing.com.(ARCA Racing)(12-18-2009)
Ford North America Motorsports names new director: Jamie Allison, a 22-year Ford veteran with experience in engineering, product planning and marketing, has been named director, Ford North America Motorsports, effective January 1, 2010. Allison, who most recently has been Ford Performance Group Manager, will replace current director Brian Wolfe, who has been named to a new position in global product development by Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Ford Global Product Development and Tony Brown, group vice president, Ford Global Purchasing. "I'm excited about the challenge of helping take Ford's racing program forward," said Allison, who has been part of the Ford Racing management team for just over six years. "For a kid who wanted to work for Ford Motor Company, to help carry forward a tradition that Henry Ford himself started is something special. Brian Wolfe really made a great difference in the program in his time as director, opening up so many opportunities to reach out, not just the professional racers, but to the grassroots and sportsman racers as well. He installed a philosophy that we were going to be 'racer-friendly' in all that we do, and we as a team will carry that forward." Allison joined Ford Motor Company in 1987, after graduating from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with an electrical engineering degree. For more information regarding Ford Racing's activities, please visit www.fordracing.com.(Ford)(12-18-2009).
Less crashes in 2009: For the second consecutive year, crashes and spins were down in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series.
Not since 2002 have there been fewer on-track incidents in the sport's top series, according to numbers compiled by USA TODAY. The results are surprising, given that NASCAR made double-file restarts the norm during the second half of the season, a move to spice up competition at the risk of additional mayhem. There were 195 crashes and spins during NASCAR's 36-race season (5.4 per race) compared to 211 (5.9) last year — an 8.5% drop and the lowest since 2002 (5.2). A closer look at the facts and figures for crash data from the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season:
• 83% of drivers who started Cup Series races in 2009 got their cars to the finish line.
• Accident damage accounted for 97 of the 258 cars (38%) that failed to finish races this season. All but one other non-finisher was the result of mechanical failure. One car was parked.
• Among drivers who drove all 36 races, Matt Kenseth showed the greatest improvement in avoiding accidents. In 2008 Kenseth was involved in 15 incidents and failed to finish three races due to damage. He logged only four incidents this season and his only two DNFs were due to engine trouble. However, Kenseth missed the Chase for the first time in 2009, even after winning the season's first two races.
• Not surprisingly, Martinsville Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway, the three shortest tracks on the circuit, recorded the most crashes and spins in 2009.
•NASCAR's longest race of the year, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, was one of three events to record only one crash or spin this season. The rain-plagued race, typically NASCAR's longest of the season, only went 227 of a scheduled 400 laps (340.5 of a scheduled 600 miles). The others were the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway and the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway, relatively wide two-mile ovals that mirror one another.
• According to NASCAR, competition improved. There were 2,272 more green-flag passes in 2009 than there were in 2008 and 38 more green-flag passes for the lead (863-825) this year.
• Despite an unusually large margin of victory (25.686 seconds) in the second race at Texas Motor Speedway, the average margin of victory in 2009 was 2.003 seconds, closer than the 2.216 margin in 2008.
• This season, 52% of race qualifiers finished races on the lead lap, up from 48% a year ago.
• The caution flag came out an average of 8.4 times per race, down from 8.8 times in 2008 and 10.4 in 2005.
Drivers with the highest total of crashes and spins in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series:
2009 -- David Stremme
2008 -- Sam Hornish Jr.*
2007 -- David Ragan*
2006 -- J.J. Yeley*
2005 -- Michael Waltrip
2004 -- Robby Gordon
2003 -- Steve Park
2002 -- Steve Park
(* = rookie)(compiled from USA Today and see the Crash Database there)(12-18-2009)
Danica Patrick to make Nationwide debut at Fontana? UPDATE2 maybe Daytona? After Danica Patrick announced she would supplement her IndyCar Series career by racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, informed sources said she will make her NASCAR debut at Auto Club Speedway in February. According to sources who requested anonymity as they are not authorized to officially speak on the matter, Patrick will race for JR Motorsports at the Feb. 20 Nationwide Staters Bros. 300 at the Fontana track. Her full Nationwide schedule is expected to be released in a news conference next week. "We have not heard anything," said David Talley, director of communications for the speedway. "I know our race fits into the window of racing before and after the IndyCar Series. If Patrick does race stock cars at Auto Club Speedway, it will mark her second appearance on the 2-mile speedway. In her rookie IndyCar season in 2005, she finished 18th in the Toyota Indy 400 after qualifying fourth.(Los Angeles Daily News)(12-10-2009)
UPDATE: Kelley Earnhardt of JR Motorsports announced Thursday that Danica Patrick's first NASCAR Nationwide Series race is scheduled to be at Auto Club Speedway in the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevy. Patrick's second scheduled race is at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Patrick is expected to run approximately 13 races, but the full schedule has not been determined.(SPEED's press conference coverage)(12-17-2009)
UPDATE2 - Daytona still possible: Her NASCAR debut is very much in doubt, but Danica Patrick and JR Motorsports made it official she will race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and the following week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Her GoDaddy.com-sponsored Chevrolet will have points from a year ago, which means she will not need to qualify. Patrick's first NASCAR race could be the Nationwide race at Daytona. Team co-owners Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick, however, will allow her to make that call following an ARCA race earlier on the high-banked track. "The race is basically a Cup race. Some 30-odd drivers from (Sprint) Cup running that race, and is that the right time for me to start or not? I'm really not sure," Patrick said Thursday at the JR Motorsports press conference in Mooresville, N.C. "You only get one grand opening, as I've heard. We want it to be the right opportunity. We don't want to overcommit and under-deliver."
"Daytona is just a beast," co-owner Kelley Earnhardt and general manager said. "As she alluded to, the experience of 30-some Cup drivers out there against what experience she is going to have. Is that a situation she wants to put herself into? It's a do-or-die. Do we want to put that to be her first entry point coming into NASCAR? You're always remembered by it. Dale Jr., his first Daytona race in 1998, he was upside down on his roof."(Inland Valley Inland Bulletin)(12-18-2009)
Original Kentucky Speedway owners will not pursue further legal action: Former Kentucky Speedway Chairman Jerry Carroll announced today the founding track ownership group will not exercise remaining legal options in the case of Kentucky Speedway, LLC v. NASCAR, et al. “On behalf of the original partners of Kentucky Speedway, I have informed our attorneys we will not pursue any remaining appeals in the case of Kentucky Speedway, LLC v. NASCAR, et al. While we still believe in the merits of the case, it is time to accept the decision of the courts and move on. I appreciate the continuing opportunity to assist and consult with Bruton Smith, Gov. Steve Beshear and our dedicated corporate partners to realize our shared dream of bringing a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to Kentucky,” Carroll said.(Kentucky Speedway)(12-18-2009)
Price Chopper, Kraft Foods Renew Sponsorship at Kansas: Kansas Speedway announced today that Price Chopper and Kraft Foods have renewed their sponsorship of the facility's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Price Chopper 400 presented by Kraft Foods, scheduled for Oct. 3, 2010. Starting with the 2010 season, fans can purchase a weekend only ticket that includes the Price Chopper 400 presented by Kraft Foods and the Kansas Lottery 300. Individual tickets for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 250 and the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 are also available. Fans can also purchase a season ticket that includes all four races and the new Kansas Speedway Track Pass that will allow access to driver introductions and Sprint FanWalk prior to each Sunday race. To purchase Kansas Speedway tickets, call 866.460.RACE or log onto www.kansasspeedway.com. Kansas Speedway continues to offer free parking and allows fans to bring in a 6x6x12-inch soft-sided cooler with their favorite food and drink.(Kansas Speedway)(12-18-2009)
Phase-one Demolition of Talladega Grandstands Complete: Phase-one demolition of Talladega Superspeedway's frontstretch grandstands is now complete. Crews have already begun preparations to pour the concrete foundations for new seats and wider aisles. More than half of the stadium's grandstand will be replaced in time for the April 25, 2010 Aaron's 499.
Talladega Superspeedway officials joined the staff of WTDR Thunder 92.7 FM to raise $13,700 during the thirteenth annual Bake A Christmas fundraiser Friday, Dec. 11. That number is expected to increase slightly as donations and last minute purchases continue to trickle into the station. The money raised will be used to provide Christmas gifts to less fortunate children throughout the track's surrounding region. Members of the Talladega Superspeedway and Thunder 92.7 staff encouraged listeners and race fans to bid on one-of-a-kind race packages on-air, while donations of baked goods, racing memorabilia and other items such as gift certificates from local merchants, flowed in throughout the day.
For more information on tickets to Talladega Superspeedway, please visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.(TSS)(12-18-2009)
News from December 17, 2009
Kyle Petty to appear on HLN show: Robin Meade teams up with sports talent from TBS and TNT for a year-end special like no other of an episode of With All Due Respect. Charles Barkley, Kyle Petty and Dennis Eckersley -- sports icons who aren't afraid to speak their minds -- lead a panel of special guests for a no-holds-barred look at the headlines from 2009. Tune in for the one-hour special on Sunday, December 20th at 10:00pm/et & pm/pt on CNN's Headline News.(HLN)(12-17-2009)
2010 ride for McDowell? Michael McDowell, who started 2009 in the #47 JTG Racing Toyota before bouncing around at the end of the year while looking for a ride [including running some of the 2009 Sprint Cup Series races in the #36 Toyota], reported that he has a deal for 2010. He posted a message on Twitter Thursday morning that, "Got my NNS deal signed and done. Story to come by Jan 1 no more start and park"(12-17-2009)
Tire testing at Auto Club done: Security at Auto Club Speedway was very tight Tuesday and Wednesday as Goodyear conducted two days of tire testing at the Fontana, CA track. Unlike other tire tests in recent year, the track was off-limits to all (especially the media) from 9:00am until the 4:30pm conclusion. At other tests, drivers often have time for noon interviews, but not this week. One team from each of the four manufacturers participated in the tests. #9-Kasey Kahne was in a RPM Ford for the first time while #12-Brad Keselowski made his first runs in a Penske Racing Dodge. Joe Gibbs Racing's #20-Joey Logano represented Toyota while Richard Childress Racing driver #31-Jeff Burton was in a Chevy. It was difficult to distinguish one model from another as all were in primer gray.
Tire testing can be a tedious exercise, but Burton certainly didn't have that attitude. He ran 500 miles on Tuesday and was prepared to run an equal number the following day, a few laps at a time. "We're hoping to help Goodyear get a better tire for Fontana," Burton said. "That's goal No. 1. Hopefully that's something we can learn. We really don't learn much about the race track because Goodyear doesn't want us to change the cars as they are studying the tires. I like testing, it's a real opportunity to learn, a real opportunity to try a lot of stuff. And for the driver, it's an opportunity to also try lots of different things." Since NASCAR implemented its testing ban following the 2008 season, tire tests are the only ones conducted at tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule.(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(12-17-2009)
DVD about "the Rise of Kahne" released: Kasey Kahne Racing announced the release of a new DVD entitled "The Rise of Kahne" that documents Kasey Kahne's rise from short track racing to NASCAR superstardom. The 90-minute, documentary style DVD narrated by country music star Dierks Bentley presents fans with an insider's gaze into Kahne's life on and off the race track. Arriving just in time for theholiday season, "The Rise of Kahne" is now available for sale at the introductory price of $19.99. "The Rise of Kahne" DVD features sit-down interviews with Kahne and members of his family, exclusive video and photos, archival racing footage, behind-the-scenes NASCAR and World of Outlaws footage, and a special bonus features section.(MMI), more info on the Racing Book News page.(12-17-2009)
Heluva Good! will continue sponsor Watkins Glen; adds Michigan: Watkins Glen International announced that Heluva Good! will continue as the title sponsor for the historic road course's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race through 2011. The two year agreement is a two track deal that includes the title sponsorship for Michigan International Speedway's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in June. The green flag is scheduled to drop on the 25th running of the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen at 1:00pm/et on Sunday, August 8, during its traditional weekend, and will be broadcast live on ESPN. Heluva Good! will remain the official dip product of Watkins Glen International for 2010 and 2011. The Sodus, NY-based company will become the title sponsor for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 13, and be designated the official cheese and dip products of MIS.
Tickets for the entire 2010 season including the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, August 5-8, and Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, July 2-4, weekends are on sale now! Fans can take advantage of advanced sale prices and new options by calling the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com.(WGI)
AND Race fans who missed out on renewing tickets at Michigan International Speedway can leave a $30 goodwill deposit and ensure the best, guaranteed lowest prices in 2010. Deposits will be accepted through Jan. 5 only. After that, ticket prices will likely increase as demand goes up. More info at MISpeedway.com.(12-17-2009)
News from December 16, 2009
Marty Reid Will Call ESPN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Races in 2010: Marty Reid, whose 28-year career with ESPN has touched all forms of motorsports the network has covered, will expand his role and join analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree in the booth as lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s full season of NASCAR coverage in 2010. Reid will call the action for all 17 of ESPN’s NASCAR Sprint Cup races as well as many of the network’s NASCAR Nationwide Series telecasts. He was lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s IndyCar Series coverage and selected NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2009.
Returning to a role he helped define for ESPN for more than 20 years, Dr. Jerry Punch will join ESPN’s team of pit reporters for 2010, working both Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races. Punch was lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s Sprint Cup coverage the past three years. “This group gives us the most versatile and comprehensive team in motorsports, and strengthens us in the booth,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, studio and event production. “We play to the strengths of our announcers, and Marty’s strength is calling the tactical aspects of the race while deferring to the analysts. And from the early days of our NASCAR coverage, Jerry helped evolve the significant role that reporting from the pits plays,” Williamson said. “He will bolster our already-strong stable of pit reporters.”
All other members of the NASCAR on ESPN race coverage team will return in 2010, including analysts Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty, Tim Brewer and Ray Evernham, NASCAR Countdown host Allen Bestwick and pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch. Specific assignments and schedules will be announced later.
In addition to his expanded role with NASCAR, Reid will continue as the lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s five-race IndyCar Series schedule, including the Indianapolis 500. ESPN’s 2010 NASCAR season begins with live, flag-to-flag coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series opener at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Feb. 13. The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race on ESPN’s schedule is at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 25.(ESPN)(12-16-2009)
Johnson wins 2009 Driver of the Year Award: #48-Jimmie Johnson was elected by an elite panel of broadcasters and journalists the 2009 Driver of the Year. Johnson becomes only the fourth three-time Driver of the Year winner, following other racing greats Mario Andretti, Darrell Waltrip, and Jeff Gordon. Gordon is the only four-time Driver of the Year, America's original race driver's award.
Johnson rewrote NASCAR records as he won his fourth- straight Sprint Cup championship, the first driver to do so. Johnson the Driver of the Year in 2006 and 2007 also won the fourth quarter 2009 Driver of the Year award. In spite of all the trophies and honors, especially around the busy NASCAR Champion's week, Johnson was a bit surprised when he was informed of the panel's decision - "fantastic, cool," he said adding "it will take some time to sink in."
"It's an amazing accomplishment, I'm proud to be considered," he added. When advised of the members of the panel and that top drivers from all US series are eligible for the award, Johnson noted "when you look at the all the people being considered it's not a popularity contest." Professionals, who voted in a secret ballot for a single driver, gave Johnson 13 votes, Kyle Busch received two votes, and Mark Martin received one vote. In its' 43rd year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the original award of its' type that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States. A panel of 20 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. are eligible to vote via a secret ballot. Four votes were not tabulated this year. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch which will be presented at a place and time to be announced later.(Driver of the Year Foundation PR)(12-16-2009)
Kulwicki family's gifts gain recognition: Alan Kulwicki's family has been recognized through the NMPA's Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award for recent gifts to two universities. The family has committed nearly $1.9 million to support engineering education at UNC Charlotte through a trust fund established by the late driver's stepmother, Thelma H. Kulwicki. The money will support student scholarships and a new motorsports engineering facility on campus. The family of NASCAR’s 1992 Cup champion also contributed nearly $630,000 to his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The gift will be used for scholarships and to help establish the Alan Kulwicki Memorial Student Center.
Also receiving fourth-quarter votes from members of the National Motorsports Press Association were Jeff Gordon, Sam Hornish Jr., and 11-year-old R.J. Fink of Ross County, Ohio, who donated his go-kart winnings to Denny Hamlin’s foundation. Charlotte Observer writer David Poole was recognized posthumously through the group's first-quarter vote. Jeff Kerr, a jackman at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, was honored in the second quarter. Tony Stewart was the third-quarter recipient.(Charlotte Observer)(12-16-2009)
Ernie Irvan drops suit against farm: Farmer Pete Ambrose is relieved that former race car driver Ernie Irvan and his wife, Kim, dropped a lawsuit that he says could have put him out of business. But he's not sure the matter is done. The Irvans, who live next door to the Ambrose Family Farm, filed a civil suit last month against Ambrose and his business, Rockland Avenue LLC. Ambrose owns and operates a 130-acre "community supported agriculture" farm, known as a CSA. That's a type of farm where people purchase a "share" at the start of a growing season and then pick up a supply of fruits and vegetables each week. Kim Irvan said Friday that she and her husband, a Daytona 500 winner, dropped the lawsuit, but they don't want to comment on the matter until next week. The lawsuit would have left it up to a judge to decide whether Ambrose's farm violated the covenants of the Selkirk Property Owners Association, of which Ambrose and the Irvans are members. The association's covenants, which govern the use of the land, prohibit retail and commercial activities but allow generally accepted farming practices. The Irvans' position is that having people pick up shares at the farm, and running a U-pick berry business in April and May are commercial activities; Ambrose's position is that they are basic farm practices.(Post and Courier)(12-16-2009)
National Speedway Directory Co-Founder Retires: Frost Motorsports, LLC, a financial advisory firm for the motorsports industry, has acquired “National Speedway Directory” from Allan E. Brown. The deal includes Speedwaysonline.com and “The History of America’s Speedways.” Allan E. Brown will remain as a consultant to the publication. He has been associated with National Speedway Directory for over 30 years. Widely recognized as an authoritarian on the history of auto racing, Allan E. Brown has visited over 2,000 auto racing facilities. He has received the RPM Promoters Workshops prestigious “Stew Reamer Award” for lifetime service to the weekly auto racing industry. Frost Motorsports, LLC President Timothy W. Frost said, “National Speedway Directory is a highly respected publication. It is considered as the authoritative source for racing facility information. We are excited to continue the tradition, while exploring opportunities for growth.” National Speedway Directory is an information source for the motorsports industry. It prints listings of oval tracks, dragstrips, road courses, sanctions, publications, museums and race schedules. National Speedway Directory has been published annually since 1975.(PR)(12-16-2009)
Johnson finalist for Mario Andretti Trophy: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, NHRA Top Fuel king Tony Schumacher and World Superbike phenom Ben Spies each made history in 2009 and these ultra-talented racers are among 15 finalists for the 2009 SPEED Performer of the Year and the Mario Andretti Trophy as part of the 4th Annual SPEED Performance Awards.
Johnson, a three-time winner of the Andretti Trophy, scored his fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title, a feat unmatched in the history of the sport. Schumacher, a runner-up for the Andretti Trophy in 2008, lost longtime crew chief Alan Johnson and most of his crew when Johnson formed his own team with Sheik Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar at the end of last season, yet won his unprecedented sixth consecutive Top Fuel championship and seventh overall. Spies, a rookie on the World Superbike circuit in 2009 and a SPEED Performance Awards nominee for Rookie of the Year, needed no time at all to adjust to his new surroundings, dominating the series with 14 race wins in 28 starts and a record-breaking 11 pole positions. In a single season of racing, Spies already is tied for 12th on the all-time World Superbike career wins list.
Other finalists for the 2009 SPEED Performer of the Year are Jenson Button (Formula One), Joey Saldana (WoO), Dario Franchitti (IndyCar), Scott Dixon (IndyCar), Kyle Busch (NASCAR), Valentino Rossi (MotoGP), David Brabham (ALMS), 2007 SPEED Performer of the Year runner-up Donny Schatz (WoO), James Stewart (Supercross), Mark Martin (NASCAR), Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty (Grand-Am) and Sebastian Vettel (Formula One).
The 2009 SPEED Performer of the Year will be selected by a panel including Andretti, "Wind Tunnel" host Dave Despain, veteran broadcasters Bob Varsha and Ralph Sheheen, SPEEDtv.com writers Robin Miller and Tom Jensen, versatile racers Tommy Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder and a select group of SPEED motor sports producers. The winner receives the Mario Andretti Trophy, created by bronze artist Elie Hazak. Nine additional “fan chosen” SPEED Performance Awards are open for voting at www.speedperformanceawards.com through Dec. 20, with winners being announced as part of a one-hour television special in February.(SPEED)(12-16-2009)
No NASCAR race at Milwaukee Mile in 2010: The Milwaukee Mile, the oldest continually operating motor speedway in the country, won't be hosting a national race in 2010. That was the word late Wednesday from Wisconsin State Fair Park officials, who said there would be no NASCAR or Indy Racing League racing next year at the famed Mile. "I'm sorry for this," was the message Susan Crane, chairwoman of the State Fair Park Board, said she wanted to tell race fans. "We tried to do everything we could to secure racing. But we're not giving up." The announcement is a blow to motorsports fans in the region and a blow to community pride. Both Crane and Craig Barkelar, the fair's interim executive director, said they hoped to bring national racing back to the Mile in 2011.
Crane and Barkelar said that, after Wisconsin Motorsports, the race promoter that staged races last summer, went out of business, they tried to negotiate with four different promoters. State Fair officials said they hoped to generate some revenue next year with car clubs, driving schools and some tire and car testing. There is also the hope of staging some regional races next year. NASCAR had scheduled two races for next June: the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck series. NASCAR now is backing away, though the race body has not yet made that official.(in part from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also a story at BizTimes)(12-16-2009)
Richmond making seats bigger, lessen seat count: hearing that many Richmond International Raceway ticket holders are being or have been contacted about moving current seat assignments as the track is expanding seat width 2" to 4" for the 2010 season. RIR is currently listed as having 112,029 total seats. No word how many seats will be re-sized or how it will affect the seat count.(12-16-2009)
Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities grants $275,000 to charities: The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities hosted its annual Grant Distribution and Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Las Vegas Chapter awarded $275,000 to 78 local children's charities at the ceremony. Children from all recipients were invited to attend and the event, which included musical entertainment by Malia Civetz and dancing by the Culture Shock dance group. The evening concluded with a visit from Santa Claus (delivered to the speedway in a Richard Petty Driving Experience stock car) and gifts for each child. Fund raising events for the 2009 season included the Mel Larson Night of Champions Presented By Autotrader.com (which honored Carroll Shelby), the 11th annual NASCAR Driver Auction at Sam's Town Live!, the chapter's seventh annual golf tournament and the sixth annual Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament at the Cannery Hotel & Casino. Making a difference in a child's life is the focus of Speedway Children's Charities. SCC strives to do this in collaboration with the non-profit organizations it supports nationwide. Individually, SCC's local chapters identify the needs of children in their communities and award grants to organizations that address them.
News from December 15, 2009
Investors in a NASCAR merchandise wholesale business cheated: A Los Angeles man has pleaded not guilty to running a Ponzi scheme that cheated about 50 investors in a NASCAR merchandise wholesale business out of at least $10 million. Federal prosecutors say 63-year-old Eliott Dresher was arraigned Monday and ordered held pending trial in U.S. District Court. The U.S. attorney's office says Dresher claimed investors' money would be used to buy NASCAR apparel and sell it to stores. He claimed he had $70 million in various accounts and his business would return 20 percent every six months.
Prosecutors say Dresher ran his scheme for about 10 years before it collapsed last year when he couldn't make payments to investors.(Associated Press)(12-15-2009)
Sports Biz 50 Most Influential: NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France is ranked 16th on Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal's list of the 50 most influential people in sports business. He was 9th on the list in 2008. The article states, "Jim France, Brian's uncle, might technically own NASCAR, but Brian still runs it. The son of Bill France Jr., Brian oversees the day-to-day operations and the unit chiefs report directly to him. Brian is still the best-positioned France to dictate the direction of the sport, whether through instituting cost containment measures for teams, tweaking the Chase for the Sprint Cup format or setting the overall agenda. And if he decides to wield his influence on an issue, his voice will be heard above all others." Jim France, Chairman of International Speedway Corporation, returns to the list this year at 45th. NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick, who wasn't ranked in 2008, is on the list in 36th. TV executives on the list include: #3 George Bodenheimer, President of ESPN/ABC Sports (who was first last year) and #8 David Hill, Chairman of Fox Sports. See the complete list at the Sports Business Journal.(12-15-2009)
Walmart Joins Victory Junction's Elite Founder List: Victory Junction founders Kyle and Pattie Petty announced during the fourth Annual Run to Victory that Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has joined its elite Founder list by donating more than $1 million to the camp which serves children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses. Walmart supports Victory Junction in many different ways. Through the "Miles for Smiles" program, NASCAR Day activities and Kyle Petty's Charity Ride, Walmart has provided life-changing experiences for more than 500 campers. "Miles for Smiles" is a one-week annual campaign during which Walmart donates $.02 to Victory Junction for every safe mile driven by its transportation team.(Victory Junction PR)(12-15-2009)
News from December 14, 2009
Looks like Addington to Penske?: UPDATE: hearing that former #18-Kyle Busch crew chief, Steve Addington, will become the new crew chief for #2-Kurt Busch at Penske Racing. Announcement could come early next week.(12-12-2009)
UDPATE: Steve Addington will head up the #2 Miller Lite Dodge team beginning in 2010. The 45-year-old Addington, who was crew chief for 12 NASCAR Cup Series victories over the last two seasons, will team up with driver Kurt Busch and the Miller Lite squad that is coming off a strong fourth-place finish in the 2009 series championship standings. "Steve Addington has a proven track record of success in NASCAR and we are excited to welcome him to Penske Racing," said Roger Penske. "By adding Steve to the winning Miller Lite team and working closely with Kurt, we believe we have the combination in place to compete for a championship as we head into the 2010 season."(Penske Racing PR)(12-14-2009)
Rusty Wallace forms alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing: Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing announced the formation of a technical alliance between the two teams, under which JGR will provide RWR with technical support for the development of NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota Camry race cars. In the last two Nationwide Series seasons, RWR has fielded a pair of Chevy Impalas and in 2009 was the only team with multiple drivers among the top-ten in the year-end driver standings. For the 2010 season, the team will campaign factory-backed Toyota Camrys, with engines provided by Triad Racing Development. Stated RWR team owner, Rusty Wallace, “We’re excited about working with J.D. (Gibbs) and his guys; they’ve built a very solid Nationwide Series program over the past several seasons. Between all of the support that we’re receiving from Toyota and this new partnership, I feel that 2010 will be a strong year for our team.” Regarding the partnership, JGR President J.D. Gibbs noted, “We’re looking forward to working with Rusty and his team at RWR. We’re excited to have them join the Toyota camp next year in the Nationwide Series and we look forward to providing assistance to their program as well.”(RWR PR)(12-14-2009)
Stewart racing in Australia: Tony Stewart, will be heading 'Down Under' to compete at Sydney's Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway later this month. Stewart will join four-time World of Outlaws Champion Donny Schatz and All Star Series Champion Tim Shaffer in an American invasion of Sydney's famous Speedway venue over the Christmas/New Year period. Not since Stewart's hero A.J. Foyt raced at the Liverpool City Raceway during 1975 and 1976 has Australia played host to a modern day super hero of the American ovals during the peak of their career. The American trio will take to the Tyrepower Parramatta City Raceway for the first time on Saturday December 26 for the Valvoline Australian Sprintcar Grand Prix before backing up a few days later (December 29) for the Hogs Breath Sprintcar International. The December 29 event will also feature a Demolition Derby. On the first weekend in the New Year (January 2 & 3) Stewart, Schatz and Shaffer will be joined by fellow American Jason Johnson and Australia's best including Brooke Tatnell, Max Dumesny, Robbie Farr, Ryan Farrell and Kerry Madsen to battle for the $50,000 to win Scott Darley race presented by Coca Cola.(BAM Media PR)(12-14-2009)
- U.S. House Votes to Extend NASCAR Track Tax Breaks: Extending temporary tax breaks has become nearly routine for Congress, but pressure is building to review the provisions and perhaps send some to the trash heap. A tax break for NASCAR racetrack facilities has been singled out as suspect by some Democrats on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. "I questioned it. I have not seen its usefulness," said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D., N.J.). "I thought this would be a good example to get to the bigger question of do these things work anymore?" The NASCAR break, estimated to cost $45 million to extend for one year, is included in the bill passed by the House on Wednesday. It is important to race complex operators including Speedway Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corp. The provision allows a quicker, seven-year depreciation schedule for new construction and improvements to racetracks, grandstands, parking lots and other parts of track facilities. It was first enacted in 2004 tax legislation, after track operators argued they deserved similar depreciation treatment as theme-park rides and equipment, rather than the longer amortization periods used by operators of sports stadiums.(Wall Street Journal)(12-14-2009)
News from December 13, 2009
Danica tests with JR Motorsports: According to a photo posted on Dale Earnhardt, Jr's Facebook page, Danica Patrick tested a JR Motorsports Chevy at Walt Disney World Speedway on Friday.(12-13-2009)
RCR Pit Crew Member Recovering in Massachusetts Hospital UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing pit crew member Donald "D.J." Richardson is recovering in a Massachusetts hospital from severe complications due to the H1N1 virus. Richardson, 37, of Leominster, Mass., approximately 35 miles northwest of Boston, joined RCR in July 2009 and finished the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as the rear-tire changer for the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team. He contracted the H1N1 virus during a visit to Massachusetts over the Thanksgiving holiday. His condition worsened due to the onset of pneumonia before he went to Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster for evaluation. Doctors quickly admitted Richardson to the hospital's intensive care unit with acute respiratory distress syndrome. "Our thoughts and prayers are with D.J. and his family during this very trying time," said Mike Dillon, RCR's vice president of competition. "All of us at Richard Childress Racing and Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines wish him a full and speedy recovery." Richardson is unable to accept phone calls or flowers from well-wishers while in the intensive care unit. His family has asked that cards, letters and notes of encouragement be sent to his attention at his father's house: Donald Richardson, 494 Merriam Avenue, Leominster, Massachusetts 01453. Richardson began his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with Andy Petree Racing in 1999. He has also worked for Penske Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Braun Racing. The RCR communications department will continue to provide updates on Richardson's status. A Facebook Groups page entitled "Get Well DJ-Updates" has also been created.(RCR)(12-7-2009)
UPDATE: a website has been setup to help Richardson, more info at getwelldj.com.(12-13-2009)
News from December 12, 2009
Rick Russell out at Petty: Rick Russell is the latest casualty in the Richard Petty Motorsports/Yates Racing merger. The president of the team has parted ways with the company, sources told FOXSports.com. Russell, who had been with Evernham Motorsports since its inception in 2000, came to the company following a seven-year stint with Action Performance (currently Motorsports Authentics) where he served as vice president and general manager. Max Jones, principal of the team formerly known as Yates Racing, will assume Russell's position.(Fox Sports)(12-12-2009)
Valvoline to sponsor Kenseth: hearing and seeing that Valvoline will sponsor #17-Matt Kenseth in a few 2010 Sprint Cup races. No word how many or which races. See an image of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(12-12-2009)
Looks like Addington to Penske?: hearing that former #18-Kyle Busch crew chief, Steve Addington, will become the new crew chief for #2-Kurt Busch at Penske Racing. Announcement could come early next week.(12-12-2009)
Judge's orders Brian France case files opened: A Mecklenburg judge on Friday ordered the unsealing of previously secret court files in NASCAR Chairman Brian France's legal battle with his ex-wife. Lawyers said District Judge Jena Culler's ruling also means courtroom hearings in the case will also be open to the public. France had argued against that on the grounds that it could cause disclosure of information protected by a confidentiality agreement. France's attorney indicated in court that he will immediately appeal to the N.C. Court of Appeals, and that he wants no information revealed before the higher court rules. The judge isn't expected to issue a written order before the middle of next week, and she said no information will be released before then. France had filed a civil case against his ex-wife, Megan France, last year, a few months after they divorced in Florida. The judge found that while the Frances have a private interest in keeping details of their dispute secret, there is no compelling public interest.(Charlotte Observer)(12-12-2009)
Full Nationwide season for Harvick? Defending Nationwide Series champion Kyle Busch says he still plans on running 25 races next season but is tempted to try the full schedule again after learning Cup drivers Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick also might try to run both series full time. "We can't let Carl and Kevin walk over everyone," Busch said with a laugh. "We've got to give them a run for their money."(USA Today)(12-12-2009)
Duno to test ARCA car for Braun Racing: [Indy car driver] Milka Duno will make her stock car debut during the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards open test at Daytona International Speedway December 18, 19 and 20, 2009. Milka will participate in the test behind the wheel of Braun Racing's #90 Toyota. While no stranger to the Daytona Beach, FL-based track, this will be Milka's first opportunity to go around the 2.5-mile tri-oval in a metal-skinned stock car. Her #90 Camry will have less downforce than either the IndyCar Series cars she's driven the past three seasons, or the Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes that she competed in for the three seasons before that. With a second-place finish in 2007, Milka holds the record for the highest finish ever by a female driver in the 45-year history of the 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. Starting with her four-win season in the American Le Mans Series in 2001 and continuing through her thee-win Rolex Series years, Milka has been offered opportunities to compete in stock cars and in the NASCAR Series virtually every season since.(Braun Racing PR)(12-12-2009)
Racing Electronics Introduces Ear Molds: Racing Electronics announced at the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Orlando, FL, the grand opening of the company's in-house custom ear mold laboratory. Previously, R.E. relied on an outside vendor to make custom ear molds, but now, they have the capability to do all custom molding for its customers in-house at the company's world headquarters in Concord, NC. "By bringing this process in-house, Racing Electronics is able to offer a better value to the customer," said Bruce Silver, Owner of Racing Electronics. "We are now capable of a one-day turnaround and the ability to provide more of a custom-fitting mold that will increase the quality of the audio signal to the customer." Being able to fit and produce a customer's molds at one time and in one location increases the quality and reduces the turnaround time to the customer. Racing Electronics' newly designed custom molds feature better fit, softer material and a more robust service life. Racing Electronics' head ear mold lab technician, Rick Germain, has completed extensive training and has been busy completing the lab at RE's headquarters. Racers attending the PRI trade show in Orlando, FL this weekend can visit Racing Electronics for more information on the custom ear molds or any of their extensive line of communications products. RE is located at booth 1601. Racing Electronics manufactures and supplies a complete line of race communication products and accessories and has been serving the professional drivers and pit crews, as well as the race fan, for more than 20 years.(51 Sports), see scanner frequencies supplied by Racing Electonics on my Scanner Freqs and Links page.(12-12-2009)
Evernham makes donation & joins Ronald McDonald House: Former Championship crew chief and Sprint Cup team owner, Ray Evernham, announced Thursday afternoon he was making a $250,000 donation to the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) of Charlotte. This announcement was made during a press conference held at the future site of the House (the 1600 block of East Morehead Street). Not only did Evernham make a donation, but he also announced he would be joining the charity's Executive Board.Evernham. The RMH is more than a charity to Evernham; it supported his family 18 years ago when his son, Ray J., was diagnosed with leukemia.
"When I was getting started in NASCAR, we were in the middle of moving to Charlotte from New Jersey when we learned that Ray J. had leukemia," Evernham said. "He needed treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. While Ray J. underwent his outpatient treatments, the RMH put a lot of our concerns at ease and allowed us to focus all our efforts on Ray J." During a two-year period, Ray made 10 trips to New York City so Ray J. could receive his treatments. Every time they arrived at the RMH, they were always met "with open arms."
"We were treated like family," Evernham said. "That's why I urge everyone to get behind this charity. The thought of having a sick child is one of the most stressful feelings in the world; however, that stress is reduced when you know you have a place to stay and 'friends' who will take care of you."
During the press conference, Evernham shared Ray J.'s story with the crowd, who is now 18 years old, graduated from high school last May and is cancer free. Construction of the House is scheduled to be completed in late 2010 on the one-acre parcel of land, donated by Carolinas Medical Center. The lot currently contains two structures that will be removed, making way for the state-of-the-art facility. An official groundbreaking will be announced soon and is expected to take place after the first of the year. Today, Evernham is exploring other ways of expanding his motorsports legacy, including broadcasting races for ESPN, managing East Lincoln Speedway, designing a vehicle to go after the land speed record for a piston-driven car, helping develop young drivers and overseeing a museum and entertainment facility in Mooresville, N.C.
For more information on RMH of Charlotte, visit www.rmhofcharlotte.org.(VMG)(12-12-2009)
Dover tickets for fall races on sale Monday: The major storyline surrounding the 2010 NASCAR season will be which driver will step up and challenge four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team. A slew of drivers have aspirations of being the one to put an end to Johnson's four year reign as series champion, and if they're going to do so, they'll have to beat him at one of his best tracks - Dover International Speedway - where he completed the season sweep in 2009. Race fans can reserve great seats beginning at 8 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 14, 2009 for the Sept. 26, 2010 "AAA 400," race No. 2 in the "Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup," the Sept. 25, 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, and the Sept. 24 "Sunoco 150" NASCAR Camping World Series race. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Dover ticket office at 800-441-RACE or online at DoverSpeedway.com. "AAA 400" NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race tickets start at just $55, and a new $35 junior ticket is available for kids 11 and under in the alcohol- and tobacco-free Family Seating Section. Dover continues to offer event ticket insurance for all events, along with an array of ticket options including a $25 discount on three-day ticket packages, all-inclusive hospitality packages, early buy discounts, and a variety of payment plans. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.(Dover PR)(12-12-2009
News from December 11, 2009
Appeals court rules against Kentucky Speedway: A federal appeals court has rejected claims by a Kentucky track that NASCAR violates federal antitrust laws by keeping it off the premier racing circuit. The decision issued Friday by a three-judge panel from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ends, for now, Kentucky Speedway's legal efforts at forcing NASCAR to bring a Sprint Cup race to the northern Kentucky track. The panel said Kentucky Speedway failed to prove NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., worked together to with other tracks to keep the Kentucky track from getting a Sprint Cup race. Kentucky Speedway sued NASCAR in 2005 after being rejected multiple times for a top level race. The race track, about halfway between Louisville and Cincinnati, has drawn huge crowds to some of its other races.(Lexington Herald/Association Press)(12-11-2009)
UPDATE: Kentucky Speedway spokesman Tim Bray declined comment [on the ruling]. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said NASCAR is pleased the court treated auto racing like other sports and acknowledged it's right to choose where and when to hold events. Poston said the 2010 racing schedule is set. Kentucky Speedway is not included in the Sprint Cup schedule. "However, we are happy to discuss alternatives with the track owners for 2011 and beyond as they relate to NASCAR's realignment plans," Poston said. "We question (Kentucky Speedway's) allegation that NASCAR's refusal to grant (Kentucky Speedway) a Sprint Cup race constitutes an antitrust injury because there are many considerations relevant to the quintessential business judgment of whether expanding the Sprint Cup to northern Kentucky makes economic sense in developing the NASCAR brand on a national basis," Judge Ronald Lee Gilman wrote for the court. Judges Jerome Farris and Deborah Cook joined Gilman's opinion.(Lexington Herald/Associated Press)(12-11-2009)
- Kyle Busch Motorsports announces two full-time teams; possibly a third: Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that as of right now they will run two full-time teams in the Camping World Truck Series in 2010. Kyle Busch will drive the #18 Miccosukee Toyota with Brian Ickler picking up the ride in the stand-alone events. Tayler Malsam will drive the #56 Toyota full-time with sponsorship from Talking Rain and ActivWater. KBM is trying to pull enough sponsorship together to bring Champion Johnny Benson into the mix and make it a three-truck operation. Until the new shop is finished being built, the two-truck team will be based out of the former Xpress Motorsports shop located in Mooresville, NC.(SPEEDtv.com) [It was reported earlier this week that talks are underway with Exide Batteries and at least one other sponsor about backing Benson -- see the December Archive Page.] (12-11-2009)
Caterpillar and #31 Chevy in NYC today: Richard Childress Racing's #31 Caterpillar Chevy that Jeff Burton drives in the Sprint Cup Series and race hauler will be on display in front of the New York Stock Exchange today in celebration of Caterpillar's 80th anniversary of being listed on Wall Street. To mark the occasion, Caterpillar chairman and CEO Jim Owens will ring the opening bell.(RCR)(12-11-2009)
Testing at the Rock: UPDATE: On Monday, December 7th, #31-Jeff Burton tested a Richard Childress Racing Sprint Cup Chevy at the "Little Rock" 1/2 mile oval at Rockingham Speedway. Ty Dillon tested a RCR Nationwide car. On Tuesday Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. tested a Roush Fenway Racing Nationwide Ford on the one-mile track at Rockingham. Rockingham Speedway is getting ready for the Polar Bear 150 on January 1st, 2010, more info at rockinghamracewaypark.com(12-10-2009)
UPDATE: #31-Jeff Burton in the Richard Childress Racing Chevy is finishing two days of testing on Big Rock at Rockingham Speedway today.(12-11-2009)
Ethanol use possible by 2011: A NASCAR official said that the series could use a corn-based ethanol blend by 2011. Steve Phelps, NASCAR's chief marketing officer, made the comment during a panel discussion at the North America Motor Sports Business Forum this week. "I'm not definitively going to say that for 2011 we're going to have ethanol," Phelps said after the panel meeting. "It's something that we're looking at now." After the session, Phelps detailed what has been done in regard to ethanol. "Our guys are testing it at this particular point and trying to determine whether that's right for our series," he said. "They're on the engines now. What does it do to different parts? How does the engine run? Does it run cooler, does it run hotter - those types of things. We would certainly not institute a rule change or a fuel change that would affect the racing at all." Such a timetable could work well. There are indications that NASCAR could switch from carburetors to fuel injection in 2011, and that could be a good time to make the switch.(Hampton Roads)(12-11-2009)
Goodyear tire tests scheduled:Goodyear has four offseason tire tests scheduled. #9-Kasey Kahne [Ford], #12-Brad Keselowski [Dodge], #20-Joey Logano [Toyota] and #31-Jeff Burton [Chevy] are scheduled to test Tuesday and Wednesday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
#56-Martin Truex Jr. [Toyota], #5-Mark Martin [Chevy], #77-Sam Hornish Jr. [Dodge] and #60-Carl Edwards [Ford] are scheduled to test Jan. 12-13 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
#14-Tony Stewart [Chevy], #16-Greg Biffle [Ford], #83-Brian Vickers [Toyota] and #2-Kurt Busch [Dodge] are scheduled to test Jan. 19-20 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Biffle also is set to test with Roush Fenway Racing on Wednesday and Thursday at Phoenix. That test is for Goodyear's 17-inch tire, the bigger, wider tire Goodyear is developing for possible future use.(Hampton Roads)(12-11-2009)
Budweiser Shootout eligibility not set yet: NASCAR officials are talking about eligibility requirements for the Budweiser Shootout, scheduled for Feb. 6 at Daytona International Speedway. It looks like it will be the top six cars for each manufacturer in the owner points made in last year's race, with one additional spot for each manufacturer going to either a past series champion or to the seventh-place car for the manufacturer in the car owner standings. Dodge has only three teams - with Richard Petty Motorsports moving to Ford for next year - and thus can't fill its allotment.(Hampton Roads), for more information see my 2010 Budweiser Shootout page.(12-11-2009)
Schrader still racing: Ken Schrader told me [Dustin Long] that after he races this weekend, he will have competed in 82 races this calendar year. That’s down from the 119 he ran two years ago but is still quite impressive. Why “only’’ 82 races this year?
SCHRADER: "We didn’t go just every place that there was a race. We went more where (sponsor) Federated wanted us to go."
What will you do in 2010?
SCHRADER: "I’d like to run the Truck or ARCA car more. We’re going to run some races in both of them with Federated and Federated sponsors all the dirt car races. Now, we’ve still got some cars that … we’re renting out to other people. We’ll have two cars at Daytona for the ARCA race. Bill Baird and Josh Richards (will drive).(Hampton Roads)(12-11-2009)
TRG and Labbe part ways UPDATE 3 to the #98: Official Statement from TRG Motorsports Regarding Former Crew Chief Slugger Labbe: TRG Motorsports today released Slugger Labbe as crew chief of the #71 Cup car. TRG appreciates Slugger's dedication in its first year as a Cup organization where he helped guide the team to 35 consecutive starts and TRG's first top-10 finish in the Sprint Cup Series. TRG Motorsports will, as planned, compete full time in 2010 with Bobby Labonte behind the wheel of the #71 with TaxSlayer.com on-board for a good portion of the season and is currently in negotiations with several top-level crew chiefs.(TRG Motorsports)(12-3-2009)
UPDATE: Labbe has several offers on the table and is expected to make an announcement concerning his future on Monday.
GM Mike Brown has left TRG as well. Brown was a longtime fixture at Bill Davis Racing prior to joining TRG in March. Brown says he has no formal plans but "several irons in the fire".(FoxSports)(12-4-2009)
UPDATE 2: Labbe will be the crew chief for Paul Menard and the #98 Menard's Ford in 2010. A formal announcement is expected from Yates Racing on Monday. Labbe parted ways with TRG Motorsports on Thursday to accept the new role. Labbe was touring the Yates shops on Friday and was introduced as "Menard's new crew chief," several sources confirmed. Menard's previous crew chief Larry Carter parted ways with the organization at season's end.(FoxSports)(12-4-2009)
UPDATE 3: Richard "Slugger" Labbe will serve as the new crew chief for #98-Paul Menard. Labbe left his position at TRG Motorsports to join what will be Richard Petty Motorsports when the merger with Yates Racing is completed. He began work at RPM last Friday in the Concord, N.C., shop and already is preparing Fords for the 2010 season. It is a homecoming of sorts for Labbe, who worked out of then Robert Yates Racing's Concord shop from 1998-2001, helping the late Kenny Irwin Jr. win Rookie of the Year honors in 1998.(ESPN.com)(12-11-2009)
Darlington opens ticket kiosk in Myrtle Beach: Darlington Raceway has opened up a ticket kiosk location in the popular Tanger Outlet center located on Highway 17 in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The kiosk opened the week of Thanksgiving and will remain open for the remainder of the year. Fans taking advantage of the opportunity to purchase tickets at the Tanger Outlet kiosk location will receive a DVD copy of the 2009 Southern 500. The race, won by fan favorite Mark Martin, was the marquee event during Darlington Raceway's 60th Season of Racing. Tickets to the 2010 Southern 500, as well as the NASCAR Nationwide Series Darlington 200 are on-sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at http://www.darlingtonraceway.com/tickets/.(Darlington PR)(12-11-2009)
News from December 10, 2009
NASCAR's Hunter in the fight of his life: NASCAR's vice president of corporate communications, Jim Hunter, 70, was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer in his right lung the weekend of the October Chase race at Talladega Superspeedway. He hasn't been to the track since, missing the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the first time and the season-ending banquet for the first time since his father died in the mid-1970s. Hunter says the chemotherapy treatments are going well and that the prognosis is positive even though the long-term survival rate for this disease isn't good. He was strong enough on Tuesday to drop by his Daytona Beach, Fla., office for a few hours and to play golf on Wednesday. He didn't hit the ball far, but as the man known for wearing golf shoes in the garage reminded me [ESPN's David Newton], "I never did anyway." [Newton] was made aware of Hunter's illness a few weeks after the Talladega race when he sent an e-mail explaining his situation. As usual, he chose to meet it head-on and not cover it up. Was reminded again of Hunter during Sunday's Fox NFL pregame show when, just before signing off, the words "Jim Hunter, keep fighting" blared through the television screen. [Newton] was reminded of him yet again that day as his wife and he put up the Christmas tree. Stumbling upon a heart-shaped ornament with Mr. and Mrs. Claus on one side and "Our First Christmas" on the other, Newton asked where it came from. "Jim Hunter," his wife said. It was a wedding gift received almost a year ago to the day. Hunter hasn't gone a day since the diagnosis without a call or e-mail from NASCAR President Mike Helton. Jimmie Johnson has e-mailed him numerous times. So has his golf buddy, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers, J.D. Gibbs, Felix Sabates and … well, you get the picture. Many of the drivers might not be where they are today if not for Hunter's intervention at times when their sometimes-volatile personalities or career-threatening habits were about to get the best of them.(see full article by David Newton at ESPN.com)(12-10-2009)
Looks like Farm Bureau Insurance sponsorship is done: in a recent newsletter from Farm Bureau Insurance, it was posted: As the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season comes to a close, so does Farm Bureau Insurance’s sponsorship relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing. We want to thank Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and David Gilliland, and all of our loyal fans and customers for your support. Sponsoring a JGR car in six races: Darlington, Atlanta (2nd), Charlotte (2nd), Martinsville (2nd), Texas (2nd) and Homestead. Once again, all of us at Farm Bureau Insurance would like to thank our fans. It was great seeing you at the track, and it has been a truly rewarding experience working with the professional and dedicated team at Joe Gibbs Racing in both the 2008 and 2009 sponsorships of the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Sprint Cup series. This will be the last corespondence from Farm Bureau Insurance Racing.(farmbureauinsuranceracing.com)(12-10-2009)
Danica's first Nationwide race at Fontana? After Danica Patrick announced she would supplement her IndyCar Series career by racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, informed sources said she will make her NASCAR debut at Auto Club Speedway in February. According to sources who requested anonymity as they are not authorized to officially speak on the matter, Patrick will race for JR Motorsports at the Feb. 20 Nationwide Staters Bros. 300 at the Fontana track. Her full Nationwide schedule is expected to be released in a news conference next week. "We have not heard anything," said David Talley, director of communications for the speedway. "I know our race fits into the window of racing before and after the IndyCar Series. If Patrick does race stock cars at Auto Club Speedway, it will mark her second appearance on the 2-mile speedway. In her rookie IndyCar season in 2005, she finished 18th in the Toyota Indy 400 after qualifying fourth.(Los Angeles Daily News)(12-10-2009)
Added more 2010 schemes: added #24 Pepsi Max and #5 Delphi schemes for 2010. See links to them on my Paint Scheme Gallery
Evernham to announce donation to build RMH in Charlotte: former Jeff Gordon championship crew chief and winning car owner, Ray Evernham, will hold a press conference announcing a substantial donation he is making to the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) of Charlotte. The press conference will be held at the future site of House (located at 1600 block of East Morehead Street) on Thursday, Dec. 10 and will begin promptly at noon. Evernham will also announce that he is joining the RMH of Charlotte's Executive Board. Mr. Evernham will discuss his donation, why he's joining the board and why it is important for the surrounding community to get behind the RMH of Charlotte. He will also discuss his personal RMH experience after his son, Ray J., was diagnosed with leukemia years ago. Ray J. survived his ordeal and will also be at the press conference to tell why the RMH is so important to him and his family. Fellow RMH of Charlotte board member, officials, volunteers and families will be on hand during this announcement.(Victory Management Group)(12-10-2009)
Testing at the Rock: On Monday, December 7th, #31-Jeff Burton tested a Richard Childress Racing Sprint Cup Chevy at the "Little Rock" 1/2 mile oval at Rockingham Speedway. Ty Dillon tested a RCR Nationwide car. On Tuesday Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. tested a Roush Fenway Racing Nationwide Ford on the one-mile track at Rockingham. Rockingham Speedway is getting ready for the Polar Bear 150 on January 1st, 2010, more info at rockinghamracewaypark.com(12-10-2009)
Biffle's team finishes 2nd in off-road race: #16-Greg Biffle made his off-road racing debut last weekend in the Henderson Fabtech Desert Classic, which was sanctioned by the Best in the Desert Racing Association. Biffle, along with teammates Rob MacCachren and Steve Olliges, finished second in class [37th overall] behind the wheel of the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R.(Ford Racing)(12-10-2009)
Wally Dallenbach Jr. Foundation Announced: Fulfilling a life’s dream to give back to his community, to assist children in their time of need and to educate and impart a passion for the outdoors, Wally Dallenbach Jr., former NASCAR driver and current broadcast commentator [TNT's six-race Sprint Cup Series schedule June/July], businessman and family man, is proud to announce the creation of the Wally Dallenbach Jr. Foundation.. The mission of the 501(c)(3) charitable organization is to give children who have lost a parent the opportunity to learn about the outdoors, their heritage and their late parent’s passion through hunting and fishing expeditions. The idea for the Wally Dallenbach Jr. Foundation was created when Dallenbach was making an appearance at a Bass Pro Shops store. There, Dallenbach was approached by a little boy. In his discussion with the child, Dallenbach learned that the boy had lost his father, an avid outdoors enthusiast. Trying to learn more about his father’s life and passion, the boy insisted that he and his mother visit the outdoors store to enjoy a shopping experience that the boy had once with his father. Unfortunately, the boy’s father passed on before they were able to have a “father-son outdoors adventure.” Dallenbach was moved by the boy’s story and since then he has heard many more just like it – missed opportunities due to the untimely passing of a loved one. Instead of merely listening, he decided to do his part to assist these kids, as well as their surviving parent, through the creation of the Wally Dallenbach Jr. Foundation. The Wally Dallenbach Jr. Foundation also features a board of directors with representatives from the outdoors retail world, television executives and other captains of industry, all of whom will take an active role in the enhancement and continuity of the Foundation. For more information about the Wally Dallenbach Jr. Foundation, please visit www.wallydallenbachjrfoundation.com.(12-10-2009)
Becherer Named HMS President: International Speedway Corporation announced it has named Matthew Becherer as president of Homestead-Miami Speedway effective immediately. Becherer accepts the role from his most recent position of vice president of marketing for Richmond International Raceway. Current Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray is leaving the Company to pursue other opportunities. At Richmond International Raceway since 2003, Becherer was integral to the growth of the widely-popular 3/4-mile track into one of ISC’s premier facilities. As vice president of marketing, he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of marketing, advertising, promotions, public relations and ticketing. Prior to Richmond, Becherer was the director of marketing for Darlington Raceway and marketing manager for North Carolina Speedway. Becherer will transition with his family to the Homestead-Miami, FL, area over the next few weeks.(HMS PR)(12-10-2009)
Buy A Ticket To Talladega This Friday and Help A Needy Child: In the spirit of the holiday season, Talladega Superspeedway is offering a chance to both help out local area children in need and give the gift of racing for that special someone in your life. This Friday, December 11th from 7 a.m. till 6 p.m., 10% of each ticket purchased from www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or 1-877-Go2-DEGA will go to the Bake A Christmas charity auction and fundraiser for area children in need. Items for the radio auction on WTDR Thunder 92.7 FM have also been pouring from NASCAR teams and drivers in recent days. Throughout the day, members of the Thunder 92.7 FM and Talladega Superspeedway staff take over the airwaves to auction unique racing memorabilia and experiences paired with delicious baked goods donated by individuals and businesses in the community. The auction begins at 7 a.m. and ends at approximately 6 p.m. When a listener places a bid and wins an item, they are invited to pick up their auction item and baked goods at the station's Oxford, Ala. office. Those who wish to participate in Bake A Christmas but do not live in the immediate listening area may tune into the station's broadcast all day via live streaming audio available at www.wtdrthunder.com. Bids can be made toll-free nationwide by calling 1-800-709-9270.(TSS)(12-10-2009)
News from December 9, 2009
RCR plans to run #07 at Daytona: UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing will run a fourth car in the 2010 Daytona 500, the #07 Chevy that finished 21st in the 2009 Cup owners' standings with driver Casey Mears, a team spokesman said on Wednesday. But beyond that, the car's schedule will be determined by sponsorship, the lack of which put Mears on the job market at the end of 2009. Mears will drive the car at Daytona, where it's a guaranteed starter in the lucrative season opener, "unless he gets another full-time ride," the RCR source said. If Mears isn't available, another driver would be selected. The car's crew chief is also to be determined after Doug Randolph, who was Mears' crew chief at the end of the season, this week began working as Bobby Labonte's chief mechanic at TRG Motorsports. The source said that RCR is in "serious talks with a number of potential sponsors and we're still aiming towards fielding that car full-time in 2010."(NASCAR.com)(12-9-2009)
UPDATE: With sponsor Jack Daniel's having left Richard Childress Racing at the end of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, a small number of layoffs have begun at the team's Welcome, N.C., shops. A team representative said that "fewer than a dozen" employees had been let go this week in advance of the #07 possibly being shut down for 2010. That decision has not been made yet, with team owner Richard Childress previously saying that he could wait as long as mid-January before making a definitive commitment on the team's plans for next season. As it stands now, the team has decided nothing for certain beyond entering the Daytona 500 next February. Also up in the air is the question of who will drive the car, if it does find sponsorship. Casey Mears was the pilot of the #07 this season, but was released at the end of the year. If he doesn't find another ride before Daytona, he could be back with the team, according to an RCR source. Mears also has been linked to a possible drive with the #09 Miccosukee Resorts-sponsored entry of Florida team owner James Finch.(SPEEDtv)(12-9-2009)
Cup Banquet TV ratings: Coverage of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony on SPEED scored an average Nielsen Household Rating of .65 (484,000 households), it's highest number in three years. The four-hour event peaked at a .79 (588,000 households). Live coverage of the ceremony, in its first year ever on the network, was up 44 percent year-to-year among Households and 52 percent among Men 18-49. "We've seen some very encouraging NASCAR ratings trends on SPEED this year," said network President Hunter Nickell. "Getting a solid number out of the gate with the Awards Ceremony has us very excited about with this event can become in the very near future for the network and for the sport."(SPEED PR)(12-9-2009)
Latest on Waltrip's plans: So, what will Michael Waltrip be doing in 2010? Waltrip told me [Dustin Long] that as of now he thinks he'll only run four Cup races next year...all four restrictor-plate races (unless more sponsorship is found). As for Nationwide? "I'd like to run some Nationwide races, I'd like to run some Truck races, so I'm still just seeing what's out there,'' he said. "I'll do anything, I just want to race every now and then'' and then he laughed. Good news for Mikey fans, he says he'll be back on Speed's broadcast of the Truck races next year.(Hampton Roads)(12-9-2009)
More races could be shown online: There's a chance you could be watching more races online this season. Right now, the only races you can watch online are the six TNT races since Turner owns all the online rights for the broadcasts. Thus, ESPN, Fox and ABC can't show any race live online. You can watch the TNT races on NASCAR.com's Race Buddy program, which last year featured live shots from four different vantage points. This year, you might get to see more NASCAR races online, so when the race goes to commercial on TV, you wouldn't have to miss anything. Here's what Lenny Daniels, Chief Operating Officer for Turner Sports told [Dustin Long] about the future of having more races shown online: "We are going to attempt to work out a deal with Fox and ESPN. It's an intersectional rights, is what it is. When Turner has all the rights (TV and Internet), we can show it any way we want. If you're ESPN, you don't want us doing anything during that live race window. That's what they bought. That's what they own. So we have to figure out a business plan to work with them and try to get a deal done. Believe me, we would love to have Race Buddy year-round and I think NASCAR would too but it all comes down to the business model. When I [Dustin Long] asked him if it was unlikely that more races would be shown online in 2010, Daniels said: "I wouldn't say that. We're trying. I don't think you're going to see it across the board for every race. We'll definitely do it for our races. We'll work with Fox. We came close to Fox last year on a few things (doing versions of Race Buddy)."(Hampton Roads)(12-9-2009)
No decision on TNT/ESPN/ABC announcers: So, who is going to be announcing where? Remember that Bill Weber lost his job at Turner after a public incident last summer. Ralph Sheheen filled in for Weber. Lenny Daniels of Turner told [Dustin Long] no decision has been made yet but Sheheen remains a candidate for the job. John Wildhack, executive vice president program acquisition and strategy for ABC/ESPN said that no decision has been made on the ESPN/ABC announcing crew as of yet.(Hampton Roads)(12-9-2009)
Labonte to run Rolex 24: #71-Bobby Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR Cup Series champion, was spotted in Tuesday's Grand-Am test at Daytona International Speedway in a TRG Porsche. Labonte drives Kevin Buckler's TRG NASCAR Sprint Cup car and plans to compete in the Rolex 24. Labonte, who has three Rolex 24 starts, will join the defending GT winning #67 TRG Porsche GT3 in the 2010 race, co-driving with Andy Lally, Spencer Pumpelly and Tim George Jr. "Kevin really didn't have to talk me into it," Labonte said. "I've always been a big fan of the Rolex 24 since I started racing and I raced a go-kart on the same track back when I was 15. He didn't have to twist my arm." (Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-9-2009)
Canadian track another step closer: For years, there has been talks about bringing a major racetrack to Fort Erie, Canada. However, a proposal got one step closer to reality Monday night when the town council unanimously passed the plan presented by a group of developers. The project, which is partially backed by NASCAR star Jeff Gordon and his design team, is called the "Canadian Motor Speedway" and would be the first major racetrack in the country. The investors are willing to spend several hundred million dollars to build the 65,000-seat track, which will include a 1-mile oval track and a road course. The plan now goes before the Niagara Regional Council Wednesday. If it passes as expected, the permitting and zoning process will begin. Town officials say there are about a dozen more steps before the project will get the final okay; however, if all goes as planned, construction could start in months. It's important to note NASCAR has not committed to the site; however, it is the goal of the developers to bring NASCAR, Indy or another high-profile motorsports organization to the Canadian Motor Speedway.(WGRZ.com)(12-9-2009)
News from December 8, 2009
More Danica details: It doesn't get better than this for the Nationwide Series. A league that has become Cup Lite, a glorified practice session for Cup drivers, now becomes Patrick's testing ground for the events she enters. It's all part of a master plan. She will make her stock car debut in the ARCA race at Daytona on Feb. 6, the day before she appears in two GoDaddy.com commercials during the Super Bowl. GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons is investing millions here, including the two-year deal to sponsor the #5 Cup car of Mark Martin. The plan is obvious. Martin drives two more years, then hands over the 5 car to Patrick in 2012. "Just thinking about that makes my eyes twinkle," Parsons said Tuesday. "But we'll see how it goes and look at it when we get to that point." If Patrick flops in Nationwide, that point never may arrive. If she is competitive, NASCAR will have a cash cow for years to come. If not, NASCAR got a giant jolt of electricity from Patrick's presence, however brief.(ESPN.com)
AND: Danica Patrick is going Nationwide Series racing next year, and there really is only one main reason people go Nationwide Series racing - to get ready to go Sprint Cup racing. But for both the Izod IndyCar Series driver and for JR Motorsports, the team she will drive for, that's talk for down the road, and the first step is to be successful over the next two seasons with Patrick running a partial Nationwide Series schedule along with a full IndyCar schedule. Her number of Nationwide races was not announced Tuesday when Patrick's plans were formally announced, but it likely will be a dozen or fewer each year because of the IndyCar schedule, which has 17 races in 2010. Whether 20-30 races over two years would be enough to get her ready for a Cup schedule is questionable as Patrick - a 27-year-old with one career victory and a fifth-place finish in the IndyCar Series last year - embarks on her NASCAR career. JR Motorsports, which opened in 2005, has not competed on the Cup level but has flirted with the possibility for the last few years. If Patrick does well, the sponsorship could come for the organization to make the jump with her.(SceneDaily)(12-8-2009)
Mayfield says NASCAR’s conduct was intentional and reckless: Attorneys for suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield say NASCAR is trying to ignore issues raised by him and is attempting to distort Mayfield's claims in an effort to avoid responsibility for its actions. Mayfield's legal team filed the response late Monday to NASCAR's request that U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen rule in favor of the sanctioning body based on the pleadings already held and without the continuation of an investigation by the attorneys and possibly a trial. Mayfield's filing argues that he has shown enough evidence to bring these claims:
• In response to NASCAR's assertion that he has waived his right to sue because of waivers that are part of the NASCAR-driver agreement, Mayfield stated that those releases don't hold up because this is a case where NASCAR was grossly negligent in conducting its drug-testing policy.
• In its defamation claim, Mayfield disputed the NASCAR assertion that sanctioning body Chairman Brian France had no reason to doubt the test results so his comments when suspending Mayfield cannot be considered defamation. Mayfield alleges that France and Black should have known that the combination of Adderall and Claritin-D could result in a false positive for methamphetamine use.
• NASCAR stated in its request that Mayfield is not an employee but an independent contractor and therefore cannot be considered to having been discriminated against for having ADHD. Mayfield stated in the filing Monday that he can be considered an employee in this situation because NASCAR retained the right to control and detail his activities on the race track, had promotional rights to his name, owned the broadcast rights, required where logos were placed and specified media obligations.
• Addressing the charge of unfair and deceptive trade practices, Mayfield argued the fact that there is no definitive list of drugs banned by NASCAR as among the reasons its policies are unfair.
Both sides get to file responses one more time before the judge considers the motion to dismiss Mayfield's case.(SceneDaily)(12-8-2009)
Finally? Danica to announce Nationwide ride on Tuesday: UPDATE: Danica Patrick will announce on Tuesday in Phoenix her decision to drive a part-time Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports in 2010. ESPN.com reported last month that Patrick was in the final stages of negotiations with JRM to compete in about a dozen races in a #7 -- her number in IndyCar -- Chevy with GoDaddy.com as the sponsor. The source said that has not changed. The GoDaddy.com sponsorship will be only for the races in which Patrick drives, sources said. JRM continues to look for sponsors for the #88 that will be driven by Kelly Bires and any remaining races for the second car. When Patrick announced her three-year extension with Andretti Autosport last week in New York a picture appeared on her Web site with her in a NASCAR fire suit bearing a JRM and other NASCAR-related logos. It quickly was removed [see the image - click here]. The plan is to enter Patrick in the ARCA Series opener in February at Daytona International Speedway and get her approved by NASCAR for the Nationwide [Daytona] race. ARCA owner Bobby Gerhart recently was contacted about putting Patrick in one of his cars for a Dec. 18-20 test at Daytona. He told ESPN.com on Monday he expected her to be in a car prepared by JR Motorsports at the test. "My gut feeling is I think she'll drive something out of Mooresville, N.C.,'' he said, referring to the location of JR. "That's what I'm hearing. It'll be that powerful of a program that that's the way it would go if that happens.''(ESPN.com and Associated Press)(12-7-2009)
AND GoDaddy.com reports that Go Daddy Girl Danica Patrick reveals her NASCAR future on the GoDaddy.com site on Dec. 8, 11:00am MT / 1:00 pm ET.
HEARING that Tony Stewart could be involved in this somehow, part car owner? (12-8-2009)
UPDATE: At last, the long-awaited announcement is official – Go Daddy is taking Danica Patrick to the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2010. Danica will drive the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevy in a partial Nationwide schedule next season, plus one ARCA race. The Go Daddy Girl will be racing as a member of the JR Motorsports (JRM) team owned by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Rick Hendrick, Kelley Earnhardt and Tony Eury, Jr. through 2011. “It’s been a long time coming, but the stars finally aligned for me with Go Daddy and JRM,” Danica said just before making her announcement. “I have always said I love to drive, and if I could make it work to race in both IndyCar and NASCAR – with the right sponsor, like GoDaddy.com and the right team, like JRM – then I’d love to drive in NASCAR!” Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons introduced Danica today as she made it official with the unveiling of her new stock car in front of fans and media outside Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. Parsons and the Go Daddy Girl driver were flanked by the brand new bright green #7 GoDaddy.com Nationwide Chevy and the equally distinctive 2010 IndyCar at today’s news conference. Go Daddy is leveraging its existing relationship with Earnhardt, Jr. who has also driven for Go Daddy in the Nationwide Series and will continue to work as a Go Daddy spokesperson. Danica’s NASCAR races would take place before, after and in between her IndyCar schedule. Michael Andretti, owner of Danica’s IndyCar team, Andretti Autosport, addressed that issue. “Danica and I are both working hard for a win at the Indianapolis 500 – keeping the race schedules separate will help keep her focused,” Andretti said.
(GoDaddy.com PR), It was also announced that Tony Eury, Jr. would be her crew chief. See an image of the car on the #7 Nationwide Series paint scheme page.(12-8-2009)
Randolph named crew chief for Labonte: TRG Motorsports announced that veteran crew chief Doug Randolph will take the reins as the new crew chief for Bobby Labonte and the #71 Sprint Cup Series team effective immediately. Randolph, who was most recently at the helm of the #07 at Richard Childress Racing, began his Cup career with Junior Johnson and has worked with organizations including DEI, Bill Davis Racing and sat atop the pit box for Labonte in 2007 at Petty Enterprises. In their short time together, the pair garnered some strong finishes and are eager to renew their relationship under TRG Motorsports banner.(TRG PR)(12-8-2009)
Sprint Cup MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year named: MAHLE Clevite Inc. announced Shane Parsnow of Hendrick Motorsports as the 2009 MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Parsnow, engine builder for Hendrick Motorsports, received this award for accumulating the most MAHLE Clevite points (307), based on qualifying, laps lead and finishing position. Fellow Hendrick Motorsports engine builders, Danny Emerick and Earl Wheeler, finished in second place with 288 points and third place with 254 points respectively. This is Hedrick Motorsports' fourth consecutive Engine Builder of the Year title, and Parsnow's second in four years. Parsnow was presented with the coveted award at the annual Myers Brothers' Award Presentation held a day in advance of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet at the Wynn Las Vegas on Friday, December 4th. Over the years, Hendrick Motorsports has racked-up a total of 14 MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year titles. For more information about MAHLE Clevite and its brands, visit www.mahleclevite.com, or contact your local representative.(PR)(12-8-2009)
News from December 7, 2009
Finally? Danica to announce Nationwide ride? Tuesday? Danica Patrick will announce on Tuesday in Phoenix her decision to drive a part-time Nationwide Series schedule for JR Motorsports in 2010. ESPN.com reported last month that Patrick was in the final stages of negotiations with JRM to compete in about a dozen races in a #7 -- her number in IndyCar -- Chevy with GoDaddy.com as the sponsor. The source said that has not changed. The GoDaddy.com sponsorship will be only for the races in which Patrick drives, sources said. JRM continues to look for sponsors for the #88 that will be driven by Kelly Bires and any remaining races for the second car. When Patrick announced her three-year extension with Andretti Autosport last week in New York a picture appeared on her Web site with her in a NASCAR fire suit bearing a JRM and other NASCAR-related logos. It quickly was removed [see the image - click here]. The plan is to enter Patrick in the ARCA Series opener in February at Daytona International Speedway and get her approved by NASCAR for the Nationwide [Daytona] race. ARCA owner Bobby Gerhart recently was contacted about putting Patrick in one of his cars for a Dec. 18-20 test at Daytona. He told ESPN.com on Monday he expected her to be in a car prepared by JR Motorsports at the test. "My gut feeling is I think she'll drive something out of Mooresville, N.C.,'' he said, referring to the location of JR. "That's what I'm hearing. It'll be that powerful of a program that that's the way it would go if that happens.''(ESPN.com and Associated Press)(12-7-2009)
RCR Pit Crew Member Recovering in Massachusetts Hospital: Richard Childress Racing pit crew member Donald “D.J.” Richardson is recovering in a Massachusetts hospital from severe complications due to the H1N1 virus. Richardson, 37, of Leominster, Mass., approximately 35 miles northwest of Boston, joined RCR in July 2009 and finished the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as the rear-tire changer for the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team. He contracted the H1N1 virus during a visit to Massachusetts over the Thanksgiving holiday. His condition worsened due to the onset of pneumonia before he went to Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster for evaluation. Doctors quickly admitted Richardson to the hospital’s intensive care unit with acute respiratory distress syndrome. “Our thoughts and prayers are with D.J. and his family during this very trying time,” said Mike Dillon, RCR’s vice president of competition. “All of us at Richard Childress Racing and Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines wish him a full and speedy recovery.” Richardson is unable to accept phone calls or flowers from well-wishers while in the intensive care unit. His family has asked that cards, letters and notes of encouragement be sent to his attention at his father’s house: Donald Richardson, 494 Merriam Avenue, Leominster, Massachusetts 01453. Richardson began his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with Andy Petree Racing in 1999. He has also worked for Penske Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Braun Racing. The RCR communications department will continue to provide updates on Richardson’s status. A Facebook Groups page entitled “Get Well DJ-Updates” has also been created.(RCR)(12-7-2009)
Ambrose honored with Sir Jack Brabham Award: Australian NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose has been honored with the prestigious Sir Jack Brabham Award by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS), the governing body of motorsport in Australia.
Ambrose was presented with the award by CAMS President Andrew Papadopoulos while at the Sydney Telstra 500 in Sydney, New South Wales over the weekend, the final event of the 2009 V8 Supercar Championship Series. The Sir Jack Brabham Award is presented by CAMS in recognition of the remarkable achievements of Sir Jack Brabham OBE, the outstanding Australian engineer and driver who rose to the pinnacle of world motorsport. The Sir Jack Brabham Award recognises outstanding achievement and success by an Australian motor sport competitor at the international level. The recipient must demonstrate outstanding talent, determination and a significant level of success in international competition. Sir Jack Brabham is a three-time Formula One World Champion and remains the only man in history to win the F1 title in a car of his own make. "The award is unexpected and I feel privileged to be given the nod for it," said Ambrose. "Sir Jack is obviously a hero of mine, as all the Brabhams are to be honest. It's a real racing dynasty. So I take that honour with pride. Jack and the whole Brabham family are pioneers in Australian racing and it's a privilege to be given the honour of this award and I hold it in high regard and I am very thankful that I've been given the nod for it."(BAM Media)(12-7-2009)
Congrats Dexter Bean: NASCAR driver Dexter Bean and Misty McCrary, former Ms. North Carolina and sister-in-law of Mario Gosselin were recently engaged. The two currently reside in Westby, Wisconsin. A wedding date has not yet been set. Bean drove the #51 car in the Sprint Cup Series in 2009 and some Nationawide and Truck Series races.(12-7-2009)
Ernie Irvan's Race2Safety Foundation Presents Helmets: After comprehensive fundraising efforts conducted during the first five years of its existence, former NASCAR driver Ernie Irvan's Race2Safety Foundation made its first major presentation this past week of more than 3,000 child bicycle safety helmets to Boys & Girls Clubs of America locations in the Southeast, as well as to a pair of organizations that also promote brain injury awareness and prevention with a special focus on kids. Thanks to funds raised via NASCAR fan track walk events at Michigan International Speedway and Pocono Raceway, the tremendous support of the NASCAR Foundation, proceeds from personal appearances by Irvan, as well as gifts from the former driver's fans and supporters, Race2Safety conducted helmet presentations to Boys & Girls Clubs in Atlanta, Charleston, S.C., Columbia, S.C., and the Charlotte area. Race2Safety also will donate quantities of helmets to the Helmets for Kids organization in Minnesota headed by brain injury survivor and endurance cyclist Mike Heikes, as well as to the St. Camillus Health & Rehabilitation Center in Syracuse, N.Y. "After raising money for the last four or five years, we are extremely excited to finally have this first opportunity to see it all come together as we make our initial presentation of bicycle helmets and to help elevate awareness of brain injuries and their effects on our lives, particularly those of children," said Irvan, whose illustrious NASCAR career was sidetracked by head injuries sustained in a horrific racing accident at Michigan International Speedway in 1994. "It's difficult to find the right words to express how happy we are to be able to donate helmets to the Boys & Girls Clubs, to Mike Heikes and his Helmets for Kids organization, and to St. Camillus. I hope this will be the first of many, many events like this in the years to come."
The mission of Race2Safety is to make a positive difference in the lives of men, women and children across America by informing and educating them about the latest transportation-related head protection equipment and technologies and actively promoting the everyday use of such equipment. The organization works closely with safety equipment manufacturers, head injury prevention and treatment associations, as well as state and federal transportation safety organizations to help dramatically reduce the number of transportation-related traumatic brain injuries that occur every year.(12-7-2009)
News from December 6, 2009
Kyle Busch Wins 42nd Annual Snowball Derby: Kyle Busch has won the 42nd Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. Busch started third in the 300-lap race and took the lead late from 2005 Snowball Derby winner Eddie Mercer to collect the $22,500 winner's check. Mercer held on to finish second with NASCAR Nationwide Series regular Steven Wallace placing third. Two-time Snowball Derby winner Bobby Gill came from last place at the start to place fourth at the finish. John Bolen overcame an early wreck to finish fifth. This is the fourth major Super Late Model event that Busch has won this season. He also won Speedfest at Lanier Speedway (GA), the Redbud 300 at Anderson Speedway (IN) and the Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway (IN) in his free time from his NASCAR obligations. This event concludes the racing season at Five Flags Speedway for 2009. The track will open its 2010 season with the TBARA Winged Sprint Cars on March 19th. For more information on the 43rd Annual Snowball Derby, contact Five Flags Speedway by calling (850) 944-8400 and be sure to visit www.snowballderby.com and www.fiveflagsspeedway.com.(51 Sports)(12-6-2009)
Stremme looking to firm up 2010 plans: NASCAR driver David Stremme said Friday he's still working to firm up his 2010 plans. "We're still talking to quite a bit of people," said Stremme, who lost his Sprint Cup ride with Penske Racing in late October. His immediate focus is trying to win Sunday's 42nd annual Snowball Derby. Stremme's biggest Late Model victory came a year ago when he won the Winchester 400. "This is a big race," Stremme said. "I won the Winchester 400 last year. I definitely want to win this one. It's a big short track race. You just got to look at the names on the trophy and that tells what it is. This is a pretty stout field. It's probably the toughest field I've seen in a long time."(Racin' Today)(12-6-2009)
Hendrick honored with Bill France Award of Excellence: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports was honored with the Bill France Award of Excellence at the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony. The award was presented to Hendrivk by Betty Jane France, wife of the late Bill France Jr., who guided the sport from 1971-2003. "I wasn't expecting this one," Hendrick said during his acceptance speech at the Wynn Las Vegas. "This award means so much to me because of the relationship I had with Bill France and the respect I had for him." The award is not handed out annually by the France family, which has owned and operated NASCAR for 61 years. Named for NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., the award is presented when the NASCAR leadership believes someone is worthy of the recognition for contributions to the sport. "NASCAR has had many iconic figures throughout its rich history, and Rick Hendrick certainly falls into that category," Betty Jane France said. "Through the years, he has not only won our respect but our hearts as well." Hendrick did not know that Betty Jane France was at the banquet and the award was not listed in the agenda for the evening that celebrated Jimmie Johnson's fourth consecutive title in a season where Hendrick drivers swept the top three spots in the standings. "I've never seen him where he's in a position where he couldn't say what was on his mind," Johnson said after the ceremony. "It really got him. … For a minute there, I thought he was going to need to sit down and start over and come back to the podium. It's amazing. It means so much to Rick because of his friendship with Bill. I could only imagine how much that means to him. And then this year, you look at the 1-2-3 and all the success. You roll it all up in one, he's going to remember 2009 forever."(SceneDaily)(12-6-2009)
Penske donates $25,000 to Brienne Davis scholarship: Universal Technical Institute (UTI) Foundation announced Roger Penske has donated $25,000 toward the Brienne Davis Memorial Scholarship for one qualified female to attend UTI's NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C. The Penske award is part of the Brienne Davis Memorial Scholarship Fund for women pursuing careers in the automotive industry. Davis, a UTI graduate and Sprint Cup official, died tragically in 2008. "The automotive industry needs outstanding people, like Brienne Davis, who are dedicated to top-notch service," Roger Penske, chairman of Penske Corporation, said. "This scholarship was created to provide more opportunities for women committed to pursuing technical excellence through a career in the motorsports and racing industries." In addition to the $25,000 scholarship, the Foundation, through the support of The NASCAR Foundation and the NASCAR family, will also be awarding three $10,000 Brienne Davis Memorial Scholarships to women who wish to attend one of UTI's nine automotive campuses across the United States. The deadline for scholarship applications is Dec. 31, 2009. More information about the scholarships is available on the UTI Foundation Web site at www.utifoundation.net.(Penske Racing)(12-6-2009)
News from December 5, 2009
Some more 2010 schemes: added #56 NAPA Toyota that Martin Truex Jr. will drive, different scheme then was shown at the driver announcement; #17 Crown Royal that will adorn the Ford of Matt Kenseth for half the 2010 season. See links to them on my Paint Scheme Gallery
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week – Day 5: The first Champion's Week in Las Vegas culminated with the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony Friday evening at the Wynn Las Vegas. The week was a packed one for four-time defending champion #48-Jimmie Johnson, who started off the tour in his home state of California before coming to Las Vegas for the festivities that began with Wednesday's landmark photo shoot. Despite the numerous appointments, Johnson said he enjoyed them all, and said this Champion's Week was completely different than his previous three that took place in New York City. "I think it was much more relaxed," Johnson said. "We didn't have to commute across town, getting around was much easier. I had a blast. Everyone across the industry just had fun together. We were hanging out with people from different teams across the sport every night. It was a lot of fun. This has been a much better experience." Johnson said his trip home to El Cajon, Calif., on Monday was his favorite part of the week. He visited his old elementary school, and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation donated a total of $922,000 in grants to schools in California, North Carolina and Oklahoma. "Being at my elementary school [Crest Elementary] and giving out the grants was the best part," Johnson said. "There are a lot of things on its heels as second-favorite, but that was the best." Crew chief Chad Knaus echoed his driver's feelings on the week, and expects it to be even better in the future. "Honestly, it's been a lot of fun," Knaus said. "Everything has been such a good time. And the more times we're here, the more it's going to grow."
Championship owner Rick Hendrick said it was certainly different in Vegas. "In New York, you had more of the Christmas feeling because of the tree and the cold weather," Hendrick said. "But there's so much more room to do things here. And the guys on the team are excited to be more a part of the celebration." This is Hendrick's ninth championship, meaning he's been a part of nine Champion's Weeks. It doesn't get boring, he says. "You know what to expect, but it never gets old," Hendrick said. "The reality of the championship always hits me the morning of the banquet. It finally sinks in. When that happens, you realize it's so special. When I was young, I just wanted to go to Martinsville. I never dreamed I'd win races and championships. It's like growing up in Green Bay, and then winning the Super Bowl with the Packers. That's exactly how I feel. I'm very appreciative for everything I have."
Friday evening's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony honored the entire #48 team and the top 10 drivers in the final series points standings. Hosted by Mike Joy and Krista Voda, it featured performances by country music stars Brooks and Dunn, comedian Frank Caliendo and singer David Gray.(NASCAR)(12-5-2009)
Biffle going dirt racing: #16-Greg Biffle will be competing in the first off-road race of his career when he competes in Saturday's Henderson Fabtech Desert Classic, sanctioned by the Best in the Desert Racing Association. Biffle, who will be sharing driving duties in the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R with Rob MacCachren and Steve Olliges, is scheduled to start the race behind the wheel. As an added attraction, Biffle will be giving Philip Ryan, a race fan from Cadott, WI, the ride of his life. Ryan, 59, was the winner of Ford's F-150 SVT Raptor Unleashed Sweepstakes and will get to sit in the Raptor's third seat during Biffle's leg of the race. Some Q&A from Ford and Biffle:
YOUR NASCAR SEASON IS OVER, BUT YOU'RE STILL RACING. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SATURDAY'S OFF-ROAD RACE?
Biffle: "I can't wait. I love going to the desert and love doing off-road stuff. This will be the first time I've ever competed in an off-road race, so I'm real excited about it. I got to do a little bit of practice in the spring time when Ford was doing a promotional event with the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R race version truck and I enjoyed it so much I said, 'Hey, I want to participate in a race,' so this opportunity came up to run one of the Best in the Desert races on Dec. 5 in the Raptor. I'm really looking forward to it. That's the highlight of my week is being able to go to the desert on Saturday and race."
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT TO EXPECT?
Biffle:"I have no idea other than I love being off-road and being in the desert like that, so I have no idea what to expect."
THE PLAN IS FOR YOU TO DRIVE FIRST, CORRECT?
Biffle: "Yeah. The plan is I'm going to start and Rob MacCachren is gonna be brave enough to ride with me. He's gonna be my co-driver and I can't think of anybody better to have in the right seat than him, talking to me about what to do and what-not-to-do. Hopefully, he can tell me the what-not-to-do's before we get too far into them and break the truck or wreck. I'm looking forward to it. It's gonna be fun."
ROB'S NOT THE ONLY ONE IN THE TRUCK. YOU'VE GOT A FAN IN THE RAPTOR AS WELL, RIGHT?
Biffle: "Yeah, they've got three seats in this Raptor, so they usually put a media person, a mechanic or a contest winner in the vehicle, so that's gonna be fun for them. I hope they don't criticize my driving too much since this will be the first time I'm driving off road." (Ford Racing)(12-5-2009)
Blickensderfer honored: Drew Blickensderfer, crew chief of the #17 Ford, won the Moog Problem Solver of the Year Award for 2009. This marks the first time Blickensderfer has won the award coming of a season that included winning the Daytona 500 and following that up with a win at the Auto Club Speedway the next weekend. Blickensderfer led his team to two wins, one pole, seven top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 2009, his first full-season as crew chief for Matt Kenseth and the #17 team.(Roush Fenway Racing)(12-5-2009)
Sporting News' Driver and Crew Chief Of The Year named: #48-Jimmie Johnson, the first driver in Sprint Cup Series history to win four consecutive championships, is the Sporting News driver of the year, the magazine announced today. Chad Knaus, Johnson's crew chief since Johnson became a full-time Cup driver in 2002, was voted the top crew chief. The voting was done by Sprint Cup drivers, crew chiefs and owners. Besides the four championships, Johnson and Knaus have combined for 47 Cup wins in 291 starts, a 16.2 winning percentage that ranks Johnson sixth all time.(Sporting News)(12-5-2009)
Bobby Hamilton Jr. buys race track: Nationwide driver and former Sprint Cup Series driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr. took over Highland Rim Speedway in Greenbrier TN on Wednesday, December 2nd. Hamilton immediately announced that the 2010 season will get underway on March 13th, with a complete schedule to be released soon. Hamilton also stated that he intends to refurbish the aging facility. Hitting the ground running, Hamilton announced 2010 rules meetings beginning Monday, December 7th. Fairgrounds Speedway competitors, now without a home, are invited to attend and race at Highland Rim. Highland Rim Speedway is a 1/3 mile high banked paved oval.(Middle Tennessee Racing Scene)(12-5-2009)
NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fests return to Daytona: The top NASCAR stars will gather at historic Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 15-16 for the annual NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fests, which give race fans a sneak preview on the new NASCAR racing season as well as Speedweeks 2010 and the 52nd annual Daytona 500.
On those dates, race fans will be able to get their “racing fix” prior to Speedweeks 2010 and the 52nd annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 14 with numerous activities with their favorite drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series in the Sprint FANZONE located in the heart of the “World Center of Racing.”
Among the activities planned for both days include:
* Interactive fan forums
* Autograph sessions
* Show cars, displays, music
* Online auction
* Blood drive
* Richard Petty Driving Experience
* SPEED Channel personalities on site broadcasting all of the festivities
Ticket information, driver appearance schedules and more details about the NASCAR Preseason Thunder Fan Fests will be released in the coming months. For ticket information for all Speedweeks 2010 events, call 1-800-PITSHOP or go online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.(DIS)(12-5-2009)
News from December 4, 2009
TRG and Labbe part ways UPDATE 2 to the #98: Official Statement from TRG Motorsports Regarding Former Crew Chief Slugger Labbe: TRG Motorsports today released Slugger Labbe as crew chief of the #71 Cup car. TRG appreciates Slugger's dedication in its first year as a Cup organization where he helped guide the team to 35 consecutive starts and TRG's first top-10 finish in the Sprint Cup Series. TRG Motorsports will, as planned, compete full time in 2010 with Bobby Labonte behind the wheel of the #71 with TaxSlayer.com on-board for a good portion of the season and is currently in negotiations with several top-level crew chiefs.(TRG Motorsports)(12-3-2009)
UPDATE: Labbe has several offers on the table and is expected to make an announcement concerning his future on Monday.
GM Mike Brown has left TRG as well. Brown was a longtime fixture at Bill Davis Racing prior to joining TRG in March. Brown says he has no formal plans but "several irons in the fire".(FoxSports)(12-4-2009)
UPDATE: Labbe will be the crew chief for Paul Menard and the #98 Menard's Ford in 2010. A formal announcement is expected from Yates Racing on Monday. Labbe parted ways with TRG Motorsports on Thursday to accept the new role. Labbe was touring the Yates shops on Friday and was introduced as "Menard's new crew chief," several sources confirmed. Menard's previous crew chief Larry Carter parted ways with the organization at season's end.(FoxSports)(12-4-2009)
Petty-Yates Merger supposedly a done deal: Richard Petty Motorsports officially became a Ford operation on Thursday. The merger deal was signed between principals from RPM and Yates Racing and the appropriate paperwork was filed with Ford Motor Company. Richard Petty Motorsports brings three additional teams to the table, the #9, #19 and #43. Ford officials have said repeatedly what a coup it was to gain #9-Kasey Kahne, who finished 10th in the Sprint Cup point standings, into the fold as well as 28-year-old #43-AJ Allmendinger. #19-Elliott Sadler will also join the driver roster which included #98-Paul Menard from the former Yates organization. RPM is currently operating out of Statesville, N.C. The former Yates Racing buildings in Concord, N.C. are currently being remodeled to accommodate all four teams. That move is scheduled for Speedweeks in February.(FoxSports)(12-4-2009)
Some Layoffs: been hearing of more layoffs recently from some Sprint Cup teams including 18 to 25 people at Red Bull Racing [#82-Speed & #83-Vickers]; also heard that Yates Racing laid off some from the #98 team of Paul Menard, in preparation of downsizing from siz teams [#9, #19, #43, #44, #96, #98] to four teams [#9, #19, #43, #98] with the meger of Yates Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports and Hall of Fame Racing splitting from Yates Racing. Also hearing that the #71 TRG Motorsports team has laid off many employees, including General Manager and Crew Chief. See my Racing Schools / Jobs page for some job sites and networking ideas/links.(12-4-2009)
Barney Hall recipient of the 2009 NMPA Myers Brothers Award: MRN Radio's Barney Hall, known to generations of NASCAR fans for his distinctive delivery and storytelling, is the recipient of the 2009 NMPA Myers Brothers Award. The award, named in honor of former NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers, was presented Thursday in Las Vegas in conjunction with tonight's Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony – which will be broadcast live on MRN, with Hall and Joe Moore anchoring the coverage. Hall was recognized for a lifetime of achievement in radio broadcasting. He recently completed his 51st year covering stock car racing. He was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 2007 and also has an award named for him that recognizes outstanding work in the field of radio broadcasting. "Despite all of NASCAR's changes through the years, Barney Hall remains one of the sport's constants,'' said NMPA President Dustin Long. "Barney is a regular Sunday visitor to many fans. He takes them to the track, describes the scene and shares unique stories about their racing heroes. He works with a grace and style that earns the respect of many."
Voted on each year by members of the NMPA, the Myers Brothers Award recognizes individuals and/or groups that have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. Mark Martin, runner-up in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup, and the late David Poole of The Charlotte Observer also were finalists.(MRN Radio)(12-4-2009)
Hamlin surgery pushed back: #11-Denny Hamlin had minor knee surgery planned for the end of this season, but delayed the procedure after booking a suite with a basketball court inside of it for his stay in Las Vegas. Since arriving Tuesday evening, Hamlin said he and his friends have gotten in at least three games a day on the court. His surgery will be Dec. 16. "I moved my surgery back because I had this reserved for the last two months," he said. "It was scheduled for last week, and I thought there would be no point in it. I moved my surgery back to accommodate my hotel room in Vegas, so I'm trying to get all the ball in that I can since I'm going to be out for a month."(Associated Press)
AND Also in regards to Hamlin, he gave out four tickets for each race to this season. All fans had to do was go to his website and explain why they should get his tickets for a particular race. Hamlin said the web site got more than 20,000 entries. He said he will continue to offer tickets to fans again next year. He also says that some tracks are joining in and matching or adding to Hamlin's gift to fans.(Virginian Pilot)(12-4-2009)
Earnhardt says Danica talks still ongoing: Negotiations to bring Danica Patrick to NASCAR are ongoing with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s race team, but the driver said he has not participated in the talks and isn't certain she will drive for his Nationwide Series team. JR Motorsports is co-owned by Earnhardt and Rick Hendrick, and both said the Patrick talks are being handled by Earnhardt's sister, Kelley. Earnhardt announced Thursday that Kelley Earnhardt and his cousin, Tony Eury Jr., have been given ownership stakes in the organization. Kelley Earnhardt has been the driving force in the team's bid to bring Patrick to a part-time NASCAR ride. "It's still sort of in the negotiation stages," he said. "Her and my sister are, I guess, managing that entirely. I have not been in any way, shape, or form involved." Asked what the odds are of Patrick signing a deal, Earnhardt didn't pick a number. "She's going to drive stock cars for somebody, someday," Earnhardt said. "It's just too much of a -- look at all the Formula One guys over here checking (NASCAR) out -- the writing is on the wall for her and several other guys. I think it's exciting. She would be great for our sport. She wants to see what's up."(Associated Press)(12-4-2009)
"The Stewies" announced: Winners of the third annual 'Stewie Awards' were announced Thursday night by Tony Stewart live on SIRIUS XM Radio from the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. The 2009 'Stewie Award' winners were decided by fans around the country who voted for the best, boldest and funniest moments of the NASCAR season. Listeners around the country tuned in to experience the event live on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, SIRIUS channel 128 and XM channel 128 with the "Best of SIRIUS" programming package. "The Stewies" will be rebroadcast on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio on Friday, Dec. 4 (7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT), Saturday, Dec. 5 (7:00 am ET/4:00 am PT and 5:00 pm ET/2:00 pm PT) and Sunday, Dec. 6 (2:00 pm ET/11:00 am PT).
Guests on the program included: 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, Chase drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Greg Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and Brian Vickers, legendary drivers David Pearson and AJ Foyt, plus Kevin Harvick, Rick Hendrick and celebrity Robin Leach.
Video highlights of the event will be available at www.sirius.com/nascar.
Winners in 11 categories, including "Best Original Drama," "Best Driver2Crew Chatter," "Bonehead Move of the Year" and others were honored. Among the evening's highlights was the presentation of the "Stewie Lifetime Achievement Award" to team owner Rick Hendrick and the awarding of the Golden Stewie to racing legend David Pearson.
The winners of the 2009 'Stewie Awards' are:
"Feels Like The First Time" Award – Recognizing the most notable "first" of the NASCAR season.
· Kevin Harvick gets first win in his own Nationwide Series car. (Mar. 21)
Best Original Drama – Honoring the year's most dramatic moment or sequence.
· 50-year-old Mark Martin makes the Chase in his first year with Hendrick Motorsports.
Best Original Comedy – Honoring the year's most entertaining "incident."
· Denny Hamlin vs. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski spins Hamlin into the wall late in NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover (Sep. 26). After the race, crews from both teams get into a pit road skirmish.
Best Vocal Performance – Honoring the year's most memorable quote
· Tony Stewart "in awe" of Jeff Gordon post-race at Kansas. (Oct. 4)
Smokey Yunick Award (Best Engineering and Special Effects) – Acknowledging the year's most creative modifications to a race car.
· Mark Martin's #5 and Jimmie Johnson's #48 cars for NOT being illegal, yet causing a media frenzy in September of 2009 after being warned by NASCAR that they were "getting too close to the tolerance limits" set forth by NASCAR.
Bonehead Move of the Year Award
· Kyle Busch destroys his Nationwide Series guitar/trophy at Nashville in true "rock star fashion." (Jun. 6)
'I Got Dumped' Award – Acknowledging the year's most memorable on or off-track bumping
· Marcos Ambrose loses NAPA Auto Parts 200 Nationwide Series race in Montreal on last lap to Carl Edwards by misjudging final turn. (Aug. 30)
Hal Needham Award (Best Stunt Sequence) – Acknowledging the year's most spectacular crash
· Carl Edwards wrecks on the final lap at Talladega in the spring (Apr. 26) and sends the car flipping into the catch fence. Edwards gets out of car and runs across finish line to complete the race.
Best Driver2Crew Chatter Exchange – Acknowledging the year's most memorable driver-to-pit crew communication
* Juan Pablo Montoya penalized by NASCAR at Indy for speeding on pit lane. (Jul. 26)
Golden Stewie Award – Chosen by Stewart and Yocum and honoring a legendary driver from the Golden Era of racing.
* David Pearson
"Stewie" Lifetime Achievement Award
* Rick Hendrick
SIRIUS XM is the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, broadcasting every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race live on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128, the only radio channel dedicated to NASCAR 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.(SIRIUS XM Radio)(12-4-2009)
Danica doesn't have to enter Daytona ARCA race to test: Several sources have made a big deal about the fact that Danica hasn't filed an entry for ARCA testing at Daytona International Speedway December 18, 19 and 20, intimating that since she hasn't registered for the test, she won't test, and if she won't test she can't run the Daytona ARCA race in February, and if she doesn't run the ARCA race, NASCAR won't approve her to run the NASCAR Nationwide race a few days later. Don Radebaugh, longtime ARCA public relations director, says that Danica doesn't have to file any sort of advance notice for the test. She can enter "the same day. There is no deadline." As for what car she would drive, there are already at least seven cars entered with "TBA" under the driver's name. Another source suggests Patrick will participate in a "secret" Daytona test before the end of the year. At the moment, Daytona has no such test on the books. If she tests at Daytona, it will likely be with ARCA. Can she race the ARCA race in February, without testing? "We do not take a position on that matter until we have an official entry," Radebaugh says. Certainly Danica has experience on big speedways, but not in stock cars. Both NASCAR and ARCA have long made it clear that Daytona drivers need to have drafting experience on a superspeedway in stock cars before they can race. So even if Danica did have a private test, she would need to learn drafting in a pack of cars, and the ARCA test will be the only opportunity for that.(Orlando Sentinel)(12-4-2009)
Kurt Busch to lead the Las Vegas Great Santa Run: Golden Gaming, Inc., owners and operators of the PT's and Sierra Gold taverns, announced that #2-Kurt Busch will help start the race day festivities for the 2009 Las Vegas Great Santa Run on December 5th. The Kurt Busch Foundation is a sponsor of the event. The Las Vegas Great Santa Run benefits Opportunity Village. Busch will be in attendance throughout the Las Vegas Great Santa Run and fans can meet him inside the Golden Gaming tent that will be set up during race day. More info at lasvegassantarun.org.(Tom Roberts PR)(12-4-2009)
Addington moving on UPDATE 4: during the Ford 400 Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Andy Petree of ESPN2 reported that Steve Addington, former crew chief for #18-Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing, informed JGR he would leave and is moving on. No word what team or job he is going to.(11-20-2009)
UPDATE: Bob Dillner reported on the SPEED Report that Addington is talking to Penske Racing about being #2-Kurt Busch's crew chief in 2010, supposedly the hold up is that Addington wants a 3-year contract.(11-24-2009)
UPDATE 2: former #18-Kyle Busch crew chief Steve Addington supposedly cleaned out his office and said his goodbyes on Monday after six seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing. Addington has been rumored to be a candidate at Penske Racing for #2-Kurt Busch and Richard Petty Motorsports for #19-Elliott Sadler.(FoxSports)(12-2-2009)
UPDATE 3: [Penske Racing president Tim] Cindric said the organization hoped to decide on a new crew chief for Kurt Busch within the next two weeks. He confirmed that Steve Addington, former crew chief for Busch's younger brother, Kyle, is among the final "two or three" candidates. Penske is mulling at least two internal candidates.(Sports Illustrated)(12-3-2009)
UPDATE 4: Addington had been offered the head post for Elliott Sadler's #19 team at Richard Petty Motorsports, but sources say that he turned it down.(FoxSports)(12-4-2009)
News from December 3, 2009
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week – Day 4: As the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week rolls toward the official crowning of four-time champion #48-Jimmie Johnson on Friday night, the celebration continues to focus on the sport’s many fans. Bringing the event to Las Vegas has been a big plus in that respect, according to Johnson, who sees nothing but greater fan participation in future years. “The fan turnouts for all of the events have been phenomenal, especially for a first year,” said Johnson during Thursday’s events which included the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards, Top 12 Victory Lap Parade, NASCAR After the Lap Presented by Tissot and SIRIUS XM’s ‘Stewie Awards.’ “With the TV package, (fan) access to NASCAR is growing and Champion’s Week in the years to come can only get bigger and better.”
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, in remarks during Thursday’s awards ceremonies, said, “We will continue to do everything possible as an industry to thank them for the commitment to the sport and to give them the kind of racing, personalities and excitement they expect from their NASCAR. “As we head into 2010, we will continue to focus on what’s most important – delivering the best possible racing to the fans.”
Two of NASCAR’s pioneers were honored during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards, held at the Venetian Showroom. Dale Inman, the longtime Petty Enterprises crew chief and winner of eight NASCAR Sprint Cup championships, was the recipient of the Buddy Shuman Award. Inman, winner of 198 races and titles with Richard Petty and Terry Labonte, joined Petty as a winner of the prestigious award. Barney Hall, the longest serving member of MRN’s broadcast team, received the Myers Brothers Award.
Michigan International Speedway received the 2009 Home Depot Humanitarian Award for its annual blood and marrow drive, an event created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Similar events are hosted at 30 additional tracks around the nation. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think what we began in 2002 would become this big,” said Tim Booth, the track’s customer service manager.
Daytona International Speedway was cited as the top fund-raising track for NASCAR Day. The speedway raised nearly $100,000 for charities served by the NASCAR Foundation.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver for the seventh time.
Johnson picked up four awards. His #48 team received three additional awards.
The Top 12 Victory Lap Parade held Thursday afternoon under sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s drew thousands of onlookers as “Mr. Las Vegas” Wayne Newton dropped the ceremonial green flag. Fans overflowed sidewalks at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road to witness what has become a NASCAR race winner’s signature “burn out” celebration performed by Johnson. Pit stop demonstrations also were held fronting Bally’s and The Bellagio resorts.
A large crowd also enjoyed a Q&A session with the 12 qualifiers for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup held at the MGM Grand Hotel. The After the Lap Presented by Tissot followed the Top 12 Victory Lap. Thursday events ended with the presentation of the SIRIUS XM “Stewie Awards” honoring the best, boldest and brightest moments of the 2009 season.
Johnson formally accepts his 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship awards on Friday. He, his family and his Hendrick Motorsports team will participate in traditional photos during the afternoon, before attending the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony that evening at Wynn’s Las Vegas. SPEED will televise the event live from 9:00 pm - 1:00 am/et. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio will also broadcast the ceremony live nationwide.
Here is the complete list of Thursday’s award winners:
* Buddy Shuman Award – Dale Inman
* NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award – Michigan International Speedway
* NMPA Myers Brothers Award – Barney Hall
* Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver Award – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
* Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award – Joey Logano
* DirecTV Crew Chief of the Year Award – Darian Grubb
* Dow Automotive Strategic Call of the Race Award – Jimmie Johnson
* Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year Award – Drew Blickensderfer
* MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award – Hendrick Motorsports
* Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Award – #42 team
* Mobil 1 Command Performance Award – Juan Pablo Montoya
* O’Reilly Parts People, Services and Performance Award – Denny Hamlin
* Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award – Jimmie Johnson
* Tissot Pit Road Precision Award – #16 team
* WIX Filters Lap Leader Award – Tony Stewart
* Coors Light Pole Award – Mark Martin
* Sunoco Diamond Performance Award – Jimmie Johnson
* Goodyear Award – Jimmie Johnson
* Championship Sponsor Award – Lowe’s
* Champion Crew Chief Award – Chad Knaus
Brooks & Dunn To Open NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Show: Country music duo Brooks & Dunn have been added to the entertainment lineup for Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas. They’ll open the show by performing their chart-topping country hit “Only in America.” The song, part of an opening segment honoring NASCAR’s loyal fan base, will be packaged with a video titled “The Spirit of the Fans,” featuring a powerful narration by long-time television broadcast personality Ken Squier. Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn have announced that 2010 will be their last year together, highlighted by a farewell tour, “The Last Rodeo.” Earlier this year they released their final album, a 30-song double-disc collection title “#1s … and then some.” They have sold more than 30 million albums over a career dating to 1991, with 23 songs that reached No. 1 on the country music charts.
Comedian/impressionist Frank Caliendo, will serve as the host while two other premier musical acts will add to the ceremony’s debut in Las Vegas: singer/songwriter David Gray, a Grammy-nominated artist with album sales exceeding 12 million; and Escala, a female electric string quartet who emerged during last year’s “Britain’s Got Talent” television show. Comedian John Pinette returns for his second-straight appearance at the awards ceremony. Serving as the event’s emcees will be Mike Joy and Krista Voda from NASCAR on FOX and SPEED, live at 9:00pm/et on SPEED.(12-3-2009)
Bliss in the #36?: hearing that Mike Bliss will drive the #36 Wave Energy Drink car for Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2010.
UPDATE: Mike Bliss will pilot the #36 Wave Energy Drink race car for Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2010 and Michael McDowell will continue his marketing relationship with the sponsor. After careful consideration, Baldwin chose Mike Bliss to lead his 2010 program. “Mike brings a lot of experience to the table and next year, we’re stepping everything up,” said Baldwin. “He gives us the best chance to qualify for the Daytona 500 and get ourselves in the top-35 in points after the first five events of the 2010 season. I’m very excited to have him on board along with our sponsor, Wave Energy Drink,” he added. Driver Michael McDowell, who closed out the 2009 season for Tommy Baldwin Racing, will still play a vital part of sponsor Wave Energy Drink’s future marketing plans. McDowell is slated to drive in several select Sprint Cup events in a Wave Energy Drink-sponsored car in 2010. With the driver lineup and sponsor representation secured for next year, Baldwin is revved up about the future of his race team and relationship with sponsor, Wave Energy Drink. “We’ve got a great deal of energy coming together at the right time,” said Baldwin. “Our plan is to keep Bliss and McDowell involved in our racing program and as brand ambassadors for Wave Energy Drink. Both of these guys are very talented both on the racetrack and off the track. Now we’ll be able to take this program to the next level with our own version of the ‘Mike and Mike Show’,” he added.(Wave Energy Drink site)(12-3-2009)
TRG and Labbe part ways: Official Statement from TRG Motorsports Regarding Former Crew Chief Slugger Labbe: TRG Motorsports today released Slugger Labbe as crew chief of the #71 Cup car. TRG appreciates Slugger’s dedication in its first year as a Cup organization where he helped guide the team to 35 consecutive starts and TRG’s first top-10 finish in the Sprint Cup Series. TRG Motorsports will, as planned, compete full time in 2010 with Bobby Labonte behind the wheel of the #71 with TaxSlayer.com on-board for a good portion of the season and is currently in negotiations with several top-level crew chiefs.(TRG Motorsports)(12-3-2009)
Earnhardt Jr. Scores 7th NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Honor: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was awarded his seventh consecutive NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver award Thursday in Las Vegas, announced at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards event at The Venetian Las Vegas Hotel Casino. The result was determined by online voting during the course of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The award comes one week after Brad Keselowski was named Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, giving the JR Motorsports owner/driver tandem its second consecutive sweep of most popular awards.
Earnhardt Jr. joins Bill Elliott and Richard Petty as the only drivers to win the award at least seven times. His seven in a row falls short only to Elliott, who won 10 straight from 1991-2000. Earnhardt Jr. now sits behind Elliott (16) and Richard Petty (9) for most total awards.
“I’m extremely honored to win this award again, and I’m happy for Brad to be able to win it again in the Nationwide Series,” said Earnhardt Jr., who drives the #88 Amp Energy/National Guard Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. “As always, I want to thank the fans. They’ve stuck with us, and I’m always humbled by that. We didn’t have the year we were expecting on the Cup side, but Brad and Tony Eury Sr. and everyone at JR Motorsports did a great job this year on the Nationwide side, scored a bunch of wins, and I’m proud of all of them.”(JR Motorsports)(12-3-2009)
Dale Inman Named 2009 Buddy Shuman Award Winner: Dale Inman, among the foremost crew chiefs in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history, collected one of NASCAR’s most prestigious and longest-running awards today in Las Vegas. Inman received the Buddy Shuman Award during the 2009 NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards. Presented since 1957, the award annually recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to NASCAR racing. It honors the late Buddy Shuman, a pioneering NASCAR driver who died in a hotel fire in November 1955. “Dale is one of the first crew chiefs I worked for and remains a true trailblazer for that position,” said NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton. “He’s a major reason and inspiration behind many of the current talented people working in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage.” Inman, Richard Petty’s first cousin, was responsible for eight NASCAR Sprint Cup championships – one more than his famous relative, also a Buddy Shuman Award winner. The 73-year-old Inman, from Level Cross, N.C., won 298 races. His victory total boasted 27 wins – and 10 straight – in 1967. Inman won NASCAR Sprint Cup titles with Petty in 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1979. His final championship came with Terry Labonte in 1984.
Petty once described his cousin as the sport’s first official crew chief. Inman and brothers Richard and Maurice Petty began working on father Lee Petty’s cars during after-school hours and on weekends in the 1940s and 50s. When the younger Petty began racing, Inman was assigned engine-building duties and later became crew chief for Petty Enterprises. He was responsible for 192 of the team’s victories.
From 1986 through Petty’s retirement in 1992, Inman handled the business side of Petty Enterprises. Inman worked with the team’s drivers in a consulting role until his retirement in 1998. Away from the track, Inman played an integral role in helping the Petty family launch the Victory Junction which enriches the lives of chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.(NASCAR)(12-3-2009)
Tim Booth wins Home Depot NMPA 2009 Humanitarian Award: Michigan International Speedway’s Director of Guest Services Tim Booth was selected as the winner of the Humanitarian Award ahead of NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle, who were also finalists. For receiving the prestigious honor from The Home Depot and National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA), Booth will receive $100,000 that will be donated on his behalf to the Spirit of America Blood Drive. Booth, Stewart and Biffle were recognized during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brother Awards program in Las Vegas on Thursday. Stewart and Biffle will be awarded $25,000 for their respective charities for being named as finalists.
“Just to have been nominated is truly a great honor, and I am humbled,” Booth said. “The reality is this award is not about any one, single nominee or finalist, but rather about donating one’s time for a cause that you believe in – any amount of time and any cause will do. It’s about giving, isn’t it? So thank you to Home Depot and the NMPA for this great honor, and thank you for supporting my charity. Greg, Tony and I are all winners on our charities’ behalves.”
Booth was nominated for the Humanitarian Award for his efforts in making the Spirit of America Blood Drive at MIS the nation’s largest 9-11 blood drive event. The Spirit of America has collected a grand total of 6,213 units of blood, potentially benefiting 18,639 people since its inception in 2002. (Each unit of blood can be transfused to up to three people.) Booth has made countless efforts to support various non-profit organizations in his community, but none as much as the Great Lakes Region of the American Red Cross. His creation of the Spirit of America Blood Drive, which began at MIS in 2002, was a way to honor the victims and heroes of September 11, 2001. The blood drive’s success caught the eye of the NASCAR Foundation, which has since created the NASCAR Foundation Blood & Marrow Drive, which is hosted at 30 race tracks across the country on September 11. Booth is also a regular blood donor who has personally given blood 146 times, which amounts to more than 18 gallons in his lifetime. The NMPA Home Depot Humanitarian Award was established in 2007.(MIS)(12-3-2009)
Coca-Cola honored with NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Coca-Cola, a long-time NASCAR partner with the most integrated involvement in all levels of the sport, was honored with the 2009 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award today at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards here as part of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week. In addition to its position as the official non-alcoholic beverage of NASCAR, Coca-Cola has relationships with 15 race tracks and 12 drivers through the Coca-Cola Racing Family. A full portfolio of its brands support NASCAR: Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, NOS, Powerade, and Vitamin Water. Coke is also title sponsor to two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. In 2009, Coca-Cola ran 130 unique NASCAR-themed marketing programs across the country, including seven major custom retail promotions, and a ticket package benefitting fans attending the Coca-Cola 600 in May. Coke's Golden Can promotion included three-million NASCAR-themed cases. NASCAR was also promoted on 53 million "50th anniversary" celebration cans. Earlier this year, Coke was an anchor partner in a regional promotion for official NASCAR partners in 124 Brookshire's stores that included a special fan ticket offer at Texas Motor Speedway, driving significant sales increases for Coke Zero. Sharing a commitment to the environment and the communities the sport visits, Coke partnered with NASCAR on an enhanced at-track recycling program in 2009. More than 70+ tons of waste and 2.5 million containers were recycled at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tracks in the 2009 season, making NASCAR the largest recycler in sports.(NASCAR)(12-3-2009)
Some NASCAR drivers running the Snowball Derby: Race fans might have thought the 2009 racing season ended on Nov. 22 when NASCAR's three major series competed at Homestead-Miami Speedway. But they were wrong. Racing purists know the racing season is never complete until a champion is crowned in the Snowball Derby, the country's most prestigious short-track race that occurs each December at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola. The 42nd Snowball Derby is slated for Sunday, Dec. 6 and will culminate four days of exciting racing action at Northwest Florida's half-mile gem. Several NASCAR stars, including 2009 Nationwide Series champion Kyle Busch, will compete against the country's best Super Late Model drivers, all of whom are seeking to affix their name to the coveted Tom Dawson Memorial Trophy. Hoping to earn a spot in this year's elite 38-car field will be former Snowball Derby champion Steve Wallace and David Stremme, who race on the Nationwide Series. James Buescher and Brian Scott from the Camping World Trucks Series also hope to make the big show. Two other potential future stars with famous last names will try to qualify for the Derby - Chase Elliott, son of former Cup champion Bill Elliott, and Ross Kenseth, son of another former Cup champ, Matt Kenseth. The green flag waves at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, in the 42nd annual Snowball Derby.(Gulf Breeze News) and more info about the Snow Ball Derby at speed51.com and/or 5flagsspeedway.com.(12-3-2009)
#42 Pit Crew to be honored UPDATE: Tuesday night on Eddie D'Hondt's radio show "The NASCAR Insider" heard each Tuesday [5:00 - 6:00 pm/et] on the Power Up Motorsports Channel, Ted Abdon of Mechanixwear announced, at the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards ceremony to be held Thursday in Las Vegas at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino from 1:00 - 2:45 PM/PT, he will present the # 42 Ganassi/Earnhardt - Juan Montoya, NASCAR Sprint Cup team with the "2009 Mechanixwear Pit Crew of the Year" award. This award is elected by the crew chiefs of the entire Sprint Cup Series and the folks from Mechanixwear not only present the prestigious silver Mechanixwear glove award to the team, but they also present them with a check for $100,000 and they fly the entire Juan Montoya pit crew to Las Vegas to receive their award. Abdon went on to say that Mechanixwear will also be renewing their program with NASCAR for the next five years.(12-3-2009)
UPDATE: Mechanix Wear announced that the #42 Target pit crew of Juan Pablo Montoya from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is the winner of the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award for the 2009 season. This award is the only authentic competition voted on by crew chiefs. The #42 Target pit crew was selected for its fast pit stops, flawless performance and incredible effort over the 38-race season. The team also won the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award for the third quarter. The #42 Target pit crew will travel to Las Vegas to be honored at the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup celebration, and will also take home the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew trophy and the $100,000 grand prize. The members of the #42 Target pit crew include: Crew chief: Brian Pattie; Gas Man: Mike Bodick; Jack Man: T.J. Ford; Catch Can: Heath Silver; Front Tire Changer: Trevor Lysne; Front Tire Carrier: Eric Bilyeu; Rear Tire Changer: Chris McMullen; Rear Tire Carrier: Chip Goode.(Victory Management Group)(12-4-2009)
Sad News - Gail "Jerry" Douglas: BlackJack Racing is sadden by the loss of one its most dedicated team members. After a gallant three year battle with cancer, Gail "Jerry" Douglas succumbed to his fight on Monday, November 16 2009 at his home in Westby, Wisconsin. Douglas otherwise known as the "Governor" around the ARCA Racing Series garage from 2005-2008 was instrumental in supporting the growth of now NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) driver Dexter Bean. Douglas served as General Manager of BlackJack Racing from 2005-2007 and worked side-by-side with BlackJack Racing owner David Bean. The loss of "Jerry" Douglas is a massive one to the family-owned BlackJack Racing team but the team will continue to race - honoring their fallen hero. "Jerry is gone but he lives in our hearts forever," said driver Dexter Bean. "Jerry loved racing and especially the people in ARCA. We will miss him greatly but we'll keep racing hoping to make him proud." A memorial service is set for Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 11:00am at Westby Coon Prairie Lutheran Church. Online condolences may be offered at Vosseteigfuneralhomes.com. Gail "Jerry" Douglas is survived by his wife, Mary (Endle); four children, Teresa (Gary) Last of Cedarburg, Wis., Rhonda (Jerry) Duerst of Cudahy, Wis., Greg (Lisa) Douglas of Muskego,Wis., and Tina (Kip) Lisiecki of Oak Creek, Wis.(BlackJack Racing)(12-4-2009)
Johnson wins 4th Qtr Driver of the Year Award: #48-Jimmie Johnson was voted fourth quarter Driver of the Year 2009 by a panel of broadcasters and journalists. Johnson, the Driver of the Year in 2006 and 2007, wrapped up his fourth- straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship then took 12 out of the 16 first-place votes and was the only driver on all ballots. He earned 130 points. Kyle Busch, his on-track rival, was second with 53 points. NHRA's Robert Hight was third with 49-points. Kyle Busch, who wrapped up his first championship, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing, in addition to his full-time driving duties in the Sprint Cup series, also scored wins in Camping World Series and received one first-place vote. NHRA's Robert Hight who scored a Funny Car Championship for owner, John Force, (Driver of the Year in 1996) had two first-place votes. Dario Franchitti who won his second IndyCar title finished fourth in the voting with 41 points. Top Fuel's Tony Schumacher, last year's Driver of the Year was fifth. A total of 14 drivers scored points in the fourth quarter voting. In its' 42nd year, the Driver of the Year title is unique and the oldest award of its' type. A panel of 20 leading journalists from across the U.S. determines the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date. A secret ballot to name the Driver of the Year 2009 will be conducted this week and results will announced.(DOTY)(12-3-2009)
Championship "Tire Specialist" award announced: Champion Tire & Wheel announced the 2009 Sprint Cup "Consistently Smooth" award goes to Hendrick Motorsports's Lisa Smokstad and Zach Miller. The award recognizes the skill and effort of the team's tire specialist in overseeing the organization and management of their tire and wheel program. Both Lisa and Zach teamed up to handle the championship effort. The tire specialist is a critical piece in the formula for a championship team as it takes over 2,500 tires and wheels to run the full Sprint Cup season. The lead crystal trophy will be presented to Lisa & Zach at the team's shop in Charlotte with #48 team manager Michael Landis, and crew chief Chad Knaus. In addition to the Sprint Cup series recipients, Champion Tire and Wheel will also present Joe Gibb's Racing's, Jason Clements, the Championship tire specialists award for the Nationwide Series, and Scott Haller of Kevin Harvick Racing, the award for the Camping World Truck Series.(Champion Tire & Wheel PR)(12-3-2009)
Addington moving on UPDATE 3: during the Ford 400 Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Andy Petree of ESPN2 reported that Steve Addington, former crew chief for #18-Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing, informed JGR he would leave and is moving on. No word what team or job he is going to.(11-20-2009)
UPDATE: Bob Dillner reported on the SPEED Report that Addington is talking to Penske Racing about being #2-Kurt Busch's crew chief in 2010, supposedly the hold up is that Addington wants a 3-year contract.(11-24-2009)
UPDATE 2: former #18-Kyle Busch crew chief Steve Addington supposedly cleaned out his office and said his goodbyes on Monday after six seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing. Addington has been rumored to be a candidate at Penske Racing for #2-Kurt Busch and Richard Petty Motorsports for #19-Elliott Sadler.(FoxSports)(12-2-2009)
UPDATE 3: [Penske Racing president Tim] Cindric said the organization hoped to decide on a new crew chief for Kurt Busch within the next two weeks. He confirmed that Steve Addington, former crew chief for Busch's younger brother, Kyle, is among the final "two or three" candidates. Penske is mulling at least two internal candidates as a replacement for Pat Tryson, who is leaving to run Martin Truex Jr.'s program at Michael Waltrip Racing.(Sports Illustrated)(12-3-2009)
Johnson to run Rolex 24: Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will kick off his 2010 racing season at Daytona International Speedway in the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31, the prestigious twice-around-the-clock challenge and the ultimate test of driver and machine. For the third straight year, Johnson will co-drive the # 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing entry - the 2009 Rolex Series Daytona Prototype champions - with the team's lead drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty as well as open-wheel veteran Jimmy Vasser. The 2010 Rolex 24 will be Johnson's fifth appearance in the grueling race that kicks off the season for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask #16. Johnson has a best finish of second in both the 2005 and 2008 Rolex 24s.(Daytona Speedway PR)(12-3-2009)
Andretti uncertain of 2010 plans: Veteran barnstormer John Andretti said he is virtually certain to make another attempt to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in May but said the demands of a NASCAR schedule have brought him to a crossroads in his 22-year career. Andretti, the 46-year-old nephew of legend Mario Andretti, competed in 34 Sprint Cup events, finishing 36th in points, in 2009. He placed 19th for Richard Petty Motorsports in his 10th Indy 500. "I'm kind of at a stage in my life where I want to enjoy everything, my family," said Andretti, who has won national series races in stock, sports, open wheel and drag racing cars. "This last year has been pretty taxing on me because I am gone all the time. So I need to really dig deep to see if I want to do it again. I enjoy the team I am with, I like the owner, and that's really what got me to do this [in 2009]. The Indianapolis 500, I would say just go ahead and write that in, but I don't know if I can go on the road and do 34 races. I am not young, but I am compared to Mark Martin, and I enjoy doing it, so it's tough."(Sports Illustrated)(12-3-2009)
Concord and Cabarrus County fighting back: The city and county governments in the area of Lowe's Motor Speedway contend in court documents that they can't be sued for breach of contract nor forced into a formalized agreement with Speedway Motorsports Inc. that would give SMI $80 million in grants and tax incentives for renovating LMS and building a drag strip across the street.
SMI Chairman Bruton Smith had threatened to move LMS in October 2007 if he did not get the permits to build the drag strip on land near the existing 1.5-mile oval. As other area governments began offering incentives, the City of Concord and Cabarrus County offered an $80 million incentive package in November 2007 – with the details to be worked out later – to keep LMS where it's currently located.
The local governments and SMI never reached a formal agreement, and SMI, which says it has spent $4 million already on public improvements it claims are reimbursable, filed a lawsuit in September in North Carolina Superior Court in Concord. SMI asks for a judgment requiring the governments to take all necessary action to formalize an agreement and damages for breaches of the agreement and misrepresentations. In a filing last week, Concord and Cabarrus County ask that the case be dismissed. Both the city and county state that their elected boards had not approved a contract, which must go through public hearings, and therefore they had no enforceable agreement. "The City denies that a contract was formed; because many material details had yet to be determined, the parties had merely agreed to agree," the City of Concord says in its motion. The City of Concord also alleges that SMI did not act in good faith, terminating negotiations after the initial offer. The governments' proposed agreement, filed as an exhibit in the case, requires SMI to spend $60 million on the drag strip, which now has been completed, within one year and $200 million on the speedway and various roads over three years. It also requires SMI to have three Cup events at the race track for each of the next 40 years, as well as to operate the drag strip for 40 years or else SMI would have to repay any of the incentives and grants it already had been awarded. In its complaint, SMI claims the wording in the contract allows the governments 40 years for the $80 million to be paid. SMI claims the governments want to avoid their obligations.
In its response, the City said a judge cannot force it to sign a deal. "Courts have no power to mandate municipal legislation, and the decision to enter a contract is political, not judicial," the City says.(SceneDaily)(12-3-2009)
News from December 2, 2009
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week – Day 3: Vegas, baby, Vegas … or is it? Champion’s Week takes place in Las Vegas for the first time, but today NASCAR, championship driver Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevy) and championship crew chief Chad Knaus, paid a bit of homage to its former home – New York City. Johnson took part in the traditional Landmark Photo Shoot, hitting a number of recognizable spots along the famed Las Vegas strip. One of those spots was the replica New York City skyline that makes up the New York New York Hotel & Casino. Johnson and Knaus also took photos outside the Bellagio hotel and the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign at the very end of the strip. At the sign, which was the champion’s last stop on the photo shoot, Johnson took photos with fans and signed autographs. Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo also joined the champions for the photo.
Johnson’s day didn’t end there. After the photos were taken, he dashed to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where his fellow competitors got a little payback for four years of domination. The track hosted a Charity Roast of Johnson, with all 12 Chase drivers in attendance – and none held back. Said Kurt Busch (#2 Miller Lite Dodge), “I figured out a new Chase format. Every Chase race, we pull out of a hat who gets to have Chad Knaus as their crew chief. Because it’s certainly not your talent that wins you all these championships.” Said fellow four-time champion Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevy), “Man, you’ve won four straight championships. I used to be the man. Now you got me on everything. At least my eyebrows are better than yours.” Said Hendrick Motorsports teammate and 2009 championship runner-up Mark Martin (#5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevy), “Jimmie has gotten a lot better looking. As a kid he was ugly. He was so ugly that he had to trick-or-treat by telephone.” The at-track activities began early with the Chasers for Charity Fanfest at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Neon Garage. It was a free-admission party for fans, featuring music, food and a Q&A hosted by ESPN’s Jamie Little. The roast, held in the track’s Blackjack Club, benefitted Speedway Children’s Charities. The event was shown on closed-circuit television in the Neon Garage.(NASCAR)(12-2-2009)
Tire test at Auto Club: Goodyear has a tire test scheduled for Dec. 15-16 at Auto Club Speedway in California. #9-Kasey Kahne (Ford) is expected to attend along with the #12-Brad Keselowski (Dodge). #20-Joey Logano (Toyota) and #31-Jeff Burton (Chevy).(FoxSports)(12-2-2009)
Sporting News announces some NASCAR honors: Joey Logano, at 19, the youngest driver to win a Sprint Cup Series race, is the Sporting News rookie of the year, the magazine announced today. Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick is owner of the year, and Mark Martin is the 2009 Dale Earnhardt Tough Driver. The top driver and crew chief will be announced Thursday. All five awards were voted on by Sprint Cup drivers, crew chiefs and owners.(Sporting News)(12-2-2009)
"The Stewies" will be presented live from Las Vegas: #14-Tony Stewart and co-host Matt Yocum will announce the winners of the "Stewie Awards" - honoring the best, boldest and funniest moments of the 2009 NASCAR season - during a special broadcast airing nationwide on SIRIUS XM Radio, Thursday, December 3 from 7:00 to 9:00pm/pt - 10:00 to 12:00pm/et. Broadcast will air live on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, SIRIUS channel 128 and XM channel 128 (with the "Best of SIRIUS") from the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino Masquerade Village Stage in Las Vegas, NV. The event will be open to the public. Guests scheduled to appear live on the show include: #48-Jimmie Johnson, #5-Mark Martin, #24-Jeff Gordon, #2-Kurt Busch, #11-Denny Hamlin, #16-Greg Biffle, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #39-Ryan Newman, #9-Kasey Kahne, #99-Carl Edwards and #83-Brian Vickers. Robin Leach will be the celebrity host.(Sirius)(12-2-2009)
Brian France submits primary residence documents in Mayfield case: NASCAR Chairman Brian France has submitted a copy of his Florida driver's license, two Florida vehicle registrations, a copy of his voting record in Florida and a copy of his 2008 federal tax return in an effort to prove to the U.S. District Court that his primary state citizenship is in Florida. The documents were submitted Tuesday in response to a court filing on behalf of suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield that claims that France misrepresented his primary residence to have the suspended driver's lawsuit moved to federal court and delay an injunction hearing. The documents are heavily edited to just show that France lived in Daytona Beach. The location of France's primary residence became an issue in the lawsuit filed by Mayfield, who was suspended by NASCAR for a May 1 drug test that NASCAR says was positive for methamphetamines. Mayfield contends that the positive finding resulted from his taking a prescription drug to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and an over-the-counter allergy medicine. He also questions the procedures NASCAR used in determining the results.(in part from SceneDaily)(12-2-2009)
McMurray to test for EGR: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing will have a dress rehearsal with Jamie McMurray and the #1 Bass Pro Shops team next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at New Smyrna Speedway. EGR principal Steve Hmiel says it will give the team an opportunity to get acquainted.(FoxSports)(12-2-2009)
J.C. France denied license: The grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France, charged with drunken driving and possession of crack cocaine two months ago, was denied in his attempt to get his driver's license back, court records show. Jamison Colfax "J.C." France, 43, Daytona Beach, petitioned the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to have his driving privileges restored. The state agency denied France's request. France has asked a circuit judge to review his case and reverse the decision of the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, France's attorney, Michael Politis, said Tuesday. Circuit Judge Richard S. Graham reviewed the petition and has asked France for further proof why he should overrule the state agency's decision, his judicial assistant said. France and his roommate, Russell Richmond, 40, were arrested and charged with DUI and possession of crack cocaine in October. Daytona Beach police said they stopped France after he and Richmond were seen racing each other over the Seabreeze Bridge. Court documents show France has a plea hearing scheduled Jan. 14. France is a race car driver on the Grand-Am circuit, which was founded by his father, Jim France. J.C. France immediately was suspended from racing Grand-Am after the arrest.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-2-2009)
Kansas Speedway casino project approved: Kansas Entertainment, LLC, a 50/50 joint venture of Penn Hollywood Kansas, Inc, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, Inc. and Kansas Speedway Development Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of International Speedway Corporation ("ISC"), was selected on Tuesday by the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board to develop and operate a Hollywood-themed entertainment destination facility overlooking Turn 2 at Kansas Speedway in the North East Gaming Zone in Wyandotte County, Kansas. Based on its selection, and subject to background investigations and licensing by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission which are expected to be completed in early 2010, Kansas Entertainment would begin construction of the Hollywood-themed and branded entertainment destination facility in the second half of 2010 with a planned opening in the first quarter of 2012.
The initial phase of the new facility, budgeted at $386 million, would include a 100,000-square-foot casino floor with capacity for 2,300 slot machines and 86 table games, a high-energy lounge and a variety of dining and entertainment options. Additional project phases including a hotel, expanded gaming space, a spa, convention center and entertainment retail district, have been master planned and will be developed based on market demand. Penn National Gaming and International Speedway Corporation will equally share the full development cost and future cash requirements which are expected to approximate $290 million and be comprised of project financing, gaming equipment lease financing and owner equity contributions.(Kansas Speedway)(12-2-2009)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week – Day 2: And now, on to Las Vegas. #48-Jimmie Johnson completed his Southern California Champion’s Week visits on Tuesday. The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion readies for three days of festivities that begin with Wednesday’s Chasers for the Charity Fanfest and roast beginning at 10:00am/pt in the Neon Garage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Johnson is slated to be the guest of honor – or, better said, the one on the hot seat – when stand-up comic Kevin Burke, who currently stars in the Broadway hit “Defending the Caveman,” along with the champion’s fellow competitors turn up the heat by roasting Johnson in the name of charity at 1:30pm/pt. “You couldn’t have scripted it any better,” Johnson said of this year’s Champion’s Week, being held for the first time in Las Vegas and offering fans and media in two states the opportunity to celebrate with the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. “I’ve definitely been able to work in a little more sleep,” said Johnson comparing this year’s event with his 2006-08 Champion’s Week trips to New York City. “Of course, when we get to Vegas that may change. It’s neat to hit different areas of the country and get the opportunity to visit with all of our great fans, which have supported me on this journey all along.”
On that note, Mayor Randy Voepel and the City Council of Santee, Calif., proclaimed Monday “Jimmie Johnson Day” as the champion’s latest accomplishments were celebrated at a homecoming party at a Lowe’s store in the San Diego suburb. The event attracted nearly 3,000 fans, Johnson’s family and former motocross and off-road legends Rick Johnson and Ivan “Ironman” Stewart. Johnson, who grew up in nearby El Cajon, suggested that the community’s speed limits, currently 45 mph, be raised to 48. Voepel responded “we’ll work on that tomorrow.”
Day 2 of Champion’s Week consisted of an appearance at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana where Johnson had breakfast with and conducted a Q&A with 700 of the track’s invited guests. He also participated in several media functions. Johnson has won four NASCAR Sprint Cup races at the track including the last three runnings of its Pepsi 500. #20-Joey Logano, meanwhile, made the rounds of Las Vegas print, affiliate and broadcast media on Tuesday. His interviewers included the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a KNTV (ABC) morning show and KVVU (FOX) news. For Logano, the 2009 season was his one opportunity to make a good first impression. “It’s really an honor to be the Raybestos Rookie of the Year. It was one of our goals this year and I’m glad I did it since I don’t get a second shot at it,” said the 19-year-old Connecticut native, who joined NASCAR Sprint Cup superstars Richard Petty, David Pearson, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon among winners of the freshman title. “It was the opportunity of a lifetime to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Logano, who won once in 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “It was really cool to jump into a car with a team that had success.” The No. 20 team won championships in 2002 and 2005 with Tony Stewart behind the wheel. Logano also offered congratulations to Johnson on his fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup title. “It’s impressive to accomplish something like that. It makes me want to keep digging so I can try and beat him,” he said. Logano has a date Wednesday to fly with the U.S. Air Force’s famed Thunderbirds.(NASCAR)(12-2-2009)
News from December 1, 2009
Johnson Joins Eli Gold Tuesday on 'NASCAR Live': Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will spend the full hour with host Eli Gold on a special edition of NASCAR Live on Tuesday [Dec 1st] at 7:00pm/et. The program will originate from CBS Radio studios in Los Angeles. NASCAR Live, now in its 26th year, invites those fans interested in congratulating Johnson on his historic fourth straight championship to send their questions to www.motorracingnetwork.com or call 1-800-2-NASCAR during Tuesday’s show.
On Wednesday [Dec. 2nd], Chad Knaus – Johnson’s crew chief – will be the featured guest on the final 2009 airing of NASCAR Performance Live on MRN Radio at 7:00pm/et. Co-hosts Steve Post and Larry McReynolds will review the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season with Knaus and look ahead to 2010.
New crew chief for Keselowski UPDATE: Jay Guy will be crew chief for Brad Keselowski and the #12 Penske Racing Dodge in 2010. Guy heads to Penske Racing following a three-year stint at Denver-based Furniture Row Racing. The 36-year-old Lancaster, Penn., native says he's looking forward to building a program around a driver with Keselowski's potential. "(Keselowski) has definitely won a lot of races in the Nationwide Series," Guy said. "There's a great upside to him. This is what I've worked for the last 20 years, to have an opportunity such as this with a company like Penske Racing."(FoxSports)(11-30-2009)
UPDATE: Penske Racing has announced that both Jay Guy and Paul Wolfe have joined the organization as crew chiefs working with driver #12-Brad Keselowski for the 2010 NASCAR season. Roy McCauley, who has served as a Cup Series crew chief for the past four years with the team, will remain with Penske Racing and assume a leadership role within the organization. Guy will lead the #12 Penske Dodge Cup Series team, while Wolfe will serve as crew chief for the #22 Discount Tire Dodge squad that will compete full-time in the Nationwide Series with Keselowski behind the wheel. Guy, 36, most recently worked as the crew chief on the #78 Furniture Row Racing car driven by Regan Smith in Cup Series competition. A native of Lancaster, Penn., Guy is an experienced crew chief that has worked in NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series and at the Cup Series level.
Wolfe, a former competitor on the track, will team with Keselowski to pursue the 2010 Nationwide Series championship with the #22 Discount Tire Dodge team. The 32-year-old native of Milford, N.Y., raced in the Nationwide Series and completed his fourth season as a crew chief in 2009 as he led the charge for the #11 CJM Racing team with drivers Scott Lagasse, Jr., Denny Hamlin and others.(Penske Racing)(12-1-2009)
46 years ago today - Scott wins: Wendell Scott, an African-American driver from Danville, Va., won his first and only NASCAR Grand National (Sprint Cup Series) race at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Fla. The race distance was 200 laps on the half-mile dirt track and initially Buck Baker was flagged the winner. However, once scoring was re-checked the victory was given to Scott who actually completed 202 laps. Baker was second and Jack Smith third. Between 1961 and 1973, Wendell Scott competed in 495 NASCAR events with 20 top-fives and 147 top-10 finishes. Prior to NASCAR he dominated the short track on the Dixie Circuit and outlaw tracks in Virginia and North Carolina. He won the Virginia State Sportsman title in 1959 after racking up 22 victories. He passed away in 1990.(Around The Track Online)(12-1-2009)
The eight races scheduled for Carquest: Carquest Auto Parts, who recently extended its relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and the #5 Chevy driven by Mark Martin through the 2011 NASCAR season for 8 races a season as primary sponsor, is scheduled to run their colors in 2010 at: Martinsville in March, Charlotte in May, New Hampshire in June, Daytona in July, Bristol in August, Atlanta in September, California in October and Texas in November. See an image of the scheme on my #5 Team Schemes page.(12-1-2009)
More about Danica and Stock Cars, no ARCA test entry: Danica Patrick unveiled a new neon green look Monday morning for her #7 Dallara-Honda. But as the Indy Racing League's most popular driver made the rounds on national talk shows, the big question didn't involve her IndyCar Series ride. Would new primary sponsor GoDaddy.com be unveiling a similar paint scheme for her on a stock car soon? "I think it would be great if they partnered up with that because it's a perfect marriage between the two, and it makes it all just flow and have a rhythm," Patrick said in a phone interview with USA TODAY after the announcement on Good Morning America. "If they want to do that, then I would be very happy." In announcing a three-year deal to remain with renamed Andretti Autosport (formerly Andretti Green Racing), Patrick didn't reveal any plans to moonlight in NASCAR next season, but she also didn't deny that her management team at IMG still is taking a hard look at stock cars. Patrick said Monday there were no other announcements planned and that she "can't be sure" if there'd be another one soon involving NASCAR. "I really can't say exactly where it is," she said when asked about potential negotiations with NASCAR teams. "Me and my team have been working for a long time on bringing it together, so it would be great if it did. Like I said this morning, if I can run both (series), I'd like to. Whether or not that's going to happen or not, it's definitely not too late and it's definitely a possibility."
The IndyCar Series opens its season in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 14, about a month after the NASCAR season begins at Daytona International Speedway. Patrick would need to gain NASCAR approval to race in the Feb. 13 Nationwide race at Daytona, and NASCAR doesn't permit test sessions at sanctioned tracks. However, Patrick could gain experience by racing in the Feb. 6 ARCA race at Daytona. The series will hold an open test at the 2.5-mile superspeedway on Dec. 18-20 for drivers pre-approved by ARCA and having paid the race entry fee. An ARCA spokesperson said Monday there had been no entry for Patrick for its race or the test. Patrick said she plans to spend the offseason with family and also is shooting commercials for GoDaddy, which has featured her in past Super Bowl ads and might put her in two spots next year.(USA Today)(12-1-2009)
Nationwide & Truck Series MAHLE Engine Builder Awards: MAHLE Clevite recently announced the MAHLE Engine Builder of the Year for the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The award is presented to the engine builder in each series who has accumulated the most points, based on qualifying, laps lead and finishing position.
Mark Cronquist of Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) and builder of the #18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch; received the MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year for the Nationwide Series after accumulating 5,862 points. This marks Cronquist's fourth title in his career with JGR. "It is a great accomplishment, to receive this coveted award for the fourth time," said Cronquist. "I'm proud of the entire Joe Gibbs Racing team and want to say thanks to MAHLE Clevite for their recognition and for providing us with the parts that continue to out-perform each year."
The MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year for the NASCAR Truck Series went to Pro Motor Engines (PME) owner Mark Smith for the second consecutive year. Smith was recognized for his work on the Kevin Harvick Inc. #33 Chevy driven by Ron Hornaday, Jr. that accumulated a total of 3,817 points. "Our efforts to finish on top for a second consecutive season really paid off," said Smith. "I'm honored to receive this award for the second year in a row, and many thanks to MAHLE Clevite for always providing quality products, and for recognizing those of us who are behind the scenes." For more information about MAHLE Clevite and its brands, visit www.mahleclevite.com, or contact your local representative.(PR)(12-1-2009)
2009 TV Ratings up for SPEEDs NASCAR shows: With the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series scoring its highest season average Nielsen Household Rating in series history in 2009, several other programs from the NASCAR on SPEED lineup also enjoyed year-to-year ratings increases, including three in double digits. According to Nielsen Media Research, NCWTS Setup, the popular Truck Series pre-race show with Krista Voda was up 12%, NASCAR Performance with crew chiefs Larry McReynolds, Chad Knaus and Bootie Barker also was up 12%, and NASCAR Smarts delivered a 12% ratings increase over the show it replaced in the SPEED lineup, Tradin’ Paint. NASCAR RaceDay, the high-energy NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pre-race show hosted by John Roberts and featuring Jimmy Spencer, Kenny Wallace and Wendy Venturini, was up 2% year-to-year and NASCAR In A Hurry was up 7%.(SPEED)(12-1-2009)
Vote for SPEED Performance Awards: Fan voting opened recently for three more categories for the 4th Annual SPEED Performance Awards. Video candidates for Best Finish, Temper-Temper and Biggest Upset are now available for viewing and voting at www.speedperformanceawards.com, with the final three categories set to open Dec. 7.
Voting schedule (All categories will remain open for fan voting through Dec. 20):
* Oops, Biggest Hit and Best Move opened Nov. 23
* Best Finish, Temper-Temper and Biggest Upset opened Nov. 30
* Best Rivalry, Biggest Comeback and Rookie of the Year opens Dec. 7
Winners will be revealed as part of a one-hour television special in February.(12-1-2009)
Join the Lowe's Motor Speedway Fan Council: Lowe's Motor Speedway is currently accepting applications to join the Lowe's Motor Speedway Fan Council. Members of the Fan Council will provide feedback to help with programs and initiatives to positively impact the Fan Experience at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The Fan Council Application and email info are located on the LMS site. Completed applications are due by Friday, January 8, 2010.(LMS)(12-1-2009)
Remaining Tix for 2010 Lenox Industrial Tools 301 on sale: With renewals completed, all remaining tickets for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 weekend from Thursday, June 24 through Sunday, June 27, 2010 will go on sale on Tuesday, December 1. A variety of grandstand seats, starting at just $39, are available for the first event in "The Race to the Chase 2010," the LENOX Industrial Tools 301. "Our 20th anniversary season will be a celebration for the fans," said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "With a weekend that features four NASCAR races, amazing entertainment, displays, and special events, we offer the best value in sports and entertainment anywhere." These seats have been released in time for fans to purchase the perfect holiday gift for family and friends. To purchase tickets to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway LENOX Industrial Tools 301 weekend, please call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.(NHMS PR)(12-1-2009)